Utilities have been on the defensive with the COVID-19 pandemic crippling much of America and its consumers. Finances are strained, people are hurting, and many companies are in the midst of trying to recover from such a horrific blow. And, the same is true globally.
It isn’t just the pandemic that has created change for utility company CFOs, but the ever-evolving role in itself that has ruptured the way companies used to behave. A CFO is no longer a pencil-pushing, number-cruncher. Instead, CFOs have vital roles in growth, operations, new business, infrastructure, and so on.
This is particularly important for the CFO in utility companies. Most of these changes should be welcomed as they offer a new way of thinking about financial solvency.
Here are three changes you should absolutely embrace as the CFO of a utility company.
Strategic Involvement in Decisions
Long gone are the days when finance and strategy never did meet. As companies become more collaborative, interactive, and inclusive, strategy is something that complements financial decisions just as much as it complements creative ones.
Long-term goals should be determined as financially solvent and fiscally responsible — the wheelhouse of the financial department. However, what has changed is the CFO’s involvement in the day-to-day strategy to offer a fresh, unadulterated opinion about the methods and tactics being deployed to achieve these goals.
Investing in Infrastructure
Let’s all face this together: our country’s infrastructure is outdated. Between grid deficiencies and structural failings, investment is a necessary evil. This can be less than ideal for someone who is judged on the financial expenditures of a company. Paramount needs for safety, elimination of risk and prevent liabilities are required to be weighed into this investment.
Questions are asked, and skin is always on the line.
Debating about whether or not the software is an operational or capital expenditure is something we’ve exhausted. The only thing to honestly know is that technology is something that should be embraced.
In every sense, technology can only help you achieve better Daily Sales Outstanding (*DSO), create happier customers, and find ways to save money incrementally. Partnering with experienced payment processors or using forecasting software and resource planning systems helps you do your job more efficiently and with predictable results.
Measuring What Matters
As identified by John Doerr, a legendary venture capitalist, the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped giants from Intel to Google, Bonos, Gates Foundation achieve explosive growth, and how it can help any organization thrive. We believe that the CFOs need to set the stage for this activity, and not from a finance perspective alone, and not just top down approach, but also a bottoms up approach, that is fully integrated with the company’s ecosystem goals as revealed by John.
What changes do you see happening with utility CFOs? Write to us, contact us, we would love to connect and collaborate on what makes your company a better utility.
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