Finance Conferences

Build the finance organizations of the future

The premier finance conference for CFOs and their teams

Today marks a time when uncertainty is at a peak — trend lines across major business transformation, market competition, economic uncertainty, employee power in the labor market, capital inefficiency and executive confidence indexes are at an all-time high.

Chief financial officers (CFOs) are being asked to stabilize company performance and help the company translate revenue opportunities into realized profit — at a time when costs are outpacing revenue.

Join us to hear from independent experts to help CFOs with their mandate, including cost differentiation, growth investments, working capital, integrated planning and target setting.

Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference:
May 25 – 26, 2021 | Americas | Virtual

Infographic: The Profile of a CFO

This infographic summarizes our findings on the attributes of modern-day chief financial officers (CFOs) to help finance leaders enhance their personal effectiveness by benchmarking their own role’s scope and experience with their peers.

Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference 2021

This premier destination for CFOs and senior finance executives offers strategic guidance on the trends that shape finance, company performance and personal leadership.
What's covered

Discover what matters most now and how to prepare for what’s ahead:

  • Finance talent 
  • Cost management 
  • Finance technology 
  • Finance process excellence 
  • RPA, blockchain and AI 
  • Growth investment and cost structure 
  • Corporate real estate 
  • Shared services 
  • Financial data and analytics
Who should attend

Take a look at the finance leaders and professionals who attend the conference:

CFO
Get guidance on how to cut through the noise and align technologies and solutions that will help you advance your mission-critical priorities.

Head of financial planning & analysis
Learn how to implement technology that can consolidate the budgeting process and best practices on how to involve internal customers.

Chief accounting leader/corporate controller
Reimagine the use of financial and nonfinancial data to help the business make real-time, smarter and more profitable decisions. 

VP, finance transformation
Gain insights on how to improve the speed and efficiency of the finance organization by leveraging new systems and technologies and ensuring current systems are utilized to their full potential.

I had high expectations for this conference and Gartner surpassed all of them. The speakers were next level, the topics were excellent, and the information was high value.

Sandra Trevino

CFO, TCA Software Solutions

The Gartner finance conference gives you unbiased advice to build the finance organizations of the future

The Gartner team of experts conducts thousands of interactions every year with finance professionals like you. It uses this knowledge to help you address your biggest challenges in areas such as cost management, financial technology, finance process excellence, finance talent and more. Take a deep dive into the technologies and best practices backed with research that will help you build the finance organizations of the future.

Join us for thought-leading guidance and practical tools on how to:

  • Accelerate growth while strengthening the company’s financial position through a delicate cost and growth balancing act
  • Supercharge data, analytics and technology projects to drive a digital finance footprint
  • Rebuild the finance organization to capture comparative advantage
  • Accelerate performance across finance people and processes
  • Assess finance’s comparative advantage in the future and realign resources accordingly
  • Learn how the best companies define their path toward the finance function of 2025
  • Understand how automation and AI are shaping the talent needs of finance
  • Navigate the vast fintech landscape and identify solutions to enhance finance’s people, processes and service delivery models
  • Build your next-generation “digital” finance competency model

Find content aligned to your roles below

Develop realistic budgets and forecasts

The finance function is quickly evolving into something very different from what we see today. Heads of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) need to define the vision in terms of people, processes and structure and prepare the teams to make this shift toward the future.

Take a look inside Gartner virtual conferences

Explore the latest trends in business and technology backed with research and added interactive benefits of virtual. Get actionable insight, connect with peers, find inspiration and discover game-changing tech to lead your organization into the future. Gain an immersive virtual experience with the greatest minds in IT and business.

The Value of Gartner Event Sponsorship

Finance Transformation Trends

Looking ahead to 2025, CFOs report challenges in identifying the likely impact of external and technological trends and incorporating that into their finance transformation strategies. Gartner finds three key trends are materially impacting finance and will translate into five new realities for finance by 2025. CFOs must be able to evolve the finance function’s service mix and operating model to respond.

The ongoing disruption to financial markets and supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is a recent example of how external events can work together to create headwinds for organizations and their finance functions. As CFOs develop forward-looking strategies for their functions, they will need to prepare for the possibility that external trends will prompt additional questions about finance’s structure and operating model.

Over the next five years, three powerful trends will materially change the unique value that the CFO and finance can deliver relative to other corporate functions. Those trends are the democratization of data and analytics, the acceleration of technological capability and increased organizational complexity.

What’s important, these trends are not independent from one another. As they set their strategies, leading CFOs are considering how these trends will converge to impact finance rather than considering the effect of each trend in isolation. CFOs should assess the history, cyclicality, velocity and scale of each trend to more confidently identify the likely convergence.

These trends translate into five core implications for finance. CFOs will need to consider what each implication means for finance’s service mix and operating model.

The finance service mix comprises the services that finance offers to create or preserve value for the organization. The finance operating model encompasses the way in which finance organizes itself and operates day to day to deliver its services throughout the organization.

Companies preparing to compete in an increasingly complex competitive landscape will seek data that is as close to real time as possible. The democratization of data and analytics will empower more parts of the organization to use data to make decisions, while the rapid evolution of digital technology will help make real-time data and analytics possible. As pressure for real-time data grows, so will the criticality of financial and nonfinancial data governance.

What it means for the finance service mix

As data becomes increasingly democratized, finance will take a more aggressive role in setting data standards for the entire organization. Companies will increasingly view their data — and the ability to quickly apply reliable data to make strategic decisions — as a high-value asset. Finance will contribute its data governance expertise to data usage guidance, data literacy training, and controls for financial and nonfinancial data.

