After months of reworking office and real estate strategies to cope with remote workers, FP&A is now pivoting to deal with easing of COVID-related restrictions and office re-openings. But while office uncertainty ebbs, it flows towards reconfiguring offices, deciding who can stay remote, and how to pay for new protective health measures. Of course, it’s just more justification to get Finance on the road to (or accelerating) digital transformation efforts, some say.
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
Deloitte / WSJ: CFOs Evaluate Real Estate for Strategic Alignment
For months, CFOs have been looking at largely empty offices with open floor plans and wondering how those real estate assets will fit into their future plans. But now, as restrictions ease, CFOs are faced with the conflicting needs of working parents, at-risk employees, and managers who’ve seen productivity increase with remote work. They’re also facing the cost of retooling offices, providing protective supplies, upgrading HVAC systems, and more. “(F)or CFOs, planning for and provisioning of office space will likely become increasingly nuanced in a post-COVID-19 economy.”
Looking at long-term goals is the best strategy as workers begin to return to the office. There will be short-term needs, obviously, but it’s important to recognize that your workplace will likely be permanently changed due to the pandemic. And don’t forget about customer and supplier expectations, since their reopening plans may differ from yours. On the bright side, this also could set the stage for an ultra-flexible business strategy. “The pandemic presents a rare opportunity for a broad range of organizations to pivot to new strategies.”
As the pandemic, wildfires, and more keep your FP&A eyes focused on cash, remind yourself not to lose sight of the customer, says the CFO of PayPal. Just as your business needs have changed radically over the past 9 months, so have the needs of customers. That should alter how you invest in not just sales, but also customer service, e-commerce, digital transformation, and more. “(CFOs) must take the long-term view while being mindful of the intersection and interdependencies between finance, operations and the customer experience.”
Digital transformation extends to every corner of the business, from the supply chain to sales. But that doesn’t mean you need to be an internet company to take advantage of transformation. COVID-19 disrupted every supply chain, for example, but those with digital agility and flexibility were able to quickly rebound and adjust. The point, according to this Accenture managing director, is to determine where transformation can help your business, and then quickly move to implement it. “(D)igital models can often act as an insurance policy for the business when it enters uncertain and/or challenging periods.”
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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.