WHU General

Study: Controllers Expect Recovery for Companies Starting in July

A new WHU study investigates how CFOs and controllers in Germany assess the impacts of the crisis on their companies.

On average, the respondents expect normalisation in 16 weeks - those less affected by the crisis expect a faster recovery

Almost 500 CFOs and employees in senior financial positions took part in the survey of the WHU Controller Panel conducted by Professor Dr. Marko Reimer and Professor Dr. Utz Schäffer, both directors of the Institute for Management Accounting and Control (IMC) at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management, in cooperation with ICV (Internationaler Controller Verein). According to the CFOs and controllers who took part in the survey, all companies are affected by the current crisis; it is systemic. Declining sales, rather than unstable supply chains or production restrictions, are currently the key problem for the companies surveyed.

Restrictions also arise from the short-term planning of strategies and measures. However, the majority of those surveyed assume that their companies will be able to make clearer statements about the future in an average of six weeks. For a complete recovery from the crisis and thus a return to the old normality, the controllers expect an average period of 22 weeks.

The majority of company directors are satisfied with their companies' crisis management, with service providers being able to deal with the current situation more effectively than manufacturing companies. Furthermore, it is apparent that structures and plans for crisis situations established in advance have proven their value, while it is assumed that transitional solutions born of necessity promise less success in the long term.

Despite the current uncertainties, the respondents appear optimistic. About half of them see great opportunities in the crisis. They consider the switch to alternative work opportunities from home and the expansion of the technological infrastructure of their companies a positive development. The mood among employees is also rated as predominantly good.

In general, it appears that companies that are more affected by COVID-19 expect the crisis to last longer than those less affected. Only the weeks to come will show which assessment hits the mark more precisely.

The results of the study were published on Handelsblatt.de (in German).

The WHU Controller Panel was launched in 2007 as a joint initiative of the IMC with the ICV to derive benchmarks and identify best practices in the field of controlling. Regular surveys on specific longitudinal research topics make it possible to make statements on the development of controlling. The studies examine current controlling trends in detail. Membership is free of charge.