CFOs at the Forefront of Crisis and in Position to Impact the Future

Corporate Finance & Restructuring

November 16, 2020

In a year marked with abrupt change and uncertainty, CFOs and finance leaders dealt with challenges and proved their ability to lead during significant disruption. Inspired by their performance, finance leaders are taking on a broader view of the enterprise to flourish in a post-COVID-19 era.

The year 2020 will be remembered by finance professionals as one marked by great challenges, but also by resilience and accelerated change. The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic disruption, presented CFOs and finance leaders with business issues not seen in generations, forcing them to demonstrate greater resolve and strategic leadership than ever before.

Considering these events, FTI surveyed more than 325 CFOs and finance executives to uncover the tremendous efforts that finance leaders demonstrated through adversity, and to provide a look at what’s still to come. The insights from the survey provide guidance to better position CFOs and finance leaders for continued success amidst uncertainty.

Topics discussed cut across areas such as scenario-planning and improving accuracy of forecasts; reducing enterprise costs; developing agile operating models; transitioning to remote and virtual workforces; deploying automation; and much more.

What’s clear is that the implications from COVID-19 and economic instability have heightened the importance of Finance’s role to drive change across the enterprise. Survey respondents indicated that key priorities and initiatives for 2021 are as follows:

CFOs’ Key Priorities and Initiatives for 2021

Manage Business Volatility
  • Improve planning, scenario modeling and forecasting
  • Optimize cash flow and working capital
  • Manage enterprise costs
  • Identify and manage risks
  • Deliver real-time information to make faster business decisions
Adapt and Develop Capabilities
  • Attract new talent and develop capabilities
  • Enable a remote workforce and plan for corporate real estate, technology and talent impacts
  • Eliminate/automate manual processes
  • Enhance data management and security
  • Improve accounting processes and internal controls
Prepare for the Rebound
  • Improve capital structure, and strengthen balance sheet
  • Redefine operating model and expand use of external partners
  • Develop analytic capabilities
  • Implement new technologies
  • Undertake M&A / strategic alternatives

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