COVID-19: Virtual close preparedness

Preparation, planning, and execution of the virtual close

Financial institutions already face countless complexities related to the business-as-usual close. And now, there’s limited precedent into how a global pandemic like COVID-19 will impact financial services organizations as they prepare to complete their first virtual close. How can companies better prepare for COVID-19-related volatility and its likely impact on the financial close process? We provide guidance on how to plan, respond to, and execute the virtual close process, including sector-specific considerations for banking and capital markets, insurance, investment management, and real estate institutions.

Real-world insights

Since early March 2020, finance professionals have been forced to shift to a remote working environment, challenging many organizations to manage a quarter-end close with a distributed and sometimes distracted workforce. Financial services have faced challenges and are continually making adjustments to the ways they navigate these complex business challenges.

We wanted to know how it’s working, so Deloitte surveyed more than 25 C-suite professionals in banking, insurance, investment management, and real estate firms on the overall impact of remote work on the execution of the 2020 remote close. In reviewing the results, it is clear that many organizations could have a better understanding of the overall impact the remote working environment has had on the industry and how they compared to their peers in the past quarter.

Download the report to read some takeaways which may be leveraged to optimize future remote closes.

Guidance on the virtual close process

Not unlike other global crises, it will be critically important to be prepared for COVID-19 related volatility and the likely impacts it will have on successfully preparing and executing the financial close process.

We’ve developed guidance on how to address key areas of focus and how to plan, respond, and execute the virtual close. This includes sector-specific considerations for banking and capital markets, insurance, investment management, and real estate institutions.

Download the pdf: COVID-19: Banking and capital markets

Download the pdf: COVID-19: Insurance

Download the pdf: COVID-19: Investment management

Download the pdf: COVID-19: Real estate

Framing your response

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Preparation, planning, and execution of the virtual close

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Typical close process and associated challenges by sector

Simulating a virtual close in each sector

Internal control considerations

COVID-19 may cause entities to implement new internal controls or modify existing ones. Entities will need to consider the operating effectiveness of controls, including assessing any breakdown in review-type controls or the inability of individuals to perform control duties because of absences (e.g., due to employee illness or the closure of affected offices).

Entities should also consider how a lack of information may affect management’s ability to effectively operate controls (e.g., personnel may not be available in offices in affected areas to provide information that is essential to the effective operation of an internal control). If an existing control cannot be performed, management may need to identify alternative appropriately designed controls to compensate for the lack of information.

Entities should also consider management’s ability to complete its financial reporting process and prepare its financial statements on a timely basis. Entities will need to ensure that they have properly designed and implemented controls related to the selection and application of GAAP for the accounting and disclosure issues arising from COVID-19.

Deloitte support

As your organization responds to the impacts stemming from COVID-19, Deloitte stands ready to help you tackle your most complex strategic, financial, and operational issues. A sample of areas we stand ready to assist include:

Accounting, Finance & Reporting BAU Support

  • General accounting (US GAAP, IFRS, Local)
  • External financial reporting
  • Management reporting
  • Regulatory reporting
  • Control support and guidance

Virtual Close Risk Management

  • Virtual close risk assessment
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Close support
  • Issue identification, triage and resolution
  • Regulatory affairs monitoring and response
  • Data security and infrastructure

Hedging, Volatility, and Risk Management Assessments

  • Risk management strategy development
  • Scenario building and assessing impact of changing counterparty behavior
  • Hedge accounting and effectiveness assessment frameworks
  • Analytics and analysis
  • FX exposure identification and mitigation

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Get in touch

Wallace Nuttycombe
Principal, Deloitte Advisory | Financial Services
+1 973 602 6769

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