While no one would have expected this virus to have such far-reaching effects, it is inevitably here for all of us to deal with.
For our clients with businesses, we have previously spoken about how important it is to have a Business Continuity Plan in place. We once again encourage you to download the template and the Guide which we have prepared for you. The link is below.
Also paramount, is making sure you’re looking after yourself – put your own oxygen mask on first.
Let’s face it, last week was hectic! The stream of information being delivered is overwhelming, but with the small ray of light which is the flattening of the curve which we saw over the weekend, it does feel like the pressure has been taken off, just a little. While its still critical for us all to maintain our disciplined social distancing and isolation practices, now might be the time to remind ourselves that this too shall pass.
So today we wanted to step back for a moment and reflect on some key principles which we think are important. The two fundamentals which we need to make sure are as resilient as they can be – our financial wellbeing and more importantly, our personal wellbeing.
Firstly our financial health – we are your Accountants after all. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution; and what may be a good strategy for one situation, may not be appropriate for another. Furthermore, there may well be more than one solution to your particular set of circumstances. The government’s relief packages may deliver some support but others will still have challenges.
This pandemic, although unprecedented, should be looked at like any other challenge – it must be confronted and where possible regarded as an opportunity. Easy to say, I know, but it is a reality that is not going away quickly. So if the only benefit is that we become better at managing our finances, than that’s a pretty big plus.
Here are a few fundamentals which we think are important at the moment.
- Set up a system to talk with your staff, suppliers, customers, friends and family. Group chats and video platforms whether it’s Zoom, Skype, Facetime or Houseparty – they’re all great platforms for communication. The principle is: don’t forget to connect.
- Do some scenario planning. Plan for how long your cash is going to last. Look at your cash flow for a 30 day period, a 60 day period as well as 90 days. Cash is king – look at where it is coming from and where it is going. At the moment, it could quite possibly be in the negative. If you have an emergency fund, this is the time you may have to dip in. If you don’t, you may have to rely on a line of credit. The government has brought forward some initiatives to inject cash into our businesses and personal finances, but it may be weeks or months until we see the benefits. Therefore, you may need to take some more immediate actions. Discretionary spending will need to be cut, but for some, this may also mean rent, suppliers or staff. If you’re a business, consider that at some point this is going to end, and you will need your key people around you when things go back to normal. The JobKeeper stimulus should bring some welcome relief, but until this arrives, tough decisions may need to be made.
- Speak to the people who you need to pay. Work out who you owe and talk to them. Be open with them about your circumstances and try to work out a plan that will see you to the end of this hibernation. If you don’t talk, it will be much worse. If you are having trouble paying your bills, contact your suppliers and ask them to work with you on a payment plan together. Have a plan and try and stick to it.
- Lastly, over-communicate.. with all your stakeholders, employees, customers, suppliers, family, friends and colleagues. Communication is going to be key.
That being said, not only do we need to reflect on our financial fundamentals, but we also need to be mindful of our own mental health. If the biggest lesson we learn from this pandemic, is that our health is our most important asset, it really is our priority to look after ourselves and our mental and emotional strength is key. Anxiety is a normal human response and it’s okay, to not be okay.
It’s normal to look for practical information on how to minimise distress and strengthen our emotional wellbeing. To this end, please don’t hesitate to reach out to some of the fantastic organisations like Beyond Blue. Even if you just take the time to look at their website. There is no stigma or shame in giving them a call to talk – It’s ok to ask for help. We all have the responsibility of keeping ourselves, our family, friends and colleagues healthy – it’s the most important job we have at the moment.
Focus on yourself first, your finances second, and stay healthy and resilient.
If you need help with some cashflow forecasting, or even just to reach out, please drop us a line. We are only a phone call away.