With the share market decimated, the banning of public events with more than 500 people and recommendations of self-isolation, it is inevitable that small businesses will be affected by the impact of COVID-19.
So how is the coronavirus affecting businesses and what can you do to prepare for the impact?
As a hugely important asset in your business, it is important to prepare and execute a plan that supports your employees. Whether you have employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or chose/required to self-quarantine, there will be an impact on the normal operation of business and you should work together to find appropriate solutions for each individual.
This may include individuals taking different forms of leave or working from home (if possible). If your team are required to work in your business, as the Employer you should be thinking about implement extra precautions in the workplace minimise the risk to your employees.
At Walsh Accountants, we have implemented precautionary measures in office such as
- Allowing our team to elect to work from home if they have the ability to do so
- Encouraging team members to regularly wash their hands and use paper towel over hand dryers
- Clean their workspace, phones, and keyboards with antibacterial daily
- Regularly cleaning high-use areas in our office such as door handles, bench tops, and surfaces around common areas
- Shared food regularly available to our team will no longer be provided
- Where possible dishes are to be cleaned in the dishwasher and paper towel is to be used for drying
- To minimise face-to-face contact, we are encouraging our clients to conduct meeting with their Accountants with via phone, or Skype/Zoom/Face time etc. for video calling. We also have an electronic portal with digital signatures for document delivery.
It is important that you understand your requirements under Fair Work in regards to workplace entitlements and responsibilities. You should speak to a HR advisor if you need further clarification – we can provide a referral should you need assistance.
Depending on your business, it may be possible for employees to work remotely while continuing their normal role. If you don’t have these facilities setup already, speak to your IT support about options that allow people to work from home, and communication options such as Microsoft Teams that support continued team interactions.
Determine the extent and likely duration of your supply chain exposure. Most business are currently focused on the direct impact of supplies from China which are no longer available or have been delayed, however it is important to speak to your suppliers to determine how they have been impacted and if there will be a flow on effect. You may consider if you are able to identify options or plans for alternative supply.
Stay close to your customers. Timely and honest communication is vital to keep customers aware of any issues with delivery of products and what contingency plans you have in place.
While some business can only be operated on an in person model, for others there has been a drastic shift towards online shopping for all goods including food and produce delivery. For service businesses, look to technology to continue to provides services to your customers where possible.
If you are running a restaurant or salon, encourage customers to buy a voucher now, to support he business and have something to look forward to when business returns to normal.
Even if your business is one that is able to continue to operate, there is likely to be a flow through impact from customers.
Review your cash flow budget and understand the amount of sales you will require to be able to continue to operate, pay your suppliers and repay your debt. Speak to your accountant to identify the financial impact of various scenarios and for assistance in optimising accounts payable and receivable or cost reduction methods that will help your business to survive.
Ensure your financials are keep up to date so that you can monitor profitability, stock levels, debtors and creditors balance on a timely basis.
Speak to your insurance provider to understand if you have business interruption insurance that will cover the impact of coronavirus. This will depend on the terms and conditions of your policy and the circumstances around your claim.
If you are concerned about how the COVID-19 Pandemic and economic downturn is going to effect your business, please contact your Accountant or a member of our Business and Entrepreneurial Support Team to speak with them.
If you have any concerns, don’t leave it too late. We may be able to help you to put survival and recovery plans in place to help keep your business afloat. We are here to help and support you so if cost is a concern, we can work with you.