Top 3 focus areas for financial executives in 2020


Digital transformation, talent acquisition and retention and capital preservation are the three main themes that are top of mind among financial executives since the first quarter of 2020, according to a new survey.

The survey conducted by Financial Executive International (FEI) to track trends affecting financial decision making during the first quarter of 2020, states that the majority of decisions are focusing on how to address the health crisis. Future decisions will become economics-driven.

70% of the 228 executives surveyed, are certain work-from-home or travel restrictions will be altered long term.

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These changes will come in two phases; near-term, which is reactionary based on the current health crisis and stringent quarantine restrictions, and long-term, which will be based largely on the looming impending economic downturn.

Andrej Suskavcevic, CEO of FEI, said: “Our initial intent for the Quarterly Priorities Survey was to provide financial professionals with a timely snapshot of how their industry progresses by spotlighting areas of importance by region.

“Given the pandemic has since thrust us into unprecedented circumstances, we now believe that this report can become an invaluable way to analyze the health, strategic recovery, and creative evolution of our business communities. Ultimately, we envision the survey becoming a tool for financial executives to use to best determine how to mitigate this complex economic environment.”

Travel will now be evaluated primarily by how it fits into the overall business strategy. As such, organizations are planning stringent policy reviews around common activities such as client meetings, staff meetings, and conferences to determine whether in-person attendance versus remote attendance will be justified moving forward.

Talent acquisition and retention

46% of executives are seeking to reduce head count whilst 18% want to expand their workforce.

The recent change in economic climate has disrupted the job market equilibrium—shifting power from the professional to the organization as a result of layoffs and furloughs over the month of April.

Capital Preservation

32% of survey respondents indicated that their working capital increased over the last quarter, 33% indicated that their organization’s working capital decreased, and 35% of respondents indicated that their working capital stayed the same.

Survey participants are based in Arizona, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Houston, New Jersey, New York, Northeastern Wisconsin, Silicon Valley and Twin Cities.

Click here for more information about the survey.