SEA Virtual CFO Forum Series

Navigating the new normal

In conjunction with our SEA CFO Agenda report, we held a series of five virtual CFO Forums in September 2020 to help CFOs navigate the new normal.

Deloitte released our SEA CFO Agenda report in August 2020 where we interviewed CFOs across Southeast Asia (SEA) and garnered a deep understanding of the pressing issues affecting CFOs during the COVID pandemic and how they have dealt with the crisis.

In conjunction with the release of the report, CFO attendees from across SEA participated in a series of five virtual CFO Forums that were organised in September 2020 and shared their views with us on the following topics:

1. Regional economic outlook – Our guest speaker, Mr Song Seng Wun, Economist from CIMB Bank presented the macro-economic outlook across the SEA region. The Forum discussed some of the top external business concerns in the next few years including low interest rates, prevailing nationalism, increasing risks on the geo-politics and changes in consumer behaviour and consumption.

2. Cost optimisation – As most companies undertake cost reduction programmes in the next 1-2 years, many cited implementing challenges as a key barrier to a successful cost reduction programme. Leong Tse Wen, Director from our Operations Transformation in Deloitte Consulting SEA shared that cost optimisation should be addressed with a two speed approach; identifying short term tactical steps and 2-3 strategic initiatives to kick-start operational efficiency while allocating budget to accelerate end-to-end digital transformation across the organisation.

3. Finance transformation – Timothy Ho, SEA CFO Program Leader, and Marisa Aunhavichai, Thailand CFO Program Leader, kicked off the session by sharing the key operational challenges faced by Finance during these volatile times. This is followed by getting CFOs to rethink how they transform the workplace (effective and cost efficient operating model that maximise collaboration and productivity), work (achieving business goals with augmented digital technologies) and the workforce (talent and skills required).

4. Risk Management – Benny Koh, Financial Services Regulatory Leader for Deloitte Singapore shared the risk considerations in three key areas; cash and liquidity management, controls and collections. Following this, Thio Tse Gan, SEA Cyber & Strategy Risk Leader for Deloitte Southeast Asia, shared the drivers for cyber attacks in 2020 and areas CFOs should be looking to support their CIOs/CTOs in the organisation’s cyber posture.

5. New business models – Duleesha Kulasooriya, Executive Director at Deloitte Center of the Edge Asia, shared two strategic planning concepts; the Zoom out Zoom in approach and Scaling Edges perspective. The guest speaker Natarajan Venkatakrishnan, Global VP of Engineering at Starbucks shared his learnings from putting these concepts into practice, and actionable key takeaways that CFOs should consider to support in their organisations’ transformation journey.

To find out more on how you can lead your organisation to thrive in the new normal, please read our SEA CFO Agenda report.

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