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Volatile pricing biggest CFO headache, new report finds

4C Associates survey suggests supply, reputational risk also among major concerns

A majority of finance leaders consider volatile prices to be the main risk facing their companies for 2013, according to a survey of finance chiefs carried out by cost transformation consultancy 4C Associates.

The survey of nearly 100 respondents, saw 65 per cent vote volatile prices as the primary risk. Supply and reputational risk were selected by 19 and 16 per cent among the other major risks for the year ahead.

Faced with a difficult financial climate, 49 per cent of CFOs highlighted operational efficiency improvements and cost reduction as the driving elements of their 2013 strategy. 42 per cent underlined increased sales as the primary objective for 2013.

Asked whether there were additional savings opportunities to be found in their organisations through improved procurement, 68 per cent replied affirmatively. A further 58 per cent felt there were additional savings opportunities accessible through optimised supply chain and logistics practices.

Commenting on the findings, Ed Ainsworth, managing director at 4C Associates, said, “With companies spanning across more and more territories, it is no surprise that risk management is becoming an increasingly pivotal element of business strategy.”

“In terms of price risk, companies are finding it difficult to pass increases on to consumers and consequently have to work with tighter margins and less room for error. The current climate further reinforces the need for businesses to implement effective risk analysis and cost transformation initiatives, if they are to remain successful,” he added.

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