Expert offers a COVID-19 action plan for small Edmonton businesses

A pandemic reopening plan for business
WATCH ABOVE: The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a huge blow to Canadian businesses, with new challenges ahead as the economy reopens. Global News spoke with a business and tax expert for some practical advice on accessing government help and moving into the recovery phase.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shattered everyday business practices, with new challenges to come as the economy reopens.

Kim Drever, MNP‘s regional tax leader for the Edmonton region, offers some practical advice for small business owners.

Immediate Cash Flow

Drever points out the sheer number of government programs can make accessing help an overwhelming task.

“There’s something like 300 different programs that have been announced from coast to coast to coast.”

“These programs are quite a beast to navigate your way through.”

She advises beginning with an immediate need.

“Right away, businesses should be thinking about their cash flow. Do they have enough cash flow to make it through the pandemic?”

Story continues below advertisement

Employee wages make up a large portion of expenses for many businesses. Drever says there are government programs to help.

READ MORE: Almost 10K businesses apply for wage subsidy as applications open

A lot of these programs have been created to ensure that businesses can continue to be tied to their employees and to protect jobs in Canada.

“[For example] the temporary wage subsidy. That’s a 10 per cent subsidy. Every business that can access that should be claiming it. It’s an immediate reduction to your source deductions.”

Recovery phase

Reopening the economy ushers in a new set of challenges for business owners, including the unexpected.

“As we go into the recovery, there’s going to be additional costs that businesses haven’t had before.”

Drever says that will require planning, from costing out how to maintain employee safety to anticipating new customer volume.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Alberta restaurants ask Jason Kenney for clear rules before they reopen during COVID-19 pandemic

“So, when we are able to open, we’re going to have reduced amounts of clientele and we’re going to have additional costs for the safety of our people. So those costs are things that we are going to have to plan for.”

Know your options

While the options may seem overwhelming, Drever lists off just some of the programs businesses may be eligible for.

READ MORE: A 2nd wave of COVID-19? Alberta scientists warn of asymptomatic spread as province reopens

“The Canada emergency business account is a $40,000 interest-free loan. Up to 25 per cent of it can be forgiven. And that’s to help businesses with their non-deferrable operating costs.

“There’s also programs through the Business Development Bank of Canada. There are programs through the EDC…”

READ MORE: Resources for Alberta small businesses struggling through COVID-19 pandemic

We have the 75 per cent Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. That program is helping business that has had a decline in revenue.”