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The CFO Agenda

Top trends, priorities, and challenges for CFOs

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The CFO's agenda would be much easier to manage if the CFO's job description was neatly defined. The reality? It isn't. Chief financial officers' roles are continuing to expand, which means they'll likely have to step outside their finance departments to effectively do their jobs. This can be attributed to issues that are both more complex and more interconnected than they have been in the past. So, what macro-factors are shaping how finance chiefs operate? 

Capital markets
Following a long period of cheap money, CFOs now contend with high borrowing costs. Are interest rate cuts coming? If so, when? And how sizable? Lacking certainty, CFOs face a moving target when pricing out possible investments. 

Geopolitical tension has created additional risk and complexity for businesses. Protecting cross-border assets—and maintaining the flow of goods through supply chains—become major challenges when conflicts break out or transit routes get blocked. Not to mention, global trade restrictions have almost tripled in three years. 

The shift in demographics—aging populations, mostly—is also rising as a CFO priority. Finance chiefs will likely need to address product mixes that satisfy very different customer bases. Business portfolios may need revisiting. At the same time, companies may need to revamp how they serve younger customers. 

It's not clear where businesses will land with breakthrough technologies and their dizzying pace, but it will likely be a different place than they are now. CFOs may need to assume the role of technologist, working with IT and helping C-suite leaders make informed decisions on whether or how to integrate AI into workflows. 

To help position their companies to compete in a low-carbon environment, CFOs will likely factor sustainability into capital allocation decisions. This is hardly a black-and-white decision, however finance chiefs will need to learn how to balance the need to address climate concerns with the need to create value for shareholders. 

This brings us to the CFO Agenda. In putting together this year's version, we looked at how the above macro-factors are shaping the CFO's job on the ground. Ultimately, we identified six key drivers that seem to be top of mind for CFOs:

The CFO Agenda

Drivers of The CFO Agenda

Like the broader forces at play, these drivers are not isolated items and resist being neatly defined. They, too, are constantly converging and interconnecting. Because of this, the CFO’s job remains an ongoing challenge: To see the whole board—and make moves accordingly. Check out the full report to learn more.

The CFO Agenda

About Deloitte's CFO Program

The CFO Program brings together a multidisciplinary team of Deloitte leaders and subject-matter specialists to help CFOs stay ahead in the face of growing challenges and demands. The Program harnesses our organization’s broad capabilities to deliver forward-thinking and fresh insights for every stage of a CFO’s career—helping CFOs manage the complexities of their roles, tackle their company’s most compelling challenges, and adapt to strategic shifts in the market.

Learn more about Deloitte’s CFO Program.

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