By Pamela Phillips
As the coronavirus crisis unfolds we know that many of our clients will be worried about the impact it will have on their businesses and personal lives.
We have been speaking to some clients who will be unable to deliver their services if the country moves towards a lockdown position.
Other clients are concerned that events they are involved with are being canceled and the pipeline of future work is reducing as their clients are holding back on commissioning new work.
Managing your cashflow during this time is going to be difficult but it will be key to giving your business the best chances of survival.
We’ve put our heads together here at de Jong Phillips and come up with some straightforward things that you can do now to help make your business more resilient.
One of the first things to do is to create a cashflow forecast. This will help you get a handle on what decisions you need to make to keep your business afloat. Take a look at our blog on how you can build your own cashflow forecast or, of course, we can help with this.
Some businesses will go out of business during this time. Do your best to make sure that those that do, do not owe you money. Now is a good time to get on top of any old debts that are on your books.
If you are owed money by your clients, start chasing for payment now and continue to chase until you are paid.
Don’t pay out money before you need to, this means only paying suppliers bills when they fall due and not before.
If you are particularly worried about your cash balance then we recommend speaking to your suppliers about extending payment terms or advising them that you will be paying invoices later than normal.
Loans - business and personal
Speak to your lenders to find out what options are available in terms of payment holidays or extended repayment terms. It is important to keep communicating with them if you think there is a chance you will not be able to pay. The government has announced two types of government-backed loans, the Bounce Back loan and Coronavirus Business Interuption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
HMRC are able to negotiate payment terms for VAT and Corporation Tax if you don’t think you can pay now but believe this is a temporary issue.
If you have concerns about being able to meet your obligations to them speak to us and we’ll talk you through what the next steps are.
Business interruption loan
The government announced in the March 2020 budget that it will launch a temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme where banks will offer loans of up to £1.2 million to support small and medium businesses.
We partner with Capitalise and can help you find the best available funding for your business.
What can be done remotely?
Think creatively about how you can continue to work during this time. For example, we use Zoom for video meetings. Could you use this in your business?
If client work does reduce then this is a good chance to work ‘on the business’ doing all those things you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had a chance like starting a blog, building a budget, reviewing and improving your processes, developing a new service. As a business owner you know there is always something to do!
Check your insurance
Call your insurer and find out if you are covered for business interruption. It is also worth checking if you have personal cover for loss of earnings through sickness.
The government anticipates that a fifth of the workforce will be off at any one time. This will of course cause issues both for getting work done but also there will be the additional cost of sick pay that will affect employers.
The budget introduced changes for sick pay for those affected by coronavirus. Statutory sick pay can now be claimed from day 1, brought forward from day 4 in the event that you are required to self-isolate. A sickness letter can be requested by calling 111 and will be available to all those who self-isolate.
If you, or one of your employees, are required to self-isolate get in touch with us so we can include statutory sick pay in your payroll and ensure you claim this back from HMRC.
Planning work schedules
Given the potential for a significantly reduced workforce, it is a good idea to ensure work is prioritised early so that any critical activities continue unaffected.
Check that there is more than one person in your business able to cover the critical activities and if you have any skills gaps, now is a good time to ensure someone else is trained up and ready if the need arises.
Check what government support is available
The chancellor has announced a series of government measures to help businesses who are suffering because of coronavirus. If you want to find out more, give us a call and we can share with you what we know.
This is going to be a difficult time for many of our clients. Remember we don’t charge for calls so if you are at all worried please call. The chances are we’ll have already spoken to other clients with the same concerns and we’ll be able to share with you insights we have learned from working with other similar businesses. At the very least, we are good listeners.