Procurify CFO Scales Finance Team With Technology

Amidst the shifting tides of technology, finance and business strategy, savvy CFOs need to sharpen their operational toolkits — or risk being swept away.

“Change has been the only constant over the past three to five years,” Amy Wang, CFO at Procurify, told PYMNTS for the series: “Day In The Life Of A CFO.”

“Gone are the days where we deploy capital and high growth happens. Everything has to be very intentional and ROI focused, with longevity as the North Star,” Wang added. 

While the CFOs of yesteryear were primarily concerned with the financial health of an organization, focusing on tasks such as bookkeeping, financial reporting and compliance; today’s CFOs now must juggle a growing suite of responsibilities around strategic planning, data analysis, and even oversight of digital transformation initiatives.

That’s because, from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the constant quest for top talent, and navigating challenging financing markets, adaptability has become paramount.

Still, “The fundamentals when it comes to people, process and systems are very much still in place,” Wang explained. “Everything is just a bit more streamlined, efficient, and effective.”

“It’s still building out for scale, but instead of scaling with headcount, which we’ve traditionally been doing as a finance organization, it’s scaling with technology and leaning into automation,” she added. 

Fundamentals Remain, Strategic Approaches Evolve

One of the key drivers of the transformation of the CFO role is digital technology. CFOs are increasingly involved in decisions about investments in technology and digital capabilities that can enhance efficiency, improve customer experiences, and create new revenue streams.

This requires CFOs — as well as aspiring ones — to possess not only a deep understanding of financial principles but also a solid grasp of technology trends and their potential impact on the business.

“When I look back, hiring for a senior accountant or accountant used to be very traditional. … But now it’s … so focused in terms of, How do you leverage data? Do you understand the flow from a finance perspective of how we’re reporting things, how we’re ultimately providing this to the rest of the organization? How are you then working with the tools, not only within finance, but the rest of the organization?” Wang explained. 

“The value-add that the finance function is bringing today is more around the analytical side the insights, rather than just being the person that’s holding onto the purse strings,” she added. 

And with the proliferation of big data and advanced analytics tools, CFOs have access to a wealth of information that can inform strategic business decisions.

“Finance has always been, I would say, slow to adopt new tools and technologies. … We’ve been stuck in our processes and historic ways of doing things,” Wang said. “But now, the expectation at the board level, as well as management level, is to get live results.

“And technology helps us to be proactive in our approach rather than reactive or a lagging indicator of what’s happening. And with leading indicators, it allows us as a business to pivot, or course correct, or double down when necessary.”

Setting the Strategic Agenda

The traditional mantra of growth-at-all-costs has given way to a more nuanced approach focused on intentional and sustainable growth. Wang reemphasized the importance of ROI-focused investments and strategic planning in today’s environment, underscoring that CFOs are tasked with balancing growth aspirations with financial prudence, ensuring that investments align with long-term objectives.

For fellow CFOs facing today’s challenges, she noted the importance of resilience and adaptability. In the face of market unpredictability, those who stay the course and believe in their product’s value proposition will thrive. Tough times present opportunities for innovation and improvement, driving sustainable growth in the long run, Wang explained.

Looking ahead, Wang emphasized the importance of embracing digital transformation in the CFO role. As technology continues to reshape the finance function, CFOs must champion innovation and lead the charge toward digitalization. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and technology, CFOs can unlock new efficiencies and drive sustainable growth in a rapidly evolving landscape.