In focus: Southeast Asia takes a breather from traffic jams

Lockdowns and closed schools and businesses are granting Southeast Asia’s cities a rare reprieve from rush-hour congestion.

GPS data from ride-hailing company Grab shows that typically congested roads in Manila, Philippines; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Singapore are much quieter, one indication that cities are far from normal. Some countries, however, are slowly easing restrictions. When people eventually go back to schools and workplaces again, the big questions for companies are: How have consumer behaviours changed? Can companies simply pick up where they left off before the pandemic?

Finance teams can prepare now for the eventual reopening of cities. Members of Association regional advisory panels in Southeast Asia and Australasia recently shared what they see companies doing. You can also read about cash management tactics that have become front and centre for business survival. Looking ahead, Utz Schäffer, director of the Institute of Management Accounting and Control at WHU–Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany, outlines how companies can be prepared for future crises.

Find all of FM magazine’s COVID-19 coverage here.