Top Takeaways for TODAY from Finance Leaders on COVID-19 Pandemic:
What have we learned, what do we still need to figure out, what’s next – and how do we make that happen in a state of constant change?
COVID-19 has changed and continues to change the way we handle business.
No one could have predicted we would end up in the middle of a global pandemic this year, meaning no one was prepared for how this would impact their organization, staff, or themselves. While the exact experience varies from industry to industry, many commonalities, unexpected challenges, and unique opportunities emerged.
We hope you find this excerpt from our latest budgeting brief – Top Takeaways for TODAY: Finance Leaders on COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond, useful. For more, download the full brief here.
Here are the top 5 answers from finance leaders on what they have learned navigating the business of finance through the pandemic:
1. Employee Resilience may Shift –
“Some people can do a lot from home; some people can’t. It just depends on their positions. So, it can kind of build up a little bit of resentment.”
Initially staff and employees rapidly responded to the dramatic changes driven by the COVID-19 pandemic with flexibility and proactive problem solving; however, over time growing workloads and the inequity of which jobs can be done from home (and which cannot) has became a challenge.
2. Successful Transitions Require Evolving Policies –
“We were missing a few layers of security and tracking in our documents. Technically someone could edit any documents after they were signed.”
To support the use of technology in home offices, there became an immediate need for protocols for the management and transfer of confidential data. Other evolving issues such as electronically capturing authorizations, maintaining version history, or creating audit trails are leaving IT teams on the search for a new round of solutions to support a distributed workforce.
3. The Critical “Three C’s” –
“The dynamic is very different; the collaboration isn’t as easy. It’s hard to know – is everyone engaged?”
For some organizations, the shift to remote work simply accelerated efforts already under way, and for others it was a dramatic paradigm shift. Finance leaders say communication, collaboration & culture are the critical “three C’s” of employee engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. Finance Teams are Overwhelmed –
“I had to create CARES budgets, cost-saving budgets…all kinds of budgets. Working from home for me was like working all the time – not just the regular 8-hour day.”
Less revenue, fewer resources and the search for new funding adds up to a lot more work for finance teams. This additional workload, on top of “normal” job responsibilities in an environment where employees never “leave” the office, is putting already stressed finance teams in the red.
5. Focus on Strategic Planning –
“We started using the forecasting feature this year because of the pandemic. We’ve seen that our staff have been in the system looking at actuals versus budget.”
Finance leaders and their teams are utilizing a variety of approaches and tools designed to support their planning efforts, including engaging department heads in a collaborative budgeting process, modeling multiple scenarios and “What-if’s?”, and more frequent forecasting for the fast-changing environment.
Download this budgeting brief to read the complete findings.
“BudgetPak has been a life saver for our business during this challenging time. We have been able to collaborate with staff on budgeting wherever they are and to get the detailed data to do accurate line-item forecasts across all of our departments.”
–Mary Konyn, Director of Accounting, Pahlisch Homes