Date posted: 31/07/2020 5 min read

Aug-Sep 2020 issue of Acuity magazine is here

We share tips on building resilience and look at how different industry sectors are faring in these uncertain COVID times.

In Brief

  • The Aug-Sep 2020 issue of Acuity will be in letterboxes from 3 August.
  • It has interviews with the “Jedi of valuations” Aswath Damodaran, CA ANZ’s new chief executive Ainslie van Onselen and THE ICONIC’s chief operating office Anna Lee CA.
  • The issue includes a special feature on how different industry sectors are coping in the COVID crisis.

Businesses are facing unpredictable times. Back in May, there was optimistic talk of setting up a quarantine-free, trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand by September. But that’s now disappeared.

A COVID-19 surge in Victoria in July – 723 new cases were added on 30 July – has seen new restrictions on Australia’s internal borders. Melbourne is in lockdown again, and authorities in New South Wales are playing whack-a-mole to keep the virus contained.

Although New Zealand and more than half of the Australian continent are effectively COVID-free, Australia’s two most populous states are still ducking and weaving around the virus. It shows how quickly the landscape can change. And it shows why there won’t be a ‘snap back’ to normal in September.

Beware the zombie apocalypse

In our Aug-Sep 2020 issue of Acuity, we ask CAs and experts in different industry sectors how they and their clients are navigating this uncertainty. Arts, tourism, travel, retail and the cafe sector aren’t expected to get back to pre-COVID levels until the start of 2022, and the road ahead has potholes.

Although government-backed wage subsidies and low-interest loans have been a life support for businesses, there has been a downside. Badly performing businesses that should have been closed or restructured have been limping on, like a mob of zombies shuffling towards a cliff.

John Winter, CEO of the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA), expects a wave of insolvencies at the end of this year as a result of the removal of government support and insolvent trading protections. Another wave is likely in the first half of next year, as businesses holding on for a Christmas rush may not get it.

And some of these businesses will burn their creditors – including, potentially, their accountants.

Politics as unusual

The role of government and politicians has loomed large during this crisis. With New Zealanders heading to a general election on 17 October (delayed from its original 19 September date after Auckland’s COVID outbreak), our NZ issue of Acuity takes the pulse of what CAs want to see from their political leaders.

We also get big picture outlines from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the opposition National Party on their priorities. (The magazine was literally on the printing press a few hours before Judith Collins was announced as the new National Party leader, so we’ll be contacting her for further comment.)

Our Australian edition has Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on the cover, in an exclusive photo shoot for Acuity. Inside, we look at the mood for reshaping the tax system. Although Frydenberg and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have said they’re not about to enact a shopping list of reforms there’s ample evidence that the current system isn’t working.

Why resilience is your best new skill

In this whirl of change, two personal characteristics are vital: kindness and resilience. The good news is that resilience, that ability to bounce back from adversity, is a skill that can be learned.

Acuity talks to CAs about their own experience in building resilience and shares useful tips from experts in the field.

Josh Hickford CA, a cancer survivor who features on the cover of our NZ edition, puts it best: “You can only control what you can control. If you have that attitude, and you are prepared and educate yourself, then you don’t worry about those things you can’t control.”

“You can only control what you can control. If you have that attitude, and you are prepared and educate yourself, then you don’t worry about those things you can’t control.”
Josh Hickford CA

Also in this issue

Our Aug-Sep 2020 issue also includes a great interview with Aswath Damodaran, the “Jedi of valuations” and one of the most respected experts in the field. This Stern Business School professor is known for his truth bombs, so enjoy his refreshing take on the valuation sphere.

We also talk to the new chief executive of CA ANZ, Ainslie van Onselen, who shares her top priorities for the organisation. (Heading the list is “delivering membership value”.) And we chat to Anna Lee CA, chief operating officer of THE ICONIC, about how the online fashion retailer got through Australia’s “black summer” and is now handling the pandemic.

It’s an issue full of interesting people with thought-provoking views, and it will be in letterboxes from 3 August.

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