Restructuring specialist Kare Johnstone CA didn't hesitate when asked to share her expertise with New Zealand's CA community.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand had contacted RITANZ (Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association New Zealand) to participate in COVID-19 Sharing Knowledge Webinars and Johnstone, a RITANZ and INSOL board member, put her hand up immediately. It was a way to help and give back to businesses and the wider community in challenging times.
At the time of writing Johnstone, a partner at McGrathNicol, had participated in three of the webinars with more scheduled.
"Businesses in New Zealand are largely SMEs and the bulk had their switch literally turned off in Level 4," she says. "That has had a fundamental impact on business owners: their finances and financial wealth, personal circumstances, and their mental health. In my view COVID-19 has had a wider impact than the GFC."
I specialise in restructuring so if I could assist CAs in professional services and businesses during these challenging times, I was keen to help.
Johnstone found herself in a unique and privileged position when the pandemic hit. "I specialise in restructuring so if I could assist CAs in professional services and businesses during these challenging times, I was keen to help.
"Many businesses small and large were overwhelmed at the beginning of Level 4. The webinars helped CAs get up to speed on the available government packages and impending changes to the Companies Act such as business debt hibernation and the introduction of safe harbouring.
Business owners and management teams are now rolling up their sleeves to move forward as we move out of Level 3 and should avoid knee jerk reactions, says Johnstone.
"We are in crisis management. Ensure you have good quality financial information, in which to base your decisions. Get your financial information up-to-date and ensure it is complete and robust. Prepare financial forecasts to model what your business might look like under various scenarios, including time to recover and assuming lower sales."
The final word from Johnstone is to seek expert advice to ensure you work through all options.
Guidance for companies in financial distress
RITANZ with the support of Chartered Accountants ANZ has published a special guide for accountants in public practiceRead more
Sharing Knowledge Webinar Sessions
Assisting members to navigate the many and continually evolving subsidies, schemes and packages.Read more