First and foremost it’s important not to put your head in the sand, you need to take action now! Develop an emergency contingency plan to limit immediate and any future business disruption and mitigate risks whilst keeping your staff, clients and community safe. Identify the key risk areas in your business and work as a team and with professionals to manage these the best way possible.
Communication is key
During these times maintain clear communication with employees, clients, suppliers and financiers concerning the situation. If you have already been affected there is support available however early communication with financiers and suppliers is key. It is vital to also communicate any changes to policies and procedures and ensure employees are made aware of their responsibilities during adverse times.
Thought must be given to what measure should be taken for your business to continue its operations as normal as possible for an extended period of time in the current situation we are in. Action plans should be prepared and ready in order to take immediate action if at any point self-isolation is required. Included in action plans should be the below:
- Business Operations – Can your business continue to operate with measures in place to mitigate the risk of spread? What business functions/staff/divisions are necessary to be on site for the business to continue operating, what measures can be put into place to ensure the safety of on-site staff (refer to above health & safety)?
- Assessment of Technology - Does your business have the capability to allow employees to work from remote destinations? This should include access to the internet, working files and documents, cyber security, data backup, phone systems, sufficient bandwidth, internal communication platforms and the ability to facilitate remote meetings.
Forecast & Planning
To continue running your business with minimum impact finances should be analysed. A cash flow forecast is beneficial in determining the financial outlook of a business, assist in recognising where there will be holes. This is an opportunity to assess your costs, stock and budget forecasts so you can re-prioritise financial resources. Some areas to investigate include:
- Costs – where can you cost save, what additional costs will the business have as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Finance – initiate conversations regarding revising financier terms
- Tax – speak to professionals regarding tax benefits, deferrals and incentives that you can take advantage of
It now more than ever to ensure your financial accounts are up to date in order to access support. If this task seems overwhelming, our accounting and outsourcing team are available to assist.
Comply with Employment Obligations
Although we all currently finding ourselves dealing with unique employment situations and challenges, employers must ensure they continue to comply with their obligations, even when the business or the employees themselves are impacted by the coronavirus. If an employer needs to make changes to employment arrangements or employees are unable to attend work, we recommend that prior to any action being taken employers obtain professional advice about their obligations and the options which are available. In addition, it is important that employers do not inadvertently fail to meet their obligations to their employees in terms of pay and leave arrangements. The unprecedented impact of this virus on employment and wellbeing means that the regulators will be vigilant to protect employee rights and punish those who do the wrong thing, even during this time.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of employees, clients and the community are the forefront of concern. Ensure your workplace has the essential items to lessen the risk of spread. This includes signs to inform employees on social distancing and best practice, hand sanitising stations available, anti-bacterial spray to ensure workplace surfaces remain clean. Finally, follow recommendations by the Australian Government.
You’re not alone, we are here to help:
There is an array of government incentives, deferral schemes, grants and packages for businesses available and that continue to be released. If you would like assistance preparing your business for the period ahead, understanding your obligations or assessing benefits that may be available to you speak to your usual Mazars advisor or alternatively our specialists below:
Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.
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