Let’s Talk: a podcast about business in the time of Covid-19

17/09/2020 Mazars launches the Let’s Talk podcast, featuring global experts discussing how they have helped clients respond to the impact of the virus and get into shape for what comes next.

The business impact of coronavirus has led to months of uncertainty for organisations as they look to make sense of unprecedented conditions. From reforecasting financial plans to accessing government incentives, securing remote internet connections and planning for the post-pandemic economy, there is practically no area of business that Covid-19 has not affected.

To shed light on how leaders have responded to the crisis, and plan on doing so going forwards, Mazars has launched the Let’s Talk podcast. Each episode features a different Mazars expert discussing how they have worked with clients to navigate the crisis so far. They dive into the business critical issues that clients have come up against and what planning for the long-term looks like.

Go here to listen.

Speaking from Australia, Jamie Towers, Partner, uses his episode to emphasise the importance of balancing the today’s demands with looking to the future. He says, “As a team we are not just helping clients access the government support that is out there but also helping them with issues like cashflow planning, debt negotiations and conversations with landlords and others.”

Adding, “We are moving into the next stage of responding to Covid and its economic impact. In this stage businesses need to prepare cash flow forecasts for what their income might be over the next 12 months at least.”

Gareth Jones, Global Leader for privately owned businesses, says the key is to focus on your team, “Look at your bench strength – the people who are still part of the business. Think about your people – have you got the skills to change the model? Have you got enough people to do it?”

He adds, “Also think about innovating your business model – in hospitality we saw so many quickly pivot in the UK to take advantage of relaxed takeaway rules while also introducing apps for delivery and collection. Those are some positive steps forward that businesses should take with them – digital advancements made real because of the crisis.”

Asked how his clients have been affected, Mark Kennedy, Managing Partner, Ireland, responds, “What we are seeing among major players is a very supportive approach to customers, like forbearance schemes, payment holidays and insurers have even introduced rebates for unused cover… In 12 to 18 months’ time I think we’ll look back and see that there were winners and losers. The winners? Those who changed their business models in response to the emerging long-term trends.”

Brigit Jürgensmann, Partner, advises vigilance when it comes to VAT changes, “As a tax expert, I’ve been responsible for helping clients access the deferrals and measures that the German government has made available. While these will undoubtedly help in the short term, businesses need to remember that the tax authorities are already planning how to make up the shortfall.” Adding, “One of the core measures here was to temporarily decrease the VAT rate. What on paper looks like a great move for customers actually causes a lot of pain for businesses. Brought in at short notice, it throws up a lot of invoicing issues for businesses, which are already struggling given the economic impact of Covid.”

Speaking from France, Frédéric Barat, echoes that advice, underlining that the consequences of Covid are here to stay: The economic priorities are to maintain employment and economic activity… We have to stay close to clients when times get tough. Together we will help businesses access the incentives that help them see the other side and reforecast and plan for the future. The story is far from over – this is just the beginning.”

Podcasts available to listen to now are:

  1. “We’ll look back and say there were winners and losers – winners changed their business models.” Mark Kennedy, Managing Partner, Ireland.
  2. “Just because it was not anticipated, does not mean businesses cannot react effectively.” Frédéric Barat, Partner.
  3. “Stricter tax audits are coming.” Birgit Jürgensmann, Partner.
  4. “Business owners and entrepreneurs always find an opportunity in difficult situations.” Gareth Jones, Global Lead, privately owned businesses.
  5. “Be practical, be dynamic and constantly review business plans.” Jamie Towers, Partner.

You can listen to all the podcasts here .