FIGS CFO Offers Advice on Navigating Volatile Times: Manage What You Can Control

Amid today’s hostile macroclimate, the CFO role has taken on increased importance.

Daniella Turenshine, chief financial officer at direct-to-consumer (DTC) healthcare apparel and lifestyle brand FIGS, knows this all too well.

Turenshine tells PYMNTS that with market conditions constantly changing and past events shaping the future, it is important for CFOs to “focus on how to build more flexibility” into their organizations to best “manage through outside factors while remaining focused on controlling what is controllable with so much volatility in the environment.”

She stated, “I really view myself as a partner to the different business departments in helping with that alignment and making sure we’re all kind of continuing on that same page.”

That’s because the challenges and opportunities of being a CFO in today’s environment have underscored the importance, and the potential, of a finance department that is nimble, adaptable and strategic to ensure their company’s success.

The CFO’s role is to ensure alignment between business strategies and financial goals. Turenshine explained that the frequency of her conversations with the rest of the management has increased to ensure everyone is on the same page.

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Today’s CFOs Need to Serve as Navigators Not Naysayers

With the constant changes in the market, businesses need to adapt and find ways to navigate through frothy periods.

After March’s mini banking crisis, finance teams across the business landscape were reminded that cash diversification, treasury management, and varied banking relationships are important to avoid single points of failure.

Turenshine said that “challenging environments” bring a need to “have a plan for different things as they might evolve, especially as they might evolve differently from your expectations.”

As such, consistently maintaining operational transparency and visibility over key business processes and performance indicators has skyrocketed up the finance team’s priority list.

She underscores that the challenge for today’s CFO is “managing through a lot of volatility” and continuing to be nimble while at the same time “not losing sight of long-term growth initiatives, the investments made to deliver on those long-term objectives.”

While FinTech and digital solutions may be explored in the future, Turenshine emphasized that the focus is currently on the flight to quality and stresses the importance for finance leaders to “focus on lowering and mitigating risk as much as possible with your own actions.”

She stated, “We’re really more focused on that flight to quality. But I think this environment is going to create a lot of opportunity in the future for companies and startups to really address these needs.”

By focusing on the long-term today, businesses can set themselves up for the future “once we’re past the environment we’re in now,” Turenshine added.

Technology’s Role in Balancing Healthy Growth With Profitability

The contemporary macroenvironment and its swirling headwinds have made it essential for finance leaders to ensure sustainable profitability.

A universal truth is that correct financials, a well-ordered balance sheet, and an effective runway to support oneself in both good and bad times are crucial to maintaining a healthy business.

“We’ve always been focused on balancing high growth while also keeping profitability in mind. And I think it has set us up very well to weather storms,” says Turenshine.

Turenshine also emphasizes the importance of utilizing new-age technologies for back-end system infrastructure to scale and grow.

“It’s incredibly important for us to continue to drive automation, efficiency, and make sure that we’re using tools that really enable us to continue to grow, scale, and leverage that back-end infrastructure,” she says.

Turenshine separately emphasized the potential of artificial intelligence for personalization and segmentation strategies in marketing, as well as to accelerate and support seamless and automated responses to customer inquiries.

Still, regarding the integration of new technologies, it remains important for firms to be nimble and flexible in assessing potential new tools and determining what makes sense to integrate or move forward with by achieving cross-departmental alignment and conferring with other key stakeholders.

Supporting this, Turenshine said that the role of the CFO has evolved to have a more strategic focus, serving as a thought partner to business units. This shift has become increasingly necessary as companies increasingly look to incorporate new technologies into their roadmap.