Every business leader ought to be thinking about how to leverage beneficial business processes that were adopted during COVID. Substituting travel and in-person meetings with Zoom calls when appropriate is a significant opportunity to eliminate operating waste. Thinking back to my corporate M&A days beyond the initial Seller meeting (which did not need to take place in-person) and due diligence, all other deal elements were processed remotely. Even those instances where the Seller had second thoughts, a video call was usually sufficient to calm emotions and assuage doubt. This is a fair topic for investors to quiz management teams on.
Google for example enjoyed real savings in the March Q vs. March 2020. Google’s T&E and Marketing expense declined $268 million year-over-year. Not a huge number in percentage terms (65 basis points as a percentage of Revenue in the quarter), but a significant absolute number. Google’s 10Q language: “This increase was largely offset by decreases in advertising and promotional as well as travel and entertainment expenses totaling $268 million, primarily as a result of COVID-19.”