An overwhelming majority of CFOs are optimistic about how their companies will perform in 2021, and they see global expansion as the pathway to company success, according to a survey conducted by CFO Research of Industry Dive and Globalization Partners polling 215 chief financial officers, chief executive officers, and other senior finance executives at companies across the world.

The survey revealed that there has been a shift in respondents’ perception of hiring and remote work, and how these two factors will impact their global expansion strategy. The survey results also showed interesting regional differences in how the executives view their companies’ prospects and how aggressive they plan to be with expansions.

Here are some highlights from the findings.

1. Performance and growth in 2021

Nine-three percent of CFOs predict that their companies will meet and exceed their goals for 2021. Forty percent of them also said they are experiencing accelerated growth.


2. Success correlated with global expansion

Eighty percent of the executives expressed great interest in international expansion as a part of their long-term growth strategy and are making it a top priority in the next 12 to 18 months.

3. Remote work models

The pandemic caused the reorientation of company workforces to remote- and hybrid remote/office-work models. These remote work models also play a key role in global expansions, as stated by 74 percent of the executives, who say they will continue to operate remotely for the next 12 to 18 months.

4. Hiring and workforce management

The Covid-19 pandemic has altered the way 74 percent of the respondents think about hiring and workforce management.  As a result, 42 percent of the executives expressed that they want to attract new talent that is unbounded by the geographic restrictions of their company’s operating model.

5. Tapping into a global talent pool

For CFOs, the opportunity to expand their search for talent presents a chance to reimagine and adapt their business models. In fact, 85 percent of the executives are interested in tapping into a more cost-effective, global talent pool.

Regional Differences

The survey revealed some differences between global regions regarding performance and growth outlooks and plans for global expansion, as well as approaches to remote and hybrid workforce models and global hiring.

EMEA region 

Of the executives surveyed from the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, 90 percent  predict their companies will meet or exceed goals and expectations in 2021.Meanwhile 79 percent anticipate operating remote or hybrid workforce models in the next 12 to 18 months.

North America

Executives from the North American region are leading the way on optimism for 2021, as 97 percent predicted their companies will meet or exceed goals and expectations. This is despite a more pessimistic evaluation of their current company statuses, with 26 percent of the respondents describing their companies as in a state of accelerated growth.

Strategizing for global expansions was among the top priorities for all three surveyed regions. Of the APAC executives, 53 percent said they are prioritizing the implementation of a strategy for global expansion and presence, compared to 39 percent of the EMEA executives and 36 percent of the North American executives. CFOs across the world are optimistic, as global expansion opportunities abound, including newly shaped post-pandemic markets and M&A opportunities. They are also reimagining their business models to tap into a global talent pool to build their highly skilled, diverse teams.

Read the complete report here.


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