Business Action Plan Checklist

We are getting inundated with clients looking for help as the COVID-19 pandemic tracks towards being the greatest social upheaval the world has seen since World War II. The updates and announcements are coming at a breakneck speed.

It’s not easy to stay calm at this time but we are here to help you and we will continue to post regular updates.

It’s become clear that some industries will be more severely impacted than others and the most common question we are getting from clients is, “What do we do next?” In response, we have put together an action plan checklist.

It is vital that you act quickly and decisively and work your way through this action plan. There are cash incentives, loans and tax payment deferral strategies to consider. Of course, feel free to contact us by phone or email as face to face meetings are no longer available.

Here are practical steps to consider right now:

Get Your Records Up To Date

This is priority one. Up to date, accurate financial records allow us to work together to make informed business decisions. By preparing interim financial statements to March 31, 2020 we can:

  1. Look at where you stand from a year-end tax point of view
  2. Finalise your March BAS and look at any potential variations to minimise your cash outflows
  3. The interim statements will help us calculate salaries to pay in the June quarter. The PAYG component will impact on your entitlement to government stimulus payments
  4. Know your accounts receivable, accounts payable and current bank balances

Build a Cash Flow Forecast for the next 12 months and keep updating it at least every month as you get more information about revenue and costs.

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business and it just became critical. The main reason most business owners prepare a cash flow forecast is to raise finance but right now it needs to identify how much money you will need and when. The forecast will project your bank balance at the end of every month.

Whenever you prepare a cash flow budget you have to make a number of key assumptions. These assumptions should be realistic and supported by research, available data plus known facts such as fixed costs (rent, and forward contracts).  The uncertainty around the duration of the crisis makes it hard to project revenue and costs but you need to do your best. For many businesses, revenue may be zero for months to come so identifying your Government entitlements under the stimulus packages is a key item on this checklist. 

The information in your cash flow budget is designed to:

  • forecast your likely cash position at the end of each month,
  • identify the timing of potential cash shortages,
  • plan your tax payments; and
  • plan for any major capital expenditure (instant asset write-off incentive).

To produce your cash flow statement, the starting point is to extract last year’s cash flow report from your accounting software. Project your likely receipts including any government stimulus payments. This won’t be easy but depending on your industry, you might need to work on a decrease of between 25% and 60% or possibly more, of sales.

Work through your fixed costs (rent, insurances, subscriptions, loan and lease repayments etc.) and then consider your staff requirements and calculate your anticipated wages. Next, plug in your variable costs like direct materials, stock, commissions, freight etc. 

A cash flow budget template is available to download from the resources tab of our website.


Government Stimulus Entitlements

There are a range of government benefits available that we have detailed in previous newsletters. The key items include:

  1. Stimulus Payment for Employers - between $20k and $100k
  2. Government Loans - The government has offered the banks $20 billion to help them lend $40 billion to struggling businesses. The maximum loan amount is $250k and these funds could provide a lifeline to eligible businesses (SME’s with a turnover of up to $50 million). Under the Scheme, the Government will provide a 50% guarantee to SME lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital. Some conditions apply:
  • Maximum loan size is $250,000 per borrower.
  • The loans will be up to 3 years, with an initial 6 month repayment holiday
  • The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan. Loans will be subject to lenders’ credit assessment processes
  • The Government will encourage lenders to provide facilities to SMEs that only have to be drawn down if needed by the SME. 
  • The Scheme will commence by early April 2020 and be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.

 You can read more about the loans on offer here


Consider ATO Payment Deferral Concessions  

The ATO assistance in this area is not automatic, so you will need to approach them for assistance. If eligible, the ATO will ‘tailor’ the assistance package for you. Please contact us if you need guidance in this area.

The ATO payment deferral concessions include:

  • Deferring payment date of amounts due by up to 4 months for Business Activity Statements (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise duty.
  • Allowing businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get faster access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.
  • Allowing businesses to vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
  • Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after January 23, 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities.
  • Allowing affected businesses to enter into low-interest payment plans for their existing and ongoing tax liabilities.

Marketing  

At the moment it’s probably not high on your agenda, however, marketing remains important. Your competitors are probably rattled so this is an opportunity. The most important thing right now is communicate with your customers and clients. Remember, they are in the same boat as you and sailing in turbulent unchartered waters.

Anything you do to help them might be rewarded with some loyalty down the track. Digital marketing is cheap so send an email, produce a short video, write some blogs or produce an e-Book or newsletter. The shut down and lock down period can be used to develop your marketing plan for the next few months. It could be as simple as forwarding them this checklist or our Recession Proofing e-Book that we sent to you earlier in the week. 


Summary

We are understandably being inundated by concerned clients and this checklist is designed to help you develop a plan. Working through this checklist will give you structure and a sense of direction that will help you remain as calm as possible in the circumstances.

Take care, stay safe and contact us for assistance.