6 Essential Questions Every CFO Wants To Know About EHS Software

6 Essential Questions Every CFO Wants To Know About EHS Software

Finding a new product to incorporate into your organization’s safety program is often exciting, but it can be tricky to take this prospect up to your boss, or your boss’s boss! However, it is imperative you get upper-level support, so it is imperative you think about how to address the concerns arising at every level. 

A safety professional will understand the data surrounding the safety training and tracking aspect of EHS (environment, health, and safety) software. And a CEO is typically open to new possibilities and opportunities for improvement in the company. On the other hand, CFOs are more likely to focus on the financial outlay and the risks of a new investment. 

Keep reading to find out key questions your CFO will have about a new EHS solution, tips to keep in mind when it comes time to present your case to the CFO, and some EHS platform benefits that might help seal the deal. 

Understand What Matters to a CFO

 Depending on your organization and industry, your CFO may have various questions about investing in anything related to safety. But there are a few key concerns every CFO will have. It is crucial you anticipate these concerns. Knowing the answers ahead of time can only help your case when you want to get a “yes” for acquiring EHS software. 

1. Is it budgeted? 

Understandably, one of the top concerns for any CFO is keeping track of the organizational budget. Most companies create an annual budget each year, and then make rolling updates (perhaps monthly or quarterly) that allow them to respond to any fluctuations to operational activities. 

 Many safety leaders are at a disadvantage, given they often have no dedicated budget and must request funds from Operations or another departmental budget, much of which may already be allocated to other projects. 

 From a financial perspective, it of course makes more sense to incorporate EHS software into a planned budget than it does to adjust later down the line, and nearly all CFOs would prefer this. But whether that’s possible or not, CFOs will understand that workplace injuries can cost an organization thousands of dollars — not to mention production slowdowns related to working days lost. Such monetary loss could be avoided simply by making an upfront investment. In order to help make this case, you’ll need to understand the next areas CFOs are most concerned about. 

 2. Is it strategic? 

In the eyes of a CFO, a strategic investment is one that can help their organization meet objectives, cut costs, and become more efficient. Conventional wisdom says CFOs only buy things that either make the company money or save the company money. It would make sense, then, that they would want to understand how EHS software meets strategic (or make/save) requirements. 

 If you can demonstrate how your desired software platform can help your company reduce employee training costs, effectively minimize — or eliminate — monetary and time costs related to workplace incidents, and meet company goals for things such as Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) or Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), you are well on your way to internally securing that deal. 

Other areas to look at for savings could be time that equipment or fleet vehicles are down for maintenance due to inefficient logging and tracking. Or time and money savings of employees doing administrative work because of outdated manual processes. Take for example, a calculation from one of HSI’s customers who reduced the manual logging of field inspections by two hours daily for each technician. With just 50 field technicians, at for example $30/hour, their savings add up to $780,000 per year in hourly costs. 

3. Can it help with risk management? 

In terms of safety, when you think of “risk management” you likely think of identifying job tasks and the hazards associated with each task, then considering how to mitigate, or ideally remove, the threat of those hazards. For the CFO, risk management is no different, it just comes from a more financial-focused perspective. 

 Your CFO will consider how EHS software can help regarding insurance claims and, consequently, insurance premiums. As noted in the budget section above, they will be interested in what the platform offers from an incident reduction or worker downtime perspective. These are the kinds of risk management questions that will surely be top of mind for any CFO. 

 One of HSI’s customers found that their average cost of each incident is $1,100. Over a short period of time after implementing a digital incident management solution, their incidents dropped by 25%. If this reduces just 100 incidents, that’s more than $100,000 in savings per year. But potentially more importantly to the CFO, that is an immeasurable reduction in risk. 

4. Does it apply companywide?

When looking at bringing a new software or service into the company’s fold, widespread application will be a big question. Is this tool going to serve just one team or department? What about multiple offices or jobsite locations?   

The only thing better than an EHS software platform that is regularly used by a single team is one that is regularly used by an entire organization. From safety training to incident reporting or investigation and beyond, ensuring every employee has access to — and can benefit from — EHS software helps workers stay safe and the organization stay profitable. 

Many companies integrate other company systems with their EHS platform. For example, integrating the HRIS into the EHS system allows HR employees to be able to get a fuller picture of each employee, including incidents they may have been part of, training they are compliant with, and even job site locations. 

 5. Are there cyber concerns? 

You may consider this to be more of a concern for your IT department, but your CFO is just as interested in this information as they are. If the software you want to invest in experiences a data breach and your customer information becomes exposed, it is important to know where your company would sit from a liability standpoint. 

This is part of the “risk” that CFOs are inherently concerned about. What impact might this new technology have on the business, and how can you mitigate that risk. You’ll want to be ready for this part of the conversation by investigating what cybersecurity measures are in place. This means finding out about SSO, 2FA, SAML, OAuth, ISO 27001, SOC1-3, AES-256, TLS 1.2. That’s a lot, but there is a lot riding on the EHS system and the data it contains.    

6. Will it address sustainability standards?

When you think about sustainability, you probably don’t think about accounting, but your CFO does. That’s because, as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives have drawn the attention of investors and corporations requesting bids, they have also become more of a concern for individual organizations. This is where accounting, particularly the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), comes into the picture.   

Your CFO will want to understand how investing in an effective EHS platform allows for simplified compliance and organizational development, along with increased inclusion efforts and employee engagement. Having a platform allowing for easy tracking and reporting helps CFOs deal with investor relations.   

This can get very granular. For example, an HSI customer with projects around the world is responsible for tracking their carbon footprint, which doesn’t just mean what may come out of a smokestack. They track carbon output from the creation of materials, to transportation of materials, to their footprint on a specific site. Let it be known to the CFO that you are investing in the future, in multiple ways.   

As you can see, there are certainly nuances that make the conversation with the CFO different than with other members of the management team. However, much of the information you need can be gathered by spending a little time doing research and having conversations with vendors and your peers.   

Get more information on HSI’s EHS platform and request a free demo to learn more about how this EHS software can fit your needs! 

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