CBR
search
Economy

An aerial view of Nassau, Bahamas

Caribbean businesses leaders worried about second COVID-19 wave

An aerial view of Nassau, Bahamas

A new survey conducted by the audit, tax and advisory firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has found that the greatest concern for Caribbean businesses is a new wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Borders across the region have been closed to contain the spread of the virus.

The sixth COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey, which was conducted between June 1-11, involved 989 chief financial officers (CFO) in 23 countries including over 40 CFOs in the Caribbean.

The majority of CFOs surveyed in the Caribbean expect COVID-19 to decrease revenue/profits by 10 per cent with 11 per cent stating while they expect a decrease the range is unknown and two per cent saying the impact is too difficult to assess at this point.

Most Caribbean CFOs (70 per cent as compared to 63 per cent globally) cite offering new or enhanced products or services as most important to rebuilding or enhancing their revenue streams. None are considering making cuts to digital transformation or cybersecurity.

“Equally important is the need to ensure that robust human capital engagement remains aligned as the driving force to achieve desired corporate goals.”

– PwC Bahamas advisory partner, Kevin Cambridge

“As Bahamians begin to return to the workplace, organisations need to consider how they will support employees to adapt to new working conditions and realities, which may range from adjusting to reconfigured office layouts to the adoption of new behaviours designed to promote safety,” said Prince Rahming, PwC Bahamas territory leader.

“Only about a third of Caribbean region CFOs say they are very confident about their company’s ability to manage their employees’ well-being and morale, yet these are factors that may significantly affect productivity and possibly the pace of future economic recovery,” he added.

PwC Bahamas advisory partner, Kevin Cambridge, said “given the current economic landscape, organisations are seeing the need now more than ever to implement an effective digital strategy to leverage the benefits of technology.

The tourism-dependent region has suffered as visitor arrivals plummeted due to the closed borders and decreased demand.

“Equally important is the need to ensure that robust human capital engagement remains aligned as the driving force to achieve desired corporate goals.”

According to the survey, 77 per cent of Caribbean CFOs say they are implementing cost containment, while 50 are considering deferring or cancelling planned investments as a result of COVID-19. But none said they were considering cuts to digital transformation, cybersecurity and research and development

However, 32 per cent say in the next month they expect a productivity loss due to lack of remote work capabilities, while 34 per cent say in the next month they expect a change in staffing due to low/slow demand .

Most are very confident that on return to the workplace, they can meet customers’ safety expectations, while 82 per cent are very confident they can provide clear response and shut-down protocols if COVID-19 cases in their area rose significantly or if there was a second wave of infections.

A significant number of Caribbean CFOs (77 per cent) say the current work flexibility will make the company better in the long run while 59 per cent say the current situation has resulted in better resiliency and agility which will make the company better in the long run.