AchieveNEXT Mid-Year Sentiment Study 2021


The events of the past 18 months have certainly brought the need for continued evaluation of non- financial drivers of growth and profitability into sharper focus. Finance and HR leaders need the technology and tools to collect, analyze and deploy internal and external data for real-time use in decision-making across the enterprise. In our conversations with mid-market CFOs and CHROs across North America, we found an increasing number of leaders undertaking projects to bring integrated financial planning, performance reporting, and forecasting across their enterprises.

Financial Planning and Analysis

FP&A is a critical capability for CFOs needing to get a more sophisticated understanding of the sources and uses of capital, more granular data about sales, better use of working capital, and insight into efficiency and productivity. With small finance teams, middle market and emerging enterprises increasingly rely on sophisticated IT and service providers to deliver FP&A. Consequently, 37% say they expect to implement initiatives to enhance FP&A this year, and this is cited as a top-level priority by 21% of CFOs. Automation In addition to tools finance leaders can use to query data without the need to build complex models, an increasing number of finance leaders are using extensive automation to help them focus on the high-value decision-making aspects of their job. Security Concerns around data security, financial processes, and financial statement accuracy have increased during the past 18 months, and headlines have underscored what middle market and emerging enterprise leaders knew or should have known: No company is too small to be a target for ransomware or other cyber attacks. Just 18% of survey respondents say their enterprises have fallen victim to a cybersecurity attack, a number that is almost certainly low. (The saying is that there are two kinds of companies: those that know they have been hacked and those that don’t.) Investments in VPN, mobile device management, endpoint security, identity-based network architecture and cloud-based disaster recovery solutions have increased. We expect this growing trend to continue throughout the remainder of 2021 and beyond.


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