To all of our valued clients and associates,
The health & wellbeing of our team and clients is at the forefront of our business. The leadership team at Leech & Partners have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closelyover the past few weeks and we have been putting in place measures to allow the continuing operation of our company at this extremely important time for our clients. Our business and our team are in this with you together.
In order to play our part in limiting the spread of COVID-19 we had already made the decision over the weekend to close our physical offices in Ashburton and Christchurch from Monday 23 March 2020 and now following the Prime Minister’s announcement today, that will be in place for at least the next four weeks. However, we are still open for business and our team are all working remotely from their homes and are still able to assist you at this important time for your business.
Our business has planned well for these types of events and is well set up to continue a business as usual position for you. The ways we work with you over the coming weeks may be a little different to what we have all been used to in the past:
- Our essential support service for Payroll continues and those that utilise this service should continue to liaise with the Payroll team in the usual manner. Leech & Partners has already begun assisting clients affected by the effects of COVID-19 with applications for wage subsidies. If your business is directly affected by COVID-19 we encourage you to look into the support packages available and of course your team at Leech & Partners can assist you in this process.
- We are no longer able to meet you in person but are able to arrange tele-conference and video calling for group meetings.
- Our office phone lines have been set to divert to our administration team members operating remotely. They will pass your message on to the team member you wish to speak to and they will call you back. If you have office direct dial numbers for members of our team, these have been diverted to the team member’s personal number for them to take the call.
- If you have posted documents to us recently, our mail bags will continue to be cleared each day. It is likely that over the weeks ahead, any documents you require will be emailed to you if possible.
- If your 2019 income tax returns still require filing with the IRD prior to the 31 March 2020 filing target, it is likely that we will send documents for signing and completed financial statements to you via email. If you have limited printing and scanning capability we ask that you check over the documents and then email us a confirmation that you are happy for the documents to be filed with IRD.
- Our internal policies and procedures around Remote Working will be in force ensuring your information remains confidential to our clients.
Whilst the weeks ahead will no doubt be challenging, we must all play our part in eliminating the risk of spreading COVID-19. The Government’s initial package released will no doubt be revised and extended further as businesses face the weeks/months ahead.
What you should do for your business:
Make contact with your bank to request any relief you might need in the form of holding any principal repayments, overdraft extensions and if possible, Mortgage holidays that are already being discussed at a Government level with the banks.
Review all cost structures and cut as much as possible that is not essential.
Discuss with your staff what your plans are. If your business is directly or will be directly impacted with a 30% reduction in revenue, ensure you apply for the government wage subsidy – the cap previously place on this has been removed.
If staff are required to self-isolate due to exposure to COVID-19 or have contracted COVID-19, apply for the government wage subsidy.
If you have up-coming tax payments, please contact us to make any necessary arrangements. IRD have put in place some initial relief around Use of Money Interest and Penalties. We would expect that further options will be made available in time.
Discuss with your landlord about the possibility of a rent holiday or a reduced rent level.
If you have a franchise business, speak with the franchisor to discuss options around relief they may be able to give your business.
For our farming clients, you will need to ensure you have enough farming supplies to continue your operations for the next four weeks.
Our leadership team will continue to monitor circumstances over the weeks ahead and will keep you informed of any further changes to the operation of our business. Please monitor our Facebook, Website and LinkedIn sites for updates. If you have any questions please make contact with our office to discuss.
Finally, this is a difficult time for many in our community and we wish you and your families all the best as we work through this unprecedented situation together.