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Four Challenges CFO’s Face in 2020 and Beyond

To say that 2020 has been an eventful year would be an understatement, the use of the word ‘unprecedented’ is unprecedented. COVID-19 has affected every corner of the globe and businesses around the world have been forced to adapt to a new way of working.

 

The Chief Financial Officer's role has been constantly evolving during the last decade and 2020 is proving to be no exception. Driven by Brexit, mandates such as Making Tax Digital and now a global pandemic the CFO position is truly multi-faceted.

 

As the CFO of ARKK, a scale-up tech company specialising in finance office automation, I know first-hand the challenges that finance leaders are facing during the start of the new decade. In my view, here are four of the top hurdles facing CFO's in 2020 and beyond.

 

1) Uncovering ways to improve financial efficiency

Current events have made it more apparent than ever before. If your finance function hasn't embraced digitalisation and the numerous benefits it has to offer, you're likely to get left behind.

 

The days of manually inputting data into Excel are coming to an end. There will always be a place for the beloved Microsoft spreadsheet. However, when numerous calculations, edits and reconciliations need to be made, spreadsheets aren’t the most efficient way to do this. An automated end-to-end solution will not only save you time and money but, arguably more importantly, improve the accuracy of your figures.

 

The tax function is renowned for managing huge volumes of transactions with overly complex manual Excel calculations. One simple data entry mistake and the validity of your figures is gone. Trying to determine where the error has occurred is a task in itself.

 

Once you're able to get your finance and tax function working as efficiently as possible, you can now focus on the value-add tasks such as evolving KPIs and benchmarking to grow the business and its operations.

 

2) Constantly changing external forces on the finance function

Any department within an organisation will always have external factors that impact the team. Within the finance function, it's largely driven by mandates or regulatory compliance from third-party stakeholders such as HMRC, Companies House, the FRC and the FCA.

 

You may have heard of a little something called Making Tax Digital. HMRC's newest mandate is giving tax departments a much-needed nudge to digitise their processes and systems, helping them to become more efficient. External forces, such as MTD phase 2, are in constant flux applying additional requirements that companies need to comply with.

 

CFO’s need to constantly keep abreast of developments or changes in regulations to ensure that their company remains compliant now and in the future.

 

3) Elevating risk management and robust security procedures

CFO roles have always involved the effective management of sensitive corporate data and information. In an increasingly digital age, more data than ever before is being held electronically meaning that strict online processes and controls must be used to ensure a robust security system is in place.

 

As previously mentioned, external factors can also play a part. Legislation such as GDPR requires companies to store, manage and transfer data following specific guidelines set out by the EU. GDPR compliance doesn't just reside within one department or function but is cross-departmental, including the finance function.

 

In terms of enhancing risk management, the shift to a digital tax solution is extremely beneficial. Excel files stored on numerous different computers and adjusted by multiple staff isn't a secure process. Implementing an end-to-end solution, such as ARKK's for:sight platform, allows much greater levels of control over user access and privileges helping to reduce the risk of the data either getting into the wrong hands or being altered incorrectly.

 

4) Talent acquisition and retention in the FinTech sector

The expectations of staff in the finance sector have changed dramatically. Long gone are the days of junior members being content with simple data entry tasks, they now want to be involved in tasks that add value and insight into the business to allow senior leaders to make informed decisions.

 

2020 has made it crystal clear that businesses need to get the most out of every part of the organisation, including its people. Technology and automation are a great way to achieve this. It aids finance and tax staff retention by helping them do their job more effectively, in turn bringing additional benefits to the business. Staff, particularly Millennials, expect to be involved in these tasks and it's our job as a CFO to ensure businesses have the right tools in place to allow them to be most effective in their role.

 

Only time will tell what affect COVID-19 has on job locality, however, London still remains a hyper-competitive market with a large pool of talent and opportunities. The FinTech sector is an attractive proposition and being a scale-up company, ARKK strives to make our culture and working environment fun, challenging and collaborative. That's how we think you attract the best talent.

 

If you’d like to learn more about ARKK and our for:sight platform, visit arkksolutions.com.