In a time when we are socially distancing, it is more important than ever that we bring together diverse perspectives and seek out opportunities to connect with one another, and that’s why I felt it was so important to bring together our global Responsible Tax community virtually in recent weeks. Together, we “met” for a series of virtual roundtables to look at the immediate, medium and long-term responses to COVID-19, as economies start to emerge from lockdowns and look to rebuild. We had a total of 60 participants across the roundtables, and you can review the full summaries of these discussions on the KPMG Responsible Tax site. I also wanted to reflect further on these, and let you know where we plan to go next.
As governments around the world have introduced a number of emergency measures as a means to limit the economic damage caused by COVID-19, it’s crucial that businesses, governments and societies at large come together to plan not only the immediate response, but also to plan for the long-term impacts and the type of future we want to create coming out of what has been called the most significant global challenge since the Second World War. In my mind, the pressures of the current climate and the emphasis on rapid response and recovery begs the question, how will businesses manage their moral tax compass during these trying times?
Across the KPMG network, we have approached this situation through a four-phased lens in order to help keep a view on the future, even whilst it is largely unknown, and we are encouraging businesses and other organizations to do the same. Of course, everyone is experiencing this situation in different phases and at different times. The reaction phase is really about ensuring the wellbeing of our people and responding to immediate pressures. Then we have the resilience phase, which goes beyond the immediate reaction to proactively managing the situation with an eye to the future. From there, we have the recovery phase, where we see businesses starting to emerge from some of the challenges and perhaps identify new opportunities to help them succeed in the final phase, which we see as the new reality that lies ahead.