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I hope those of you who can have some small level of normal working at home are settling into it, and for others that a certain level of operation that can continue. We are very aware that the business closure list has affected a great many of you, either directly or indirectly through your customer or even supply chain being affected, and we are continuing to constantly monitor announcements for further information that we can immediately assess and get out to you. We are still awaiting further details to be released with regard to the Job Retention Scheme in particular, and also full details as to the extension of the provisions to cover the self-employed.  

In the meantime, attached is a checklist of matters that businesses should be thinking about to try and help manage through this very difficult time. I am sure many of you will have already been looking into these, and not all of them will be relevant to everyone.

Once again, all of our Partners and Managers are fully available via calling the office number, their mobile, via email, and also via video calls through Microsoft Teams, Skype, Facetime, etc. Please get in touch to discuss any of the matters covered on the attached, or anything else that is specifically affecting your business or income.

Andrew Baggott

Managing Partner

 

Key Actions to take and Contingency Plans to make

These urgent actions apply to businesses and companies regardless of size. This is the guidance we are giving to the many businesses we are advising, many of whom are now working from home and wondering where to start. 

Last week’s announcement from the Chancellor set out a raft of measures to assist businesses which could make a vast difference to many businesses. Some of the detail which will enable you to access these packages is still to follow. There are, however, a number of actions that business can undertake to prepare for speedy applications and to prioritise what is most time-critical.

As you would expect, banks and HMRC are being very supportive of the businesses we are advising through these very challenging times.  There are two key points that may influence the checklist below:

  • A ‘Business Plan’ for recovery and repayment will put you on the front foot – you should be ready to talk through this plan with lenders and creditors
  • Be mindful of any director, personal or family member guarantees that already exist for loans. New guarantees may be required for any government backed loan schemes

You should be considering the following:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for those businesses who have concerns around staff
  • Remote working/Early Holidays/Short Time Working/Sick pay/SSP/Travel Policies/Health and Safety Policies/Redundancies
  • Maintain an open dialogue with Customers Suppliers Contractors and Trading Partners
  • Time to Pay: Defer VAT/PAYE/NIC/CIS/MGD payments for pre-agreed periods
  • Defer Rates Payments where you are able to
  • Where applicable, claim new business rates reliefs
  • Maintain an open dialogue with landlords - agree Rent
  • Prepare updated Bank Facilities including Capital Holidays
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - with effect 23 March. These are loans, not grants – a business plan which details your ability to repay this will be essential
  • Defer Capital Expenditure
  • Apply for a reprieve on finance repayments in respect of Hire Purchases of Leasing - three to six months or more if you can
  • Improve and accelerate Income
    • Credit Control is of tantamount importance
    • Reduce the amount of stock you carry
    • Review your insurance policies
    • Review your contracts and advance orders
    • Review your routes to market
    • Review and where possible revise you T&C’s

There are many practical steps which businesses who are in a stronger position will be able to take either themselves or with our support.

Businesses which have been exhibiting signs of difficulty because of or prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis will benefit from speaking to us for advice, where we can assist in many areas, including:

  • Cash flow management and cash flow forecasting
  • Assistance with management accounts, and finalising year end accounts to assist with either new funding considerations or even to support banks reviewing existing facilities and requirements
  • Working capital solutions
  • Communications with key stakeholders
  • Business plans and the necessary forecasts to support loan applications
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Clarke Nicklin House, Brooks Drive, Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 3TD. Registered Number OC309225.
The firm is registered to carry on audit work in the UK & Ireland. Details about our audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk under reference number C001178544. The professional rules applicable are the Audit Regulations and Guidance which can be found at www.icaew.com/regulations, and the International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland) which can be found at www.frc.org.uk/apb/publications/isa.cfm.