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Learning from the impacts of COVID-19 and leading the recovery

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, PwC has been helping businesses mobilise, stabilise and return to work. Now, in the post-COVID-19 recovery, we're helping them find opportunities while becoming stronger – including building resilience to navigate future shocks.

Building strategic resilience

To meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, businesses around the world had to react in agile and decisive ways. As we move into the next phase, now is the time for businesses to seek out and seize the opportunities emerging in the recovery. This involves conducting an “after-action review” to collect data and insights on lessons learned from the pandemic, and then using these to prioritise actions to enhance business value today and build strategic resilience for tomorrow. Businesses that take these steps now will be well-placed to capitalise more effectively on the opportunities rising in the post-COVID-19 recovery – and to continue winning in their marketplaces as greater certainty and stability return. 

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Realising post COVID-19 business opportunities today

What does it take to win in a changing world? Our new perspectives series, Take on Tomorrow, addresses the most urgent forces facing business leaders in 2021—and beyond. Bringing the latest thinking and cutting-edge research from across our global network, the series brings the most pressing business issues to life, and describes how leaders can rethink and reinvent their businesses to succeed and be part of the solution. The challenges covered include climate change, digital disruption, diversity & inclusion and workforce & skills – all in the context of the post-COVID-19 world.

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Five focus areas post COVID-19

Business resilience

Rethinking crisis response to emerge stronger from disruption

COVID-19 brought fast-moving and unexpected impacts for which many existing crisis plans and teams were unprepared. But by learning the right lessons from the pandemic and building resilience for the next crisis, businesses have an opportunity to turn the COVID-19 disruption to their advantage – as our ‘Emerge stronger through disruption’ podcast describes.

Our Global Crisis Survey 2021 identified three key lessons that businesses can adopt for long-term resilience:

  • Plan and prepare for the next inevitable disruption by designating a crisis response team, designing a crisis response plan aligned to your strategy, goals and purpose, and building an integrated resilience program. 

  • Break down silos between resilience competencies and teams, and integrate them to coordinate the tactics, tools and technologies needed for an effective crisis response.

  • Build organisational resilience by establishing high-level resilience governance, revisiting and rethinking your crisis management structure and response strategy, and fostering a culture of resilience. 

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Future of work

Redefining how your people work in the post-pandemic world

The pandemic has changed the workforce forever. But what working models and experiences do your people want in the future? And how can you align these desires with your business’s strategy and purpose? 

To help find the answers, we’ve asked 30,000+ workers to share their hopes and fears on the future of work, in one of the largest-ever studies of the global workforce. Here are four key findings from Hopes and fears 2021 study to help guide your thinking and actions:

  • Workers want to reskill, especially in digital: 77% are ready to learn new skills or completely retrain.

  • Remote work is in demand: 72% of people who can work remotely prefer a flexible mix of in-person and remote working.

  • There’s a strong desire for greater inclusivity: 50% of workers say they’ve faced discrimination at work.  

  • People are concerned about job security: 60% are worried that automation is putting many jobs at risk.

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Future supply chain capabilities

Expanding the focus from logistics to customer insight

The ripple effects of disruptions caused by COVID-19 have been felt throughout global supply chains in both B2C and B2B industries. As stability and certainty return, the basis of future supply chain competitiveness is extending beyond the physical supply chain, to include understanding customers’ experiences deeply and using them to shape strategy. 

Our new B2B value chain report identifies 3 key areas of focus: 

  • Develop deeper insights into your customers’ needs – and work out how to deliver exceptional experiences to them without compromising on cost and responsiveness. 

  • Map your customers’ journey across the value chain and create an ecosystem to support customer interactions

  • Embrace a human-centric approach to digital, applying the right digital capabilities at the right times to deliver on the most important customer promises.

Finance and liquidity

Establishing what the post-pandemic recovery means for your cash flow

As business activity recovers – sometimes at an unpredictable pace – from the pandemic, companies will need to reassess what the upturn means for their revenues and cash flow. Those that are able to plan and manage cash and liquidity positions in a controlled and responsive way will be better placed to capitalise on opportunities as the recovery strengthens. 

How to address COVID-19’s accounting implications:

  • Revisit previously modelled scenarios and model new ones to assess the impacts on cash positions as the economy picks up, and adjust cash management accordingly to support the business.

  • Decide whether existing cash conservation and generation plans need to be revised to support an increase in business activity.  

  • Reassess any financial reporting considerations resulting from COVID-19, including tax reliefs and other local measures.

Tax, trade and regulatory

Taking the broader context into account

While the recovery from the pandemic is underway, the shockwaves it generated continue to reverberate globally – driving complexity, risk and uncertainty. For tax and legal functions, navigating this fast-changing environment requires more than an understanding of tax and regulatory systems. They must also consider the broader economic, political and societal context if they’re to make informed and compliant decisions that drive the business forwards.

How to navigate tax and legal measures in response to COVID-19: 

  • Maintain tight management of cash taxes, obtain available refunds where these still apply, and consider local government and tax authority measures still in place in response to COVID-19.

  • Review supply chains to ensure their stability during the post-pandemic recovery, while keeping a close eye on changes in the revenue and profitability mix in key markets.

  • Reassess the resources your business will need to meet ongoing indirect and direct tax compliance requirements.

  • Explore options to become more flexible in responding to opportunities and risks emerging in the recovery.

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Global and local insights


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Kristin  Rivera

Kristin Rivera

Global Forensics Leader, PwC United States

Melanie Butler

Melanie Butler

Partner, UK Territory Crisis Leader, PwC United Kingdom