Armanino Blog

Managing COVID-19 and Beyond: Where CFOs and Business Owners Can Start

March 19, 2020

Where do CFOs and business owners begin when thinking about how to manage their resources, cash flows, supply chain, debt covenants, and investor or shareholder communications during the next six to 12 months? It is a pressure that most are feeling acutely.

There is not only the day-to-day struggle to maintain “business as usual” to the extent possible, there is the added responsibility related to business impacts from COVID-19. What is the potential impact on the business, what new decisions need be made and when, what type of changes do you need to make over the next few months, and how do you quantify impacts to communicate to your investors or stakeholders?

In times like these, updating your financial projections becomes critical. Crisis management puts executive management teams and entrepreneurs to the test. Developing detailed action plans to minimize expenses and maximize cash flow should be the primary focus. (Our Crisis Planning Checklist can provide a starting point.)

Data/Information Collection

Decisions made in a vacuum with a lack of information can be detrimental to a business. How can you ensure you are making the best decisions during these turbulent times? By utilizing your IT department and financial analysts to collect as much information as possible.

Talk to your department leaders, your customers/clients, and your vendors/suppliers to gauge potential impact. Begin analyzing trends in sales, cash collections, supply chain lags, additional expenses, and resource constraints. Monitor the information daily to identify and predict continued trends.

Decision Making

Revisit the cash flow projections and budgets based on the information collected and the trending analysis. Prioritize the areas impacted the most and strategize on potential changes or new solutions with your leadership team and your trusted external advisors. These business process changes or resource decisions may be temporary, or it may be that they are the new way of doing business for the long term. Revisit your business continuity planning and update it based on the lessons learned as you go.

Think about the business impacts related to your workforce — these decisions are some of the hardest to make. A staff furlough may be a much more strategic option than a lay-off, especially if the business expects to continue in the long term. Determining how many people to furlough and how to communicate that message are all part of the decision-making process. (See our Furlough FAQ for more info.)


Be transparent with your investors, bankers, and other stakeholders on the impacts. Share your revised projections and action plans. The more accurate information we all have, the better we can plan and support each other to be financially successful.

We all want to get back to business as usual as quickly as possible. Information sharing will be a key component that helps the entire business community work together and make better decisions.


I think it is safe to say that COVID-19 will affect everyone in some way – personally and professionally. Every business is expected to be impacted. Gathering information on the impacts, addressing potential solutions, and adjusting as you go is the only way to ensure that your negative effects are short-lived and your odds of continued success are significantly increased.

Some business owners and CFOs may even find this time beneficial in that it allows them to really analyze their business and make decisions they otherwise never would have made for the future. This can help you experience significant growth and success down the road.

March 19, 2020

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