Date posted: 27/03/2023 5 min read

Why cash visibility is key to survival

With a global recession looming, C-suite and F&A professionals cite a pressing need for real-time visibility over financial data. Brought to you by BlackLine.

A survey of c-suite executives and F&A professionals around the globe has found that 96% would like more visibility over their company’s cash flow, and 63% believe a real-time view of financial data will be crucial for businesses to survive the next 12 months.

“Visibility of cash flow becomes very important in an inflationary environment,” says Mike Polaha, senior vice president of finance solutions and technology at BlackLine. “The ability to minimise inventory and maximise receivables by turning them into cash flow becomes a lever for many CFOs to add interest income to their P&L if they’re in a cash favourable situation, or to reduce net interest expense if they’re working against a line of credit.

“When you’re dealing with the spectre of a recession, every dollar counts and the ability to drop as much as you can into net income becomes very important.”
Mike Polaha, BlackLine

When you’re dealing with the spectre of a recession, the ability to drop as much as you can into your net income becomes very important.” In a bid to weather the economic downturn, 49% of c-suite and F&A professionals say they want to implement or scale automation solutions to optimise working capital within the next year. “Even in challenging times, automation is a must-do from a CFO agenda perspective,” says Polaha. “Companies that have been slow to adopt will find the cost of manual accounting is now substantially higher as inflationary pressures increase. But there are solutions, and a mindset of looking for agile ways to automate that drive nearer term returns on capital is key.”

Reducing stress

Adopting a cloud-based financial operations management platform not only gives organisations the visibility they so desperately need over their cash flow, it also reduces job demands at a critical time. “During recessionary periods, more information is demanded from finance and accounting professionals because leaders want to understand almost day to day what’s happening. If you don’t automate and free up some capacity to support the more strategic elements that CFOs and chief accounting officers are asked to do in these times, it’s going to further stress the existing workforce. That’s not a good idea when there’s still a war for talent.”

Having been a global finance strategist for Johnson & Johnson for close to two decades, Polaha knows the importance of keeping his teams happy and including them in the digital transformation process from the beginning.

“You need to have a broad vision of what you’re trying to accomplish from a business lens and a thoughtful and rational plan as to how to deliver against that vision. Then you have to bring the finance and accounting team along for the journey and get everybody excited about what it might mean for them from a career opportunity perspective. Automating will free them up to take on more strategic roles and they’ll have the chance to work with the best technology the world has to offer. “Communicating your goals and strategy to your teams throughout that journey - from ideation and vision into roadmap and planning and then ultimately into execution - is key to success.”

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BlackLine’s cloud-based financial operations management platform and market-leading customer service help companies move to modern accounting by unifying data and processes, automating repetitive work, and increasing visibility. To find out more or schedule a demo, visit