Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to react as an Organisation

COVID-19 is causing significant social and economic impact on organisations. This page provides information to help you prepare your organisation and respond to the coronavirus-crisis.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization, causing huge impact on people's lives, families and organisations.

As the national response continues to develop, we know that organisations are facing several risks to which they need to respond rapidly. We are working closely with firms and other organisations in Switzerland and internationally to help them prepare and respond to the different scenarios emerging from the coronavirus-crisis.

Here you will find a checklist with key considerations, information on loans and financial risk management, plus more information that can help your organisation deal with this crisis.

 

PwC's COVID-19 webinars

Get an overview of COVID-19 related issues and answers to questions we’ve been frequently asked.

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Asset and Wealth Management video and podcast series

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Key concerns that are emerging include:

 

Crisis management

From our experience, a strongly developed crisis response capability is required to ensure the efficient management of incidents in order to minimise associated negative impacts, meet government priorities around maintenance and confidence, and to ensure the continued delivery of critical national infrastructure. Many organisations have these plans in place for the workplace and supply chain but COVID-19 has already unveiled flaws in some. Given the unknown variables surrounding the outbreak, it is important to review crisis and business continuity plans, develop different scenarios and put them to the test. 

Contingency planning

With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, businesses face increased levels of uncertainty. Mitigation strategies such as social distancing can affect a business’s value chain on different levels.
In order to ensure the continuity of a business, a clear view on risks, weaknesses and causal relationships needs to be understood. So, we recommend establishing contingency plans to evaluate the impact of different scenarios on liquidity, and other financial and operational metrics
To develop a contingency plan suitable for your business and situation, our experts recommend the following:

  • update your financial position and resource planning analysis to assume staff sickness
  • assess situation of key suppliers and customers
  • assess supply chain stability and alternatives
  • consider the position of other key stakeholders (e.g. shareholders, banks, regulatory authorities etc.)
  • assess and prepare short-time work schemes
  • ensure system continuity, in particular Treasury and ERP-Systems
  • develop “what-if”-scenarios and action plans
  • assess insolvency law-related matters

 

Read about PwC’s Dispute Advisory Services

Reto Brunner

Partner, Advisory, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 14 19

Email

Benjamin Rutz

Director Business Restructuring Services, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 2160

Email

Managing risks for organisations affected by COVID-19

With more risks arising such as cyber-attacks, cashflow challenges, concerns with resilience of primary service providers, project delays or struggles with maintaining levels of services and supply it is key to organise your business well and take the right actions.

  • How you can minimise risks during the COVID-19 crisis?
  • How can you protect your IT infrastructure during COVID-19?
  • What do you need to consider for your project portfolio prioritisation?
  • How do you monitor third party compliance?
  • Are you reliant on service providers for critical services – for example technology platforms, external providers for surveillance activities?

 

Learn more

 

Andreas Eschbach

Partner & Leader Smart Contract Assurance, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 27 84

Email

Alexandra Burns

Director, Risk, Compliance, Internal Audit, Zürich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 46 28

Email

Cybersecurity

At this point, many companies have let their employees work remotely from home and have had to either set up or step up their IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, these current circumstances provide a window of opportunity for criminals and threat actors to take advantage of.
With new challenges absorbing IT resources, and criminal organisations and other attackers exploiting the vulnerabilities of every available channel, certain questions need to be urgently answered:

  • how can we keep our systems up-to-speed and optimally protected with so many people working from home?
  • given our current setup, how well-equipped are we to face this crisis?
  • would we be able to maintain systems and services in the face of a large-scale attack?
  • do we have a plan? If so, will it work under the current setup? 

Learn more

 

Urs Küderli

Partner Cybersecurity and Privacy, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 42 21

Email

Yan Borboën

Partner Cybersecurity and Privacy, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 84 59

Email

Tax accounting and reporting function

Handling challenges related to Covid-19 to assess and process tax and income tax accounting impacts for financial reporting.

  • How can we keep track of the new “emergency” rules enacted at short notice around the globe?
  • What is the impact of Covid-19 on our critical KPIs for income taxes and what is the best practice to be disclosed?
  • How can technology be used to support analytics and build adaptive models given the rapid influx of new crisis-related data being published?
  • Do we have the right digital infrastructure to provide safe and secure support to our organisation’s tax accounting processes while working remotely?

