How Companies Can Protect Revenue During a Downturn
Kathleen Hartigan, VP International at Clari
While there are hopes of inflation easing off, the current trajectory for the economy remains uncertain with spending levels low and falling and a recession likely to happen.
How businesses respond to these economic challenges is widely debated. Restructuring operations and cutting costs and spending are obvious tactics on the table. While these are sensible, if painful, to consider, business leaders need to also ask themselves whether their processes to manage the flow of revenue into the business are strong enough. Indeed, as enterprises navigate stormy economic weather, revenue leak – revenue earned but not yet captured – is an issue that needs to be fixed.
So, what steps should CFOs and other business leaders be taking to ensure they’re not leaving hard-earned revenue on the table?
Interrogate the business to kick start a revenue debate
A CEO or CFO needs data from multiple revenue dimensions to comprehend how the broader economy might impact the operating plan and revenue expectations. There must be intellectually honest, tough questioning about each segment, region and line of business to assess where the organisation is most likely experiencing headwinds that could impact revenue flows. Staff need to be fired up to plan for contingencies, prepare tactics to find and secure revenue, and do a “root and branch” assessment of the revenue potential within their books of business.
Fine-tune your customer insight antenna
Don’t stick your head in the sand. Encouraging customer outreach and communication are key. While you shouldn’t assume everyone is suffering, there are obvious warning signs to spot. If engagement has fallen off in an account, for example, that could signal potential churn. It’s equally vital to track outside trends. The customer success team should note any business risk they hear from customers, such as potential fallout from supply chain issues specific to a given geography.
Drill into the ‘three Cs’ of coverage, capacity, and conversion
Tighten up pipeline reviews and their frequency. If you don’t already have weekly cadences to review pipeline, establish that now, so if anything starts to slip, you will see it immediately. Make sure you have an equally clear view of your sales team’s capacity and pipeline changes. In a recession, you may need more pipeline to generate the same revenue as previous quarters. You’ll need to know if your reps can handle that increase or if the forecast is at risk. Creating financial models that run best- and worst-case scenarios helps prepare the revenue organisation, so everyone knows what plays to run immediately with macroeconomic shifts. Doing this without a powerful, easy-to-use revenue management platform is difficult, so consider investing in one.
Protecting revenue with pressure tests
Every active deal should be assessed by sales leaders, with a risk level assigned to each deal based on the account’s size, industry, and region. These figures should highlight the areas where risk is likely to exist which saves time and spotlights potentially unreliable deals. Instead of moving forward with shaky deals that can either make or break your company in its current quarter, it is better to use the insight to predict how your business can be affected in times of economic uncertainty.
Finding the ‘why’
Tracking the reasons why deals are slipping will provide clarity into how to proceed with your out-quarter forecast and operating plan. This can be done by building in the requirements for data capture from reps when they are pushing a deal from one quarter to the next. From this, you can begin to assess whether deals are slipping based on addressable or non-addressable reasons and make an accurate plan of action.
Finding the ‘where’
It is crucial to pinpoint where your organisation is leaking revenue so that the problem can be diagnosed. This has become an issue for most companies, whether it’s due to passivity or a lack of oversight, as 64% of companies do not have standardised revenue assurance tools in their enterprise data systems, regardless of the fact that they are losing money. Executives can no longer afford to idly watch as resources are being wasted. Therefore, by reviewing revenue processes and systems, this can help you spot and monitor revenue leak.
Business leaders in every industry need to act now to stay ahead of the recession and protect revenue. Many are heeding the call to prioritise revenue assurance as a vital strategy for times of both economic challenge and opportunity. The most successful are leaning on new approaches to revenue collaboration and governance that simplify how to effectively manage pipeline, focus on the right deals, and forecast revenue with precision.
How to identify the signs that your IT department need restructuring
Eric Lefebvre, Chief Technology Officer at Sovos
For firms to execute transformations and meet their overall vision, it is crucial that their CIOs are able to recognise the signs that their department is in need of some internal change. In the current economic climate, CIOs working to fulfil their organisation’s priorities and meet business goals might hesitate to acknowledge that their IT department needs restructuring, never mind be able to identify the signs.
However, these problems rarely fix themselves and organisational restructuring requires conviction and determination from leadership for it to occur successfully. So, what are some of the key signs that CIOs should look out for?
Struggling to keep up with industry demands
CIOs unsurprisingly are working in an extremely demanding environment at the moment. Meeting these evolving demands is crucial for companies. When demands are not met and not handled properly, this can have a lasting impact on organisational goals and objectives, and even impact the way in which transformations are put into effect.
Depending on the organisation’s structure, the way in which being unable to keep up with demands manifests itself can differ. Despite double digit reductions across the industry, the search for talent across the tech world continues, project costs continue to rise as the cost of labour has increased and schedules have been disrupted by significant attrition. Many companies will also find business costs, such as that of third-party software, are higher than planned and technology debt continues to pile up faster than it can be sunset.
