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The ultimate CFO checklist

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Last editedMay 20222 min read

Finance leaders have a variety of responsibilities that can have a big impact on how quickly or sustainably a business grows. That is especially true in post-peak Covid times, as many companies implement a return to the office for their employees.

There are new challenges for CFOs across all industries. New measures to protect employees and maintain the likes of social distancing must be incorporated into the return-to-work strategy. There are ongoing supply chain issues which must be accounted for and navigated around. There are also numerous new payment and invoicing methods and technologies which can benefit certain businesses.

It falls to the CFO to manage these issues effectively. To help, we have put together the ultimate CFO checklist of CFO best practices.

CFO checklist and best practices

A CFO must be familiar with past and present financials and the company culture. They must have enough experience and knowledge to identify issues and implement solutions for those issues. A good CFO will also leverage their relationships with CEOs, managers and employees to ensure the solutions are successful.

The ultimate CFO checklist looks like this:

  • audit current processes

  • prioritise actions

  • develop relationships

Audit current processes

Top of the new CFO checklist is an audit of all the existing processes to get an overview of the company's operations before initiating any changes. You will need to understand all the company's systems and software for financials. This includes expense policies that govern the way the company pays for goods and services, as well as salaries.

You need to know what skills the financial departments have, and who reviews and approves supplier contracts. Also, check on the level of reporting that is currently in place, and how sensitive data is stored.

Getting familiar with the financials is another big part of this step on the new CFO checklist. You'll need to know how accurate the historic actuals are and what supporting documentation exists. You should also familiarise yourself with the latest forecasts.

Prioritise actions

Once familiar with the operational processes and the company's financial position, identify where urgent attention is needed. You may have discovered some red flags or discrepancies which require immediate action. Your experience may also identify areas where the company is not maximising its effectiveness.

For example, a CFO of a small business conducts an audit of the company and sees that it only offers a limited amount of payment options to its customers. Limited payment options can be a huge pain point for many customers, so expanding the options will be a high priority. However, it can be challenging for a small business to set up additional options such as Direct Debit due to strict underwriting requirements, including trading history, turnover, and indemnity bond.

An obvious solution in this example would be GoCardless which is quick and easy to set up. Businesses can start taking Direct Debit payments in less than a day as they can set up either on their own or with support from GoCardless without those extensive requirements.

Develop relationships

A CFO will need the support of the CEO to implement comprehensive solutions, so a good working relationship with the executive level is crucial. The rank and file should also be engaged and familiarised, as should the management.

While not the most urgent item on the ultimate CFO checklist, building trust with individuals and departments throughout the company is a vital part of any CFO's ongoing success.

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Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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