 

Learn more:

Responding on tax accounting and reporting challenges during COVID-19

Navigate Tax, Legal and Economic Measures in response to COVID-19

 

Reto Inauen

Director Tax Accounting & International Tax Services, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 4216

Email

Charalambos Antoniou

Director, Tax Function Design Leader, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 47 16

Email

Intellectual Property (IP) Department

The current challenges facing the Intellectual Property (IP) department are:

  • business continuity difficulties in terms of pending procedures before the Swiss, regional and international IP authorities;
  • IP rights maintenance formalities to be completed, as well as unpredicted delays and uncertainty surrounding court hearings;
  • high business risk exposure due to possible delays in securing IP rights protection.

PwC's Legal IP team is here to help you navigate through these unprecedented times and protect you from high business risk exposures in terms of your IP rights protection by;

  • regularly monitoring the Swiss, regional and international trademark offices;
  • maintaining ongoing dialogue with our agents in each territory and requesting deadline extensions and extraordinary filings where necessary; and
  • providing analyses of potential risks and proposing alternative ways to protect IP rights and thus ensure business continuity.

Natascha Tsalas

Legal | Senior Manager | Head of Intellectual Property, Geneva, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 9832

Email


Finance and liquidity

Next to health and safety issues, liquidity is of great importance to any company. It’s at the core of any company-system and what keeps the company running. Make sure you consider the following three crucial steps, to preserve liquidity and safeguard business continuity:

1. Immediately discern your current financial position
2. Take action to protect this position and consider all means of help and funding
3. Manage internal and external stakeholders accordingly

Treasury and financial risk management

For certain companies funding is becoming very tight, and there is a shortage of cash. Foreign exchange rates and commodity prices are very volatile, and credit risk is increasing, both for clients and possibly banks.

  • Cash flow forecasting: Rapid deployment of a cash flow forecasting process (using data analytics)
  • Board reporting: Implementation of continuous, either daily or weekly, reporting to the board on the status of cash, funding and exposures
  • Financial risk management: Revisit the FX and commodity hedging strategy (including financial reporting / hedge accounting) and your credit risk measurement and strategy

Michiel Mannaerts

Partner Treasury and Commodity Management, Geneva, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 92 10

Email

Sebastian di Paola

Partner and Leader Corporate Treasury Solutions, Geneva, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 96 03

Email

Financial situation assessment, business continuity

With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, businesses face increased levels of uncertainty. Mitigation strategies such as social distancing can affect a business’s value chain on many levels.
In order to avoid liquidity-shortages and covenant-breaches, the implications of COVID-19 on your business’s financials need to be understood. So we recommend assessing the short- and medium-term financial implications of COVID-19.
To assess your financial situation and ensure business continuity, our experts recommend the following:

  • create a 13-week short-term cash-flow forecast
  • update business plans, budgets and forecasts
  • perform sensitivity analysis and model different scenarios (best-, base-, and worst-case)
  • take immediate measures to protect liquidity by:

1. Unlocking trapped cash
2. Improving working capital
3. Drawing credit-lines
4. Applying for government loans
5. Identifying possibilities of coverage and compensation (insurance)

  • consider the position of key stakeholders and establish communications early

Reto Brunner

Partner, Advisory, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 14 19

Email

Benjamin Rutz

Director Business Restructuring Services, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 2160

Email

Integral financial planning with dynamic forecasting of liquidity and equity

In a crisis, liquidity and equity must be monitored on an ongoing basis and with precision. The financial impact of any possible measures must also be validated using scenarios.

  • Is it going to remain solvent over the next few months?
  • Will additional financing be required? In what amount, and when?
  • Is there a risk of becoming overindebted? If yes, when?
  • What happens from a financial perspective in different scenarios?
  • When will it realistically be able to pay back any additional financing?

 

Massnahmen und finanzielle Führung als Schlüssel in der COVID-19-Krise (German only)

Roland Schegg

Director, Leiter Consulting Familienunternehmen, KMU & Public, St. Gallen | Chur | Vaduz, PwC Switzerland

+41 79 215 29 31

Email

Dr. Martin Engeler

Manager, Consulting Familienunternehmen, KMU & Public, St. Gallen | Chur | Winterthur | Vaduz, PwC Switzerland

+41 78 819 82 99

Email

Indirect tax

The COVID-19 situation makes it difficult to manage all indirect tax obligations and risks, but at the same time, if managed correctly, substantial amounts of cash can be freed up.

