Changing Finance Priorities during the COVID Era

FEI Canada

Last week, we attended an FEI webinar where Christopher Wright and Marty Murray from Protiviti touched on the changing finance priorities during the COVID-19 Era. Together they shared some key trends from CFOs and Finance leaders, including:

1)         Improved FP&A relating to ESG information

2)         Increased needs for data analytics and budgeting

3)         Greater concern for data security

Further, they shared insights from surveys regarding how businesses have been affected by the pandemic. Polls have shown that 47% of businesses in the sample were largely affected by the pandemic and nearly 80% plan to continue working from home after the health concerns of the virus subside. Therefore, we believe that these revised priorities are not temporary and, instead, are somewhat of an impetus for many companies to transform the way they operate.

Another interesting realization is that many companies found themselves scrambling when their offshore service providers were unable or unprepared to work from home. This was due to many factors that prevented overseas employees from completing key tasks without an office. Two highlighted examples were: lack of infrastructure (wireless internet, etc.) in homes, and businesses restricted to using on-site desktops. This sparked an interest for decision-makers to invest in increasing automation, moving operations onshore, and operating on-site.

We see evidence of these shifting priorities in our clients as Sapling has been diligent in working with companies to improve detailed reporting with remote capabilities through products like Power BI, budgeting, data analysis, implementing database management systems, and much more. Further, our models include multiple scenarios and pandemic stress testing. We have found these heavily involved analyses to be important in assisting leaders to make informed decisions.

Overall, Protiviti’s insights proved to be informative and we look forward to continuing to assist clients with seamless and long-term operational changes.

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