The Global CFO Survey 2021

17 May 2021

A deserted road with mountains in the horizon
Cover for The Global CFO Survey

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Our annual survey of CFOs and their management teams are now in its 5th year. Our last report was undertaken immediately prior to the onset of the global pandemic. This paper seeks to engage with finance leaders’ expectations for their functions both alongside and after COVID-19.

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The obvious impacts of the pandemic on CFOs and their teams are clear. On a personal level, 7% of leaders were asked to take a base salary cut in 2020, and 57% saw a decrease in their total reward once variable compensation was included. A further 45% expect another decrease in total compensation for 2021. The changes to working habits as a result of COVID-19 are also expected to remain. Only 2% of respondents expect to be fully back in the office within 12 months, with the vast majority anticipating a hybrid home/office working model. Perhaps the biggest shift is that 54% of respondents said they would now consider hiring candidates with no expectation that they would ever work in the same location as a company office.

The key message from our findings are therefore two-fold – firstly, CFOs expect the impacts of the pandemic in the way they execute their work to be long lasting but secondly, supporting these new working habits will require long term thinking & largescale investment that will outlast the most acute phase of the pandemic itself. With all this in mind it may be unsurprising that CFOs told us that when hiring this year, leaders with certified change management qualifications would be more appealing to them than those with MBAs.