In light of the ever-changing situation around Covid-19, we wanted to share with you what support and help there is available and how we can help you.
We believe that one of the best ways we can help is to obtain information that will be beneficial to you and get this out to you in a timely manner. As a result, from Monday we will be issuing three newsletters a week on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday with updates as to the current position and area that you may want to consider to help you and your team through this global pandemic.
We do not want you to worry about the consequences of picking up the phone and talking to us and so my first message is to remind every client that all of our telephone and ad hoc advice is not charged. It is included in your annual fee, so you can rest assured that you can call us and we will be here to help.
We do not want you to be worried about the cash effect of our help at this most difficult time and so where extra work is requested by you, we will agree a fee with you before any work is done. We also commit that we will agree payment terms for this extra work that will ensure the business is not put under extra cashflow pressure. We do this as we understand that in these unprecedented times, we all need the help of a trusted friend delivered with understanding.
Currently our office is still open although It is likely that at some point most, if not all, of the team will be working from home. All team members will have remote access to our office servers and telephone lines will be open as usual. Should your call go through to voicemail, please leave us a message, we will return your call.
If you need to drop something into the office, please call us on 01484 542878 / 01484 534898before you leave to make sure there will be someone in to meet you.
All meetings going forward will be moved to the telephone or Skype or our video software, Zoom. We’ll ask what you prefer when we book the appointment.
Talking to many clients this week it is abundantly clear that some are already experiencing cancelled orders/events/contracts, supply chain issues and some challenges with cashflow and nearly all are worried about the future.
At the moment there is no doubt that “cash is king” and running out of it is the overriding factor in the anxiety being felt by Business owners around the country. However, there are recommended actions you can take if you foresee experiencing some challenges with your cashflow:
Review Your Income, Overheads and short term business plans and cashflow
It is sensible to review your overheads in the business and pause any spending you feel may not be necessary at this time.
The first thing to do is categorise expenditure (both personal and business) into “essential” and “nice to have”.
Everyone is concerned about the level that income will fall as the country is restricted and consumption in the economy reduces significantly in the short term. We recommend that forecasts are prepared that models income levels at a reduced level of up to a 75% reduction. This will give various scenarios that can be tracked in the models.
Once you have those numbers you can better appraise your situation and we can support you further and if you need assistance, help with the preparation of these short term cash flow forecasts.
Once prepared it will be vital to pick out the “key” elements of these forecasts and track these against the actual numbers experienced in the coming weeks so that you can make the best decision for you, your business, your team and your customers, as without the survival of these the future will not bright. To help with this, these Key elements should be identified now and the trend of these elements for the past trading cycle (whatever that period is for your business) should be captured so that you understand what “normal” looks like.
Again. If you need help with this, please ask.
Contact Your Bank
Contact your bank, either your dedicated manager if you have one or your business call centre, to discuss your options should you need a new or increased overdraft limit, asset finance, credit cards or other forms of temporary finance.
Other Potential Funding Sources
Please note these are only a few of the options available to you and these do not form a recommendation :-
Capital On Tap – https://www.capitalontap.com/en/
Funding Circle – https://www.fundingcircle.com/uk/
Iwoca – https://www.iwoca.co.uk/
NatWest Rapid Cash – https://rapidcash.natwest.com/
Satago – https://www.satago.com/
In the Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that a ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ (CBILS) will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG), becoming available over the coming weeks.
It will operate in a similar way to EFG and be provided by the British Business Bank, but will offer more attractive terms for both businesses and lenders, with the aim of supporting the continued provision of finance to UK businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.
As it stands, we do not know any more than this. More information will be available in the coming days and weeks, please click on the link below for updated advice:
HMRC and the Payment of Tax
HMRC have launched a helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Again, this appears to be a “work in progress”. You will find more details below, but if you have any concerns about making payment to the tax authorities please call us immediately for support.
Official Guidance for Employers
For HMRC’s guidance for employers, please follow the link below:
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Support
To support businesses experiencing increases in costs or financial disruptions, the Government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- This refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible
- The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020. Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
- Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
- The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
- The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.
The information above has been taken from the following source:
We understand that developing a mechanism to enable businesses to recover coronavirus-related SSP is some months away. In the interim, we are recommending that employers make payments of SSP related to COVID-19 within a special pay element within their payroll set up for this purpose so that they can easily evidence a future reclaim.
HMRC has also been asked whether in the interim there will be any advanced funding for SMEs; this could be done by way of a structured email that would be easy to deploy, like for advances of statutory parental, paternal, adoption and maternity
Again, it is unclear how this will be organised and how quickly the payroll software will catch up with the situation.
COVID-19 and time to pay HMRC
The dedicated HMRC helpline for businesses and self-employed individuals who have difficulty with paying their tax due to COVID-19 promised at Budget 2020 is now in operation. The number of the helpline is 0800 0159 559.
The helpline can assist with:
• setting up a time to pay arrangement,
• suspending debt collection proceedings, and
• cancelling late payment penalties and (unusually) interest.
2,000 experienced HMRC staff are available on the helpline but it is not completely clear whether this is additional resource or a deployment
We are more than happy to discuss your individual circumstances and advise on the best way forward.
We appreciate these are unprecedented and challenging times to be in business and we all face a period of uncertainty. No one can predict the future but we believe we can all pull together as businesses and support each other.
We are here to help you. If you need a sounding board, some advice or a steer in the right direction, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Keep safe and well
Nick and the team