Corporate finance chiefs are concerned about a second wave of infections from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), consulting firm PwC said.
PwC this week released the results of its sixth, and final, survey of chief financial officers concerning COVID-19. PwC has been conducting the surveys since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S.
In the new survey, 59 percent of respondents said a second COVID-19 wave was their biggest concern. Of those surveyed, 54 percent also cited the impact of a global economic downturn as a concern.
PwC surveyed 330 finance chiefs from June 8 through June 11. States have lifted stay-at-home orders in varying degrees. Such orders originally were issued to slow the spread of COVID-19. Some states have seen an increase in coronavirus cases as economies were reopened.
“The findings indicate that the virus continues to set the pace for growth plans and risk
outlooks,” PwC said in a report.
At the same time, PwC said financial executives are taking COVID-19 more in stride than earlier in the year.
“Businesses have moved on from the initial crisis management response,” Amity Millhiser, PwC U.S. vice chair, said on a June 15 conference call.
The CFOs surveyed indicated “significant confidence in companies’ return-to-the-workplace strategy,” she said.
In the new survey, 80 percent of respondents said they are very confident they can meet the safety expectations of customers. Also, 71 percent said they are very confident they can provide a safe workplace environment. That was up 7 percentage points from the previous survey in May.
Among manufacturing CFOs, 30 percent said they expect layoffs in the next month, down from 43 percent in the May survey. Also, 65 percent of manufacturing financial executives said they are planning to cancel or defer investments, down from 73 percent in May.
Manufacturing “still remains entrenched in cost-cutting mode, with 87 percent of respondents considering cost-containment measures as a result of COVID-19,” according to the PwC report.