What CFOs will be watching in 2024: 5 finance chiefs on AI, the Fed, political uncertainty, and more – Fortune

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Good morning and welcome to 2024! Let’s dive in.
CFOs have been faced with “daunting challenges” and “tectonic opportunities” over the past few years, according to McKinsey. And many organizations have been expanding the purview of CFOs. So how will the role continue to evolve in 2024? I talked with five finance chiefs who shared their predictions.
Susan Li, CFO at Meta, a social technology company
“The evolving role of the CFO requires a delicate balance between traditional responsibilities such as risk management and financial operations, while also building an efficiency and measurement-oriented culture throughout the organization. In today’s uncertain economic environment, it is increasingly important for companies to strike the right balance between efficiency and investing in the future to drive long-term growth.”
Alka Tandan, CFO at Gainsight, a provider of a software platform to optimize customer experience
“In many ways, the role of the CFO will continue to stay on a similar track as 2023. I expect CFOs to continue to be very strategic and focus on efficiency. I expect finance heads to have an extra eye on cash, especially if they have debt. The one major change in 2024 is that CFOs will likely focus back on top-line growth. Especially as the Fed has hinted at rate cuts in the coming months, the cost of capital will come down and companies will be ready to re-invest in growth. As a CFO, I’m looking forward to a great 2024 and six quarters of tightening monetary policy.”
Joy Mbanugo, CFO at ServiceRocket, a global IT tech services provider
“We can’t forget the harsh lessons we learned during (and after) the pandemic. In 2024, CFOs will have to be pseudo-economists. We are ending 2023 in one of the most delicate geopolitical times ever. There are over 31 conflicts in the world that continue to challenge global stability. In 2024, the U.S. will be in an election year, VCs may not open up the funding spigot to non-AI startups, and the Fed may lower rates heading into 2025. We have to think about our company’s resiliency to so much uncertainty by focusing on funding, profitability, and stable cash reserves, all the while taking advantage of cutting-edge AI tools.”
Dan DeGolier, a fractional CFO, founder of Ascent CFO Solutions
“CFOs will need to play a role in generating more interest in accounting as a profession, perhaps by promoting the next generation of accountants as technology professionals vs. stereotypical bookkeepers. The shortage of accountants will require the CFO to find new ways to use all kinds of technology to continue to automate accounting processes. More day-to-day transactional accounting work will utilize AI as it learns and improves.”
“Many CFOs and companies will rely on data visualization tools to analyze, structure, and present data, such as KPIs, in a way that is easily digestible and actionable.”
Katie Rooney, global CFO and COO at Alight Solutions, a cloud-based human capital technology provider
“The CFO role is evolving given the uncertain macro environment, evolving investor and client expectations, and the acceleration of technology and AI strategies. In 2024, CFOs will have more influence on data and analytics strategies through investment decisions. I believe CFOs will also need to be their own activists, driving agile capital allocation processes given changing macro dynamics. This will continue to elevate the CFO role in line with what we have seen in 2023 with more CFOs taking on expanded roles.” 
What are your thoughts on the evolving role of the CFO? Send me an email.
Sheryl Estrada
sheryl.estrada@fortune.com
John J. Quaid was promoted to EVP and CFO of Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC), effective Jan. 1. Quaid succeeds Maryann T. Mannen as EVP and CFO. Mannen has been appointed president of MPC. Since 2021, Quaid has served as EVP and CFO of MPLX LP, a diversified, large-cap master limited partnership formed by MPC. He joined MPC in 2014 as VP and controller.
Oliver Reeves was named CFO at Surf Air Mobility Inc. (NYSE: SRFM), an air mobility platform. Reeves will start his new role this month. He will succeed Deanna White, who has served as chief administrative officer and then as CFO. White will become a senior advisor. Reeves has nearly two decades of experience in the investment management, enterprise technology, and insurance industries. He most recently worked at Xinuos, Inc., where he served as the chief strategy officer since 2019.
Understanding America’s Labor Shortage: The Most Impacted Industries, a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, explores how a significant number of positions still remain unfilled, especially in the professional and business service sector.
All industries have a worker shortage, except for nondurable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction, and transportation and utilities, the research found. And, even if “every unemployed person with experience in the financial activities or professional and business service sectors were employed, only 42% and 44% of the existing job vacancies in these industries would be filled, respectively,” according to the report. 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule that will require certain employers in designated high-hazard industries to electronically submit injury and illness information—that they are already required to keep—to the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, went into effect on Monday
It now includes the following submission requirements: Establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries must electronically submit information from their Form 300-Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and Form 301-Injury and Illness Incident Report to OSHA once a year. 
“Rather than us having to learn to talk the language of technology and programming computers, effectively they’re learning to talk our language.”
—Matt Candy, global managing partner in generative AI at IBM, told Fortune in an interview. Candy believes the jobs of the future will be filled by those who can work with AI using language and creative thinking nurtured in liberal arts degrees. 
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