The free-to-attend webinars will aim to provide information on a range of financial supports currently available to businesses in NSW, including the COVID-19 business grant, the micro-business grant and the JobSaver payment.
Service NSW, the state agency responsible for administering the support measures, will also run a Q&A session during the hour-long webinars.
However, the new webinars are not specifically aimed towards accountants, despite the fact that Service NSW had made promises to do so, said CPA Australia’s Gavan Ord.
“Service NSW has assured us that they will conduct a webinar specifically for accountants,” said Mr Ord. “We recommend practitioners wait for these sessions rather than attending the general one, which is designed for the public and won’t answer technical or complex questions.
“We will follow up with Service NSW on the timetable for running professional webinars, and press the case for doing this quickly.”
The webinars come as business owners and accountants continue to struggle with aspects of the application process, including eligibility guidelines that fail to consider businesses operating outside standard circumstances.
Mr Ord said it was unfortunate that accountants were being kept in the dark despite their key role in assisting clients with accessing the support payments.
“Our members have a lot of questions around the eligibility requirements and how they apply to different legal structures, as well as the alternative tests,” said Mr Ord.
“It’s certainly not ideal that accountants are being left waiting for answers. The profession is ready to assist Service NSW with the administration of the grants scheme. The lack of information is causing delays in getting money to businesses. Ideally, webinars should have been run for practitioners first.
“We appreciate these policies needed to be developed quickly, so there’s an element of building the plane while it’s flying. We’re just saying, don’t forget to write the user manual at the same time.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.