Business resiliency at PwC

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03/04/20

US and Mexico

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) understands the importance and benefits of managing resilient and recoverable operations to service our clients. We have designed the most important aspects of how we deliver client service to be fault tolerant, minimizing any single points of failure. From how we use technology, operate engagement teams and utilize internal PwC services, our operations are highly resilient and secure. We recognize, however, even enhanced resiliency has its limitations. 

Accordingly, PwC has established a Business Continuity Management Program to prepare, respond, and recover from various types of operational threats. Through this three-pronged approach, PwC believes our planning activities and mitigation strategies reduce the level of interruption exposure and allow for efficient and proven recovery efforts. These capabilities were built using the same processes by which we improve our clients’ business continuity and IT disaster recovery capabilities. The PwC program has also been certified with ISO 22301:2012 and operates with executive sponsorship and a Business Continuity Management System.

COVID-19 (the coronavirus)

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 this coronavirus 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.
  • We’re actively consulting with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), city and state authorities, outside medical advisors and our Global Security team. We’re also monitoring US State Department and CDC guidance and updating our own travel restrictions and meeting policies accordingly.
  • We’ve launched a centralized task force and internal COVID-19 webpage for all updates and questions; we’ve 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.
  • Our external vendor supply chain (equipment, capacity, supplies, etc.) is resilient and we are verifying they have plans to deliver on their obligations. We are also verifying with our vendors they have capabilities and capacity to support continuous, and specialized, services.
  • We’re reminding our people of PwC benefits available to them (e.g., unlimited data plans, virtual healthcare visits, unrestricted sick time, backup child care, wellness apps).

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.

COVID-19 frequently asked questions

1. Do you have a plan to mitigate the potential impacts to PwC of a widespread outbreak of coronavirus in the US and Mexico?

Our US / Mexico Security 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 Organization. Collecting data to echo, interpret and translate the information for the firm 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 national level
  • Taking pre-emptive action to reduce pandemic exposure risk
  • Leveraging staff across the US to support impacted client service teams
  • Understanding the speed of the lifecycle of the infection, from contraction through treatment, to inform our response
  • Assessing the availability and success of treatments; providing advice and support to impacted employees
  • 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 mobility solutions to maintain quality.

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 organization and our robust technology infrastructure, our people have the capacity to work virtually for extended periods. This arrangement gives us flexibility to manage client responsibilities even during potential disruptive events that may threaten our operations.

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2. PwC provides my organization 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, and have been tested for resiliency.

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

As a globally distributed professional services firm 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.

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

Within the US/Mexico and overseas

  • 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.
  • With current travel restrictions in place, 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 or contact our Global Crisis Centre at GBL-Global-Crisis_Center@pwc.com

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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.

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5. What other precautions are you taking?

PwC offices are closed through at least May 31. We are continuing to evaluate, listening to local and federal governments and will update, as this situation is fluid.

We’ve updated our travel guidance and will continue to do so as the situation evolves.

  • The firm remains committed to taking measures to help protect our people from the virus. As of March 20, 2020, we have suspended all domestic and international travel. This position aligns with the State Department's travel guidance. Anyone returning home from an existing trip or global assignment, must self quarantine for 2 weeks upon return to the US or Mexico. We will plan to update when this position changes.
  • We’re encouraging the use of virtual options for collaboration and meetings. Our people are well versed and technology-enabled to work from any location, including any shelter-in-place location.

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