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Remote work is here to stay, report suggests

A new study revealed that profitability, cybersecurity, and efforts to retain the best talent are top priorities for chief financial officers (CFOs).

The role of the CFO is becoming broader and more complex – from talent attraction and retention to staying on top of fast-evolving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting requirements, the staffing arm of ManpowerGroup claims in its latest report.

"In an era of rapid transformation, increased cyber threats, talent shortages, and changing regulatory & compliance, CFOs have more on their minds than ever before," said Jefferson Wells' Michelle Search.

A survey of over 200 CFOs in the United States showed that profitability is the highest board priority.

"Competitive advantage and staff retention round out the top 3 board priorities, which both relate to profitability. Interestingly, those priorities that are more culture-related fall to the very bottom with DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), ESG, and climate change," the survey reads.

57% of CFOs expect their workforce to work remotely to some extent over the next year. Strong culture, technology tools, competitive wages, and what the study calls "remote enablement" promotes engagement and buy-in.

"The pandemic brought front and center that every business is a PEOPLE business," the report reads. "With remote working becoming a competitive advantage, CFOs aim to improve their corporate culture with people management and investment – maintaining corporate culture and team communications are their biggest challenges with balancing remote vs. on-site."

Regarding security, 60% of CFOs say they are deeply involved in their company's cybersecurity strategy, which is a top concern for 35% of them.

While over one-third said they don't have an existing solution to comply with cybersecurity regulations, 85% of those without an answer are confident they can prevent cyber-attacks.

55% of the respondents expect that the investment in technology will lead to greater efficiency, and 50% to improved collaboration.

"While survey results show technology having a positive effect on their business, it's interesting that only 37% of CFOs plan to invest in new technologies for their department."

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