CFO Perspective: 3 Things You need to know in Finance Transformation for Consolidation


Qinthara Fasya, DigitalCFO Asia | 14 April 2022

When it comes to month-end reporting, CFOs & finance leaders often have to worry about all manners of reporting obligations. They have to clamber to collect all the data, ensure inputs are accurate, and handle the close and consolidation process by the deadline. Some problems CFOs face is not knowing where the data is, and dealing with overshared spreadsheets that have a high likelihood of inaccuracy.

DigitalCFO Asia had the opportunity to hear from 3 CFOs in organizations across various industries at different stages of finance transformation.  They shared some of the main challenges and difficulties they faced in month-end consolidation and how they tried to overcome them. As finance leaders are increasingly expected to act as strategic advisors for the business, here are 3 key learning points on financial consolidation based on the insights gathered.

1 – Understand the Source of the problem

According to Celestine See, Regional Pre Sales from Board International, Business mergers and acquisitions to unlock an organization’s business value is a common business activity. Yet, it brings along certain challenges in digital transformation. We often come across legacy systems and processes that lead to poor data quality with new entities onboard.

Manual data entry results in poor quality or erroneous data. One of our company’s most prevalent roadblocks is unreliable data. The utilization of several divergent sources can lead to inaccuracies. Information is frequently manually entered into various sources, a time-consuming procedure that leads to human error. Introducing methods that assure data accuracy from input through normalization is the best approach. Otherwise, you’ll run into problems across the board, including data entry mistakes and cross-checking transaction delays.

CFO in the Supply Chain Management Industry

Building blocks of a single source of truth

We often hear this buzzword in the industry – a single source of truth. In the industry, this entails ETL or, ELT processes to extract, convert, and load historical data from numerous sources into a single data warehouse. In this case, you may have some data sources in the cloud and/or on-premises, so having a solution to connect and read data from both on-premises and cloud-based data sources is critical.

Another benefit of direct data integration is eliminating manual preparation or upload of data. The goal is to get data right from the source system, usually within a few clicks of a button in modern solutions, ensuring accuracy.

For example, Board’s native solution allows connection to most data sources, be it relational databases (Usually utilized by ERPs) or Data lakes. Further, both on-premise and cloud-based data sources are supported.

2 – Stay relevant with cloud solutions

From our conversations with CFOs, there is a strong direction toward cloud-based technology, especially with work-from-home situations globally where data accessibility becomes a priority.

One of the main benefits of a cloud-based solution is information accessibility – multi-locations, highly scalable for today’s data-driven world, and more secure than on-premise deployment as you are tapping into the wealth of resources that organizations like Microsoft are dedicating to ensuring world-class security.

Failure to automate time-consuming activities is one of the most typical financial consolidation issues – especially when we worked from home 2 years ago. As you can see, manual data input consumes a lot of time and resources. It has the potential to cause more issues than it solves. Investing in automation to decrease mistakes and free up time and resources may help create a successful consolidation process.

CFO in the Logistics Industry

Beyond accessibility – Cloud solution with collaboration capabilities

In a work-from-home environment, a cloud-based solution that promotes collaboration is critical while maintaining a single source of truth platform. To gather financial data for statutory consolidation and perform intercompany reconciliation, you’ll need to collaborate with finance teams from various subsidiaries, associates, joint ventures, and joint operations in order to drive process control and transparency of data securely.

There is a need to gather and consolidate information across departments for financial planning and analytics to produce the required analysis. Board cloud solution allows you to access all the functionalities and features across computers, tablets, or mobiles, basically devices with web browsers. It promotes a single source of truth platform where you can keep track of communications, verify data sources, attach supporting documents, and invoke workflow capabilities such as approval, rejection, and validation of reports/data to drive seamless collaboration.

3 – Update your strategy – Move away from fragmented or point solutions

While some organisations have identified pain points/challenges, they often look at one part of the process/objective. Some firms, for example, examine specialized solutions for financial consolidation and planning, and various operational divisions will discover their solutions to meet their demands. Finally, management will look to procure data visualisation tools to address reporting challenges where they will use it to harmonise information from all these different sources.

When we just started, we made the mistake of implementing many systems without first ensuring that they were adequately integrated. As you can expect, this causes difficulty for those in charge of combining all of this data into a single system. It’s fairly unusual for a company’s many branches to utilize separate reporting tools, which is inefficient. It’s good to think about appropriate tools and systems designed expressly for your industry.

CFO in the Corporate Travel Industry

Look into an integrated platform for break-through ROI

Different historical data sources (e.g., ERP systems) impede the move towards a single source of truth as these data have to be further muscled for financial consolidation, planning, budgeting, and forecasting before being loaded into reports or dashboards for analysis.

Take a broader view of your transformation roadmap and consider an integrated solution, in addition to discovering solutions for your function (I.e. Financial consolidation, planning, analytics, workflow for collaboration, business intelligence, reporting).

There are also solutions that can be implemented across industries to help drive towards a single source of truth within organisations with multiple business verticals. This can helps organisations save tremendously on software licenses.

Solutions such as Board’s unified platform enable finance professionals to create plans, budgets, and forecasts with ease; report on performance and profitability; accomplish simulations and scenario analysis; keep internal control over closing and consolidation activities; and release and disclose statutory financial reports.


How To Manage Establishment Tax Liabilities In A Complex Virtual Environment?


Fatihah Ramzi | 14 January 2022

With workforces and operations being forced to move virtually, what can you do to better prepare your business in handling tax liabilities in the virtual world?

With constant technological innovation and growing regulatory expectations, completing today’s taxation task with existing resources was already a struggle. The consequences of COVID-19 have revealed flaws and added to the strain on tax departments to be more agile. Which is why it has been necessary to act promptly in order to meet urgent needs.

However, leaders have the chance to think creatively and develop a more flexible tax operating framework that can bend and grow to accommodate unpredictability and change now and in future, thanks to magnified efforts of people working better together with the right technology. With that in mind, here are a few actions you can take to better prepare your business for handling establishment tax liabilities in the virtual world.

Get Your Data Ready For The Virtual Environment

Every dollar a firm spends or makes has a tax effect, making tax the single most important user of financial data in any organization. It may be difficult for tax departments to swiftly transition to a virtual work environment if they lack the technology to acquire, manage, and report on the data needed to drive tax calculations and procedures. It is difficult to retrieve data from paper files or shared disks and spreadsheet data tampering is tough to control and can jeopardize data integrity. That’s why it is crucial to arrange your data so that the team may work remotely with confidence. You can start by making a list of your core data requirements.

Create a system for remote access and central data administration for your virtual workforce. From there, you may find easy automated systems to boost movement efficiency and control across numerous tax calculations. You should also employ more automated systems to simplify the data-wrangling required to get your data tax-ready, enabling your tax team to focus on delivering value. By identifying and targeting continuing automated and cognitive opportunities, you may learn from the data difficulties you have faced. This roadmap will help to develop data infrastructure incrementally over time.

