Many industries and organisations have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, with the ONS reporting that roughly 4% of businesses have very little cash reserves and 43% have said their cash reserve will only last six months.1 For so many companies, this bad news has been delivered by finance teams to executives, and a negative pall has been cast over the entire role of finance and accounting. However, not all outcomes have led to a ‘shoot-the-messenger' reaction; in many instances finance and accounting has become the driving force of crisis management. Three factors have impacted the role of finance and accounting in many organisations of varying sizes, and anyone looking to progress in this career will need to demonstrate a forward-thinking attitude towards:
The return of financial forecasting
The COVID-19 crisis has revealed to many that more accurate financial forecasting is key to crisis management, with ACCA actively encouraging organisations to plan and perform forecasts more regularly. Currently, revenue and profit forecasting has decreased as many organisations have found that 80% are expecting this year’s revenue and profit to be significantly below forecasts.2
However, active and frequent forecasting allows for organisations to have a more accurate view of their business and can even use it to scope out many ‘what if’ scenarios to help plan for uncertain times. Organisations should be directing their finance and accounting teams to be forecasting more stringently in the future with detailed plans to help cope with fluctuations that could affect year-on-year revenue and profit.
Re-investing in people
With the significant job losses over the last few weeks, particularly in certain industries, organisations are going to be re-investing in their remaining employees as their best assets to ensure growth over the next quarter. This means finance and accounting teams and positions are going to be more carefully sculpted and picked in the coming months to ensure that the building blocks for survival are based on qualified individuals who are committed to success.
Applying for finance and accounting roles during this time will require demonstrating an active commitment to the future of a company and protecting its best interests and its employees.
A sustainable outlook
Sustainability in accounting means being able to navigate change and ensure businesses prosper throughout. Change can come in the form of technology advancements which benefit most business functions, including finance and accounting, or can be larger, more devastating movements like Brexit and COVID-19.
Although focused on a business’ interests, finance and accounting is centred around creating and communicating the value of that organisation to society. Given the human impact of COVID-19, in both deaths and job losses, sustainable accounting needs to find ways to preserve and protect workforces in ethical and informed ways, putting accounting at the heart of most industries’ outlook on business sustainability right now. This is an excellent opportunity for many accountants looking to ensure their work will have a lasting impact in times to come.
Edward Mann’s vacancies are specially picked so you can find a role where you can fully utilise your skills and plan for personal growth to ensure a bright future. Our consultants can offer application support and interview so you make the right impression and get the right position for you.