The origin of the fortune cookie may surprise you. Many historians say it developed from a Japanese cracker brought by immigrants to California in the early 20th century. It was soon sweetened up and added to Chinese restaurant menus in San Francisco.
Now, no offense to the prognosticating powers of pastry, but we don’t recommend building next year’s strategy on fortune cookie wisdom.
So to give us a more data-driven roadmap for 2022, we asked Finance experts to spot trends and give us their advice on how to prepare for what’s next.
Finance Trends & Predictions for 2022
The Cookie Says: Your lucky numbers will be your guide
Sally Eaves, Author, Global Strategic Advisor, and Professor of Emerging Technologies, expects data to become a top priority. Everyone will need to be data literate, not just people in tech roles. She points out that some versions of the “5 V” model overlook the importance of data.
She advises: “Finance leaders must have the skills, capacity and confidence to lean into data literacy and move along the data continuum from volume, veracity, volatility, and velocity to that vital 5th V – data value.” Eaves supports investments in data literacy at all levels of the business to, “Move beyond reactive intelligence to data-driven and active intelligence.” The combination of digital transformation and a culture shift to a data-aware workplace is the recipe for success in 2022.
The Cookie Says: Your relationships will bring you joy and prosperity
Although we can all agree that data and tech are Finance fundamentals, Chris E. Ortega, VP of Finance at Unsupervised, proposes a people-first future. “Finance leaders should be aware of the human impact of all financial and non-financial decisions as we continue to navigate these challenging times”, he says.
Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, KET Solutions, LLC, agrees. She points out that, “Remote workers are here to stay, and Finance leaders can use collaboration tools to reinforce and extend the business culture and feeling of inclusion in a hybrid work environment.”
Ellison-Taylor and Ortega stress the importance of inclusive leadership. Ortega says that executive leadership should consider the human perspectives of all business decisions. He puts a twist on what it means to be a CFO: “CFOs of the future will need to connect with people in all areas of the organization by sometimes taking off their Chief Financial Officer hat and putting on their Chief Feelings Officer hat.”
Jack McCullough, President of the CFO Leadership Council, has a particular group of people in mind. He sees Gen Z as the heart of business in the near future:
“Generation Z happens to be the most well-educated, diverse, and technologically savvy cohort in history. They are likely to have more influence on the business community than even the Baby Boom generation once did.”
McCullough advises companies to prioritize their Gen Z customers and employees but also to find a “Gen Z mentor.” He says that many companies haven’t taken this advice, “But the ones who have, rank it as one of their most valuable professional relationships.”
A focus on people in 2022 will strengthen your company culture, benefit business decisions, and improve your bottom line.
Technology Goes Deeper
The Cookie Says: You will find good advice in unexpected places
Digital transformation and technology are nothing new, but our experts anticipate tech playing a more significant role in 2022 throughout the business. Ellison-Taylor considers tech beyond data processing or automating tasks. She says:
“Talent, transformation, and business growth will continue to dominate Finance leader dashboards. Leaders can leverage technology for each of these areas and, in particular, accelerate deep dives in emerging technologies, analytics and cybersecurity.”
“In 2022, I believe the most successful organizations will invest in corporate performance management tools. This investment will support the digital enablement of finance while complementing ERP systems and analytical reporting environments. ”
Eaves sees digital transformation as crucial support for resource optimization, especially time. Businesses should embrace tech for analytical guidance and security.
2022: The Year of Data, People, and Tech
The Cookie Says: You will have many helpers along your journey
2022 is the year of data, tech, and the people behind them. Successful businesses will take deep dives into emerging technology, create a data-driven culture, and keep an eye on human impacts. Companies should pay special attention to Gen Z employees and customers and be open to Gen Z mentor relationships. The cookies — and the smart cookies we interviewed — have spoken!
Read our CFO Benchmark Report for more insights and advice.