Finance Sector PLCs Hold the Key to Economic Recovery

  • Stuart Robertson, Director at iDelta

  • 03.04.2020 10:45 am
  • Finance , COVID-19
We have started to see the devastating impact the Coronavirus will have on our economy.  The travel, leisure and hospitality industry redundancies are rapidly mounting up with restaurant and bar owners facing no option but to shut up shop.  Are we going to see other industries suffer the same fate?  In the case of Finance and IT there is a choice.
Within the Finance and IT sector we are very well placed to continue to operate on a business as usual footing.  Remote working practices are well established, many projects are delivered by geographically disparate teams, who in many cases never meet face to face.  In the main, we have little or no training or technology barriers to implement remote working, we’ve been doing it for years.
Our finance sector PLCs, on whom many small, medium and large suppliers rely, are inherently risk averse.  The stock reaction to times of uncertainty or risk is to protect service to customers at the expense of project delivery.  Many organisations will be running with a change freeze or restrictions in place at the moment, to minimise the risk of service interruptions. It’s understandable, none of us want interruptions in our banking service at these stressful times, so extra care and attention is to be applauded.
Where the wider risk lies however is if we start to see programmes of work cancelled or suspended.  Without the steady stream of work from our PLCs, many SMEs in the sector will be forced to scale back, resulting in further job losses, reluctance to spend and invest thereby having a negative trickle down impact through the economy.  
Many of us will be looking to support our struggling local businesses where possible.  A trawl across social media reveals encouraging stories of people planning to buy vouchers for their local restaurant or ordering takeaway, continue paying for services such as dog walking and cleaning.  This local effort is dependent on other areas of the economy continuing to function so that as many of us can continue to operate as close to normal as possible.  Many industries will unavoidably be hit by this.
There is an opportunity here for our finance sector PLCs to help.  Maintain or increase the volume of project work.  Keep staff, suppliers and contractors engaged so that our sector of the economy is part of the economic solution.  Aim to leave as many people as possible not financially impacted or in a position to recover quickly once the virus has run its course.
The actions of a PLC are of course to serve in the interests of their shareholders.  I’m sure all PLCs worldwide are hoping for as quick a recovery as possible from the inevitable economic impact of the Coronavirus.  The impact of this virus is for many sectors devastating, that is why for sectors with relatively minimal impact, business as usual must be a priority.  These actions will enable a shallower recession and a quicker recovery – surely what the shareholders will want to see as well.

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