As the COVID-19 response evolves, organisations are experiencing significant operational, financial and liquidity challenges. In order to ensure these challenges can be addressed, the number one concern aired by our clients has been how they can manage their cash pressures to ride out the crisis.
COVID-19 impacted businesses may have unclear cash positions and cash forecasts, resulting in an inability to identify any net funding shortfalls.
Read more about your quick guide on the three key steps which should be considered by Management Teams as they seek to stabilise their cash position through this period.
Running their business in the midst of a pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for business leaders worldwide. The restrictions imposed by many governments all over the world in handling the COVID-19 outbreak raise significant challenges as regards corporate governance.
We have set out below a number of issues and risks our clients are currently facing in the day-to-day running of their businesses. Their extent and impact will naturally vary with the nature and size of a business, but the approach taken in respect of these issues could be crucial for the particular business to thrive or at least survive this new reality.
Third financial aid package and measures introduced in light of COVID-19
Further to the Government measures announced on Wednesday 18 March, this evening the Prime Minister announced additional measures to support businesses and safeguard jobs. These additional measures are estimated to amount to €70m per month.
All measures announced by the Government will apply retrospectively as from 9 March 2020. The amount of support being granted depends on the extent to which business in the respective sector has been hit. The main categories of business that are considered to have been more critically hit are set out below.
Furthermore, Malta Enterprise should be launching an online portal to help businesses to identify, according to their applicable NACE code and VAT registration number, the measures for which they qualify.
COVID-19 Workforce Challenges & Tips - How to support your employees through remote working
The impact of COVID-19 is causing businesses concern about their workforce. Every business and industry sector is being impacted differently. Some organisations are able to have at least some of their employees working remotely. In times like these, supporting your people to remain productive through remote working and resultantly helping alleviate some of their challenges is imperative. Using technology to its full potential to remain connected, working with children at home, concerns about their health and that of their loved ones, social disconnection and mental health are some of these challenges. We are amazingly adaptable, but we need to work together to help our employees work through these changes. Here are some tips on how you can support your people.
COVID-19 Webcast Series
We are pleased to announce the first two sessions of our live webcast series in response to COVID-19 Employment and other workforce considerations in the current business environment on Thursday 26 March at 4pm; and Tax measures and other incentives introduced by Government on Friday 27 March at 1pm.
Our experts shall be discussing some of the key issues and considerations relating to these topics as well as giving our audience the possibility of asking related questions. Please register by sharing name, surname and email address and sending these email@example.com to join one of these free webinars or both.
MFSA and FIAU COVID-19 related deadline extensions
Local regulatory authorities are also reacting to these challenging times for regulated entities. The MFSA will be making exceptions to some reporting deadlines due to be met by regulated entities across all sectors in March or April 2020. These include extensions for the submission of audited financial statements and regulatory reporting- in some cases extensions are to be applied for on a case by case basis while in others, a 2 months extension has been granted. On the AML/CFT front, the FIAU has extended 2020 Risk Evaluation Questionnaires deadline to 4 May 2020.
COVID-19: Tax payment deferral scheme application form
Further to the recently announced fiscal support measures intended to aid businesses that are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the online application form through which companies and self-employed persons can apply for the postponement of certain taxes due in March and April 2020 has now been issued. This, together with further information on the said measures, can be accessed below.
If you require any further guidance on the measures being introduced or assistance in applying for a deferral please contact one of our specialists.
Key considerations relating to teleworking
In the light of the spread of COVID-19 and the precautionary measures being adopted by various countries, employers are facing a pressing need to implement remote and flexible measures which are beneficial for both businesses and their employees. Malta Enterprise has announced measures to support employers and also self-employed individuals who invest in technology that empowers teleworking. Such measures partially cover the costs incurred between the 1 March to 30 March 2020 for teleworking solutions.
In addition to the measures announced earlier this week, this evening the Prime Minister, the Minister for Finance and Financial Services and the Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses announced a number of measures aimed at supporting the business community against the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measures announced have a value of around €1.8bn, which represents around 12.9% of Malta’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019.
