Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.” In 2021, companies and individuals are going to need the courage to stay the course, take some chances, trust their gut, have faith in the people they work for and with, and remain hopeful for a 2021 that pales in comparison to 2020. With that being said, here are 10 predictions broken into two parts from the team at FYIsoft that could help guide you through the next twelve months.
- Advances in automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to eliminate highly manual & low value work in 2021 — The economy will be clawing its way back in 2021 so lean and mean will be the operative words. Thus, utilizing finance and accounting tools and being able to automate as much as possible, will be the key to some semblance of normalcy in the new year. If you don’t know by now, AI apps and ML apps are already impacting accounting & finance professionals and their everyday jobs. As the cornerstone of the enterprise, finance has been the de-facto leader in leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver real-time insights, inform decision making and drive efficiency across the enterprise. Therefore, in 2021 look to finance to continue to be one of the first business functions to not only see the impact of these technologies on day-to-day activities—in everything from automating payments to calculating risk and maintaining records, but also the business unit that pushes the envelope on what is possible with these bleeding edge technologies.
- Reporting that goes above and beyond will be the status quo in 2021. It’s no secret that CFOs crave a more in-depth picture of their customers and providers. Coupled with the big data and analytics capabilities that they should have, CFOs in 2021 will need to anticipate more quickly, future needs, enabling the use of non-financial data for reporting and predicting potential future requirements, and ensuring the organization is agile enough to respond. In 2021, CFO’s will/must create improved forecasting sensitivity models to scenario plan and ensure, worse case, any changes do not interrupt the ability to operate (Thanks for that, 2020).
- The game has changed, the rules have changed, and the roles have changed too. Gone are the days where high-skilled positions are able to fly above the fray — particularly the roles of the CFO, as well as the controller, the treasurer and VP’s of finance. They are all evolving. With “Props” to a year unlike any other, not only will CFOs have to wear the title of change agent, but they’ll also need more speed and flexibility in their financial reporting; they’ll also need to pivot towards a more analytics based approach in their decision making as well. Think more proactive rather than reactive. Is it a tall ask? Yes and no. The speed of now is increasing, and finance and accounting professionals are going to simultaneously need to keep up while stepping up.
- Don’t sleep on finance transformation. If there is an underlying theme to this list it might be that technology flows through the floorboards of all finance and accounting organizations. For CFOs, it’s crucial to put a higher premium on what finance transformation signifies—both for their companies and their own roles. In fact, it’s critical for them in 2021 to quickly consider how they can digitize the finance function by implementing cutting-edge technologies that decrease costs and increase insights. In 2021, it will be incumbent for the CFO to blend the potential and power of those cutting-edge technologies to drive value—with a staff that is not reliant or dependent on antiquated business practices. At the very core of finance transformation should be technology and enabling tools, driven with people that are not only embracing it, but also extracting information that brings value back to the organization. Once in place, finance’s focus can then shift to supplying business insights and helping provide differentiated service to customers by acting as catalysts and strategists and not as rinse and repeaters
- If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that in order to compete, a solid cloud ERP solution will be a key requirement for the majority of those working from home. Given that work from home policies will extend well beyond the new year, accessing the information they need to do their jobs from anywhere is the key to surviving and thriving not only in the new year but for years to come. Cloud ERP solutions become white-hot in 2021. Mark it down.
Tomorrow, we bring you part 2 of our 2021 predictions. For the uninitiated, here’s a little bit about FYIsoft. We enable finance and accounting teams the ability to speed and simplify the financial close cycle and make better data-driven decisions with our unified FP&A platform for reporting, analysis and budgeting. Thus, we are uniquely qualified to opine on what just might happen in the finance and accounting space in 2021. Have a thought or an opinion on what we think? Let’s hear it!