Even though COVID restrictions are lifting, many businesses are realizing that “the new normal” is here to stay. How has the financial world been impacted by these changes? 

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most significant post-COVID business trends, and explain what they mean in the world of finance.

Remote Work is Here to Stay

One of the most visible post-COVID business trends is a remote work revolution. During the quarantine, many employees exchanged the morning commute for life in a home or virtual office. Now that the businesses are resuming normal operations, many of their employees would prefer to remain working remotely for at least a portion of their workweek.

The financial industry is uniquely poised to adapt to the world of telecommuting. CPAs and other financial personnel specialize in data, which means that access is more important than presence. 

Today’s companies will continue to see their employees working remotely, relying on digital solutions for collaboration and sharing information.

Finance Jobs Remain in High Demand

While many businesses have been forced to slash budgets due to the economic impact of COVID-19, financial personnel remain a key ingredient in a company’s success. This means that 2021 should continue to see a high demand for financial personnel.

At the same time, the future will likely belong to employees who hold a slightly different skill set than in years before. Financial employees will be expected to be tech-savvy to integrate with today’s digital infrastructure. They may also be called upon to have excellent communication skills, which are essential for the collaborative environments of modern industry leaders.

Outsourcing and Digital Solutions

Outsourcing has been one of the more popular post-COVID business trends for many companies, but it’s impacting the financial world in unique ways. 

For many start-ups and small businesses, hiring a full-fledged accounting department is simply out of the question. Instead, outsourcing needs such as bookkeeping or tax preparation to an accounting firm can be a great way to satisfy your financial needs without sacrificing overhead.

For businesses, this translates into increased reliance on specialized accounting firms to handle their books, which can result in decreased overall business expenses. 

For accountants and other financial employees, this trend could mean working for an accounting firm and managing a portfolio of clients, rather than serving one central company.

Fintech and Consumer Education

Financial technology is rapidly destabilizing the world of commerce and business, with many companies struggling to keep up. The meteoric rise of investing apps has introduced younger generations to the world of investing, often with mixed results.

This unprecedented explosion in consumer tools and financial resources highlights the ongoing need for financial education and guidance, which means that one of the post-COVID business trends might be for businesses to devote resources toward educating their customers about investment and finance.

Greater Transparency and Accountability

Among the most common post-COVID business trends is the push for greater regulatory scrutiny to ensure that businesses act in the best interest of their customers. 

This only adds to the general trend for greater transparency and accountability leftover from the 2008 financial crisis. Together, this has contributed to widespread demand for ethical business practices.

What might this mean for 2021 and the road ahead? Financial departments will be expected to operate with greater transparency toward their shareholders, who might demand a bit more from a company than a good bottom line. 

Financial institutions might also be expected to prioritize their customers’ wellbeing over generating profits. This may actually prove to be essential for attracting new investors in the future.

We might also predict new or increased regulations surrounding things like interest rates or investment caps in an effort to promote business regulations and promote greater accountability with regard to how a business treats its customers. 

Financial personnel will need to keep tabs on any legal or regulatory changes that come their way so that companies can remain in compliance.

Sustainability and ESG Outcomes

In addition to these other post-COVID business trends, you might expect that the COVID pandemic has also increased the awareness of worldwide interdependence.

While financial departments may seem an unlikely place to begin when looking at environmental sustainability, financial institutions play a role in allocating capital. This means that financial employees can be a catalyst for change, advocating for better environment, social, and governance (ESG) outcomes as a result of the way a company uses its resources.

This might also mean that relationships between companies may shift based on these ethical concerns. For example, a business might sever ties with one company in favor of procuring resources with a company known for their sustainable business practices. 

Additionally, companies may discover that newer investors are more likely to invest in companies that have an ethical and sustainable business model.

The Evolving Nature of Post-COVID Business Trends

With concerns about viral variants abounding, it’s unlikely that you’ve seen the full evolution of the business world under the pressure of the global pandemic. Financial employees should be ready to change and adapt, as post-COVID business trends may continue to unfold as time goes on.

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Additional Resources

Navigate the Insolvency Storm

Seven Post-Pandemic Responsibilities for the Controller

Even More Metrics to Optimize on the Road to Normal