From the desk of Alliott Group APAC Chair, Vanessa Williams
At the time of writing the last APAC update, our team was back in the office and things were finally getting back to normal.
Retail in NZ had a mini boom, people were spending again, restaurants were full and then just like that on 12th August Auckland went to COVID-19 Alert Level 3. Once more we were working remotely. Now we are back in the office (hopefully for the long term) and it’s just months away from Christmas. What a year it’s been!
On a positive note, it’s been enlightening to see our clients’ response throughout.
For those who had to close their doors, Government wages subsidies certainly kept many afloat. But for some businesses it has also meant they have had to find new revenue streams. In some cases, this involved a “focus shift“ in terms of product or service. Examples of this from our own clients have been using leftover fabric to make facemasks, virtual store tours and appointments to sell clothing, restaurants doing take away meals and deliveries and digitisation of services.
In NZ we have seen alcohol distillers making hand sanitiser, a rental car company turning into a personalised grocery shopping service and a skylight and roof manufacturer making face shields. A forced innovation that has in some cases led to a permanent addition to their businesses. Certainly, an advantage many SME businesses have is the ability to be agile and adaptable.
With the new year around the corner (and hopefully a vaccine) it begs the questions what will the next 12 months bring?
We have watched several webinars from bank economists and their consistent message is “uncertainty”. We are officially in recession in NZ and government debt is forecasted to be at 28% of GDP by the end of the year and estimated to grow to 53% by 2024. NZ certainly has contained COVID-19 but at a high economic cost. Many countries are similar. As accountants, it is an important reminder we need to be at our best to help our clients navigate the choppy waters ahead.
We are also seeing more cross border business opportunities both in and out of NZ. Clients are actively looking at new markets. This is where the Alliott Global Alliance becomes extremely helpful. Being able to have trusted members all over the world to call upon for advice gives us a distinct advantage. A reminder: in Asia Pacific alone we have 31 Alliott Global members in 32 cities in our region and worldwide we have 185 members in over 80 different countries.
Finally, to you all, stay well, stay focused and let’s stay connected.Copyright 2020. @AlliottNZ Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors Auckland New Zealand