Big challenges for microbusinesses during COVID-19
Promoted by Intuit QuickBooks.
For small businesses, a cash reserve can be the key to survival.
- Some clients rely on business turnover for daily expenses.
- There can be a close link between financial wellbeing and mental health.
- Accountants can only support their clients if they take care of themselves.
Cashflow king through COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to put businesses to the test, many are relying on their cash reserves for survival.
“We’ve all heard that we should save for a rainy day,” says Emma Fabbro of Adelaide-based Fusion Accountants. “I think we can safely say the rainy day is here.”
Emma specialises in accounting for microbusinesses and, while cashflow is critical for businesses of all sizes, it can have a rapid and devastating impact on those at the small end of the scale.
“If you’re relying on your business turnover to pay the mortgage and feed your family, you can find yourself in a critical situation very quickly,” she says.
As a sole practitioner herself, she understands her clients’ anxiety.
“I had to take a close look at my own cashflow,” she says. “I needed to reassure myself that I could keep going and meet all of my own obligations if some of my clients weren’t able to pay me.”
Emma has always urged her clients to meet their reporting obligations.
“Intuit QuickBooks makes it easy,” she says. “This was critical during pandemic as you could only qualify for the various government grants and stimulus packages if reporting was up to date.”
An unexpected role
Like many other accountants and bookkeepers, Emma was often the first point of contact for worried clients.
“I was getting phone call after phone call from clients wanting to know what they should do,” she says. “I often found myself acting more like a counsellor.”
She sees a close link between people's financial wellbeing and their mental health.
“I actually did my mental health first aid training last year – twice!” she says. “We have more freedom in South Australia than in some other parts of Australia at the moment but I do have clients in the worst-affected eastern states.”
The training also taught her to take care of herself.
“One of the biggest problems for accountants is that we’re used to fixing things – making everything add up and balance,” she says. “I’ve had to accept that not everything can be fixed, that I don’t have all the answers and that, sometimes, clients aren’t even looking for solutions, they just want an opportunity to vent. Though it hasn’t been all one-sided – a lot of my clients have also been very supportive and grateful for my help. But I still turn off my phone at 8pm every night and all day on Sundays to give myself a break.”
Looking to the future
Emma believes she’ll be helping her clients to navigate COVID-19 for some time.
“I tell them that, if they’ve survived 18 months of a global pandemic, they’ve got a suit of armour to protect them when they face any future challenges,” she says. “I continue to stress the importance of managing their cashflow and staying up to date with reporting. And I also remind them – as I keep reminding myself – that it’s even more important to care of your own wellbeing.”