Businesses have had to adapt quickly in the recent months to deal with the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown.

Technology has played a critical role in transforming businesses. A digital transformation is building the road to recovery post pandemic.

Since the pandemic businesses have a whole new set of challenges. A major challenge faced by businesses is the constant forecasting and budgeting required to meet the new market conditions. With so many variables in play, it will be extremely difficult to plot a path to recovery.

1. Online shopping

Online shopping has accelerated massively since the start of the pandemic. Consumers’ delivery expectations continue to rise but this is causing challenges as more and more people discover the ease and convenience of online shopping, supply chains and inventory management will be tested.

What has also become apparent is that more and more people are doing less shopping in physical stores because social distancing and mask-wearing rules appear to have taken much of the fun out of shopping.

Online grocery shopping has been a category perceived more resistant to getting moved online but now it will likely stay more popular with consumers than in the past.

2. Digital transformation

The success stories have been those who have invested in a digital infrastructure. The shift to cloud computing, for example, has enabled many firms to be able to work remotely.

A notable positive outcome of the pandemic is that it is driving innovation. Changes are being adopted across businesses at a faster rate. Finance is being automated, new business models are being adapted and technology is bringing new transformations.

As discussed at the ACCA retail roundtable, with low productivity growth in the UK over the past 10 years, there is also an acceleration away from retailers that are not performing or transforming. All the trends that were predicted to take years to develop are now happening within the space of months. If you’re not transforming at an accelerated rate, you can bet your competitors will be.

3. The future of office and the shift to home working

Businesses have moved from a small percentage of staff working at home at any point in time to all employees working from home. And the technology has held up many firms continue to operate productively.

The role of the office will certainly change with many people likely to retain a working from home arrangement more of the time.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a global shift in online meetings and virtual events.

According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella “We’ve seen more digital transformation in the last 2 months than we’ve seen in the last 2 years.”

As many will agree, offices are important to retain an identity and purpose for the organisation.

However, working from home doesn’t suit everyone. Some employees might perform better if they follow the routine and structure that working in an office environment provides them with.

Some employees may find personal interaction with colleagues beneficial to help them achieve their goals.

Working from home may also not fit in with everyone – some people may have young children, younger staff might be sharing accommodation and therefore find home working is more difficult to them.

4. Online learning

It comes as no surprise to anyone to hear that Google Trends show a sudden rise in interest in online learning. It however remains to be seen whether the shift to e-learning will lead to a wider acceptance and increasing relevance of online learning in general or whether its popularity will drop to pre-crisis levels once the pandemic is over.

💡This could be a time to do some online training courses or brush up on your Excel or other tech skills. There are plenty of free resources and courses available.

5. New tools and ways to communicate

Covid-19 is pushing businesses to rapidly operate in new ways and many organisations might have faced considerable IT challenges.

As a result of the pandemic, businesses have discovered the power of e-signature.

Businesses are now using online meeting software, cloud storage, planning tool, and even channel-based chat are more and more used in the workplace.

Looking ahead, businesses are broadening their horizons, focusing more on their roadmap to recovery and building resilience for the future.

Please do get in touch with your usual Unicorn Accountant if you have any questions.