Acquire The Right Technology To Support Virtual Collaboration

Check to see if your IT infrastructure and operations are ready to support your remote workers. This necessitates extra methods of communication, more organized hand-offs, and possibly greater resources on the part of tax teams. With a collaborative tool that can facilitate accessibility across all processes, file sharing, workflow and calendar tracking as well as other crucial project management components, you will be solving your workforce’s most pressing needs. 

Extend your collaborative platforms to improve automation and transparency, as well as implement novel solutions to boost efficiency, or explore outsourcing to automate important procedures and take advantage of a service provider’s continued technology investment. Compare the cost savings of outsourcing against the cost savings of building a solid collaboration platform in-house. Any corporate system upgrade, such as a broader technological architecture migration to the cloud, should be done in collaboration with the business. Adopt a business-driven IT strategy that includes automation and cognitive technologies to help the company generate more value.

Develop Standardized Processes

It is challenging for many tax departments to standardize the processes they need to satisfy their day-to-day responsibilities. This problem may be exacerbated in a virtual work setting. The tax department will be able to grow resources to meet existing as well as prospective company needs if processes are adequately defined and recorded. Develop temporary solutions for paper-based and manual operations that can be carried out in a virtual office. Establish process handoffs, checkpoints, and integration with any contract workers. To assist virtual operations, consider implementing basic workflows.

Revisit and adjust those temporary workarounds to codify methods that will allow your tax team to operate more efficiently and effectively while reducing risk. As you prepare your strategy for managing backlog, remediation, or postponed initiatives, prioritize these process goals considering changed resource models and technological implications. Extend workflow to accommodate internal controls and dashboard reporting and create checklists when further process assistance is required. These steps will ultimately help any company in developing more standardized processes when handling tax related matters.

Strengthen Data Security & Internal Controls

With overall tax institutions working remotely and the enhanced level of communication through the use of web-based applications and virtual sharing of information in the new virtual environment, having an established data security and internal control systems are critical. With that said, you can organize a collaborative online session to discuss your virtual tax department’s imminent difficulties and prospective opportunities.

Make a list of your most vulnerable tax procedures and make sure they will work in your virtual environment. Formalize and implement a strategy that has been agreed upon, while preserving clear communication with your team and stakeholders. Examine and improve your structure for tax governance, risk, and control. Make a roadmap that recognizes and specifies how you will solve any shortcomings or opportunities you find. Establish your action plan and schedule, as well as decide on, record, and execute process maps, restrictions, obligations, and risk monitors.

By adhering to these 4 steps, companies are able minimize risk and produce long-term value. Through establishing the various procedures mentioned above, your company will be well equipped to face any possible challenges or vulnerabilities in the virtual environment and you will also be able to stay on course when it comes to managing your tax liabilities.

Moving To A Hybrid Work Model


Fatihah Ramzi | 10 January 2022

Moving to a hybrid work model has become the new normal and it will not just last through the pandemic.

In 2020, every business organization was forced to move to remote work mode without much preparation due to the pandemic. In 2021, businesses were able to open up their offices with staggering schedules among the employees meaning that some employees would work from home, while others would work in the office. This was followed by a rotation which means that the employees who worked from home would be required to come to office the next week and the employees that worked in the office would be working from home on the same week.

Although the pandemic measures have lightened, the emergence of new variants like Omicron still causes worry among employees and business leaders as they still need to take the necessary precautions to minimize the spread of the virus. This means that offices will continue to have to adopt a Hybrid Work Model and even after the pandemic has ended, many organizations will choose to stick to a hybrid model as they have found that it improves staff morale as well as work-life balance. This in turn encourages their employees to stay long-term with the company. With that said, here are the steps you implement to successfully transition to a Hybrid Work Model.  

Provide The Right Structure to Your Employees

Even the most daring employees have challenges when it comes to change. As a result, whatever information you can give your staff ahead of time will only help them to make plans and adjust. To begin, you can send regular status updates on your office reopening plans to your staff. With the current state of COVID-19, it is critical to prevent the virus from spreading further or forming clusters in the workplace.

To avoid such occurrences, top-level management should have a discussion about how many individuals should be in the office at any given time. This will also be determined by the size of the office and the number of staff employed by the organization. With this in mind, management can choose to have only essential employees come into the office or offer all employees a staggered in-office/work-from-home schedule.

It’s critical to convey these possibilities months before the actual return-to-work date. Employees will be allowed to express any worries or concerns, while providing time for managers and business leaders to process the new policy and choose the alternative that best matches their preferred work style. This policy will not always work for all businesses, which is why you should create a policy that is tailored to your company’s culture and personnel, and you must do so openly.

Implement New Methods of Communication

To stay in touch, teams can employ virtual project management and communication technologies. This makes checking-in simple and efficient for all employees, particularly for managers who need to confirm that their employees are present for work while they work from home. You can and should use these technologies to develop a digital community within your workforce, rather than just using them to track job tasks and presence.

This virtual community will assist in bridging the gap between in-house and remote team members. Your remote team will not feel secluded from your in-office personnel and will feel just as much a part of the company. Furthermore, your in-office employees will not feel as though their remote colleagues are receiving preferential treatment. Employees can always communicate with one another and receive updates at the same time using such applications, which is critical when managing projects. Having an effective communication system will result in happier employees, lower turnover, and more production, which is a win-win situation for everyone.

Adjust The Frequency of Meetings Conducted

You will not have to hold daily meetings with your team to discuss project updates or work in progress (WIP) when you convert to a hybrid work style. This will save everyone’s time and a ll of these activities can be completed with the help of project management software. When you need everyone present for a brainstorming or pivot meeting, you will need to plan ahead so that everyone can be on the call at the same time. If team members are in various time zones, this may need some negotiating. Even so, having everyone on one call is preferable to scheduling separate meetings for in-house and remote teams.

You should only hold planned, targeted meetings with a specified agenda. Only hold meetings for kick-offs, mid-project check-ins, project post-mortems, and other critical occasions when everyone on the team is needed to be there to address issues. Maintain the flow of your meetings so that employees do not feel cheated out of their time. Send out an agenda ahead of time so that WFH and in-office staff can think about what to say and what questions to ask. Also, properly document meetings so that those who are unable to attend are kept informed.

Workplaces will face new issues as a result of hybrid work, and the shift will definitely not be easy. Organizations that master this new way of working, on the other hand, will achieve extraordinary flexibility, agility, autonomy, and advancement. Work may never be the same, but that is not necessarily a negative thing. With the 3 tactics listed above, you can help your company transition to a hybrid work model more effectively and quickly.

