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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Our annual look at the top 10 stories of the year

Lynne Sampson
Managing Editor

It’s not hard to guess what the top news story of 2020 was: COVID, COVID, COVID. (Oh, and there was an election in there somewhere, too.) As businesses everywhere were upended by the global pandemic, our regular coverage shifted to focus on how finance teams could cope with the crisis. Our coverage this year ranged from business continuity, to scenario planning, to how to return to work safely.

Yet even amidst all this, there was still an appetite for stories that addressed more evergreen topics, such as cloud migrations, analyst reports, and vendor comparisons. In our annual tradition, here are the most-read stories of 2020 on The Modern Finance Leader.

10. 6 compelling reasons to move from on-premise to cloud ERP

We originally published this story several years ago, but in light of COVID-19, we decided it needed an update. The pandemic drove digital transformation across almost every industry, with work-from-home and mobile access suddenly must-have capabilities. Companies needed to make the move, fast, and many decided to accelerate their timelines on replacing their legacy ERP systems. This story outlines 6 reasons to make the move now, and post-COVID.

9. Resilient together: Leading FedEx Services through COVID-19

FedEx was immediately declared an essential service at the start of the pandemic, delivering critical supplies around the world. We’re incredibly proud that they chose to share their story with us. Chris Wood, vice president of business transformation with FedEx Services, outlines how the company built a resilient business able to withstand major disruptions.

8. 4 crucial changes every CFO should be making right now

This is the first of several collaborations with AICPA-CIMA to crack our top 10. Nick Jackson is not only an Oracle employee, he’s also the new president of CIMA. In this story, Nick looks at how CFOs can adapt to the crisis, and build a foundation for a more resilient business in the future.

7. 5 global trends for ERP in the near future

Analyst opinions always carry weight, and this article by R “Ray” Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research, proved one of our most popular. Written and published pre-COVID, the story nevertheless holds up well, predicting how ERP will evolve as automation and machine learning continue to gather steam.

6. Why CFOs need to improve technical and people skills

Ash Noah leads learning, education and development programs for AICPA-CIMA. In this article, he looks at the new skills expected of finance leaders—including “soft” skills such as people management—and advises how to keep pace using the latest available training.

5. Oracle Cloud ERP is a Magic Quadrant Leader 4 years in a row

Analyst reports are always a hit, and this one was no exception, with Oracle (ERP Cloud) earning a “Leader” position for the 4th year running in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management Suites for Midsize, Large and Global Enterprises. In other analyst reports/research: Oracle (ERP Cloud) was named the only Leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises, and Oracle was named a Leader in the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Financial Planning and Analysis Solutions.

4. 5 steps for business continuity amid COVID-19

Another joint collaboration with AICPA-CIMA, this story grew out of a series of webcasts designed to answer urgent questions about managing the crisis. Author Ash Noah wrote, “Our global economic and social system is operating in uncharted territory.” Yet it also provided an opportunity for finance leaders to step up, mitigating risks and leading recovery efforts. We take a look at how.

3. 7 skills every accountant needs in the age of automation

Crisis or not, there are certain skills that every finance leader should learn to stay relevant—especially as many rote accounting tasks become automated. We were thrilled to work with Tom Hood, one of the most influential voices in accounting, to outline the skills that every finance leader should master in a world of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

2. How to use scenario planning to navigate a crisis

Undoubtedly the hottest topic of the year, scenario planning was on everyone’s minds through every stage of the pandemic. The global health crisis is unprecedented in modern times. Without historical data and trends, how could finance teams create forecasts? This story from Oracle’s Marc Seewald outlines how scenario planning can help model several outcomes at once—and be prepared for any of them.

1. Oracle vs. Workday: 5 things you need to know

The story that just won’t quit! For the third year running, this proved to be our most popular story, updated recently with a new list of 5 things to look for. More than seven thousand finance and HR leaders dropped by in 2020 to get the scoop. Maybe you should, too!

Happy New Year from all of us here at The Modern Finance Leader!

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management Suites for Midsize, Large and Global Enterprises, Robert Anderson, John Van Decker, Greg Leiter, June 29, 2020

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises, Tim Faith, Duy Nguyen, Denis Torii, Paul Schenck, Christian Hestermann, 22 June 2020

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Cloud Financial Planning and Analysis Solutions, Greg Leiter, Robert Anderson, John Van Decker, 6 October 2020

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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