Pandemic Lesson: Accounting and Financial Technology Outperforms Technology

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Cited as the saving grace to survive COVID-19, companies have said the numbers trump collaboration platforms or project management solutions.

Image: iStock / Avosb

When the pandemic sent businesses scrambling to survive, many began by throwing various technologies against the proverbial wall and seeing what would be left. A new report from Sage has revealed that, surprisingly, it was not new collaboration platforms or new project management solutions that kept companies from being buried under the weight of restrictions imposed by the pandemic: c was accounting and financial technology.

SEE: Work from home: the future of the company is remote (ZDNet / TechRepublic special function) | Working From Home: How To Get It Right Working Remotely (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Almost 30% of companies said they believe accounting and financial technology is their “saving grace” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three-quarters of finance teams, according to the report, are confident of a return to growth by the end of the year. And customer relations are on the rise: 79% of companies “feel more connected to their customers” than they were in 2020. Most companies envision a return to pre-pandemic income levels in the third quarter. quarter from July to September 2021 (22%), i.e. Q4, October to December 2021 (23%).

The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of many organizations, with 28% of companies surveyed saying the pandemic has accelerated more than five-year digitization plans to address unique challenges.

The companies that took this leap of faith and invested early in digital transformation were most confident to see significant revenue growth over the coming year. More than a quarter (28%) of respondents in the group of 1,050 CFOs of small and medium-sized businesses surveyed by Sage in March expect revenue growth of 11% or more during the year, which is significantly higher. than the next highest cohort, with 17% of small businesses also expecting the same level of growth.

Customer service

Some companies have offered customers financial support through flexible payment options (43%), reduced prices (42%), or new incentives or net rewards (47%) for purchases. These practices were “a major theme in American business,” Sage found.

SEE: How to prevent (and manage) unethical situations at work (TechRepublic)

Most companies do not plan to roll back the initiatives implemented during the lockdown.

Almost two-thirds of businesses said they had received a paycheck protection program loan, with 32% citing the P3 loan as “the reason their businesses didn’t go bankrupt.”

COVID-19 protocols also enjoy broad support, with 70% responding that state regulations and public health measures, which include social distancing and office occupancy rules, have had a positive impact on businesses.

Government assistance

For 2021, respondents were asked what kind of support they would like for the success of their business, 52% said an increase in funds for COVID-19 testing and additional security measures, 47% said increased employee support, 40% said payroll increases and protection support, 34% requested debt relief and loan forgiveness. Five percent said they did not need any government support.

Technological investments

Technology is a good industry to invest in: 77% of companies continue to invest more resources in technology to improve efficiency and decision-making, in addition to supporting a remote and office workforce.

SEE: $ 152 billion for skills training in Biden’s infrastructure plan could contribute to shortage of tech workers (TechRepublic)

The three main solutions in which companies plan to increase their investments are:

  • Business intelligence and analytical technology (48%)
  • Cloud Accounting / Financial Technology (47%)
  • Cloud management technology (47%)

Confidence in a return to pre-pandemic figures is high: 69% of companies expect revenue to return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of the year.

More than half of the companies surveyed said they had increased their digital marketing efforts, and 45% said they had increased their social media footprint and budget.

Employers have shown they want to keep their employees and attract new candidates with 27% of companies offering increased or non-traditional HR services, such as childcare allowances and flexible working arrangements in response to a demand. pandemic.

The community has become a priority

Despite the many challenges, charitable giving continued, 88% of respondents said they had made some form of charitable giving, such as services (53%), money (48%) and goods produced by their company (45%). Forty-nine percent said they want to continue developing and increasing charitable community giving programs, and 87% plan to maintain or increase the amount of community giving in 2021.

Pandemic practices remain in place

Almost half (48%) of those surveyed said the company has permanent remote work policies in place, 42% have expanded health services, and 39% offer childcare assistance. Almost a quarter (24%) said they added new employee recognition programs.

Improvements were seen at all levels: 20% said project management skills improved and 29% said management skills improved.

Companies (37%) with 500 to 999 employees intend to significantly increase budgets related to employee retention categories, 26% of large companies with 1,000 or more employees and 10% of small companies (50 to 249 employees). These companies said they would continue to seek employees with dynamic skills, with technology (39%) and management (28%) being the most sought after by hiring managers.

The top four financial areas believe they can have an impact: 40% technology, 28% customer service and marketing, and 26% strategic planning.

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