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New Marcura Report Outlines Key Challenges and Opportunities Facing Maritime CFOs

A new report by Marcura and Thetius titled “Navigating Financial Seas” asked CFOs to provide frontline insights into the challenges they face as digital transformation is increasingly a central consideration for companies.

By speaking with financial leaders directly, Thetius analysts were able to identify five main obstacles facing CFOs and the strategies they are employing to tackle them.


Rapid Technological Change

Choosing relevant technology presents a dilemma, as technological advancements occur rapidly. One CFO emphasised the challenge, stating, “It is hard to know if it will do the job we want it to and what its limitations are.”

Additionally, digital literacy is a significant concern among financial leaders. Many are still struggling to understand how digital tools impact financial performance. The report cites one financial leader who observed, “There’s still a lot of CFOs in the world which I would say are accountants and have a focus limited to the accounting role”.


Lack of Access to Real-Time Information

Real-time information access is a widespread challenge that affects decision-making in various industries, including maritime finance. Thetius’s research highlights that Maritime CFOs often face difficulties in making investment decisions because of limited access to real-time data. This issue is often linked to data silos within organisations, which isolate important data and hinder efficient decision-making.


Balancing Financial Constraints with Business Demands

Management’s ambition for digital transformations must always take finances into account. The need for digitalisation requires a balance between budget constraints and business demands, often resulting in misalignment between departments. The report highlights that this lack of alignment complicates decision-making and restricts access to crucial information.

Furthermore, it becomes challenging to assess the ROI of digital tools due to departmental silos and difficulties in understanding their long-term value.


Lack of Digital System Integrability and Operability

While flexibility is crucial, CFOs worry that too much diversity in systems can lead to unnecessary complexity. The report indicates that CFOs prefer digital solutions that are agile and adaptable, yet they aim to avoid excessive customisation that might complicate matters. Additionally, integrating new digital solutions into existing systems is a major challenge. This often leads to compatibility issues, which can add financial burdens and increase complexity.


Rapid Regulatory Change

CFOs find it challenging to assess how regulatory changes affect investment decisions, given their fast-evolving nature. Additionally, global supply chain disruptions and increasing sustainability considerations are leading to more sporadic and stringent rules. Consequently, CFOs often dedicate considerable time to understanding these changing regulatory landscapes and exploring how digital tools can support compliance efforts.


The Right Solution For the Right Problem

Despite the challenges CFOs face in digital transformation, there’s no fundamental conflict between managing a firm’s finances and enhancing business processes with digital solutions. In fact, these tools offer significant opportunities to overcome industry challenges and simplify decision-making. Investment decisions, including evaluating returns, involve choosing tools that enhance decision-making and efficiency. Digital tools contribute to this by improving accuracy, speeding up execution and ensuring better availability of information, all of which are crucial for making informed decisions.

To maximise profits and reduce risks, adopting new digital solutions can be highly beneficial. For instance, using tools like Marcura’s PortLog allows firms to tap into the world’s largest port cost database. This aids in making more accurate estimations of unpaid time at the pre-fixture stage, addressing information access issues and mitigating risk.

Similarly, Marcura’s DA-Desk significantly streamlines the process of handling disbursement accounts. It automatically checks each account against over 1,800 validation criteria. These range from basic information like vessel and port identifiers to complex analyses of existing agreements and payment stipulations. This not only ensures complete transparency among all stakeholders, but also saves significant manual labour hours. These hours can then be redirected towards achieving better commercial results. As emphasised by a maritime CFO in the report, “The most important thing for us is that our company has the right tools available to make the best possible decisions.”

For more details or to download the full report click here.

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