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Finance Execs Rethink Office Space, Staffing During Pandemic

May 7, 2020, 2:06 PM

Finance executives are reconsidering office space and staffing needs as they steer their companies through the health and economic crises brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the 228 executives who took part in a Financial Executives International survey, 70% said they expect to alter work-from home and travel policies as they eye opportunities to cut costs.

“We’re educating ourselves, and we’re practicing what a potential new normal is just by our changing work habits right now,” Andrej Suskavcevic, president and CEO of FEI, told Bloomberg Tax.

Leaders realize their teams are just as productive working remotely and without in-person meetings or business travel, according to the data. That means they’ll try to see if they can eliminate some of the spaces they lease—reducing a major cost for many companies—and repurpose travel budgets for other uses, Suskavcevic said.

With no end to the crisis in sight, efforts to preserve cash and liquidity remain a top focus for finance officers. A third of the leaders said their firm’s working capital had shrunk compared to the previous quarter, the survey found.

And finance teams are still in need of data scientists, technical accountants, and financial planning staff—even while half of those surveyed said they expected their company to shrink their work forces. Compliance specialists will also be in demand to help companies navigate new laws and changing regulations in response to the pandemic, the survey found.

FEI’s research arm surveyed leaders from the organization’s biggest chapters in cities including Chicago, New Jersey, and New York between March 17 and April 10.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Iacone in Washington at aiacone@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com; Sony Kassam at skassam1@bloombergtax.com

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