Most signs point to an ongoing recovery for the U.S. and much of the world, but regional COVID spikes have prompted renewed calls for stay-at-home restrictions, keeping uncertainty as the only sure thing. That’s been the case for most of 2020. But CFOs are hoping to get in front of constant reforecasting and revised modeling with more digital investments. And, proving that remote and flexible work are here to stay, companies are now beginning to hire directors of remote work.
Here are a few expert opinions we’ve found helpful in the past week, and we hope you do, too.
What the Experts are Saying on FP&A
A new Gartner survey of CFOs found that the pandemic amplified any digital shortcomings, so they’re upping their digital investments for 2021 to close those gaps. Advanced data analytics and robotic process automation were named as the two biggest areas of investment. And, for the first time ever in a Gartner CFO survey, the top 5 priorities were technology related. It reflects the pressure FP&A is under to help the business react and respond to uncertainty. “The business is demanding faster agile planning and insights to help the business find and respond to challenges and growth opportunities.”
Deloitte / WSJ: Global Economic Brief: Manufacturing Bounces Back
U.S. jobless claims continue to fall, but the global economy is also showing signs of continued growth. A recent update to the global purchasing managers’ index (PMI) hit a 29-month high. That indicates moderate growth, firm demand, and supply chain resilience. In a reflection of widespread global improvement, every major industrial nation saw a positive move in their PMI. But, obviously, uncertainty is still a factor. “It remains to be seen whether hopes generated by Pfizer’s announcement will be realized…(and the manufacturing industry) continues to face the challenge of weak global trade.”
The current economic recovery is faster than that of the Great Recession, but it’s also fractured. U.S. states differ widely in unemployment rates, from 15% in Hawaii to 3.5% in Nebraska, and family finances have changed anywhere from a 31% increase to a 33% decrease. New home building is also increasing, with September up 11% from a year ago, while 2% of the labor force has stopped looking for work. “It’s truly a tale of two recoveries whereby some people, professions, and geographic areas have recovered swiftly…while others are mired in a long slog.”
Fast Company: Facebook is adding a new director of remote work
Remote work is here to stay, at least in some form. That’s prompting companies to hire a remote work leader to design and execute their plans. Their goal will be to ensure both on-site and remote workers have similar work experiences, including career guidance, giving workers what they need to be successful, and helping managers better understand how to work with hybrid teams. And, that applies for those working at home and those working in the office. “While employees who are working remotely may need the most guidance and help feeling connected, companies need to think about those employees working on campus as well.”
Stay Tuned for More Useful FP&A Content
We’ll be continuing this weekly update with links related to how FP&A and CFO’s are leading their organizations through the continuing recovery. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please engage with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.