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Fri 15 May 2020 12:18 PM

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Middle East CFOs confident of safe return to work, says latest PwC survey

Some 76 percent of regional CFOs confirmed that their companies are planning on implementing workplace safety measures such as wearing masks and testing

Middle East CFOs confident of safe return to work, says latest PwC survey

The PwC study also revealed that 33 percent of Middle East CFOs are more likely to reduce their company’s real estate footprint due to the recent transitions in partial opening of offices and retail outlets.

As businesses in the Middle East take tentative steps towards returning to normality, almost three quarters of chief financial officers are very confident in their ability to meet customers’ safety expectations and 70 percent believe they’d provide a safe working environment for their employees, according to the latest Covid-19 CFO Pulse Survey from PwC.

The survey tracks the sentiment and priorities of finance leaders in the region as they navigate the unprecedented disruption that coronavirus has on their business.

Some 76 percent of regional CFOs confirmed that their companies are planning on implementing workplace safety measures such as wearing masks and testing, especially in the UAE with 85 percent of CFOs confirming that, but only 64 percent of UAE CFOs will be promoting physical distancing at work sites.

The PwC study also revealed that 33 percent of Middle East CFOs are more likely to reduce their company’s real estate footprint due to the recent transitions in partial opening of offices and retail outlets.

While over three quarters of Middle East CFOs believe work flexibility will make their organisations better in the long run, only a third (and just a quarter in the UAE), are planning to make remote working a permanent option.

In terms of innovation, digital transformation is set to accelerate – 47 percent of respondents said technology investments they are making will make their company better and 39 percent are looking to use automation to improve the speed and accuracy of decision making with regards to their supply chain strategy.

Stephen Anderson, Middle East markets and strategy leader, said: “It’s reassuring to see that almost a half of the executives we surveyed in the region are very confident in their company’s ability to build skills for the future – those in the UAE are even more confident at 64 percent, far above the global average of 48 percent. This aligns with the increased likelihood of companies adopting workplace automation, new ways of working and preparing employees for a digital tomorrow.”

According to the results, 44 percent of CFOs expect the recovery timeline to return to business as usual to take three months or more, with 70 percent now expecting to see a decrease in revenue or profits of 10 percent or more - nearly one in five Middle East CFOs expect that figure to rise to over 50 percent.

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