5 webinars that sum up 2023
2023 was certainly one for the books. The economic situation tested finance leaders like never before. Managing cash, doing more with less, optimizing tools, and prioritizing the career journey were the hot topics of the year.
Cash management and risk mitigation were certainly top of mind. As the year progressed, finance teams had to think more about strategic business partnering in order to drive results and increase efficiency. Not only that, but the finance industry itself had a big reckoning: is the industry a fair and equitable place to work?
And what about mid-level finance professionals – what’s the best way forward for those who want a fulfilling career in finance but don’t want to be CFOs? Finally, the CFO Connect community seemed interested in learning how to optimize a finance tool stack – a critical skill when money is tight.
Here are the webinars that our community enjoyed most in 2023, on topics that are important to finance leaders right now.
The uncertain climate meant that companies had to do more with less, both in terms of cash and workforce. This shone a spotlight on finance's role in building great businesses. And the importance of adding value with finance data and analysis.
Two popular webinars this year were all about maximizing efficiency. The first via cash management, and the second via business partnering.
Cash is queen
In 2023, cash was tight. Poor cash management could be one sneaky culprit that leads otherwise successful companies to fail. Our most popular webinar of the year was all about managing cash and mitigating risk. It covers five major mistakes that finance leaders and CEOs should avoid if they want to optimize cash flow and maintain proper cash hygiene.
Topic: Cash management for SaaS
Key takeaway: “You can be profitable on paper and still have a negative cash flow. We all have an awareness of proper cash hygiene, but it’s not something we often take the time to stop and assess.” - Theresa Yu
How finance enables other business functions at Aiven
Forward-thinking leaders are pushing back against the model of a siloed finance function. Open source cloud database platform Aiven wanted to create a cross-functional finance team that could provide strategic insight for decision makers. The finance experts in this webinar offer tips on how to better align finance with the rest of the company.
Topic: Finance as a strategic business partner
Key takeaway: “It’s quite rare to have data as a central part of the finance team. We more commonly see data or product analytics teams in a silo on their own, and they’ll have a dedicated person or two to collaborate with the finance team. Having that collaboration that Aiven’s built is a strategic advantage for the company. It helps make key decisions much faster and more correctly.”
According to our 2023 CFO Salary Benchmark, the gender pay gap within finance shrank last year – but only by 1%. Women still earn 12% less than men in finance. Which means closing that gap remains a vital focus for many finance leaders.
And many CFOs continue to find ways to lift and mentor junior or mid-level finance professionals through their careers. Leadership goes far beyond mastering the numbers, and the CFO Connect community wants to keep empowering those less experienced team members to progress.
Below are two hugely popular conversations from this year. The first shone a light on women finance leaders and their journeys; the second gave four mid-level finance professionals the chance to share their experiences.
How finance can embrace equity
The finance industry has come a long way on the road to better diversity, equity, and inclusion. But there’s still quite a ways to go until finance is an equitable industry for everyone. To celebrate International Women’s Day, three women finance leaders shared their experiences in finance and possible solutions to improving diversity and equity within the finance profession.
Topic: Advocating for women in finance
Key takeaways: “It’s a herculean task to bring everybody to an equitable starting point. It’s difficult and it will take time and a lot of partnership; it’s not just for one entity.” - Vulnavia Gura
“The data illustrates that more diversity contributes to greater value creation.” - Joyce Mackenzie Liu
Advancing your career
There’s lots of advice out there for two opposite ends of the career spectrum: juniors who are just starting out and C-suite executives. But what about mid-level professionals? Not everyone wants to end up a CFO, but still would like to expand their horizons and grow in their role. In this webinar, four finance professionals explored the options available for those who don’t wish to climb the corporate ladder.
Topic: Strategies for mid-level finance professionals
Key takeaway: “De-center the myth that vertical growth is the only option. Maybe this was true for our parents’ generation, the more traditional path. For us, this could mean collecting experiences along the same path, or it means you take two steps back to take steps forward.” - Sahil Kamani
As is always the case, finance teams were looking for more efficiency and better tools in 2023. AI was a hot topic, as was building a more cohesive and better integrated finance stack.
Optimizing your finance tool stack
Evaluating, monitoring, and optimizing the finance team’s tool stack is part and parcel of the job for finance leaders. But it’s hard to know exactly how to build and maintain an optimal tool stack for the best results. PayFit’s CFO Anabelle Lorbois sat down with CFO Connect and walked through her team’s tool stack, providing invaluable insights into a top SaaS company’s finance tools.
Topic: Optimizing your finance tool stack
Key takeaway: “Once the finance team stops spending time on closing and manual tasks, they’re more productive and they can focus on analysis and making key recommendations. Once you’ve implemented these tools, you get reliable metrics. And that has no price.”
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