CFOs are the stewards of their company's fiscal health. They oversee all facets of the business, including setting budgets, managing cash flow, and overseeing the accounting department. It's a challenging job, and CFOs often find themselves in an endless sea of financial information.
A CFO checklist can help you stay organized, prioritize goals, and guide the company as it prepares for the future of finance.
Audit business processes and workflows
Identify business inefficiencies via periodic audits. Analysis should include:
- Financial books and records
- Supply chain management
- Accounts payable and receivable policies
- Accounting procedures
Looking at each area provides a detailed picture of the financial position and practices of the organization. You can use this information and key financial ratios to identify how adding more staff or technology can improve the organization's performance.
Review existing budgets, agreements, and debt contracts
Many companies have contracts with vendors, suppliers, and other service providers. As the CFO, you ensure agreements are reviewed regularly and renewed if necessary. The following checklist outlines the primary steps in this process:
- Review current budgets to decide which vendor services need to be reassessed or renegotiated.
- Determine whether contracts have expired since your last review and if they should be renewed.
- Consider any changes in market conditions or business-related factors that might affect your company's needs.
- Make sure that all terms of the contract (e.g., price, volume discounts) remain favorable compared with those available from other vendors or direct competitors who provide similar products or services.
Set SMART goals
CFOs manage a company's finances, but they also play a significant role in helping to set the strategy and direction of the business.
To fulfill this role effectively, set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART). Clearly articulate your vision to the rest of the executive team, so everyone knows the company's goals, how they'll be achieved, and why they're essential to the organization’s mission.
Build relationships across teams
As a CFO, you’re not only a vital member of the finance team, but you must help build relationships between different departments within the organization. To do this effectively, it’s important to understand their functions and how they interact with one another.
Speak with other department leaders to learn how they’re doing and how they fit into the company’s overall strategy. Schedule a time to sit down with department heads or attend their meetings so you can stay informed about their progress and anticipate challenges and opportunities.
Strengthen cash position
One of the essential tasks for any finance leader is to ensure that the business has sufficient cash to meet its obligations. While it may seem obvious, this task can be challenging. The current economic slowdown has been long and painful, with many companies still struggling to survive.
Businesses also face new challenges as they seek to recover from the crisis and plan for growth. CFOs can strengthen the organization’s financial position by streamlining receivables management practices and automating them where necessary.
To brace for another downturn, maximize your existing cash. For example, businesses and startups can benefit from the automated cash flow tools from Treasure Financial as well as generating more yield on their cash reserves with a Treasure Reserve account.
Evaluate emerging technologies
CFOs must have a forward-looking mindset to analyze past results and predict future trends. This includes staying on top of emerging technologies that could disrupt your industry or business model, such as IoT, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, robotics, and quantum computing.
To prepare for the future, CFOs should ask themselves:
- How can I use AI to automate processes?
- Are we ready to integrate blockchain into our systems?
- How can quantum computing improve our financial models?
Build a long-term roadmap
CFOs are responsible for maintaining a healthy bottom line, setting clear goals, and developing an appropriate roadmap to meet objectives over the long term. By laying the foundations for such a vision early on, you’ll have the pieces you need to shape the way you approach your role as CFO today and into the future.