Facebook Live Video:
The live presentation was on Thursday the 5th of November 2020 at 18h00 on Facebook.
Good Evening Everyone
Welcome to this Facebook Live Presentation on Financial recovery from COVID-19, and this is applicable to both businesses and individuals.
My name is Jasper Madziva and I am a proud member of UC Accountants.
UC Accountants is a new era professional services organization. We are a professional services firm, whose service revolves around accounting, advisory, payroll and tax services. So apart from offering an efficient and professional services, I believe we are a game changer for the fact that we offer passion, passion in the work that we do, passion in the growth of our clients. Seeing them succeed, them becoming competitive and thereby becoming sustainable to the future.
So, without further ado, I want us to get to the crux of the matter. The crux of the matter lies in clients feedback revolving around survival tips for businesses, individuals during National Lockdown.
Not too long ago, I had a client, his businesses in construction and engineering sector. He came to me and said Jasper look we are very happy with how you guys keep us compliant, how you guys do our books, and taxes and the like. But what gives me sleepless nights at the moment is not knowing if I am going to survive.
Am I going to be able to pay my employees tomorrow? Am I going to be able to pay the bills? So this is the phase which we are currently occupying where we want to put on gloves and gumboots and go deep into the trenches with our clients to make sure that they survive and come out better than before, as far as COVID-19 era is concerned.
So, after sitting down with the team, we have come up with four presentations. These presentations are supposed to form part of our advisory service in terms of telling clients, how to survive and thrive from COVID-19.
So, the first presentation is the one that we are going through today, which talks about tax objections and debt relief.
The second one is going to be focusing on strategies for boosting revenues for SME’s. As you know our niche is SME’s and watching them grow from strength to strength.
The third one is going to be focusing on cost cutting methods because I am sure you have noticed that, thanks to COVID-19, we have picked up that certain expenses just actually are not necessary. Why did we incur all these expenses? Let us keep the main thing, the main thing. So that advisory service is something I am looking forward to, I cannot wait for that presentation.
The last one we will be focusing on, the fourth presentation which we will communicate the dates later on, is the sourcing of working capital finance and how to maximize on these loans.
Why is working capital finance important? Because working capital finance talks. Let me take a step back with SME’s, we always tend to get it wrong, when its one of the stages in the working capital finance applications. Its not the actual application procedure that we get wrong. We tend to get it wrong in the use of these funds.
So, we want to advise our clients in making sure that paperwork is correct going in, does it meet that specific need which they have and can they meet those interest payments. Most importantly, can you make profit using those funds.
That is the main topic for today, tax objections and debt relief.
Why on Earth is tax objections such a critical issue you might be thinking? How does this link Jasper to the matter of coming out alive or thriving from COVID-19?
Tax objections speak to cash flow management. Cash flow management is the difference between survival and going under. If we do not get this game plan right, there is just no means of survival for SME’s. To give it a broader context, the South African Revenue Services at the present moment is under pressure to make sure that they collect as much tax as they can, from businesses and individuals. Why? We have just undergone COVID-19, businesses closing, people becoming unemployed.
So, the fiscal targets right now are very difficult to meet. The next question is, when fiscal targets are difficult to meet, who tends to be the biggest loser. The biggest loser is, yes you guessed right, it is the Small to Medium Enterprises. Why are they the biggest losers when SARS gets aggressive in tax collections? Because SME’s ordinarily do not have in house expertise on how to ensure that their assessments are fair when it comes to SARS, dealing with fights with SARS. Do they have the know how to legally go about objections and fair assessments? So basically, as UC Accountants we’re here to ensure that you are assessed in the fairest manner possible, and whenever you feel that you’ve been adjudicated unfairly, we will assist you with this objection process.
Why do you need us in this process, or someone of similar vision? It is simply because this process is highly complex. I am going to point out soon, why this process is highly complex. But just to let you know, it is governed by, Section 3 of the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011. Which is commonly referred to as the “TAA”. Now just to give you a broad overview of what this process entails.
