The CFO'S Perspective

Maintaining Business Controls in a Remote Work Environment

We are now seven months into the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is clear we are far from returning to “normal”; however, that may be defined. What is clear is the pandemic pushed the concept of work-from-home (WFH) from being a motivational tool and employee benefit to a way of life. Work-from-home will undoubtedly remain an essential part of company operations well after the pandemic is under control. REI, Zillow, Twitter, Square, and other companies announced a plan to work remotely indefinitely.

Moving to a remote work environment in March with little or no notice was extraordinarily disruptive and often haphazard at best. We did what we needed to operate in the so-called “new normal.” By now, most of us have settled into a regular work cadence and adapted to working apart from the rest of our teams.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce and half of all “information workers” can work from home. Though the number of people working partially or fully remote has been on the rise for years now, the COVID-19 pandemic may have pressed the fast-forward button on this trend.

With millions of people taking part in this work-from-home experiment, now is the perfect time for companies to take a fresh look at their internal control environments, especially as they relate to their WFH team members. What once worked with everyone in the same place may not be effective with a distributed workforce.

A critical self-examination of your company’s internal control environment begins with an assessment of the segregation of duties.

Topics: Leadership Risk Management Change Management Business Controls

Re-opening: A CFOs Perspective on What Businesses Should Focus on in the Near Term

What now? You have your PPP loan (or determined you did not need or qualify for it) and every state has begun easing stay home restrictions, but there is still economic uncertainty ahead. One thing is certain, most businesses have been impacted and their 2020 results will differ significantly from previous budgets and forecasts.

Now is the time for serious planning and strategizing. Business owners and CEOs should be considering what reopening looks like in all markets in which they operate. Will your business return to normal operations or will there be significant changes needed? Involve your key leadership team and advisors in these planning sessions.

Topics: Planning Leadership Change Management

How Can a CFO Help in a Time of Crisis?

The current economic uncertainty has many businesses closely evaluating their current and future staffing needs. While some positions are being cut, especially in the hospitality and travel sectors, many businesses are strategically hiring financial professionals into executive leadership positions during the downturn.

Companies that previously had tasked their CEOs with handling finance functions are now hiring dedicated CFOs (or outsourcing CFO roles to reputable third parties) to ensure they will be able to weather the new economic storm. With ambiguity over how long businesses will need to keep their offices and storefronts closed paired with unpredictability in the stock market, business owners and CEOs are feeling increased pressure to make critical strategic financial decisions for the health of their organizations.

Topics: Finance CFO Leadership CFO Responsibilities Interim CFO Strategy

Understanding the Role of Advisory Boards

The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” - Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer

Entrepreneurs and CEOs quickly learn how lonely it can be at the top. In many cases, you may be the sole employee when your venture is first created. When it grows, and you have a more complex organization with a sizeable staff, accountability for success still rests mainly on your shoulders. 

As your company’s leader, employees look to you for guidance and vision. Investors expect you to successfully manage the company and provide them with an excellent return on their investment. When dealing with a difficult situation or approaching uncharted territory, the CEO has no peers in the organization. 

It is for these reasons that CEOs form a board of advisors to give them guidance or expertise. An increasing number of organizations are forming advisory boards. But how can you best define the role of your board and its members?

Topics: Planning Leadership

Do You Need a Succession Plan?

Take a second to think about your company’s key personnel - your CEO, CFO, CIO, Controller, etc. Consider everything they bring to the table and the responsibilities they hold as well as the knowledge they’ve accumulated about your business and industry. Now, imagine that they suddenly disappear.

Topics: Planning Leadership