Whilst leadership teams might dedicate their department’s attention on the factors discussed above, they may find that their team will fall short when it comes to timely deliverables and helping maintain your organisation’s tech stack and guide its business transformations. Looking beyond the immediate problems of high costs and considering an internal reshuffle may be the solution for many IT departments.
Internal conflict within the team
Organisational designs with underlying issues can cause constant friction, especially when they go unacknowledged. An IT department that lives in conflict will certainly be reflected in results and less than successful tech transformations. CIOs will find that by adopting an organisational design which works through staffing issues, will better innovate, especially if they can all work together.
Department leads should have a strong understanding of their team’s work environment and guide them through any long-term or potential problems. When an individual is working in a demanding or complex industry, working well with your team shouldn’t be the main impediment to innovation. By acting quickly to eliminate internal conflict, CIOs can better lead and ensure their team’s focus is entirely on producing more optimal outcomes.
Delays are commonplace
When a large amount of your team’s time is spent setting objectives, budgets and timelines for the projects they are working on, it is vital that they are met. When delays are coming from the IT department, they will inevitably hinder the development of any business transformation, especially if it prompts teams to spend excessive amounts of time rearranging budgets and timelines and therefore hindering innovation.
IT departments are a crucial aspect in many different parts of a company’s transformations, so remaining on track when it comes to timelines and innovation is critical to operational plans. If delays have become commonplace in an IT team, and external factors are impacting projects, CIOs should look at restructuring an IT department to solve these issues.
The strongest team relationships do not happen by accident and are the result of good planning, strong leadership and a motivated team. CIOs can ensure this by providing vision and long-term strategy with clear goals and objectives to produce high levels of quality output.
When internal issues are noticed in an IT department, and are noticeably impacting team morale or productivity, this should indicate the need for departmental restructuring. Be that due to an inability to meet market demands, issues with productivity and meeting deadlines or internal conflict, these issues all risk a department’s functionality and an organisation’s ability to achieve its goals. In short, don’t overlook the warning signs!
Top banking trends of 2023 and global outlook of banking and fintech for the year ahead
Author: Professor Marco Mongiello, Pro Vice-Chancellor, The University of Law Business School
You’d be forgiven for assuming that the global outlook for banking and fintech will be dominated by the usual suspects:
Artificial Intelligence – AI plays an increasingly prominent role in banking and fintech by enabling personalised services, fraud detection, predictive analytics, use of chatbots and robo-advisors.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency – the secure, decentralised and swift system for financial transactions that blockchain has brought to the fore a few years ago, is now becoming ubiquitous. An increasing number of transactions are recorded through blockchains technology, primarily in the cryptocurrency market.
Digital Banking and fintech – accelerated by COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of digital banking is a trend that will persist as customers have become accustomed to the convenience and efficiency of digital banking. Moreover, fintech enables access to financial services for previously underserved populations in developing countries or less affluent social groups in more affluent societies. This includes mobile banking services, peer-to-peer lending platforms, and microfinance solutions.
Open Banking – another global trend is the use of open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow third-party developers to build apps to facilitate customers’ access to financial data and services from banks.
Nonetheless, the challenges posed by these rapid changes are reminders that banking, an industry that by its very nature needs to be conservative, risk averse and solid, wobbles on the unchartered grounds of fast and turbulent innovation, where entrepreneurship instead thrives. The underlying rationales of banking and fast digital innovation are not incompatible but do need solid operations and thought-through decision-making to avoid causing catastrophic collapses.
The recent examples of Silicon Valley Bank, Silvergate, FTX and Wirecard are stark reminders that digital entrepreneurship applied to banking doesn’t just bring to customers the visible transformation of valuable new services, but also dents (perhaps as an unexpected consequence) the rationale itself of the role of banks in the global economy. Moreover, the central banks’ ability to contain the effects of single banks’ defaults is no longer a certainty, as experienced just over a decade ago and more recently. The markets’ sentiments are hardly reassured by the commitments of even the most coveted players, such as the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the President of the United States himself.
Regulators are lagging behind and their attempts to catch up may cause further seismic shocks to the global banking system. For example, another trend that is emerging is one of artificial intelligence decision-centres (i.e., decentralised offices of banks which take autonomous decisions on behalf of investors) outside the most stringent regulatory environments, enabling banks to operate globally more efficiently and more competitively. And we can expect that regulators will close the gap either abruptly, as it is currently happening in China, where private banks are subject to an escalation of regulatory and monitoring restrictions, or more gradually as it is happening in Europe and in the US.
The questions we face, as individual or trade customers of our high street banks, as direct investors or clients of managed funds, are whether banking will become more user-friendly yet, for our daily use but riskier, too, or is it simply becoming more efficient, transparent and also safer.
