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Leadership during economic crisis

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Note from the editor

The coronavirus has tested CFOs like few other challenges. But the way finance leaders have responded has made clear the deep well of creativity CFOs are bringing to the task.

When the pandemic shut down the on-site band practices that form the core of the School of Rock’s business model, CFO John Cappadona used his new FP&A team to devise plans that led to an ingenious solution: create value-added virtual classes taught by recording artists who suddenly had plenty of time on their hands.

Hilla Sferruzza, CFO of large national builder Meritage Homes, identified the major cost her company had complete control over — future land and development spend — and built her cost-cutting plan around those. "I connected with every one of our sellers and said, 'Hey, we're all in this together. Let’s pull back.'" The result: a much-needed easing in the company's financial commitments.

The pandemic remains a potent challenge; the longer the economic toll persists, the greater the number of business casualties. Few companies can withstand month after month of little or no revenue without facing a going-concern opinion or worse: bankruptcy.

But CFOs are finding ways not just to survive, but to retool and thrive. To provide ideas to help you steer your organization through the pandemic, we at CFO Dive have selected a specific cross section of pieces from our daily newsletter. They feature very different stories, but share one characteristic: CFO leadership in action amid an economic crisis. We hope you find the selection useful.

Robert Freedman Editor

A CFO's 3-step plan for remaining profitable during COVID-19

LendingUSA's Ron Oertell says his company's services as a point-of-sale fintech are greater now than they were, pre-pandemic.

Pivoting from growth to margins

ThoughtSpot's new CFO brings finely honed ideas to the finance team just as the company faces the global downturn.

Fast CFO action equipped residential builder to survive downturn

Putting land deals on hiatus, improving cash visibility and understanding buyer concerns has helped the finance chief of Meritage Homes keep the company on an ambitious growth track.

Small-business specialist sees coronavirus crisis as way to help customers, retool financially

The CFO of payroll software provider Gusto sees the downturn as an opportunity to reevaluate costs, vendor relations, and investment choices.

Scenario planning helped School of Rock go virtual in 12 days

Just before mandatory shutdowns disrupted its business model, CFO John Cappadona built School of Rock's FP&A function.

A lesson in fiscal discipline from Chipotle's CFO

Chipotle has maintained its long-term vitality as the pandemic forces countless competitors to close their doors. CFO Jack Hartung shares how the company does it.

5-time CFO: 'The business model is the CFO's north star'

Tim Adams, new CFO at cybersecurity ratings company BitSight, believes staying connected to your team is necessary to weather the current storm.

Verizon CFO welcomed external advice for pandemic scenario planning

When COVID-19 hit, Matt Ellis consulted outside experts to help ensure his FP&A team's assumptions about going forward were realistic.