THE ROLE OF FINANCE PROFESSIONALS IN THE COVID-19 IMPACT

Around the world, we are facing major economic impacts that have changed our lives and the way we do business. As governments look to reopen economies, substantial reliance will be placed on financial services. More than before, it is necessary for finance professionals to remain agile and flexible to rapidly adjust to the changing needs of their environments, their employees, while navigating financial and operational challenges.

The business impact of COVID-19 means effective financial planning needs to be in place, to ensure that cash flow analysis, financial updates to businesses; rapid forecasting and scenario planning; liquidity, and capital management are well managed, as businesses look to chart a new path forward.

With every industry, function and geography affected, the amount of potential change to think through can be daunting. The outcome of the pandemic requires a holistic response and careful prioritisation of business practices. While the focus is on the next, a period of unpredictable and possibly muted economic recovery, what follows will not be a return to pre-COVID business practices. Over the following months, the introduction to a new way of working, a new era defined by fast changing shifts in behaviours, cultural norms and societal values, such as increased demand for responsible business practices and renewed purpose is imminent.

The objectives of businesses during this time are focused on navigating a broad range of interrelated economic and COVID-19 issues, that span from keeping their business resilient and shoring-up cash and liquidity, reorienting operations and navigating complex government relief programs. Finance professionals can look to urgently work through these issues and assist businesses in their response to maintaining profitability and business continuity, and are increasingly vital to the professional guidance needed to get through the next few months.

The main consensus is that we will be dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for the foreseeable future. It is important to become more proactive and agile, while accepting greater uncertainty. An agile operating model will help quickly share expertise where it’s needed most.

To achieve this agility, AFA has increased the frequency of meetings; started producing weekly reports on revenue, profit, and cash flow; and adapted reforecasting to focus on the most pressing elements of our business.

For clients, combining digital technologies with automation and embracing a remote work force has reduced costs, improved quality and efficiency for businesses. Our support for CFOs, who are trusted to make the right decisions is focused on innovative approaches that can create value and better support decision making.

Our leadership has come to the fore ensuring business resilience and prirotising the well being of our staff and maintenance of our top talent. To keep pace with changing expectations and opportunities, we have remained open and adapatable to the changing environment. Our team has ensured that we continue to provide quality services to all our cllients, taking on more of a flexible approach in our delivery.

 

Author: Muhammad Loonat and Ighsaan Ebrahim