Voices of the CFO: Economic Uncertainty Requires High-Touch Financial Leadership

CFO, leadership, macroeconomic

The current economic climate affects companies in countless ways. For chief financial officers (CFOs), it casts a new light on things like fundraising, hiring and customer retention. 

In recent interviews for the PYMNTS series “A Day in the Life of a Digital-First CFO,” finance leaders shared the effects they’ve seen and the ways they’ve responded. 

Focusing on Top-Line Metrics 

A year ago, valuations were reaching all-time highs and inflation was only just beginning to show signs of increasing. Today, things are different, Entrata CFO Mark Hansen told PYMNTS. 

Read more: Voice of the CFO: Inflation Keeps Companies’ Eyes Glued to Top-Line Metrics 

“It’s definitely changed how we think about the business,” Hansen said. “I think first and foremost it makes us focus a lot on the top line — like are we hitting our top-line metrics — because in order to continue to invest in the business, you want to make sure you’re hitting those metrics.” 

The provider of Software-as-a-Service for property management has also increased its focus on pricing. Entrata hadn’t raised prices very often, so now it’s looking at pricing and packaging and making sure that it’s responding to inflation. 

Providing Real-World Solutions 

The macroenvironment has changed in terms of funding, too. Chia Network CFO Misha Graboi told PYMNTS in July that Chia takes that into account in its decision-making, but continues to have productive conversations with people in the space. 

“Ultimately, as the market stabilizes, we think that people are going to look at companies that provide real solutions to real-world problems,” Graboi said. 

See also: CFOs Look Beyond FOMO to Find Blockchain’s Real Power 

In the case of Chia, a new energy-efficient decentralized blockchain, it is continuing to work on developing applications that have a high impact at the enterprise or government level, Graboi said. For example, it was selected as the infrastructure for a global carbon warehouse by the World Bank. 

Rethinking Investments 

The current economic climate impacts everyone because it can lead CFOs at other companies to reinvestigate how they’re deploying their dollars and reconsider which spending is “must-have” and which is discretionary, Coalfire CFO Dennis Schumacher told PYMNTS in July. 

Related: Voice of the CFO: Growing a Company Means Looking Beyond the Books 

In Coalfire’s case, Schumacher said there’s a lot the company can do to help customers prepare for different types of audits, work on their cybersecurity and make their environment more efficient and automated. 

“I think some of that, as the environment itself becomes more complex, those will shift from being more discretionary to being more ‘must have,’” Schumacher said. 

Providing the Resources Everyone Needs 

ChartHop CFO Matt Wolf said his company is always looking forward and planning its growth — how it funds it, how it supports it, how it supports new customers coming on and how the product evolves to meet new market demands. 

Read more: Voice of the CFO: Finance Leaders Balance Spend With Remote Employees’ Needs 

“One of my roles as CFO is to make sure that everyone in the company has the resources they need to do their jobs,” Wolf said. “One of those things is making sure they have the right people, making sure they have the right tools, and then tracking performance and all those things that go along with that.”