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Major Financial Planning Trends for CFOs in 2016

Each year we conduct a survey to find out what matters most to CFOs. It’s interesting to learn both what they anticipate their top priorities to be as well as the challenges and opportunities that they face. This year we expanded our scope to include other executives in the finance community such as VPs of Finance, Financial Managers and Controllers.

These are some of the questions we asked:

  • What are your top finance priorities for 2016?
  • Rank the issues you believe pose new risks, challenges or opportunities for finance functions.
  • Are you currently using spreadsheets in Excel as your budgeting and financial planning software? If yes, what is your biggest challenge associated with using spreadsheets?

What landed as the top financial priority for 2016?  Cash flow.

While not entirely surprising, the details shared with us show distinct patterns. Managing cash flow and increasing and diversifying Revenue came in as the primary concerns among our survey respondents. Monitoring and improving the cash flow process, managing current debt, and selecting the right investments were some of the top concerns.

Funding and Cost Control were the next layers of priorities. Several answers indicated the desire to raise funds to support acquisitions and need to secure financing for capital expenditures. Those clear signals of growth and expansion are great to see.

Budgeting and Software Updates rounded out the top 2016 Financial Planning Priorities. Improving projections and conducting long range planning were right up there with meeting the budget numbers. The key word among the executives that chose financial planning software as their top priority was Automation. ERP implementations and integrations, improving data analytics and mitigating security risks were other leading responses.

For new risks, challenges, and opportunities – most of our respondents said that Compliance and Regulations ranked as their #1 concern. That was followed by organizational performance and economic conditions.

For example, finance executives showed their concern for increased regulations. Tax code changes, SEC filings, Affordable Care Act rules, PCI compliance and Department of Labor mandates each have their own sets challenges. Each financial professional must not only keep up with the changes to ensure they’re implementing them timely but also has to manage the costs associated with them.

According to the survey results, 80% of finance executives use Excel spreadsheets as their business budgeting and financial planning tool. The #1 challenge associated with Excel for budgeting isn’t a surprise to any of us. It’s error prone. I’m sure you’re intimately familiar with broken links, circular formulas and faulty macros. So why are people still using cumbersome spreadsheets for budgeting?

As a leader in your organization, I’m sure you’ve set performance goals for yourself and your team that are in alignment with your company’s top priorities. Hopefully this data has provided you with valuable insights and information that can give you a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Take a few moments to consider what your own answers are to these survey questions are so that you are well prepared for what the new year brings.



walid zakria A. Farhat
Title: CFO
Company: GCF
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, GCF) |

Cash flow,Funding and Cost Control,Budgeting
But the most priority is upgrade knowledge of my team work

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