I’m afraid that the answer is by no means an obvious one. Therefore, caution, level-headed decision- making and critical thinking have never been as important as these days. Whether you are looking after your family savings or growing your pension reserve, the imperative is that you keep updated about the providers of the financial services you rely upon as well as about the general regulations that apply to your financial transactions. This is where, for example, you need to be familiar with your rights in case of cyber fraud, as well as learning how to minimise the risk of becoming a victim thereof. Also, taking additional steps to evaluate the credibility, solidity and reliability of the online provider of that app that was recommended by a trusted friend, may prove a very good move.
Similarly, whether you are the CFO of a medium or large company, or are a sole trader wrestling with your own business’s finances, you need to reflect on what you really want from your bank in the first place. That is before you started to be swayed by the whirlpool of offers of ‘opportunities’ to multiply your financial investments. Chances are that your initial approach to your bank was dictated by either a need for financing your working capital, as per your budget and strategic plans, or to find a safe place for your temporarily idle liquidity. Perhaps you were also after some basic treasury services such as swift payments and debt collection. Maybe some other financial services closely related to your business operations, e.g. factoring. The advice is to give very careful consideration to services that are more remote from your business, because the trend for the next years is that more and more of those will be offered to you. But many new services will disappoint those who, sadly, cannot afford financial mishaps as they look to run and grow their business.
Efficient Ways Construction Firms Can Bring Down Costs In 2023
Consistent, high-quality construction projects being underway is often a sign of a thriving economy. The future of the US is...
How to identify the signs that your IT department need restructuring
Eric Lefebvre, Chief Technology Officer at Sovos For firms to execute transformations and meet their overall vision, it is...
Top banking trends of 2023 and global outlook of banking and fintech for the year ahead
Author: Professor Marco Mongiello, Pro Vice-Chancellor, The University of Law Business School You’d be forgiven for assuming that the...
Sustainable transformation in the energy sector: econnext AG focuses on scale-ups
Scale-ups rather than start-ups: scaling market-ready technologies and companies for a sustainable transformation of the energy and technology sectors Profitable...
Budgeting the unknown, forecasting the uncertain
Tarka Duhalde, Vice President, Financial Controller, IRIS Software Group Volatility and uncertainty are still looming large. In late March...
Building resilience: How to create stability during uncertain times.
Jim Wilkinson, CEO of Zuto We live in uncertain times. Businesses have faced one challenge after another, and we’ve...
The need for simpler cross-border payments must be a priority for all banks
Mushegh Tovmasyan – Founder of Zenus Bank Despite the transformative changes we have seen in the banking sector over...
How app usage can help brands increase their online revenues and customer retention
Arunabh Madhur, Regional VP & Head Business EMEA at SHAREit Group Brands are continuing to invest heavily in the...
Will ‘Britcoin’ change the way we bank?
The Treasury and Bank of England recently announced a state-backed digital pound is likely to be launched in the UK...
In-Store, Online & In-App – Unifying Payment Authentication
Michel Roig, President of Payment and Access, Fingerprints Often, new technologies are lauded as the death of existing ones....
Why the future is phygital
By Eric Megret-Dorne, Head of Card Issuance Services and Service Operations at Giesecke + Devrient Digital banking has become...
Why Keeping Track of Cash Is Key to Economic Survival
By Joshua May, Consulting Manager EMEA, BlackLine Finance and Accounting (F&A) has always had a reputation for its calm...
Does the middle market have a financial edge?
Ilija Ugrinic, Commercial Solutions Director at Proactis Companies tend to look up the ladder when searching for ways to...
Hybrid Intelligence – The only way to face the problems of the future
Author: Prof. Dr. Iris Lorscheid, Vice-Rector Research and Professor of Digital Business and Data Science Computer Science at the University...
Consumer demand driving sustainable payments
Jenn Markey, VP Payments & Identity, Entrust Sustainability is a buzzword that seems to be at the forefront of...
Adyen drives conversion uplift with advanced authentication solution
The company’s expanded authentication offering optimizes authorization, security, and end revenue Adyen (AMS: ADYEN), the global financial technology platform...
It’s time for financial institutions to take personalization seriously
David Hetling, Global Marketing Director, Financial Services, RWS Financial institutions will always play a critical role in society, offering...
The Future of Capital Markets: Democratisation of Retail Investing
Nicky Maan, CEO of Spectrum Markets Over the past decades, global capital markets have undergone tremendous changes. There have...
5 Often-Overlooked Investment Options To Consider Exploring In 2023
When choosing what to invest in, many people will initially focus on the stock market which is considered a more...
New Open Banking platform Archie waves a timely hello to Britain’s beleaguered businesses
Archie is a game-changing payments and data platform that’s inherently human in its approach; a refreshing proposition in the jargon-heavy...