Finance Priorities in the COVID Era: Digital Dominance and Flexible Labor Models
Even amid COVID-19, the top strategic priorities for CFOs and finance leaders — data security and privacy, enhanced data analytics, meeting the changing demands of internal customers, cloud-based applications — are largely unchanged. This continuity suggests leading CFOs are committed to ongoing finance transformation and equipping their departments with the foundational building blocks needed to operate digitally, flexibly and resiliently to support their organizations, regardless of current circumstances or the next crisis.
In addition, finance leaders are calling on their third-party partners with greater frequency for a highly agile and flexible workforce and access to needed expertise in the face of COVID-driven shelter-in-place orders, supply chain disruptions and greater overall resource efficiency, among other factors, as they seek to develop and employ their “future labor model.”
Key findings include:
Data security, analytics and cloud continue to sit atop CFO priority lists — Leading CFOs have solidified their long-term strategic role as a stakeholder in organizational data security and privacy, while marshaling advanced technologies, data analytics, and other finance planning and process improvements to keep pace with changing demands from internal customers.
COVID upended finance operations — The many effects of the pandemic hindered the preparation of timely financial statements, compelled the reforecasting of finance plans, impeded the ability of many third parties to meet their service-level agreements, sparked supply chain upheavals, and spurred CFOs to fundamentally rethink their staffing approaches.
The new finance labor model gets stress-tested in real-time —Finance leaders who manage a diverse talent pool of full-time employees, contract and temporary workers, expert external consultants, and managed services and outsourcing providers have been able to respond to external disruptions with greater speed and agility — and with fewer compromises to core finance processes. In fact, for financial planning and analysis, 18% of CFOs and vice presidents of finance say their organizations rely on managed services providers and 29% leverage staff augmentation to support these activities.
Finance groups have more internal customers who have greater expectations for data and insights — A sustained commitment to finance and digital transformation is in large part driven by the rest of the organization’s growing hunger for the forward-looking data-driven insights that finance produces. This expanding appetite is extending to new segments of internal customers, particularly those exposed to new risks amid COVID-related disruptions (e.g., information security, data privacy and supply chain).