Gartner surveyed of 173 CFOs in October 2020 highlighted a daunting list of digital priorities for 2021, from the implementation of advanced data analytics and robotic process automation (RPA) technologies to accelerating digital skills among their teams.
The survey also revealed that most CFOs were not confident in successfully meeting their highest priority digital objectives for the coming year.
Alexander Bant, chief of research in the Gartner Finance practice. “Next year will be about accelerating digital investment timelines from the pace of a multi-year marathon to a 12 month sprint. However, most CFOs aren’t sure they will successfully cross the finish line in many of these areas.”
Gartner’s survey asked CFOs where they will spend more time in 2021 Among digital priorities, the top three areas for greater investment of time were all also accompanied by significant levels of doubt among CFOs, with half or more expecting it to be difficult to achieve their top digital goals
82% of respondents indicated that advanced data analytics technologies and tools were a top priority, nearly as many, 78%, expected it to be difficult to successfully achieve their goals in this area next year.
“Digital Must-Dos” for CFOs in 2021
Many CFOs are seeking to revive stalled growth investments while optimizing costs to better reflect new business realities. Chief among these realities are meeting new customer preferences shaped by the pandemic, including greater expectancy for speed, multichannel delivery and always-on availability.
CFOs should put a primary focus on identifying the investments that will drive positive business outcomes and enhance employee performance within new hybrid working models. CFOs will need to reassess how to measure business performance in this environment while also encouraging new business models that support digital growth.
Top Digital Priorities Come from Within Finance
Bant suggested the following:
Accelerating the use of RPA to free up team member time on repeatable and transactional tasks.
Advanced digital analytics technologies can help finance organizations deliver insights at scale and create long-term competitive advantages.
Attracting the digitally savvy finance talent required to maximize value from analytics and automation may be more feasible in light of a newly open and remotely available global talent pool.
Bant said “Now the key will be achieving scale with these technologies while ensuring that CFOs have the talent in place to run an always-on, fully digital business.”
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