Finance professionals are focusing on innovation and adaptability in 2020, according to a survey.
Finance professionals are focusing on a number of trends this year, including product development, business model changes, systems, and staffing in an effort to add value to their organizations this year, according to a new study from BillingPlatform.
"The findings of our study are consistent with what our customers are telling us," said Dennis Wall, CEO of BillingPlatform, which provides billing solutions. "The finance function is a major contributor in generating new sources of revenue. Often, these revenue sources come through new products and technology, but finance professionals know that new business models can contribute as well."
Here are five trends BillingPlatform has identified from the survey.
CFOs are seeking innovative ways to bring in new revenue
Sixty percent of finance professionals surveyed by BillingPlatform indicated they are launching new products and services to increase market mix, and 35% said they will leverage recurring or consumption-based billing to offer more attractive pricing on new products/services.
Respondents said they will have to overcome system constraints (23%), system consolidation (22%), and the transition of IT infrastructure (18%) to accomplish these goals.
Companies are trying to squeeze more value from resources
Accomplishing more with the same or fewer resources is the highest priority challenge (18%) facing finance teams in 2020. Finance professionals are addressing this challenge by identifying ways to drive higher revenue through new products or services and reducing operating costs or capital investments (17%). They're also investing in cloud technologies as part of a broader digital transformation effort (11%) and automating through AI or robotics (10%), according to the survey.
Finance departments are focusing on tech skills in staffing
Only 45% of survey respondents said they're in great shape when it comes to their team's skill as they head into 2020, while 55% said they were in anywhere from OK to bad shape.
Hiring workers with technical experience is a focal point, with 26% of respondents indicating that support for digital capabilities and advanced analytics are the most important job skills for new hires on finance teams, BillingPlatform said.
Regulatory concerns remain at the forefront
Despite being nearly 20 years old, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 remains a focus for finance professionals. Of those surveyed, 19% said the act, which set new or expanded requirements for all US public company boards, management, and public accounting firms, has been the most challenging regulatory change over the past three years.
Curiously, 35% of respondents said this regulation was challenging to their departments because they had underestimated its impact, BillingPlatform said. Meanwhile, Basel II/Basel III, a regulatory framework issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, was the second-most challenging regulation, cited by 13% of survey respondents.
Cybersecurity is a big concern, and many pros aren't prepared
Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents said cybersecurity is among their top concerns/risks. Making matters worse, only 33% of finance professionals said they were in great shape to handle cybersecurity issues. Finance professionals believe awareness is key to addressing the cybersecurity problem, the survey found.
Staff education on potential scams is a focus for 37% of respondents, and 30% said they would talk to the CEO and other leadership about the potential financial impact of cybersecurity issues, the survey said.
Over 300 finance vice presidents or directors in US companies with at least $50 million in annual revenue participated in the 2020 Trends in Finance survey, according to BillingPlatform.
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