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  • Straight from the source – February 2021

    Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?

    Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne?

    For auld lang syne, my jo for auld lang syne

    we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet for auld lang syne.

    Happy New Year. I hope you welcomed 2021 with as much anticipation as I did.

    I brought in the new year in a somewhat quiet and demure Melbourne CBD humming (Ok, singing….) Auld lang syne. As we watched the sole river boat floating quietly down the Yarra River without anyone on board due to COVID-19, I anticipated what 2021 would bring.

    As an optimist, I see so many possibilities; however, as a realist I understand too well the toll the pandemic has had not only on us in Australia but on our families, friends and colleagues abroad.

    There are many articles floating about heralding a new era; transformational opportunities; learning from what we have done well and institutionalising a new normal. Sounds fabulous for me who thrives on change. So why isn’t everyone excited?

    Talking with friends who run businesses, 2020 was tough and 2021 is going to be even harder. Staying afloat, community confidence, discretionary spending, upskilling, trading differently, workforce management are all priorities and challenges. Most understand the need to re-think strategies, but this can be overwhelming when you are just trying to survive.

    In December I met with Danielle Snelling, co-founder of Motherless Daughters Australia (MDA), a specifically listed not-for-profit organisation that supports and connects women and girls whose mothers have died. Danielle outlined her aspirations for MDA. Whilst MDA has grown phenomenally with over 4000 members, there are still over 1.2 million women and children who are not connected. Having just started MDA, Danielle and I discussed the importance of strategic planning, business viability and connecting with the broader NFP community.

    Similarly, we have spoken to many NFPs who are finding the current environment challenging. For a sector that relies on donations and volunteers, COVID-19 has really changed the way NFPs engage with the community and how they provide services and support. The consensus is clear; consumers have systemically moved online, therefore if you want to reach consumers, you will need to make your way there too.

    But it’s not just about going online and creating a digital presence, it’s about being able to provide a service in a different way. I am reminded about the advice we provide small business and not-for-profits in helping them get the right support so they can thrive and meet all their obligations. It all comes down to planning and business viability.

    In November 2020 the ATO launched the Digital Cash Flow Coaching Kit. The kit allows business advisors to work with clients to improve cash flow management. However, the kit can also be used for self-directed learning.

    The kit is a particularly useful tool in times of financial stress, as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 and natural disasters, to make critical decisions about business viability and plan ahead to survive.

    The kit has three phases: Discover, Apply and Plan & Action. In each phase the kit focuses on four key questions around profit, provisioning, liquidity and goals. Answering these questions can help your not-for-profit build a solid foundation for stronger cash flow management so that you can grow and diversify as appropriate.

    Information on the kit, including ‘how to’ videos, is available on our website at Cash Flow Coaching Kit. The kit is available as:

    Will 2021 mark the dawn of a new era for you? This question should be at the centre of all we do going forward. It is the question by which we will be judged by future generations.

    I encourage all not-for-profits to invest time in thinking about positioning for the future and what you need to do differently.

    From within the ATO, we stand together with the not-for-profit sector in helping you move forward. We are committed to providing support to those who need help with their tax and super obligations and entitlements during difficult times.

    Remember be kind to yourself and others for auld lang syne…

    Jennifer

    Last modified: 02 Feb 2021QC 64633