Now that the catastrophic events of 2020 are firmly in the rearview mirror, it is time to look towards the future. In order to do so, your organization will need to capitalize on the latest trends in the financial industry!

When you leverage these trends, you can become nimble enough to react fast the next time your organization faces unexpected financial turbulence, such as nationwide lockdowns and a global pandemic.

With this in mind, we’ve identified the top CFO trends that should be high on your list of priorities going into 2021 and beyond. These trends are primed to shape corporate financial departments in the coming years.

Whether you are a VP of finance, CFO, or controller, here are some of the things to take advantage of!

Achieving Unprecedented Growth

Now that you have weathered the storm that was 2020, it is time to grow. While financial growth may only reach moderate levels by the end of 2021, you can use these tempered expectations as an opportunity to gear up for 2022.

Reevaluate your existing strategies and fine-tune them to improve everything from lead generation to customer acquisition.

If you hope to grow in the post-pandemic marketplace, then you will need to make use of the latest technologies — but more on that below. In addition, your organization must create and maintain a strong online presence.

Investing in brand-building, digital marketing, and technology will ensure that your team has the resources they need to compete when the economy reaches full resurgence.

Learning to Leverage the Latest Technologies

One of the most exciting CFO trends is a renewed commitment to technological investments. That is why learning to leverage the latest technologies must be high on your list of priorities going forward.

Invest in platforms and software that will add value to your organization. Having the right tech in place can improve efficiency, facilitate employee interactions, and increase overall growth.

Like many companies, your organization probably started investing in these technologies in the midst of the pandemic. While these investments certainly helped your company’s bottom line, now is a great time to double down.

Allocate resources to new technologies and your digital strategy as a whole. This may include partnering with a digital marketing firm that has experience in your industry.

When you’re making these investments, make sure that you do not neglect cybersecurity. With data breaches more common than ever before, you cannot afford to skimp on cybersecurity measures. Doing so could cost your organization millions of dollars and irreparably damage your reputation.

A Return to Normalcy

The third CFO trend is to pursue a return to normalcy. 2020 was hard on everyone, including your staff members. If your company already had a strong workplace culture prior to the pandemic, then you may have endured these challenges better than most.

Still, the mental strain that was caused by the pandemic undoubtedly impacted your workforce.

As a CFO or financial executive, you are in an ideal position to restore workplace culture. You can consider offering work-from-home opportunities for eligible roles.

In addition, you should provide employees that are returning to work with resources that will help them to adjust. This may involve hosting a team-building exercise or bringing in a counselor that can offer guidance on dealing with anxiety and emotional trauma.

Forging a Dynamic New Business Model

When identifying the latest CFO trends in 2021, we discovered that many finance departments are focused on forging a dynamic new business model. This comes as no surprise because economic crises always leave their mark on the world of finance. 

In the midst of the economic turmoil, you likely gained valuable insights about your organization. You found out which principles provided economic flexibility and which practices hindered your ability to pivot when faced with unexpected challenges. Now it is time to put that information to use and evolve.

Take a look at some of the brands that endured the pandemic the best. What sets them apart and allowed them to thrive while many businesses faltered? The answer? Innovation and financial flexibility built into their business models.

DEI

Last up on our breakdown of 2021 CFO trends is DEI, short for diversity, equity, and inclusion. CFOs across the nation are making concerted efforts to implement meaningful DEI efforts.

By following suit, you can add value to your organization, empowering team members from all backgrounds. Investing in a DEI program will improve brand reputation and help you attract top-tier talent.

Stay On Top of Trends With the Controllers Council

Now that you are familiar with the top CFO trends of 2021, you can create a list of priorities that will guide decision-making in the coming year. These trends will not only help your company recover from pandemic-related challenges, but they will also give you the opportunity to revolutionize your existing business model, achieving dynamic growth.

Looking to learn more about finance trends? Controllers Council is a national community and platform of Controllers, Accounting and Finance professionals focused on accounting best practices, information and resources, recognition and networking. Membership has many features and benefits to propel your career and expertise, and to be an active participant in our exciting community. Discuss trends and more in our forum. Become a member today.

Additional Resources

2021 Post-COVID Business Trends for Finance

Accounting and CPA Compensation Trends

Six Megatrends in 2021 and How to Put Yourself in a Position for Success

5 Questions Controllers Should be Asking Their CFOWebinar Tuesday, October 26

As key financial leaders within the organization, Controllers are increasingly tasked with improving the efficiency of operations, implementing new technologies and guiding teams toward paperless workflows. To do this effectively, they need to work closely with their CFOs to drive the organization towards executable strategies that maximize the value brought by investment in technology.