Weekly Digest – 20 January 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

NZ Government Extends Pre-Departure Tests to More Travellers

The government has officially made it mandatory for almost every traveller entering New Zealand to present a negative COVID-19 test before they board a plane. The new rules will be implemented starting 11:59pm on Monday, January 25.

Exceptions to this new policy include Australia, Antarctica, and most Pacific Island countries. From February 8, all passengers (except those from exempted countries) arriving in New Zealand without a negative approved test or medical certificate would incur an infringement offence fee or a fine of up to $1,000.

NZ Business Confidence Improves

There was good news from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) Business Confidence Index as the latest Q4 report showed business confidence is on its way up. Although the -6 reading is still in negative territory, it is a massive improvement from -70 in Q1 2020. In fact, the latest figure was the strongest since Q3 2017.

New Zealand has weathered the COVID-19 storm remarkably well and its GDP has returned to pre-pandemic levels. If you’re still struggling to get your business back on track, contact us so we can work out a plan.

Business Finance Guarantee Scheme Open Until June

Business Finance Guarantee loans can help small and medium businesses access credit for cashflow, capital assets and projects related to, responding to or recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.

All New Zealand registered banks and non-bank deposit takers (non-banks) are eligible to apply to join the scheme. Current participants are:

  • Banks: ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Heartland Bank, Kiwibank, TSB, Bank of China and Westpac.
  • Non-banks: Nelson Building Society.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to access credit from either a participating bank or a non-bank, but not both.

If you borrow from a bank, it will determine the amount you can borrow and the length of the term up to a maximum of $5 million payable in five years. Meanwhile, if you borrow from a non-bank, the maximum amount is $3 million payable in five years. More information on eligibility criteria and how it works can be found here.

Applications for Business Finance Guarantee loans are open until 30 June 2021. If you need assistance or have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Small Business Cashflow Scheme Extended Until 2023

The Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme has been extended until 31 December 2023.

Organisations and small to medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

The maximum amount loaned is $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee. The annual interest rate will be 3% beginning from the date of the loan being provided. Interest will not be charged if the loan is fully paid back within 2 years.

You can find out more here, or simply get in touch with us so we can provide our professional assistance.

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of supports available to businesses.

Building Digital Resilience in 2021

Digital resilience gained momentum in 2020, as businesses across industries increased their adoption of digital tools and systems to maintain certain levels of activity amid the pandemic. In this Forbes article, different ways to boost digital resilience were shared including:

  • Build a pipeline of digital initiatives– You can leverage what your business already has or capture and develop new ideas from various sources. Many companies have digital pilots already in place which were previously considered “nice to have”, but upon careful consideration were deemed essential in times of crisis.
  • Invest in a core digital infrastructure– Integrate new digital initiatives with existing IT rules, systems, and capabilities. Keep in mind that digital transformation is an end-to-end process closely tied with back-end business processes and systems.
  • Design for privacy and security– At the height of the pandemic in 2020, over 18 million scam emails per day were spotted by Google. Businesses can be prime targets for attacks such as phishing or malware. You will never predict when you’ll be hit by a cybersecurity crisis, so design an effective cyber resilience plan to mitigate risks.
  • Increase visibility into your supply chain– Digital supply chain management leads to faster response time, working capital reductions, and increases in product availability. While digital supply chains may mean different things to each business, end-to-end visibility of inventory and control can be helpful during a crisis.

Have you yet to embark on your digital transformation? It’s time to get started. If you want to get rid of your traditional spreadsheets and move the accounting side of your business into the cloud, get in touch with us. Aside from making your financial data more accessible and protected, cloud accounting also streamlines processes and can get things done faster.

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