A quick return to “business as usual” after COVID-19 is appearing less and less likely, with nearly 60% of chief financial leaders across the nation reporting that they believe it will take their companies more than three months to recover once the pandemic recedes. That’s according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP survey conducted last week with 288 U.S. chief financial officers and finance leaders across industries. This is the firm’s fifth survey of CFOs since emergency measures to slow the pandemic took hold in the United States.

Of those CFOs who say recovery will take at least three months, 27% say they fear it will take six or more months to bounce back, up from 23% two weeks ago

Outlooks on COVID-19’s effects on financial results have not changed much in the past two weeks, according to the survey. More than half the respondents (55%) expect their company to suffer a decline of 10% or greater on revenue and/or profits for this year as a result of the pandemic. That number is only slightly higher than the 53% who felt that way two weeks ago.

The survey also revealed that costs remain under strict controls, though findings from last week suggest that the urgency to pull on every lever at hand could be abating. For example, fewer CFOs anticipate furloughs over the next month (36% versus 44% two weeks ago) or that their company will consider additional delays or outright cuts to planned investments (58% versus 70%). 

“Once the business stabilizes, the pivot toward shaping opportunities resumes, and in an environment where much will have changed,” survey authors concluded.