Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) has announced a new checklist to support small businesses who have been affected by the recent flooding to occur in the east coast of Australia. 

This checklist has been created to help reduce the amount of financial hardship small businesses endure as they look to recover from the recent natural disaster.  

The Insurance Council of Australia has reported that over 17,000 insurance claims have been made as a consequence of the flooding and severe weather in Queensland and New South Wales. 

A spokesperson for CA ANZ has said that “small businesses are vital to Australia’s economy, and when natural disasters strike, the effects are felt quickly by the business owner and right throughout the communities where they operate”. 

Look After Your Family, Yourself and Your Staff  

At the present time many business owners will be feeling the pressure of all the people who rely on them. It is therefore important to take care of yourself during this stressful time. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthy and look after your wellbeing. 

The Counting on U Program, is a brand new mental health initiative which has been made freely available to members of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Institute of Public Accountants, CPA Australia and the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, is now open for registration after a successful pilot phase took place in February.

It is estimated that close to 5,000 members of the peak accounting and bookkeeping associations will be able to benefit from the newly announced mental health training. The program, was developed by Deakin University who collaborated with Beyond Blue, WorkSafe Victoria, Mental Health First Aid Australia and the IPA.

The purpose of the program is to offer structured training to help accountants identify, manage and prevent various mental health conditions with their Small Medium Enterprise clients. The program aims to upskill over 5,000 practitioners with mental heal first aid training by the end of 2021.

Secure Business Records 

One of the major losses a business can experience as a consequence of a natural disaster is the damage done to its physical or electronic documents.  

A business can help prevent the loss of important business records by taking a proactive approach and avoiding the need for a natural disaster document recovery. This can be achieved by creating digital copies to secure business records. Businesses should definitely consider scanning their most essential documents with an online secure cloud storage solution.  

Businesses should also frequently back up their electronic documents. 

Don’t Get Scammed 

After the devastating 2020 bushfires, scammers took only a few days to start targeting their victims. Some of the major scams included an SMS scam consisting of a link to government assistance. It is unfortunately more than likely that scammers will do the same thing regarding the victims of the recent floods. 

It is common for scammers to take advantage of natural disasters, this is achieved by targeting victims of the disaster and people within the community who want to help them. 

People who are wanting to donate to a charity should be mindful of scammers who impersonate reputable organisations who are seeking donations to support victims of the floods.

There are plenty of resources designed to help Australians avoid being scammed, including Scamwatch where you can report a suspected scam.

Check Your Insurance

Business owners should review their existing insurance policies to check coverage and entitlements and work collaboratively with insurance companies.

When insurance cover is provided by the policy, business owners will be required to collate details of their losses. Having photographic evidence will help with this.

For a lot of businesses, natural disasters typically prompt a review of future insurance needs. Before entering into a new insurance policy, it is recommended that you seek advice on the costs and the benefits.

Government Emergency Grants

It is important to check your entitlements. Small business that have endured a significant loss of income due to a natural disaster may be eligible to access low interest government loans and other forms of disaster recovery assistance.

The Australian Government has also announced that it is extending the SME Recovery Loan Scheme to offer vital support to flood-affected businesses.

Speak With Suppliers

Business owners will need to keep up strong communication with their customers and their suppliers during a crisis.

It would be a good idea to review any purchase and supply agreements to determine the rights and obligations of both parties.

It is important to find out if suppliers will accept delayed payment terms and how quickly they can resupply what is required to restart business operations.

Repairs, Clean-Up Costs, Temporary Storage Costs

For insurance, government assistance and tax deduction purposes, keep records, as tax deductions apply to repairs. Tax deductions do not apply to improvements and it is important to know the difference

Revise Business Cash Flow

After the occurrence of a disaster it is important for businesses to discuss their financial forecasts with their accountant for the current financial year upcoming financial years.

Tax

Business owners should always work with their accountant to see if any favourable tax adjustments can be made in their next tax return.

If cash is available, a business might qualify to receive a 100 percent tax write-off for equipment to replace depreciating assets which were lost or damaged as a result of the flood.

Your accountant should also be able to liaise with the ATO should extra time be required for tax lodgements and the payment of tax debts as well.

Post Author: Craig Dangar

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