CFO Challenges: Transitioning To A Modern Workplace


Fatihah Ramzi | 4 January 2022

Reforms in the workplace are required not only to motivate employees to stay but also to boost employee satisfaction. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for making a smoother transition to a modern workplace.

A modern workplace is described by a collection of technology, physical, and psychological circumstances aimed at increasing staff morale while also increasing business efficiency and productivity. The precise details of a modern workplace are changing over time to meet the requirements of prevailing and prospective employees as well as businesses. If anything, the epidemic has demonstrated that reforms in the workplace are required not only to motivate employees to stay but also to boost employee satisfaction. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for making a smoother transition to a modern workplace.

Digital Technology

Digital technology is one of the most important aspects of creating a modern workplace. It is profoundly altering the way individuals work, manage, organize, use products, and interact. Employees can hold virtual meetings, conferences, and even dialogues with the use of software and services. It allows employees to work from anywhere and does not prevent them from communicating with their supervisors or coworkers. In today’s digital world, workplace modernization initiatives frequently center around digital adoption tactics. Overall, if workplaces are to remain modern, new devices and systems must be adopted on a regular basis.

Adopt New Workplace Culture

A transformation in corporate culture is the heart of today’s workplace. In order to operate at ideal levels, the new normal must include increased employee trust. People must be empowered by their employers to make the right decisions for their own workdays. The productivity of the team will be constrained if it is micromanaged or required to use different functionalities of the workspace only at specified intervals, and the employees will not reach their full potential.

This may necessitate a cultural shift, particularly in workplaces where several generations are merging. This organizational culture transition may have occurred recently, and it may be surprising to people who are used to the more typical cubicle or office-style work environment, where everyone is assigned to a certain place and only leaves for meetings or breaks but, over time, the company will see positive changes in productivity levels.

Employee Training

Employees must understand the various technologies they use to converse with one another in order to transition to a modern workplace, and not everyone is as tech-savvy as the younger generation. Companies  are bound to deal with a variety of age groups in any firm, and older personnel may have a harder time adjusting to their new duties. We cannot expect staff to cope on their own because modernization is a continuous process. To keep up with ever expanding digital abilities, employees will need to study and learn on a regular basis. Employee training is essential for employees to improve their digital abilities.

Data-driven Decision Making

Companies will be forced to adjust to new workplace trends as management software adoption coincides with a more tactical approach to decision making based on real-time data. Businesses, small and large, must make informed decisions based on dependable and precise data to stay ahead of the competition. Businesses will be able to take more assured judgments with data since it allows them to better comprehend the impact of each action they make on their business. Aside from that, data is rational and solid, thus any trends discovered are unlikely to be incorrect. As a result, businesses can stay committed to a vision or strategy without fear of losing control.

In today’s era, change is the only constant which is why perpetual modernization will be the new normal. With technology being ever-changing, it compels businesses to constantly adapt. With this context in mind, it is clear that modernization is a never-ending task and employers will have to keep using the 3 steps mentioned above as they modernize workplace.

COVID-19: Managing Through Omicron


Fatihah Ramzi | 30 December 2021

The arrival of Omicron has left the world economy on pins and needles. What efforts can businesses take to mitigate the damage and maintain everyday operations functioning at near-full capacity?

The arrival of omicron has left the world economy on pins and needles, as they try to make sense of the scant, frequently contradicting information on the new COVID-19 version. Omicron has put the entire world on high alert, and businesses are scrambling to devise methods to mitigate its potential workplace effects.

Despite the fact that much about the new version remains unknown, Dr. David Levy, CEO of the preventive health organization EHE, stated that efforts to restrict the virus and its variants have been consistent throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. Getting the vaccine, using a mask indoors, and social distance in high-transmission regions, as well as getting tested on a regular basis, are all part of these attempts to prevent the infection from spreading to others. But, aside from these, what efforts can businesses take to mitigate the damage and maintain everyday operations functioning at near-full capacity?

1. Virtualising Organisation

Given the fast changes your workers may undergo on a daily basis, the new omicron variation necessitates a focus on their health and well-being, as well as that of their families. It’s critical to virtualize back-office and other activities as soon as possible for worker safety. First and foremost, CFOs must have a plan in place in the event that key personnel become unwell. CFOs should evaluate how the line of command and power will move among their staff employees if executives and others are inaccessible for important decisions and critical duties.

Second, CFOs will have to help finance and other activities become more virtualized. CFOs should think about how they might help their employees connect online and improve overall employee participation. Workplace virtualization has the potential to erode traditional sources of job satisfaction. Furthermore, virtual exchanges on ambiguous matters, which are generally best addressed in person, will be required. In a virtual work environment, where visual as well as other social interaction indicators may not be clear, caution must be exercised to minimize misinterpretations.

Thirdly, allocate crucial resources and financing for virtualisation to IT. Many businesses lack the infrastructure to provide full virtual accessibility to vital data and systems. CFOs should collaborate with their CIOs to support critical remote access to important systems and data while ensuring data security. Staff will very certainly require remote support and training to assist them in adapting to the new systems and practices.

Finally, CFOs must keep infection risks to a minimum for on-site employees. Some employees, particularly those working in production and operations, will be unable to work from home. To permit social separation, safe handling of materials, and effective disinfection of the office, this restriction will necessitate new ways of managing the workspace. CFOs can play an important role in determining the resources that will be required to restructure their firms’ workplaces.

2. Bolstering Liquidity

CFOs’ first objective is to guarantee that their company has adequate cash and liquidity to operate. Given reductions in global stock prices, economic uncertainty, and difficulty in estimating results, the cost of financing has increased in over the last few weeks, and fresh stock issuance through public markets are becoming unappealing. CFOs should rethink their strategies to acquire and manage liquidity, as well as handle their financing and credit rating relationships, in this environment. Finance and liquidity can be revisited by CFOs to revise their present grasp of debt arrangements, assess potential financial covenant breaches, and more. CFOs will be able to anticipate any potential concerns as a result of this.

3. Managing Risk

Risk management and stewardship will be a priority for CFOs. Cyberattacks, internal control systems, and supplier breakdowns are some of the direct hazards you’ll have to deal with. Companies may become more susceptible to cyber threats when they virtualize their workforce. The significance of vigilance and expenditure in cybersecurity will keep rising.

Due to strained, disengaged, or unwell employees, firms may become increasingly prone to internal control breaches as layoffs and cost reductions occur. Fraud should be a top priority for CFOs, as it may add a lot of money to the bottom line. We can expect more supply or receivables disruptions with the new variant. These risks can be mitigated by diversifying and securing suppliers, as well as monitoring client payments. Third-party risk management is still important.

4. Recovery Plan

With the advent of the new version, it is impossible to predict when the economy will return to normal; however, it is never too early to consider your company’s future plans. Because of the social distance that characterizes this crisis, CFOs should explore experimenting with different recovery models to see which markets and segments will return first. CFOs should concentrate on digital transformation and addressing critical talent shortages.

