As allied health care providers you are working in close quarters; and close physical contact with your patients is unavoidable. You are likely to have seen a drop in income as the restrictions have been enforced, certain services have been ceased, and you may already have made significant changes to your business model and everyday operation to ensure your business continues.
What are the important things to remember to help protect your business?
Priority No.1 – Health of yourself, your team, and your clients
The first priority needs to be the health of yourself, your team and your clients.
Increased preparation in regards to hygiene and cleaning of equipment and treatment areas are an obvious measure, and making your patients aware of the precautions you are taking.
Screening patients to confirm they have not been overseas or in contact with at risk people is another reasonable action which is vital in helping to protect your team from infection.
Other options to reduce risk could staggering working hours by using different teams, for example and AM/ PM team or day on/ day off scenario. This means if one person is affected, only half of your employees may be at risk.
As the coronavirus crisis continues, you may still need to make difficult decisions regarding your team, particularly in the case of a shut down so it is important that you understand your responsibilities as an employer.
For more information, see our article – What are you Rights and Obligations as an Employer
In conjunction with Sovereign Family Offices, we have prepared this COVID-19 Guide – maintaining and protecting your health, well being, and lifestyle. It contains valuable information on what is COVID-19, cleaning and sanitation processes, as well as our action list to surviving this crisis.
For your business to survive, you must understand your CASHFLOW
It is important to be on top of your financial position during this time and understanding your break even point, i.e. how many customers you need to get in the door just to cover costs is vital.
Ensure you have a cash flow budget including income and expenses as well as capital payments and consider various scenarios of income levels, to help you prepare for forward payments and identify possible cost reductions as funds dry up.
Reviewing your expenses will be important to identify non-essential items that can be put on hold for the time being. Cash flow will be vital and even small items should be considered to help relieve the strain going forward.
Most banks are offering deferral on loan repayments OR a new Government supported loans which could be of assistance so speak to your bank manager to see if this applies to you.
To see what assistance the major banks are offering to their customers, please see our bank support article or, if you think the Government supported loans could be of assistance to you, speak to your bank manager to see if this applies to you.
The Queensland Government has also release details of Job Support Loan which can be used to help continue payment of expenses during these tough times.
More information can be found in our article – State Government Stimulus Packages
Communicate with your Suppliers
Communication with your suppliers will be vital.
Consider if your regular purchase orders need to be reduced or changed and can payment terms with suppliers be negotiated.
Discuss your position with your landlord early, this may help you to negotiate a suitable agreement early on, remembering many landlords will want to support you to enable your business to survive and continue to operate successfully, once this crisis is over.
Communicate with your Customers
Timely and honest communication is vital to keep customers aware of your business circumstances.
Keeping them up to date with the changes you are making to keep them safe is also important.
Reducing numbers in waiting rooms and spreading out consultation times to reduce overlap will also help to comply with social distancing requirements.
Many health practitioners have been able to transition some of their services to telehealth. Have you considered if this applies for your specific business and services and how to get this in place?
Consider if there are specific products that you should be selling now, to help your customers get through the period between treatments, or could you look at providing online information or a blog to support your customers with their health through this time, ensuring you keep front of mind for when things return to normal.
Is there an option for selling vouchers now, to keep cash flowing until you are ready to return to business?
Alternatively, customers may actually be struggling for cash flow themselves in these circumstances- offering payment options such as Zip Pay or AfterPay may make it more affordable to continue treatment.
How can Walsh Accountants help?
We want you to understand what support is out there for you and help you to be prepared if things do continue to get worse. If you need help speak to our Walsh Health team about how we can support you.
Some of the support we can offer
- Help you understand the stimulus package and what may be relevant/available to you
- Work through government applications to take advantage of stimulus measures
- If you are having severe financial difficulties, contact the ATO on your behalf negotiate assistance
- Help you ascertain your financial position, prepare cash flow budgets and determine your break even
- Help develop a financial action plan to get through the downturn
- Connect you with business professionals to support you other areas.