COVID-19: Responding to the business impacts of coronavirus

In addition to the serious implications for people's health and the healthcare services, coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a significant impact on businesses and the economy. We are working closely with organisations globally to help them prepare and respond.



The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 20201, causing huge impact on people’s lives, families and communities.

As the international response continues to develop, we know that organisations are facing significant challenges and need to respond rapidly. PwC's Global Crisis Centre is working together with a range of organisations across industries to help them during this difficult time. Here’s how organisations, including those without direct exposure, can focus their efforts.


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Six key areas of focus for organisations

Crisis management and response

Existing business continuity plans may not be capable of handling the fast-moving and unknown variables of an outbreak like COVID-19. 

What you can do now: 

  • Develop incident management and scenario plans that are specific to this crisis

  • Focus on factually and effectively communicating to stakeholders

  • Plan on how to meet government priorities in individual countries and minimise the risk of business disruptions

     

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Workforce

Beyond human welfare, there are other people challenges to tackle, including how to support remote working at scale.

What you can do now: 

  • Attend to immediate global mobility concerns, such as reviewing travel rules, HR policies, first-aid plans

  • Assess remote working strategy, including asking employees to temporarily stop work or work remotely or relocate

  • Address strains on a firm’s existing information technology and communications infrastructure in order to support remote working during the crisis

 

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Operations and supply chain

The ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are difficult to model and assess, but global businesses can begin to mitigate supply chain distributions. 

What you can do now: 

  • Identify alternative supply chain scenarios — especially as new cases of the virus emerge in different territories

  • Activate pre-approved parts or raw-material substitutions

  • Adapt allocations to customers and pricing strategies

 

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Finance and liquidity

Financial markets often watch how companies plan for and respond to events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

What you can do now: 

  • Consider disclosures related to direct effects on the results of operations, as well as second- and third-order effects

  • Think about disclosures related to risks and uncertainties about the impact of COVID-19 on future periods

  • Assess disclosures on the current and future impact on liquidity and capital resources

 

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Tax, trade and regulatory

Navigating complexity and risk in today’s global uncertainty takes more than an understanding of tax and regulatory systems. It is critical that tax functions consider the broader economic, political and societal context you operate in, in order to make informed and compliant decisions that drive your operations forward.

What you can do now: 

  • Effectively manage cash taxes, obtain available refunds and consider local government and tax authority measures in response to COVID-19

  • Consider actions to stabilise supply chains while bracing for an unpredictable revenue and profitability mix in key markets

  • Assess the resources your company needs to meet your ongoing indirect and direct tax compliance requirements

  • Explore opportunities focused on becoming more flexible in responding to arising uncertainties

 

Navigate Tax, Legal and Economic Measures in response to COVID-19

 

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Strategy and brand

As companies move from reacting to mitigating the impact of the outbreak, strategies to emerge stronger may come in focus.

What you can do now: 

  • Consider accelerating digital transformations as the shift to remote working reveals gaps in IT infrastructure, workforce planning and digital upskilling

  • Protect growth and profitability through actions such as scenario planning, more frequent financial modeling exercises to improve resiliency, and new models that incorporate economic impacts of past pandemics

  • Take the pulse of your customers, thinking through longer-term considerations around shifts in core markets or business models as a result of the pandemic

 

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Local and global insights

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References

1: World Health Organization, "WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 11 March 2020," 

Contact us

Michal Kotze

Michal Kotze

Africa Clients and Markets Leader, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4603

Jabu Masondo

Jabu Masondo

Southern Africa Tax Leader, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0)11 287 0836

Mark  O'Flaherty

Mark O'Flaherty

Africa Advisory Leader, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 5885

Pieter  Hough

Pieter Hough

Africa Assurance Leader, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4158

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