Before the epidemic, many companies were already working on digital transformation projects. Maintaining efforts to virtualize the workplace and processes may help firms better meet future needs, given the virtualization of work and its potential for continuous use.

Layoffs, cutbacks, and retrenchment are common during economic downturns and recessions. During a downturn, you can attract essential talents from other firms and institutions that are deleveraging and forced to downsize. Over the next few years, institutions and experienced-hire recruitment companies may provide more qualified applicants at reduced prices.

As the impact of COVID-19 intensifies globally along with the new variant, Omicron, CFOs must take these steps to help manage their teams and communicate effectively during these challenging and uncertain times.

Importance of AI & What To Implement For The Finance Industry In 2022


Fatihah Ramzi | 27 December 2021

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a strong tool which is already being used extensively in the financial services industry and yet, many still do not know its importance and benefits.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a strong tool which is already being used extensively in the financial services industry. It has a lot of promise for good if corporations use it with enough diligence, caution, and care. Artificial intelligence has the capacity to revolutionize financial services and the way they are presented to customers. These are especially useful when new regulations place more responsibilities on top executives to analyse and assess higher-quality information from within the company. With that said, let us look at how AI is aiding the finance industry.

1. Increase Efficiency

Through the digitalization of everyday tasks, AI may be able to assist in increasing efficiency. People may be able to concentrate on higher-value work if they are relieved of such mundane activities. This is consistent with the results of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, which anticipated that the nature of work for employees will alter. According to the WEF, such a change will benefit both businesses and individuals because upgraded occupations enable people to be more imaginative, innovative, and entrepreneurial.

2. Improve Customer Experience

Banks and insurance businesses will better understand their consumers by utilising big data and AI. This enables them to enhance their services with tailored products, transitioning from a product-centric strategy to a customer-centric one. Chatbots and virtual agents driven by artificial intelligence can also enhance customer experience by delivering on-demand, automatic assistance.

Consumers and businesses are likely to appreciate such a strategy. According to an Accenture research, one out of every two customers wants individualized financial assistance from banks, and 64% wants behaviour-based insurance rates. Relationship managers and financial advisers can use AI-generated insights to better offer solutions that meet the needs of their customers.

3. Provide Staff with Additional Support

While the growth of Automation and artificial intelligence has raised fears of joblessness, prudent AI solutions have demonstrated that AI can aid humans rather than merely replace them. AI solutions that are fair, intelligible, and accountable can also assist in decreasing human biases or errors. When leveraging AI-generated insights to make educated decisions, humans are frequently kept in the loop in financial businesses. 

If these are the improvements you want for your company, here are 5 types of AI you can implement in your processes.

1. Informing Credit Decisions

Having strong credit can help an individual get better financing, find a job, and pay for an apartment.  With so many of life’s essentials reliant on credit record, the loan and credit acceptance procedure are more critical than ever.

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are assisting bankers and credit lenders in making better underwriting judgments by including several indicators that more correctly analyse previously underrepresented consumers, such as millennials, in the credit decision-making process.

2. Managing Risk

In the realm of finance, time is money, but if risks are not managed properly, it may be lethal. Many organisations rely on precise forecasting predictions for both speed and security.

To construct more accurate, agile models, capital markets are increasingly resorting to learning algorithms, a component of artificial intelligence. These forecasts aid financial specialists in identifying trends, identifying dangers, conserving personnel, and ensuring better information for future planning by utilizing current data.

3. Optimizing Trading Activity for Better Returns

Finance was an early adopter of AI, concentrating on improving investors’ investment choices. Both quantitative and computational trading rely heavily on AI nowadays. Quantitative investing uses AI and statistical models to identify investment options but does not always place orders autonomously.

Automated trading, on the other hand, comprises of completely digitalised systems that conducts assessment and accessible positions in place of a trader. These algorithms can analyse enormous data volumes and discover trends more quickly and effectively, allowing for better prediction and more precise forecasting of future market patterns.

4. Personalised Banking

With today’s digitally savvy customers, conventional banking is simply not making it. According to an Accenture survey of 33,000 banking clients, 54% want solutions to assist them in tracking their expenditure and making real-time modifications. In addition, 41% are extremely eager to employ computer-generated financial advice. Artificial intelligence (AI) assistants, such as website chatbots, employ natural language processing and artificial intelligence to create individualised financial advice and deliver fast, self-help consumer assistance.

5. Fraud Detection

Consumers shift money, make payments, deposit cheques, trade stocks, and much more through online accounts and smartphone apps each day, resulting in massive amounts of digital transactions. Any bank or financial institution must now increase its protection and fraud monitoring measures to facilitate these digital transactions. Due to this, artificial intelligence is playing a crucial role in strengthening the security of online banking.

With these 5 key AIs in your company, you will not only be able to protect your database and strengthen your security but you will be able to enhance consumer experience for a seamless flow of transaction and increase the understanding of their finances. In essence the use of AI in the financial industry is inevitable as it is very much necessary for both consumers and staff of major businesses. With the right artificial intelligence, the better the finance industry will meet the demands of customers who want smarter, more efficient, safer methods to access, spend, save and invest their money.

5 Things CFOs Must Know To Succeed In 2022


By: DigitalCFO Asia Editor | 10 December 2021

CFOs will need to re-strategise these 5 things for 2022.

In 2022, CFOs can anticipate that they will require a powerful “rapid response” program to bolster remote workforces, reorganise credit and collections and alleviate financial risk. In 2019, it appeared that CFOs and finance executives’ objectives, for the upcoming decade, were on track. However, the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic put their plans on hold for a period of time, allowing them to see the flaws in their procedures. This highlighted the importance of a response program, as pre-pandemic strategies may no longer be applicable, and they must evaluate which ones should be modified to match changing business conditions. To meet the new economic demands, CFOs will need to re-strategise the 5 things listed below.

1. Align Digital Strategies and Business Outcomes

CFOs must have a defined digital plan that is linked to business goals and offers direction on the scope, size, and timing of initiatives. Revenue growth and expense reduction should both be aided by digitalisation. Understanding how technology can enable new business models or enhance existing areas of business is critical for CFOs in narrowing investment priorities. According to Gartner, “64% of business leaders said they will utilise COVID-19 and similar economic crises to concentrate on revamping their operations” and 69% of respondents believes that “digitalisation efforts are speeding up.”

2. Fund Digital Growth with Flexible Budgeting

Finance executives have traditionally handled annual budgeting and planning of operations in most organisations. However, the fragile new economy necessitates that this be done more frequently. National financial authorities’ budget limits hinder the CFOs’ capacity to pivot and seize new possibilities.

To assess expenses and development potential, finance leaders require a new outlook. CFOs must be clear about their business goals and restructure the budget to assist the finance department. Rather than picking investments depending on external criteria such as popularity, they should concentrate on those that have a big impact.

