Intuit CFO Discusses Handling Challenges

Neil Williams, CFO of Intuit

Despite challenges from an uncertain market, CFOs everywhere are working to mobilize and improve business agility. Intuit, in particular, has worked strategically in responding to challenges, resulting in a fiscal Q4 result that broke even with the similar quarter a year ago. In response to its focus restructuring, Intuit Chief Financial Officer Neil Williams said the “three big drivers for fiscal 2014” are expected to be “a new version of QuickBooks Online, new accounting solutions and global.”

While the overall strategy for 2014 won’t be announced until September 14, 2013, CFO Neil Williams was clear that the company was dealing with economic challenges and doubling down on its efforts to drive subscriptions from businesses – and small businesses, in particular.

Though these challenges are something that Intuit CFO Neil Williams must deal with in the 2014 strategy, they’re not exclusive to him. The reality is that a broad variety of challenges face today’s financial executives, and it’s crucial to address them for a stronger strategy moving forward. Just as Neil Williams discussed the three big drivers Intuit expects in 2014, CFOs must anticipate potential struggles and have a solution for handling them.

According to a survey conducted by Robert Half International, the top concerns for CFOs include:

  1. Health care costs
  2. Controlling spending and creating better profitability margins
  3. Boosting company morale and motivation

Addressing Rising Health Care Costs

Fortunately, all of these concerns come with rational solutions. While 34 percent of CFOs are increasing employee contributions to tackle rising health care costs, another 28 percent are increasing the company’s contribution. Other solutions include reducing healthcare benefits, eliminating the benefits, or not offering them to new employees.

How to Control Spending

Presumably, as the economy continues recovering, companies will want to continue to increase spending on everyday business as profitability improves. However, the responsibility remains with the CFO to ensure that companies do not return to pre-recession spending unless profitability has had a chance to catch up.

Motivating Performers

The reality is that the strength of the team composes the strength of the business. For most CFOs, aside from the perks offered, subsidized training and paid education topped the list of options to keep loyal employees happy.

What are you doing to motivate your top performers?