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Fast and Easy G&A Cuts Won’t Cut It in the Next Recession

Companies need to raise their G&A cost efficiency.

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Fast and Easy G&A Cuts Won’t Cut It in the Next Recession

In past recessions, many companies turned to general and administrative (G&A) functions for fast, easy cuts. However, our analysis found that the track record of most companies in managing G&A spending over the entire economic cycle—2003 through 2017—has been mediocre at best. While half of companies in a given year improved their G&A efficiency (G&A as a percentage of revenue) from the prior year, the gains were transitory: Only 6% of companies achieved efficiency gains for four straight years during the period. Come the next downturn, leaders that make the hard investments early—eliminating low-value work, reinventing processes and making the most of digital technology—will fare better than others. They’ll provide fuel for reinvestment to go on offense and emerge from the recession in a winning position.

Michael Heric and Pam Yee are partners with Bain & Company’s Performance Improvement practice.


Think Cutting G&A Costs in the Next Recession Will Be Easy? Think Again

Cost efficiency has stalled, despite massive investment in digital technologies.

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