Today, leading organizations are looking at new ways to reinvent the enterprise. The goal is to fuel growth and optimize operations. And they’re turning to CFOs to drive their sweeping reinventions. But as the speed of business increases, so does complexity. Understanding what’s needed to accelerate interconnected transformations is key. It’s how CFOs can drive successful enterprise reinvention. It’s also a critical skillset for the modern CFO.
Yet, CFOs face an extraordinary number of decisions to make on compressed timelines. Each one carries cascading consequences in our constantly shifting world. This puts CFOs at the center of what psychologist Barry Schwartz calls the “paradox of choice.” The volume of options and their interconnected nature, often hinders more than it helps. It slows decisions down rather than accelerating them. And in some cases, it can lead to decision paralysis.
To help CFOs overcome the challenges they face today, Accenture has developed two complementary points of views. They explore how CFOs can maximize the effectiveness of their strategic decision-making in today’s fast-paced and complex business environment.
The first paper is titled The Paradox of Choice for CFOs – A guide for enterprise reinvention in the age of complexity. It presents insights on how CFOs can overcome the paradox of choice. In it, we discuss how to accelerate strategic decision-making. The upcoming second paper, the CFO Success Paradigm, will expand upon the findings of the first point of view, offering a novel approach to help CFOs navigate the complex dynamics of decision-making and the impact they drive. It helps CFOs successfully execute better decisions at the right time.
Part 1: The Paradox of Choice for CFOs
The Paradox of Choice for CFOs presents insights on how CFOs can overcome the paradox of choice, accelerate strategic decision-making and unlock greater shareholder value from an enterprise reinvention agenda. Download Part 1 now.
Part 2: CFO Success Paradigm
COMING SOON: The CFO Success Paradigm paper will expand upon the findings of the first point of view, offering a novel approach to help CFOs optimize the impact of their decisions.
The era of enterprise reinvention
As the speed of business increases, so does complexity. Yesterday’s organization isn’t built for the pace of change today, and leaders know it.
Take, for example, our CxO Pulse survey of 3,200 C-suite executives—held from December 2021 to January 2022. It found that 90% of C-suite executives surveyed believe their organization is undergoing an accelerated digital transformation. And those that are successful at it are using technology, data and artificial intelligence to transform every aspect of the enterprise. They’re optimizing operations and fueling growth.
But who is often driving these sweeping reinventions? The CFO.
Total enterprise reinvention: the path to greater value
CFOs are architects of reinvention
Effective enterprise reinvention requires making decisions on interconnected topics and issues in parallel and at speed. This complexity can unlock greater value for stakeholders. But it also can create greater risk. It puts CFOs under more pressure than ever before to make the right call.
68% of CFO Decision-Making Survey respondents say their organizations are focused on three or more transformation initiatives in parallel.
Source: Accenture CFO Decision-Making Survey, August 2022
The paradox of choice
CFOs today have a unique vantage point. Their responsibility for financial discipline, coupled with modern analytics, gives them cross-enterprise visibility. It allows them to connect the dots in ways their C-suite partners can’t. As a result, CFOs now hold much more decision-making power than previous generations did.
They also face an extraordinary number of decisions to make on compressed timelines. Each one carries cascading consequences in our constantly shifting world.
This puts CFOs at the center of a “paradox of choice” challenge. The volume of options and their interconnected nature often hinders more than it helps. It slows decisions down rather than accelerating them. The challenge to effective leadership is extraordinary.
67% of surveyed CFOs feel paralyzed at times by the number of decisions and volume of choices they need to make.
What this means for CFOs and what they need to do now
Run and reinvent in parallel: Every CFO, no matter their industry or geography, needs to prioritize between business-as-usual responsibilities and working on transformation. The key is creating a balance and empowering a talented team.
Understand how your style helps or hinders decision-making: Based on our work with companies across the globe, what makes CFOs effective and successful is the way they make decisions and generate buy-in among colleagues. Assess how your organization activates change and adjust your approach.
Focus on relentless execution: Organizational complexity can bog down reinvention. Breaking down barriers and nurturing commitment are mission critical. Stay focused on delivering measurable results from each strategic decision.
With great pressure comes great rewards
There’s no doubt that enterprise reinvention places new demands on CFOs. If you feel the stress, you’re not alone.
But for many, the added pressure breeds potential: According to consulting firm Spencer Stuart, 20% of the outgoing Fortune 500 CFOs in 2019 either became CEOs or were promoted to general management positions.
Our new paper, The Paradox of Choice for CFOs, also offers a checklist of actions that can help CFOs overcome the paradox of choice, accelerating decision-making and unlocking greater value from your business’s reinvention agenda.