Industry experts highlighted the importance of cash and liquidity to ensure effective business continuity in light of the impact of COVID-19 at the BVI Finance Breakfast Forum on 15th April 2020.
Taking place via an interactive webinar with approximately 70 industry attendees, Russell Crumpler, MD and Head of Advisory at KPMG BVI, and Mark Raddan, Global Head of Turnaround at KPMG London, shared their insights and guidance for the coming months.
The session was chaired by Elise Donovan, CEO of BVI Finance.
The big picture
Providing an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy to date, Russell Crumpler shared his thoughts on the possible longer-term repercussions of the virus on a sector by-sector basis. At the start of the year – prior to the pandemic hitting – KPMG identified two ‘red’ sectors which were cause for concern. KPMG’s restructuring team now believe 50% of all industry sectors are demonstrating indicators of severe distress.
He also highlighted the lack of room for maneuver from global governments to stimulate growth and support economies, suggesting there will be a long, slow recovery in the months to come. Despite this, he stated that many jurisdictions are considering changes to their own laws to help shore up businesses during this period.
Effective business management during COVID-19
At a micro level, Mark Raddan, outlined some of the measures businesses should take in order to offset the impact of the pandemic.
With regards to cash management, Mark suggested the best way to manage liquidity across multiple businesses was via cash-flow forecasts. Given the current climate, he recommended businesses extend the usual forecast period from 13 weeks to 17 weeks or even 26 weeks to ensure greater visibility, as well as looking to improve the granularity of the forecasting process.
In the medium term, Mark also outlined considerations for businesses looking at the actions available to them to mitigate on cash and cost base and their associated risks. He suggested businesses take a phased approach to this depending on their needs at any given time, though he recommended they plan for a worst-case scenario by critically stress testing the inputs into their cash-flow forecasts in order to ensure they are as well prepared as possible.
Though a concerning time for many, Mark expressed a belief that businesses will emerge from the impact of COVID-19 with an improved competitive position as they become more resilient, agile and leaner in preparation for the future.
Commenting, Elise Donovan, Chief Executive Officer of BVI Finance, said: “While we are undoubtedly experiencing a challenging period, both within the BVI and internationally, I am heartened following yesterday’s webinar. I have no doubt that the guidance provided by Russell and Mark will prove invaluable to many over the coming weeks and months and I hope their expert insights have boosted the confidence of the industry, both here and among our international partners, for the longer term.”
“BVI Finance is committed to supporting those in the financial services sector during this period and will ensure we continue to come together virtually to share such vital information and insights as we traverse the current climate together. I have no doubt in my mind that we in the BVI will come through this time more resilient and stronger than ever.”
You can access a recording of the webinar here using the following password: G6&@qZ!v.