Friday 26 February 2021 9:08 am

Exclusive: UK finance leaders want buoyant investment as we enter post-Covid world

UK finance leaders are gearing up for a year of eager investment as Covid recovery prospects boost economic positivity, according to a report by procurement consultancy Proxima.

The survey found that a combination of political change and post-Covid visions are underpinning an overwhelmingly positive outlook.

So, what will the future bring for the UK’s wounded economy?

Will Brexit dampen or boost economic moods? Will work from home become an unorthodox memory?

Let’s see what The Proxima Finance Leaders Outlook 2021 found.

Read more: Hopes of economic revival buoys business confidence

Increased investment to bring year of growth

Almost 80 per cent of UK finance leaders expect to make ‘significant investments’ in the next year as they anticipate financial growth.

Most respondents backed procurement to play an important role in adapting their business to recovery in 2021.

Ed Winterschladen, EVP at Proxima, says that businesses are already looking ahead to growth in the post-Covid world.

“As well as gearing up for growth, the priorities of finance leaders have notably changed as a result of the pandemic,” he said.

“Procurement was highlighted by many finance leaders as a key component underpinning these new investment priorities, and we expect finance leaders to increasingly lean on the procurement function to enable growth and recovery this year.”

Read more: Investors fight back over bonuses at furlough firms

Remote working here to stay?

More than half of UK finance leaders said that some form of remote working would remain in place permanently.

Only 11 per cent vowed to return to the workplace full time.

The office will live on, however, with 42 per cent of respondents expecting to increase their need for space over the next five years.

Read more: Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon: Working from home is not the new normal

Brexit boost

Three in four finance leaders reported a positive impact from Brexit since 1 January.

Even more predicted a benefit over the next five years, with 78 per cent of respondents forming an optimistic mood.

Eight in ten of the surveyed leaders see good times ahead for the economy over the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, finance leaders are overwhelmingly predicting a rebound in the jobs market during the year ahead.

Read more: UK agrees to EU extension of Brexit trade deal ratification

Social value climbs agenda

More than two thirds of finance leaders believe that social value has increased as a budget priority because of the pandemic.

A rise in awareness of the importance of providers operating sustainably puts social value as a critical criterion in supplier selection.

Winterschladen added: “Social value has risen quickly up the corporate agenda and IT has increased drastically as a budget priority as finance leaders look to bolster their workforce while working remotely.”