Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 20, 2020

Want to stay up to date with the latest developments in finance, but short on time? Don't worry. CFO South Africa weekly collects 10 of the most important articles from international media for your convenience.

1. How will your company recover after COVID-19?
When Deloitte surveyed CEOs, senior managers, and HR leaders in China, which was affected by the coronavirus first, 66% said they were unable to serve customers and clients because of the outbreak. Almost half of the respondents said they were unable to continue normal business management. It’s a scenario that’s now playing out globally...

2. Survey: CFOs Double Down on Staff Cuts Amid Ongoing Disruption
The number of companies furloughing staff and cutting salaries could more than double between March and June, according to according to a Gartner survey of 161 finance executives. The survey found 11% of respondents reduced staff in March. Some 25% said they plan to make cuts in May and June. “CFOs are unsure what reopening will look like and have little visibility into when revenue will start to normalize,” said Alexander Bant, a vice president at Gartner. “This is driving CFOs to look for the next round of structural cost cuts to preserve cash for the coming month.”

3. Leading Through Anxiety
The CEO of a startup is sitting in the office space she recently leased for her fast-growing company. It’s rush hour, but the streets outside are quiet, and so are the 600 empty cubicles outside her office door. Just yesterday her leadership team made the tough but crucial decision to send everyone home to work for the foreseeable future. In 30 minutes she needs to lead a videoconference to reassure her employees. But she’s despondent, anxious, and just plain scared...

4. Four Strategic Priorities for the Post-COVID-19 World
By now, everyone knows that the shattering impact of COVID-19 has brought on a business crisis without precedent in recent memory. On one level, though, the pandemic represents nothing new. For years, we have been hearing and talking about the impending “VUCA” (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world. Over and over again, we were told to prepare for seismic change that was sure to arrive, to boost agility in anticipation of abrupt, profound disruption. COVID-19 was a misfortune long foreseen; only the dates and other specific details were missing.

5. The Case for M&A in a Downturn
Most companies are still in the early days of assessing the impact from the Covid-19 crisis on their business. But as they begin planning for the future, there may be opportunities to make one or more long-sought acquisitions. Businesses are, or should be, examining their existing lists of potential acquisition targets and should be prepared to act, as deal premiums are likely to come down and assets that companies had been reluctant to sell may become available. But the window for maximizing value could be relatively short, if history is any indication.

6. Six Priorities for Travel CFOs During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented crisis in the travel industry. Major US airlines have eliminated as much as 40% of domestic flying and canceled most international flights. To help US carriers avoid bankruptcy, the government has approved $58 billion in aid. Hotel occupancy rates have taken a nose-dive as well. Revenues per available room in the United States plunged 84% the week of April 11 according to data company STR, and Disney’s theme parks may not reopen until 2021. The pandemic has also had a devastating impact on ride-sharing apps, vacation rentals, and car rental companies. How should a hospitality industry CFO respond to ensure his or her company emerges on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis?

7. From thinking about the next normal to making it work: What to stop, start, and accelerate
In a previous article, we discussed seven broad ideas that we thought would shape the global economy as it struggled to define the next normal. In this one, we set out seven actions that have come up repeatedly in our discussions with business leaders around the world. In each case, we discuss which attitudes or practices businesses should stop, which they should start, and which they should accelerate.

8. 8 CEOs on books they read in a crisis 
The key to navigating these crazy times might be right under your nose. Reading can reduce your stress level by up to 68%, according to research by the University of Sussex. Beyond that, the right book can educate and embolden us for the hard road ahead. We asked eight CEOs for their top recommendations. Read these books, they say, and you’ll be ready for whatever plot twist comes your way.

9. Building resilience in challenging times
Anthony Boateng, FCMA, CGMA, is currently the lead for Africa and the financial resilience specialist for the consultancy NIRAS Sweden AB, the evaluators of the Ford Foundation Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD) initiative, a five-year, $1 billion investment in social justice organisations around the world.

10. Should FDs focus on reopening, resuscitating or restructuring?
Aside from government restrictions indicating when businesses can resume normal practice, data and forecasting can help determine an organisation’s best recovery options, according to restructuring and insolvency professionals. “It is simply not going to be a case of throwing open the doors and saying ‘open for business,’” Matt Dunham, partner at Dunham Dean Advisory, said via email. “The business environment is going to be significantly different from before lockdown.