  • Implementation of COVID-19 measures related to indirect tax announced in various territories

Various short-term indirect tax measures have been taken by governments to support business. These measures mostly comprise of extending VAT filing and payment deadlines, waivers of sanctions and accelerated VAT refunds. We can support you in navigating through these measures and implementing them, providing you with liquidity.

  • Use of VAT cash-flow solutions

VAT measures can also be taken to protect and improve your cash position in these unprecedented times. The solutions we can help you implement may have a short, medium or long implementation period. They can include renegotiating commercial policies/payment terms, managing bad debtors, timing VAT return submissions, reclaiming VAT on employee expenses, optimising import procedures, etc.

  • Managing the VAT impact across the supply chain

The changing demand for certain products has resulted in an increasing need for storage. As storage in many terminals may be reaching its limits, supply chains must be adapted to meet operational needs (e.g. new locations for storage, diversion of cargo destinations). We can support you in making sure the VAT consequences of the adapted supply chains are taken care of and no risks and unnecessary costs are created, or even improving overall cash flow. 

Michaela Merz

Partner Tax & Legal Services , Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 44 29

Email

Emergency cash tax points for Swiss companies and groups

Protect your global cash tax position and support the overall liquidity management of your group or company.

  • How the tax function contributes to the increase in your company’s liquidity in these unprecedented times?
  • Minimise cash tax expenses
  • Maximise tax refunds
  • Delay of cash tax payments
  • Accelerate tax refunds

 

Learn more:

Emergency cash tax points for Swiss companies and groups flyer (English only)

Navigate Tax, Legal and Economic Measures in response to COVID-19

Armin Marti

Partner and Leader Tax Policy, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 43 43

Email

Michaela Merz

Partner Tax & Legal Services , Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 44 29

Email

Charalambos Antoniou

Director, Tax Function Design Leader, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 47 16

Email

COVID-19 Regulatory Radar

In response to COVID-19, financial market regulators around the globe have taken comprehensive measures to adapt the regulatory framework to ensure that financial markets can continue to function. Our COVID-19 Regulatory Radar helps you navigate the complexities of policy responses and keep up with the rapidly changing regulatory landscape.

  • What temporary measures have been introduced by financial market regulators?
  • How do regulatory changes affect me and my firm?
  • How can I keep up with all the regulatory changes while focusing on successfully navigating through the crisis?
  • What is the regulatory impact of COVID-19 on financial markets worldwide?
  • How are regulators reacting globally? (our Regulatory Radar shows the regulatory response in a range of countries)

The answer to these questions: our COVID-19 Regulatory Radar closely monitors regulatory changes in the financial markets on a global scale and summarises the key aspects and impact.

Dr. Antonios Koumbarakis

Head Strategic Regulatory & Sustainability Services, Legal, Zürich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 45 23

Email

Dr. Günther Dobrauz

Partner and Leader Legal, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 14 97

Email


Workforce

Managing disruption to people and productivity from the Coronavirus.

The impact of COVID-19, as well as current and preventative measures taken against it are a major workforce concern of businesses around the world today. Many organisations are facing different challenges, including:

  • the wellbeing and welfare of the workforce, and as well ensuring productivity and execution;
  • maintaining employment in the face of declining demand or redeploying the workforce as the operating models adapt to changing consumer preferences and demand;
  • attuning HR policies for a fluid and developing situation e.g. quarantine periods, return to work after illness, sick pay, employment law, repatriation to name a few

Please find more information and your direct contact person, for each specific topic, via the section buttons below.

Legal advice on employment

COVID-19 significantly affects the established employment processes and routines. It’s a major challenge to quickly adapt to this extraordinary situation to the best benefit of the company and its workforce, all in compliance with the Swiss employment law framework.

How do I keep my workforce and still be able to reduce salary costs despite less workload?
Short-time work compensation: We can guide you through the entire procedure of submitting a request for short-time work, and all related legal matters.
We can support you in all employment-related issues, including:

  • Working time management: overtime, compensation, holidays etc.
  • Working location: Home-office, working remotely etc.
  • Special advice in relation to the Swiss Federal Council’s COVID-19 ordinances, particularly for employees at high risk or changed modalities of providing the work (social distancing).

