Business in Focus podcast series

Our podcast brings you the latest insights and practical advice, helping you navigate change with confidence. Hear from diverse voices on the issues that matter - from the UK’s top business leaders to athletes, psychologists and politicians - helping you respond to today's most important challenges. 

Listen to our podcast series on your desktop or mobile device, and subscribe to keep up-to-date with all the latest episodes.

Latest episode

New ways of working

What will new ways of working mean for your people?

Many organisations, COVID-19 has brought to the fore the discrepancy between the skills people have and those that are needed for the future. Our recent Upskilling Hopes and Fears research - a survey of 32,500 workers across 19 countries - revealed fascinating insights into how people feel about the future of work. In this episode, host Rowena Morris speaks to PwC People and Organisation leaders Fiona Camenzuli and Pete Brown about the practical ways organisations can upskill their people in response to these trends.

Explore our Upskilling Hopes and Fears research.

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On the 18th March, the UK Government published its proposals for restoring trust in audit. In this podcast, PwC experts discuss what this means for businesses

What do you need to know about UK SOX?

On the 18th March, the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published its proposals for restoring trust in the UK’s audit and corporate governance regime. This consultation comes at an important time, as the UK seeks to attract foreign investment and to maintain its status as a leading place to do business. To discuss what this means for UK businesses, host Emily Khan is joined by two specialists, Jonathan Lucas-Lucas and Semsi Sonmez, who are closely tracking what’s been happening and working with clients to help prepare their response.

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2021 priorities with Amanda Blanc, CEO of Aviva

In a year like no other, understanding what CEOs see as their biggest challenges and opportunities can provide us all with essential insight. To help us do just that, we’ve launched our 24th annual CEO Survey, which explores the issues that matter to CEOs and how they’re planning for the future. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by Amanda Blanc, the CEO of Aviva, and Kevin Ellis, PwC’s UK Chairman. They discuss the most important challenges facing businesses today - from ESG and cyber security to employee wellbeing and the future of the workplace - and share their priorities for the coming months.

Visit our 24th Annual UK CEO Survey to explore our UK findings or read our one-on-one interviews with some of the UK’s top CEOs.

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The impact of COVID-19 on women in work

International Women's Day is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the successes that women have achieved in the workplace. But progress across the OECD remains slow, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on female-dominated industries is potentially causing permanent damage. To discuss what this means for women in work today, our host Emily Khan is joined by Laura Hinton, PwC's Chief People Officer, and Larice Stielow, a senior Strategy& economist and lead author of our Women in Work Index.

Explore the new Women in Work Index research from our Strategy& Economics team.

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In conversation with Susan Armour of Oxford University Press

We are delighted to bring you the first instalment in our ‘In conversation with’ series. Over the coming months, our host Teresa Owusu-Adjei, along with members of our Clients and Markets Executive, will speak to our clients about the issues that are front-of-mind for them. You’ll learn how different organisations have responded to the pandemic and hear about their priorities for the future.

In this episode, Teresa is joined by Susan Armour, Group Ethics and Compliance Officer at Oxford University Press, and Sam Samaratunga, PwC’s EMEA and UK Risk Assurance Leader who discuss their lessons learnt from 2020 and how to draw on these to navigate future challenges. Susan explains how for Oxford University Press, their mission - to change people’s lives through education & research - has guided them through the pandemic.

Susan and Sam go on to explore how they have worked together with speed, imagination and care to deliver results that make the difference. Visit our website to find out more about what this means for the organisations that work with us.

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Good Growth for Cities image

Good Growth for Cities

The need to level up the UK has long been recognised - and COVID-19 has only intensified this challenge. It’s no longer enough to drive growth in the left-behind regions; right now, it’s about tackling deep-rooted inequalities in every part of the UK - even in some of its wealthiest areas. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by Zoe Watters, a corporate finance partner in our Real Assets practice, and Stewart Wilson, our Local Public Services lead partner, to discuss how we can navigate ever-changing restrictions while setting the foundations for a fair, inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.

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Lessons from 2020 with Tom Molnar, Gail’s Bakery CEO

A new agenda for UK trade

On the 31st December 2020, the UK left the European Union behind, creating a huge shift in the global order and bringing big changes for British businesses and people. At PwC, we've been examining this issue for some time - translating a moving political and policy picture into implications for UK and European businesses. Most recently, at our virtual Trade Summit in November, we convened people from across the public and private sectors to discuss the future challenges and opportunities we're now facing as a country. In this episode, host Emily Khan and Matt Alabaster, our International Trade lead partner, discuss what the new agenda for UK trade might look like.