3. Fast-track Digital Transformation Within the Organisation

According to a PwC survey, 68% of CFOs indicated their organizations expected to engage in digital transformation in the coming year, and 58% said automation was a top priority to “help balance the absence of institutional knowledge when individuals leave their companies.”

Value-added work is built on the basis of reliable technology. Employees are capable of engaging in higher-value work when repetitious and manual activities are eliminated from their plate. This will have a positive and direct influence on the organisation’s bottom line, as well as a higher degree of team satisfaction. As a result, CFOs will be pressed to come up with new strategies to enable and maintain growth in a hybrid workplace. In 2022, businesses that succeed will surely be fueled by an engaged and technologically enabled finance department.

4. Hire, Develop and Retain Digital Finance Skills

To endorse an always-on, technology-driven business, digital expertise is required. Finance directors require an “always-on” skills-sensing ability to detect new talents and analyse skill-development priorities since skill needs to be updated so frequently. This allows finance to make quick course corrections and deploy skills closer to when they are needed. While some organisations merely want individuals who can show how analytics is crucial to the finance function, CFOs are progressively searching for individuals who can exhibit critical-thinking and analytical abilities.

According to a poll of 769 finance leaders conducted by EY , 57% of respondents believe that developing prescriptive and predictive analytics capabilities is critical to their company’s long-term success. In addition, their performance as a CFO is contingent on employing personnel with emotional intelligence and interpersonal abilities to fully realise the potential of implemented technologies.

5. Use Analytics Insights for Informed Decision-making

Due to a lack of accessibility to high-quality data, CFOs are unable to have a better understanding of the financial operations’ efficiency and make educated decisions. According to the D&B survey, data quality is fundamental to 41% of finance executives’ current objectives to boost finance processes. According to the Gartner poll, 84% of respondents plan to devote more time to this initiative.

The D&B survey revealed that the top two data-related challenges for CFOs are keeping customer data in a single location and getting information from data with minimal human participation. CFOs should choose an automated approach that obtains high-quality data from a variety of sources, integrate it into their system, and assist them in updating customer information in real-time while minimising human errors.

Finally, in order to become a truly dynamic business unit, the CFO must keep up with current digital changes. CFOs can ensure that finance stays effective in generating business success by embracing the right technologies, making informed decisions from data, aligning digital strategies with business outcomes and recruiting qualified talents.

Future Proofing – How to prepare for a Black Swan event


Clara Chua | 25 November 2021

What is a black swan event and what are some examples of it?

Wall Street trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb popularised this concept in his book, outlining the three defining attributes. A black swan event has to be unpredictable. It will result in severe and widespread consequences. Ultimately, after the occurrence of a black swan event, people will falsely claim it should have been predictable.

Often the reliance on conventional forecasting tools can fail to predict and potentially increase vulnerability to black swans by propagating risk and offering false security. Rather than trying to predict the next black swan event to cope with the effects, companies should focus on building stability and exploiting the positive ones. 

Is COVID-19 Considered a Black Swan Event?

The simple answer concluded during an interview with Taleb and The New Yorker is that the pandemic should not be considered a black swan event. There is even a possible danger of making an occurrence like the COVID-19 outbreak appear to be extremely rare, as people will tend to treat it as such – failing to prepare for the next catastrophic event.

With the pandemic being entirely predictable by leading individuals, like Bill Gates and Laurie Garrett, it is not a question of if it will occur, but usually when it will. Governments would also often conduct exercises and simulations to determine how to get ahead of such uncertainties.

In one way, it is fundamental to guide the company through an inevitable crisis and survive the aftermath that follows. Another approach is accepting that risks and future black swan events will always exist, but so will opportunities that can help develop companies. 

Examples of Past Black Swan Events

During the 2008 financial crisis, one of the most recent and catastrophic, the crash of the US housing market was considered to be such an event. While only a few outliers were able to predict it happening, it had a global impact and caused the Lehman Brothers to file for the largest bankruptcy in US history.

Some black swan events may be even more unforeseeable. The attack on the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center plummeted stocks during the first trading week, losing $1.4 trillion in the stock market within a week. While natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina resulted in more than 1,800 deaths and left many people homeless as more than 800,000 housing units were destroyed.

Keys to Managing Black Swan Events

Ability to dissociate emotion is principal for a company when confronting such chaos. Decisions are better made alongside accurate and objective data, tapping into survivor psychology to prevent unintentional blindness.

Strong leadership where individuals take responsibility for their actions. Instead of finger pointing and second guessing, a clear confidence can help ignite persistence in bleak times. It is crucial for the higher management positions to break the situation into feasible steps for tactical response.

Keep the organisation financially prepared with a simple guideline: Expect a major disruption to the company every 10 years or so, which will require 6 months cash on hand to weather it. The employees’ awareness of finance and treasury issues would also affect how a company responds to the challenges of disruption.

Create a financial contingency plan to be incorporated into the ongoing operations. In the case where a black swan event occurs, the financial management is able to find time to decipher what is happening and its impact on the company.

Utilising technology to accelerate gathering data and merging it for analysis with measurable results. With the use of dashboards, this information would appear more accessible and help stakeholders understand the core issue. This can help negate the ambiguity and analysis paralysis that accompanies large volumes of data. 

The Rolling Budget Approach to Tackle COVID-19 Uncertainties


By: Clara Chua, DigitalCFO Asia | 11 November 2021

Ensuring that your business always has a budget that extends one year into the future

The conventional static budget was embraced years ago during pre-COVID times. Yet, for many modern companies in a complex and dynamic global economy may begin realising the ongoing constraints. These companies have transitioned themselves into implementing rolling budgets to bring about greater flexibility in planning processes and decision-making.

Understanding Rolling Budget

Usually updated monthly rather than annually, these forecasts expand incrementally as time passes, continuously reassessing the company’s outlook. For the process to succeed, it is key that the management team analyses information efficiently to incorporate insights. 

The objective is to anticipate the risks and opportunities in an uncertain business environment, revisit strategy in consideration of new business scenarios, and maintain a competitive edge. Providing a refreshed annual budget with realigned spending and resource allocation can provide clearer understanding among employees about the company’s objective.

Best Preparation Practices

The crucial first step in determining the budget time horizon is often overlooked. However, it depends on a company’s sensitivity to market conditions and its business cycle to dictate this decision. In particular, the more dynamic and market dependent your company is, the shorter your time horizon needs to be to react effectively to changes.

With specially designed budget planning, forecasting and analysis software products, companies can spend more time studying the data instead of compiling Excel sheets. A recognised requirement in the transformation is adopting a Corporate Performance Management (CPM) system to help mitigate human error.

