Prophix Shares New Data On What and Where Global Finance Leaders are Prioritizing, Modernizing and Spending in 2023

Mar 07, 2023

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO – Prophix, a leading global finance performance platform for mid-market businesses, today shared new data from its 2023 Finance Leaders Survey, which queried more than 700 global senior-level finance professionals across multiple industries, including business/professional services, education, healthcare/senior living, construction, manufacturing, and real estate.

Among the survey results, 60%of organizations were performing above, or well above, their financial targets from 2022, signaling that finance professionals are better prepared than in previous years to overcome the unprecedented business and economic challenges of the day.

Prophix’s data also shows that, depending on their company’s overall goals, finance leaders are apt to practice one of three distinct approaches as they steer their departments. Prophix distinguishes these leadership styles as: The Visionary, The Innovator, and The Realist.

Each approach has a place in finance leadership, and each has proven effective as teams have not only safely navigated their organizations through an unpredictable and turbulent global economic environment but also created new and innovative pathways to success within the finance department. In particular, nearly a third of respondents reported taking a Visionary approach, rating “elevating the finance department to be a strategic contributor to the business” as a top priority.

“Current economic conditions present an opportunity for finance leaders across industries to capitalize on business opportunities by bridging the gap between ambition and reality,” said Alok Ajmera, CEO of Prophix. “Our data affirms an upward trend we’ve seen over the last few years, and we’re now finally starting to see the evolution of digital transformation in finance take form as more organizations prioritize innovation, automation, and agility. Increased investments in advanced financial performance capabilities, including AI and data analytics, empower finance leaders with more strategic decision-making, giving them a clearer vision for driving their businesses forward.”

Report Summary

Finance pros face a variety of challenges

  • The top five external pressures finance leaders are facing include inflation (21%), rising energy prices (14%), fears of recession (11%), talent issues (9%), and rising interest rates (9%). Additionally, 25% said preparing and bracing the organization for challenging times ahead was their main focus.
  • To meet these challenges, finance leaders are seeking innovative ways to increase efficiency and generate insights within their current processes. Nearly half of respondents (43%) said driving innovation was their main focus, and 31% said ensuring the finance department is elevated to play a key role as a strategic contributor of the business is a key priority.

Automation is the driving force

  • Automation and Artificial Intelligence are essential for the future of finance. Respondents agreed automation is a key part of transforming not just finance but the entire organization; and 41% said the transformation was the top goal of automation. While only 27% of respondents said half or more of their financial processes are automated, 65% said they plan to be more than halfway automated by the end of this year.
  • The degree of automation varied substantially by region, with Canada well above the global average (35% vs. 25%) with at least half of their finance processes automated. Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) is the least automated global region, with 40% of respondents reporting that 25% or fewer of their financial processes are automated.

Agility rules but barriers still exist

  • The majority of respondents agree that agility is important, and they’re putting that belief into action: 84% said their financial organizations are either “very” or “quite” agile.
  • More than half (63%), however, find having a plan to align processes and technology is the biggest barrier, and nearly an equal percentage (62%) said implementing technology is the biggest obstacle.

Businesses are financing their finance departments

  • Most respondents said their finance technology budgets were expected to increase in 2023. A majority (52%) expect a slight increase, while 24% expect a significant increase. Only 4% said they expect their budgets to decrease.
  • Top areas of technology investment in 2023 include cybersecurity, planning budget, risk management, cost accounting and digital payment.

For more information, download the 2023 Finance Leaders Survey: How Finance Leaders Can Spark Change Report.