PwC India's guide to business continuity during and after Covid-19

16 April 2020 3 min. read
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PwC has released a guide for businesses to navigate the short term management challengesfaced by the Covid-19 crisis. Recommendations include considerations for the workforce, business continuity, supply chain and financial liquidity, as well as the establishment of a steering committee to lead the crisis response.

These are the four areas where businesses need to restrict their focus in their response strategies, according to the Big Four accounting and advisory firm. PwC recently conducted a crisis response survey across India’s business environment, aimed at gauging the level of preparedness for Covid-19 challenges.

Most businesses appear to have a crisis response system in place, particularly those that have experienced a corporate crisis in recent years. PwC suggests that these now be activated, with a focus on the four operational areas mentioned above.

When it comes to the workforce, safety comes first, which is presumably why most businesses in India have implemented ‘work from home’ conditions and are urging their employees to stay safe. Another consideration with the workforce is to establish clear channels of accurate communication, primarily to avoid misinformation and unnecessary panic.

PwC India's guide to business continuity during and after Covid-19

Business continuity plans are the next step. Once safety is secured for the workforce, businesses must devise ways for them to continue to perform their functions remotely, mainly through digital platforms such as Zoom, Skype and a number of others that have gained substantial popularity in recent months.

PwC warns that evaluating the longevity and security of these new arrangements is a crucial aspect of business continuity management. The third factor to be considered seriously is supply chain disruption, something that a number of organisations are currently grappling with. The firm recommends a complete risk assessment of the supply chain, including vendors and third-party suppliers.

The fourth pillar for the crisis response is financial liquidity. PwC says cash flow should be a priority at this time, and businesses should “evaluate and forecast cash flow models and perform simulations and scenario analysis.”

To implement and coordinate these various response strategies, PwC recommends the establishment of a “cross-functional steering committee, led by a C-suite member.” The committee should consist of senior members of most organisational departments, including human resources, tech, operations, risk, communications, finance, health & safety, procurement, sales and a number of others.

Once this committee has developed a clear operational structure and clear communication strategies, it will be able to respond quickly to any changes in the situation, something that is crucial under current circumstances. The firm recommends that the committee agree on worst-case scenarios, strategise stakeholder communications, and keep all functionality within the purview of organisational principles.