Mark Peters says after more than 40 years as a chartered accountant he’s never seen anything like the impact on businesses of COVID-19 – nor any such response.
The accountancy veteran and second-term district councillor has formed a group of accountants, lawyers and now insurers – the Professional Advisers Group – which is assisting the Council-led TEAM group, coordinating Marlborough’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further support is being provided to businesses by the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and Business Trust Marlborough.
Mark Peters says the Professional Advisers Group, now numbering 7 members, is also along with many of their local colleagues, helping Marlborough firms at favourable rates with issues including employment, tax, insurance and cash flow challenges.
Mark, who is also on the TEAM group, says the Professional Advisers Group is also one of those feeding information into TEAM’s efforts to build a recovery plan.
“This is one strand of a whole raft of initiatives emerging from TEAM, from Council, Marlborough organisations and Government supporting the heart of our recovery - local businesses.”
Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Hans Neilson says almost all of its work these days is supporting businesses through COVID-19. The Chamber swung into action early as the pandemic took hold, issuing regular and even daily updates on Government information and the emerging assistance to businesses.
“The key thing is talking with your bank, accountant, lawyers, landlords, staff, customers and suppliers. Now more than ever is a time to for businesses reach out to their trusted advisors for support and guidance.”
The Chamber is helping explain to Marlborough businesses how to access the Government’s business support package as well as anything emerging from this week’s Budget.
It is also delivering helping local businesses access Government funding for advice with professional advisors.
“This can cover employment & HR, financial & cashflow management, business continuity, marketing and digital enablement strategies or health & wellbeing advice.”
Business Trust Marlborough is also able to refer Marlborough businesses to this funded advice and General Manager Brian Dawson has already connected more than 20 Marlborough firms.
“Our Trust also continues to provide its usual service of one-on-one business mentors and these are in hot demand, mostly to assist with pandemic-related issues.”
Some businesses, such as those not registered for GST, are not eligible for the new Government-funded professional advice.
Mark Peters says that’s why Council will on Thursday consider in a short-term recovery package a proposal to support professional advice to 100 small Marlborough businesses.
“We don’t want any business to feel there is not some support available to them in these challenging times.
“Every one of these businesses that can be assisted through these next weeks and months will keep people in jobs and be better positioned to benefit as the recovery takes hold.”
Hans Neilson, who is representing the Chamber and small-to-medium sized businesses on The Economic Action Marlborough TEAM group, says these SMEs are the key to recovery.
“Companies employing up to 20 people provide most of Marlborough’s jobs. They are our employment engine room and we have to do all we can to keep them stoked.”
The TEAM group will be delivering a first-phase recovery plan later this month and a second recovery plan with a medium term focus later in the year.