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Winning in the 2020s: The business imperative of resilience

By Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive – Management Accounting

Businesses must embrace innovation and build resilience to survive the complete overhaul of their environment in the 2020s. This is especially true in the UK, where businesses face a global economic slowdown, Brexit, and changing rules and policies from the new Conservative Government. To build organisations that perform well in the coming decade, business leaders must focus on several key areas.


With an estimated 80% of a company’s value now locked up in intangible assets, you can no longer base your business models solely on your organisation’s financial performance. You must create a broader business framework that encompasses the purpose, values and strategy of your organisation. This new framework should outline how your organisation contributes to society and meets the long-term needs of its stakeholders, be they customers, employees or investors. It should also account for environmental, cyber and societal risks.  
Resilient businesses are holistic and transparent.

Digital transformation 

Businesses must rethink how they operate if they want to stay ahead of the game. Our Agile Finance Unleashed report, published in partnership with Oracle, found that the organisations that had most successfully transformed their business model were those with a ‘digital first culture’. If you remember the meteoric rise of Apple and fall of Nokia, you know that market dominance can be here today and gone tomorrow. It’s crucial that your business responds to rapid changes in consumer behaviours and innovation by developing its own digital capabilities. 
Resilient businesses are digital first.

Skills development 

Two thirds of UK firms cannot currently fill digital roles needed to navigate an increasingly complex business world. Our own research into the UK skills gap shows that despite automation and new technologies putting job security at risk, 37% of UK workers remain apathetic toward learning skills. Worse yet, they lack the desire to develop digital skills.  
Keeping up with digital transformation isn’t just about investing in technology. It’s also a matter of training your workforce. Your employees need to have the skills to perform both their current roles and those they will fill in the future.

Resilient businesses embrace talent with a learning mindset. 

Building resilience 

Amid sluggish UK economic growth, trade wars and Brexit-related uncertainties, businesses must prepare for weaker investments, stifled consumer spending and deceleration of the country’s productivity. The 2020s will certainly be a continuation of this abrasive environment. Organisations must take a closer look at their business models to create operational efficiencies, develop new products and services, embrace technological innovation and cultivate their workforce’s digital skills. 

Only those businesses that have embedded such resilience will thrive in the days to come. Will yours?