The impact of COVID-19 on Canadian businesses continues to evolve daily, with no real timeline of when the curve will flatten and recovery will start to set in. What remains consistent is the need for organizations to respond quickly and safely to the needs of all stakeholders — from their people to customers and investors.
Canadian companies need to look beyond the immediate pain points and consider what challenges may become more acute in the coming months, including reduced demand for exports, supply chain disruptions, adverse domestic spending and financial liquidity constraints.
As Canadian businesses respond to the current environment, and position themselves for future recovery, there are a number of common considerations to address.
Board of directors: While management focuses on company operations, financial condition and stakeholders, boards will probably need to enhance oversight across short- and long-term horizons.
Cybersecurity: Increased phishing and targeted spear-phishing campaigns from opportunistic attackers mean companies can’t lose focus on cybersecurity efforts.
Liquidity management: Declining sales and potential future losses are pushing the need for companies to continually reassess cash forecasts and review liquidity and credit management.
Mergers and acquisitions: Companies with strong balance sheets and higher risk tolerance should assess proactive opportunities to buy assets at discounted values.
Pandemic planning: Companies with international suppliers and customers need to develop alternate sourcing and manufacturing plans in different regions to mitigate the risk from adverse conditions.
People impact assessment: With travel and social restrictions and new regulations changing every day, businesses need to complete people impact assessments to keep their people and customers safe, connected and motivated — both today and as workforces return to physical workspaces and in-person customer interactions.
Regulatory obligations: Organizations will need to determine their regulatory obligations with respect to disclosure of material negative impacts to their business, and actively address how they’ll communicate with key stakeholders.
Reshaping results: Companies must be predictive and proactive in their decision-making to preserve business continuity, build enterprise resilience and reshape business projections as well as plans for recovery.
Supply chain resiliency: Address staffing and labour challenges following temporary shutdowns by finding balance between current state efforts and long-term foundation for resilience in preparation for future disruptive instances.
Tax: Understand the federal and provincial tax and economic support measures that have been put in place, the impact on your business and how to access them.
For more insight on the impact COVID-19 is having on the business landscape and how companies can navigate through these unprecedented times, visit: www.ey.com/en_ca/covid-19.