This budgeting adjustment will have a less jarring effect, when all relevant stakeholders dedicate the necessary resources and manpower required. Companies may want to take advantage of this change to further improve the process by performing independent stress tests of strategic plans.

Reimagining the company from a zero-based budgeting (ZBB), in which expenses must be justified for each budget period, can determine what levels of spending are truly required to support business recovery efforts. Using ZBB on a monthly basis improves accountability while allowing CFOs to manage costs and meet targets.

Avoid Making these Mistakes

close up photo of a person pointing at start written on a paper
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Rushing into a rolling budget without sufficient planning can create confusion due to constant revisions. Employees would be required to spend a large number of hours preparing the budget and implementing change. Inevitably, companies that have decided to adopt rolling budgets for the first time would possibly experience resistance from staff who are accustomed to the established system and scheduling that come with fixed budgets.

Analyse if the company’s industry and conditions are frequently changing before making a sound decision. By incorporating additional training, combined with a collaborative approach to implementation can support a smoother transition.

Rolling budgets may receive a bad reputation for demotivating employees because of the high targets set making it difficult to achieve. However, by avoiding ambiguity and encouraging open discussions with business unit managers can avoid such setbacks.

Impact of Covid-19 on Budgeting Processes

Since the pandemic, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) estimated Singapore economy could have contracted 12.4% if not for COVID-19 budget measures. This crisis has affected sectors in different ways, for instance within the retail industry – while supermarkets and drugstores have fared better, physical stores have been badly affected. 

hand using stylus pen for touching the digital tablet screen
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There is a sense of agreement on how important staying agile in the economy is, and how the pandemic has accelerated digitisation and automation in the finance function. Companies have now resorted to moving its financial system workflow to the cloud and installing robotic process automation that can be accessed anywhere.

Achieving a “perfect” budget for 2022 may seem far-fetched, but a better budgeting process can allow companies to be more flexible, confidently shifting resources as needed to survive.

Dial 996 for Fatigue: How to Prioritize Avoiding Burnout

There’s nothing heroic about overwhelm. In a world where competition is fiercer than ever, the best of the best will win by protecting their ability to perform and deliver peak results, and that means avoiding burnout. This three-part framework can decrease stress while increasing productivity, creativity, and free time.

Article attributed to Ethan Brooks, North American Community Lead at Toptal

Photo by @marvinmeyer on Unsplash

Certain positive traits unite top performers across all industries. They are often team players with can-do attitudes and a love for their profession which predisposes them to put in more time and outpace their lower-performing counterparts.

However, these traits carry a risk. In a world where opportunities abound, high performers often risk taking on too much. Collaborative by nature, they tend to prioritize the team over themselves, and their proclivity to work can lead to an unhealthy series of long days, all-nighters, and working weekends. Compounding the issue, some workplace cultures—whether explicitly or implicitly—are predisposed to overwork, adopting a 996 work style: 9 AM to 9 PM, six days a week.

The final destination—perhaps all too familiar to those reading this—is a state of utter exhaustion known as burnout.

Burnout is technically defined as “A psychological state of physical and emotional exhaustion thought to be a stress reaction to a reduced ability to meet the demands of one’s occupation.” While there are many potential causes of burnout, this version—brought on by prolonged periods of overwork—is especially difficult for high performers to manage because it arises from the very same traits that help them succeed to begin with.

As a member of the Community Team at Toptal, part of my job is to help look after the well being of the talent within our global network. Ours is a fast-paced team within a hyper-growth company responsible for helping to support and organize more than 600 events each year in countries around the world. We also run several professional growth initiatives, like the Toptal Speakers NetworkTopVolunteer, and the Scholarships for Women program, all of which help Toptalers pursue goals outside client engagements. We do all of this and more with a core team of seven people.

This work offers a unique opportunity to observe how the best of the best deal with the challenges of the modern workplace. I’ve seen what works and what ends in disaster. Along the way, I’ve had conversations with high performers around the world, distilling the best approaches for avoiding burnout in pressure-cooker startups and sharing them with audiences of all kinds.

Burnout is not just a risk to the individual, but also to the teams they support. This risk is amplified in a remote environment, where it’s easier to overwork and harder to gauge the well being of teammates.

To help combat this, I offer the following system for pausing in the midst of overwhelm, recalibrating, and getting back on track. Not only will these principles help avert burnout for those on the brink, but if properly executed, they can rekindle one’s effectiveness and creativity while creating free time for other pursuits.

It starts with a three-part framework called The Three P’s (3P): Psychology, Priority, and Positive Constraints.

Combatting overwhelm starts with a three-part framework called The Three P’s: Psychology, Priority, and Positive Constraints.


One of the cornerstones of the remote work revolution was the realization that time spent in the office is not the same thing as time spent being productive. Contribution, the value of what you bring to the team, is more important than the number of hours you spend at your desk.

There’s an enormous upside to this mindset. However, despite the lip service this idea gets, in some workplace cultures, there remains a tacit conviction that hours worked is the most important metric. Ask any colleague how they’ve been recently, and chances are the answer will be one word: “Busy.”

Naturally, most people truly are busy at times throughout the week. But they are also hungry, happy, bored, and many other things which they choose not to mention. Words matter, and the problem with using “busy” as the go-to response is that it reveals and engrains a deeper psychology: that busy equals good, and if we’re not busy, we’re not doing our best. No one wants to let the team down, but overly busy teammates are an enormous risk to an organization and its goals.

The tech industry still struggles to accurately quantify the risks and damage caused by burnout among employees. But researchers in the healthcare space—where the stakes are naturally high—have shown the link between work burnout and mistakes made on the job. One study showed a connection between physician burnout and higher rates of patient mortality. Another showed that physicians experiencing burnout were twice as likely to make major medical errors, impacting patients, teams, and clinics in detrimental ways.

When someone becomes overworked and burns out, they don’t just go from being productive to unproductive. They go from being productive to anti-productive, making mistakes that can cost the team dearly and require additional time and resources to correct. It’s a long fall to the bottom, and the individual, the team, and other stakeholders suffer the entire way down.

Seen through this lens, thoughtless busyness of the type that eventually leads to burnout can be viewed as a form of professional neglect. By extension, avoiding overwhelm, and protecting one’s ability to perform at a high level becomes part of any professional’s duty.

Psychology is the foundation upon which all else is built, and the following principles will mean little if one still considers overwhelm heroic. By adopting the mindset that overcoming burnout is part of professional responsibility, stakeholders put themselves in a position to prioritize properly and ensure longevity for themselves and their organizations.


Technology is the force multiplier of the modern age; never before has one person been capable of doing so much. The downside of this is that both inside and outside of work, people are taking on far more than ever before.

