The modern CFO faces some of the same challenges that have puzzled business leaders for a long time. According to a survey of CFOs regarding their biggest worries for 2017, researchers from North Carolina State University's Poole College of Management found some familiar themes: Economic uncertainty, regulations and cybercrime were all of the greatest importance. Also brought forward as key issues: Disruptive innovations that are hard to keep up with, attracting and retaining talent, and battling an organization resistant to change.
This survey's results make clear just how taxing many corporate finance teams are finding it to fix problems that have existed for too long. Unlike economic concerns or regulation, these solutions are well within any company's reach, if only they could pin down their root causes and implement the change that's needed. Overall, it's clear that in many organizations, critical finance and accounting functions are broken and have been that way for a long time. So what is really standing in the way between a CFO's vision and the steps for achieving it?
A flawed solution set
Businesses and their finance teams tend to find it difficult to fix common issues like an abundance of monotonous transactional work to do, or a lack of understanding around the firm's financial health. To solve these problems, business leaders tend to go about them in a few common ways, but inevitably fall short.
1. Do it yourself
DIY might be a fun, inexpensive approach to home remodeling, but not when it comes to corporate accounting and financial reporting. As The Balance explained, performing critical financial tasks is often far too much for a CEO to take on themselves, even for a small business. That's because bookkeeping, reporting and forecasting don't just require additional man-hours, they hinge on expertise and insight.
2. Hire a CFO
If a company doesn't already have a CFO, they might consider hiring one to solve most - or all - of these problems. But this route can prove expensive as well as impractical. According to Payscale, a CFO can expect a median base salary of more than $128,000. Not only is that more than many small businesses can stomach, it might not solve challenges that require a team of talented professionals. Hiring a fractional CFO could be a way to balance out these drawbacks, but often falls short of what's really missing from an organization.
3. Hire a controller
A controller is a person in charge of only accounting functions within a business. While they might have the expertise to take this on, they often need a staff to handle most of the transactional work. The hierarchical demands of the controller role also necessitate even more spending on payroll without much noticeable benefit.
Finally, a business might choose to simply contract out their F&A tasks. But horror stories of outsourced accounting services are a dime a dozen, and for good reason. Without choosing the right provider, companies are putting more than the contract fee on the line. Their reputation and financial information could be at risk.
A new way forward
Are these the only options available to fix a broken F&A process? Consero is proving that businesses can in fact get access to the financial tools and talent they need without sacrificing additional time, resources, spending or security. That's because Consero combines the best parts of each option without any of the bloat or logistical headaches that they often involve.
Your finance department may be broken, but that doesn't mean it can't be fixed. Talk to Consero to learn more about how they help businesses.