Monday, September 25

Latin American CEOs foresee greater relevance of the CFO in the next three years

There is still a long way to go for the economy to return to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, according to ECLAC, the Latin American and Caribbean region will slow down its growth rate in 2022 to 2.1%, after growing 6.2% on average last year.

Given this panorama of vertiginous changes and new challenges, it is not surprising that the role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is becoming more relevant in companies. The IBM Global CFO 2021 Studyin which 2,000 CFOs across 28 industries and 43 countries participated, reveals the evolving expectations for the role of the modern CFO and outlines the critical success factors that will enable them to improve decision-making.

These are the main findings:

  • The role of CFO is essential more than ever:
  • 49% of CEOs interviewed in Latin America see the CFO as the most important executive for the next 2-3 years.
  • CEOs and CFOs are aligned with the top priorities of the organization. Globally, CFOs selected improving efficiency (56%), providing a better customer experience (41%) and incorporating more innovation into business models (40%) at the top of their to-do lists.
  • The CFO is a guardian of stability and an agent of transformation:
  • Globally, nearly three-quarters of CFOs confirmed that they play a key role in transformation and agility across the business.
  • CFO responsibilities extend beyond budget and finance to corporate culture: More than 4 in 10 CFOs globally say they are tasked with fostering a digital-encompassing culture.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics are emerging as key components for CFOs:
  • 58% of CFOs globally say AI technology has been deployed to plan processes and analyze intelligent workflow, covering and orchestrating planning and performance management.
  • AI is currently being implemented in other financial processes such as financial forecasting (51%), management/performance reporting (56%), and profitability/margin analysis (53%), securing global/Mexico CFOs.
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“In the face of market changes and mounting pressures, great importance is being placed on organizational agility and transformation, elevating and evolving the role of the CFO. His position is key, not only as a guardian of stability, but also as a strategic advisor to business leaders and an advocate for digital transformation throughout the company”, said Luis Eduardo Gaudio, IBM Consulting CFO for Latin America. “Within the IBM finance organization, we foster a transparent, data-driven culture so more employees have access to the information they need. In our region, CFOs see the value of AI and automation, and are accelerating their implementations to help their teams become more efficient and productive in making decisions, allowing them to focus on higher value tasks for the business”.

The CFO is a guardian of stability, agility, and transformation throughout the organization. Even in this scenario, the CFO goes beyond his daily planning and finance tasks to foster a culture that encompasses the entire digital transformation, including the use of AI and automation to improve the performance and efficiency of his team.

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