OpinionThe Digital CFO: Leveraging tech to cut costs instead of headcounts
The Digital CFO: Leveraging tech to cut costs instead of headcounts
“CFOs must proactively adopt and invest in digital technologies that automate their systems at scale, and quickly capture value at each core business function,” writes Aviv Barzilay, a Senior Associate at Pitango First
These days, it seems everyone is being challenged to adapt to the increasing unknown the market presents, and the role of a CFO is no exception. With layoffs and increasing economic uncertainty, CFOs are facing enormous pressure to make smart investments and keep their companies profitable. It’s clear this intense pressure has drawn companies towards immediate budget relief solutions, with 224,504 layoffs taking place since August according to TechCrunch. However layoffs are not a long-term solution to optimizing costs. The fact is, the role of a CFO is evolving, from traditional finance reporting to strategic decision making that will help companies navigate through economic uncertainty and keep them profitable. Let’s take a closer look at how CFOs can re-evaluate their SaaS budgets and use technologies that help businesses become leaner than ever — without chopping down headcounts.
Bringing CFOs up to speed in the Digital Age
The role of a CFO is no longer just a numbers game. Now, this traditionally quantitative role also includes more qualitative and strategy-based objectives.
According to a report by Pigment, 71% of CFOs are looking towards technology to plan for potential downturns, with 59% of them listing sustained profits and growth as the biggest priority for their company in 2023. To stay ahead of the curve, finance leaders need to work more closely with their R&D leaders to develop a deeper understanding of how to monitor, audit, and help their engineering teams lead towards a more cost-effective, optimal and efficient business operation. To make this happen, CFOs must proactively adopt and invest in digital technologies that automate their systems at scale, and quickly capture value at each core business function.
Harnessing the power of LLMs to boost automation
Talk of using automation to boost efficiency among teams isn’t something new, but now with the disruption of Logic Learning Machine (LLMs), efficiency is truly possible. Now machines can speak and understand human language, bringing the abilities of automation to an entire new level. Not only can these technologies understand human language, but they can learn and accumulate knowledge by remembering the systems and environments from prior situations. Meaning, these tools can solve the problems themselves the next time the issue arises, allowing CFOs to focus their efforts in different places, boosting efficiency.
LLMs can also save time, errors and miscommunications by checking the operations of different departments in real-time, eliminating the need for micro-managing and daily communication with all departments. By putting an agent in the CTO environment, it can track compute power consumption such as costs of cloud and services in real-time, equipping CFOs with the accuracy they need to stay in-line with company objectives.
Opportunities for startups
This shift presents an incredibly exciting time for startups and founders who are eager to build tools for the new generation of CFOs. Let’s consider these shifts at the infrastructure level. Cost-saving and efficiency are derived from a more data-intensive environment, which requires investing in tools at the production level.
On a macroeconomic level, both startups and big companies alike have had to face a funding and capital availability issue. This has caused many startups to think about ways they can extend their runway, and be more strategic in how they form, utilize, and monitor budgets, subsequently leading to big opportunities for startups building in this field. This recalibration creates a fertile ground of opportunities for startups operating in this dynamic landscape. As the financial ecosystem reshapes itself, innovators must be ready to chart a new course, offering invaluable solutions to enterprises navigating the complex terrain of financial management in the digital age. The synergy between innovative startups and the evolving CFO promises to reshape the future of finance in unprecedented ways.
Aviv Barzilay is a Senior Associate at Pitango First.