Tips for business continuity during COVID-19 outbreak
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is escalating around the world and here in Australia. The Australian Government has announced a range of action plans to contain the spread of coronavirus and this week it is expected that an economic stimulus plan will be released to lessen the impact of the financial fallout from this crisis. The FPA has been liaising with the government to consider the readiness of the financial planning profession to plan and implement strategies to manage coronavirus impacts.
Up until now the industries most affected include travel, tourism and supply chain providers, however, as the disease spreads professional services businesses are increasingly becoming impacted as well. Considering the level of human interaction in the financial planning profession, whether that be within a licensee, related business or in a practice dealing directly with its clients, our profession is particularly exposed to the risks of coronavirus and we encourage you to be on the front foot to address the circumstances.
It is timely now for financial planning, licensee and related businesses to review and have ready their business continuity plans and for those entities that may not have one, you may wish to develop an immediate response plan.
Tips for financial planning related businesses to prepare for the business implications of coronavirus:
1. Accurate information is paramount. The government has a coronavirus information resource available, which include a specific fact sheet for employers available.
2. Take immediate steps to reduce the risk of you, your staff and your clients being exposed to someone that may be infected, including being ultra-vigilant about personal hygiene.
3. Assess how your business may be impacted operationally and financially and develop some mitigation strategies – revising budgets and business plans may be necessary and having a plan in place for employee to work remotely
4. Talk with all of your stakeholders and suppliers who are most likely wanting to collaborate and work together with you to get through this issue
5. Look at the various government support programs and stimulus packages that will shortly be announced – the focus will be on keeping small businesses going so we expect these packages to be relevant to financial planning and related businesses and practices
6. Seek professional help where required, including from the FPA Wellbeing service available.
More information is available on the Australian Department of Health website.
The FPA has provided more resources and advice, as well as an update on FPA services and events to support FPA members through this challenging time here.