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

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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