THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ACTION WE CAN ALL TAKE IN FIGHTING CORONAVIRUS IS TO STAY AT HOME IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE NHS AND SAVE LIVES.
This update is written and posted on 2nd April 2020 and is likely to quickly become out of date. We will endeavour to update information as it becomes available.
Previous updates and other useful information can be found at our WEBSITE.
No daily update yesterday, 1st April 2020, as nothing to really report in the business and financial sphere.
Client queries continue to come in to HK HQ at pace, as businesses get to grips with their situation, options and Government support.
Issues for business are two-fold:
- Coping with the immediate hit from the collapse in revenues, resulting in the need to control and managing cashflow, dealing with suppliers, looking at extended payments terms, rent holidays etc.;
- Planning for the recovery, the need for working capital to cover the cost of returning market.
Our first bit of advice is preparing a cashflow module. In doing so, try to understand which suppliers you can obtain a payment holiday with or secure a payment plan, essentially planning costs that must be paid and where savings can be made or delayed. We are always asked how long should we plan for, in reality no one knows how long this situation is going last, our view isthe Government seems to be working to end of June, with all their measures running to that date, but with power to extend, therefore three month minimum (short term), six to twelve months (medium term). You can adapt your plan as matters develop and change during the Covid-19 crisis.
Re forecast likely sales and be realistic about the likely impact on future sales, but don’t believe no sales can be made. For most businesses there will be an opportunity, think differently. We have a client whose business has always been B2B, this opportunity is currently closed, so now they are B2C, going direct to consumers. Small sales, but a sale is a sale, at then end of the day, resulting in cash!
There are plenty of examples of cash flow templates on the web, but if you are struggling, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Once you understand your cash position, you can look at what support and assistance you can received. We have put together a summary chart of the options, which can be found at HERE.
One point we keep making is deferments, payment holidays and borrowing must be paid at some stage, so if you are deferring tax bills, we suggest you place the money to one side and use in an emergency.
In these unprecedented times, it’s important to remember that normality will return!
The Government supports measures available are summarised below and links to more information:
- Job Retention Scheme for employees;
- deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments;
- a Self-employment Income Support Scheme;
- a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses;
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England;
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief;
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000;
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank;
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme;
Full details on all schemes can be found on the Government website of business.
In addition to the Government support, other areas of possible funding support, depending on the type of business:
- Research & development (“R&D”) tax credit;
- Some trade credit insurance companies are still offering new customers to protect invoices recently raised.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Chancellor will announce an overhaul of the Government’s bailout scheme for businesses in response to mounting criticism regarding personal guarantees, the level of interest to be charged after the 12 months interest free period, level of information required to apply. It is expected that Banks will be banned from asking small firms for personal guarantees on loans, some have already stopped asking for PGs on loans for less than £250k , they are expected to relax other rules to ensure businesses can access the money they received where need.
Business secretary Alok Sharma has said, it is 'completely unacceptable' if banks are 'unfairly refusing funds to good companies in financial difficulties' amid criticism of the industry and concern about the ability of firms to survive the current shutdown in place to tackle the coronavirus. The Chancellor is set to come forward with additional measures to help small businesses trying to access support. Of course, this is a brand-new scheme and, as with all new schemes, it will not be perfect from the outset.
We are listening all the time. And in response to concerns that we’ve heard from businesses, we are looking at ways in which we can ensure they get the support they need. The Chancellor will be saying more on this in the coming days. It is crucial that when we overcome this crisis, as in time we will, that businesses are in a good position to move forward.
The statement was given as results from the British Chamber of Commerce’s first Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker found that businesses are struggling with cashflow, with 18% reporting less than a month's worth of cash in reserve, while 44% cent reported only one to three months' worth of cash. Only 6% of respondents said they had over 12 months' worth of cash in reserve.
It was also found that almost half of UK businesses expect to furlough at least 50% of their staff next week.
Business rates grants
Yesterday the Government released funds to Local Authorities to issue the grants of up to £25,000 to eligible business. We are aware locally, that businesses have already started to be contacted by the Local Authorities.
However, it is a case of wait from them to contact you, you can’t chase for the payment.
- Our daily alerts travel far, we always ask for clients to share news and local information which would help others. We have been contacted by the The Mesothelioma Centre, in the USA, which is as a free health site dedicated to providing the most up-to-date information for cancer patients and their family members. The centre publishes a guide on dealing with anxiety related to the coronavirus and how cancer patients and carers can manage their levels of stress during this difficult time. More information can be found HERE;
- The call for innovative or novel approaches to get ambulances cleaner quicker to help combat Coronavirus has been extended;
- Our clients in medical related sectors, who have had to close, are donating PPE to local care homes and charities, such as Sue Ryder;
- In response to the current need for PPE, a teacher at a school close to our offices, is producing face visors for local health workers using the school’s 3D printers. Contact us if you can help;
- The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched an emergency four-day consultation on plans for temporary measures to help consumers manage their credit in the face of the financial impact of the coronavirus epidemic. The proposals include requiring firms to offer a temporary payment freeze on loans, credit cards, store cards and catalogue credit where consumers face difficulties with their finances as a result of coronavirus, for up to three months.
Thank you to everyone who is doing their bit in the fight against