Welcome to the Agile Finance Series Part 1. In this series, we discuss COVID 19 and lockdown, and some of the steps that you can take to ensure your finance function can come out of this in the right way.

Agile+Finance+Series_+Video+1+++Introduction

Transcript

 

Liam O'Brien:

Hi there, Liam here from VantagePoint. Thank you very much for taking the time to watch these videos. We've put these together in reaction to the challenges that are coming from the last couple of months we've all had with COVID-19 and lockdown and some of the steps that you can take as you ensure your finance function can come out of this in the right way. And I'm joined here by our consulting director, Matt Benaron, and in this introduction video, we're just going to talk through what we're going to run you through in the next couple of videos.

 

Liam O'Brien:

It's really going to be focused around a couple of key elements, that will be cost-saving and how you can optimise, adding wider value so that clarity of reporting and how you can help your business know how to settle for the future, remote working, and then finally that culture change piece that you will need, of course, as times have changed and businesses have changed and we all need to prepare.

 

Liam O'Brien:

So I guess, Matt, at this point, what are the common themes that people are focused on? What have you seen from our clients since the whole COVID lockdown? And there's been a lot of changes, obviously. What are they talking to you about mostly?

 

Matt Benaron:

Sure. So, I think there are a few key areas that our clients are certainly focused on. The first one you touched on, which is cost-saving, and cost-saving takes different forms, but I guess what we're looking at our clients with is efficiency. So where they can look to save on costs through making processes, systems, solutions more efficient. But there is all sort of scrutiny on cash. So there have been a few areas where we have been doing cashflow management projects and starting to help businesses better understand and manage and project their cash flow. But that overall scrutiny on expenses has broader impacts too. Also, as clients look at the cost that they're spending on technology. So I think that that real kind of squeeze has been felt in quite a number of the areas. I think that's number one.

 

Matt Benaron:

Secondly, a lot of clients scramble to make quick decisions at the start of this period. And I think it really highlighted where some organisations are not that ready or not that enabled to take their finance operational data and turn it into quick decisions. I think we've known about that in finance for a long time, but the recent scrutiny and the recent need to make quick decisions, but on an informed basis with the data that we have has highlighted where some organisations are maybe a little bit behind the curve.

 

Matt Benaron:

And finally, it's a fairly obvious one, but remote working. Some finance teams are really remote ready, but those who haven't adopted cloud solutions, those who haven't got collaboration tools at the ready and those that just aren't used to working remotely have seen a few challenges in just doing their job day-to-day, but in a remote fashion.

 

Liam O'Brien:

Absolutely. Great. And I guess from our perspective, what are some of the things that you see in our own consulting business.

 

Matt Benaron:

That's an interesting one. I think they're pretty similar. The remote working certainly. We're a team of consultants, we're pretty ready to work remotely. We've got our laptops and we're used to working with clients all over the place, but we haven't ever coordinated the entire business remotely 100% of the time.

 

Matt Benaron:

So, I think the way in which we're collaborating, the way in which we're running big change projects with clients remotely has adjusted. And we've looked at our project methodologies to make sure that they're fit for purpose for projects that in some cases we've started remotely and we'll finish remotely as well.

 

Matt Benaron:

And I think the other thing, particularly for some of the senior people in the team is how busy your calendar can get just through the fact that what might have been a quick conversation over a coffee becomes a half-hour meeting in your camera. So again, just considering efficiency, considering spending your time in the best places. We looked at all of our teams, really scrutinised where they're spending that time to make sure that what they're doing with their day adds as much value as possible and as little time is spent on long meetings without purpose.

 

Liam O'Brien:

Excellent. Okay. So over the next couple of videos then, just in summary, I guess, we will get a really good look at cost-saving and optimising that. We'll take a closer look at cash flow management and things of that nature. Also, take a look at data availability and how we can access that for things like reporting and adding wider value. And then we'll come on to that whole remote working piece and touch on that as well. Great. So that's it for video one. Thank you very much for watching. We look forward to seeing you in the next video. Bye bye

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