“It remains the CFO’s first responsibility to do everything they can to support their organization and its employees in such a difficult time,” said Mr. Gannon. “That also means seeing the opportunity to reinvent old and broken processes, especially when that can keep the business running and keep staff engaged.”
CFOs reported a variety of actions they are considering to support employees:
· Expanding work from home and sick policies, and adjusting work schedules and non-illness related flexibilities (such as for childcare needs) to ensure tasks and projects get completed
· Tracking state benefits for hourly workers
· Considering offering childcare for employees who have to continue coming to work
· Offering remote working equipment such as modems and routers if needed
· Allowing employees to donate sick leave to one another
The financial impact of COVID-19 is just beginning to emerge and there are many unknowns and uncertainties. CFOs are beginning to shift their attention from crisis mode towards minimizing the downside impact. Most CFOs (51%) have not yet adjusted internal targets even though there is little chance they will be met this year.
“There’s no good way for most CFOs to reset targets with any certainty,” says Mr. Gannon. “Instead, many CFOs are assuming that targets won’t be met and are taking steps to ensure ongoing working cash flow to support operations, such as securing access to credit and planning for possible repatriation scenarios.”
In terms of managing the finance function, CFOs were broadly optimistic with 90% reporting that only a minimal amount of accounting close procedures cannot be executed off-premises. CFOs are most focused on critical third parties, and how they can work together to adapt working processes to function well during the coronavirus disruption.
For example, many CFOs have used this crisis as an opportunity to transition towards automated clearing house (ACH) payments instead of check writing. They’ve also shifted towards videoconferencing options for auditing physical inventories.
“Now is the time to deepen collaboration with vendors, auditors, or customers,” said Mr. Gannon. “Take advantage of relevant solutions that have been put off in the past.”
Gartner clients can read more at CFO Actions in Response to COVID-19: Week of 16 March 2020.
Non clients can read more here and find a selection of coronavirus-related resources here.
*About Gartner CFO Cohorts
In response to urgent CFO demand, Gartner Finance is holding weekly CFO cohorts as a forum for CFOs to discuss emerging COVID-19-related areas of concern and what actions they are taking or not taking. The findings in this release are from the first cohort, hosted Tuesday, March 17, which included more than 200 CFOs representing $175 billion in revenue.
About the Gartner Finance Practice
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