How Virtual will the Finance Team of the Future Be?
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the lives and behaviour of people across the globe. We have had to adapt to different ways of shopping, learning, socializing, working, celebrating, doing business, and much more.
In this bite-sized episode I deconstruct a research report sent to me by Zoom to assess how Virtual will the Finance Team of the Future Be.
Link to report: explore.zoom.us/docs/en-us/future…conferencing.html
[00:00:00] Andrew: hi everyone. And welcome to this week’s strength in the numbers. Now a lot of us this past year, 18 months had been through a lot of events, changes. Potentially have dramatically affected our lives and the behavior people around us and across the group. And we’ve had to adopt to different ways of doing things like how we do our work and finance.
[00:00:20] I started to find the shopping, learning, socializing, working, celebrating a much more. And we were recently sent a report to sit and zoom the cloud meeting software code. They donate survey with Qualtrics and they summarize the findings, provided it to us, did ask about 8,000 people across 10 countries how they were using a video conferencing and such like that during the last 18 months, a pandemic and so on and how they felt that the future might look like.
[00:00:55] And in this short episode, I’m trying to maybe translate potentially how virtual the accounting and finance here in the future is likely to be. Interestingly, I just want to make a note about zoom. They’ve been around since 2012 and has really only come to prominence in the last couple of years. If you think about it at the end of 2019, their user base was about 10 million. So users. Three months later, March, 2020, I had exponentially jumped up to 220 million daily users. And that obviously bring the company increased challenges that were in the news and their profits increased 4000% during the period as well.
[00:01:35] However, they’re not video communications provider out there. There are other ones, think a lot of us started using Microsoft teams a lot. But if we look activity in general, that we’ve come to get more familiar with in finance and with our business in general, adopting more of S music entertainment.
[00:01:53] I tens of thousands of concerts. Now don’t over platforms like zoom, people socialize more and have held their birthdays over. A lot of us have spoken at, or attended a conference that were, are now virtual.
[00:02:05] A lot of the events we’ve done and some of us have even embraced services to keep fit physically and also mentally. So there was an extraordinary increase in video conference and usage during the last 18 months in couple of years, I suppose it’s only natural for us to wonder, oh, will this consumption change going into the future? As, as it becomes safer resume more in-person gatherings and meetings and activity.
[00:02:34] Will we still want to use conferencing? And if we do for what purposes and to what degree will we be using it? And that’s what I want to share with you maybe three key takeaways from the survey how it pops applies to our world. Interestingly enough to 10 countries that zoom had served.
[00:02:53] What they actually represent is about 74% of our audience based. So that covers a lot of us, but I think it’s also got some general points for all of us to tune into. And the first key takeaway I’d probably take from it is that a large majority of those who responded in the survey believes that even after the recent change in changing turpentines, you’d be.
[00:03:16] Video communications. I here to stay yo, beginning of 2020 loads of finance teams around the globe who’d never quite been exposed to any kind of video communications experience. And had to start to learn, to use this technology on the fly as they went along, mostly out of necessity.
[00:03:35] A lot of people said it couldn’t be done, but it had no choice. So we just got on and did it in good old finance fashion and the majority of those in the survey. So when we say majority about 80% plus suggested that using video conferencing frequently is now what they expect into the future.
[00:03:54] To participation video classes, holiday gatherings, doctor’s appointments, work meetings there will be a large proportion of virtual communication for some of those services as part of our lives moving forward.
[00:04:08] A second key takeaway really revolves around maybe a few key areas, one being celebrations. So that’s the family visits, weddings, birthday parties. I even heard from a finance colleague of a live feed of a chronic. After someone who died this week, didn’t know something like that existed. Also in the area or board meetings, mentoring internal team, or external client meetings, EGMS and so on as well as education.
[00:04:35] So school classes, tutoring, parent, teacher conferences, professional development those surveys are actually asked about those particular areas and they felt that those ones around celebrations, business appointments, education, We’re the ones that have transitioned most from in-person to virtual, and we’re less likely to slip back overall.
[00:04:56] And interestingly, most countries surveyed, favored a hybrid business environment. About two thirds of the survey takers were preferring this hybrid. So a mix of in-person and virtual way of. why that they cited, where they didn’t really have to leave their homes. They felt they could stay safer virtually, but obviously a lot acknowledged the downsides of a personal connection.
[00:05:21] As well as, challenges of a good quality video feeds. And for some of our listeners if you’re more new into finance and accounting, very important that more people are aware of your brand and you do that in a. Face-to-face environment if it’s safe and possible to do so, so really need to make the most of those opportunities of in-person. And actually we did a straw poll some of our CFO mentors that were on the. we’ve asked them about the future of business travel and they actually expect in the short-term business travel to probably be about half the level.
[00:05:54] It was before say 2020. And they’ve actually reflected that in lower travel budgets the finance operating budget, but also for some other support services, rather in their organizations and a proportion, if all of them have actually Factored in lower expenditure on renting office space and other overheads because of this more permanent shift to a hybrid approach.
[00:06:17] So I think if we even look at those auctions we’re probably looking future of more hybrid type So don’t expect a return to in-person one to learning development events, being in person, hiring onboarding team meetings. Even at a country level. And it seems the majority of these are going to be either be virtual or substantially hybrid at the moment
[00:06:39] on a final takeaway. And I think it comes from the advantage of strength and the numbers, actually, this appreciation that. A global team, global podcasts with a global audience. But as we see more of this hybrid environment that will allow employees to fish their work around their own lives, probably a bit better, a lot do welcome that change.
[00:07:02] We still need to appreciate the country and specific factors because not everyone’s going to want to go hybrid. Actually, if you deconstruct a lot of the respondents in France and India showed a higher preference for in-person only business appointments. They don’t particularly fancy the hybrid approach or virtual as much.
[00:07:25] In fact, it was quite an interesting one in the United Kingdom and from. And despite the, those two great nations, having their disagreements in the past, actually wanting they can agree on or commonality on is that over half of the respondents in each of those countries wanted their education related activities to be, in-person only going for. And then finance. We definitely rely on continuing our education and professional development so that we remain relevant it’s key activity for us.
[00:07:57] So I think that was a top concern for them. That virtual education was perhaps preventing a real connection being established on those, education and development activities. Between students, teachers and classmates, and maybe didn’t have the same level of engagement. So there is a preference in certain countries for more in-person development and education and learning.
[00:08:21] Although a general catchall, is that where in person learning, going forward, isn’t available. I think there is an acceptance that virtual is okay, but it’s not the preferred option. So again, expect to see perhaps some pressure there in individual countries for going back to a bit more the way it was.
[00:08:40] but I think generally overall, I think it’s just, again, important, not to assume that what’s happening in one country or one type of activity will generally have the same success or level of expectation than another one.
[00:08:51] And that’s why we invite guest mentors on the strength and the numbers to share with you. What’s working and maybe not working as expected in their worlds is who said we’ve got gas mentors from countries around the world. Our listeners are in over 171 countries. So it gives you a flavor of what perhaps to expect and maybe some ideas on to try out or things to avoid.
[00:09:11] Particularly when it comes to the hard one lessons, it’s a, it’s much faster, efficient, and probably more effective to, to let, for someone else’s learning when going down someone’s certain pots. So look, I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. If you did. We really appreciate it. When you recommend the show to your friends in.
[00:09:29] You can subscribe in all the major platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, YouTube, Spotify, and Amazon music. And thanks again for tuning in today. So on the next time, take care of yourself, stay safe and let’s keep on building our strength in the numbers.