Businesses will be relieved with this week’s confirmation that a reduced format of JobKeeper will continue to provide financial support beyond September to March 2021.
The amount paid for full time and part time workers has changed and will decrease over the two quarters and businesses should talk to their accountant about what is needed to qualify for the graduated supplements.
Which also makes it timely to look at all your business’ financial needs and the tools available to assist your organisation through this turbulent period.
During a recent live session on LinkedIn New Australia #TogetherinBusiness ANZ CEO, Shayne Elliott, provided some helpful tips and a framework to approach this period of uncertainty.
The first thing he noted was we should not feel bad or take financial hardship too personally. That while it’s disappointing, this crisis is impacting everyone, from new businesses, to older more established companies. And with huge chunks of the economy closed for large periods of time you’re really not to blame.
From his banking perspective, he encouraged businesses to talk to their financial institutions and advisors for specific advice, but noted a couple of recent announcements that could help manage cashflow.
Regarding the home loan holiday extension beyond September to March 2021, Elliott advised delaying debt repayments may not be the best course of action for all businesses, but that the option is there. He added that people worried about their cashflow should seek qualified financial advice.
He also addressed the extra working capital that is now available to business. The initial loan scheme, backed partially by the Federal government, allowed qualifying businesses the opportunity to borrow up to $250K over three years on very favourable lending terms. This has now been extended to allow businesses to borrow up to $1M over five years under the same conditions.
He also set out a useful four-step framework for all businesses – small or large – to consider in the current environment:
Consider what’s in our inventory that we can use? And how can we best protect what we have? What’s in our budget that we perhaps don’t need to spend money on now? Are there things we can do later on, instead? They may be impacted anyway by the way the pandemic unfolds. Are we sure we’ll still need to spend money in the same way?
Acknowledge we are in a new world. Embrace working from home, commit to getting used to using new technology or changing the business to a new format. He cited restaurants having to innovate their whole operations to a takeout-only environment.
He advises that now is the time to stay close and understand what your customers are going through so you can also predict how to best serve them. Networking (in a virtual format) and being informed is more important than ever as things are changing so fast. By being consistently engaged you can anticipate needs at the pace required. Consider how you get feedback and where you’re keeping that data for future reference.
Finally, Elliott suggested it was time to plan for a future that will continually adapt. While further assistance has been confirmed with JobKeeper, the changes will still impact how we run our businesses, and how viable it is to manage our full and part time staff into the future. So now is the time to start modelling future working scenarios.