Finance beyond the numbers: CFO resolutions for 2023

With over 46 reports regarding corporate failures, fraud and misconduct in accounting practice for companies in Singapore. It is important for companies to take affirmative action to acquire solid accounting systems and well-structured internal controls that are critical to their stakeholders.

As the new year approaches, many chief financial officers (CFOs) are looking for ways to improve their performance and drive success for their organizations. But predictions point to another challenging year, and given what is likely to be a volatile financial year ahead, it is key for CFOs to set early goals for both themselves and those they work with.

Here are four New Year’s resolutions for CFOs that can help drive a solid financial result for an already turbulent 2022.

Sound accounting practices

In light of the upheaval in the tech sector in 2022, the finance function will play an increasingly prominent role. Sustainable growth and smart cash management are key themes for 2023, and it all starts with sound accounting practices.

More than ever before, high-growth technology companies need to recognize the importance of investing in finance leadership and finance teams early on. It is important to spend even more effort on the development of the staff, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and the implementation of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).

This is part of the financial transformation journey Max Tay, Chief Financial Officer, got going when he joined Geniebook. It is also critical for his team to develop the mindset of being a strategic business partner to the other functions.

Also Read: Report: Singapore companies remain open to implementing embedded finance, Web3 in 2023

It is important for companies to have financial tools for sound business-level decision-making this year that can determine whether a technology company’s services through the current ‘winter’. Some of them include cash burn analysis at a granular level, ROI analysis on existing and potential projects, accurate budgeting and forecasting, regular real-time reporting and cost control.

Embrace change

We live in a technological age where businesses are constantly evolving, making it imperative for us to be adaptable and always ready to move away from traditional ways of thinking. We must not be complacent or become too comfortable – automation is now the key to success, and Chin Wai Hong, Chief Financial Officer at Spenmo, is happy that they are driving his finance team to achieve it. Through the automation of financial processes, she hopes that the finance team will be able to invest even more time in business partnering.

But despite the need to grow, adapt and scale quickly, there has been constant pressure on companies to better manage costs. In 2023, specifically for the finance function, Aylwin Chia, Global Controller Of Velocity Global, hope we can find a good balance between investing in people (both current and new hires) and technology (both improvements/developments and new fintech solutions).

In the current market conditions, he believes companies should keep teams lean and versatile. More generally, the team must continuously challenge itself to deviate from traditional finance activities by embracing technology such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or Machines Learning (ML) tools to streamline, automate and digitize our processes. In doing so, they keep costs relatively low, eliminate human error, and set a strong foundation for scaling in the years to come with efficient financial processes while maintaining high-quality financial data.

In a nutshell, Shivani, Financial Controller at Blackpanda, puts it nicely. It is about making use of the best available technology to develop our finance processes in 2023 and drive strong data-based business insights.

Strategically mitigated rising costs

“Plan for the worst, hope for the best”, said Josephine Tan, Chief Financial Officer at Azendian. In this case, it is important for finance teams to be averse to change or innovation rather than holding on to traditional values ​​– financial prudence is the new trend.

With a bleak global economic outlook in 2023, elevated core inflation and the implementation of the first of a two-step increase in GST in Singapore, one thing is certain – it will only get more expensive to run a business.

This year, Emelia Long, Financial Inspector of Circulars and Vincent Yeo, Chief Financial Officer at Hydra-X, decided to manage and mitigate rising costs strategically. It is important for companies to stretch the runway and reduce cash consumption, especially in an increasingly cautious financing environment. Whether it’s a bullish or bearish market, finance teams can help future-proof businesses by keeping a close eye on their finances.

Also read: Embedded financing can help legacy banks grow loan book, go to market fast: FinBox CEO

The team must continuously ensure financial data integrity and order in data across databases, which increases the agility of the finance team to react and make effective decisions. It is important for decision makers to set their resolutions in 2023 to seek opportunities to increase their agility.

Desire to be stronger business partners

Danny Lim, Financial Controller at ThoughtfullWorld, hopes that finance functions are constantly close to the business. He writes that it is important to talk to business people often, so that finance teams have a clear overview and direction of the business. Companies need to understand that finance teams are not only a cost center, but also serve as revenue drivers that drive decision making by combining both financial and non-financial information that form the key North Star metrics that organizations look for.

Karl Mead (CFO, StaffAny) and David Cheng (CFO, FastCo) shared similar views. Their decisions are to be more customer focused and promote a growth mindset in the company. The key is to add value throughout the organization rather than just producing reports.

Looking forward to 2023

That said, 2022 taught us that while things may look rosy and rosy at the moment, the overall environment can change quickly and finance teams need to ensure their businesses are constantly on the cutting edge of adapting quickly to market conditions.

Cost efficiency and revenue growth are at the fore for companies in the coming year, and while we acknowledge that the VC landscape currently looks bleak, we believe companies are still aiming to raise the bar to position themselves well for the year ahead , allowing finance teams to focus on business expansion and growth strategies.

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