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FDs in spotlight as unprepared companies grapple with Brexit fallout

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MORE THAN TWO-FIFTHS of European businesses did not expect Britons to vote for Brexit, forcing them onto the back foot in terms of contingency planning and thrusting FDs into the spotlight again, a new study has revealed.

Almost half of the finance leaders polled in research from Oracle said they were planning for multiple scenarios simultaneously in a post-Brexit world, and 47% have increased the number of data sources they factor into their modelling.

The study found that bosses are relying heavily on finance leaders to help them identify and pursue opportunities in a post-Brexit market, with over half of finance leaders saying since Brexit uncertainty has made their role more about achieving growth goals.

Forward planning – ‘more contingencies’

Over half of those polled in the Europe-wide study said their forward planning since the 23 June referendum result has become more complex, with 44% having now developed multiple contingency plans which they update regularly to ensure their business stays on top of change.

But despite the uncertainty resulting from the UK’s imminent exit from the European single market, companies recognise that they need to continue investing strategically.

Almost half said they planned to invest if they saw a strong business case, even if they were being more cautious. But almost a third said they were restricting spending to bare essentials.

“Uncertainty doesn’t stop market disruption. If anything it opens up new opportunities for strategic movers. Some of today’s most successful companies launched in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, jumping on changes in consumer habits and implementing processes that were agile enough to adapt as they grew,” Rupert Haines, VP finance, UK&I at Oracle said.

Oracle’s ‘Stepping into the Unknown’ study set out to assess how the Brexit vote and an uncertain future were affecting business strategies, as well as how the conditions were shaping companies’ expectations of their finance leaders.

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