Tropic Now sits down with Shaun Donaldson from Halpin Partners to talk business support during the COVID-19 crisis.
What has been the focus for Halpin Partners over the past couple of months during the COVID-19 crisis?
Our initial focus was the health and safety of our team and making sure we could effectively work from home to continue to support our clients and each other.
Our thoughts then turned to our clients and helping them out with whatever they need.
For some that meant getting loans and cashflow support, for some accessing JobKeeper and other COVID-19 support. A lot of the support was emotional as well, just talking to people and being a shoulder to lean on during these incredibly tough times.
What is some of the general advice you've been giving clients experiencing the downturn?
Know your personal and business financial positions, margins, weekly expenditure, core operating costs, and commitments because without good information you cannot make good decisions. Cash is king, so clients need to know how much cash they have and if their reserves are short act as quickly as possible to rectify this. This advice will be more important as businesses reopen, government support falls away and deferred debt starts becoming payable. Just because a business makes it through the lockdown doesn’t mean you will make it long term.
Tell us about the website you launched to provide advice for business owners...
Darren Halpin and I both felt many businesses were suffering information overload and struggling to absorb information during times of high anxiety and we wanted as many Cairns businesses to access support as possible so we would have a strong local economy going forward. After discussions with industry and other groups it was decided the video series was the best way to keep people up to date with what support was available.
What are your thoughts on the economic recovery for the region?
I like to be positive but the reality is no-one really knows what the future will look like, particularly not in the short term. A glass half full view sees strong population growth on the back of our low-density living and opportunities in expanding sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and businesses connected to the Cairns Marine Precinct. The glass half empty view shows a region struggling with high unemployment as tourism and education sectors struggle.
Ultimately our economic recovery will depend on re-opening our economy with workable health measures, creating consumer confidence so people again start spending money and feel safe to travel and ensuring we do not have any large coronavirus outbreaks.
Learn more about Halpin Partners Accountants here or give them a call at 4030 2800