What I’m about to give you is the most basic, so if we’re living in a perfect world and nothing complex comes through, the objection process looks like this and even in its most basic form, it is complex.
Individual or a business will go on to submit their tax return, upon submitting their tax return, this is Stage 1. In Stage 2 upon submitting their tax return, SARS will issue an assessment and this assessment, they will say ‘hey listen, you owe me this much money and then you will take a look as the taxpayer and say okay, I think its high or I think it’s fair’.
But having done this, SARS is supposed to and keyword there being ‘supposed’ to furnish you with what we call a grounds for assessments. The grounds for assessment are the basis of which SARS concluded your return.
If SARS did not offer a grounds for assessments, you as a taxpayer have a 30-day period to request for one. It is within your right. I am just going to pause there. From experience, I have come across many incidents with clients. The fact that not too long ago, I had a client who came through, knocked on our door and they came through and gave us an overview of their tax profile. So, SARS is not this perfect, well-oiled machine. They are making errors; they are violating the same act they are supposed to be held accountable for. So, it is important that you are armed with knowledgeable people, who know how SARS is supposed to conduct themselves when they are dealing with you.
Or else you’re going to fall victim to and being in a similar situation as what these clients have dealt with where they are going to have to fork out money, despite SARS having violated what is supposed to be a procedural obligation.
So, moving onto Stage 4, if SARS did not offer grounds for assessments, the taxpayer has 30 days to request for this assessment, to request these grounds for assessment or the basis. SARS has a legal obligation. So, if they violate that legal obligation, the process that we will be conducting is to make sure that, you are fairly treated. Upon getting this basic form SARS, what we call the grounds for assessments, you as the taxpayer have 30 days to go on and lodge your objection.
So, everything I have spoken about so far is before you actually submit your objection, so things get complicated before the complicated stuff even starts. So, this is why you should always be armed with people who are knowledgeable in this field.
Stage 6, as I like to call it, is the most crucial one. The actual filling of the objection, when you say to SARS, I need my cash back, or I feel you have withheld money from me unfairly. So, supporting documentation will be given this regard and submitted to SARS. So, having gone through this slide, let us take a step back.
Why are we as UC Accountants bringing your attention to this process, bringing your attention to objections as a means of controlling the cashflow. Your dealings with SARS always have to be fair. There are other things in the world which are going to make sure that your cashflow gets dented. But we are coming across too many SME’s, whose cashflows are adversely affected simply because the South African Revenue Services has not treated them accordingly. Two hundred thousand rand to a small businessowner, if it is withheld or taken from them unfairly, has got a very big impact. So apart from just helping businesses become compliant. We passionately feel that disadvantaging small business in this regard and individuals has got a detrimental effect on the economy.
So, we at UCA are coming into this space pretty aggressively and making sure you stay compliant and you get what is yours.
Now, moving onto the second phase of this presentation. We want to talk about debt relief. People do not talk about how they are two things which are certainly debt and taxes, but I will add a third one for SME’s. For SME’s debt, taxes and interest, because of the times SME’s have to be borrowing, upon borrowing money you need to make sure that you make sure that these interest payments and/or capital payments are met at the time its supposed to be met. In most cases its monthly.
So why do you want to focus on debt relief as a tool to help you remain compliant, to help you to survive and thrive in COVID-19, because you need to breathe. When faced with a pandemic such as this one, we are supposed to take a step back, to interact with whoever has lent you money and say ‘look I’m in a tight position I understand I owe you money but for the survival of my business we need to structure ways where I get some form of debt relief in order to continue.
So, just to let you know, a quick overview of what we do. We will come in and we will assess your debt profile, we will see how your debt profile is matching your performance. It makes no sense for you to be paying millions of Rands in interest, when you are only making hundreds of thousands, we will enter into credit negotiations. Because let us remember one thing. Everyone is aware of what is going on, and there is a human aspect and a relation aspect that we need to deal with.
So, we will assist in the negotiating with your creditors to revise the terms, and to restructure, credit agreements that you have in place.
