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2021 CFO Insights Survey Report

2021 CFO Insights Survey Report

The inaugural 2021 CFO Insights Survey, co-released by Tricor Group and FutureCFO, reveals sentiments, insights and priorities from a sample of ~600 CFOs worldwide. The research study samples a cross-section of CFOs from startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), multinational corporations (MNCs) and listed companies in the private sector globally with a concentration on the key Asia Pacific (APAC) markets of Hong Kong SAR, mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore.

What’s in this report?

The 2021 CFO Insights Survey identifies unique drivers influencing the decision-making process among senior finance leaders, drawing from primary survey data along with secondary research findings. Additionally, the report provides industry analysis, recommendations and best practices to help finance departments build resiliency, drive operational efficiencies and boost capabilities.

Rather than waiting for a return to “normal”, CFOs are charting a new path forward.

The 2021 CFO Insights Survey also underscores five key priorities which CFOs must consider to help navigate the unpredictable and unprecedented business landscape post-COVID-19: 

  • Recalibrate operations to make organizations more resilient, including the implementation of automation and robotics. When CFOs globally were asked what their top priority was for 2021, recalibration earned the top spot with 26% of respondents selecting it.

  • Identify areas where the highest operational efficiencies can be achieved. For example, 13% of respondents said reducing exposure to office leases and utility costs would be part of their cost-cutting strategies in 2021.

  • Outsource processes to third-party partners that deliver economies of scale, efficiently process data and tap digital talent. Nearly half of CFOs surveyed (44%) revealed they would consider outsourcing several non-core functions, including accounting and payment processing, payroll and HR administration, tax compliance, corporate secretarial services, internal audit and regulatory compliance.

  • Accelerate digital transformation and technology adoption efforts. Many organizations expect remote work to continue post-pandemic. To support hybrid environments and unlock the benefits of virtualization, companies will need to digitalize functions such as customer service, supply chain management, finance, human resources and payment processing.

  • Detect more functions that could benefit from third-party outsourcing. The majority of respondents (21%) indicated that accounting and payment processing are the most likely functions they would outsource, followed closely by tax compliance, HR and corporate secretarial.

Drawing from secondary research data and expertise from Tricor experts, the report also suggests that CFOs must leverage specialized expertise across key areas, including business continuity planning (BCP), governance, risk management and compliance (GRC), environmental, social and governance (ESG) and digital transformation. 

The study also highlights takeaways in APAC, concentrating on differentiators in the markets of Hong Kong SAR, mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore. Here is a sample of those findings:


We invite you to explore valuable survey data and expert insights from Tricor Group and FutureCFO with the inaugural 2021 CFO Insights Survey. This comprehensive report can be referenced by finance leaders to stay ahead of the curve and learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world of finance and accounting in the long-term. 


2021 CFO Insights Survey Report