“Thirty years ago low-paid, blue-collar workers were more likely to punch in a long day than their professional counterparts,” reports the Economist. “But nowadays professionals everywhere are twice as likely to work long hours as their less-educated peers. Few would think of sparing time for nine holes of golf, much less 18 […] And lunches now tend to be efficient affairs, devoured at one’s desk, with an eye on the email inbox. At some point, these workers may finally leave the office, but the regular blinking or chirping of their smartphones kindly serves to remind them that their work is never done.”

The ability to do more and multi-task has led to a widespread sense of time poverty and overwhelming workloads. The only way out is to reestablish a sense of priority and ruthlessly cull one’s to-do list. As 7 Habits author Stephen Covey wrote, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” This has been made more difficult in recent years due to a cultural shift in the way we think about prioritization.

Google Ngram Viewer is a tool which allows users to search for the occurrence of words and phrases over time across various literary corpora. Plug in a series of terms and you are instantly shown how often they appear in Google’s library of scanned books dating back several centuries. Similar to the above point about the cultural consequences of using words like “busy,” understanding word usage in this way offers insight into the way people thought about and understood the world over the years.

When it comes to the topic of priorities, an interesting insight emerges. While the word priority existed in common usage going back centuries, the concept of priorities (plural) is a relatively new phenomenon.

Running the words “priority” and “priorities” through Google Books Ngram Viewer reveals that the concept of “priorities” (plural) is a relatively new phenomenon compared with “priority” (singular).

Sit in any boardroom today, and you’ll hear talk of top priorities (plural). It seems that previous generations knew what we are only now relearning—there can only be one main thing. Being able to cut through the noise and identify the most important thing is key to reducing overwhelm while delivering value and impact.

One way to identify priorities is to use a line of self-questioning. The following can be used to help thin an inflated to-do list and reestablish the main thing.

If this was the only thing I completed today, would I be satisfied with my day’s work?

You will likely do more than one thing per day. But viewing your workload through this lens can help prioritize what gets the most attention first.

Is this task still important, or has the situation changed?

Projects evolve quickly. Just because you started something does not mean it’s important to keep doing it. Be sure you’re not carrying over tasks that are no longer relevant to you or your team.

Am I really the only person who can or should be doing this?

This is a delegation question. It’s often tempting to believe that if you want something done well, you have to do it yourself. This idea will hold you back. Someone else may not execute in exactly the same way you would, but you’d be surprised how people will often rise to the occasion when given responsibility and trust. Learn to recognize what only you can do, as well as the tasks that others may be better at. Then practice trusting your teammates to execute.

Which of these items, if accomplished, will save me time next week? Next month?

This is all about systems. Sometimes to-do lists are crammed with tiny, repetitive tasks. Learn to look one layer deeper to find the underlying projects which will eliminate repetition and save time in the future.

For example, if you open your inbox to find three clients asking you three versions of the same question, you could either answer each email or spend time turning the answer into an FAQ page. The FAQ might take longer than firing off email responses, but it will ultimately save time since the question is likely to surface with future clients.

When it comes to priority, systemic solutions that eliminate repetitive tasks are often more important than completing the small tasks they replace.

Is this the most important thing right now? Or am I using it to avoid something else?

This one question will do more to clear your schedule than all the others combined. So often the one thing we really need to do is the one we’d least like to do—the difficult conversation, the final decision. We’ll do anything to avoid these, even if it means filling our to-do lists with low-priority busywork. Eliminate the ten procrastinator-tasks, and focus on the one important thing.

Once you’ve identified what’s truly important, it’s important to follow through and eliminate the things that aren’t. This can be difficult, and it’s why the 3P Framework begins by establishing the right mindset. Clearing your to-do list is not selfish, and it’s not lazy; it’s a crucial step toward ensuring that you can perform at peak levels for the long term.

The last step of the process is to introduce positive constraints into our work. Building on the wisdom of a 20th-century humorist, we will restructure our day to get more done while creating space to decompress outside of work.

Positive Constraints

Humorist, historian, and author of more than fifty books, Cyril Northcote Parkinson, was talking about bureaucrats when he wrote that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

Popularized by Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Workweek, Parkinson’s Law has gone on to spawn a number of corollaries including the Horstman Corollary—“Work contracts to fit the time given for its completion”—as well as the comedic Stock-Sanford Corollary to Parkinson’s Law: “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.”

While Alibaba founder Jack Ma is noted for endorsing the controversial 996 culture (working 9 AM to 9 PM, six days a week), Parkinson and Horstman would prefer you didn’t.

Some companies are experimenting with decreasing work hours and finding success. Perpetual Guardian, a firm in New Zealand that handles wills and trusts, tested a four-day work-week and found that it actually increased productivity among their staff while boosting job satisfaction and creativity. Similar results were found in Gothenburg, Sweden when the city council led an experiment to try six-hour workdays at select institutions.

The idea behind Parkinson’s Law is simple. The more time you have to do something, the more time it will take. By forcibly limiting the time available for work, we can ensure our work gets done quickly, avoiding the long days, all-nighters, and working weekends which lead to burnout.

Set Boundaries with Your Calendar

One way to put Parkinson’s Law into practice is to restrict the amount of time available for certain non-essential tasks like email or Slack. These tasks are dangerous because they can easily balloon and take up hours that would have been better spent on the main priority.

Remember: Work has a magical ability to expand and contract to fit the time given for its completion. If you feel like you’re spending too much time in your inbox each day, try blocking out specific times to check and respond to messages, and don’t check these channels outside of those times.

Another effective method for implementing Parkinson’s Law is to use outside commitments to ensure time away from work. Schedule activities into your calendar that force you to be away from your desk and out of the office. This could be anything from a vacation to volunteering. For high performers who respond well to a sense of duty, the volunteer option can be particularly effective and rewarding.

Reap the Creative Rewards

Time away has another major benefit which appeals to the workhorse mentality of high performers: it can lead to creative breakthroughs.

In her award-winning online class, Learning How to Learn, Professor Barbara Oakley says that there are two modes of thinking that the brain can use to solve problems. The first is the focused mode of thinking, the kind we do when we’re at our desk, hard at work on a project. Focused thinking is ideal for problems we’re relatively familiar with, issues with defined solutions. But it becomes less useful in situations where the answer is undefined or requires creativity.

In those circumstances, we can benefit from utilizing the second mode of thinking: the diffuse mode. This takes place when our attention is elsewhere and our subconscious has a chance to bounce an idea around without constraints. The reason so many creative ideas suddenly appear in the shower or while we’re walking the dog is because those are situations in which our mind is free to explore without the boundaries that the focused mode of thinking imposes.

A walk by the lake doesn’t just give you room to decompress. It can help solve challenging problems in a way that brute-force time at the computer simply can’t. The closer you feel to the brink of burnout, the more important it is to schedule time away from the screen.

Wrapping Up

Those with exciting careers will likely dance with work burnout from time to time. That’s okay. The goal is not to never feel overwhelmed (the only way to do that is to aim low); the goal is to recognize when you’re feeling overwhelmed and take steps to solve the problem before it gets more serious.

