Managing small business debts
L-R clockwise: myself, Jacqui Marchment, Sandra Blake, Andrew Moffat and Ellen Choulman
If you’re in small business and struggling with your finances, I encourage you to watch this discussion that I recently facilitated, where panellists talk about practical tools that you can use to help manage your debts.
- Andrew Moffat, VSBC Mediator – Andrew talks about mediation, which can help people in a commercial dispute (e.g. over unpaid services) to resolve their matter impartially and confidentially, without the need for costly litigation
- Sandra Blake, Small Business Financial Counsellor, Financial Counselling Australia – Sandra talks about the Small Business Debt Helpline (1800 413 828), where financial counsellors offer free, independent and confidential advice to small business owners who are in financial difficulty
- Ellen Choulman, Director, Business Engagement and Policy, Australian Banking Association (ABA) – Ellen talks about the ABA website, which offers direct phone numbers to hardship teams at member banks and a financial assistance hub, where you can access guidance on your specific situation (e.g. if you’re worried you can’t make repayments, if you’ve been contacted about missed payments etc.)
- Jacqui Marchment, Assistant Commissioner, Lodge and Pay Solutions Branch, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – Jacqui talks about the ATO’s business supports, which include offering information about the National Tax Clinic program (which helps people who may not be able to afford professional advice and representation with their tax affairs) and options to help small businesses pay their tax debts (e.g. payment plans, additional time to pay etc.).
Asking for help early on
If you’re unsure or dealing with a complex matter, call the ATO. Speaking with them early on helps them to understand your situation and provide tailored advice on your available options. Find out more about how the ATO can provide support in difficult times.
Accessing mental health support
We know that financial strain causes increased stress, which can have significant effects on your mental and emotional wellbeing.
I encourage small business people to access trusted supports including:
- Lifeline (13 11 14), which offers free, 24/7, confidential crisis support for people who are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty coping or staying safe
- NewAccess for Small Business Owners, which is Beyond Blue’s free and confidential mental health coaching program
- Partners in Wellbeing (1300 375 330), which offers small business owners free access to business advisors, financial counsellors and wellbeing coaches who can help.
– Commissioner Lynda McAlary-Smith