2023 in Review | The Hottest Topics for CFOs in 2023

Community Blog
Written by Katie McClure

JANUARY 4, 2024

As 2023 wraps up, so does the inaugural year for the Evanta, a Gartner Company, CFO Community! This was an exciting year, as we launched peer-lead communities in four regions: Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC

During each community gathering, CFOs from the world’s leading organizations convened to make meaningful connections, engage with peer thought leaders and discuss how they can help one another address their mission critical priorities. Community members shared the impact of their experiences:

Through Evanta, I experience a strong sense of community with exceptional, high-level peers who inspire and share their brilliance.”

It’s been a great opportunity to meet with like-minded leaders and hear about their struggles and successes. It's nice to see the similarities within the finance community across very different industries and company structures. It makes you feel seen and heard."

Program agendas are built by and for CFOs, and this year, they were focused on three key themes – Developing Adaptable Business Strategies Amid Persistent Inflation, Strategies To Attract and Retain Talent While Protecting Margins and Using Actionable Data to Forecast and Drive Organizational Growth.

Here is a look at some of the highlights from top-rated sessions at Executive Summits and Inner Circle gatherings:

Highly-Rated Presentations

Keynote: Transforming Talent Strategy in the Age of Digital Acceleration
As digital capabilities in the finance sector advance, many CFOs worry their current talent strategies may prevent them from realizing new opportunities. In this keynote, Dennis Gannon, Vice President, Analyst at Gartner discussed how CFOs can develop a transformation strategy to reflect the evolving roles within the finance team, new competencies that should be required, risks and opportunities of digital acceleration and how finance should partner throughout the business.

Keynote: Mastering the Art of Leading Through Turbulent Times
Effective leadership is critical to overcoming obstacles brought on by disruption, and Joe Stephenshaw, Director of Finance for the State of California shared his experience leading the finance function for the fourth largest economy in the world. This keynote presentation included strategies for leveraging uncertainty to drive growth, advice for building resilient cultures and the value of data-driven insights to make informed financial decisions.

Keynote: Effectuating AI and Automation Acceleration in Finance
Generative AI was the hot topic of 2023, and CFOs are racing to understand how the enterprise can implement AI and automation while limiting risks. In this keynote, Vinay Vijay Singh, CFO for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, shares how financial leaders can partner cross-functionally to improve their chance of success.

Breakout: Company Culture as a Strategic Strength
Balancing employee desires with evolving business needs has been the key to success for Parts Town Unlimited. In this breakout session, CFO Lori Sherwood and Group VP, People & Culture Chelsea Fitzpatrick shared how CFOs can develop strong company cultures that drive organizational efficiency through major organizational transitions. 

Boardroom: Creating Value Through Cost Optimization
CFOs and CAOs from Bayer Corporation, American Water Works, Pyxus and Zip led an interactive, closed-door discussion with their peers on how they can reassess their strategic approaches to cost optimization in 2024 to deliver value. The conversation centered around resource allocation trade-offs to improve business processes, how to build greater resilience and agility to generate more profits and how to “own” disruptions when they occur.

Most Popular Content

  • Podcast: What Should Enterprises Be Doing with AI?
    During our 2023 podcast series, Ellen Nielsen, Chief Data Officer of Chevron talks through the challenges and opportunities for AI at an enterprise level and how to pivot your strategy with a rapidly changing technology like AI.
  • Governing Body Spotlight: Ed Swallow, SVP, Chief Operating Officer, CFO and Treasurer, Aerospace Corporation
    In this interview, active Governing Body Member of the Washington, DC CFO Community, Ed Swallow shares his career path, leadership principles and advice for peers.
  • Blog: 3 Key Themes for CFOs in 2023
    At the onset of the year, we explored the top three themes the CFO community planned to focus on in 2023.
  • Blog: Top Priorities for CFOs in 2023
    Our annual Leadership Perspective Survey captures CFOs’ top enterprise priorities, mission critical functional objectives, and planned budget and spend for the next 12 months – here are highlights from the survey.
  • Blog: Conquering the Top Challenges Facing CFOs
    CFOs face the increasing challenge of allocating adequate attention and funds to the most deserving enterprise resources. The Chicago CFO Community came together for an Inner Circle to discuss a path forward – read their takeaways.
  • Blog: CFOs’ Thoughts on Talent, Culture and Cutting Costs
    CFOs in the New York community came together for an Inner Circle to discuss strategies for hiring and retaining talent in a tight labor market and cutting the right costs in the face of inflation – these are the key takeaways.

In 2024, the Evanta CFO Community will come together for multiple gatherings to continue building trusted peer connections and discussing their most pressing priorities and challenges. Upcoming community programs are expected to focus on the following three themes: 

  • Understanding the Evolving Standards for AI in Finance
  • Enhancing Cost Efficiency Through Connected and Clean Data
  • Transforming Finance Talent to Bridge Future Skill Gaps

Stay up-to-date with your Evanta CFO community by applying to join your local community or finding an opportunity to connect with CFO peers on our calendar.


Katie McClure headshot

Katie McClure

Content Manager at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CFOs, for CFOs

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