Paul Davies, OneTeam Paul Davies, OneTeam

Flexibility, responsiveness key to survival for agents

Kiwi travel businesses are doing a good job of adjusting to the ‘new normal’ of Covid-19, says Paul Davies, who founded Travel Accounting and a is now a partner at OneTeam Chartered Accountants.

Davies, a travel accounting specialist, says while Covid-19 has brought sudden and unanticipated challenges at a level never before experienced by the industry, businesses are drawing on

experiences like the GFC and the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes to get through.

‘This crisis may be different, but the principles are the same,’ Davies says, adding that those operators, wholesalers and brokers who recognised the enormity of the situation early, are now in a much stronger position than those who did not.

‘It’s human nature to hope for the best and hang out for a vaccine or other ‘miracle’ fix, but even a few weeks of inaction, disengagement from the reality of the situation or refusal to change can erode a company’s position and leave them weakened for the inevitable shocks to follow.

‘Those who made difficult staffing decisions, immediately slashed unnecessary costs, started planning for new markets and took advantage of all the different packages of government relief that have been made available have definitely found themselves in a stronger position all these months down the line. That’s important - there’s still a long way to go, and we probably haven’t seen the last of restrictions to domestic travel, now the only real source of income for
the sector.’

He says it’s never too late to either make, tweak or extend a Covid-centric business plan, and there’s still sector funding available to get help with that.

‘NZTE funding is available to support travel businesses to reorient themselves to the changing environment. Sometimes having an experienced ear, the opportunity to take the time out and think deeply about the business and the environment and the structure to work through the steps and stages of a strategy can make all the difference.’

Pare down, but don't be stuck in hibernation

OneTeam Chartered Accountants has created a specific package of discounted automated accounting services that travel clients are able to access, packaged with enough hours of senior level business advisory time that they can get some expert input into their business.

‘There’s the need for both things at once,’ partner Paul Davies says.  ‘Really paring down compliance costs around payroll, GST, monthly reporting and year accounts, but also making sure you’ve got access to professionals for the bigger picture, more complex aspects of the business that still exist. Also, you want to be ready to start to scale again once the environment shifts - you don’t want to get stuck in that
‘sleep’ mode.’

OneTeam is offering new and existing travel clients special pricing for its One Travel package for the duration of the COVID border closures. (It needs an offer but must be a genuine one and will need conditions).

‘We all need to take care of one another,’ he says. ‘The travel industry has been good to me over the years, and I have loved seeing businesses start, grow and thrive. I’ve been privileged to help them through the hard times, too. COVID is another hard time. A big one, and one that’s not going away in a hurry. But we’ll get through this one, too.’

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