Business Survival During Coronavirus

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Financial Director is hosting live video conversations with two leading heads of finance every other Friday for them to share how they’re tackling the challenges to their business in these unprecedented times.

The next hour long discussion will take place at 2pm on the 19th June and will focus on key areas such as cash management, counterparty risk, security risk, business recovery; as well as understanding how to benefit from government assistance.

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, Editor, Accountancy Age
  • To be confirmed
  • To be confirmed

Reserve your place today

 

Previous discussions are available to view on-demand below.

Discussion 4

Date: 22d May 

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • As firms look to restrategise during lockdown, the Deputy CFO of Honda, Kate Curnow, explained that her company has been hit globally by low car sales. However, they’ve seen a rise in gardening-related sales as families embrace the summertime and fix up their gardens, allowing the company to adjust their scenario planning as-needed.
  • The Head of International O&T Finance at Mastercard company Vocalink, Ranu Sharma, also added that many stores are not accepting cash during this lockdown, which has presented her company with different opportunities. “I think there’s been a really big shift in strategy in terms of looking after people,” she added.
  • Discussing whether annualised accounts should be done away with, Sharma says that it’s difficult to say, but that they’re looking at rolling risks and opportunities, while also adjusting their forecasting. Curnow added that Honda’s forecasting process is already rather complex, but that balancing the right plans across many different areas has been a challenge.
  • Curnow also said that as the automotive industry is rather complex, particularly within the supply chain. While cash is always king, she says that she’s looked into government-backed options, and that “cash is king, but it’s not always our cash.”
  • Coming out of lockdown, Sharma says that there’s only so much that companies can plan for, and that customer behaviours may change dramatically after coronavirus. It will be a long time before the “end of cash,” but things will begin to shift in the coming years.

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, Editor, Accountancy Age
  • Ranu Sharma, Head of International O&T Finance, Vocalink, a Mastercard company
  • Kate Curnow, Deputy CFO, Honda

View the on-demand discussion here.

 

Discussion 3

Date: 1st May 

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Fujitsu’s Robert Smith expressed the pandemic has made it difficult to coordinate international efforts, in particular with supply chain and globally-placed teams. He adds, the supply side of things have taken up a lot of time as he looks for alternative solutions for clients.
  • Engage Transform Consultancy’s Yemi Jackson noticed that communication has increased as the team works to understand what’s happening around the globe.
  • Cash is still king – Smith said that this statement is true for both his company and partner companies, adding that they’re looking at deferring capex spend while keeping a close eye on the volatile global market.
  • Both Jackson and Smith agreed that now is a great time to invest, with Jackson adding “the future is in our control” and the companies that won’t survive are the ones who have just shut down and haven’t sought out viable options.
  • Companies need to embrace new technologies and make sure their company is digitally harmonised—something that will ease client-customer communication, and be essential. Jackson added “we need to think about when everything’s back to normal, whatever you’re selling, there has to be two options,” instead of avoiding change.
  • Smith said that rolling forecasts and scenario planning and analysis are critical for organisations right now, and that they should look at both optimistic and pessimistic forecasting. Jackson added that now is the time for scenario planning, also to bin year-long budgets and look at things in the shorter term.

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, Editor, Accountancy Age
  • Robert Smith, Head of Finance, Fujitsu
  • Yemi Jackson, CEO and Founder, Engage Transform Consultancy

View the on-demand discussion here.

Discussion 2

Date: 17th April

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Kobler and Hammonds agreed that this is going to be the deepest recession since the 1930s and we’re unlikely to see a V-shaped recovery. Whether or not it’s a depression depends on how long the lockdown is, the likelihood of a second wave and government support
  • The second quarter will be very, very challenging says Kobler. We are very much running on a “skeleton” basis right now, says Hammonds
  • Have central banks done all they can? There’s not much scope for central banks to go further, quantitative easing aside, but the crucial thing is being able to use government schemes to be ready to go back to normal as soon as possible says Hammonds. Furlough scheme not a surprise but isn’t flexible enough
  • Cash is king at the moment says Kobler. For Hammonds, it’s a balance between conserving cash now to get out of the crisis but not doing so much that you end up killing your business

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, Editor, Accountancy Age
  • Markus Kobler, Global Chief Financial Officer, Allianz Global Investors
  • Tim Hammonds, GBS Finance Director, Groupe PSA

View the on-demand discussion here.

Discussion 1

Date: 3rd April

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Some businesses have taken a wait and see approach, others had a kneejerk reaction. We may see in the coming weeks and months which was the right play
  • Hotels and other consumer-facing industries are appraising fixed and variable costs closely – with utility outgoings particularly under the spotlight
  • Exceptional hedging solutions are critical right now, as are up to date FX risk assessments
  • “This is all a great unknown”: many are trying to calculate what the new norm will look like

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, Editor, Accountancy Age
  • Martin Sanders, Chief Audit Executive, Honda Europe Ltd
  • Adrian Burrows, Director of Finance, Best Western Hotels & Resorts

View the on-demand discussion here.