COVID-19 Business Update – 25 November 2020
Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s updates and some ideas that will help us all overcome this crisis.
Australia Opens Up More Borders in Domestic Travel
Australia will lift more internal state border restrictions in a boost for tourism as new COVID-19 cases slow to a trickle, while the first vaccines could be available in March.
Queensland will allow visitors next week from New South Wales and Victoria, after closing its borders in August. Meanwhile, NSW will ease restrictions on arrivals from Sydney on December 1 and will allow restaurants, pubs, and cafes to increase capacity.
NSW and Victoria opened their border on Monday, while the South Australia-Victorian border opens fully next week.
Imports Bounce Back, Trade Surplus Shrinks to $4.84 Billion in October
According to recent data, imports of goods for October 2020 increased 8% or $1.98 billion, while exports rose 6% or $1.80 billion. With this, trade surplus for October declined to $4.84 billion.
Victoria to Spend $196 Million on Simplifying State IT Services
The Victorian government has pledged just shy of $196 million to establish Digital Victoria in a bid to centralise and simplify the state’s IT services. This includes $7.5 million for Cyber Safe Victoria to bolster the state’s cybersecurity and $5.2 million for digitising business licensing through Service Victoria.
This sizable investment will include the development and operation of free-to-use digital solutions for businesses to help them comply with COVID-19 recordkeeping requirements. Also, a dedicated team will be established to slash red tape and help businesses navigate the simplified system.
Australian Shares at Near 9-Month High
Australian shares hit their highest level in almost nine months on Tuesday, led by energy stocks. This comes on the back of news regarding the positive developments of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
Financial Help and Free Mentorship For Online Businesses
Micro and small business operators can get financial assistance and free mentoring through a government-funded programme called New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).
New entrepreneurs can access free mentoring for the first 12 months of participation in the program and receive financial assistance for up to the first 39 weeks of business operation.
Existing micro-businesses impacted by COVID-19 can access NEIS if they need help to keep their businesses running.
Also, people with part-time contracts, who are working up to 25 hours per week, can access NEIS if they are looking to start their own business.
You can learn more about this government assistance here. Alternatively, you can contact us so we can also help you evaluate other funding and business support options you may be eligible for.
Employers May Need to Give Employees More Super Choices
A change to the law means that you may need to offer employees more choice in relation to the super fund that you pay their compulsory superannuation contributions to.
All workplace determinations and enterprise agreements made on or after 1 January 2021 must give employees the right to choose their super fund.
Once a new determination or agreement is in place, you’ll need to give a Superannuation standard choice form to:
- existing employees who request to choose their super fund
- all new employees.
You must then pay employees’ compulsory super to their nominated fund. We will keep you informed of the updates but please feel free to chat to us if you have any questions.
Upcoming Key Date
Please keep in mind this deadline:
- 30 November 2020 – September quarter SG charge statement due
Missed or unpaid super amounts?
Business downturn due to COVID-19 may be affecting your business and you may have missed, or not paid in full, regular payments.
This includes your employees’ super guarantee (SG) for the quarter ended 30 September 2020.
By law, the ATO can’t extend the due date to pay super.
To meet your obligations, lodge a Superannuation guarantee charge statement by 28 November 2020, even if you can’t pay in full. Doing this will mean you avoid penalties and we can work with you to set up a payment plan that suits your circumstances.
You can find more information from the ATO here, but please contact us if you need any help
Business Growth Fund Launched
The government-backed Australian Business Growth Fund has launched to ensure small- and medium-sized businesses have access to equity finance, as the country recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.
Initially, the Australian Business Growth Fund will have an initial investment capacity of $540 million, with a goal to grow the fund to $1 billion.
The government is making a $100-million investment, while major banks including ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac have also committed $100 million each.
The fund will allow Australian businesses to apply for long-term equity capital investments between $5 million and $15 million, where they have generated annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million and can demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability.
If you need help in assessing your eligibility or to consider other financing options, don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance.
Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended
The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.
FREE Team Collaboration Tools for Small Businesses
As remote work arrangements have become far more common than ever, team collaboration and communication tools have become necessary to keep the work running smoothly. If you are looking to cut down on your monthly expenses, below are some FREE tools that can help.
Best Tools for Chat
Slack sorts out team communication into various messaging channels so everyone can stay in the loop. Its free plan will give you access to unlimited messages, video calls, and channels.
A great alternative to Slack, Flock makes it easy for your team to stay in touch. The free version comes with unlimited one-on-one and group messages, 5GB of storage for each member, and access to up to 10 different channels.
Initially exclusive for companies with Office 365 subscription, Microsoft Teams now has a free plan for small businesses and startups. It is free for up to 300 users, offers unlimited messages and channels, and can integrate with over 140 different popular apps.
Best Tools for Video Conferencing
Currently the most popular video conferencing app today, Zoom offers video and private chat options, screen-sharing capabilities, and private chat options. The free plan allows up to 100 participants, unlimited one-on-one meetings, and group meetings limited to 40 minutes.
RingCentral is also a reliable way to host video and audio calls. You can also share screens, record meetings, unlimited one-on-one calls, engage in group or private text chats, and group calls limited to 40 minutes.
Also a widely used video conferencing tool, Skype provides audio and HD video calls, public and private chats, group calls for up to 25 participants, and screen sharing. What makes Skype unique is its voice translator which supports 10 different languages.
Best Tools for Project Management and File Sharing
Google Drive allows you to collaborate with your team over documents in real time. Signing up to Google Drive also allows you to gain access to Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
An all in one project management tool, Trello boards let you manage every aspect of a project from start to end. Users can assign tasks, due dates, tag other users in comments, share documents, and create built-in workflows.
One of the best apps for assigning tasks, staying on top of your team’s progress, and improving team communication, Asana is free for up to 15 team members.
Need more expert business advice and tips? Get in touch with us for a FREE one-on-one consultation!
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