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Finance Chiefs Expect More Safety Measures Because of COVID-19: PwC

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Chief financial officers expect to take more workplace safety steps because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as companies return to work, consulting firm PwC said today.

In a survey, 77 percent of finance chiefs said their companies will alter workplace safety measures and requirements while 65 percent said work sites will be reconfigured to promote social distancing.

Also, 52 percent anticipate changing shifts or alternating work crews to minimize exposure to the coronavirus.

“Returning employees and customers are going to experience a work environment that will differ in marked ways as a result,” PwC said in a report about the survey results.

The consulting company is conducting surveys of CFOs every two weeks concerning COVID-19. The most recent survey occurred April 20-22. There were 305 respondents, with 23 percent of them from industrial companies.

States instituted stay at home orders to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Industries including aerospace and automotive have either started or are looking to restart operations while adjusting production because of the coronavirus. Manufacturers also have stepped up output of medical products used in treating COVID-19 patients.

“The actions CFOs are taking show how U.S. businesses continue to adjust to very difficult current conditions with an eye toward an evolving post-COVID world,” PwC said.

As they prepare restart operations, manufacturers “are doing a deep dive into the readiness” of their supply chains, Amity Millhiser, PwC chief clients officer, said on a conference call to discuss the survey.

A majority, of respondents, 80 percent, expect a decline of revenue and profit this year stemming from the way COVID-19 has hit the economy, according to PwC. Among CFOs of industrial companies, 27 percent said the decline would be 25 percent or greater and 38 percent said it would be between 10 percent and 24.9 percent.

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