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CFOs and other finance executives are optimistic that economic recovery is on the horizon: three-quarters (73 percent) expect that they will return to normal growth by the end of 2021, according to the latest Enterprise Financial Decision-Making Report from OneStream, a provider of corporate performance management solutions for mid-sized and large enterprises. Companies have significantly increased their data analysis tool investments and usage over the past year, the report found.

Over half of companies are using data analysis tools more than before the pandemic.

Above: Over half of companies are using data analysis tools more than before the pandemic.

Image Credit: OneStream Software

OneStream’s study targeted finance leaders across North America and identified the factors driving their priorities, budgets and technology adoption plans for 2021. The survey found that the COVID-19 pandemic created a heightened need for agile forecasting, predictive planning and digital transformation. The ability to quickly reforecast budgets and shift workflows has become essential.

The 2021 report found that finance executives have significantly increased their data analysis tool investments and usage. Companies commonly invested in artificial intelligence (59 percent) and increased their use of cloud-based planning and reporting solutions (65 percent). Most companies already use (69 percent) or plan to use (18 percent) low-code development platforms, which enable business users and citizen developers to take on new roles while circumventing complicated coding requirements. For return-to-office budgets, data privacy tools are the most common priority (18%), followed by hybrid cloud technologies.

Compare the results with OneStream’s 2020 Enterprise Financial Decision-Making Report where less than half (46 percent) of the finance executives reported using cloud-based solutions regularly, while less than a quarter used machine learning (21 percent) and artificial intelligence (20 percent) solutions.


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Many finance executives are evaluating their workforce, technology and supply chain needs for a post-pandemic reality. However, the political and social landscape have also heavily impacted investment decisions, leading executives to prioritize sustainability and diversity initiatives as well.

The commissioned study, conducted by Hanover Research in April of 2021, sourced insights from 340 finance decision makers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. All individuals hold management position (C-level executive (CFO), VP, Director, Controller) in finance. Respondents work at companies across numerous industries and varying revenues, with 24 percent employed by companies with over $1 billion in annual revenue.

Read the full OneStream report Enterprise Financial Decision-Making Report 2021 — North America.

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