How can you survive and thrive during COVID-19?

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The Bay business community is managing a threat of a completely new scale.

Stressed business leaders are trying to get a grip on cashflow and maintain continuity while managing the effect of COVID-19 on their staff, customers and families.

It’s been great to see so many people finding smart new ways to keep operating – taking their businesses online or going local with their supply chains. Everyone is chipping in, helping each other and sharing knowledge.

While there’s a lot of government support measures, some business leaders are struggling to access it.

Overwhelmed by the volume of (often conflicting) information on mainstream and social media, they’ve been contacting the EY office in Tauranga for help with what to do: NOW, NEXT and BEYOND.

NOW: Stabilise your business

The immediate focus is on maximising cashflow and accessing support.

The good news is, the Government’s Business Continuity Package offers a variety of relief options.

If you haven’t applied for the Wage Subsidy Scheme and/or the Essential Workers Leave Scheme, either because you’re still assessing the COVID-19 impact, or you aren’t sure if you qualify – we can help you to understand how this applies to your circumstances, confirm your eligibility and ensure you make a robust application.

New tax measures will provide even more help. Tax payments can be deferred, interest charges can be remitted, low value assets can be written off, provisional tax thresholds have been lifted, and Research & Development tax incentives now have broader refundability.

If you’re making a loss right now, but you made a profit last year, you will soon be able to apply for a refund of tax paid in the previous year. We can also help with talking to Inland Revenue if you are worried about anything tax-related.

If you’re an importer, you may get an immediate boost by deferring Customs charges, including import GST.

If you’re an exporter, be aware that other countries offer a range of relief measures which we can provide details on too.

Get in touch and we’ll connect with our global teams to see where you could get a cashflow boost.

NEXT: Get up and running

All businesses need to consider the new safe operation guidelines released by the Government. Ensuring staff and customers remain safe as New Zealand transitions through lower Alert Levels will be key.

If you are new to operating digitally or with contactless sales – you’ll need to consider the privacy implications of setting up a digital shop and complying with customer contact tracing requirements – we can help with this too.

It’s stressful not knowing how long restrictions will last, but we can start to think about what the next phase might look like as restrictions start to ease.

If you are a tenant and you’re not sure how to approach your landlord, do you need help to negotiate lease reductions or deferrals? When the wage subsidy runs out, how will you support your employees?

If you predict your business will need additional cashflow, you can apply for bank funding under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme, where 80% of your loan will be backed by the Government.

To apply, you’ll need the usual documentation for a bank loan plus you’ll need to show financial projections that model as accurately as possible, what your post-COVID-19 business might look like.

The Regional Business Partner Network are scaling up their existing advisory services so that more businesses can receive free support over the next 12 months.

As well as coaching for growth and innovation, you can get support with business continuity planning, finance and cash flow management.

BEYOND: Reimagine the future

You should also start to look beyond the current crisis.

This is an important moment for all of us to think about what our businesses, lives and societies might look like in a post-COVID-19 world – and what opportunities that might present.

How will you scale back up and what barriers need to be overcome? Do you need to pivot your operations to serve the domestic market?

The risk for business leaders is that you will be consumed by the current crisis and simply focus on the NOW.

But that won’t get you through. You need to focus on the NEXT before your competitors take the new ground. And you need to think about what your business model, supply chain and workforce might look like in the BEYOND.

This is the time to create a new vision for the future – and not just for your business.

Come and talk to us about what your business should be doing: NOW, NEXT and BEYOND. Contact Rachael on 027 215 8122 or Rachael.Gemming@nz.ey.com

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About Author

Rachael Gemming

Rachael Gemming, Associate Director – Tax. Contact Rachael on 027 215 8122 or Rachael.Gemming@nz.ey.com

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