Businesses must find “creative” ways to maintain a minimum amount of revenue as they come to terms with the post-lockdown environment, according to Guillaume de Pommereau, former CFO of Hitachi Europe.
Pommereau said that this was a company-wide mission to keep the business alive, not just something that should fall to the financial directors.
“In the circumstances we are in now, it’s not only the finance team who is in charge of cash. It’s also on the CEO and the whole team to think about creative new ways to adapt your business model,” he said.
The former CFO of Hitachi Europe made the comments at the Virtual CFO Agenda on Tuesday June 16, when a panel discussed how best to bounce back from the coronavirus crisis. Also on the panel was Phil Curnow, partner at agilityDigital; and Gwyn Roberts, VP order to cash – EMEA of HighRadius.
Curnow described how he had seen many different companies pivot their business model overnight. A microbrewery that became a beer delivery service, restaurants becoming 100 percent takeaway, and finance teams realising that receivables doesn’t have to be done at the office. This was driven, he said, by a company-wide focus on adaptation.
“Everybody in these businesses is thinking about how they can generate cash or change the job differently because they know it’s about survival.
“The question now becomes, which things do we jettison out of the business model because they don’t work anymore? Where we have found opportunities, how do we exploit them, take them forward, make them better and make those changes a bit more sticky and a bit more permanent in everything that we do,” he added.
Roberts agreed, adding that the focus for many businesses had now moved away from contingency planning to looking further ahead and asking how they will thrive in a shifting post-lockdown world.
“I think what we’ve seen in the last three four weeks is companies coming out of that [contingency planning phase] and starting to focus on what they need to do now. Whether that’s changing the business model or whether that’s focusing on replacing old systems. So, I think there’s a lot more of a focus now on what they need to do to become more efficient, not just in receivables but across the board.”
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