Our conference CFO Forum EUROPE is knocking on the door! Zoran Daljević, one of our speakers, decided to give us an interview about issues during COVID-19 and what new this pandemic taught him.
What is you biggest success story?
That we have only 4 employees with Covid19 in the whole company (almost 5500 employees) and they recovered (or recovering successfully). Second continues with production in new circumstances applying all necessary measures for preventing infection. Third for office employees we organized work from home including equipment (desktop computers, monitors, printers). For example, my whole finance team is working from home. Return to office in June gradually (only 1/3 for the beginning).
What COVID-19 learned you as a manager?
Well, for me mayor learning is that is possible to work from home, using remote desk stations and conference options like zoom, team meeting work proper. Even paper work when necessary is possible to solve in time. Off course it is important to have regular video meetings or phone conference with your teams to check health status and discuss jobs to be done. I have regular once per week conference with my direct reports with call in between. As manager it even more important to lead by example to be in contact with people, coaching using new communications tools and to take care about your people.
Did this “quarantine time” helped you or your business relationships?
Not to much, but for people who stay in office, production line or warehouses, in transport or in shops there is some special “bonding” like band of brothers.
Do you have any advice for other CFOs during COVID-19 time?
It is important to take care for your teams constantly , that they are satisfied. Regarding business to check cash position, to secure additional funding just in case, work with other departments to establish stable supply chain that production or trade could not be stopped (alternative suppliers, additional contractual obligations, increase stock where necessary, organize teams to work with preventive measures). Also it is important to closely monitor your customers, checking credit limits, their cash position and negotiation for payment terms due to liquidity issues (like HORECA).
Also it is time to play different scenarios – forecasts based on latest information and prediction for the rest of the year (Covid19 continues, stopped during summer, or full recovery of business in Q3). Now it is not time for strategic planning because there is so many unknown elements like worldwide Covid19 prediction, prices of strategic materials, new consumer habits – increase of online ordering, new interests as well as different government approaches. One thing could be predictably – it is time for savings (at home, at shopping, in business). There is a lot of fear about future in terms of health (second wave of Corona) and business (uncertain employment).
Why did you decided to give a lecture on this conference?
Very simple, I was invited by you and would like to speak and share my experience , knowledge as well to discuss with others about key topics very important for CFO life. Now especially due to Covid19, it is even more important to learn best practice and share experience. This crises is not like in 2008, because it is not financial and real estate, but crises with big socio-economical impact on global level (the serious decline in GDP growth with slow down of globalization, changing of supply chain and possible new way of work – work from home, reducing office space for example) caused by virus with dead toll. So crises with attacked human health and economy…