Manufacturing CFOs prioritise operational resilience, says SYSPRO survey

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SYSPRO, a global provider of ERP software, today unveiled the findings from its third annual Global CFO Survey, indicating a notable shift in focus among manufacturing Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) towards enhancing operational resilience.

The study, conducted from July to September 2023, encompassed sentiments from CFOs across the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC), and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), reflecting insights from a diverse spectrum of manufacturing enterprises.

Key insights from the survey reveal that manufacturing CFOs are adapting to a dynamic economic landscape by embracing a hybrid role, blending strategic business knowledge with traditional financial expertise. 

In response to various external disruptions such as supply chain challenges, inflation, and environmental concerns, the study found CFOs are prioritising operational efficiencies to mitigate future shocks.

A significant finding indicates that CFOs are increasingly involved in driving digital transformation initiatives, with over half of respondents emphasising the importance of operationalizing digital strategies. 

This shift underscores the evolving nature of the CFO role, requiring a comprehensive understanding of business functions beyond finance.

Amid ongoing economic uncertainties, the survey underscores a trend towards fiscal conservatism coupled with a steadfast commitment to digital transformation. 

 A majority of respondents anticipate a return to profitability, with investments in innovation, equipment, and digital infrastructure playing a crucial role in driving sustainable growth.

Internally, CFOs are prioritising strategies to enhance resilience through cost efficiencies and improved margins. The survey indicates that pandemic-induced modifications have bolstered internal resilience, positioning organisations to better withstand future disruptions.

Collaboration with IT departments and leadership emerges as a key priority, with a significant percentage of CFOs actively involved in overseeing IT projects or closely collaborating with IT teams.

In the APAC region, top priorities for manufacturing CFOs in 2024 include enhancing visibility into performance and operations, addressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns, optimising quality management, driving profitable growth, and managing governance and risk.

Johan Conradie, Global Chief Financial Officer at SYSPRO, underscored the significance of the survey results, highlighting the transformative role of the Hybrid CFO in navigating complex economic landscapes.

“The question I would ask the Hybrid CFO in manufacturing is whether they have the skills, data and tools required to provide the same degree of insight into their organisation’s operations as they have into their finances,” he concluded.