Finance leaders can’t take their eyes off the bottom line, but they need to adopt a broader view of their organizations’ capabilities to weather turbulence now and in the future. That need has been highlighted by the recent public health and economic crises.
Business continuity and supply chains have been top of mind for CFOs. Prior to the pandemic, global political events such as trade wars and Brexit were having a significant impact on corporate strategies. The pandemic has only added to those challenges, as the coronavirus has restricted business and cross-border trade.
According to a Vistra-sponsored CFO Research study conducted in January, just prior to the pandemic declaration, nearly nine out 10 respondents said they were considering expanding into new markets. Only one in four respondents said the trade war between the U.S. and China had not affected their strategy. And when asked about Brexit, only on in five respondents said the UK exiting the EU had not affected their strategy.
Despite adapting their strategies to the challenges of the moment, CFOs — not known for taking unnecessary risks — reported that global upheavals had not deterred them from international expansion. They were even considering investing in regions commonly associated with economic and regulatory challenges. Brazil and other Latin American countries, for example, were targeted by 47% of companies that were surveyed before the pandemic.