COVID19: Support and resources for businesses
We are currently operating our businesses in the unknown as a result of Covid-19. We have pulled together a summary of useful and relevant information to help support you during this difficult time and help you navigate your way to the other side. This information is targeted at those running their own limited companies. If you are self-employed then please read the Government guidance provided here.
How will I get through this?
This is the question a lot of people are thinking, both employers and employees, and we have outlined what you should be doing now to look after your business, your employees and yourself.
1) Understand your cash position
2) Ease the pressure on your cash flow
3) Explore funding options
4) Review your personal finances
5) Key resources
Understand your cash position
Given the current uncertain trading environment, it is essential that you have a clear view of your cash flow over the next 13 weeks. This will put you in an informed position about the decisions you need to make with regards to your staff, your clients and for yourself.
We have created a free cash flow template for you to use and published a video guide on how to use it. Links below
Ease the pressure on your cash flow
- Tax Payments: Defer all tax payments that you can. VAT will automatically be deferred (you need to cancel your direct debit if this is how your normally pay). You will need to catch up by April 2021. It is also possible to defer PAYE and Corporation Tax using the HMRC Time To Pay scheme. A company director has to phone up to do this and the waiting time has typically been over an hour so be prepared. The number you need to call is 0800 015 9559
- Staff Costs: Consider furloughing any staff where appropriate to benefit from the 80% government contribution to staff costs. This must be done in accordance with employment law and government guidance. The employee is not allowed to do any work for you if you furlough them. At the moment there is not a huge amount of detail on how the scheme will operate, purely that it will come into operation, most likely through a dedicated HMRC portal that needs to be built.
- Rent: Talk to your landlord about any rent discount or at a minimum moving to monthly rather than quarterly payments
- Business rates: Understand if you are eligible or not and monitor your local council website for information on how they are administering the scheme
- Other costs: Look at all your other cost lines (subscriptions, software, advisors, IT, telecoms) and see if any discounts or deferrals can be negotiated
- R&D tax credits: Are you eligible for these? Have you even considered them? You could be entitled to a corporation tax credit from HMRC if you meet the relevant criteria
Explore funding options
Now that you have a clear picture of your cash flow, you can assess if you need any additional funding in order to weather the current storm.
The government has put in place the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). There are several benefits to the scheme including the possibility of no arrangement fees and no interest to pay for the first 12 months (as this will be covered by the Government).
However, we are seeing that banks are applying their normal loan application criteria with requests for cash flow forecasts and business plans. It may also take 4-12 weeks for any additional loan funding to come through. If your business was unlikely to receive funding prior to the Covid-19 crisis, then it’s unlikely that you will be able to receive funding now.
It is worth exploring alternative funding options such as your existing bank, contacting a specialist broker or using one of the funding platforms.
Review your personal finances
For most small business owners, your personal financial situation is likely to be hugely dependent on the financial performance of your business. We’ve included some suggestions and links below for things you should consider with regard to your own personal cash flow:
- Morgage holidays – many lenders are now offering 3 month mortgage holidays, which may give you some additional breathing space
- Cancel subscriptions – do you really need all the subscriptions that you have? Some providers such as Sky Sports are allowing people to put a temporary pause on subscriptions
- Review your suppliers and check you are on the best deals possible (Gas, electricity, broadband). You may also be able to negotiate payment holidays with them.
- Money Saving Expert is an excellent source of information for your personal finances