2020 was in many ways an unusual year for everyone. The office of the CFO felt this with full force as it was thrust into the center of decision-making in most companies. When times are bad business leaders look to Finance to help get them safely through the troubled waters. This has led to high pressures on the finance function and long hours for extended periods. It has also led to a lot of opportunities to showcase how Finance can impact the value creation in the company.

The question is, how has 2020 impacted the priorities for CFOs in 2021 and where do we currently stand in terms of delivering on them? To take stock we will look at The Hackett Groups study “2021 CFO Agenda: 10 Key Issues Finance Needs To Act on Now”. See below a quick snapshot of the issues and how Finance is currently delivering on these.

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There are several key gaps to focus on while Finance is delivering very well on others. Still, it makes sense to take a tour through each of the issues and discuss how Finance can either close the gap or excel even more. We will do this over the coming months in a new article series titled “The top 10 priorities for the CFO in 2021”.

Is another transformation needed?

Finance has been in constant transformation since the start of the millennium. It accelerated post the financial crisis and you could wonder if we will now see a further acceleration on the back of the pandemic. In many ways though, we do not need a new transformation but rather deliver on existing priorities.

Looking across the ten key issues there is not much new to tackle. We have known these priorities for years but failed to address most of them adequately. This will therefore be the focus of the article series providing practical tips on how to address each issue. The overall outline looks as follows…

  • How FP&A Becomes A Strategic Advisor To The Business
  • Is Your Finance Team Mastering The Cost Efficiency Game?
  • Finance Professionals Are The Masters Of Analytics, Or Are We?
  • Did Finance Finally Get The Data Issue Under Control?
  • How The Pandemic Taught Finance The Need For Agility
  • Is Finance Winning Or Losing On The Talent Agenda?
  • Is Your Finance Platform Up To Date?
  • The Benefits Of An Integrated Planning Process Explained
  • Is Finance Up On The Technology Beat?
  • Is It Time For Finance To Stop Cashing In On Working Capital?

It is a full plate for the CFO to tackle but nothing has changed in terms of the transformational paradigm that we have operated under in the past two decades. Hence, we must examine the barriers and enablers to moving forward on the agenda. There is no excuse for not delivering as the opposite will simply lead us into irrelevance. Business leaders will simply find their own ways of getting this done (or find a new CFO that can!).

This blog is presented by ValQ in collaboration with Anders Liu-Lindberg, Business Partnering Institute.

Tune into ValQ’s upcoming webinar ‘The CFOs Top Priorities For FP&A In 2021‘ for more insights on the same here.

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