As CFO of Incremental, I have a critical role to play in helping our business weather the storm, withstand the financial pressures and galvanise our business for future success post-covid. According to Deloitte, this sentiment is echoed by other CFO’s throughout the country in its recently published quarterly CFO Survey, the long covid recovery.

Over 100 Chief Financial Officers from across the UK, including CFO’s of 21 FTSE 100 and 37 FTSE 250 companies, participated in Deloitte’s the long covid recovery survey. In the survey, Deloitte explored the CFO’s thoughts and perceptions of the pandemic’s economic impact and their expectations for the future as they navigate a potentially long covid recovery journey.

The survey sought insight into:

  • Expectations of demand recovery to pre-pandemic levels
  • Biggest risks to business
  • How the effects of covid compare to those of Brexit
  • Corporate priorities over the next 12 months
  • Impact of covid on capital expenditure.

Covid – the top risk

The survey revealed that despite the relief of a welcomed surge of activity following the UK’s first lockdown, CFO’s remain extremely anxious of an uncertain and challenging future.

As parts of the UK move into a second lockdown, it is no surprise that for a consecutive quarter CFO’s have ranked covid as the greatest risk facing their business. Although covid dramatically surpassed geopolitical risks and the effects of Brexit in Deloitte’s previously published survey (No Quick Bounce Back), both risks remain firmly in the top 3.

Cost reduction

Unsurprisingly the survey also revealed that cost reduction remains a top priority for organisations as they weather the storm of the pandemic. 57% of CFOs surveyed ranked cost reduction as a top priority strongly followed by increasing cash flow.

Increased investment

Despite a heavy weighting on cost reduction and cash flow, 65% of the CFO’s also acknowledged that they expected their investments in organisation and business improvements to increase over the next 12 months. This demonstrates that organisations are recognising that to strengthen their business and improve productivity ahead of a covid economic recovery, business transformation is critical.

As Richard Houston, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte North and South Europe summarised in the report “With some way to go until the UK makes a full recovery from the impact of COVID-19, and the Brexit transition period coming to an end, businesses continue their focus on changing and adopting processes to adapt to the current environment.”

Source: Deloitte

Striking the balance

Business transformation, however, comes with a price and when faced with a decline this can understandably create fear and a sense of trepidation for many organisations as to how they proceed.

For organisations who consider themselves as scale-up and pre-covid were embarking on a new growth path with planned investment for business transformation, this is a particularly worrying time. As CFO of a scale-up organisation, I understand firsthand the demands of balancing cost reduction and business transformation investment.

In my paper – CFO to CFO: Ensuring your scale-up business has the right platform for growth –  I consider the many demands on the CFO in a high growth scale-up business and share insightful advice on addressing some of the key risks they may face. The paper covers:

  • Expectations of the CFO and their role in business growth
  • Barriers to delivering against expectation
  • Benefits of implementing a sophisticated finance and ERP system
  • Succeeding in the expectation.

We may be facing an uncertain and challenging future, however, for those companies who embrace the fear of transformation, the reward can be substantial.

Access my paper to find out more or please get in touch today to speak to a member of the Incremental team.