Black Book Charts a Future Course for the Healthcare CFO

The traditionally highly conservative, rule-oriented, strict managerial role structure is being pushed to transition to a more forward-looking technology-based model requiring innovative, disruptive thinkers.

​​In total, 484 hospitals and inpatient organizations and 713 physician groups were represented in the sweeping Q1-Q2 2019 series of financial management polls. Black Book™ surveyed nearly 1,600 hospital and health system Chief Financial Officers, Vice Presidents of Finance and RCM, Controllers, Business Office Managers, Staff, Consultants and Directors to spot trends, collect insights and assess the gaps and urgencies of financial technology administration. Additionally, 124 CEOs were polled to compare and contrast organizational viewpoints to the same situations and circumstances.

91% of CFOs surveyed state their top priorities for 2020 will be managing organizational cost reductions followed by 85% needing to predict the impact of new payment models through enhanced reporting.

62% of survey respondents say advanced analytics is the most needed skill set to be developed in the financial ranks of health systems in 2019-2020. 95% of CFOs agree that the CFO of the future will require a much more robust data analytics skill set than 2019 CFOs.

91% of CFOs surveyed state their top priorities for 2020 will be managing cost reductions followed by 85% needing to predict the impact of new payment models through enhanced reporting.

76% of all financial leaders from supervisor through CFO levels report needing better performance management dashboards as overall satisfaction with current technology and reporting systems is less than 9%.

92% of survey respondents believe the CFO of the future must be a better job leveraging technology and staff with IT skills for health providers to succeed financially.

As health systems CFOs steam ahead toward digital transformational technology, 83% believe the finance function must provide more advanced analytic support that most current decision support and cost accounting vendors have offered, particularly those attached to enterprise EHRs.

“Financial leaders will need to recruit and retain staff who possess traditional financial expertise, flexibility in adopting new payment models, willingness to accept nontraditional responsibilities such as cybersecurity, patient satisfaction and innovation, but most importantly the eagerness to learn new technologies and process designs,” said Brown. ”The technological complexities of transforming financial systems and business integrations across health system units may well hasten the retirement of many old-guard CFOs from the industry.”

In 2020, all respondents concluded the most highly sought leadership skillsets that health system CEOs and boards will see in their financial team executives are:

Technology Acquisition and Implementation (89%)

Data Analytics (85%)

Financial Business Strategy (82%)

Financial Operations Administration Through Technologies (81%)

"To assess whether the digital transformation is having an impact on the health system, the C-Suite needs a strategy that is more transformational and less incremental, thus the evolving role of the CFO taking more technological control is inevitable," said Brown. "The degree of transformation required to achieve the results of value-based centric provider to align with financial business strategies and digital initiatives is the task at hand for the future CFO."

CFOs must be able to look ahead and connect digital trends and execute on digital initiatives to drive near term value and enable innovation with data long term state 88% of respondents.

"CFOs must create an environment where risk is not seen as the enemy to the health system but as the effectiveness of innovative business models depends on their technological prowess," said Brown.

Of the financial team respondents exclusive of CFOs and Controllers, 85% stated their CFO or senior leader lacked technological leadership skills in areas outside of financial transactions and reporting, and 92% lacked IT skills in general in areas outside the financial functions.

The survey results indicate that CFOs need to adapt to the increased complexities of advanced technology in their health systems in order to succeed in the future. As the healthcare business environment continues to evolve and change in expected and unexpected ways, financial leaders should take proactive steps to shape their role in directing the digital transformation of their entire organizations by understanding the technologies to leverage data and analytics, improve strategic decision making and adapt to changing business conditions.

About Black Book

Black Book™ has polls for vendor satisfaction and industry trends across the healthcare software/technology and outsourcing sectors around the globe. Since 2009, Black Book began polling the client experience of now over 840,000 healthcare software and services users. Black Book expanded its survey prowess and reputation of independent, unbiased crowd-sourced surveying to IT, clinical, operations and financial professionals, physician practice administrators, nurses, consultants, executives and hospital information technology managers.

For methodology, auditing, resources, comprehensive research and vendor ranking data, see or contact us at

Results of the 2019 Revenue Cycle Management software and managed services user surveys will be announced in August. The annual Black Book CFO & Senior Finance Leadership Report can be viewed at

Source: Black Book Research