The Maltese Government has announced a number of measures in a bid to encourage retention of employees and alleviate imminent cash flow and liquidity concerns that are expected to be faced by certain local businesses in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak. These initiatives are mainly targeted at those businesses that are suffering a significant downturn in their turnover as a result of the economic constraints arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result face substantial cash flow difficulties.
More measures may be announced in future as the need arises.
Further to our communication dated 12 March 2020, this is to advise that, as from Monday 16th March 2020, we have requested that our people work from home as far as possible. We are a 700 people office so this decision is aimed at reducing the possibility of contagion for our clients and our people, as health and well-being remain our priority.
Of course, this is going to require collaboration from the part of our clients, and regular communication with ourselves. Our offices will remain functional and operative. We remain contactable by phone or email, but important or confidential information and documentation should be shared in a secure environment through the use of password protected applications or through the use of authorised software such as Connect, where applicable.
We have also been informed that anyone coming to Malta from anywhere in the world is required to spend 14 days in mandatory quarantine. This is an important development for our international clients, and we will be communicating with those who had been planning any visits accordingly.
With the onset of COVID-19 locally, and the preventive measures being taken in response to it, we anticipate organisations will face increased challenges and difficulties.
In spite of these challenges, at PwC, we strive to and will continue to deliver unparalleled quality services to our clients. We have designed our operations and services to be agile, client-oriented and quality-focused even in the face of severe restrictions similar to the ones we are currently facing. We will continue to work closely with our clients, in a way that protects our people and minimises the level of potential service interruption.
With this in mind, we will need to work very closely with our clients to, as far as possible, work remotely. We will endeavour to deliver our services to the best of our ability and to assist in meeting the required deadlines. We will of course require our clients' full support and collaboration.
Operationally, the most important aspects of how we deliver client service are designed to be adequately resilient in the face of challenge. From how we use technology, how we operate engagement teams, and how we utilise internal PwC services, our service and operations remain highly resilient and secure.
The PwC network held a series of webcasts on COVID-19 and its impact on businesses. The last webcast happened on Thursday 19th March @ 2pm (GMT+1), where experts discussed the key issues we are all working through and the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on business continuity.
Given the spread of COVID-19 and its declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a pandemic, we have taken actions to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of our people, clients, guests, suppliers and contractors.
In line with our network’s security policy we have asked our people to refrain from going on non-essential travel to China (including Hong Kong), Singapore, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland. For people who came back from travels in these areas we have implemented a strict 14-day quarantine policy.
We are closely following the recommendations of the local and international health authorities and we're communicating on a regular basis with our teams and clients.
Concretely, we have put in place the following steps:
Activation of our Business Continuity Plan (BCP).
Establishing a dedicated team to monitor the situation daily and to provide our people with the necessary guidance.
Discouraging, for the time being, unnecessary travel.
Identified people who, due to the fluidity of the international situation and due to restrictions announced by local health authorities at short notice, may have travelled to high risk zones, and therefore need to be advised to go in self-quarantine for a 14-day period upon arrival. Guidance and ongoing support was provided throughout their self-quarantine period.
Communicating regularly and providing the necessary support for our people who during this period are working in other PwC offices abroad.
Sending regular communications to our people and clients to update them on the situation, on our policies and on practical tips of how to stay healthy during these challenging times.
Reaching out to people with pre-existing medical conditions and giving them full flexibility in terms of methods of working.
At PwC's Academy, we keep the learning and upskilling experience of our clients and students front of mind. In the light of the current situation, our methodologies are being transformed into virtual learning journeys. These journeys enable direct contact with our instructors and lecturers whilst safeguarding the well-being of clients, students, tutors as well as that of our own people.
In today's challenging environment, the mindset of our team at The Hub is to help you turn this challenge into an opportunity. Our Academy team will therefore continue to operate by:
Territory Senior Partner, PwC Malta
Tel: +356 2564 6892
Head of Advisory, PwC Malta
Tel: +356 2564 7090
Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, PwC Malta
Tel: +356 2564 6734