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Lessons from 2020 with Tom Molnar, Gail’s Bakery CEO

Lessons from 2020 with Tom Molnar, Gail’s Bakery CEO

2020 was a challenging year for many private and family-run businesses. But it also made leaders pause and think about what they stood for, with many quickly turning their attention to caring for their employees and communities. In this episode, host Emily Khan is joined by Gail's Bakery CEO and co-founder Tom Molnar and PwC's private business leader Suzi Woolfson to discuss what we can carry forward into 2021 to help us navigate the challenges ahead.

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Act now to recover: Part two

Act now to recover: Part two

This year, the importance of cash and working capital has been brought sharply into focus as even the most well-prepared business plans have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while the upheaval has revealed longer term opportunities for businesses, they will first need to weather the difficult months ahead. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined in our virtual studio by Rob Lewis, PwC’s Mid-Market Restructuring Leader, and Jo Walton, a partner in our Operational Restructuring business. We examine the steps businesses can take now to recover while navigating uncertainty and planning for challenges that are yet to come.

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Working together

What will the future workplace look like?

In March 2020, almost overnight, COVID-19 transformed the working patterns of people across almost every industry — in the UK and around the world. In this episode, host Emily Khan is joined by Darren Jukes, PwC's Leader of Industry for Industrial Manufacturing and Cat Mccusker, our Education Leader. We take a look at the emerging trends that are likely to stick around and examine the role the workplace will play in our lives in the future.

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Netzero water image

Unlocking infrastructure's Net Zero potential

The world is facing huge challenges in the face of climate change and growing inequality. Businesses, governments, the financial community and other stakeholders see the 2020s as the decade for action, with major new commitments to achieving net zero emissions. In this episode, we discuss how organisations can invest in real assets - the built environment and infrastructure that surrounds us - in a way that has a positive impact on the environment. Host Rowena Morris is joined in our virtual studio by Lawrence Slade, the Chief Executive of GIIA, and Colin Smith, who leads our Infrastructure Deals Team globally and is responsible for our Energy, Utilities, Mining and Infrastructure Transactions Practice in the UK.

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The rise of the online shopper

Black Friday has become a significant event in the retail calendar over recent years. For many people, it’s the biggest opportunity of the year to bag a bargain - even overtaking the Boxing Day sales in recent years. So it’s a big deal for retailers, who use Black Friday to drive sales and clear excess stock. Retail experts Lisa Hooker and Jac Windsor join host Paul Lenarduzzi for this episode, discussing how recent COVID-19 restrictions have impacted consumer behaviour ahead of this year’s Black Friday on the 27th November. 

We also share practical tips to help businesses respond to these trends in the lead into the festive period and those all-important Christmas sales.

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Greg Rutherford on how data can fuel success

We all know the right nutrition can improve our performance. But for elite athletes, eating well isn’t just a lifestyle choice – it's a crucial part of their success, enabling them to train, recover and perform to their full potential. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined in our virtual studio by Greg Rutherford, MBE, a retired British long jumper who won gold for Great Britain at the Olympics, Marc Fell, a performance nutritionist at British Athletics, and Alex Cooke, a data intelligence partner at PwC.

PwC is working together with British Athletics to give coaches and athletes access to powerful insights that will help improve performance. Our partnership with British Athletics showcases our ability to combine business understanding and human insight with technology innovation to deliver greater results for any organisation.

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Act now to recover

As shoppers return to the high street and pubs and restaurants reopen their doors, life is slowly starting to look a little more like what we’re used to. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by two experts from our Business Restructuring practice, Steve Russell and Issy Gross, to examine what recovery is going to look like for many businesses over the coming months. We take a look at how businesses can strategically restructure in response to new challenges, making the road to recovery as smooth as possible.

To find out how you can act now to recover, visit our website.

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Reskilling for a fair and sustainable recovery

For many organisations, COVID-19 has highlighted the discrepancy between the skills people have and those needed for jobs in a digital world. In this episode, Fiona Camenzuli and Lord Gavin Barwell join host Emily Khan to discuss the role of government and business in helping people develop the skills they need to succeed in the future.

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Working together for a fairer future

The COVID-19 outbreak has thrown into sharp relief the importance of community, collaboration, and acting with purpose. As we start to think about the economic recovery, we have a unique opportunity to build on this positive trend for purpose-driven action. In this episode, guest host Heather Melville is joined by two of PwC's Government and Health Industries experts, Quentin Cole and Dan Burke, to explore how government and business can collaborate to make the UK fairer and better positioned for the future.

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Real assets: Why new real estate and infrastructure trends demand a fresh approach

Organisations’ infrastructure and real estate needs are shifting rapidly, and keeping pace with new trends will be fundamental to the UK’s recovery. In this episode, real assets experts Simon Hampton and Neil Broadhead join host Paul Lenarduzzi to discuss how firms can adapt and explore how the public and private sectors can work together to create a better built environment for the future.

