The global pandemic has disruptive impact on every aspect of the society; not only health, psychology or business but also having access to the basic amenities to survive. While we are still in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, massacre can be witnessed in the form of death tolls, lockdowns, closure of business, rising unemployment and poverty. Different measures are being taken by the government as well the society in general in order to dampen the impact of the catastrophic virus on the society. The business and commerce are facing unprecedented turmoil and challenges in the following context:
- Supply chain management
- Health and safety measures
- Flow of cash or cash equivalents
- Change in the pattern of demand and consumer preferences
- Marketing strategies
- Sales management
- Human resource management
Industries pertaining to tourism and hospitality are fading away. Even thoughpost the first wave of pandemic there have travel movements; the industry got another huge blow with the advent of the second wave and so are the other already affected industries and sectors of the economy. On the other hand, there has been exceptional surge in the business pertaining to online entertainment, online shopping, online communication and other digitally driven sectors. The economy is heading towards long term goals that ensures sustainability and not just wealth maximization. The companies are restating their mission statements by taking into consideration environmental and societal factors. That the entire stakeholder circle should be given equal importance while defining the practices to serve them as well as keeping a holistic outlook while framing long-term commitments. The companies need to prepare themselves for more expenditure towards the human resource working there (both salary as well as wage earners) because of the additional requirements of social welfare measures with the burgeoning health and sustainability crisis.
The financial institutions have revised the growth forecast of India to an exceptionally low levels that hasn’t been seen since the global 2008 financial crisis. The extraordinary slump in the economy has compelled the authorities to adopt not only forward guidance but also a range of several innovative unconventional monetary policy tools.Needless to say, adoption of accommodative policy stances and falling repo rates are not panacea for overcoming all the maladies the economy is going through with the burgeoning crisis brought in the world economy by the pandemic which is a hard blow for the already decelerated Indian economy. Forward guidance however serves as a powerful tool because the policy stances and rates serve as important signalling factors in the economy.From the perspectives of accounting and auditing, the financial statement reporting need to account for the catastrophic impact of Covid-19 by adjusting the expected cash flow stream, modifying the provisions as per the situation and considering the fact that there will be delay in the payments from the debtors as well as in the payments to be made to the creditors. The loan-loss provisioning for the financial institutions will be readjusted as the present scenario affects the financial health of the bank customers. Also, the lockdowns lead to closure of factories and offices and thereby the physical life of the fixed assets like plant and machinery, office equipment, etc. needs to be revalued because rate of depreciation might vary. ICAI has advised writing down of the inventories to net realizable value because of the supply chain management disruption, plummeting selling price and obsolescence. The auditors will face additional challenges due to social distancing measures and thereby inability to visit the place of business of the client and conducting stock audit and cash audit at the present situation will be a difficult job.
The pandemic situation is a black swan event which has completely disrupted the status quo in not only in a particular economy but worldwide. This calls for new policy, new structure,a novel set of regulations and management. Not only the framing of something novel, but also the present status of the different aspects can be looked into in order to get an idea how different sectors of the society are putting their act together in this pandemic. As a consequence, diverse research areas have bloomed in all areas amidst the Covid-19 outbreak; of which the ones in the domain of commerce can be summarized by the following points.
- Effect of the pandemic on consumer behaviour and consumption in the context of restricted mobility, changing social structure, technological advancements and rising middlemen (both authorized as well as unauthorized). The researcher can look into the behavioural aspect through survey and experimentation and try to figure out whether there is any visible change. If there is any, then whether such change is temporary and the old habits will return or the change is persistent. This may help the concerns change their policies, product and marketing strategies.
- Measures to improve the well-being of the human resource amidst the pandemic in the context of the work place hygiene and sanitation, extending assistance to their family in the form of sponsoring the rising cost of digital education of their child, medical emergency, etc. Research can be conducted to look on to the conditions of the employees, laborers; to look on to the hire & fire policy of the concern; to join the dots between the rising unemployment and the lacuna of HR policies and thereby put forward effective labour policies.
- The impact of the pandemic also extends to the corporate social responsibility because a lot of opportunity has opened for the companies to engage with their CSR strategies. The researchers can look into the practices of the company and put forward the true picture in front of the greater audience as well as provide suggestions.
- There are increasing scope of research in identifying the strategies that should be undertaken by the most vulnerable business sectors like SMEs as well as the start-ups. Because of their instability and uncertainty in the flow of cash, these sectors face massive disruptions to keep their business ongoing. Studies can be conducted to find out innovative ways of generation of funds for the concern, management of such funds, taking advantage of the increasing support from the government bodies and so on.
- Research pertaining to optimisation models are of burgeoning demand in the areas of supply chain management, healthcare and finance. Optimisation models in finance specifically is demanded by the fund management concerns, financial service providers in order to maximize return and minimize risk.
The above areas are indicative and not all inclusive. This is because there is no end point in the research tunnel and the researcher needs to dig deep to find out the relevant gaps and conduct scientific investigation of the same. The impact of the pandemic has hard hit every sector of the economy and every individual is adapting with this changing lifestyle. The companies are reframing their policies, government is coming up with schemes tailored to deal with this pandemic, financial institutions are extending possible financial support to their clients; basically economy as a whole is being redesigned and restructured.
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