Strategy

We asked CFOs: What should finance chiefs focus on this year?

CFOs from Oura, Wing, and other orgs share their 2024 forecasts.
article cover

Francis Scialabba

· 4 min read

Every year at the start of January, as New Year’s resolutions go into effect, scarfing down kale, chugging green smoothies, and training for a marathon suddenly seem like worthwhile activities.

For CFOs, though, a new year means more risk management and less kale. We emailed CFOs to ask what they thought their fellow finance chiefs should pay attention to in 2024—here’s what they had to say.

Interviews have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Sean Brecker, CFO at Oura

Financial leaders should recognize that we are going into an election year, which will add even more uncertainty to an already uncertain operating environment, given ongoing macro and geopolitical volatility. I don’t believe it will be business as usual—everything from how you finance a company to how you conduct marketing could be impacted. It will be important for financial leaders to keep this in mind and to think about the world through risk-adjusted lenses.

Shannon Nash, CFO at Wing

Throughout 2023, the CFO role has been evolving into a second-in-command type role. It’s not just about crunching numbers anymore; think of CFOs as part fortune teller [and] part operator, diving headfirst into shaping and executing a company’s overall strategy. This fortune teller, or COO-like behavior, will be even more important next year, particularly when it comes to generative AI and how the technology will be used cost effectively across the business, as well as how it’s governed.

We’ll see less time spent on traditional finance tasks in 2024, so CFOs can direct their time to figuring out how new technology reshapes how we interact with our customers, products, and even our internal workflows—as well as executing on this more dynamic and multifaceted role.

Ben Taylor, CFO at Exscientia

In 2024, CFOs can lead their teams in focusing on the bigger picture and long-term growth and paying less attention to daily share price. During times of economic uncertainty, which we expect to continue into 2024, it is easy to focus solely on financial resilience. However, if a company is growth-oriented, it exists because there is a clear need for change in the market. And as CFOs, we help achieve that change by integrating vision and operations into a pragmatic business plan and driving the highest impact growth investments.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.

In 2024, macroeconomics and short-term investments are likely to move share prices more than fundamentals. That means if, as CFOs, we are spending our time focused on day-to-day shifts in share price, we are likely rationalizing someone’s technical trading strategy, instead of focusing on growth and impact, where our time is better spent.

Sandra Beaver, CFO at Evolus

Beyond finding efficiencies, CFOs should focus on technology applications that can drive top-line growth, as well as identify which KPIs are most correlated to driving share value.

CFOs also need to become more savvy on marketing their companies to investors. Historically we’ve invested in sales teams, in advertising, [and] in human capital, but we need to have greater focus on the return on investment generated by proactive investor communications.

Deanna Strable, EVP and CFO at Principal Financial Group

Savvy CFOs will focus on fostering strong relationships across their organization. For me, I’m working closely with business leaders to identify and prioritize growth initiatives that will enable us to deliver on financial objectives. As we expect the 2024 macroeconomic environment to remain volatile, it’s also important to have a keen eye on capital management and deployment—ensuring the organization is both investing for growth while managing expenses and capital effectively.

Bea Ordonez, CFO at Payoneer

Next year, CFOs are uniquely positioned to champion data transformation across their organizations and to allocate capital and resources to that effort. It is imperative that they find new ways to harness the power of data—to support agile decision making, provide timely, transparent and accurate financial reporting, report business performance against those measures that truly affect value and to drive a data-driven approach to financial planning and capital allocation decisions. On the flip side, with advancements in technology, CFOs might find themselves allocating fewer resources to maintaining outdated legacy systems, opting instead for more agile and technologically advanced solutions.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.