An estimated 41% of UK finance decision makers placed accounts payable staff on furlough over the past 12 months as part of cost cutting exercise a report by Invu says
In an independent research report, The Covid-19 stress test for business, commissioned by purchasing solutions provider Invu, found that 41% of UK finance decision makers have had to place accounts payable staff on furlough in at least one of the lockdowns over the past 12 months.
The report shows that cost-cutting was the focus for 31% of UK finance decision makers during lockdown, compared to only 20% before measures were introduced with cash flow also becoming a higher priority, up to 14% during Covid-19 compared with 9% before the pandemic.
It also highlighted that revenue and profitability has dropped down the priority list for UK financial decision makers with 26% focusing on these key financial metrics, compared to 36% for revenue and 33% for profit before Covid-19 hit.
Ian Smith, general manager and finance director at Invu, said: ‘Covid-19 has proven to be a huge stress test for the purchasing and accounts payable staff, processes and systems at UK companies. The consequences in terms of the furlough of staff have been broadly similar, whether or not a company had previously digitally transformed their systems.’
As of March 2021, approximately 11.4m jobs from 1.3m different employers were furloughed in the UK as businesses struggled to remain operational during lockdown measures.
Looking into how Covid-19 accelerated a change to remote working for finance staff, the survey found that finance workers attending the office full-time was expected to drop to 33% when offices reopen, from a pre-Covid-19 high of 73%. It is estimated that 55% of finance workers now expect to adopt a hybrid approach to remote working. The report urges business leaders to make it clear to finance workers what their future working scenario looks like.
Smith said: ‘This survey shows that businesses that have digitally transformed and automated their purchasing and accounts payable processes have been more able to comply with the work from home measures and have fewer concerns about the efficiency, visibility and control of their systems.’