CFOs forecasting next year’s growth goals must also considering the broader economy’s condition as well. The economy’s health — and the possibility of a recession — will undoubtedly impact organizational outlook.

CFO confidence in the economy remains shaky, according to new data. BillTrust’s 2023 CFO Recession Sentiment report found nearly a third (32%) of the 350 CFOs they surveyed said a recession is highly likely.

Prepare by Preserving Financial Health

Finance teams are preparing for an economic downturn, with three-quarters (75%) of surveyed CFOs expressing hesitations about the economy’s trajectory over the next six to 12 months.

More than half of those surveyed said they are reducing nonessential expenses and exploring new financing methods (57% and 52%, respectively). Slightly less than half are strengthening cash reserves and proactively managing cash flow to maintain their organization’s goals during tough economic times.

CFOs stressed simplifying payment processes for their organization’s customers, with 75% saying this is important for maintaining consistent cash flow.

To avoid technology integration hiccups later when finances may be less certain, finance chiefs are spending more now in case it’s not an option next year. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of chief financial officers said transitioning to a digital-first tech approach is essential. Nearly two-thirds (64%) have begun increasing their technology spend. Remote work is also a factor in this technology shift. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they’ve incorporated digital solutions to support remote work environments.

Partnerships and People

Data suggests finance chiefs are focusing on relationships with suppliers to get favorable pricing while limiting disruptions in order to protect supply chains. Over two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed said they’re enhancing vendor collaborations, with just over half (53%) crafting contingency plans with vendors.

To overcome challenges in retaining talent, an area hitting finance teams hard, the focus on retention has increased. According to data, 62% of CFOs are now giving equal weight to cost management and workforce retention.

Despite all the efforts to prepare, 63% of CFOs still say they’re confident in their organization’s ability to thrive during a recession. CFOs are consistently recognized as approaching their role with confidence.

“In the face of looming economic challenges, the preparedness and strategic vision of CFOs become more critical than ever,” said Sunil Rajasekar, CEO of Billtrust.