- Companies say transformations in technology (68%) and sustainability strategies (62%) are most likely.
- ESG criteria mark the C-suite agenda: three-quarters of respondents plan to increase investment in sustainability initiatives and most have made public commitments on a range of ESG topics.
- Research suggests, however, a gap between intention and action.
According to the Mazars C-suite Barometer, C-suite professionals are ready to respond to future trends and transformations. But are they ready to move from intentions to actions?
March 24th, 2021: Mazars, an international audit, tax and consultancy firm, launches its C-suite Barometer 2021: “Time for action”. Held in Q2021 1.000, the Mazars C-suite Barometer surveyed more than 39 executives from XNUMX countries around the world to understand what opportunities and challenges they face.
Mark Kennedy, Partner and member of the Group Executive Board at Mazars, explains: “We conduct our annual barometer to listen to and understand the opportunities and challenges our customers are facing. One of the most significant findings of the study was the sense of confidence and resilience shown: with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, rising inflation and the horrific attack on Ukraine, these are qualities that will be tested again this year.”
Technological and sustainability transformations
The survey concluded that leaders expect their businesses to undergo transformations, with those related to technology and sustainability being the most likely: 68% expect to undergo a technological transformation and 62% expect a transformation in their sustainability strategy in the next three to five years.
Feeling of confidence and resilience
Companies are confident they can respond to trends: 94% believe in their response to technology/innovation trends; 91% facing the expectations of governance, ethics and social responsibility; and 90% to new or more complex regulatory requirements. The majority (88%) believe they have the resilience to face a crisis. In the face of increasing cybersecurity risks, the majority (68%) are confident that their data is completely protected.
ESG on the C-suite agenda: time to move from intention to practice
Companies expect to transform their sustainability strategies, increase investment in these types of initiatives and are making public commitments on a range of ESG topics. ESG criteria are clearly the focus of C-suite professionals.
Chris Fuggle, Co-Head of Sustainability at Mazars, comments: “The big challenge is turning intentions and commitments into actionable strategies. It is critical to build ESG knowledge at the highest levels, embed it in business strategy, and have a daily follow-up plan. This is not a quick solution, but the important thing is to start moving in this direction.”
From strategy to action
Considering the expected transformations, the confidence to respond to trends, the planned investments and the commitments made to the ESG criteria, there seems to be a gap between intention and action.
Having the right programs in place and the right leaders with the right skills will be crucial. The survey identified the three most important competencies leaders will need for the next three to five years: strategic vision and planning; analytical thinking and problem solving; innovation and creativity.
With a focus on ESG criteria and high confidence to meet governance, ethics and social responsibility expectations, it is perhaps surprising that the “sense of purpose for the future of the organization”, the “ethics to lead and lead responsibly” and the “intelligence emotional” are not at the top of the list.
Kennedy comments: “Competition for talent is fierce, particularly with increasing ESG criteria and people's expectations of how companies should behave. Organizations that demonstrate their values and vision, and that are able to develop, recruit and train their people with the right skills, have the opportunity to build a competitive advantage.”
Research shows that companies feel prepared and confident to respond to future trends and transformations. But to deliver on their promises, they need to focus investments and ensure their strategies are achievable. Now it's time to act.
About the study
The Mazars C-suite barometer was designed and conducted by GQR Research in collaboration with Mazars. Data was collected through an online survey between September 24, 2021 and October 25, 2021. The total sample is N=1.130, with 1.096 coming from online panels and 34 invited directly by Mazars via email.
Mazars is a partnership integrated and international, specializing in auditing, accounting, consulting, taxation and legal services*. It operates in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide and has the expertise of more than 44.000 professionals – 28.000+ in the partnership and 16.000+ via the Mazars North America Alliance – to support customers of all sizes at every stage of their development.
*when permitted by local law.