Andrew Gertz: Yeah. And I think that's something we all struggle with no matter our function, but I'm sure, especially at the executive level — trying to make a decision with all this uncertainty, it can't be easy. Speaking about this time of uncertainty, when we look at 2021, speaking for myself, I know I entered this year hoping that this is going to be a turnaround year and that we're going to see things improve from 2020. When you see business trends, when you look at just the world outside of our doors, are you seeing things that you think should make CFOs more optimistic about the future? How are you feeling about 2021 compared to last year?
Louise Jordan: Oh, much better. I don't think it can get any worse. That's for sure. [Laughs] Yeah, no, I'm definitely feeling optimistic about 2021.
I mean, 2020 was very difficult and I think that the businesses that were able to navigate their way through 2020 and survive, they're stronger and they have a certain tenacity and a certain ability to power through. They can be flexible, make decisions, be creative, be entrepreneurial. I think there are so many businesses out there that came up with just some unbelievably creative ways of making it work. Whether it was really making some radical changes in their business model or whether it was just figuring out how to protect their customer base and their employee base while they were watching their their revenues shrink.
Companies dealt with these things in different ways. And so I really do believe that those companies, regardless of what they were dealing with, are stronger now.
I think that we have signs now that things are looking a little bit up. I don't want to jinx anything, but I think that we are seeing a little bit of positive trends with the coronavirus, with KPIs that we watch so carefully.
I think we're gonna start to see some traction on the vaccine rolling out. I think, just reflecting personally, the fact that I know a person who's already had their first shot it's like, “Okay, we're going to get there and we're going to see some improvement. We're going to start to see people get back out there and you know going to restaurants or making purchases and really getting that economic wheel turning again.
Andrew Gertz: Yeah. Well said, and I hope so. All of us are knocking on wood, I'm sure. So on that topic of looking ahead: how do you see the role of a CFO or financial leader in general evolving in the long-term?
Louise Jordan: Well, I think that going through a crisis of this proportion, I guess I'm not sure that the role evolves to something that is totally different from what it is now. But I think it certainly reminds you that you have to look at all the different components and kind of like you were saying earlier, you've got to balance the risk with the reward. You need to make sure that your decision-making is not too risky or not risky enough.
When you are going through a crisis and it's having a significant impact on your financial position, I think that you really get kind of a heightened awareness as to the importance of looking at your capital or your surplus position keeping that eye on your balance sheet, where in any other normal year, you're really focused on the P&L, you're really focused on your performance versus budget or versus prior year growth, whatever it is, production, et cetera.
But I think that it really forces you to take into consideration all those important elements and find a way to balance. How can we keep doing business in an especially regulated industry with the capitalization levels that we're required to have? How can we protect our employee base? What steps, what measures can we take in order to preserve our employee base?
Maybe companies can't be as generous as they were in the past when they were making lots of money. But at the same time, we want to make sure that we're doing everything that we can to protect the employees and start growing again with those fantastic employees. You have to work together as a leadership team going through a really significant time of difficulty and make decisions together so that you’re doing the right things for the company, and so you're not overly focused on one element of the business versus another element of the business. Those are some of the things that do come from going through such a crisis.