13 Apr 2020
Preparedness for post lock-down uncertainty to overcome the Financial crisis
On 24 March 2020, India locked its $2.9 trillion economy, closing its businesses and issuing strict stay-at-home. As on 13 April 2020, although not sure, but it is expected that nationwide lock-down may extend for two more weeks, till the end of April 2020. All of us are working from home as much as possible with our limited resources be it manpower, data, information, and most importantly money.
Let’s assume that lock-down unbolts from 1 May 2020, a business entity should be prepared for the next two to three months because all the things which have been deferred during this lock-down period, will become due immediately post lock-down. Business entities will have a very short period to tackle the critical things. Businesses have to re-start their operations afresh.
The impact of COVID-19 faced by business post lock-down is beyond imagination, every industry has their own challenges and hustles. The best we can do during this lock-down period is to prepare our self for post lock-down situation.
We have tried to enumerate, few dos, here below for reference -
Think what precaution should be taken to prevent COVID-19 once the operations resumes, such as:
- Clean and sanitize your work area
- Direction/ advise your team to follow cleanliness, hygiene, social distancing etc.
- Measures to mobilize the labour & workers for production/services
- Accommodation and transportation of workers/ employees
- Avoid personal meetings, do skype, zoom meetings, WhatsApp call or any other digital means
- Avoid travelling as much as possible
Develop a strategy to work from home:
- Start your day with an exercise perk
- Get ready on time as you go for office
- Ensure clarity of work hours, avoid distractions
- Collaborate with you team/ staff, give directions/ advise
- Invest in IT infra at your workplace/home
- Be in touch with your suppliers/ customers regularly
Develop a strategy to overcome the financial crisis:
- Prepare your cash flow for a next 3 to 6 months
- Identify and avoid unnecessary expenses
- Prepare a list of payment which is mandatory/necessary
- Defer payments wherever it is possible through availing Government relief measures to the extent possible such as GST payments, saving payment, Insurance payments, EMIs, etc.
- Try to avoid the debt trap. Try to fund business through own capital, if required.
- One can speak/negotiate with landlords where the premise has been taken on rent. Although one set of views is that lock-down will be considered in “force majeure” but take legal advice before trigger that clause.
- Focus on receivables. Also, identify the customers with whom business has discontinued but have long outstanding.
- Follow up gently with customers, so that the customer can put you on his payment list.
- Look for external assistance to fund business
Carry out COVID 19 impact analysis on your business for the next year
- Prepare your revenue projections
- Revisit your orders in hand/ agreements, there could be a chances that customer may change orders
- Check your fixed nature of expenses, take measures to cut down to the extent possible
- Postpone your expansion plans, to the extent possible
Closure of FY 2019-20:
- Pay attention to your legal compliance such as GST, TDS, PF/ESI, Other labour compliance etc.
- Do your year-end activities on priority. Take help from your advisor/ consultant for smooth and timely closure of FY 2019-2020.
- Take balance confirmation from their customers and/or suppliers.
- Reconciliation of ledger statements to ensure correctness of closing balances
- Reconcile the GST input credit with GSTR-2A and/or supplier ledger
- Conduct audit which is mandatory under various statutes such as Income tax, Companies act, GST Act etc.
Preparation of personal income tax returns (ITRs):
- Personal income tax return also needs to be filed for the previous year 2019-2020.
This spread of COVID-19 has dragged us into uncertainty. The impact of this pandemic is not only in economics and our businesses, but also on our lifestyle. Now, one has to plan for the future from a different vision.