Four Point Plan For CFOs Looking To Thrive In 2021

What you’ll learn


  • The necessity of a sound plan for preserving cash and releasing cash tied up in working capital
  • Importance of acquiring and maintaining the right talent
  • Why digital transformation is the key to driving innovation and sustenance

Introduction

As the CFOs strive to maintain the efficient growth of their companies despite the global pandemic, Highradius has identified four steps CFOs should implement to sail their organizations through this period of uncertainty and achieve success in 2021.

1. Keep In Mind The Lessons From COVID

We’re now months past the first reports of global infections and deaths from coronavirus. CFOs have done the hard work of leading their organizations through the immediate crisis—by ensuring the safety and protection of employees, suppliers, and other key stakeholders; collaborating across functions; assessing liquidity and conserving cash, and reaching out early and often to investors to reset performance expectations.

A crisis is when leaders need to uphold a vital aspect of their role: making a positive difference in the financial well being of their organizations. Thus it’s time that drawing lessons from these unsettling months, the CFOs must permanently build speed and flexibility into forecasting, planning, and resource-allocation processes and incorporate new tools and rapid decision-making protocols into the finance team’s day-to-day work.

Below are some of the actions that will help the finance executives extract their takeaway from the pandemic.

actions that will help the finance executives extract their takeaway from the pandemic

2. CFO’s Economic Outlook: How should the interpretation of finance change?

After a decade of cheap debt and abundant liquidity, COVID-19 has squeezed cashflows. Looking to enhance liquidity, finance executives are turning their attention to working capital.

According to a recent Hackett report, in the early stage of the outbreak, 75% of finance organizations took steps to optimize working capital practices, and 79% report they intend to make these changes permanent post-crisis.

Cash is king – even for companies that entered the year in a strong cash position.

While most companies have focused on managing the impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic, now is the time to develop and execute a turnaround strategy immediately. Which should include a sound plan for preserving cash, releasing cash tied up in working capital, and taking advantage of the near-zero interest rates to restructure, and hence enhancing liquidity and fund strategic growth opportunities. A full view of the cash conversion cycle is imperative because it will have implications for your business and customers.

Here is a well-designed program that can help instil sustainable working capital practices that benefit the organization – including optimizing cash, needed for strategic growth.

  • Enhance cash visibility- Collect transactional data to baseline against peers and measure team performance
  • Identify priority payments and critical suppliers, customers, and drivers – map the financing leverage
  • Launch cross-functional team to execute cash conversion cycle goals
  • Execute- Launch cross-functional team to execute cash conversion cycle goals

3. Talent Management: How to ensure a motivated workforce?

Talent-management practices can help steer organizations through new ways of working and into the post-COVID-19 era. Now, more than ever, they are central to how companies are reimagining their personnel practices to build organizational resilience and drive value.
Now, though, the COVID-19 crisis is accelerating pre-existing trends in five areas of talent management, we look at how leaders can take action in those areas to craft a strong and robust talent strategy for the post-pandemic world.

  • Finding and hiring the right people
    • Skills-based deployment
    • Take a fresh look at the range of tools, including assessments and platforms, that are making it easier to connect people to work
  • Learning and growing
    • Broad-based digital training in essential skills
    • Leadership development
  • Managing and rewarding performance
    • Transparently link employee goals to business priorities and maintain a vital element of flexibility
    • Invest in managers’ coaching skills
  • Tailoring the employee experience
    • Build trust: Keep listening to your workforce
    • Return stronger: Focus on workforce effectiveness and well-being
    • Create and maintain a culture that values inclusion, individuality, and social harmony

4. Being A Digital CFO is What You Want

Digital transformation is the next wave of disruption that could fundamentally change the way your business operates.

Digital transformation marks a radical re-thinking of how an organization uses people, processes, and technology to change business performance fundamentally. However, today many companies struggle with a “digital dilemma” of whether or not to automate. Given the challenges and potential adverse outcomes and impact of the COVID-19, one might think that undertaking a new project would be out of the question. Digital transformation is just not possible with limited resources, budget cuts, and furloughs, it feels like it would be too hard to execute.

But The Hackett Group’s Covid-19 Response Poll (April 2020) found that, despite the recession, almost all finance organizations are powering ahead with digital transformation initiatives and some are even accelerating them. Even more encouraging, 64% are launching select new digital projects.

The actual reality is that digital transformation is the new means by which businesses could better adapt and cope with COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed substantial deficits in finance’s digital platforms, making this an opportune time to push for new solutions within the context of liquidity enhancement.

The following points talk about how automation helps the finance teams to deliver value.

  • Maximizes the internal team productivity and efficiency
  • Enables strategic growth by re-allocation of resources to high-impact tasks
  • Automation allows global businesses to scale and deliver on the internal team and customer expectations, helping them keep pace with market changes and drivers
  • Provides better customer experience by ensuring faster resolution of customer issues
  • Opens up ‘definite’ future remote work opportunities

Now that you have understood why is digital transformation important, you must know the “HOW”? Well, unlike many misconceptions, digital transformation is not just automation, but much more.

Planning a well-suited, right and proper digital transformation journey is THE important step of the digital transformation journey. Below, we provide a 10-step plan to headstart your digital transformation journey plan.

10 steps involved in driving a digital transformation project: Identify processes, Vendor Evaluation, As-Is & To-Be analysis, Stakeholder Buy-in, Business Case Evaluation, Deployment Strategy, Change Management, Implementation Strategy, Post go-live performance, Future vision.

Conclusion

Digital Transformation is happening, and it’s essential to prepare for a digital future. For business leaders and CFOs – more than ever before – cash is king. Finance leaders today are expected to rise to the occasion and start reviewing their current strategies with greater urgency.

Therefore, CFOs have a significant opportunity here to ‘manage up’ and drive digital transformation in their departments. The following actions provide a roadmap to emerge from the COVID crisis strongly.

  • Lead from the front: Resolve
    • Reformulate the stakeholder communications strategy
    • Analyze the company’s liquidity position and come up with contingency plans
  • Steady the business: Be Resilient and Return
    • Upskill your financial planning and analysis
    • Re-evaluate your decision-making approach
    • Keep in mind the shift in customer priority
    • Revisit your investment strategy
  • Take actions: Reimagine and Reform
    • Launch a contingency and business continuity plan for future
    • Accelerate Digital transformation to support the next normal

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