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Survey finds 74% of CFOs aim to make remote work permanent for most employees

Posted by Shivali Anand

August 23, 2021    |     2-minute read (405 words)

Employees have always expressed a desire for more flexible work arrangements, but the coronavirus outbreak has forced the issue, compelling many employees who formerly worked in the office to begin working remotely. Chief financial officers have noticed the move to remote work, and they're interested in making some of the changes permanent, even after the stay-at-home orders expire.

According to a Gartner study of 317 finance professionals and CFOs, 74% of respondents intend to move "at least 5% of their formerly on-site staff to permanently remote roles post-COVID-19."

Notable cost savings could be achieved by moving

Maintaining an office space and the facilities that come with it may be costly, and remote work is one method to cut costs. "CFOs, who are already under pressure to keep expenses under control, obviously see an opportunity to gain the cost savings of a remote workforce," said Alexander Bant, practice vice president for research at Gartner Finance. "In fact, over a quarter of respondents stated they plan to transfer at least 20% of their on-site staff to permanent remote positions," he continued.

In addition, 4% of respondents indicated they would have half of their personnel on the road once the coronavirus emergency is gone, and 2% said they would have more than half of their employees on the road after the COVID-19 period is over.

Additional cost-cutting strategies are being considered

The move to a remote work environment isn't the only method CFOs are trying to keep expenses down in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. According to Previous Gartner polls, CFOs should consider the following options:
  • Leading cross-functional "value-capture" teams to identify cost-cutting opportunities 
  • Treating the COVID-19 situation as if it were a significant acquisition 
  •  Deferring non-essential technology expenditures 
  • Conducting zero-basing of capital projects 
  • Freezing marketing spend or shifting it to social media
  • Working up cost-sharing agreements with vendors.
  • During the summer and fall, cut sponsorship spending.
CFOs are searching for methods to reduce money on personnel costs as well, according to Gartner, by applying measures like hiring freezes and considering furloughs.

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect businesses, additional contingency plans are expected to be implemented. However, one area where CFOs do not expect significant changes in the financial reporting they must perform.

"Within the finance department itself, 90% of CFOs previously told us that they foresee little delays to their accounting close process, with nearly all operations able to be completed off-site," Bant added.

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