Why CFOs need to think about the metaverse now
September 7, 2022
September 7, 2022
Most CFOs (70%) believe that the metaverse will have a positive impact on their businesses.1 But if you think your company’s metaverse focus belongs in IT, you’re not seeing the big picture. The metaverse is the future of the internet. It will change everything about business. So it’s time for CFOs to get metaverse ready.
We see the metaverse as a space that is changing and growing in multiple ways. It has technologies like extended reality, blockchain, smart objects, AI and more. It includes a range of virtual, real and blended “virt-real” experiences.
Like we discussed in our Technology Vision 2022, this Metaverse Continuum applies to every part of business—how they serve customers, get work done, what they sell, how they manufacture and distribute products and how the business operates. The metaverse will essentially become the platform that companies use for commerce, marketing and customer engagement. It will enhance learning, enable digital twins in supply chains and more.
You may have read about some interesting metaverse use cases. Take the retail industry, for example. Nike is one of several brands that have a presence in the metaverse. The company launched Nikeland on Roblox in 2021.2 It includes a virtual showroom, which will launch virtual styles of the Nike LeBron 19 shoe.3 And Accenture is onboarding new employees in the metaverse. This year, 150,000 will spend time there on their first day.
Even with so much happening in the metaverse already, we know it still feels futuristic for some. Try thinking about it this way. What was AOL dial-up in the early 1990s has become the e-commerce and platform engine that runs the global ecosystem today. We’re at a similar moment for the metaverse. We don’t know what comes next, but we do know that its presence (and impact) is certainly going to expand.
Right now, CFOs are more tuned to digital technology than they ever have been before. They increasingly work with CEOs to drive digital transformation in finance and across the enterprise.
As we’ve discussed before, CFOs are becoming catalysts of digital strategy. A strong grounding in digital is key for helping the business realize new value. It takes a digital lens to help define new markets, customers, products and services and business models. So, CFOs can’t fully accomplish their role as catalysts of digital strategy if they don’t consider the impact of the metaverse on their plans.
We believe that we’ll ultimately see finance teams working, learning and connecting with stakeholders in the metaverse. However, CFOs’ focus right now should be on how to get in front of this leading technology, not what “finance in the metaverse” looks like. That will come with time.
There are several priority areas that CFOs should explore with more urgency when it comes to the metaverse. It’s not that finance leaders have to have all the answers. But it’s important to start asking questions and having conversations. We advise CFOs to explore developing a perspective on digital currencies and NFTs, determining how the balance sheet will reflect digital assets, and how to best prepare for a raft of new regulatory requirements.
Thinking about the metaverse today reminds us of the early days of digital business. Some companies jumped in and transformed. Others waited. Some of those that waited never caught up with the digital pioneers. By creating a finance organization that’s Metaverse Continuum ready, you can help protect your company from that fate.
We’re optimistic about what the metaverse means for business—and for finance. But we’re also realistic that it is still very early days. Absolutely take the time to learn about the metaverse, but don’t stop there. Act, too.