What’s on the priority list for California finance leaders?

The California economy is forecasted to outperform the national average in the months ahead,1 but businesses still face immense uncertainty. The economic outlook is unclear; geopolitical tension continues to simmer; and new technologies emerge with disruptive potential. Many of the state’s technology businesses were also disproportionately impacted by the failure of Silicon Valley Bank in March 2023. 

We surveyed 143 California-based finance leaders to learn what this means for finance leaders. Have their plans, perception of risk and attitudes about topics such as ESG and digital transformation changed? And are they any different from finance leaders in other states?


Here are the key findings.

1. Soaring prices are the number one business risk.

Finance leaders say high inflation is their top business risk. Half of respondents say this is a major risk, compared with just 36% outside the state. Talent shortages and the pace of technology rank second and third.

2. Cutting costs is the top priority.

Cutting costs within the finance function is finance leaders’ top priority. Unlike in other states, they plan to do it through a range of options including workforce restructuring, outsourcing, discontinuing low-margin business lines and investing in new technology.

  • 40% plan to restructure the workforce, compared with 33% outside the state.
  • 27% will reduce office/real estate costs, compared with 19% outside the state.

3. Innovation continues to be a focus.

California-based finance leaders are more likely than their counterparts elsewhere to continue with innovative plans that contribute to long-term growth and transformation. For example, 46% are exploring and reviewing new technologies, compared with 34% in other states.

4. They are leading on digital payments.

California businesses are ahead when it comes to using digital payments. More than half (54%) of finance leaders currently use B2C platforms such as Zelle® and Venmo®, compared with 43% elsewhere. And, 65% of California businesses are planning to use instant payments within the next two years through the RTP® network and the FedNow® Service, compared with 41% today.

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Read the full California report and analysis.

Finance leaders across California shared their views on the most important business risks and opportunities facing companies operating in the state. The research demonstrates how they differ from their counterparts outside of California when it comes to perceptions of risk, methods of cutting costs, a greater focus on ESG, approach to innovation and plans for digital payments.

More insights from our research.

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1,400+ financial leaders share their views.

Leaders at companies around the U.S. responded to our survey and told us what they view as the risks and opportunities they face. Their responses provide valuable insights as to the direction of finance departments.



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Healthcare finance leaders seek change.

200 finance leaders at healthcare companies responded to our survey and shared their priorities as the industry grapples with the trauma of the past few years. The resulting report shows changes in tech and payments rank among the top priorities.


Man wearing glasses sitting at a desk with his laptop open while he looks at his tablet device.


Has the economy turned the corner?

While there has been plenty of discussion about recession, interest rates and inflation in recent years, there are signals that the economy may be doing better than business think. Our recent survey of finance leaders sheds light on their outlooks


Woman standing, wearing a suit with her arms crossed in front of herself as she smiles at the camera.


Finance leaders investing in digital tech

Controlling costs is a top priority for finance leaders, and our survey results show many of them are turning to technology investments to keep costs down and transform their companies’ digital capabilities. Here are four things to be mindful of in pursuing digital transformation.


Woman wearing a hardhat standing next to man in a suit. She is pointing to a laptop as they discuss something


Instant payments adoption surges.

The quickly rising usage rate of the RTP ® network and the FedNow Service has finance leaders paying attention. Our survey results show an eagerness among leaders to use instant payments even more, soon.


Learn about our California presence.

California is a core market for U.S. Bank. We take pride in being a part of communities across the state and providing organizations with a full complement of financial services.

Southern California

U.S. Bank is fully invested in serving Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County and all of Southern California.

Northern California

Organizations across Northern California turn to U.S. Bank as a financial partner. We focus on building long-term relationships in the region.

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This document is prepared by U.S. Bank as a service for its customers. The information discussed is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation.

Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.

Zelle® and the Zelle® related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.

RTP® is a registered trademark of The Clearing House Payments Company LLC.