The modern-day Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has its hands in a mix of contemporary processes, capabilities, and initiatives. For years, the analyst team at Ardent Partners has spoken of (and evangelized) the concept of procurement and finance collaboration (CPO/CFO collaboration) to maximize spend management, improve overall financial visibility, and maintain the ability to accurately budget for the future.
Collaboration isn’t a newfangled strategy anymore; the idea of cross-functional coordination is typically a caveat of any successful enterprise across the globe, with executives truly understanding the value of branching out to other key stakeholders in the pursuit of total corporate advancement, growth, and success.
However, when it comes to managing contingent labor, the CFO isn’t ordinarily the first role that’s mentioned in regards to collaboration (in fact, it may only be third or fourth on the list, behind the CPO, HR director, etc.). As the non-employee and non-traditional workforce has grown considerably over the past few years, the CFO has taken a relative “backseat” in managing the evolution of today’s contingent workforce…and that’s something that must change in 2015 and the years ahead.
The very world of contingent workforce management now revolves around the notion of “talent,” another factor that may seem, at the surface, like another aspect that pushes the CFO away from this space. However, it’s that very concept of talent that will pull the CFO into this realm and leverage its vast expertise.
Talent forecasting is one of several key capabilities in Ardent’s Contingent Workforce Management Framework, the “blueprint” for all companies as they develop new CWM programs or enhance existing endeavors. This capability is typically viewed as an effective, real-time means of forecasting talent months or years out to accurately plan or budget. Any executive can understand (again, in real time) the future needs for freelance talent, independent contractors, temporary workers, SOW-based labor, or professional services. This paints a vivid picture of total talent (when combined with human capital / HR data) and all available resources for addressing known projects of the future.
The shadow of that talent angle? Financials. What are the financial resources that may be tied up in these future workers? What will budgets look like for the projects that will again use some type of non-employee talent? Are there compliance ramifications that the CFO can easily mitigate? What is the true link between talent and enterprise financial performance?
The CFO may not be the top candidate for managing the contemporary non-employee workforce, although it has much to offer in terms of supporting multifaceted contingent workforce management programs that rely on long-term insights and forecasting. In 2015 (and beyond), the CFO must not only work with procurement and HR to enhance CWM collaboration, they must also give the greater enterprise another tool to improve overall talent visibility.