Leading the Recovery: Finance Teams Guiding Businesses Toward Growth
New survey from
A new survey from
The new data is from a proprietary survey of 300 U.S.-based senior finance professionals with decision-making roles across a range of industries.
“Despite all of the challenges of the past year, finance leaders are hopeful and are looking to the future,” said
Key insights from the survey include:
Finance must transform itself to help the wider business
To help their businesses grow and transform, finance must first transform itself. When asked which areas within finance would benefit most from digital transformation, leaders said:
- 39%: risk and compliance
- 32%: planning and budgeting
- 29%: cash management and treasury
When asked about the obstacles they faced in executing digital transformation initiatives, 36% of leaders said their biggest obstacle was reluctance/resistance to change, 35% said a lack of awareness of new technology and its benefits, and 35% said lack of skills/human resources to implement and use new technology.
Finance teams tackle ESG – but there is more they can do
More than 70% of finance leaders said their focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives increased in the past 12 months, including 80% of those generating more than
To further their business’ ESG strategies, 50% of finance leaders said they are assessing the environmental credentials of potential third parties and investments, 45% are assessing the risk that climate change poses to their business’ operations and supply chain, and 41% are reporting on ESG.
Finance leaders sow the seeds for long-term growth
The survey found that 44% of finance leaders are struggling to balance the short- and long-term needs of their businesses, and 46% struggle to balance the need to cut costs and build resilience with the need to invest in future growth.
Their top priorities for 2021:
- 32%: improving cash flow
- 30%: supporting/furthering ESG objectives
- 26%: evaluating M&A, divestiture and partnership opportunities
When asked how the finance function planned to drive business growth and transformation, 42% said they were evaluating new business models, 39% were generating insights for the wider business, 38% were changing their capital allocation process, and 33% were exploring new technologies.
Preserving and enhancing the agility learned during COVID-19
COVID-19 placed a huge amount of strain on finance functions. In many businesses, the workload increased because of reforecasting and budgeting requirements. Many finance employees also had to shift to working from home.
Finance leaders had to be flexible and agile during the pandemic, and many plan to continue on with some of the initiatives they implemented last year, including:
- More flexible budgeting and capital planning (43%)
- More agile business practices (43%)
- Increased budget for technology (42%)
About the Survey
The 2021 CFO Insights Report from
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