Urgent Help with Money, Food and Bills

We have heard that some bookkeepers have been approached by business owners who have run out of reserves and need urgent help for personal expenses.

Here we provide a list of a few organisations that may assist.

  • Centrelink 13 28 50 – Centrelink can provide emergency payments to eligible people.
  • Salvation Army 13 72 58 – help with vouchers for food, transport, chemist, clothing, utilities and school costs.
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society 13 18 12 – as above.
  • #ViralKindness – community run groups offering support for locals. #ViralKindness is a support hub for community care groups where people in need can search for a group near them. Groups are run by local volunteers, so services offered differ in different areas. Some offer assistance with shopping and so on, other offer exchange of essentials for services.
  • Local councils – contact your local council to see what services they are offering during this time. Many councils have set up a hotline to advise individuals about support services in the area as they continue to try to help seniors, people with a disability or others who are vulnerable. Your council may be able to arrange emergency relief support or refer to local organisations that can help.
  • National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007 – get advice or talk to a professional financial counsellor. Financial counsellors can assist with applying for variation to loans because of hardship. They can also discuss bankruptcy, debt management, gambling problems and analysing personal expenditure. They will refer to other support services as needed, such as Legal Aid.
State Government Emergency Relief Packages
Each state has programs to offer individuals and businesses emergency relief. Visit your state’s webpage for more details.
Remember to look after yourself during this time! We know you want to help your clients in the best way you can, but make sure you reserve some energy and care for yourself. There is a huge amount of information and change to digest, and this takes time, so be kind to yourself and your clients. Help those in urgent need in a way that feels manageable to you, even if that is simply passing on these links.

Help for Small Business Owners and Advisors

If you need extra support during this time, there are excellent free resources for business owners and advisors.

  • Ahead for Business – has separate pages dedicated to business owners and small business advisors.
  • Business owners (including bookkeepers!) can take the Business Stressors Screen survey to gauge how they are managing business stress and get links to other resources based on the results.
  • Ahead for Business also has a self-assessment questionnaire (Mental Health Screen) business owners or you can take, giving you a snapshot of your overall mental health and levels of stress. It also recommends resources to assist you based on your results.
  • Heads up (part of Beyond Blue for workplace mental health) also has separate pages dedicated to small business owners and those who support small business. There is a PDF download you can use to assist you in supporting business owners.
  • Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has My Business Health for those affected by COVID-19, with resources and links to other support agencies.