Ivana Vidakovic

Co-Head of Employment Law, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 4764

Email

Stephen Ammann

Co-Head of Employment Law, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 2904

Email

Critical roles contingency planning

Many organisations do not have contingency plans in place if key roles become vacant. Potential replacement(s) have not been identified or may not have the skills, experience or training that is required for the role.
Many organisations don’t have contingency plans in place in case key roles become vacant. Potential replacement(s) have not been identified or may lack the required skills, experience or training for the role.

  • Do you know what are the critical roles in your organisation and who currently occupies them?
  • What are the key skills and competencies required for such roles?
  • Have you identified potential replacements for your critical roles?
  • Do the potential replacements have all the necessary skills and experience?
  • What immediate training and coaching will you provide to these potential replacements?

Lisa Daniells

Director, People & Organisation, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 25 792 26 85

Email

Jose Marques

Partner, People and Organisation, Geneva, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 96 34

Email

Leading virtual teams and managing remote working

Some organisations do not have the policies, processes and tools to drive and support a productive, motivated and healthy remote workforce. Working from home and leading virtual teams is not just about having the right technology in place, it requires a certain mindset, behaviours and training.

  • Is my policy for remote working fit for purpose and legally compliant?
  • How do I make sure my leaders are able to lead their teams in the new remote-working setting?
  • Is my workforce equipped with the right tools and training to work productively from home?
  • How can I support my workforce remain in good mental and physical health while working from home?

Lisa Daniells

Director, People & Organisation, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 25 792 26 85

Email

Jose Marques

Partner, People and Organisation, Geneva, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 96 34

Email

Workforce cost management

Companies need to proactively review their workforce costs (e.g. overtime, annual leave, short time, salary reduction).
In the mid-term, they may need to carry out more significant workforce cost reductions: downsizing, targeted workforce reduction or generic workforce cost reduction.

  • How can I reduce my workforce costs without losing key talent and affecting productivity?
  • Which measures would be most effective and aligned to the culture of my company?
  • How do I manage the communication with my workforce as I implement potentially unfavourable measures?
  • What are the more transformational changes to my workforce that I should consider?
  • How can I balance the short-term with the longer-term needs of the business?

Lisa Daniells

Director, People & Organisation, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 25 792 26 85

Email

Jose Marques

Partner, People and Organisation, Geneva, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 96 34

Email

Workforce communication

Communication is crucial during the COVID-19 crisis. It is absolutely vital that you communicate with your employees promptly and in an appropriate manner. With Beekeeper’s app, you are always in contact with all your employees, even those on the front line and without a fixed workplace.
Thanks to the Beekeepers app, you are able to manage the crisis period better and more securely thanks to:

  • a simple and easy-to-use two-way communication channel with employees and staff
  • efficient communication of current safety regulations, work instructions and new duty rosters in compliance with data protection regulations
  • live feeds and campaigns relating to hygiene measures and standard guidelines
  • information and instructions aimed at specific target groups
  • quick integration of additional staff
  • flexible digital coordination of requirements and resources
  • improved employee protection against contagion
  • interactive chat rooms for questions and concerns about the coronavirus.

Philip Sommer

Partner, Leiter Beratung Gesundheitswesen, Bern, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 75 28

Email

David Roman

Director, Digital Health Leader, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 77 90

Email

Global Mobility

For employees involved in cross-border activities – whether business travel, secondment, cross-border commuters, local transfers, or regular activities in multiple states – it is necessary to clarify whether the measures taken by their employers and regulatory authorities in response to COVID-19 may put the company as well as its employees unintentionally at risk in terms of their social security, immigration, and/or tax positions.

  • Mitigating cross-border travel risks and immigration requirements for employees travelling/commuting to and from Switzerland
  • Identifying where employees are or have been, in order to manage unforeseen compliance risks and provide satisfactory duty-of-care
  • Making sure that employees that are currently not able to travel back to their usual work locations, or are working from home abroad, do not possibly trigger unexpected additional social security and individual income tax costs as well as foreign employer and other compliance obligations
  • Clarifying actions/duties if employees’ secondments are interrupted, delayed or cancelled

Hans Geene

Partner, People and Organisation, Zurich and Geneva, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 91 24

Email

June Bood

Director, People and Organisation, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 17 49

Email

Flexible Legal Resources (FLR)

The global pandemic is creating an unprecedented recession, causing both business and budget uncertainty. Distance from their offices and teams has hampered the capacity and effectiveness of in-house staff unaccustomed to remote work. With supplemental legal talent on a full- or part-time basis we can flexibly expand our clients’ Legal & Compliance teams or transfer clients’ headcounts to our talent platform.

