“Anyone can do a great job when the economy’s fantastic, but with this stress on you, you have to perform.”
Robert Bufano is the Financial Controller here at Integris. He oversees the accounting and finance activities of the company, working with the executive team on day to day operations and implementation on continued growth strategies.
Make a plan for the immediate future.
Robert: “So the first thing you start evaluating is where’s your cash position. I think every organization and most people have some cash on hand, but no one knew what this was going to be. How long is it going to last? Three months, six months, nine months, a year, you have to really a sort of evaluate how much cash do I have on hand and how far can I go?”
Robert: “What kind of scenarios are going to start happening? You want to avoid, hopefully at all costs, to have to lay people off, even though that is a possibility. So the first thing I started doing is I reached out to the banks, what are our credit lines? Seeing if they could extend those even before the PPP was even discussed. So it was just a mad rush. Everyone to their bankers and seeing what could be done there. Then it really came down to just analyzing your future projections and saying, what are the scenario planning? Like, what happens if no one pays us? That’s the biggest thing that we’re always worried about is if no one pays their ANR. If that happens, how long can I continue operations and be able to pay people.”
Strategic decisions and communication.
Robert: “We’ve been able to at least look at the data. So then you can either validate making decisions or give it to the executive team. Make smarter strategic decisions, don’t make a rash decision. Say I don’t really look at the analytics and we have to lay people off just because I didn’t prepare the right financials, that horrible. Because that affects other people. So, that’s the most important step that we took, which is let’s get the data and then we’ll see what are our options.”
Robert: “I think our team did a really good job communicating with everybody. Because I know other companies have not been as, I would say honest with like letting everyone know what is going on. We’re trying to let our employees know what is actually happening and what we’re trying to do. I think that communication is huge and people appreciate that. I think it’s better that you just be truthful and you know, let people know what has happened.”
The Paycheck Protection Program and the new normal.
Robert: “The biggest thing is that the PPP came out. So I think everyone, every financial person or business owner, were just trying to figure out what you needed to apply for this and reach out to their banks. As most people know it is very difficult to get in contact with a lot of the big banks. Luckily some of the local banks will step up. Like many, we were able to be reassured that we were getting it. So again, all those scenario planning was still in effect.”
Robert: “What did change a little bit though, is that we kind of came into more, what is normal and basically how we’re operating. At least, especially in financial aid, luckily we could continue to do our jobs, my finance departments still provide data. We’re not working in an office, but we’re working remotely, we collaborate more through Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but we’re working more rhythmically. I’d say we have a good cadence making sure we’re on top of a lot of our deliverables.”