CFO Priorities For 2021…And Beyond

CFOs and their teams have no shortage of challenges and opportunities in 2021. Jack McCullough, President & Founder, CFO Leadership Council weighs in.  

Jack is a Senior Contributor to Forbes CFO Network.  An excerpt is below.

One of the primary lessons for all executives from this last tumultuous year was that they cannot control or even predict certain outside events. The best CFOs can do is to create flexible business models that can react quickly and decisively if conditions deteriorate, while also being able to capitalize aggressively on opportunities as they emerge.

In my role as the president of a professional society for chief financial officers, I have garnered insight into CFO priorities through a combination of surveys, focus groups, and just plain old conversations. These priorities, especially for 2021, are wide-ranging, and the ones listed here are not meant to be one-size-fits-all. Obviously, the priorities of a healthcare CFO will differ from those of a CFO in the technology sector, which will vary still from one in the hospitality industry. But certain commonalities have emerged across industries, company size, and stage. The most important and consistent priorities are identified below.

Digital Transformation

Few, if any, investments can give an organization a sustainable competitive advantage like an investment in technology. Where else can an organization invest that will increase top-line growth, operational efficiency, and  employee collaboration? Indeed, many CFOs viewed the chaos of 2020 as the justification to make long-term technology investments on which they had previously been procrastinating. Those companies that finally made the investment in 2020 will reap the rewards in 2021 and beyond. Building upon this momentum in 2021 is a key priority for finance chiefs. And those who did not make the investment in 2020 nevertheless realize how important a digital strategy is to the health of their organization and are planning to do so in 2021.

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About Jack McCullough

Jack McCullough is a recognized thought leader in the field of financial leadership, with a career that has included CFO positions at 26 companies. He founded the CFO Leadership Council, a global organization dedicated to empowering senior financial executives through innovative professional development programs and peer networking. His other accomplishments include chairing the MIT Sloan CFO Summit, and creating the vision behind CFO Week, a one-of-a-kind learning and networking experience jointly executed by the CFO Leadership Council and MIT Sloan. He is a contributor to, where he writes for the CFO Network on challenges and opportunities facing financial leaders.  He is an entertaining and insightful public speaker, and has spoken to thousands of CFOs, and is frequently contacted by members of the media who appreciate his candor, insight and wit.


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About The CFO Leadership Council

What began as a close knit experiment back in 2006 is now a global community, 2000+ members & 26 chapters strong.  The CFO Leadership Council offers both live & online programs that feature expert panels and interactive sessions that drive meaningful conversation and leadership development among our membership. Our collection of leadership development resources similar to this article contain pragmatic insights and advice sourced directly from our members and industry experts.  Recordings of CFOLC webcasts are made available to our current CFOLC Premium & Virtual members. For a full list of programs, visit

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The CFO Leadership Council is a community dedicated to empowering our members to grow and thrive. We  provide insights needed to overcome any challenge a CFO may face and meaningful connectivity to a dynamic community of peers in a way that is most convenient and beneficial. Who are our members?  CFOs, Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents of Finance, Director of FP&A, CAO, Controllers, Directors of Finance, and other senior financial leaders make up our membership and are invited to join.  Start engaging today at


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