Coronavirus – Practical Business AdviceMar. 30, 2020, 2:56pm
Following on from the earlier blog (Part 1) matters have evolved, with the ‘lockdown’ announced on Monday 23 March 2020 by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The first point to note is that Tindle’s is open. All our staff are working from home and will continue to support and provide a full service to our clients.
Both Angela and I, together with the rest of the Tindle’s team are fully available and will continue to liaise with clients on a daily basis as matters develop, advising on all aspects of business continuity in these difficult and challenging times. We will work with you to maintain normal compliance and keep day to day business flowing.
If businesses act swiflty and sensibly, coupled with Government support, then we should get through this crisis but it is crucial that all businesses are in good shape for the upturn… when it comes… and it will!
Top 5 tips
- Revenues – Anticipate realistic revenues for a lockdown for at least 3 months
- Costs – Cut costs deep and hard to match expected revenues. Using the Job Retention Scheme (see below) and furloughing workers is a useful tool.
- Cashflow – Cash is still ‘king’. Defer, postpone, re-schedule or pause cash payments.
- Suppliers – Work with them, we all need to get through this together and be prepared to rebuild our businesses in the future.
- Continuity Plan – Prepare a plan for a shutdown of business/ reduced working for at least 3 months and anticipate the start up and strong sales growth as the economy bounces back into life. The bank will wish to see this plan for a loan under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme (see below).This will end sometime.
Whilst there are various support/ grants available for business including deferment of both VAT and Income Tax, the key elements of support being discussed with clients at the moment is the Job Retention Scheme and the Business Interruption Scheme. Please click the link to see a detailed overview of the business support available.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The key points are as follows:
- Affected workers are designated as ‘furloughed’. This is a term which is typically used in the US and essentially means putting employees on temporary leave of absence where they do not work and do not receive pay, but are retained on your ‘books’ to be brought back in when you need them.
- Employers who use this facility will obtain a grant from the Government to cover 80% of ‘furloughed employees’ wages, to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month.
- Guidance states that you will need to designate which of your workforce will be furloughed employees and then submit that information to HMRC, along with each employee’s earnings. More information is awaited from the Government on the online portal to be used to submit the information and what other information may be needed. In other words, the portal has not yet been set up so do not worry if you have not found it. Furthermore, please ignore e-mails from unknown sources inviting you to log on, as they may be a scam.
- The Chancellor has stated that he hopes the first grants will be paid by the end of April 2020 and they can be backdated to 1 March 2020. The scheme is initially intended to run for three months but may be extended.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme
The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme supports SME’s with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. This means the loan can theoretically be repaid without penalty in that time.The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan which means security will likely be required. That security may take the form of a company debenture, asset charge or personal guarantee etc.The scheme will be delivered through the commercial lenders – in other words your usual bank,This support may be a vital tool to manage the losses and adverse cashflow through the ‘lockdown’ period and finance the upturn (which could be equally dramatic) when this crisis abates.Ensuring that sufficient finance is available is a key judgement.
This is a brief update with thoughts and tips from numerous conversations with clients. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive list, but hopefully proves helpful to businesses in these challenging times. Proper planning and analysis together with insightful advice means business can pull through.