In the Face of Modest Risk of Recession and Rising Tensions in the Middle East, AchieveNEXT’s Study Finds U.S. Finance and HR Leaders Are Watchful, but Not Waiting, in 2020.

AchieveNEXT, a leading provider of Peer Advisory Networks and specialized Career, Coaching, Training & Development Services, releases their 10th Annual CFO Sentiment Study and its first including CHRO Sentiment, to provide insights into the strategic planning, outlook, and financial objectives for 2020 for the enterprises that these Finance and HR executives lead and serve.

Increasing speculation regarding the timing of a recession, a presidential impeachment, increasing unrest in the Middle East, and global economic uncertainty/pessimism have not tempered optimism from over 600 Finance & HR leaders from across North America.  ​

More than ⅔ of the 600+ North American Finance and HR Leaders surveyed by AchieveNEXT between Nov. 6 and Dec. 31, 2019, remain bullish on the growth and performance of the U.S. economy in the year ahead. In addition, survey respondents are even more confident in the performance of their industry sectors, with ¾ of them characterizing their industry sector health as Strong to Extremely Strong. This confidence carries over to their belief that this will be a year for continued top-line revenue growth for their enterprises, as most CFOs are keeping their feet on the revenue accelerator in 2020.

Where will the majority invest to drive revenue in 2020?

  • 56% will invest in new market entries and increased customer spend to drive top-line revenue performance.
  • More than 80% of the survey participants remain Confident/Extremely Confident in their ability to access capital and/or credit if needed, which is slightly higher than last year.
  • For almost ⅓ of Study participants, the focus is to just keep going at full speed on their acquisition-fueled strategy for aggressive growth in 2020.

For some Finance leaders, uncertainty may influence their 2020 cash-allocation plans. While some finance leaders are not spending down their cash reserves and are strengthening their P&Ls to make sure that they can be self-sufficient should they experience a sudden or abrupt downturn, this does not mean that the majority intends to sit tight in 2020.

“Many CFOs are building their cash war chests not simply to outlast any perceived slow period coming but to be in a position to seize opportunities when others cannot. For some, that could mean acquiring a stifled competitor at a more reasonable valuation. For others, it could mean adding premium talent at more affordable prices. And, for even more, it could mean taking customers from a weakened competitor,” says Nick Araco, CEO of AchieveNEXT and the Alliance Peer Advisory Networks. “Regardless of the ‘noise’ that Finance and HR leaders must navigate each day, most expect 2020 to be a year of continued focus on profitable top-line revenue growth and waging war for top talent and customers.”

The Study identified five (5) critical areas of opportunity and issue that CFOs and CHROs believe will define their enterprise success in 2020:

1. Finance and HR Leaders Are Watchful, but Not Waiting, for Recession.

2. Four Forces Will Drive Both CFO and CHRO Performance This Decade.

3. All Enterprises Will Need to Align Customer and Employee Experiences.

4. A Critical Directive for Finance and HR Leaders in 2020 Will Be Upskilling and Enabling Talent.

5. Finance and HR Must Work Together to Improve Operational Decision Making.

About The Study

This Study captures the sentiments and intentions of The CFO Alliance, the leading peer advisory network for more than 8,000 Finance leaders representing middle market and emerging enterprises from diverse industries and markets, and adds the opinions and insights from the newest AchieveNEXT Network, The CHRO Alliance, a peer advisory network for senior HR leaders. This Study offers comparisons and contrasts between how modern Finance and HR leaders plan to best position their enterprises to address challenges and to capitalize on opportunities as a new decade begins. More than Six-Hundred Finance and HR leaders from across North America participated in this year’s Study, co-Sponsored by Workday.

To see additional results from The 2020 CFO/CHRO Sentiment Study, request to download a copy here.

Contact info:
Name: Deanna Tully, Operations Manager
Organization: AchieveNEXT
Address: 1265 Drummers Lane, Suite 106 Wayne, PA 19087
Phone: 610.492.7400

About AchieveNEXT
AchieveNEXT, headquartered in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is a leading provider of Peer Advisory Networks and specialized Career, Coaching, and Training and Development Services with a relentless focus on top-line, bottom-line, and shareholder value. AchieveNEXT’s Alliance Peer Advisory Networks are the leading peer advisory networks for more than 8,000 Modern Finance and HR leaders representing middle-market and emerging enterprises from diverse industries and markets. Alliance Network Members share their knowledge, insights, advice and counsel virtually and in-person to ‘Make Connections That Count.’ For Membership information, visit

About Workday
Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance, HR, and planning. Founded in 2005, Workday delivers financial management, human capital management, and analytics applications designed for the world’s largest companies, educational institutions, and government agencies. Organizations ranging from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 50 enterprises have selected Workday. For additional information, visit

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