Managing Risk In Abnormal Times
05/03/2020 — by Paul Gardner
We are living in a volatile, uncertain and complex world. From a global trade war through to social unrest, a recession and now a Coronavirus, Hong Kong businesses are having to adapt to external influences faster than ever before. What should Hong Kong SMEs be doing today to protect their businesses and ensure long-term survival?
There are a few simple measures that SMEs can take to future-proof their businesses in these abnormal times to ensure continuity and protect their value proposition. Winning new contracts and securing new revenues may be challenging in the current business environment. Retaining customers and minimising lost sales is very important. Now is a good time to review costs and identify potential savings whilst maintaining a high level of customer service. These could include:
- Negotiating with landlords to secure temporary rent reductions
- Review subscription fees and software licences being paid for but not used
- Reducing international travel, making the most of technology for communication
- Reviewing contracts and agreements with suppliers for possible fee reductions and changes of scope
- Reviewing marketing budgets to ensure any spend is effective
- Confirming insurance coverage and seeking competitive quotes
By setting a budget and forecast for the financial year ahead it is possible identify a cost base. It may be difficult to predict revenues but, by identifying a point of break-even, incremental revenue targets can be set to achieve a desired profit margin.
Employing a full-time Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can prove expensive for a small or medium-sized business and you may not have the requirement for a full time professional, especially in these difficult times. That said, you still need an experienced set of eyes to help you grow your business or maintain your position through the current turmoil. For instance, our approach with clients is a flexible arrangement where we work closely with you to become a valuable resource.
Digital transformation and cloud-based accounting solutions
Xero allows you to automate many of the essential, but time-consuming, accounting tasks. With Xero’s help, Fresh can take care of everything for you, so you can get on with what you’re good at. Our mission is to support business growth and we do this with Xero at the helm.
Fresh Accounting is proud to say that we are Asia’s fastest growing Xero specialist and a Platinum Partner. Xero is cloud-based which means you can access your accounts anywhere, from your office to the comfort of your sofa, at home at any-time of the day. There is no need to back-up information or rely on one computer to access your accounting software. The interface is slick, easy to navigate and use. Bank feeds with HSBC, DBS and Hang Seng allow bank information to flow into Xero seamlessly.
There are numerous add-ons to Xero from expense and inventory management to project management, allowing you to build and customise your own integrated cloud based software solutions.
Stay calm and carry on.
Paul Gardner is founder of Fresh Accounting, a dynamic management accounting practice and consultancy with offices in Hong Kong and Singapore. Fresh identifies opportunities and strategies to improve your business and support you in improving performance and profitability. With three distinct services: Monthly accounting services, CFO & Advisory, Implementation of cloud-based accounting solutions.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.