CAO pivot: Time to step up

The economic downturn means strategically minded chief accounting officers must first help tackle today’s financial challenges

Less than three years after the COVID-19 pandemic, CAOs again face a deteriorating macroeconomic environment. They know that this means they need to shift focus from partnership efforts with business-unit leaders to the nuts-and-bolts task of keeping their companies on a sound financial footing. However, CAOs remain keen to expand their role beyond traditional accounting and finance.

In a new KPMG report, CAO pivot: Time to step up, we assess how much progress CAOs have made in their quest to become more strategic players in the C-suite, discuss how they are pivoting to tackle the challenges of today’s faltering economy, and explore how they can seize the moment to propel themselves forward in their pursuit to raise their leadership profile. By adapting quickly to a tough new reality, CAOs can not only help their company to continue to thrive when the economy stabilizes but also expedite their own goal of becoming more valued partners to the business.

Click on the links below to view the highlights from the 2023 KPMG CAO survey, included within our thought leadership:

  • Automation
  • Economy
  • Inflation
  • ESG
  • Data Analytics


Many executives want CAOs to reduce manual activities and ramp up automation

Q. What are the challenges in the finance/accounting function that are foremost on your thoughts?

Exhibit 2. Many executives
Executives (N = 80)


CAOs and executives are aligned on the responses to a weakening economy

Exhibit 4. CAOs and executives
CAOs (N = 150); Executives (N = 80) 


High inflation has prompted CAOs to reassess earnings expectations

Q. As a CAO, have you been involved in any of the following areas to identify ways to mitigate business impacts due to inflation?

Exhibit 5. High inflation
CAOs (N = 150)


A majority of executives believe CAOs should lead on ESG reporting

Q. Is the CAO best positioned to drive the data collection and reporting of ESG or sustainability information?

Executives (N = 80)

Data Analytics

A majority of executives still lack confidence in CAOs’ data analytics vision

Q. Is the CAO best positioned to drive the data analytics vision for the company?

Executives (N = 80)

To find out more and understand the details, please click on the link below for the full publication:


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Dean Bell

Dean Bell

Market Activation Leader, Deal Advisory & Strategy, KPMG US

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Marybeth Shamrock

Partner, Accounting Advisory Services, KPMG US

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Joseph Dineen

Joseph Dineen

Advisory Principal, Accounting Advisory Services, KPMG US

+1 248-346-2919
Tim Lashua

Tim Lashua

Partner, Deal Advisory & Strategy, KPMG LLP

+1 415-707-9816
James Murphy

James Murphy

Principal, Advisory, Finance Transformation , KPMG LLP (U.S.)

+1 408-367-1603
Titus Ball

Titus Ball

Advisory Managing Director, Accounting Advisory Services, KPMG US

+1 704-335-5559