One of the key lessons 2020 taught CFO’s worldwide is that external events can’t always be anticipated or controlled. In fact, the best CFO’s can do is develop agile business models that are able to react swiftly when conditions deteriorate, whilst also ensuring these models are innovative enough to capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.

Recent research conducted by Jack McCullough, president of The CFO Network and Senior contributor at Forbes, garnered insight through surveys and focus groups into the key priorities of CFO’s for 2021. Our take on the 3 most important and consistent priorities from McCullough’s research are identified below.

1. Digital Transformation

Not many investments can give an organisation a sustainable competitive advantage like an investment in quality technology. Investing and implementing quality technology has the ability to increase operational efficiency, reduce waste, improve employee collaboration and ultimately, increase top – line growth. Many CFO’s saw 2020 as an opportunity to build a team of remote workers and make those long – term technology investments which they had previously been procrastinating. The CFO’s who didn’t get around to making the investments in 2020 are aware of the importance of a digital strategy to the health of their organisation and are planning on getting on board in 2021. With the digital revolution further propelled by COVID-19,  technology CFO’s are looking to invest in this year include; robotics process automation, cyber security software and data analytics tools that provide CFO’s with the tools to make better decisions faster in unpredictable climates. CFO’s that wish to drive their companies to the technological forefront should start investing now.

2. Rebuilding Team And Culture

Whilst 2020 was a hard year for executives, it was just as challenging for employees. The ramifications of a global pandemic, economic collapse, and social unrest had a traumatic impact on employees. A large majority of employees were forced to make sacrifices in their careers for their children’s education, to care for sick or elderly parents and change the way they work completely – if they were lucky enough not to lose their job. It has become common for employees to report PTSD-like symptoms and mental health is now recognized as a national crisis. CFO’s have the opportunity to rebuild team culture throughout the organisation by focusing on technology, encouragement and support to get employees inspired and excited to get back into the working groove. Whether employees are still working from home, heading into the office a few days a week, or back to the office in full, CFO’s must work hard to retain a collaborative, fun and rewarding company culture if they wish to thrive throughout this new normal.

3. Implementing The New Business Model

Just like any economic crisis, the business world will be different all throughout the crisis and once it ends. Only the organisations that transform, innovate and adapt will be positioning themselves to succeed. On the other hand, companies that don’t adapt and simply hope for the best are unlikely to make it out alive.

CFO’s have the opportunity to create a whole new and improved normal, which is a rare opportunity and something that should be embraced. We have seen this opportunity embraced by companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash. As restaurants and cafes are struggling, tech savvy companies like these are thriving. Further, as gyms and fitness clubs also struggle to survive with constant lockdowns and members switching to online fitness apps, companies like Peloton and at – home fitness company Mirror are prospering. The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change and innovative companies that have capitalized on these new trends are reaping the benefits. Though for companies that have remained the same, it’s a different story.

Developing the new post – covid business model began in 2020, but it is a process that will continue to evolve throughout 2021. The current generation of CFO’s must lead the effort together with the CEO to create, implement and sustain this new, highly adaptive business model in order to thrive in the new normal.

If your organisation has been hit hard by the pandemic and is in need of a part time or interim CFO to get things back on track, don’t hesitate to contact Michael Hamilton at Blue Dragon Business Services.

Blue Dragon Business Services are tax agents and virtual cfo’s located in Cooroy, in the heart of Noosa Hinterland. We service all areas of the Sunshine Coast and South-East Queensland including Brisbane, Gympie, Ipswich and Logan  for tax, BAS and bookkeeping. We also practice as virtual CFOs, take on interim CFO engagements as well as financial management, reengineering and restructures including business turnarounds, transformations and expert financial modelling.

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