Companies struggling to develop future-proofed strategy


A recent survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) has revealed that many are concerned about their risk management strategies over the next three to five years.

The findings come from the latest American Express survey into the attitudes of 285 CFOs across Australian medium-sized enterprises. The results pointed to a significant concern around company risk management strategies.

In fact, 45 per cent of those surveyed suggested that their business was at either a moderate or severe risk of failure over the next five years. Only 9 per cent described their companies as being at no risk.

The result has been a growing focus on future-proofing strategies. Of those surveyed, 75 per cent reported they play a significant role in the strategy planning process. A further 64 per cent responded that there is now a greater focus on developing robust future strategies, compared to 12 months ago.

While companies are clearly dedicating more resources to strategic planning, especially at the CFO level, the report highlighted some areas where companies are still struggling. Technology was one area, with only 7 per cent of respondents reporting that technology is the most competitive aspect of their business.

Along with a lack of technology, CFOs reported a lack of time (40 per cent) and a short-term mindset (32 per cent) as being two of the biggest barriers that were holding back a robust approach to the company’s development.

Christine Wakefield, vice president of American Express Global Corporate Payments, suggested that the appetite for innovation was also something that CFOs were taking seriously.

“The appetite for innovation is definitely there. However many mid-sized CFOs are still focused on ‘business as usual’ improvements, rather than transformational change that would make a real impact on their future,” said Ms Wakefield.

“The businesses we talked to are financially successful now, but some CFOs don’t have a clear vision of how to build a future-proofing plan. It’s time to get cracking or face the repercussions.”