Syntellis Report Finds Financial Institutions Were Resourceful in Response to COVID-19 and Face Continued Profitability Challenges in 2021

2021 Financial Institutions Finance and Technology Trends Report reveals many finance leaders expect profitability to decline or remain flat in 2021 and plan to better leverage data to drive success

CHICAGO--()--Despite an uncertain economic climate, financial institutions showed great resourcefulness in 2020, with many indicating that existing processes and channels prepared them well to weather the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Released today, Syntellis Performance Solutions’ 2021 Financial Institutions Finance and Technology Trends report explores the processes and technology financial institutions leaned on amid extreme market volatility in 2020. Looking ahead to 2021, the report uncovered that a majority of financial institutions (85 percent) will look to use financial and operational data to better guide decision making, and half of respondents will target technology and process improvements to increase agility.

“Rapidly changing and unpredictable market conditions presented significant challenges for financial institutions in 2020,” said Kermit S. Randa, CEO at Syntellis Performance Solutions. “Leaders at these organizations demonstrated remarkable resilience, effectively using their existing tools to adapt to changes in the market. After a difficult year, we’re seeing the tide turning when it comes to operational budgeting and forecasting, with more leaders looking toward innovative solutions and technology to prepare for future disruptions and evolving customer needs.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • Financial institutions faced considerable challenges that will persist in 2021: More than half (54 percent) of respondents expect to miss 2020 profitability goals, with 51 percent stating they expect profitability to decline or remain flat into 2021.
  • Despite the obstacles, the industry was well-prepared: 71 percent said their existing channels prepared them well to communicate with staff, customers and members, and 62 percent had adequate processes in place to adjust staff levels to meet current needs.
  • COVID-19 underscored the need to better leverage data in decision-making: A majority (85 percent) indicated their organizations should do more to use financial and operational data to guide strategic decisions.
  • 2021 will focus on building technology and processes for change: About half plan to improve operational budgeting and forecasting (51 percent), scenario modeling (49 percent) and reporting (45 percent).
  • Financial institutions continue to improve profitability analytics and reporting: Understanding of these solutions improved this year, with 28 percent stating they clearly understand profitability based on measurement and analysis, compared to just 16 percent in 2019.
  • Long budget cycles highlight inefficient processes: 70 percent of respondents have budgeting cycles of three months or longer. Finance leaders cited resource constraints as the number one challenge in financial planning and analysis, followed by personnel skill set, outdated or insufficient processes and insufficient tools.
  • There’s a strong dependence on spreadsheets, despite more effective alternatives: Although more innovative technology-based options are available to track important data, the largest percentages of respondents identified spreadsheets as the system used for performance management in budgeting (45 percent), forecasting (34 percent), reporting (33 percent) and scenario analysis (30 percent).

The 2021 Financial Institutions Finance and Technology Trends report is based on the results of online surveys completed in late 2020. A total of 185 finance leaders participated in the surveys, representing a variety of financial institutions including banks, credit unions and other providers.

Syntellis, previously Kaufman Hall Software and a leading provider of enterprise performance management (EPM) software, data and analytics solutions, helps clients acquire insights, accelerate decisions and advance business plans so they can elevate organizational performance and transform their visions into reality.

About Syntellis Performance Solutions

Syntellis Performance Solutions, previously Kaufman Hall Software, provides innovative enterprise performance management software, data and analytics solutions for financial institutions. Our powerful budgeting and planning, profitability and analytics solutions help institutions elevate organizational performance and transform vision into reality. With hundreds of leading banks, credit unions, and farm credit associations using our Axiom solutions to manage nearly $1 trillion in assets combined with top satisfaction rankings from BPM partners for the past 8 years, our proven industry expertise helps financial institutions acquire insights, accelerate decisions and advance their business plans. For more information, please visit

Syntellis Social Networks
LinkedIn: Syntellis Performance Solutions
Twitter: @Syntellis


Stephanie Fergione


Stephanie Fergione