COVID-19 Business Update – 30 July 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and well. Read on for this week’s update.

JobKeeper Changes Coming in September

Last week the PM announced the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme will be extended from September through to March next year, with some changes.

Please be aware there are still plenty of “unknowns” surrounding the next steps, and these changes are yet to be legislated.

JobKeeper 2.0

The next phase of JobKeeper will start at the end of September at a reduced rate of $1200 per fortnight for full-time workers and those working for more than 20 hours per week, from $1500 per fortnight previously. Those working for less than 20 hours a week will receive $750 per fortnight.

JobKeeper 3.0

From 4th January 2021 the payments will further decrease to $1000 per fortnight for full-time workers, and to $650 per fortnight for those working less than 20 hours per week.

Reassessments in October and January

From 28 September 2020, businesses seeking to claim JobKeeper payments will be required to reassess their eligibility for the JobKeeper extension with reference to their actual turnover in the June and September quarters 2020. Businesses will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant continuing decline in turnover test in both of those quarters to be eligible for JobKeeper from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021

Businesses will need to further reassess their eligibility in January 2021 for the period from 4 January to 28 March 2021 and will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant continuing decline in turnover test in each of the previous three quarters to remain eligible for the March 2021 quarter.

It is important to note that these changes are yet to be legislated, which means that they are subject to change. As the finer details become available, we will pass them on. If you need help in evaluating the impact of these changes to your current situation, feel free to contact us for guidance.

Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended

The government is extending the small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. The second phase will kick off on October 1 with the following changes:

  • Loans will be provided for purposes other than working capital;
  • Secured loans (i.e. where collateral is presented) will be permitted in addition to unsecured loans;
  • The maximum loan size will increase four-fold to $1 million, up from $250,000 per borrower;
  • The maximum loan term will increase to five years, up from three years; and
  • Lenders will have additional discretion to offer repayment holidays.

If you need help, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.

Business Optimism

McKinsey & Company’s ongoing research shows that business optimism is increasing. While the business world is plagued with uncertainty at the moment, most sectors are confident consumer demand will return, and have made changes and improvements to adapt in the meantime. This data shows what we all probably know – entrepreneurs tend to be optimists by nature, willing to take risks and are open to change.

Small businesses don’t often have resources or profit margins of large companies to stay afloat and weather economic crises. What they do have is the agility to pivot and adapt when these problems come up. A positive mindset and willingness to adapt well get you far – well done to all for weathering the storm so far.

If you need help in navigating through the current situation or mapping out a post-pandemic strategy, reach out to us so we can help you work out a plan.

Technology tools when working from home

While telecommuting has become more common in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly shifted the landscape into one that demands flexibility and employee autonomy. As companies transition their workforce from on-site to remote or a hybrid of the two, the office of the future might be in your home.

This Forbes article shares valuable tools to help smooth over some common challenges when remote working, as well as boost your efficiency and productivity.

You might want to check out some of the following tools they recommend:

Chat Apps

  • WhatsApp
  • Slack
  • Signal

Video Conferencing

  • Zoom
  • GoToMeeting
  • Skype
  • Google Hangouts

Productivity Apps

  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Basecamp Business
  • Box, Dropbox Business, and Google Drive
  • DocuSign and HelloSign
  • Notarize.com

Additionally, it is important to establish work-from-home protocols and communication best practices for your staff. You’ll want to set clear expectations and boundaries in terms of workday schedules, rethinking urgency and giving prompt replies, as well as doubling down on the grace in the event of unexpected work disruptions. If you need some guidance to keep your business moving through the crisis and beyond, get in touch with us so we can provide personalised advice.

Beware of COVID-19 Scams

Scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to con people into giving their money or confidential personal information. Here are some of the COVID-19 scams to look out for:

  • Scams offering COVID-19 testing, vaccines, or a cure
  • Fake charities
  • “Person in need” scams
  • Scams targeting Social Security benefits

While the reason behind the fraud is new, the tactics are familiar. The best defence is to say No if anyone contacts you asking for your personal information like, bank account or credit card details, or driver’s licence number; someone you don’t know requests money through a payment app or pre-paid gift cards; someone you don’t know sends you a cheque for some reason and asks you to send a portion back; or simply your gut tells you that it is too good to be true or it doesn’t feel right.

It pays to be wary in these situations so please be on the lookout for these scams.

Boosting Your Digital Capabilities

Small businesses across Australia can access individual support to grow their digital capabilities through the Australian Small Business Advisory Services Digital Solutions. This program offers small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time employees and sole traders with high quality advice on a range of digital solutions to meet their business needs at a subsidised rate. More information can be found here.

State grants and support programs

Along with national assistance, each state and territory has announced various grants and assistance packages which you may be eligible for. You can find a roundup of these grants on the Government’s Business website. Alternatively, you can also contact us so we can discuss which options are most suitable for your business.

What’s next?

We’ll keep you updated as we get more news. Now is the time to prepare a budget and cashflow forecast so you’re ready and well prepared for the coming months. You may also like to receive our free business planning tips, sign-up in the form above right.