Business recovery checklist

This checklist is designed to be completed immediately following an emergency situation. It aims to help you assess the impact of an emergency on your business, increase your cash flow, communicate with and seek help from relevant people, and restore your business so that it can operate again.

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What does the Business recovery checklist cover?

The Business recovery checklist will guide you through the aftermath of an emergency to help you take control of your business. This includes the following steps:

Assess the impact

Follow the steps below to help you assess the full impact of an emergency on your business:

Assess the damage

  • Talk to emergency services personnel to find out if it is safe to visit your business and if any protective clothing or equipment should be worn.
  • Pack a notepad, pens, camera and any protective clothing/equipment.
  • List any damage to buildings, assets, stock or documents.
  • Take photos of the damage.

Complete a full business impact assessment

  • Assess the impact the damage will have on your business operations.
  • Rank your list according to significance to your business.
  • List the steps needed to recover the damage.
  • List what resources you need to get the job done. Include cost estimates, service providers, employees and building materials needed.
  • Assign someone to complete each task.
  • Work out a timetable for completion.

Reassess the market

  • Consider and assess any changes in the market following an emergency situation and how these changes will impact your business.
  • List how your business can change to adapt to the new market conditions (e.g. move location, trade online, change key products or services or just re-evaluate the way you run your business).

Reassess your financial position

  • Locate or recreate key financial documents. Talk to your bank or building society, tax office, accountant or any other organisation you have provided financial details to in the past, to provide you with any copies they may have on file.
  • Visit our Advisory Services tool to find a business advisor or accountant to help you reassess your financial position.
  • Update your financial documents and include the cost of recovery.

Stay, pause or exit your business

  • If you have tried and still feel you cannot recover your business, visit our Advisory Services tool to speak to a business advisor or accountant about your options.

Boost your cash flow

Your business’ recovery may depend on your business finances and how much cash you have available. Fortunately, there are a range of options available to increase your cash flow:

  • Talk to your insurance company and submit a claim as soon as possible.
  • Contact your creditors and see if they are willing to freeze your loan or offer you an interest only arrangement until you are able to recover.
  • Talk to government agencies to discuss any possible deferment of payment or application extension arrangements during an extended emergency or period of financial hardship.
  • Visit our Grants and Assistance tool to find out if you are eligible for any government grants or assistance for floods, fires, drought and a number of other natural disasters.
  • Find any non-government or charity support available in your community.
  • Talk to your debtors to chase up any outstanding payments.
  • Research any possible short-term finance options.
  • Find any cash reserves, possible investors or assets you are able to sell quickly.
  • Seek professional advice and counselling on how to improve your finances and the best ways to get your business back on its feet.
  • Visit the ScamWatch website to stay on the lookout for possible scams.


Consider the following actions to help you establish and maintain communication:

  • If you have not already done so, list the key people and numbers you will need to contact in a recovery situation.
  • Talk to your telecommunications provider to reconnect phone/internet services.
  • Talk to your insurance company and submit a claim as soon as possible.
  • Talk to your bank/building society and discuss possible alternative payment arrangements.
  • Talk to your employees and discuss your plans for their return to work.
  • Tell your key customers when you will be back in operation. If possible, organise a targeted marketing effort (e.g. social media campaign) to communicate your business reopening.
  • Talk to suppliers about your circumstances and if required, arrange a postponement of delivery or discuss alternative supply routes.
  • Arrange alternative suppliers if needed.

Seek help

Consider seeking help from the following sources:

  • Talk to your accountant about your financial position and business future.
  • If you have a difficult legal issue arise, talk to a lawyer.
  • Organise some counselling for yourself and your employees.
  • Seek help from family, friends or other affected businesses.
  • For more information, you can contact us by phone (13 28 46), web chat or our online enquiry form.

Restore your business

Some tasks to consider when restoring your business after an emergency situation:

Update your plan

Clean up and secure your business

  • Talk to your SES and WHS agency about protection during cleanup.
  • Clean up and restore as much of your business as possible.
  • Tell volunteers what to salvage and what to throw away/recycle.
  • Consider a security arrangement to protect any remaining assets.
  • Investigate any possible shared security arrangements.


  • Attend community cleanup/disaster meetings.
  • If rebuilding, talk to a builder about possible timing.
  • If required, talk to your local council about planning permits.
  • Talk to your accountant or tax office about the tax treatment of work.
  • Talk to your builder about more resilient construction materials available.
  • Consider alternative operating practices to avoid damage in future.
  • If required, purchase replacement information systems.
  • Retrieve any offsite data backups and restore/recreate your systems.
  • If data is still lost, talk to a professional about recovering your data.

Help employees return to work

  • If your office sustained damage, encourage employees to work from home or set up a temporary office while you repair/rebuild.
  • Re-establish your payroll system and ensure employees are getting paid.
  • Arrange replacement equipment for your employees.
  • Follow WHS regulations & provide safe working conditions.
  • If employees will not return, hire someone else or have another employee do the work.
  • Arrange counselling services for employees.

Carry on with business

  • If your business is damaged but your stock is unaffected, consider alternative shopfronts.
  • Continue to manage the day to day running of your business such as cash and stock management, and accounts.

More information...

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