15 minute read 11 Aug 2020
Beyond COVID-19: What will be the role of the CFO?

Beyond COVID-19: What will be the role of the CFO?

By Ludovic Deprez

EY Belgium Financial Accounting Advisory Services Director

Someone who enjoys/lives 8 days in a week in order to get a perfect balance between work, family, sport & party.

15 minute read 11 Aug 2020

Although the pandemic is currently going through a revival, the impact on companies and, more specifically, their finance teams has become clear over the last months. 

In the midst of the pandemic EY and CFO Magazine launched a CFO Barometer  to all its members to have an overall view on the impact of COVID-19 on finance. Apart from questions on liquidity, going concern and client behavior, there were questions included dealing with the impact on the finance function in the long run. The answers on the latter were not that surprising, but only confirmed the truth of Albert Einstein’s quote: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”. Indeed, the answers contained answers such as (i) several processes would be reviewed; (ii) opportunities on the level of digitalization and RPA would be investigated and (iii) the use of the current working tools would be revalidated.

Future robustness in the new normal

In addition to that, it can’t be neglected that the crisis (and its impact on the market which led to several bankruptcies) will definitely have an impact on the expectations set on finance teams by all possible stakeholders such as shareholders, banks, employees, financial markets… We can expect an increasing demand of financial information by all stakeholders; such as e.g. (i) specific management reporting; (ii) uniformized financial statements in IFRS; (iii) regular treasury analysis or (iv) shorter closing/reporting deadlines.

Hence, it can be expected that the pressure on the (performance) of the finance team will significantly increase in the upcoming months. Due to the current pandemic, a first step has been taken: the acknowledgment that modifications need to be made to the current way of working. However, the second step is even more important as the strength of an analysis can be measured by the action plan resulting from that analysis as well as its implementation afterwards. During the second and third phase, management of companies need to (i) take necessary decisions in order to execute the plan; (ii) make sure the employees are informed and convinced of the measures taken and (iii) make sure that the ongoing business is not impacted by the changes.

As a conclusion, we can state that the strength of the finance team to face the challenges above will be the key to future robustness in the new normal. Going back to the quote of Albert Einstein; each crisis leads to an opportunity to rectify the causes, improve the response and avoid the same in the future.

How EY can support the CFO

Treasury

Find out how EY can help you to improve the treasury process through bank negotiations, treasury management systems, financing structure analysis…:

Process Analysis

There is often a discrepancy on how a process should work in theory and how it actually works. Learn more about how EY can give you additional insights in the effectiveness of an internal process:

Closing process

Stakeholders might request financial information sooner leading to a shortening of the closing process. Find out how EY can support you with the preparation of aggregated and insightful financial reporting during the closing process.

GAAP conversions

GAAP conversions might be requested by stakeholders in order to increase the comparableness of financial information around the globe. Learn more about how EY can support you with your activities in an international environment.

Loan staffing

Loan staffing very often provides companies with the support they need for shorter periods of time due to an exceptional event, such as a specific project, long-term illness or absence of employees… Our people are trained to incorporate the finance team of a company on a very short notice and share their expertise and knowledge as of the first day. Find out how EY can support you in providing you with temporary resources and expertise, based on specific needs:

Data analytics

Your specific questions can be resolved by using data analytics in the most broad sense of the word (i.e. creating a budget tool based on all data gathered and modifiable parameters in order to determine future data). Learn more about how EY uses data analytics to support CFOs in their daily business:

Contact EY FAAS

Interested in the CFO support services? Contact us to find out more.

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Summary

The COVID-19 crisis will definitely have an impact on the expectations set on finance teams. EY can support the CFO in facing these challenges.

About this article

By Ludovic Deprez

EY Belgium Financial Accounting Advisory Services Director

Someone who enjoys/lives 8 days in a week in order to get a perfect balance between work, family, sport & party.