Strategy

Our many failed predictions from 2023

Contrary to popular belief, we’re not perfect.
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· 3 min read

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CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.

To err is human, some old guy once said. And if that’s the case, economists, finance chiefs, and, hey, even your buddies here at CFO Brew are very, very, very human.

We could spend a million articles unpacking why the human brain craves certainty and order—it’s our sole comfort in an uncertain world! We’re all just confused little babies at heart!—but, in any case, we love making predictions about the year ahead, and we do it year after year after year.

But—would you believe it—sometimes we’re wrong! You hate to see it. And yet, you literally always see it, because that’s kind of how predictions fundamentally work.

The biggest flub last year: AI caught finance chiefs off guard, for the most part. When we polled CFOs about the tech trends and innovations other finance chiefs should have on their radar in 2023, generative AI was decidedly not the talk of the town. And who can blame them? It was December 2022. Was anyone ever so young?

Instead, there was a general sense of wait-and-see hesitation, even as orgs ramped up AI investments around the same time. By now, we know where those investments went: A May Gartner study found a whopping 68% of finance leaders were already using AI or planned to do so. Apologies from our December 2022/January 2023 selves.

The other big upset: The recession that didn’t, or maybe did, or maybe only kind of did end up happening. At the start of 2023, 98% of CEOs said they expected a global economic downturn in the year ahead, and 55% anticipated a recession worse than 2007’s financial crisis, per a January EY survey. But even back then, there was uncertainty about just how severe a downturn would be, and, in a sense, everyone was right and everyone was wrong. The shrug emoji exists for a reason. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Some of our predictions did come a bit true: We anticipated auditors would increasingly crack down on misbehavior, and that’s largely been the case. And even though it was a pretty safe bet to make in 2022, our prediction that a supply-chain hangover would carry over into 2023 was fairly apt.

We also expected executive pay to be in the spotlight in 2023, on the back of a new Securities and Exchange Commission rule. And even though plenty of top execs are still making unfathomably large sums of money, the labor strikes of the last year did keep executive pay top of mind.

So, we weren’t totally wrong about 2023. And what’s life without some mistakes? Let’s not forget the full quote from the mistakes-are-actually-totally-normal-and-chill guy: “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.