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Stormy Economic Times

Two-thirds of respondents surveyed by market research firm Censuswide agree that knowing real-time cash flow will be critical - but only two percent have full confidence in the visibility they currently have.
March 22, 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

BlackLine study: Transparency about financial resources appears vital for survival

A global survey of C-level executives and finance and accounting (F&A) professionals commissioned by BlackLine from Censuswide has found that respondents have a significant lack of confidence when it comes to the visibility of cash flow in their organizations. At the same time, the results suggest that visibility into cash flow and other financial metrics could be key to how companies weather growing global economic uncertainties. 

Economic uncertainties

The survey was conducted among 1483 corporate executives and F&A professionals in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, Singapore and Australia. The results show that companies around the world are anticipating increasing pressure and scrutiny of corporate finances due to ongoing economic uncertainty. At the same time, most of the executives and finance professionals surveyed globally, 22 percent, said it will take between seven months and one year to regain confidence in the economy - in Germany, most, 19 percent, believe it could take more than one and up to two years. As companies look to strengthen their financial resilience to market instability, optimizing working capital and processes is a top priority.

In view of growing fears of recession, four out of ten of the global respondents are concerned that rising interest rates will lead to more customers paying late. In Germany, fears are even slightly higher at 47 percent. A similar percentage, 42 percent (36 percent in Germany), fear that prospects or customers will have less money to spend, which could impact sales or revenue. In addition, 41 percent (35 percent in Germany) fear that their company will face higher costs. "Economic instability and volatility have increased in recent months, adding to the uncertainty in an already difficult and unpredictable global business environment.

Blackline study

Once again, finance and accounting is at the center of the turmoil and CFOs and their teams are feeling the pressure," said Marc Huffman, CEO of BlackLine. "There is widespread recognition that better visibility into financial data, processes and working capital is needed if companies are to weather the storm. Business leaders around the world will need to think carefully about how their organizations can respond to remain competitive, agile and resilient in the months ahead."

With external pressures difficult to predict, real-time visibility into financial data, processes and working capital will be key to survival. According to the study, this is increasing the pressure on CFOs and their employees. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) in C-level and F&A expect their companies' financial reporting to come under greater scrutiny in the coming year.

In response to increasing financial pressure, the answers mean that companies are looking internally for ways to optimize working capital. Both in Germany and globally, 40 percent of respondents said they need to find ways to optimize working capital without raising funds externally. Globally and in Germany, 56 percent plan to introduce or expand automation solutions to optimize and increase working capital in the next year.

According to Marc Huffman, "There is no doubt that those who use robust and comprehensive data to make quick and intelligent decisions will be in a better position to adapt. In this environment, it is likely that more importance than ever will be placed on the strategic insights that finance and accounting can provide to the business."

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