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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.

Pentagon approves request for 100 National Guard troops for "Justice for J6" rally

Security fencing has been reinstalled around the Capitol. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request from Capitol Police to provide 100 D.C. National Guard troops in case law enforcement requires additional support at Saturday's "Justice for J6" rally at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Security preparations have ramped up ahead of the pro-Trump demonstration, where hundreds of protesters sympathetic to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are expected to gather.

Biden threatens new sanctions against Ethiopian officials over Tigray conflict

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order allowing the Treasury and State Departments to impose sanctions against Ethiopian officials "responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict" in the Tigray region.

Driving the news: Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions in Tigray, but less than 10 percent of the needed humanitarian supplies has reached the region over the last month "due to the obstruction of aid access" by the Ethiopian government, according to Biden administration officials.