January 30, 2020 is marked as the day when the Philippines was shackled by the first case of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (commonly known as COVID-19). By that time, the country was not the only one affected by the virus, but it was now widespread across the world. Due to this, hospitals got crowded, and some establishments and businesses (big or small) accepted their fate and shut down operations. The world has quickly turned to digital transactions to avoid physical contact—and the Philippines is no stranger to this digital transformation.
Three years after the shock that is the pandemic, the Southeast Asian country is now facing a post-pandemic world. Corporations like Harper & Hill Inc. are providing solutions for this new digitalization era, hosting events like the CFO Summit 2023 to provide some insights on how to help the fintech as well as the business sector in this modern world.
The challenges of COVID-19
The third annual CFO Summit 2023 was held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria last April 3-4 with a primary focus on “The Future of CFO in Emerging Markets: Post-Pandemic.” Its five-point agenda tackled issues and solutions on the market and user experience; financial inclusion; digital and latest technology; data-driven finance; and government regulation and compliance.
More than 15 industry expert speakers shared some hard-earned lessons they’ve learned because of COVID-19—most focusing on adapting quickly to advancing technology for their businesses to thrive.
“A lot of the companies during the pandemic had to rush into digitalization because, as you know, there were lockdowns. And based on the surveys, the two-year worth of digitalization was done in two months. So, it’s very extraordinary during the time of the pandemic,” remarked Cherry Kua, Financial Controller at Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Kua added that since many firms haven’t gauged the technology before, some were forced to learn it because of the need to survive.
Ideas that could shape the future of business world
Some speakers during the event looked further ahead as they conveyed ideas that could shape the business world. Among them were organizational culture directive communication psychology thought leader Arthur Carmazzi and founder and CEO of Block Tides Myrtle Anne Ramos, who had thoughts of using emerging technologies like the metaverse and web3 to help the sector.
Carmazzi believes that on-the-job training in the metaverse where trainees have an AI coach that could advise and inform them about the company’s do’s and don’ts and give them insights as to what’s really going on could help with onboarding and creating better leaders.
As for Ramos, the Philippines still need more people and funding in the web3 space. “We need more entrepreneurs. We need more changemakers here. We need more leaders in the space. And at the same time, if that will be possible, of course, we need more access to funding for Filipinos. That’s my shout-out to everyone and the government,” she said.
It’s apparent that the world will never be the same since the pandemic. As Angelo Valdez, the president and CEO of Harper & Hill Inc., said it, we need to educate our people—especially our financial leaders—as we enter this new digital world.
“We need technology and not only technology, but we need to educate all these financial leaders [on] the value and putting all [of this] together, from the banking industry to fintech to what system they need to use. And, of course, bridging the time. Time is very, very important. Where are we now? Are we ready post-pandemic?” he asked.
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