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Visit our website to find out more www.pwc.co.uk/issues/real-assets


‘Forced experimentation’ and the fast-tracked evolution of consumer trends

From online shopping to conscious consumerism, COVID-19 has fast-tracked the evolution of several existing consumer trends, many of which will be sticking around for some time. In this episode, retail experts Jac Windsor and Lisa Hooker explore what the future might hold for the retail sector and share practical tips to help businesses respond to emerging trends.

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Managing cyber risk and building long-term resilience

Over the lockdown period, many businesses have taken huge steps to protect against the new wave of cyber attacks. At first, it was a case of adapting quickly to new threats. But with many of us set to be operating in this new environment for the foreseeable future, companies must now think about their long-term approach. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by two of PwC's cyber security experts, Rachel Mullan and Kris McConkey, to discuss how the cyber threat landscape has evolved since the beginning of the pandemic, including how cyber criminals have capitalised on the situation. We take a look at how businesses are responding to increased threat activity and explore the potential conflict between investigative findings and the possibility of regulatory action.

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Dealing with change: how elite athletes adapted in lockdown

COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing. And for British Athletics athletes and coaches, the lockdown has meant they’ve had to think differently about how they train, stay motivated and inspire others. Host Rowena Morris is joined by Alex Cooke, a Data Intelligence Partner at PwC, to discuss how we're using data analytics to help British Athletics athletes win more medals in more events at major championships. We also hear from two very special guests: Holly Bradshaw, a professional athlete and member of the World Class Podium Programme who holds the British record in pole vault, and Scott Simpson, a National Performance Institute senior coach in pole vault. Holly and Scott discuss how they've adapted their training following the introduction of lockdown measures and delay to the Olympics and Paralympics. They explore the role of data analytics in supporting them, and share their top tips for staying mentally and physically fit during this challenging period.

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To learn more about PwC's partnership with British Athletics, visit our website: www.pwc.co.uk/britishathletics


Preparing for Brexit amid COVID-19

Over the past few months, many businesses have devoted significantly more time to responding to COVID-19 than to preparing for Brexit. But in some respects, the steps businesses have taken to navigate COVID-19 - such as strengthening their supply chains - will stand them in good stead when it comes to preparing for the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU.  In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by Panny Loucas, the Brexit lead within PwC's tax business, and Cara Haffey, our Head of Manufacturing and Automotive sectors. Our expert panel discusses the likely scenarios businesses should be preparing for now and share practical advice to help you get ready for each potential outcome.

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The regulatory response to COVID-19: In conversation with the FCA

The FCA - the Financial Conduct Authority - and other regulators have been very active in their response to COVID-19, aiming to support the industry and ensure the fair treatment of customers at this difficult time. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by Andrew Kail, PwC’s FS leader, and Katie Fisher, Director of Strategy at the FCA, to discuss how the FCA's business plan for this year will impact firms over the coming year. And, as firms continue to navigate the impacts of COVID-19, Andrew and Katie set out practical advice to help them deliver fair value while remaining operationally resilient.

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Visualise your response: The problem-solving power of VR and AR  

The social distancing measures put in place by governments all over the world have caused an increase in demand for technologies that facilitate remote working. This includes virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR), both of which offer smart ways to upskill and collaborate without the need for face-to-face interaction. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by Jeremy Dalton, PwC's Head of VR and AR, and David Ristagno, the Co-Founder & CEO of Uptale, which provides an immersive learning platform designed for businesses to create, share and track training modules in 360° and Virtual Reality. They discuss the important role these technologies have to play in helping businesses and wider society navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

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Protecting your working capital

COVID-19 has made it crucial for companies to protect liquidity. Across all sectors, we’ve seen a rapid shift in working capital requirements, driven by huge disruption of supply and demand.  In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by two experts from PwC's operational restructuring business, Daniel Windaus and Ian Morgan, to discuss the working capital challenges that businesses are facing as a result of COVID-19. Our panel explores the actions organisations can take to rapidly change operational ways of working and protect their working capital, ensuring a more accurate cash flow forecast during these uncertain times.

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Leading through a crisis

The coronavirus outbreak has been stressful for many people, including those in leadership positions. We are being asked to lead in a world that is unlike anything we've ever experienced. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong reactions, making it difficult to look after our wellbeing. And even if we're not experiencing these feelings ourselves, it's so important that we're able to support those we're working with. Dr. Rob Archer, a Chartered Psychologist at Cognacity, and Dr. Claudia Van Den Heuvel, who works in PwC's crisis business, explore some of the personal challenges leaders are experiencing right now, and discuss strategies to help us look after our mental wellbeing and maintain strong leadership through uncertain times.

