February 7, 2023

Sidestepping the recession: Advice for CFOs and CEOs

UK economy recovers to above pre-pandemic level: data


British finance minister Rishi Sunak urged Britons to get their booster jabs to maintain the economic recovery – Copyright AFP/File STR

Many countries appear to be edging towards a recession. By most definitions this is represented by “two consecutive quarters of economic decline, as reflected by GDP in conjunction with monthly indicators such as a rise in unemployment”. This will impact consumers and firms. With the latter, business leaders need to prepare now for difficult days ahead.

In terms of how to be proactive, Tipalti CFO Sarah Spoja, has provided guidance for finance executives.

Spoja has provided this guidance to Digital Journal:

Don’t be afraid to break from the pack

 Now, as many finance executives are asking where they can cut costs, Spoja advocates for investing in employee education and skills training. “The worst thing you can do is take a high-performing individual contributor and deprive them of resources to succeed,” Spoja says.

Automate manual work

The number of finance leaders responsible for their companies’ digital activities has more than tripled over the last five years. However, the tech stack in finance is decades behind those in sales, IT, and marketing. Automating allows teams to spend less time on manual processes and more time on critical thinking tasks – like analyzing spend and implementing more strategic practices.

Empower agility

Now more than ever, the rest of the C-Suite looks to finance, which is why the entire team should be experienced in crisis management and ready to tackle tough decisions. Particularly as we prepare for a recession in the coming years, your company’s CFO needs a strategy on how to lead, both during times of economic prosperity as well as economic strife.

Spoja expand on the advice, targeting CEOs. This takes the form of:

Keep your head on straight

Business is about managing both the high highs and the low lows. The coming months will require adaptability, strategy and resilience from leaders across industries to motivate their people and protect the business.

Consolidate your tools

Scrutinize your toolkit by asking which teams are using which tools and assess the benefit each provides to productivity. Spoja says executives should be prioritizing strategic spend on tools that enhance security, innovation and productivity.

Take accountability

Layoffs are never easy or popular, so in the case that they do happen, own it. Spoja says CEOs need to acknowledge that the blame is on them, not those getting laid off. Provide resume services, consultants, and offer recommendation letters to help everyone land on their feet – After all, the people got the company is where it is today.