COVID-19 CFO Pulse Check #2

Related Expertise: Corporate Development & Finance, Portfolio Strategy & Capital Allocation, Finance Function Excellence

COVID-19 CFO Pulse Check #2

By Alexander RoosJames TuckerSebastian StangeJuliet Grabowski, and Bodo Uebber

Our new global CFO survey during the COVID-19 crisis reveals that many CFOs are less pessimistic than they were when we first conducted the survey in April. In fact, half of the respondents have a more positive outlook, while about one-third have more negative expectations. This change in outlook naturally varies by industry: semiconductor, retail, and software and services CFOs are much more optimistic about the revenue and profit impact of the pandemic than they were in April, while CFOs in industrial goods industries (such as automotive) still see relatively little cause for optimism. (See the sidebar “About the Survey.”)

About the Survey

At the end of April and at the end of June, BCG surveyed 161 and 97 CFOs, respectively, across industries and regions. The surveys focused on two key topics:

  • CFOs’ expectations for how the COVID-19 crisis will impact their company’s performance 
  • CFOs’ planned courses of action—in the short term and the midterm

The surveys’ participants were primarily from companies in Europe and the US, with some participants from companies in Asia. The companies, including many large global organizations, represent a broad array of industries.

Overall, most CFOs believe that the economic impact of the crisis remains severe. In terms of the recovery, CFOs of European and US companies tend to believe that it will be U shaped, with a sustained dip before economies return to precrisis levels; CFOs of Asian companies lean toward an even more pessimistic L- or W-shaped scenario. Whatever their view, however, CFOs across the board continue to take decisive action to support their businesses in the crisis, putting costs, cash, and performance at the top of their agenda. In addition, more than 80% of surveyed CFOs also see transformative change—for example, in their organization, in digital, or in innovation—as a strategic opportunity.

You can explore some of the survey findings in the slide show below.

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