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Navigating through the lockdown  

On Sunday 10th May, the government set out a roadmap to lift the lockdown that has transformed the lives of people across the UK. So, over the coming weeks, many businesses will be preparing to support their employees as they return to the workplace, if it’s appropriate for them to do so. Chris Box, PwC's EMEA HR Consulting Lead, and Nicola Shield, our Lead for Governance, Risk, Compliance and Control, join Rowena Morris to explore the challenges businesses have been facing as they adjust to new ways of working. And, as the country gradually comes out of lockdown, we’ll take a look at how organisations can address some of the issues that might arise. 

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Supply chain management and resilience 

COVID-19 has impacted many regions that are at the heart of global supply chains. And this has caused a spectrum of challenges for businesses: some are fighting to keep up with extreme sales growth, while others are suffering from a huge drop-off in demand. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by Mark Anderson, a Forensics Partner at PwC, and Penny Flint, a Director in our risk management business, to discuss the difficulties businesses are facing at the moment, take a look at the challenges that might lie ahead, and explore the strategies that will help you build resilience in your supply chain.

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Accessing government funds - Part 2: The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Many government-backed funding initiatives are now open for business. But when it comes to putting your application together, it can be difficult to know where to start. In the second half of our special two-part feature on accessing government funding, Sarah Strang and John Williams from PwC's Debt & Capital Advisory business discuss the two Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes. They discuss the likely impact these schemes will have on businesses and share practical tips to help you access the schemes.

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Accessing government funds - Part 1: The COVID Corporate Financing Facility

The government has put in place a number of initiatives to support businesses that are struggling to navigate the impacts of COVID-19. In this two-part special feature on accessing government funds, host Rowena Morris is joined by Sarah Strang and John Williams from our Debt & Capital Advisory business to discuss the government-backed initiatives that are available. Our expert panel shares practical tips for those thinking of applying to the COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), including the impact it will have on businesses, both over the next few months and over the longer term.

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In conversation with The Pensions Regulator

In this episode, we welcome a special guest to our virtual studio: David Fairs, the Pension Regulator's Executive Director for Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice. David joins host Rowena Morris and PwC pensions experts John Dunn and Katie Lightstone to explore the impact coronavirus has had on pensions and outline how the Regulator is using its annual funding statement to address the crisis. We'll also discuss some practical ways to protect and manage defined benefit pension schemes as we continue to navigate this evolving situation.

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Cash flow management and rapid cost reduction

Many businesses are experiencing cash flow difficulties as a result of coronavirus. In recent weeks, the government has announced generous support packages to help businesses address these challenges. But even with this support, many businesses could soon be forced to make some very difficult decisions. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by Tim Allen, who leads PwC’s Operational Restructuring team, and Zubin Randeria, who leads our Cost Based Transformation team, to discuss the steps businesses can take to manage their cash flow and reduce costs in a fast and sustainable way.

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Responding with purpose

Coronavirus has put the relationship between companies, government, society and the public into the spotlight. More and more, businesses are being expected to help society solve the problems arising from the pandemic. And many are rising to the challenge, using their purpose to inspire positive action. In this episode, host Rowena Morris is joined by PwC Partners Emma Cox and Brenda Trenowden, who provide crisis leadership advice to our clients. They discuss why purpose matters now more than ever, and share practical tips to help businesses bring their purpose to life through their responses to COVID-19.

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cyber security podcast

The emerging cyber threat landscape

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the way we work. And while half the UK population is able to work from home, this doesn’t come without its challenges, including an increase in cyber security threats. Cyber criminals will be capitalising on confusion and uncertainty as we all adjust to new ways of doing business. In this episode, cyber experts Sean Sutton and Rachel Mullan join host, Rowena Morris, to discuss how you can protect your organisation and your people.

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Coronavirus, cash, and consumers

COVID-19 is causing severe challenges for people and the economy, and we’ve seen a broad spectrum of impacts across industries. Some businesses have struggled to keep up with increased demand, while for others, unfortunately, commercial activity has all but dried up. 

In this episode, our expert panel discusses how businesses can stabilise their cash position and shore up their defences against the worst impacts of the pandemic. Joining our host, Rowena Morris, are Lisa Hooker, PwC's Leader of Industry for Consumer Markets, and Zelf Hussain, who specialises in helping businesses experiencing financial distress. 

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Navigate confidently through the crisis

As coronavirus (COVID-19) changes how we live and work, our experts discuss the top considerations for businesses, including what we’ve been hearing from our clients about how they are navigating this evolving situation. Our host for this brand new series is Rowena Morris, a PwC Director who helps clients prepare and respond to crisis situations. In this episode, she is joined by Laura Middleton, a Director in our Healthcare team, and Umang Paw, a Partner who leads our Crisis business.

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Umang Paw

Umang Paw

Chief Technology Officer, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7931 304666

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