People & Leadership

Achieve work-life harmony: CFO secrets to overcoming stress and burnout

Ready to reclaim your time and reduce stress? Our comprehensive guide, Secrets of Successful CFOs, explores how AI and automation are future possibilities and present-day solutions.

Do you ever feel like you’re always on, never quite catching up with your personal life as your professional demands escalate?

You’re not alone.

The Secrets of Successful CFOs report reveals a stark reality: only 27% of CFOs achieve a satisfactory work-life balance, 87% deal with stress, and 83% report regular burnout!

These figures highlight a critical issue facing today’s financial professionals: Is finding personal harmony possible with a demanding role?

The answer is yes, but not alone. Tech might be your best ally.

Imagine the case of Sarah, a fictional CFO at a mid-sized tech firm.

Her demanding job meant missing her daughter’s important soccer game—a moment she will never get back.

These sacrifices were all too common until her company adopted AI and automation technologies. This shift transformed her month-end close from a relentless marathon into a streamlined process.

  • Now, Sarah leaves the office on time, reclaiming her evenings and weekends. She cheers from the sidelines at her daughter’s soccer games, fully present and immensely proud.
  • At work, she focuses on strategic initiatives rather than tedious tasks. Technology hasn’t just improved Sarah’s work efficiency—it’s revived her personal life, allowing her to enjoy the moments that matter most.

You’ve likely felt it too—the constant chase for productivity that makes it easy to overlook what we’re all really working for—a better quality of life.

Sarah’s story, though fictional, may mirror your own experiences and tell a broader truth: technology can help you balance your professional and personal life.

Like Sarah, you might have your own “missed moments.” But what if tech could help you reclaim these, transforming your workflow and life outside the office?

Lewis Dangerfield is the CFO of Osprey, a business that uses Sage Intacct technology to manage its financial processes. He says:

“Like most CFOs, I often exceed the average of 37.5 hours each week. However, I genuinely enjoy what I do. It’s more than just work.”

The report’s insights reveal that achieving work-life harmony remains within reach through the strategic use of technology.

In this article, you’ll explore how AI, automation, and other technological advances can help you reclaim your time and enrich your personal and professional lives.

Here’s what we’ll cover

The ongoing challenge of work-life harmony

Boosting strategic decision-making with tech

Stay updated with tech advancements

Final thoughts

The ongoing challenge of work-life harmony

The need for balance becomes even more critical because senior finance responsibilities are expanding beyond traditional finance management to contain broader business strategy and tech integration.

Mastering new tools will help you adapt to the accelerated pace and complexity of the finance landscape.

This evolving dynamic could easily extend working hours and increase stress as you strive to stay ahead of tech trends and get your finance teams running effectively.

But embracing new tech like AI and automation streamlines your operations.

It’ll demand a new level of engagement from you, but getting it right could significantly lighten your workload, allowing you more time to focus on what truly matters—both in and out of the office.

As a financial professional, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Not just for personal well-being but also to sustain a high level of performance at work.

Balancing these can feel daunting, but doing so will help you thrive professionally and personally.

Achieving this balance helps prevent burnout, fosters creativity, and enhances decision-making capabilities—critical for successful leadership.

Because it affects your teams, too, it’s imperative to translate this change to all areas of your business.

Make work-life harmony a key consideration in all roles so your employees can continue to perform at their best without sacrificing health and happiness.

Boosting strategic decision-making with tech

It’s an empowering truth that using AI and automation increases efficiency and helps you focus on strategic planning, leading to better team success. So how does it work?

By adopting AI for tasks like data entry and financial reporting, finance teams save time and can focus on higher-value work like strategic planning and collaboration.

Automating routine processes also saves time that can be reinvested into forecasting and scenario planning, which informs decision-making and develops your business strategy with deeper insights.

For instance, tech like this can simplify the accounts payable process by automating invoice capture, approvals, and payment processing.

It also reduces errors associated with manual entries and speeds up the payment cycle.

AI’s outlier detection capabilities help your team quickly identify anomalies in financial data, which is vital for mitigating risks and ensuring the accuracy of financial reports.

CFOs who champion collaborative tools within their departments foster a more connected and transparent work environment.

These tools rapidly improve communication between departments for quicker decision-making across teams and data and reduce organizational silos.

This interconnects your teams’ operational efficiency and creates a more cohesive corporate culture, significantly reducing personal and collective stress.

Ultimately, by using tech to automate and optimize financial processes, you enhance the strategic impact of your role and achieve a better work-life balance for everyone.

Stay updated with tech advancements

There are two main reasons to stay up-to-date on your tech:

  1. Understanding and adopting new tech can enhance the efficiency and accuracy of financial operations, from automated data analytics to real-time financial reporting.
  2. Using tech to automate routine tasks can free up time. This time can be reallocated to focus on strategic initiatives and personal well-being, resulting in a healthier work-life balance.

How to engage in continuous learning

If you’re juggling a busy schedule, just setting aside an hour each week can be enough to supplement your learning.

This small commitment can keep you updated without adding stress, helping you manage the rapid changes in your field more comfortably.

Bite-sized tactics to try:

Schedule learning blocks

Integrate fixed, short periods dedicated to learning within your weekly schedule to ensure continuous improvement without disrupting daily responsibilities.

For instance, you could read industry publications or explore new financial software to keep you ahead.

Online courses and webinars

Many institutions and companies offer short, impactful courses and webinars tailored to busy professionals.

These can be an excellent way to learn about specific advancements or more profound strategic concepts without the time commitment required for more traditional educational routes.

Peer learning

Join or form peer groups with other financial professionals to offer you shared learning, networking, and insight.

Look at meeting regularly to discuss new technologies, strategies, and challenges in the finance sector, providing a collective pool of knowledge and support.

Conferences and seminars

Attend high-value conferences or seminars annually to expose you to new ideas and tools.

These events are also excellent for networking, which can lead to further learning opportunities through new professional relationships.

Use tech for learning

Use tech as a learning tool—such as subscribing to curated newsletters, listening to podcasts during commutes, or following thought leaders on social media.

Make learning more accessible and integrated into your daily routine to stay updated on technological trends without feeling overwhelmed.

Final thoughts

The journey to achieving work-life harmony will be a personal and organizational challenge.

Prioritizing your well-being builds an environment where strategic thinking and high-level decision-making flourish.

Use advanced tech to find the best time efficiencies and better balance your professional and personal responsibilities.

Committing to continuous learning and using the right tools can redefine your role, reduce stress, and achieve harmony.

These technologies improve business outcomes, but in some ways, more importantly, they ultimately safeguard your well-being.

Ready to reclaim your time and reduce stress?

Our comprehensive guide, Secrets of Successful CFOs, explores how AI and automation are future possibilities and present-day solutions.

Read the full report