What it means for the finance operating model

As finance looks to execute its data governance role more at scale, its main business partners will no longer be business decision makers but the chief data officer (CDO) and the enterprise data governance committee. Finance will work with the CDO to design governance standards and with the governance committee to embed those standards into business-facing IT systems. Increasingly, finance support will be delivered via self-service dashboards rather than through personal interactions.

As financial literacy spreads throughout organizations, business end users’ ability to perform sophisticated business analytics will improve. The rapid evolution of digital technology will include embedded artificial intelligence (AI) that makes it easier for the end user to perform advanced analytics, while the democratization of data and analytics will ensure these tools proliferate. Increased organizational complexity will make it harder for finance to keep up with business analytical needs, leading other functions to make their own analytics investments.

CFOs and their industry leaders must closely evaluate the evolving analytics ecosystem and determine where their analytics support is — and isn’t — necessary given the offerings of other analytics providers.

What it means for the finance service mix

As finance loses its positioning as the sole provider of analytics for pricing, products, customers and overall commercial strategy, its value becomes centered on the forms of analytics where it has a unique advantage. For example, cash flow and working capital analytics, fair value modeling, transfer price optimization and capital projects analysis all require finance’s expertise in financial statements. Finance should also ramp up its focus on metrics and KPI cascade frameworks to help the business more effectively and comprehensively analyze data.

What it means for the finance operating model

As most analytics become more cross-functional, finance will need to integrate its own analytical processes and outputs with the work of other analytics groups throughout the enterprise rather than build stand-alone analytics capabilities within financial planning & analysis (FP&A). Finance-specific analytics types will also require more partnership with experts in the controllership, tax, treasury and FP&A.

Over one-third of finance teams have already adopted RPA within their workflows. Over the next three to five years, the rapid evolution of digital technology will expand automation capabilities beyond RPA and into AI, enabling finance to automate more complex responsibilities in addition to purely transactional ones. Increased organizational complexity will also force finance functions to expand automation’s potential for scale. As automation becomes the norm, process controls also become increasingly important.

Automating a higher proportion of finance work promises to free up some capacity for finance employees to work on more strategic, judgment-based work. However, automated tasks still require human control and quality checks — particularly since the importance of new-to-world compliance and real-time data is elevated. CFOs and other finance leaders will need to actively and continuously manage the unintended and unforeseen consequences of automation.

What it means for the finance service mix

Automation does not generate value in itself; rather, it is a tool that can make it easier — or more challenging — to perform value-generating activities. CFOs and finance leaders should help safeguard the value of the organization and minimize the risk of errors that result from an increasing reliance on unattended, autonomous bots by ensuring the faster creation and scaling of automation controls.

What it means for the finance operating model

CFOs and finance leaders must rescope roles to take on distinct new responsibilities related to automation, such as bot process ownership, bot supervision and digital bias management in AI-led analytics. As automation spreads from the back office to the rest of the finance function, the back office becomes a hub for best practices in automation exceptions handling and management.

As CEOs pursue digitally driven business model innovation to get ahead of their competitors, they must more quickly contend with unfamiliar compliance regulations. Increased organizational complexity is likely to introduce companies to new industries, markets and sources of revenue that are governed by new or evolving compliance mechanisms. At the same time, the democratization of data increases the opportunity for data misuse, compounding the risk of noncompliance.

CFOs today cite growing regulatory scrutiny as their primary cause of concern — even ahead of digital disruption. Meanwhile, rapid business model innovation and new judgment-based accounting standards will complicate finance leaders’ approaches to ensuring their organizations stay in compliance.

What it means for the finance service mix

As new business models proliferate, regulatory and compliance expertise will be placed at a premium, particularly because the new accounting standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board are increasingly principles- and judgment-based. Services such as tax risk management, debt advisory and legal entity rationalization have become increasingly important to organizations’ survival, elevating the importance of finance’s “middle office” (controllership, tax and treasury).

What it means for the finance operating model

As the organization becomes increasingly complex and explores more innovative business model options, finance’s accounting, tax and treasury specialists will need flexibility and scalability to keep up. This includes the ability to rapidly scale up governance structures and provide early advisory services for the business project by project. Existing subfunctional divisions in finance’s front and middle offices are likely to blur to support this capability.

Perpetual digital upskilling will place particularly high pressure on CFOs and other finance leaders: 53% of finance leaders believe hiring or developing critical competencies is challenging because competencies’ criticality changes too quickly. As digital skills continue to evolve faster than finance can address talent gaps (i.e., the gap between employees’ current digital capabilities and the company’s digital skills needs), finance leaders will likely see a diminishing return on their training and development investments. This will lead them to pursue other options for procuring the necessary capabilities to execute the function’s work.

What it means for the finance service mix

Finance will double down on skills that are not replicable outside the finance organization (e.g., financial rules interpretation and judgment-based accounting) while turning to the organization’s broader ecosystem to source other critical skills they lack. In addition, finance-specific areas of expertise will become even more critical as business models and revenue streams change more quickly.

What it means for the finance operating model

To meet finance’s skills requirements at scale, finance functions will use flexible deployment structures (e.g., rotations and talent sharing) to ensure teams — both within finance and cross-functionally — have the right mix of skills. Finance will also redesign existing, hard-to-fill roles within the function to make them more accessible to a greater proportion of employees. Finally, in hiring and reskilling finance employees, finance leaders will focus on skills at the intersection of core finance and “soft” digital skills.

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