Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professionals expect the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to be long-lasting and severely damaging to earnings and revenue, according to a new survey by the Association for Financial Professionals.
In mid-April, AFP conducted a survey of more than 600 FP&A professionals across 20 industries on COVID-19. The goal of the survey is to help members of the FP&A community calibrate their own responses to the pandemic by learning how peer organizations are adjusting and planning for the months ahead.
The survey asked practitioners about the expected fiscal year decline in revenue and earnings. Finance professionals are anticipating the impact of the pandemic to be severe. Fully 85% predict earnings to be significantly or severely below plan, and 71% project the same for revenue.
FP&A professionals have a sober view of the duration of this crisis. The majority expect it to last for many months and they don't anticipate a quick recovery.
- Nearly two-thirds (66%) estimate that the crisis will last for three quarters or more.
- Only 10% estimate a quick return pre-crisis operations, while the largest share (45%) expect a slow ramp up to pre-crisis operations.
A slightly optimistic note, the survey revealed that many companies appear to be pivoting their business and playing "offense" as they adapt to the new normal.
- Sixty-four percent of companies indicated that they are looking for opportunities to invest in themselves or their products or see an opportunity to expand their market share during this time.
- Many survey respondents are looking to upgrade technology, setting their sights on digital revenue streams (27%) and digital transformation projects (27%).
"Although the outlook for the remainder of 2020 is grim, FP&A professionals are always forward-thinking," said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of AFP. "Digital transformation became a necessity before this crisis began, and practitioners aren't going to let even a deadly pandemic slow down their efforts."
Headquartered outside of Washington, D.C. and located regionally in Singapore, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society committed to advancing the success of treasury and finance members and their organizations. AFP established and administers the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials, which set standards of excellence in treasury and finance. Each year, AFP hosts the largest networking conference worldwide for more than 7,000 corporate financial professionals.