  • A large diverse pool of top Legal & Compliance talent which we can second to you to fill in resourcing gaps, working on-site or remotely, under your supervision and guidance, integrated in your team (“extended workbench”) as long as you need without creating additional headcount.
  • A managed legal service solution to conduct contract and policy reviews and assess risks (e.g. force majeure) and define/implement solutions to address these risks.
  • A commercially viable way to support your business with specialists from our Flexible Legal Resources at attractive daily rates, in the event of headcount freezes in the legal department.

Marc Morant

Head PwC’s Flexible Legal Resources, Zurich

+41 58 792 18 53

Email

Payroll advisory services

The authorities were quick to put in place various provisions in light of the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are happy to help you implement issues relating to employment law.
Payroll is our area of expertise, covering wage types and calculations like time recording as well as the creation and filing of salary statements. This includes all aspects of short-time work compensation, the types of compensation for loss of earnings and other effects in payroll accounting.

  • What about high salaries? How can short-time work compensation be applied here?
  • How are monthly salaries correctly accounted for? Is there any compensation for work performed during annual leave or on public holidays?
  • What is the impact of absences and compensation on the continued payment of salaries and on expenses?
  • How can evaluations be (partially) automated for the authorities?
  • How is everything presented on salary statements? Is there anything to note in particular?

Brigitte Zulauf

Leader Treuhand/Corporate Support Services Switzerland, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 47 50

Email

Raymond Simmen

Leader Payroll & Employment Solutions Switzerland, Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 42 33

Email


Operations and Supply Chain

Where clients are reliant on supply chains in affected areas, rapidly depleting stock levels are becoming a significant risk and clients are working through strategies for alternative sourcing. In certain cases, clients are showing signs of distress and stakeholders (e.g. lenders) are concerned about the future viability of the business. We are discussing different potential scenarios and what these mean for their operations, for example, as cases of viral transmission emerge in different territories.

Supply chain continuity

“Navigating Your Business Through Turbulent Times” - a practical guide to continue supply chain and operations in the face of the COVID-19 crisis

Consumer buying behaviour, driven by media news and governmental conditions, is very hard to predict. Many clients face significant changes in market demand.
Supply interruptions due to factories with workforce- and/or supply-shortages, supplier bankruptcies, delayed processing at borders drive unreliable supply chains. Additionally, clients face workforce capacity challenges and the need to quickly adopt new ways of working.
The externally-driven challenges require immediate action in adjusting the demand/supply agreements. Business processes, as well as master data, set in place to control a “business-as-usual” environment, should reflect the needs of the current, radically different environment.

Christoph Wellinger

Senior Executive Advisory Director, PwC Switzerland

Email

Customs & international trade

Businesses face challenging times as a result of the governmental decisions to lock down public life. While some companies can at least continue their operations at a reduced capacity, others are fighting to keep their businesses running and will end up with a vast lack of cash due to revenue losses.
At the end of March, the Federal Council announced it would support affected companies with a package of measures. Among others, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration and the Federal Customs Administration have granted simplifications regarding the filing of returns and declarations, payment settlement and operational customs clearing handling for specific types of goods and professional groups.

Affected companies should now evaluate their opportunities to benefit from these measures included in the support package and check the following:

  • Reduce the impact on your cash flow by reclaiming customs cash securities paid for guarantees , change how often you file your VAT return (credit position) or ask to postpone filing returns and declarations.
  • Review your cash management by negotiating beneficial payment terms with both authorities and business partners, postpone paying invoices due or discuss settling them in instalments.
  • Improve your operational business by making use of simplifications in the customs clearing process, duty and tax exemption programmes and special customs regimes, and achieve short-term savings.

Simeon L. Probst

Partner Customs & International Trade, Basel, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 53 51

Email

Oliver Hulliger

Senior Manager Customs & International Trade, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 56 96

Email


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Julie Fitzgerald Wieland

Julie Fitzgerald Wieland

Partner and Growth & Markets Leader, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 26 80

Jan-Hendrik Völker-Albert

Jan-Hendrik Völker-Albert

Head of Marketing & Communications, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 1885

Reto Brunner

Reto Brunner

Partner, Advisory, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 14 19

Norbert Kühnis

Norbert Kühnis

Leiter Familienunternehmen und KMU, Mitglied der Geschäftsleitung, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 63 63