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The New Normal – Alex Prentice

The COVID-19 pandemic will leave a lasting impact not just on our businesses, but also on our lives. The way we see the world right now is completely different from one month ago. Our companies’ strategic goals, work logistics or plans for the future have had to change to adapt to The New Normal.

But… what will the “new normal” look like? How will our clients adapt to it? How will Rydoo adapt to it? To find some answers to these questions, we have interviewed some of our clients around the world and Rydoo’s CEO. We wanted to understand how their businesses and industries are being impacted but also how they see the future, because this situation won’t last forever.

Alex Prentice, MRN’s Financial Administrator, is the second guest of our new remote interview series: The New Normal.

Wondering who was the first guest of our remote interview series? Discover it here.

How is COVID-19 impacting your business operations?

”It gets reviewed multiple times a week by our board. We are actually seeing a bit of an upside in that companies now want us to put nurses into homes because people can’t leave their homes. We have, I think we have had occasions when nurses are being called to go work in the front line, so to speak. Whether that impacts us or not, I’m not really sure yet. We’ve not seen it materialistically impact us, but that could happen further down the line.”

How has the crisis impacted your strategic goals for the next quarters?

”I wouldn’t say they’ve Impacted them that much, to be honest. I mean, our strategic goals are long term. I know you say the next quarter, and we remain focused on those. One of our goals, we’re in finances, obviously about automation and that’s something we’re always looking to improve. And I think what’s happening now heightens the need to do something like that because it just sets you up to work remotely a lot better than if you had a physical system that needed to be in a physical place that everyone needed to access.

In terms of other things that we’re doing within finance, there’s a lot more emphasis on cash management at the moment, cause you see like every other company in the world, we’re just making sure we protect what we’ve got and keep the flow running.”

How digital is your finance team today?

”So let’s say we’re partway there and there’s more work to be done –  I think there’s always more work to be done – but our expenses are completely automated and that’s cloud-based. So we’re fine there. Everybody at MRN has a laptop regardless of their position, so we’re fine there. That’s easy. Our actual supplier invoicing remains a hurdle.

Now we’re okay in the sense that all of our vendors, bar a few, email their invoices anyway, so there’s no printing and scanning that needs to be done. And we do subscribe to services that allow us to send invoices electronically and have them signed electronically. So we’ve appropriated those and use those where necessary and come up with a sort of temporary process to allow us to automate the invoicing system. It’s not as effective as actual software out there that do the job, but we were okay. We’re not seeing any material increase in resource or time, to those areas.”

Do you see any opportunities?

”I guess an opportunity for us is that the situation might force potential customers or current customers to really see the value in what we offer and how what we offer it because they now need it, whereas before they’ve not really given it as much thought, and then going forward, they might place more value on that relationship with us.”

How will the new normal look for your company?

”For MRN I don’t know if much will change. I think once we go back to normal, whenever that is or whatever that becomes, I think we’ll operate as we did before. But I would add, MRN already operates in a way where people are allowed flexible working time and people are allowed to work from home as they need to.  

We’re already very capable of remote working and everybody is in theory set up to be able to do it. We have the system and infrastructure in place to do so. So I’d say MRN is maybe ahead of the curve than a lot of companies in that respect. Generally in business, I think we’re going to see a lot more desire for remote working and I think companies are going to see the benefit a lot more from it working. 

They might look back at these few months and say “Hey, you know what? It wasn’t that bad. Maybe we can look at implementing this permanently. Maybe we don’t need so much office space. Maybe some people can work from home, some people can hot desk. I think we’re going to see a lot more agile working environments going forward and that’s something that MRN was already trying to put in place when this all happened.” 

How will business travel change?

”I think once the industry recovers things will go back to normal. I think people still travel as and when they need to. I think sales teams are still gonna want that face to face contact.  I think whilst companies and people and functions are going to be using things like zoom, etc, a lot more and more. I think there‘ll still be a lot of business travel. As I say I don’t envisage that going down, certainly at MRN. Obviously we’re not seeing any at the moment, but yeah, once everything’s back in normal life I think it will be business as usual there.”

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