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Reproduced from PwC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Businesses have moved beyond the initial shock and crisis management phase of the coronavirus pandemic, and are shifting their focus to fundamental changes that will reshape their companies, according to the latest survey of top corporate executives from accounting firm PwC.

What it means: While executives say they are concerned about things like bringing workers back into the office, cybersecurity and investments, right now "there is a very common theme around revenue generation going forward that we're seeing dominate the C-Suite," PwC chair and senior partner Tim Ryan said during a call with reporters Monday.

  • For an increasing number of companies, the goal seems to have changed from growing the overall revenue base to taking market share from competitors, as the pandemic is expected to depress spending broadly.
  • Corporate leaders are looking to redraw their workforces and cut costs as they expect to be "fighting for a bigger piece of a smaller pie."

What we're hearing: "There’s a sense that 'We’re settled in, the environment’s going to be challenging for a while but we can compete,'" Ryan said. "It’s going to shape up for an interesting, let’s call it, six to 18 months of fairly intense competition."

The big picture: Companies are simultaneously focusing on long-term strategies, many of which include terms like "digital transformation" and "automation" that are generally code for replacing human workers with machines.

  • These trends had long been in the works, but with uncertainty growing about global supply chains and the availability of cheap overseas goods and labor, top executives look to be pushing to accelerate them.

The bottom line: "One thing CFOs and executive teams are very focused on is fundamental changes in the business model and we’re seeing that move at a rate that, frankly, we’ve never seen before," Ryan said.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

Companies are leaving jobs behind to cut costs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Businesses are positioning themselves for an increasingly competitive landscape by doing everything they can to ramp up productivity and cast off excess costs.

Why it matters: Much of that cost savings will likely come from cutting jobs and adding new ones more slowly, as companies look to invest in new technology and what Carlyle Group's head of global research Jason Thomas calls intangibles.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.