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Chief financial officers last year raised billions of dollars to stabilize their companies' finances, cut costs and pivoted their businesses to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn.
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As executives look ahead, vaccines against Covid-19 — greenlighted by U.S. authorities in recent weeks — are expected to boost growth in the second half of 2021, as Americans return to offices, shopping malls and gyms.
Here are 10 things that could be top of mind for CFOs in 2021.
Finance chiefs expect their companies' revenue to rise by an average of 6.9% in 2021, up from a 0.3% increase forecast for 2020, according to a recent survey by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the Federal Reserve Banks of Richmond and Atlanta. Executives will be monitoring potential setbacks to the economic recovery, especially in industries hit hard by the pandemic, such as travel, hospitality and bricks-and-mortar retail.
President-elect Joe Biden has proposed raising the corporate-tax rate to 28%, up from the current 21%, alongside other measures. The new administration can shape tax policy even without a majority in Congress, for example by providing additional guidance on existing rules through the Treasury Department, said Greg Engel, vice chair for tax at professional services firm KPMG LLP.
CFOs also will keep track of potential changes around taxation of global companies, as suggested by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Those plans could pick up pace in 2021.