Saudi Arabia Vision 2030

Al-Harbi ... well-thought-out plan

Al-Harbi ... well-thought-out plan

Health of employees, clients prime concern of AYTB

AYTB, one of Saudi Arabia's major industrial contracting services companies, remains vigilant of Covid-19 and has reacted swiftly to the situation by streamlining finances to not only protect the business but also secure the financial wellbeing of its employees, says Mohamed Zain Al-Harbi, AYTB CFO

AYTB in its 40-year history has experienced and mastered many challenges and faced various world economic crises, whether it be the low oil prices in the 80s, the market crashes in early 2006 and 2015, the mortgage crisis in 2008 or others.

The current Covid-19 situation doesn’t compare to any previous turmoil or challenge as it has not only affected the economy but has attacked a very precious thing: human health. AYTB strongly believes that the health of AYTB employees, their clients and all stakeholders remain a prime concern.

In this regard, the company has put in place the highest safety standards and created a dedicated committee led by the CEO and senior management that follows daily an action plan and process maps covering all possible risk areas.

From another perspective, well-informed and influential finance leaders, however, anticipate situations well in advance and act promptly to weather down cycles, helping their companies emerge stronger than before.

AYTB's head office

Remarkably, Saudi-based AYTB is one of those vigilant companies that has reacted swiftly to the situation by streamlining finances to not only protect the business but secure the financial wellbeing of its employees as well.

AYTB’s CFO, Mohamed Zain Al-Harbi, is leading the finance charge. For him and his team to be ready for all eventualities including worst-case scenarios, they must develop and play various scenarios to evaluate the impact on liquidity, top and bottom lines and the business in its entirety.

A well-thought-out plan in Covid-19 would take into consideration various tiers and elements, such as creditors, customers, cash flows, and company employees, aided by seamless coordination and communication.

At AYTB, the company’s finance team has made liquidity management its primary task. There is an increased focus on the collection of receivables and the conversion of any unbilled performance into receivables. A risk considered here is a possible collection shortage from some smaller clients, who might face financial difficulties due to the global business environment.

In this regard, AYTB has found strong support from its very understanding clients. This rapport with the clients is the result of AYTB’s 40-year history of providing trusted and quality services.

Another vital aspect looked into is the management of the current credit limits with the relationship banks while negotiating additional finance sources in the case of any emergency. AYTB has been deliberating and discussing all possible scenarios here and has been in contact with banks from day one.

It is worth mentioning that various Saudi ministries and authorities have been quick in rolling out significant initiatives to support the private sector. These include support from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), Ministry of Finance, General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT), Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, etc.

These initiatives have meant considerable support for companies. And the result was an immediate impact, which was reflected in the demonstrated support by banks to AYTB and other companies in the market.

Meanwhile, a weekly rolling cash flow forecast was implemented from an early stage. This is important for the finance team to keep the development of liquidity under control. It also allows the team to continually analyse any changes in the client’s payment behaviour or additional operating expenditure (OPEX) or urgent supplier payment.

In any challenge linked to a significant crisis, the role of communication is crucial for business success, and the AYTB team understands that very well.

The team has been able to establish communication channels with all business stakeholders to regularly inform them about the business status, and any significant development in operations or financial aspects.

The concerns of employees, suppliers and other partners are taken seriously, and all the possible measures are taken to address them.

As a forward-looking company, AYTB believes every crisis and challenge in life has positive sides as well."As a company, we look to the current situation in its entirety and are trying to find positive aspects in it. This could include finding operating efficiencies, improving the balance sheet, and learning lessons about certain business lines or segments that the company hasn’t entered or might reevaluate in the future. We know for sure that the world after Covid-19 will definitely not be the same as before," says Al-Harbi.

In conclusion, the prevalent times might be very stressful and would require tremendous efforts from the CFO and other senior management leaders. However, they also give them great opportunities to learn more about their own business, a chance to look into their personal development, to reflect and analyse all aspects of their lives (by looking at the bigger picture) and find valuable and missing time for their own families.

To everyone, we at AYTB, a family to trust in the toughest of times, say to you please "stay home, stay safe and save lives".

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