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CFOs eye revenue rebuilding, hybrid work arrangements, and agility for COVID-19 waves

CFOs are more confident about their companies' ability to be more agile as COVID-19 cases begin to pick up.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor
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US chief financial officers are plotting product, pricing, and services changes, investing in tech and aiming for agility as the potential for another wave of COVID-19 infections looms, according to a survey by PwC.

As economies, businesses, and offices start to reopen, the PwC survey of 330 finance leaders highlights the moving parts. Seventy-one of the CFOs are confident that they can provide a safe working environment, and 54% plan to make remote work a permanent option, according to PwC.  

Add it up and it's clear there's a hybrid work environment ahead and executives are planning for all options for employees. 

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The PwC data complements a Xerox survey, which shows 82% of respondents expect workers to return to offices in 12 months to 18 months. Companies are also investing to support hybrid remote/in-office arrangements, according to Xerox.

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These surveys largely reflect reality following the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies are planning on rebuilding revenue, but realize they have to shift quickly as conditions warrant. In fact, 73% of CFOs said they are very confident they can provide a clear response and shut-down protocols if COVID-19 cases spike, according to PwC.

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PwC's sixth COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey found:

  • 59% of finance leaders are concerned about a second wave of COVID-19 infections, followed by 54% worried about an economic downturn.
  • 78% expect to see lower revenue and profits, but that's an improvement relative to previous surveys. For instance, 13% of CFOs see a revenue decrease of 25% or greater, down 7% from the previous survey. And 11% see the potential of increased revenue.
  • 95% see a return to business as usual in less than 12 months.
  • 63% expect changes in product and service offerings with 41% see pricing changes ahead.
  • 79% are considering cost-containment measures.
  • 20% say that in the next month they expect insufficient staffing to accomplish critical work.
  • 72% say the current situation has improved resiliency and agility.
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