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Resource Hub for Finance Leaders

Driving the finance function during turbulent times

Business continuity is a key challenge in these unprecedented times for many C-level professionals, but especially for CFOs. Government lockdowns and travel bans are taking their toll on earnings, access to funds and cash flows. Our Resource Hub brings you insights and intelligence from a range of financial leaders, detailing the steps they are taking to protect their businesses and operate under the new conditions.

What your peers say

We have surveyed CFOs and FDs in our network, initially asking them four key questions regarding their response to these unprecedented times.

“Our key focus has been putting the health and wellbeing of our workforce first but balancing this with the need to fulfil vital NHS services.”
- Ricardo Laverty, CFO, Chemist4U See all answers
How has your business been affected by the current pandemic?
We are an NHS registered pharmacy therefore have been heavily impacted by the current crisis in a number of ways including but not limited to:
  • Massive increases in demand for some OTC pharmacy products (hand washes and hand gels)
  • Inventory shortages across all major pharma suppliers
  • Furlough of marketing staff but increased workload on core workforce
How have your daily priorities changed?
Priorities have been shifted to short term (rather than medium or long term):
  • Inventory management
  • People management
  • Daily management of orders and prioritising NHS patients
  • IT improvements required quickly and outside of normal process
  • Difficulty in tracking margin performance due to variances in supply price
How have you been managing the team?
  • Our key focus has been putting the health and wellbeing of our workforce first but balancing this with the need to fulfil vital NHS services
  • We have been organising daily meetings (both virtual and otherwise)
What is your top tip for working at home?
Top tip on working from home is organisation (and Microsoft Teams)

“My daily priorities are much the same, the only difference is there is now an added level of contingency planning for various potential scenarios and increased focus on the wellbeing of the team.”
- Sophia Meadows, Finance Director, Bloom & Wild See all answers
How has your business been affected by the current pandemic?
As an online business we’re fortunate that for the moment we’re able - and are being encouraged - to continue operating. Whilst we know that flowers aren't a necessity, we also know that for many people they’re an uplifting way to connect with others when we can’t always be there in person so we continue to trade and are honoured to be able to spread small moments of joy in such a difficult time.
How have your daily priorities changed?
My daily priorities are much the same, the only difference is there is now an added level of contingency planning for various potential scenarios and increased focus on the wellbeing of the team.
How have you been managing the team?
The biggest impact on my day to day is not being able to sit with and communicate continually with my team, we have a daily video meeting every morning to catch up and I continue to have our regular cadence of weekly face to face meetings where there is increased focus on morale and coping mechanisms.
What is your top tip for working at home?
Make sure you separate your "working" and "home" time very clearly, e.g. take a clear lunch break not focussed on work away from your desk, finish your day and go for a walk to signify the end of work time.

“Back-office tasks in London and NY have been the easiest to switch to remote-working.”
- Tom Lewis, Consultant, Pharmaspectra See all answers
How has your business been affected by the current pandemic?
We are an international business, so there are different challenges in each of our territories. Back-office tasks in London and NY have been the easiest to switch to remote-working.
How have your daily priorities changed?
Cash has now become our biggest focus; everything is now viewed through the lens of its impact on cash management. There's a balance to be found between maximising short-term cash and not harming the business's longer-term prospects.
How have you been managing the team?
Again it varies by role and geography; in London moving to remote working has been relatively straightforward, but we have scheduled regular, no-agenda "virtual elevenses" or "afternoon tea" for people to catch up and have some social contact. We are also holding a virtual wine-tasting as a team social.
What is your top tip for working at home?
Enjoy the pluses: no commute, no suit. Find a way to get enough daily exercise and social contact. Finish on time then do something useful - odd jobs, family stuff or DIY.

“Regular calls with every single member of the finance team around the world which means early mornings and late nights but the team has an excellent spirit and responded really impressively to the challenges.”
- Adrian Talbot, Financial Director, Hotwire See all answers
How has your business been affected by the current pandemic?
Hotwire has offices across the world so we have businesses at nearly all stages of being locked down. But we have long had a policy of Thoughtful Working, which means you do your job from wherever you can be most effective so we moved seamlessly overnight to working from home. We also had all of the tools already which facilitate home-working e.g. laptops and tools like Zoom and Slack.
How have your daily priorities changed?
Even more focus on cash than normal as well as heightened sense of risk. I am also talking to even more clients than ever and doing my best to manage their requests.
How have you been managing the team?
Regular calls with every single member of the finance team around the world which means early mornings and late nights but the team has an excellent spirit and responded really impressively to the challenges.
What is your top tip for working at home?
Keep every device you have fully charged as you never know what a day brings and right now you might have to switch to mobile, iPad, landline at a moment’s notice to keep communicating!

“Given that so much is evolving so quickly, for planning, we're looking at what is within our control and setting up plans for scenarios that are outside of our control.”
- Tom Coward, Finance Director, Cytora See all answers
How has your business been affected by the current pandemic?
Like most of the rest of the UK, we're adapting to working fully remotely, which means that reaching alignment requires more communication. Given that so much is evolving so quickly, for planning, we're looking at what is within our control and setting up plans for scenarios that are outside of our control.
How have your daily priorities changed?
Given this is still evolving, the priorities are putting clear plans in place for any eventuality, and taking actions to extend runway.
How have you been managing the team?
Regular check ins, asking how everyone is doing and feeling and acknowledging this is a tough time for a lot of people. Regarding the work specifically, when delegating tasks it's important to be more explicit and always following up in writing to avoid anything being lost in translation.
What is your top tip for working at home?
Be structured about when you start and end the day and being proactive about setting things up for the morning/evening.

