With the unpredictability of markets reaching new highs, strong leadership skills from CFOs are increasingly needed amid 2023 strategy plans. Alongside strong leadership needs and high ambitions for growth is a desire to spend more in order to achieve that growth. Recent findings from the CFO Alliance’s 2023 global mid-market CFO sentiment study reveal three-quarters of CFOs (75%) are looking to increase spending by double digits in order to achieve organic growth.
Great communication skills for a CFO is ultimately a job requirement, but it’s those who focus on maintaining and improving those skills that set themselves apart from other executives. CFO Alliance findings show that, although CFOs desire to professionally develop themselves, they are divided as to which areas are the best to strengthen.
Slightly over a quarter (26%) surveyed plan on focusing on overall leadership development. Twenty-five percent of CFOs said they would network or leverage peer groups, with another fifth (20%) saying they will focus on upskilling. Team mentorship also gauged nearly a fifth of responses (19%), with charitable endeavors and others being selected by 10% of financial leaders.
Yet some CFOs are planning career changes. Right in line with data from Workforce Institute at UKG from September, 40% of respondents in the CFO Alliance survey said they are considering a career move in 2023. As CFOs of emerging and midsize companies report they are stretched by too many activities, much of the same is expected for 2023.
As CFOs of specific industries such as private equity have expressed different ideas around talent, CFO Alliance data reveals financial leaders face what the survey calls the “war for talent.” CFOs are continuing to promote investing in upskilling their current workforces, shifting away from talent acquisition and towards talent optimization in 2023.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents told surveyors they will focus their spending around talent investments on skills and capability improvements for their employees, focusing primarily on FP&A, training, and development. By filling the holes in their workflows with current employees, CFOs are essentially feeding two birds with one scone, increasing their staff’s productivity potential with new tasks, while avoiding senseless or unnecessary hires.
CFOs who have the desire to increase their spending need to have the access to capital in order to execute. Despite a majority’s desire to increase spending, concerns about financial risks and access to capital have doubled in 2023. Related, Inflation ranked first in risk-related challenges for CFOs this year.
With a continued view of economic uncertainty, CFOs with a desire to increase spending must be sure they will have access to the necessary capital when the time comes to put their spending ambitions to fruition.