Survey Finds 72% of Executives Expect a Decrease in Revenue Due to COVID-19

The Crowe Business Challenges Survey reports executives' top concerns and outlook on the future

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a majority of C-level executives (72%) foresee a moderate or severe decrease in their 2020 revenue, according to data from the new report, “Crowe Business Challenges Survey: Part I.” Additionally, employee health and safety is the top concern among organizational leadership.

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Crowe, a public accounting, consulting and technology firm in the U.S. with offices around the world, conducted a pulse survey of more than 300 C-suite executives in three phases between late April and early June 2020. The study compiled responses from leadership spanning industries such as financial services, manufacturing and distribution, construction, healthcare and the public sector. The report analyzes the projected impact of COVID-19 on revenues, organizational strength versus the broader economy, top concerns and responses of leadership to the pandemic, and whether and how companies are leveraging the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

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Over the course of the survey, respondents became less optimistic about how soon COVID-19’s impact on their organization would lessen. In the first phase of the survey, 32% said that the pandemic’s effect would ease by the fourth quarter of 2020, but that figure dropped to 19% in phase two. Even with uncertainty prevalent across all phases, expectations about the impact on 2020 revenues remained consistent – between 70% and 75% of respondents in each phase predicted a moderate or severe decrease in revenue.

Executives surveyed identified the health and safety of their employees as their top concern across all three phases. Over the course of the survey, that concern increased from 60% in the first phase to 75% in the third, likely due to the severity and staying power of COVID-19 setting in. Other consistent concerns among respondents across the three phases included: Decreased top-line revenue (55%), the effect of lockdowns or shelter-in-place orders (53%) and cost-management and reduction efforts (41%).

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