Finance Leaders’ Top priorities for 2023

Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada) and Sage are pleased to share a new report with you, “Finance Leaders’ Top Priorities in 2023.” The report is based on a recent survey, conducted in November 2022, in which more than 100 finance leaders from across Canada shared their top priorities for 2023. 

The results of the survey are highlighted in the report and include insights into some of the greatest issues that organizations feel are holding them back and what their top priorities are beyond increasing sales and revenue.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • Hiring talent is by far the biggest factors financial leaders cite as holding their organizations back (27%), followed by supply chain issues (21%) and slow business processes (13%). Budgets are also cited (10%). Implications of the global pandemic do not appear to be a major issue (4%), though increases in regulatory requirements (4%) and lack of government support (2%) might indicate frustration with red tape.
  • While most finance departments (26%) say the emergence of big data and the increase of AI functionality within financial software have not impacted the type of talent they are looking for, they value professionals with data visualization abilities (19%). They seek professionals with developer backgrounds (6%) and expertise with deep data and AI (6%) — while 11% seek financial expertise and plan to train new hires on using big data/AI.
  • For finance leaders, 78% say they’re in the process of becoming digital-first: introducing new systems and platforms for operations and finance helps automate previously manual processes, leading to increases in efficiencies and productivity. Financial management modernization saves time and money, provides greater insight, frees the finance team, and creates opportunities.
  • 78% say they are in the process of digitizing key processes, 6% say they are fully digital-first, 10% have not begun their digital transformation journey, but are planning to do so. “The digitization of finance processes — such as automating and moving key activities to the cloud, as well as embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) — is a top priority for finance leaders, who recognize the efficiencies, insights and other benefits that result. A majority of finance leaders (48%) also think it’s extremely important that they possess the skills necessary to move their business forward.”
  • While finance leaders have a clear picture of what they intend to achieve with digitization, only 47% feel they have the right tools to succeed going into 2023, with 11% saying they don’t know if they have the right tools.
  • Do finance leaders feel prepared for the challenges they are facing? Here is how they feel about the following business imperatives: 44% feel prepared to drive digitization;  35% feel prepared to hire new talent or retain existing talent; 57% feel prepared to manage workforce initiatives (like return to in-person work); 53% feel unprepared to integrate emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. “While the drive to digitization is important to most (44%), more than half of finance leaders feel unprepared to integrate emerging technologies — indicating a need for tools, resources and talent to help them get there.”
  • Thirty-five percent of those surveyed felt that sustainability programs/ESG policies are a top priority for their business. For most finance leaders, their involvement in these programs is at the discussion, strategy and planning levels: 69% agree or strongly agree that their organizations ESG programs are run efficiently and are achieving maximum output for the allocated budget; 53% say these programs are not a top priority in their businesses currently.

Click here to download the report.