The U.K. is now several weeks into lockdown, with an unspecified amount of time remaining. Excluding key workers, many people are working from home; and while it has been a significant change, most employees have risen to the challenge.
Thankfully, the financial sector is coping well amidst the COVID-19 upheaval, with employees able to work from home; and with finances the main thing on businesses minds right now, there has not been the slowing down that has occurred in other sectors.
However, there will be significant changes to your business, which need to be managed effectively to reduce the risk to the future of your finance organisation.
As a CFO or M.D., you must start to manage the impact that COVID-19 has on your business now, to protect your assets going forward.
Today I want to share with you some strategies to help manage and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on your business as the situation continues.
Going Fully Digital
The coronavirus forced many businesses into adopting more virtual practices than most of us thought possible. A few months ago, it would have seemed unfeasible that the vast majority of the U.K. workforce would be able to work from home, yet it has proved possible.
While remote working has proved relatively successful in this first instance, what does the future hold for your bricks and mortar business?
It is yet too early to predict the impact that COVID-19 will have on the economy long-term, but the truth is that practices in your market might have to change to adapt to a more digital landscape.
If your team have been working from home, realistically, how well are they coping? If your business will not be able to open up again for several months, is it possible to keep your team working from home for this long? Do they have the tools they need to do their jobs 100% effectively, or have they been using laptops instead of their full work P.C. set up?
Looking forward now is the time to assess if your remote working team have everything they need to continue to work virtually. Also think about appraisals, meetings or events you have planned with your team, which will need to go entirely virtual.
COVID-19 will likely have impacted at least some of your clients, but what does this mean for your finance business?
It means that you will need to monitor each of your contracts to react quickly to any changes which have the potential to impact your revenue negatively.
Regularly check-in with your clients, particularly those whose contracts are coming to an end in the next few months.
Protecting your business might mean renegotiating contracts or amending the work you do for your clients – a reduced contract is better than no contract at all.
Automotive, air travel, hospitality and luxury retail are sectors which have been hit hardest – does this directly or indirectly affect your business?
If the answer is yes now would be the ideal time to consider pivoting to a sector which is aligned to who you currently work with and yet different enough to ensure continued growth.
For instance, if automotive parts have been your speciality, perhaps considering a move to an online producer rather than bricks and mortar would future proof your cashflow.
Managing a Virtual Team
Managing a 100% virtual team is not something that many leaders are familiar with. But the strength of your team will be an essential factor in how well your finance business weathers this particular storm.
Ensuring that your team are working cohesively from home is vital, but also that they are receiving the support they need.
Regularly check-in with your team, even more so than you typically would, to make sure they aren’t struggling. Check that they can communicate with customers and the rest of the team effectively and that they are briefed continually about the businesses plans.
Read more about managing your virtual team here.
Protecting Your Future
Finally, let’s look at protecting your business for the future, looking at cash flow, market volatility and your current clients.
Now is the time for financial risk management. Think about operational, liquidity, credit, insurance and market risk. All of these factors have been heavily influenced by COVID-19 and can negatively affect your business.
Despite the Bank of England cutting interest rates to an all-time low of 0.1%, not all businesses will make it through the pandemic unscathed. Exactly how much risk is carried by each of your clients?
The ICAEW has some further reading on what to consider when thinking about protecting your financial business, which you can find here.
What Can you Do Now?
COVID-19 has threatened to impact many businesses negatively, but with careful and strategic planning, it is entirely possible to minimise the potential impact.
If your financial recruiting needs have changed in light of the coronavirus outbreak and you need to have a conversation about your recruitment going forwards, get in touch with us today.
About Rebus Financial Recruitment
Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from a wide variety of organisations including SME’s to large PLCs.
We offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs; and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930.