2020 has shown companies and their leaders that digital is the way to go. This year, CFOs and FP&A leaders expect to steer company focus on digitalization and implementing long-planned initiatives to optimize the role of finance.
Gartner reports that 69% of board directors are accelerating their digital business initiatives in 2021 after seeing the impact of COVID-19 firsthand.
In 2021, many CFOs are challenged to fund digitalization and the company’s growth while not losing track of the organization’s finances. While the current rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has brought positive changes to specific markets, many companies will find that it’s not entirely out of the rabbit hole just yet.
Here are some of the top CFO priorities we expect to see in 2021.
CFOs Will Work Towards Making Digitalization Plans into Real Investments
2021 will be a breakthrough year for companies, and CFOs will have to bear the brunt of turning initiatives into actual work. The reality is that CFOs, controllers, and heads of FP&A teams will find 2021 to be a more challenging year, where managing dwindling budgets and balancing them with worthwhile investments that can shape the future of organizations is the central goal.
These digital investment projects are expected to push the boundaries of traditional budgeting.
Data and analytics are expected to require more time and effort, especially with more data coming in.
CFOs will need to consider whether their existing financial budgeting methods are scalable enough to handle all this data. If not, they will need to think of more advanced FP&A tools to help them manage and better measure digital performance to ensure investments genuinely help the company achieve its targets.
With this in mind, one of CFO priorities is to take the lead in advancing their company and team’s capabilities in AI and analytics and optimize processes so everyone in the organization can easily digest and interpret financial figures to make realistic conclusions that can effectively guide decision-making.
CFOs Will Need to Align on New Digital Metrics and Goals
New digital investments mean financial controllers will need to align on important digitalization metrics and goals, which can be challenging to track and achieve.
Using more advanced business intelligence tools and AI-powered software can help them align metrics and measure performance as needed.
Gartner also notes that many CFOs are looking to invest in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics, and advanced analytics in 2021, thinking that this year is finally the time to make plans into reality and have a clear path to the future.
CFOs Are Focused on Funding Growth while Containing Costs
This year, one of CFO priorities is they will also be expected to have a dual focus on controlling costs while funding growth for their companies. With board directors expected to make massive budgetary changes following the pandemic, this task will likely be a big challenge for CFOs this year.
With economic growth expected to rebound in many countries, CFOs see the need to recover losses from the previous year with more significant IT investments.
CFOs now need to focus on other technologies (including chatbots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning) that cover increasingly complex, dynamic processes requiring human judgment.
CFOs Priorities: Looking to Accelerate Digital Skills
With digitalization comes the need to enhance the finance team’s and the overall organization’s digital skills and capabilities. CFOs will focus on optimizing relevant digital skills that can speed up workflows and drive overall efficiency across teams.
97% of CFOs say employee engagement and retention is one of the top CFO priorities for 2021, along with hiring and growing digital skills at 89%.
Performance Canvas: Helping CFOs Turn plans into Goals in 2021
CFOs have a long year ahead with a need to balance budgeting with sound innovation and growth. Many CFOs are focused on supercharging their scenario-based planning, forecasting, and reporting needs to help them face the year’s many challenges head-on.
A software like Performance Canvas is the right solutions partner with all the capabilities built within it to address these CFO priorities. It eliminates redundant and time-consuming processes that can dramatically free up finance teams to focus on growth opportunities for the entire organization.
Even when the year’s challenges seem challenging to achieve, PCF can empower CFOs and their teams with a reliable financial dashboard that can help them track and measure performance. Hence, the way forward is more transparent, no matter how many roadblocks may stand in the way.
Explore other PCF features and see why it is the right investment choice for your team today.