Three quarters of CFOs look to cloud applications amid pandemic

Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) and vice presidents of finance consider cloud-based applications as a top priority following the ‘wake-up call’ of the pandemic.

A survey of more than 1,000 finance leaders worldwide by consulting firm Protiviti found that many had realised the importance of investing in digital capabilities following the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Financial and operational pressures have meant that 18 per cent are now relying on managed services providers and 29 per cent are leveraging staff augmentation to support greater speed and agility for financial planning and analysis.

As for priorities, data security, analytics and cloud continue to top the list of CFO concerns - with 80 per cent of respondents ranking cloud as a top priority.

Of those respondents to the survey who were CFOs and VPs of finance, 72 per cent ranked cloud-based applications as a top priority to address over the next 12 months, while 17 per cent ranked cloud-based applications as the most important finance priority for their organisations to address – a jump from eight per cent of respondents who said the same in 2019.

The report showed that CFOs have solidified their long-term strategic role as a stakeholder in organisational data security and privacy, while marshalling advanced technologies, data analytics and other finance planning improvements to keep pace with changing demands from internal customers.

Chris Wright, managing director and global leader of Protiviti’s business performance improvement practice, said: “Having the right technology infrastructure and cloud capabilities is now considered a baseline in order to operate effectively and efficiently and will continue to be as organisations move into a hybrid work environment.

“COVID-19 disruptions underscored the critical nature of a truly digital finance workforce and companies without advanced technologies and digital processes faced a difficult transition to remote work," he continued, adding: "We’re now seeing an increasing number of boards and CEOs tap their finance leaders for guidance about whether their organisation is allocating enough resources to their technology infrastructure.”

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