What our sister publication Real Deals says

Explore the ways in which private equity and venture capital investors are responding to the current situation; how they are protecting and supporting their UK SME portfolio companies, by visiting Real Deals’ website.

PE portfolio companies to consider further staff and salary cuts - Finatal

A considerable proportion of CFOs are looking at making permanent salary cuts and redundancies to ‘right-size’ the business going forward, according to financial consultancy firm Finatal.

Supercharging SMEs

A recent league table from April 2020 tracking Britain’s private sector companies with the fastest growing profits was incredibly significant for showcasing the benefits of private equity investment

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Exclusive: Covid-19 to boost W&I insurance in M&A deals

Covid-19 is likely to be a major catalyst for more W&I insurance in M&A deals. W&I is now used in 41 per cent of M&A deals – up from 6 per cent in 2014.

CJRS and CBILS among most claimed UK support packages - Unquoted Advisory

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) are two of the most used government support packages at present. 60% CFOs surveyed have claimed the CJRS support package. Over 30% of CFOs have claimed CBILS support.

CFO’s weigh in on exit timetables - Unquoted Advisory

A significant portion of UK chief financial officer's are anticipating no change in their exit timetables following the Covid-19 outbreak, according to new research by Unquoted Advisory.

Good news: PE firms continue to fund pandemic relief

Bain Capital and Bridgepoint Capital have become the latest private equity firms to fund pandemic relief.

Comment: Covid-19 is a game-changer for investors

Rami Cassis, CEO of Parabellum Investments discusses how Covid-19 may alter appetite away from Chinese supply chains, as investors look for alternatives in the West.

Europe extends anti-takeover rules

National security has increasingly been used as a basis to intervene in private equity deals for some time, but the current pandemic has accelerated Europe’s protectionist policies

Covid-19: “The PE industry will play a key role in recovering our businesses and economy”- Miura

Luis Seguí, founding partner & CEO at Miura Private Equity, discusses how the private equity firm is working with investments in Spain, one of the countries being hit the hardest by Covid-19.

Virtual reality

All private equity firms have been looking at how to digitise the way they do business. The Covid-19 outbreak will accelerate the journey, Nicholas Neveling finds.

Covid-19’s impact on the emerging tech sector

This week PitchBook published: The Ripple Effects of COVID-19 on Emerging Technologies. The report identifies how emerging technology companies are being impacted by the pandemic.

DLA Piper publishes action plan for disrupted supply chains

As the coronavirus continues to disrupt supply chains, law firm DLA Piper has identified five strategies stakeholders can implement to minimise impact and seek out opportunities.

Covid-19 corner: “LPs have a lot of homework to do on their investments” - Cambridge Associates

Cambridge Associates, head of private equity and venture capital research, EMEA, Nicolas Schellenberg highlights that as funds commitments can often have different currencies, LPs have a lot of work to do to manage their investments.

Bain launches Covid-19 risk assessment test

The online survey helps fund managers gauge each portfolio company’s vulnerability based on four areas of potential exposure.


What to watch and download

Review whitepapers, infographic reports, ebooks and other published material that will support your finance function in these new circumstances.

Report: Covid-19 CFO Survey

This report investigates current business state, furlough & redundancy levels, M&A activity, pay-cuts, exit timetable changes, supportiveness of external investors and the CFO’s outlook.

Brochure: CCB Business support brochure

Coronavirus - support for businesses. This document outlines some of the support available to you and your business to ensure you’re well prepared for now and the future. Coronavirus – All. Together. Now. It’s clear that coronavirus has everyone feeling on edge and uncertain at the moment.

Whitepaper: Coronavirus government support for businesses

We know things are uncertain at the moment, so we want to reassure you what we’re here to help you. On top of any financial support you might need, the Government has launched a range of temporary measures to support your business through this period of disruption caused by coronavirus.

Webinar: The roadmap to Covid-19 recovery

This webinar assesses the current environment and plot a roadmap to Covid-19 recovery. In such unprecedented times as this, it is crucial to take both a macro and micro view of the impact of the crisis and plot potential recovery.

Webinar: Offence is the best defence

In the face of widespread disruption and major upheaval to all aspects of work and personal life, the most important task for private equity managers has been to communicate clearly and consistently with their investors.

Webinar: Looking after your Mental Health & Well-being during COVID-19

Investing in good mental health and well-being is likely to be a key strategy for businesses to successfully overcome the challenges, and will support owners and employees long after the crisis has subsided.

Report: Covid-19 Global Survey: Inside business- impacts and responses

ACCA's global research with over 10,000 finance professionals identifies a wide range of business and financial challenges facing organisations of all sizes and across all sectors

Webinar: Helping you to manage fraud risks during COVID-19

While businesses in the UK are focusing on the financial impacts, and keeping their customers and employees safe, fraudsters are ready to take any opportunity to catch them off guard. Watch our webcast for guidance on tackling these risks.

Guide: Mental health in the workplace

Maintaining good mental health within your workforce is more important than ever. Read our guide for information on how you can support your staff through this challenging period


What we’re reading

Here you can find our curation of expert articles from across the globe that are practical, insightful and will keep you up to date with further developments.


If you would like to contribute to our Resource Hub , please contact our team on 0207 360 3460 or email fls@realdealsmedia.com.

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