CFO optimism driving tech investments

Despite strong economic challenges, chief financial officers seem sanguine, predicting that not only will they grow next year, but they will need to make technology investments in anticipation of this.

This is according to the result of a recent survey by Grant Thornton of CFOs on their outlook for the next half a year. Overall, it found that 54% of them were optimistic about the economy over the next six months. Similarly, when it came to their own organizations, 61% said they will experience net profit growth over the next 12 months, year over year, and 40% expect they will grow 6% or more. This is in spite of headwinds like high inflation and supply chain disruptions.

Adding further evidence of their optimism, the vast majority of CFOs — 80% — plan to increase investment in digital transformation, confident that technological advancements present opportunities to operate more effectively with greater efficiency. In addition, 76% of finance leaders say they plan to increase investment in their financial planning and analysis functions and systems over the next year.

In particular, many are planning to bolster their cybersecurity. The survey found that 45% of CFOs ranked cybersecurity as one of their top three areas of focus, an 11 percentage point increase from the previous quarter.

“As you put more of your product and service interface in a digital medium, you absolutely increase the chance that you’re going to have a cyberattack,” said GT national management principal of technology transformation Chris Unruh, in a statement. “They go hand in hand.”

The survey also found that CFOs are planning to cut costs in other areas. The most frequently cited candidates include external professional consulting support and fees (45% rated as a top three issue), investment in long-term strategic initiatives (38%) and supplier and vendor costs (38%).