Finance professionals say Singapore firms face cash flow problems from Covid-19 demand hit: Survey

Just under half of those surveyed are focusing their time on securing medium-term stability and opportunities for their companies over the next one to six months.
Just under half of those surveyed are focusing their time on securing medium-term stability and opportunities for their companies over the next one to six months.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Finance professionals expect a slow return to normal from the impact of the coronavirus-induced recession, according to a survey by the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) Singapore.

This comes as 66 per cent of the respondents, from an expert panel of 115 finance professionals, said that their firms' customers have completely stopped or reduced their purchases and 37 per cent said they are having cash flow problems.

According to the survey, a significant number of business leaders - 81 per cent - have now completed a financial re-forecast. Of those, 12 per cent predict negative revenue growth of 50 per cent or more as the most likely outcome from the expected impact of Covid-19.

Just under half (47 per cent) are focusing their time on securing medium-term stability and opportunities for their companies over the next one to six months.

Mr Reuter Chua, head of ACCA Singapore, said: "Our data for June reveals continued cash flow challenges, with more than a third in Singapore saying this is a problem. A similar number of businesses are moving now to secure additional funding. Since the March research, the new data reveals greater concerns over financing and debt issues, and given the global economic climate, it means these will be difficult matters to resolve."

He said the key issue is a collapse in customer demand for many organisations.

"It's a domino effect, with both product launches and investment plans being deferred, further compounded by supply chain challenges and issues with customer order fulfilment," he added.

Ninety per cent of the professionals in the survey said they have now adopted flexible work-from-home strategies, and 65 per cent have adopted staff rotas to accommodate social distancing requirements.

Government support has been effective, according to 66 per cent of the respondents. However, 6 per cent believe the support was ineffective.

 

The survey showed that 32 per cent of the respondents are also re-evaluating their social responsibility to the wider communities affected by the virus outbreak.

The report also offers practical guidance to cope with digital transformation, using ACCA's "Act, Analyse and Anticipate road to recovery" model with a focus on digital.

ACCA said the first step it recommends is to act to ensure operability, then analyse the situation ahead by looking for opportunities, and then finally comes transformation of the organisation by establishing a digital strategy, identifying the role of technology to support the future strategic workforce plan virtually and physically, and how its presence can be sustained in the longer term.