Checklist for Small Businesses Impacted by Natural Disasters

Many small businesses don’t have a business continuity plan for when natural disasters strike. So here are some practical issues small businesses could consider:

1. Are you OK?
  • Running a business is stressful enough! It is important to reach out to family, friends, advisers and local support groups, see our checklist of handy links.
2. Engage with your workers 
  • Be upfront about the impact of the disaster on your business
  • Check employment and contractor agreements. Can you and your employee agree on reduced hours, or taking Annual leave?
  • Can they be redeployed to other parts of your business? Don’t be afraid to reach out to your Legal advisors, or EMA for advice. This could save you a big headache later on down the track
  • Fringe Benefits Tax concessions may apply for emergency benefits to employees, talk to us about what may be available
  • Check your entitlements (business and personal) – other wage support may be available – keep an eye on WINZ, MSD and the Beehive for developments or check in with us
3. Secure business records, obtaining replacement records if necessary
  • Get your business technology up and running again as quickly as you can
4. Insurance
  • Check current policies for coverage
  • Collate details of losses (photographic evidence helps)
  • Engage with your insurers as soon as you can, as often in these events assessors are under a lot of pressure
  • Seek a second opinion on proposed payouts, any issues? Seek advice from the insurance ombudsman
5. Government emergency grants and community support funds
  • Check your entitlements again! (business and personal) – keep an eye on WINZ, MSD and the Beehive for developments or check in with us, note there may be industry specific support available, that you may qualify for
6. Trading stock, equipment and buildings
  • For insurance, government assistance and tax deduction purposes, keep records of damaged, lost or destroyed trading stock (even if sold for reduced prices), equipment and business buildings
  • Replacement equipment may attract a tax write-off, or have other concessions. Keep good records so we can check this at year end for you
7. Repairs, clean-up costs, temporary storage costs etc
  • For insurance, government assistance and tax deduction purposes, keep records
  • Tax deductions apply to repairs, not improvements generally (there’s a difference), records will help us identify and get the best answer
8. Do you operate from leased business premises?
  • Review what is in your lease agreement – and engage with your landlord on possible rent relief and the timeframe for any necessary repairs to be done
9. Your suppliers
  • Review purchase agreements to determine rights and obligations of both parties
  • Speak to them. Will they accept delayed payment terms?
  • How quickly can they re-supply what’s needed to re-start business operations? Will this affect your trading? If so, it’s a good idea to do some cashflow planning, and look at potential arrangements to cover this, with the IRD, and the bank
10. Your customers
  • Review sale agreements to determine rights and obligations of both parties
  • Develop and implement a communication strategy that conveys your re-start plans and how you’ll help them as they too recover from the disaster
  • Can customers bring forward payment of any amounts owed to your business? Will you be affected by a cashflow lag or bad debts. Again it’s important to do some cashflow planning to get ahead of the issues before your own bills are a problem
  • Enlist customer support as you re-start business (e.g. sales campaigns)
11. Revise business cashflow and business forecasts for the current financial year and subsequent years
  • Be realistic and conservative in your estimates
  • Specialist business recovery advice may be a good investment
  • Put pen to paper, enlist financial support to do this if you need
12. Tax
  • Engage with the relevant tax authorities, or contact us to support you with this
  • Discuss with us any potential tax concessions that may be available to you, this may also include interest and penalty relief, tax payment plans, or filing concessions and extensions of time with IRD
  • Seek deferred tax payment plans if necessary
  • In serious hardship cases, tax debt waiver may also be available

If you need assistance please contact us on 07 885 1022 or email on