Tougher Days Are Ahead of CFOs


The iconic ‘Saudi Vision 2030’, a strategic framework to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism, is the epitome of this change. Sports and sports tourism is a big part of this new Arabian dream. It’s reflecting on its economy, too. According to the IMF annual review, KSA’s progress has been most notably reflected in non-oil growth, which has accelerated since 2021, averaging 4.8 percent in 2022. Despite lower overall growth reflecting additional oil production cuts, non-oil growth will remain close to 5 percent in 2023, spurred by strong domestic demand.

Like almost all other C-suite leaders in the country, CFOs will face herculean challenges going forward. In the aftermath of the state of uncertainty taught by the pandemic, the stakes have gone a notch higher for CFOs to collaborate and contribute directly to the company’s growth. But this won’t be an easy path ahead, given the unprecedented nature of the situation at hand. They are against unprecedented skill shortages, labor supply, and supply chain challenges. It’s no secret that financial leaders are in dire need of team members who are not only skilled in accounting, auditing, and compliance but also understand data visualization, are flexible thinkers, possess good communication skills, and, most importantly, have a lot of business sense. According to a recent Ernst & Young report, 22 percent of CFOs prioritize transforming how finance talent is recruited, retained, and developed. This yearly special issue is dedicated to the exemplary CFOs in Saudi Arabia.

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