It starts by developing the right mindset around work—you must believe that taking care of yourself is part of your professional duty. Then, be ruthless about identifying the most important tasks and goals, continually culling the extraneous to-dos which creep into your day. Finally, use Parkinson’s Law and the power of positive constraints to increase output in less time, reclaim a life outside of work, and identify new and creative solutions to your team’s biggest challenges.

Read the full article here.

Avoiding Zoom fatigue in the Covid-19 era


With remote working becoming the new normal in businesses around the world, avoiding Zoom fatigue may be the best way to make the most of it.

Qinthara Fasya | 7 June 2021

Photo by @linkedinsalesnavigator on Unsplash

Many may be elated when it was announced that remote working or work-from-home was the default mode of working when Covid-19 hit in early 2020. But after a year of daily virtual meetings in our PJs, most of us have had enough of this. 

Zoom fatigue or virtual fatigue refers to the exhaustion you experience after participating in any type of video call or conference. This could be the physical exhaustion of looking at screens for long periods of time or mental exhaustion due to the overwhelming flow of information. Furthermore, for those who work from home, work-related issues have not been the primary source of increased stress levels. One in every five employees had additional caregiving responsibilities at home, and these people experienced a 16% increase in burnout, a twofold increase in stress, and a nearly twofold decrease in motivation.

It may be impossible to solve Zoom or virtual fatigue with the current situation, but we can definitely take some steps to avoid this and make the best out of it. Here are some of our tips:

Plan and Manage your Daily Schedule

Photo by @emmamathews on Unsplash

Be it through an excel sheet, a physical planner, random sticky notes, friendly desktop or mobile applications, planning your work from home day is essential to keep things on track as much as possible. Laying out your virtual calls for the day allows you to block out the times of day you need to be focused and look presentable, avoiding any rush or uncertainties. 

This could include anything from taking a personal break to catch up on that Netflix or Disney Plus series you’ve been binge-watching to spending time with your children or simply sitting and drinking coffee. We recommend devoting at least 5-10 minutes before and after each call to prepare yourself and allow the information from the call to sink in.

Here are some of our recommended desktop applications for planning out your day:

  • Google Calendar 
    • A simple calendar software by Google that syncs up to all your different devices, allowing you to update your schedule in real-time 
  • Notion
    • Notion is a desktop application that includes features like notes, databases, kanban boards, wikis, calendars, and reminders – with a very aesthetic user interface
  • Todoist
    • It has a number of features that can help you organize your tasks or add color-coded labeling to them.

Move Around after each Virtual Meeting

Photo by @jasonstrull on Unsplash

Standing up on your feet once in a while throughout the workday would help to circulate blood flow and clear your mind, whether it is to stretch your body after each call or to take a walk to your kitchen. A short walk may help you feel more energized and ready to continue working.

Refill your coffee, grab a snack, say hello to your loved ones, or listen to some tunes to give some positive vibes to your short walk. 

Turn on your Webcam only if you have to

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Keeping up with the anxiety of looking presentable every single time on a Zoom call is exhausting. The benefit of Zoom meetings is that we have the option to show ourselves or not. Even though there are times that you have to turn on your camera as proof of engagement, you should keep our camera off on some calls to avoid that Zoom anxiety. 

Furthermore, according to Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, keeping our reflection out of sight during virtual calls allows us to better focus on the person presenting or talking. 

Dress Up on some days

Photo by @andrehunter on Unsplash

Stimulating the getting-ready process of our regular days (once upon a time) may make us more motivated to start the day, especially with a long list of virtual calls underway. Looking presentable on the outside can make us motivated mentally as when you look good, you feel good. It also provides a feeling of normalcy, which we all need in these difficult times.

It doesn’t have to be a full-blown outfit, we’d suggest wearing a blouse or shirt and keeping the bottoms work-from-home friendly such as sweatpants, shorts, or leggings. (Shh, no one will know if the meeting’s on Zoom). Bonus: you won’t have to rush to impress if you set aside some time in the morning to get ready, good enough to last for the whole day. 

Always have a Meeting Agenda and Stick to it

Photo by @headwayio on Unsplash

Using the Zoom meeting time limit as a gauge of any meeting is a great start (40 mins). Some meetings seem to go on forever and sticking to a clear agenda may go a long way toward keeping attendees productive and focused on the issue at hand. The meeting agenda should be sent out at least 10-15 minutes before it begins, to give all participants a gist of what’s to be discussed. 

In Essence,

Working from home is frequently associated with zoom fatigue. It can cause worry, lethargy, and sadness. It’s therefore incredibly crucial that you construct to decompress deliberately in time. You may also try to adjust your habit, which helps you to reach goals without becoming consumed.

5 Quick Things in 2021 for CFOs To Keep An Eye On

By: DigitalCFO Asia | 1st March 2021

2020 was a tough year for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), from cutting back on expenditure, to raising millions to stabilise their companies’ finances, and swiftly adopting strategies to respond to the global pandemic and the inevitable economic downturn.

With Pfizer/BioTech, Moderna & Sinovac rolling out COVID-19 vaccines in 2021, CFOs and executives can expect vaccination to boost economic activity, as people all around the world start to return to their workplaces. Several countries such as the UK, Canada, and the US are at the top of the list among countries who reserved COVID-19 vaccines

5 Things to keep an eye on

Economic Recovery

Executives can expect their companies’ revenue to rise by an average of 6.9% in 2021, as economic activity starts to pick up. This is up from a 0.3% increase forecast for 2020, according to a recent survey by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Federal Reserve Banks of Richmond and Atlanta. 

Corporate Tax

Corporate tax rate in the United States of America has been proposed to be raised to 28% up from the current 21% charged, by fresh President-elect Joe Biden. The new administration can shape tax policy even without a majority in Congress.


Finance chiefs will keep an eye on potential changes to the US’s trade policies in relation to the ongoing trade war with China, and the European Union (EU) and other countries whose goods currently incur tariffs. Companies will also be paying attention to the new trade agreement between the UK and the EU, which was agreed in late December of 2020 after many years of negotiations.

Mergers and Acquisitions, Listings

Companies with excess cash reserves are expected to be on the lookout for potential investment targets, according to Robert Brown, chief executive of the North America business at Lincoln International, an investment bank. Private businesses also could take advantage of high stock valuations to plan an initial public offering, a direct listing or a transaction with a special-purpose acquisition vehicle.

Remote Work

A sizable number of US employees will still be expected to work from home for a part of 2021 and seek flexible-work options in the future as the COVID-19 vaccine gets implemented. Executives should take a closer look at their companies’ real-estate footprint and assess the pros and cons of moving offices. They will review potential investments to alter the layout of their offices and see whether increased levels of productivity—an outcome of widespread work from home in 2020—are here to stay.