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Managing through COVID-19: Six imperatives for CFOs

COVID-19 respons: CFO Insights

In this issue of CFO Insights, we explore six distinct imperatives that we believe will assist CFOs in protecting their companies and workforces in a period of rapid economic deceleration and uncertainty.

Slightly more than a decade after the Great Recession, COVID-19 has brought back the dreaded "R" word to haunt executives in the global economy. The practice of social distancing to slow the contagion has abruptly and sharply curtailed economic activity around the world. Moreover, it is becoming clear that a worldwide recession of significant depth emerged in the first quarter of 2020 and may continue for an uncertain period.

Downturns and recessions are challenging, but some businesses are not only able to come out intact, they are also able to seize on opportunities to outdistance their competition and position themselves for future growth. Still, the speed at which the COVID-19 crisis is unfolding may likely require CFOs to use new tools—virtualization and scenario-based forecasting, for example—in addition to the traditional levers they have used to act swiftly and reasonably.

In this period of rapid economic deceleration and uncertainty, there are six distinct imperatives—outlined in this issue of CFO Insights—that we believe can help CFOs protect their companies and workforces:

  1. Prepare for talent disruption and virtualize your organization by providing resources for your talent and making clear how people should support one another, and by virtualizing the finance function and other parts of the organization to operate effectively amid social distancing;
  2. Bolster liquidity by managing short-term credit, cash, and performance needs;
  3. Communicate frequently with critical stakeholders to keep them informed;
  4. Drive operational improvements necessary to navigate the sharp downturn;
  5. Manage risks and serve as stewards of company assets during this vulnerable time;
  6. Plan for recovery post the COVID-19 crisis by strategically positioning and utilizing assets.

Managing through COVID-19: Six CFO imperatives

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