Business resiliency at PwC

Our most valuable asset is our people. Therefore, a core component of our business continuity efforts is around pandemic planning. We believe pandemic planning and response efforts are a continuous cycle of information sharing and teaming with experts to help prevent, contain and recover from life threatening infectious diseases and viruses impacting our people and our clients.

While COVID-19 presents new challenges, PwC’s approach to managing external risks remains the same — including our commitment to the safety of our people and having an open dialogue with internal and external stakeholders. Our Business Continuity Program is executing our pandemic plan with our leadership team. Here are the key actions we’ve taken:

  • We’re monitoring the spread of the virus on a daily basis and mapping emerging clusters of cases against our assets to take actions to protect the firm.
  • Our network is actively consulting with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), outside medical advisors and our Global Security team.
  • We’re also monitoring local guidance and updating our own travel restrictions and meeting policies accordingly. 
  • We’ve launched a centralised task force and reviewed various scenarios with our crisis teams and stakeholders in preparation for possible PwC cases and other types of impacts.
  • We're reinforcing how our people can get support (e.g., Emergency Hotline, Global Security team, local office leaders) for questions, guidance or to report potential exposure.
  • We’ve updated our travel guidance and will continue to do so as the situation evolves.
  • We’re committed to providing clean, safe spaces to work and collaborate in our offices.  We are also verifying with our suppliers they have plans to support continuous services.

Given the current levels of concern about the COVID-19 pandemic, we have prepared the below Q&A to help answer any questions you may have around our actions and our ability to continue with the provision of services.

1. Do you have a plan to mitigate the potential impacts to PwC of a widespread outbreak of COVID-19?

Our team has identified four phases to manage the cycle of a potential pandemic threat and the importance of managing timely information. They include:

  • Monitoring: Reviewing and monitoring global activities as they relate to the spread of infectious diseases and viruses.

  • Detection: Identifying the location and spread of medical cases with consideration given to the pandemic phases defined by the World Health Organisation. Collecting data to allow for effective decision-making and preventive measures.

  • Response & Containment: Responding to data, assessing the impact and implementing responsive measures.

  • Recovery: Applying business continuity plans to restore normal operations, e.g., staffing levels.

Two of the key aspects of PwC’s pandemic plan are maintaining active staffing levels throughout the pandemic’s duration and working to reduce exposure to the virus. This approach includes the following factors:

  • Identifying staffing needs for the next three-, six-, and twelve-month periods, both by business unit and at a firm level

  • Taking pre-emptive action to reduce pandemic exposure risk

  • Leveraging staff across the Caribbean region to support impacted client service teams

  • Understanding the speed of the lifecycle of the infection, from contraction through treatment, to inform our response

  • Understanding the rate of increase of pandemic cases in geographic locations

  • Working closely with Human Capital leaders to make informed predictions in a timely manner that will lead to effective short- and long-term staffing decisions and solutions

Serving our clients and doing everything possible to protect the health and well-being of our people are our priorities. Given our mobility as an organisation and our robust technology infrastructure, our people have the capacity to work virtually for an extended period of time. This arrangement gives us flexibility to manage client responsibilities even during potential disruptive events that may threaten our operations.

2. PwC provides my organisation with services from multiple countries. How could this impact my service level?

PwC is a network of member firms across the globe. As part of PwC’s global business model, a Global Relationship Partner is responsible for all aspects of our relationship with each global client (including business continuity and incident response).

We have a network standard for business continuity and incident response (including pandemic response plans), against which each member firm is assessed annually. 

Governance and oversight are provided at network level by our Network Incident Response Team.   

As a globally distributed business with substantial depth of available specialist resources in the various regions in which we operate, we have the capacity to redeploy people as circumstances require.

3. What will PwC do to promote continuity of my services in the event of major disruptions to travel?

Everyday flexibility is part of the way we work at PwC, which means that our people are able and equipped to work remotely, including from home, at another PwC office or elsewhere.

If it were to become impractical or undesirable to travel to meet face-to-face, your PwC engagement leader will work with you to agree on suitable alternative ways of working (e.g. via video conferencing). 

If you have particular concerns, please talk to your PwC engagement leader. 

4. What are you doing at PwC to protect the continuity of your supply chain?

We’re in touch with our suppliers and service partners who have contractual obligations to have appropriate plans and arrangements in place to ensure the continuity of the supply of goods and services to PwC. 

We maintain an appropriate inventory of core technology and other products essential to running our operations.

5. What other precautions are you taking?

We’ve updated our travel guidance and will continue to do so as the situation evolves.  At this time, we have issued business travel restrictions to staff and stated that all non-essential business travel be deferred until further notice.

We’re encouraging the use of virtual options for collaboration and meetings.

Anyone returning from an area on our restricted travel list is required to self-quarantine at home for their first two weeks back before going to the office or a client site. Please reach out to your PwC engagement leader for a current list of restricted travel areas.

Further or additional territory specific responses may be determined to be appropriate, check with your local PwC contact for further information.

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