Top Finance and Enterprise Priorities for CFOs in 2024

Community Blog
Written by Katie McClure

APRIL 9, 2024

As they aim to drive growth and create operational efficiencies at their organizations, CFOs are becoming increasingly focused on how technology and digital transformation can help achieve their goals. Like their C-suite peers, CFOs are evaluating the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to reduce redundancies and optimize productivity, compelling finance leaders to increase their digital proficiencies.

According to Gartner, the current economic environment poses a challenge to CFOs and their digital initiatives this year. The Gartner CFO Report for Q1 2024 notes: “The combination of headwinds, including tepid demand growth, stubbornly high costs and constrained access to capital is putting CFOs’ plans, digital or otherwise, at risk.”   

We polled CFOs across Evanta communities on their approach to key priorities and objectives for 2024. Each year, we conduct a proprietary Leadership Perspective Survey among community members. This data and input directly from finance executives enables us to create timely, relevant events and discussions driven “by CFOs, for CFOs.” Together with follow-up conversations, the survey data allows us to highlight trending topics and challenges for CFOs. 

Here, we highlight some key takeaways from CFOs in Evanta communities, including their functional and enterprise priorities and planned investment areas for the year ahead.

CFOs’ Priorities Across the Enterprise

With economic headwinds as a backdrop, CFOs continue to prioritize increasing operational efficiencies and improving productivity – the same top enterprise priority they cited last year:

  1. Increasing operational efficiencies and productivity
  2. Driving growth
  3. Increasing revenue

In the survey, we ask all C-level community members about their priorities across the enterprise. This year, executives across all C-suite roles cited operational efficiencies and productivity as their top focus area. The C-suite is also fairly aligned on driving growth and optimizing costs as top priorities.

Top Functional Priorities for CFOs

Here is a look at CFOs’ most important functional priorities for the year:

  1. Standardize and streamline business processes
  2. Planning and executing finance transformation
  3. Financial planning and analysis
  4. Cost optimization
  5. Data and analytics strategy

Improving business processes was the top functional priority for CFOs last year, while transforming finance is new to the top of the priority list for finance leaders. This may reflect their goal of incorporating technology to drive fundamental change across both the finance function and the enterprise. 

Both data and analytics and cost optimization were in the top five priorities for CFOs last year. Interestingly, talent and leadership development dropped down slightly (currently at #6), and financial planning and analysis moved up into the top five in 2024. 

CFOs’ Budgets and Planned Spending 

In addition to their focus areas, we ask executives about their budgets and planned spending for the year in our survey. Most CFOs report that their operating budgets increased (41%) or stayed the same (39%). Despite some ongoing economic uncertainty, only 20% of CFOs say that their budget decreased year over year.

Their planned spending is similar, with 40% of CFOs reporting that spending will increase, and 42% indicating their spending will remain the same as last year. Eighteen percent say their investments will decrease this year. 

Below is a snapshot of the vendors and solutions CFOs plan to invest in this year. The biggest change in what finance executives are reporting is that nearly half (46%) plan to spend in the area of AI and Automation – a new category in the survey this year. The other top results were similar to 2023, with data and analytics remaining in the top spot, and budgeting and FP&A, accounts payable and receivable, and financial reporting rounding out the list.

In summary, CFOs remain focused on creating efficiencies and increasing productivity in 2024 – and have added digital transformation to their priority list. Like their C-suite peers, they are eager to realize the promise of AI and automation tools in improving their operations and processes this year. 

To connect with CFO peers and get the latest information on key topics for finance leaders, we invite you to join a CFO community near you. If you are already an Evanta community member, check out MyEvanta to view upcoming opportunities to collaborate with your peers.

Katie McClure headshot

Katie McClure

Sr Content Manager at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CFOs, for CFOs

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