CFOs have become the strategic navigators for most businesses as they chart a financial course through some of the roughest economic seas in a generation. Or two! More are starting to see a parting in the clouds of uncertainty and chaos, with recent surveys highlighting the obvious areas of concern while pointing to increased optimism as we start to look towards 2021. What’s most promising is that most CFOs have put their companies in a position to “thrive” as the planning season gets underway.
Here are a few expert opinions we’ve found helpful in the past week, and we hope you do, too.
What the Experts are Saying on FP&A
A Deloitte survey finds that most CFOs expect a slow recovery and remain focused on cash and liquidity. But they still see brighter skies ahead, with 37% saying their companies are already in “thrive mode.” This optimism could position more companies for the rebound most CFOs expect to happen in mid 2021. “One obvious example of how CFOs are taking a resilient approach to navigate uncertainties is the widespread adoption of virtual work.”
More than half of CFOs say they’re responsible for digital transformation in their organization, but nearly the same amount admit they’re falling short. A main suspect is not the capabilities of the technology, but more the organization’s ability to change. “’CFOs themselves acknowledge and accept that, as the owner or sponsor of digital transformation, they need to also own the people side of things.’”
CFOs are facing tough financial headwinds and much uncertainty, yet they most still hold optimistic views of the near future. Navigating that future, however, will require tough questions about staffing levels, real estate needs, improved scenario planning, and accelerated investments in digital transformation. “CFOs should look for more opportunities to automate and digitize back-office functions to improve efficiency, increase agility, and improve or accelerate processes.”
Deloitte / WSJ: From On-site to Virtual in Two Days: A CFO’s Experience
The pandemic-driven shift to at-home work was abrupt, but many companies were well prepared because they had already begun transforming Finance. Having a good foundation in team communications and easy-to-use tools was helpful to this CFO, whose team released their financial statements even as the lockdown was just underway. But, more importantly, the team avoided postponement of their financial statements with the help of their modern FP&A solutions. “‘The relative smoothness of the process was made possible by three key factors, the first being technology.”
At-home employees could open up a state-by-state can of worms when it comes to payroll taxes. Employees may have changed work locations due to the pandemic, which could result in incorrect or missed state tax filings by businesses. The confusion will require FP&A teams to better track employee location across the year. “The good news is that a growing number of states responded that employees who are telecommuting due to the pandemic will not create nexus for corporate income tax or sales tax, at least for a specified period.”
Stay Tuned for More Useful FP&A Content
We’ll be continuing this weekly update with links related to how FP&A and CFO’s are leading their organizations through the continuing recovery. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please engage with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.