Your Guide to the CFO Tech Stack
A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) does much more than just oversee finances. They’re a critical partner guiding growth, offering financial advice, and optimizing operations for enhanced profitability.
As the business world evolves and digitizes, so too does the role. To support their everyday financial tasks, today’s CFOs leverage an impressive toolkit — the CFO tech stack.
The right tools allow CFOs to make better data-driven decisions, manage risks effectively, ensure overall regulatory compliance, and streamline financial planning and analysis. However, at the same time, organizations must not overcomplicate this. If you run a small to midsize business or even a fast-growing startup, you don’t need a CFO tech stack that rivals that of a public company.
Let’s explore the CFO tech stack and various CFO software solutions. We’ll also walk through best practices for implementation, helping you better understand a CFO's role in business operations and the tools they use daily.
G-Squared Partners serves as a strategic financial advisor to a wide variety of businesses, providing a sophisticated suite of outsourced CFO, accounting, and bookkeeping services. To learn more about how we can support your business, schedule a consultation now.
The Basic Building Blocks: A Simple, Scalable Solution
For many of the businesses that we work with at G-Squared Partners, a complex CFO tech stack wouldn’t be an advantage – it would be a resource drainer. Managing a complex stack of technology solutions demands significant resources. You might need to invest in building out your finance and accounting team, pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in software costs, and spend countless hours managing the integration of complex systems.
It’s our view that all that time and money could be much better spent building your business. If you’re the founder of a startup or manage a company with less than $25 million or so in revenues, a combination of simple, universally used finance technologies is likely more than enough to help you manage your business effectively.
Investing in product, sales, and marketing may well deliver a higher return than investing in financial platforms your business doesn’t particularly need. In an environment where funding is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, it’s important for businesses to deprioritize inefficient spending and instead channel funds toward of growth drivers.
The key technologies you’ll need at this stage include:
Microsoft Excel: Excel is the most widely-used financial software in the world and for good reason. The possibilities for how businesses can use Excel to manage their finances are endless, from creating monthly financial statements to performing in-depth analyses of financial data.
Quickbooks: the preeminent accounting software, Quickbooks offers a wide range of tools that help businesses manage their financial environment. Features include invoicing, expense tracking, financial reports, tax management, payroll, and much more, making it the perfect all-in-one solution.
Bill.com: every business needs to ensure it gets paid. Bill.com simplifies that process with various tools covering accounts receivable, accounts payable, and credit and expense management. Like Quickbooks, it’s something of a one-stop-shop that combines a wide variety of financial tools into one easy-to-use platform.
These three simple, affordable tools power the financial infrastructure of many companies of a similar size to yours. Of course, as your business grows, you’ll need to level up various elements of your infrastructure. But at this stage of maturity, a truly advanced tech stack isn’t a business enabler – it’s a millstone around your company’s neck.
Upgrading Your CFO Tech Stack
As we just discussed, many businesses, particularly those sub $25 million in annual revenues, manage their finances perfectly fine with a combination of simple tools, including Excel, Quickbooks, and Bill.com.
However, as your business grows, so does the complexity of its financial infrastructure. At that point, it might be time to consider upgrading your CFO tech stack to include some of the following elements:
Accounting Software: accounting software for CFOs is essential for any tech stack. It makes financial management easier by automating manual tasks like ledger entry, invoicing, and payroll.
Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) Tools: these are vital CFO software solutions that help enable strategic planning, budgeting, and forecasting. FP&A tools provide CFOs with in-depth insights into business processes and financials.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems: an ERP system for CFOs is a scalable tech stack component that can integrate with other business processes. This integration enhances data flow between different departments, improving financial reporting accuracy.
Budgeting and Forecasting Software: this specialized software provides a more granular approach to the financial planning process. Budgeting and forecasting software helps CFOs in setting financial goals, planning budgets, and predicting possible future trends.
Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Visualization Tools: BI tools are a critical component of the CFO tech stack. They help convert raw financial data into actionable information. They work hand-in-hand with tools for data visualization for CFOs, which offer easy ways to visualize data.
Treasury Management Systems: these systems handle a company’s financial operations, liquidity, and risk management. Treasury management systems for CFOs are necessary to manage cash flow, optimize liquidity, and other financial tasks.
Risk Management Tools: risk management software for CFOs is an essential tech solution for identifying, assessing, and mitigating business risks. These tools can help predict potential financial risks and provide strategies for prevention or mitigation.
Compliance and Governance Software: adhering to strict regulations is critical to a CFO’s role. Compliance and governance solutions for CFOs ensure companies meet regulatory standards, maintain financial transparency, and avoid penalties for non-compliance.
The right mix of these components will often depend on the specific needs and objectives of the business. So, how can you determine which CFO tech stack components are right for your organization?
Considerations for Choosing the Right Tech Stack
Digitization is happening across virtually every industry. Research from Gartner paints a clear picture of this rapid evolution, with around 46% of CFOs arguing they are scaling up digital plans both within their own function and across the entire enterprise.
This digitization process is putting into focus the need for strategic planning around the development of a tech stack for CFOs.
To help you better grasp the problem, here are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right tools for a CFO’s tech stack:
- Company Size and Complexity: larger organizations are inherently more complex and will likely find they need more advanced solutions with the capabilities to manage the demands of their financial infrastructure.
- Integration Capabilities: every element of your tech stack should work together in unison with the existing systems and processes in your business. This reduces the need for manual tasks and ensures consistency in information between different systems.
- Scalability & Flexibility: your business’s CFO tech stack will evolve as your business matures. Prioritize solutions that can scale with you as the financial needs of your business change.
- User Friendliness: financial software isn’t always the easiest to use, but equally, it should never seem impossible. Seek out solutions with a user-friendly interface and sufficient customer support to boost adoption among your team members.
- Cost and Return on Investment: these solutions are an item on your expense line, but if you choose wisely, the right products will save you money in the long run. Weigh the costs of solutions against the benefits they offer, such as improved automation, speed, or accuracy, when determining which platforms are the best fit for your business.
Outsourced CFO Solutions with G-Squared Partners
Building the right tech stack doesn’t have to be a complex process. Businesses must balance the needs of their existing finance function with their implementation capabilities and budget. Many businesses are best served by keeping things simple and using universally-popular tools that employees, investors, and partners are already familiar with.
If you need a trusted team to help you manage your business’s financial infrastructure, G-Squared Partners is here to help. Our expertise lies in knowing what solutions work best in various environments, and we’re adept at advising businesses on the different elements of financial infrastructure they need as they grow.