Thursday, 19 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - An update for all of our clients

In light of the ever-changing situation around Covid-19 Coronavirus, I wanted to share with you what support and help there is available. Apologies for the general nature of this message but I wanted to get something out ASAP. I am available for you on an individual basis so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Hillmans Support…

If you are in an industry that has been severely affected already (travel, tourism, hospitality, retail etc) I’d be delighted to help with some short-term cash flow projections (without charging) or just act as a sounding board. Please let me know if you need any support like this and we can chat it through.

In line with the latest government guidance the majority of our team will be working from home from Friday 20th March. We have undertaken remote working since 2014, so this is nothing new to us. All team members 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.

We will be running a skeleton workforce at the office. If you need to drop something into the Worle office, please call 01934 444100 before you leave to make sure there will be someone in to meet you. Alternatively we have a letter box you can post your records through (the letterbox is to the right of the reception front door).

All meetings going forward for the foreseeable future will be moved to the telephone or Zoom Video Call. We’ll ask what you prefer when the appointment is booked.

Talking to several clients this week it is clear the business community is already experiencing cancelled orders/events/contracts, supply chain issues and some challenges with cashflow.

Advice in the current environment is a moving target so it is as up to date as it can be as I write this email.

I will issue any updates on Government financial action, as soon as we have digested it, to our clients via email and/or via our social media platforms where possible.

Cashflow 

Your business may be affected by the ongoing effects of coronavirus, which may mean that your cashflow is adversely affected. If you have concerns that this may be the case, there are a number of things you may wish to consider. Whilst you may not be able to control when your debtors pay you, you can control what you pay out.

Review your overheads

If you are predicting cashflow difficulties 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”. Once you have those numbers you can better appraise your situation and we can support you further with short term cash flow forecasts.

Potential steps you can take for your business:

-Talk to your finance providers about taking a loan holiday
-Contact your own 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.
-Speak to creditors to get extended terms of credit
-Speak to landlords to arrange deferred payment terms
-Make sure you understand what you are spending and detail/plan your cashflow
-Consider your business contingency/continuity options
-Consider time to pay arrangements for PAYE and VAT
-Apply for the new government grants
-Apply for government business interruption loans
-Is there any capital expenditure which can be deferred?
-What discretionary spends can be reduced/postponed?
-Consider how to mitigate issues if staff need to self-isolate
-Can your staff work remotely?
-Make sure company HR policies are up to date and circulated. If you have TaxWise HR support or FSB Membership be sure to speak to them for advice.
-Revise company forecasts and financial models (including cash flow) to identify any pinch points or shortfalls

Other potential funding sources:

Please note these are only a few of the options available to you and these do not form a recommendation by Hillmans:
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/

Business Changes

Whilst not always easy or indeed possible, businesses can look to change their offerings to adapt to the times.

Look at what your business is offering and see how you can adapt to the times to provide your services differently to those that need it during periods of closure.

Some very recent examples:

- A local cafe has changed from a sit in service to a home delivery service. They are utilising local groups and social media to advertise this service.
- A business events company that provided team building events are looking at ways of remotely carrying out team building exercises with clients via online conference calls.
- A local gym instructor is now providing online fitness coaching via online services (facebook live, youtube and Zoom)
- A local mechanic is now offering a mobile repair service. Customer contact is via mobile.

If you were providing a service or product, can you now offer this same product or service remotely or over the internet? You could even diversify your business offerings and skills to provide a new product that does not require direct face to face interactions. Ebay, Shopify, Amazon, Wix, all offer online platforms to create and utilise the web for online selling.

Turning now to the Government support…

A new temporary loan scheme delivered by the British Business Bank to be available week commencing 23 March 2020. It will be provided by the British Business Bank through participating providers. It will offer more attractive terms for both businesses applying for new facilities and lenders, to support the continued provision of finance to UK businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Delay Tax Payments to HMRC

HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). 0800 0159 5599.

The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus to get practical help and advice.

For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:

-agreeing an instalment arrangement
-suspending debt collection proceedings
-cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately

Statutory Sick Pay SSP Support

The government have announced additional support for employers and employees. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim SSP for employees unable to work because of coronavirus. This will be for up to 2 weeks per employee (this includes company directors).

North Somerset Local Authority Support

The latest local authority support for businesses in North Somerset can be found here:
https://innorthsomerset.co.uk/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/1903-2/

This includes details on the small business grant schemes of up to £10k (depending on your level of business rates), which based on treasury guidance the local authority will
distribute.

Talk to us

I am more than happy to discuss your individual circumstances and advise on the best way forward.

I 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 I believe we can all pull together as business owners and support each other.

The Hillmans team 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.
Best wishes,

Steve

Steven.D.Hillman BSc (Hons) ACA
Managing Director
Hillmans Chartered Accountants
Tel: 01934 444100
www.hillmans.co.uk

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