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Workday Global CFO Survey

More CFOs will prioritize digital transformation in COVID-19 recovery according to Workday’s latest Global CFO survey (

The research, conducted during the period that COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and many companies were forced to rapidly shift to remote work, reveals that while nearly half of CFOs have not completed any digital transformation initiatives in finance, 34% expect to prioritize it in one year – during recovery from COVID-19, while 54% of CFOs who have implemented some or many digital transformation initiatives pre-pandemic say their organizations consistently perform better on agility, enhanced insights, and improved efficacy.

“CFOs were thrust into uncharted territory when the pandemic hit, underscoring the need for them to be able to make data-driven decisions to adjust, plan, and then continuously re-plan as conditions rapidly changed,” says Michael Magaro, senior vice president, business finance and investor relations, Workday.  “This survey validates CFOs’ shifting priorities as they look to a combination of new skills and technologies to give them greater visibility and agility.  While finance has been slower to embrace digital transformation, it's clear the pandemic has become both a catalyst and imperative for change.”
Key survey findings show that digital finance transformation yields greater agility, efficacy, and confidence for CFOs.  Digital accelerators, companies that have implemented some digital transformation initiatives in finance, are more agile and proficient at efficient reporting, planning, and financial close than digital novices, companies that have yet to implement digital transformation into the finance function. The accelerators are also more confident in the accuracy of their two-year profit and loss (P&L) forecast (73%) versus digital novices (43%).
However, lack of technology skills and internal resistance to change are the two greatest challenges to digital transformation in finance, while lack of budget was the lowest rated challenge.

Nearly half of CFOs surveyed believe that critical business decisions are delayed because finance is not proficient in delivering meaningful insights from data.  More than a third (34%) of CFOs cite a shortage of skills needed to work with emerging technology as a key challenge to generating these insights.

Steps CFOs can take are to prioritise technology investments that provide greater forward-looking visibility, identify and address technology skills gaps, incorporate key performance indicators (KPIs) to overcome resistance to change, and consolidate data into a single source for truth and clarity.

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