Business

Accountant says businesses need to properly plan for natural disasters

With more frequent storms threatening The Bahamas at more severe and damaging strengths, a business strategist is highlighting the need for local business owners to have a strategic business continuity plan.

Bahamas Institute for Chartered Accountants (BICA) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Co-Chair Antoin Bowe, who is also the director of business development at the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation, said risk management and business continuity planning represent 60 to 70 percent of the work needed to ensure the longevity of businesses in today’s climate.

“Most accountants who conduct audits will tell you planning is 50 percent of the audit, and it’s why we’re really advocating a plan,” he said in an interview with Guardian Business yesterday.

“Everything will not go as you planned so the whole plan is really contingency. Everything is not going to go [according] to plan, but it’s much easier to deviate from something than to make it up on the ground.

“Insurance is important, that’s one of the things that helps you to bounce back. But what you also need to consider is how information is stored and having someplace to recover from. So most of the information and data that we have these days are very much electronic. So, unless you’re a mom and pop shop, which would be very difficult because everything is right there on a piece of paper and they probably have somebody doing the books, you can always exercise back up from the very lowest level. We can all purchase some space in Google storage or iCloud, where you are able to back your information up.”

Last week, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) CEO Jeffrey Beckles asserted that catastrophic events like Hurricane Dorian may cause some small business owners to reformat their business models to a digital platform.

Bowe said he agreed.

“In some instances, we have some [businesses] that are able to leave the country and operate remotely,” he said. 

“Insurance yes, but it’s always important to have some back up. Have your information backed up so that you can always recover and bounce back. Physically, if you’re like a retail shop, you’re obviously going to need to replenish. And that’s where you would find insurance helps.

“It really depends on the business. You find a lot of them are really apprehensive because they don’t have the resources to bounce back [after a storm] like they should, so they come back piecemeal. But I actually find that a lot of businesses, that are not retail, are able to come back very quickly once that information has been restored.”

Bowe said this and other topics will be the focus of seminars being held November 11-15 at Melia Nassau Beach resort as BICA observes Accountants’ Month under the theme: “Our Role in Recovery Efforts: Challenges and Opportunities for the Accounting Profession”.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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