velera How Credit Union Innovation Can Drive Gen Z Engagement May 2024 Banner

CFOs’ Top 4 Concerns Reveal Importance of Controlling What’s Controllable


The concerns keeping CFOs awake at night help define their business strategies in the morning.

And with the news this week that B2B credit card platform Pliant is planning to expand, while Mastercard is bringing its commercial cards to mobile wallets, CFOs looking to sleep a little better are prioritizing achieving certainty and seamless reconciliation when receiving payments.

That’s because, as PYMNTS Intelligence found in the first two editions of “The 2024 Certainty Project” has found, the top four concerns of today’s middle-market financial leaders and their businesses include:

  1. Managing for Economic Uncertainty
  2. Overcoming Accounts Receivable (AR) Inefficiencies
  3. Mitigating the Business Cost of Uncertainty
  4. Embracing the Need for Strategic AR Optimization

Ultimately, when it comes to controlling for what’s controllable among those leading concerns, implementing modern payments mechanisms sits firmly at the center of supporting a sustainable strategy.

Read moreThe Cost of Not Knowing Is 4.4% of Revenue for Middle-Market Firms

Optimizing Operational Efficiency With Digital Innovations 

Top of mind for middle-market CFOs is the overarching issue of economic uncertainty. The unpredictable nature of today’s global economy, marked by fluctuating market conditions and geopolitical tensions, has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to forecast and plan for the future. 

This uncertainty is not just a high-level, macro worry; it has concrete financial implications, costing middle-market firms an average of 4.4% of their revenue. This significant figure highlights the direct impact that economic volatility can have on a company’s bottom line.

As Bloomreach CFO Ninos Sarkis told PYMNTS in an interview posted in November: “You can’t control the geopolitical tensions, but what you can control is making your business stronger and more resilient during these times so that you come out the back of it a stronger company. … There’s a lot of relatively low-hanging fruit to make a business more efficient, more scalable and more automated.”

Another major concern for CFOs is the inefficiency in their existing and legacy AR processes. In an era where cash flow is king, delays and complications in AR can severely hamper a company’s liquidity and operational capabilities.

PYMNTS Intelligence has found that a substantial portion of CFOs acknowledge the critical need to optimize AR processes as a means to mitigate financial uncertainty and safeguard their companies’ financial health. This optimization is seen as a vital step in enhancing operational efficiency and ensuring that businesses have the necessary cash flow to meet their obligations and invest in growth opportunities.

“On the technology side, if you’re in a place now where your in-house system looks like it did 20 or 30 years ago, this is a chance to make a huge leap forward,” Ben Lamm, COO at Capital One Trade Credit, told PYMNTS.

See also: 3 Ways Legacy B2B Challenges Are Shaping Tomorrow’s Biggest Opportunities

Modern Payments Processes Are Essential for Enterprise Efficiency 

The tangible cost of uncertainty extends beyond the abstract, affecting nearly every aspect of a company’s operations. 

The aforementioned 4.4% revenue loss attributed to economic uncertainty underscores the need for CFOs to adopt strategies that can help navigate these turbulent times. This loss is a clear indicator of the financial strain that uncertainty can place on businesses, compelling CFOs to seek innovative solutions to bolster their companies against such unpredictability.

Amid these concerns, the strategic optimization of AR processes emerges as a critical focal point for CFOs. The drive to enhance AR efficiency is not merely about improving financial operations; it’s about creating a more resilient and agile business capable of withstanding economic fluctuations. 

As Kat Battle, product manager for Complete AP at Bank of America, told PYMNTS: “More and more organizations are recognizing the need to update and modernize what has historically been a manual, paper-based process — but one that’s also very mission critical to the business function.”

By prioritizing the streamlining of AR processes, CFOs aim to unlock liquidity trapped in inefficient systems, thereby providing their businesses with a more stable financial footing.

And, ultimately, by addressing their top worries, CFOs can better position their companies to navigate the uncertainties of the global economy, ensuring not only survival but also the potential for growth and sustainable success. 

“Chief value officer, or CVO, might be a more suitable title in the future for this position where you’re looking at not just financial analysis, reporting and controls, but value creation and how to use those resources to drive value creation for the company,” LiquidX CFO Abhishek Khandelwal told PYMNTS. “It’s critically important to strike a balance in being a financial steward of the company and at the same time supporting the innovation that can drive future growth.”