Business in Focus podcast series

Explore the latest developments and practical advice to help keep your business resilient. As the world responds and adapts to COVID-19, our podcast series invites industry experts to look at the steps businesses can take. 

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

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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Shopping bag image

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

‘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:

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. 

Listen on: iTunes Spotify

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.

Listen on: iTunes Spotify

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.

Listen on: iTunes   Spotify

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

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7931 304666

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