How to prepare your business for COVID-19

Date: 16th March 2020

We would like to reiterate we are available to help business owners through this difficult time.  We have plans in place to work from our homes if needed so there will be a continuity of services.  We can set up phone meetings and we all have the technology to set up Zoom meetings with any clients as required. 

We agree that now is a sensible time to stay informed of the potential economic impacts of coronavirus in the Central Otago region, given our reliance on the tourism industry. Most importantly, it’s also the time to invest in business contingency planning – always a worthwhile exercise!

man wearing facemask

As your local accountants, we thought we’d share a few useful tips to help you in your financial preparations.

Have you heard about tax relief?

Inland Revenue is aware of the pressure that coronavirus is placing on businesses regarding tax payments. On 11 March, they released a number of beneficial relief options they’re offering business owners (depending on circumstances and criteria), including:

  • Provisional tax re-estimates;
  • Early refunds on overpaid provisional tax;
  • Tax instalment payments & write-off arrangements;
  • Extensions to filing dates;
  • Remittance for late payment penalties;
  • Certificate of exemption for schedular payments.

To find out if any of the above could be applicable to your business circumstances, IRD recommend speaking to your tax agent, so please feel free to contact us anytime to discuss.

Tax Relief Coronavirus (IRD)

A government ‘Business Continuity Package’ is in the pipeline

Keep an eye out for the Business Continuity Package’, currently being developed by cabinet with details due for release next week. It is said to include a wage subsidy scheme, similar to what was offered after the recent major NZ earthquakes, the idea being that it would assist in keeping employment levels up.

Government develops wage subsidy scheme (interest.co.nz) 

How to make a plan B

Now is a great time to ensure you have a detailed business continuity and contingency plan, ready to go. A contingency plan is a documented process which identifies specific risks for your business and outlines how you might back to business as usual should something happen. If this level of planning is new to you, we recommend checking out this helpful step-by-step guide from business.govt.nz. You can also contact your accountant to assist with contingency planning as often there are financial impacts with decisions around process changes.

Open up the lines of communication

Things are always easier when everyone is on the same page. Maintain honest and open communication with your bank, especially if you’re unsure how your business is going to be impacted. The sooner the bank are made aware, the better they’ll be able to support you through the process.

Take the time to check in with your business advisors, mentors, business support groups and of course, your accountant. Ask how other similar businesses are being impacted. The affects of coronavirus are far-reaching, so don’t feel as though you’re suffering alone.

Can we help?

We live in an area where many people make a living through the tourism industry (which has been heavily impacted already), so we foresee that there’ll be Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago businesses needing assistance. We’re here to help, whether that’s specific business advice, a general chat around current economic impacts or to formulate a business contingency plan – so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.



Posted in: Alexandra, Covid-19, Latest News, Queenstown, small business, Wanaka