While we are on that line of, on that issue of credit. I am going to go into a few do’s and don’ts, but it is very important that you remember that the person who lent you money is a human being just like yourself. I always emphasise to the clients that the bank, in as much as it has got a very massive name and reputation, is still driven by human beings like you and me. People who eat food and drink water just like you, breathe the same air we all breathe. It is of paramount importance that we get into the habit, especially SME’s of picking up the phone and talking to our bankers and explain the situation as it is, with the intention of devising a plan which helps your business thrive.
One thing is important to note only lender would rather have you alive or in business that out of business than out of business, it is pretty simple right. Because when you are in business, they get their interest. But when you are out, what is the point? So, your survival is within their interest. So, once you understand that you will be very confident opening up communication channels.
So, going onto the issue of debt relief things to do, I did talk about opening communication lines with your lenders or your investors. You need to make sure that, that communication line is open, it is honest, and it is frequent. Talk to your banks and lenders early and often.
And the second’s going to sound pretty complicated. We put; this actually reminds me of a story we had with a client recently. This client we were assisting them with debt relief. Upon requesting contractual agreements that they have for their debts. We picked up that this client actually has credit insurance in place. You should check, check the fine print to see if you have got some form of insurance for the loan that you took out, remember during the time we signed these agreements. Whether its for a car, a home or even working capital finance.
The excitement tends to get the better of us. And once that excitement gets the better of us, we do not check the fine print to see whether we are paying for additional service rated insurance. It is very important to check. Cause once that is in place. It automatically means you could be covered for loss of income, death, or disability. So, we will go through that and check and if you are one of our clients or prospective clients, we will help you do that check as well.
Breathe, and consider taking a payment holiday. As they say, rest, rest, rest. So, most banks and even government institutions have offered payment holidays for clients especially during this pandemic time. Knowledge is power, you need to know when you qualify for a payment holiday and you can take this time to go and focus on key operations maybe paying your employees, they will drive the operation and allow you in a few months’ time, three months in most cases to come back and tend to interest, which are interest payments on loans.
The last two aspects I am going to talk about relates to behavioural aspects which I see way too many times in the SME space, and it just has to stop.
Its that simple as SME’s we need to stop this behaviour. First thing is we have a tendency of simply stopping to pay our bills, that is the best way to shoot yourself in the foot. You need to consistently pay your bills and like I said if the cash is not available, interaction and stop gap measures through communication is what you should implement. Because the minute you do not communicate the fact that you stopped paying bills you are automatically breached of a contractual obligation you signed. You signed the dotted line, you said I want this money and I will pay every month. So, the bank has every right to chase you and possess your car or your house and whatever it is.
Why should you never stop paying your bills at all? Because it protects your credit health, your credit health, or your credit score is something of paramount importance especially if you are in the SME space. Why do you need to protect it, after COVID-19 is behind us or at least the pandemic effects are behind us? You are going to want to expand your business, in two- or three-years’ time. The first thing you probably might look for in that time is finance of some sort. A loan, do you want to be applying for a loan with a bad credit score or with a good credit score. Because if you apply with a bad credit score, you are applying for expensive money.
So you are shooting yourself in the foot for the next 20 years because of the bad moves you made in these next three years, so it is important for us to be strategic thinkers, who think ahead, with the importance of leaving a legacy behind.
Always forming businesses that outlive you, that is what we at UCA are here to do.
Just to give you a bit more UC Accountants, these are our social media platforms.
We are on Instagram (@ucaccountants), Twitter (UC Accountants), Facebook (UC Accountants), LinkedIn (UC Accountants), Web Address (www.ucaccountants.co.za)
On these platforms, you will also come across insights that we share. We did talk about COVID-19 and the impact it has had on businesses. There is an article which was shared by our CEO its there on our insights page, where it talks about accountants such as ourselves, and how we are assisting small businesses. Very interesting read. And many more.
It has an absolute pleasure engaging with you all, and once again thank you for your time. I really look forward to seeing you in the next insert of these hopefully insightful programs. My name is Jasper Madziva and I would like to wish you all a good night.