In times when economic and social uncertainty mainly affects industries and companies, it is necessary to take a break and prepare financial operations to face crisis situations, which may imply a considerable drop in sales. Faced with this scenario, in Echez Group, we proved that we were able to move forward. For this reason, we talked with Andres Avilán, our Chief Finance and Administration Officer, so that he can tell us more about this experience.
The biggest financial challenge in times of crisis
To understand the challenges according to our CFO, the first thing we did was to identify the factor or factors of the crisis that could affect Echez Group, thinking that any impact would fall on the financial health.
And so, the management team was able to identify that part of the challenge was to maintain and continue with the operation and precisely for that “decisions must be made to overcome that impact; decisions that allow to rationalize expenses, determine creatively where financial adjustments can be made, and maintain cash resources”, points out Andres Avilan.
Companies do not go bankrupt because of losses in profits, but rather because of technical bankruptcies related to the impossibility of having cash flow to operate.
Another challenge was to face the limitation and impossibility of people to go to work, and how to transform everything that is necessary in the most agile and fast way, without any disruption in Echez Group’s operation, “In that sense, what we did was a very fast transition to the whole remote work issue, which was a great relief because when other types of dynamics were generated, we were ready to continue operating in another way without affecting our productivity. On the contrary, with great satisfaction I can say that our production increased,” explains Andres A.
According to our CFO, reading the numbers through them to determine how the business is going and where it is going, based on sales and expenses, is fundamental to analyze what decisions should be made and when.
How does Echez Group turn a moment of crisis into an opportunity?
-Identifying those spaces where you can make better refinements and greater efficiencies in the use of resources.
-By changing the operation system for alternatives such as remote work, which for some companies can be more profitable and useful.
-With temperance and resilience; having the pause and calm to study and innovate and have the alternatives that generate these new opportunities.
-Allowing and sponsoring change, to identify where those opportunities are and to develop them in order to move forward.
The greatest opportunity is to realize that you should not make visceral decisions, but calm decisions and thought about the sustainability of the business with all the difficulties that come.
Is it good to take financial risks in times of crisis?
For the finance area of Echez Group, at this point there is not a unique answer, because it depends on what each company expects to achieve, “there are companies that decide to go bankrupt or simply do nothing and wait, and all are valid decisions, according to the circumstances” comments Andres A.
In this case, what Echez Group has done is to make decisions on how to continue growing, hire additional personnel required, and make the compensation and salary increases that were planned. All in favor of generating that environment of stability that some other organizations have not been able to guarantee.
How has Echez Group grown in these times of crisis?
As a business group, we have been able to maintain the size of our operation and we continue exploring markets and diversifying with other business lines in order to continue our expansion and growth “from that perspective, what I would say is that stability is already a growth in itself at this time, when one sees that many companies are closing, laying off or cannot fulfill their commitments” states Andres Avilan.
Until today, our commitment has not led us to fulfill all payments to our employees and suppliers, much of this thanks to our clients, who have maintained their confidence in the services and value that Echez Group delivers.
How does Echez Group maintain good relationships with Stakeholders?
According to Andres A., “there are moments of truth with clients, suppliers, employees, etc. and it is precisely essential to continue with a normal operation rhythm. I think that something that is normally talked about a lot, is the paralysis due to the analysis and we cannot paralyze ourselves waiting to see what is going to happen, but we have to keep moving, see that we have different alternatives and how to create new opportunities” he points out.
Also as a business group we have understood the situation of each of the parts of the equation; in addition, we offer, deliver and inject positivism and faith towards business, which creates a dynamic of spiral growth.
What did Echez Group need to maintain finances in times of crisis?
According to Andres and the finance team, there are several tools. One of my beliefs is that numbers tell the story: cold, no buts, no qualifiers. And, what the numbers show today, is that the operation continues without any kind of setback and goes forward”, he explains.
This is the way in which we, as a business group, tell our story, through tools that allow us to make numerical projections and other specialized ones such as in the management of leads or opportunities. This allows us to see how the businesses that are coming are being projected, “I would name methodologies more than tools, the methodology of making forecasts forward, of having current information, has allowed us to have a photograph and a perspective towards where we have to move and the measurement and follow-up to be evolving in business” says our CFO, Andrés Avilán.
In addition, we as people are also the tool, thanks to the knowledge, experience and expertise; doing what it takes, with the responsibility, principles and values for the organization to move forward.
And after the crisis, what is next for Echez Group?
In a way, after the crisis, our duty is to keep on doing what has worked: “We are ready because we keep on looking for clients, penetrating accounts, working with them, offering them the products we have, trying to offer them that added value in the measure they need”, says Andrés, however, we also rely on decisions, on how we are going to keep on operating, but without drastic changes before the new normality; everything is very calm, even if it is not.
-Assess each situation, each business and how the crisis affects it.
-To have a lot of tranquility in the decision making process and to go in that direction making the pertinent adjustments without chaos or hysteria.
-To look for those alternatives in favor of the objective that was established.
-To do what is said and to execute it as it is, because the fulfillment gives the final consistency of success.