Throughout the covid-19 pandemic, Australian small businesses have sought the advice of accountants and bookkeepers to help overcome the many challenges they have been dealt with during one of the most unpredictable times of human history.
Recent research illustrates that $36.4 billion was injected into the small business sector through grants, investment guidance, or other forms of financial advice provided by bookkeepers and accountants over the past 12 months.
Small businesses are estimated to have made a further $8.9 billion in savings over the same period as a consequence of the recommendations presented to them by their advisers in relation to debt consolidation, retirement planning, budgeting, taxes, and how to cut costs on financial products.
Close to 80 percent of small business leaders surveyed believe that their financial adviser played an important role in securing government support to assist with overcoming the challenges of the covid-19. 67 percent believed that their advisers helped small businesses retain staff.
Furthermore, accountants and bookkeepers also gave more than just financial advice, one in two businesses approached their advisers for emotional support in the form of having “a shoulder to cry on” and also offering them “moral support and encouragement”.
On top of helping with emotional support and earns, the results of the survey found that advisers saved more than two thirds of small businesses an average of 20 hours a month. This is a total of more than 16,000 hours saved across the entire small business sector.
Over the past 12 months, advisers have continued to demonstrate how committed they are to supporting and encouraging local business communities. The advisers have not just helped businesses rebuild and thrive, but also helped teach them the importance of becoming more resilient and the value of having a strong team behind and the benefits of seeking outside support, counsel and advice.
Last year the accounting industry was faced with immense pressures and workloads that the industry’s peak bodies in May 2020 each expressed concerns for the physical and mental health of their members.
Regardless of the federal government’s hallmark stimulus package, JobKeeper which supported around 1 million businesses at the height of the program, the cash-flow boost measure, and early access to superannuation measure, the profession felt pressures of colossal proportions.
In the most extreme cases, practitioners were working for 12 to 14 hours a day. Due to the state of the world and the financial challenges Australian business owners were facing, accountants didn’t want to let their clients down. As a result of their dedication to their job many practitioners put their health aside for their clients.
Accountants are continuing to suffer from a Covid-19 hangover, as many practitioners are still yet to work through a backlog of issues from clients which built up during the peak of the pandemic.
As a result of this the Institute of Public Accountants is currently weighing up an option to call on the Australian Tax Office to apply blanket lodgement deferrals this year, after feedback from practitioners revealed that they are continuing to fall behind on lodgements following an intense year that saw the profession relied on heavily on the economic front lines.
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