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Support for your business during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

Monday, March 16, 2020
By Cheryl Sharp - Updated 30th April 2020
Support for your business during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

We’re all in this together, so let's work together to ride out the storm.  At PPF we're focusing on the things we can control right now, and how we can help you get through this. 

There is help available, in various forms.  But there are also ways to keep some of your businesses up and running.  Look for opportunities to be more creative - how can you turn things around to suit your business and the current situation?  What can you move online? Can you change your services/offerings to fit with the current circumstances?

We’ve put together all the information you need to ride this out, along with our top tips to see you through, including our top work from home tips and working from home with kids tips which may be helpful. 

Our wonderful marketing team (who only work with Accountants like us) have also given us some great advice to share with you on how to continue to market your business during these times. 

We have also teamed up with the lovely people at Chaser with advice on chasing for payment of your outstanding invoices during these times, and why it is important to do so.

I hope this helps to alleviate some of your immediate worries, and you find some of the tips helpful.  We’re here to help and will jump on a call - telephone or video! - to talk through anything you need.  Here's a snapshot of all the things we're currently doing to support our clients at the moment.

I will be updating this blog as and when we get more information on government support so please do save the link and and check for further updates (I’ll keep a date/time stamp up the top so you know when it’s been updated) - and also keep an eye on our social media channels as we’ll be posting any updates there as and when we receive them too.

We’re all in this together, and together we will get through it  :)

Stay safe

Cheryl & the PPF Team x

 

Government help - what is available?

This is the main business support page with up to date information on the support measures for available for businesses, so good to keep it bookmarked for easy reference.

Statutory sick pay relief for small businesses

Changes have been made to SSP for those off work due to coronavirus related illness. Download our Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme factsheet for more details.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Employers struggling to pay staff can furlough staff and use the JRS to claim a grant to cover 80% of employees wage up to £2500.  Download our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Factsheet or read our full blog for more details, including a handy template you can use when agreeing terms with your employees.  Full guidance can be found on Gov.uk

Business Grants

Businesses with physical premises can apply for one of two grants - £10,000 for businesses who are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR), and £25,000 for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.  Download our Business Grants Factsheet for more details.
If you come under Uttlesford Council here is the link to apply and for Chelmsford City Council here is the link to apply.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Small and medium businesses can access loan facilities via the CBILS delivered by the British Business Bank.  Download our CBILS Factsheet for more information.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Rishi Sunak announced a second loan scheme for small and medium businesses on the 27th April.  For loans of between £2k and £50k this scheme is probably the better option, and the funds will be paid out within days.  Download our Bounce Back Loan Scheme Factsheet for more information.

Tax Bill Deferrals

Automatic tax deferrals are available for VAT and Self Assessment, for all other taxes there is a new Time To Pay Helpline set up to arrange deferrals and payment plans.  Download our Tax Deferrals and Time To Pay Factsheet for more information.

Self Employed Help

Sole Traders with profits under £50k and have filed a return for 18/19 will be able to claim up to 80% or £2500 per month (whichever is lower) via this scheme.  Funds available early June.  Full details can be found here.  If needed before you can claim Universal Credit and request an immediate payment.


Business Continuity Planning & Cashflow Help

Planning and cashflow are the two key issues at present, and we can help you with both. 

Business continuity planning will help you to identify the actions you need to weather out this current storm.  We are holding a free webinar and offering a few options to help you develop your plan.

We can also help you to understand your cashflow as well as ensure you maintain a positive cashflow, as well as assist in applying for loans if required.  Here is a basic cashflow forecast spreadsheet you can use to work out where you actually stand.  Preparing a cashflow forecast will help to alieviate immediate fears of your cash running out, as well as pinpointing when you will need help and how much. This spreadsheet includes tabs for both your business and personal cashflow.

We also use Float Cashflow software which links to Xero and are able to provide either the software, or a cashflow forecast, as well as business plans if required for loan applications.  Please just drop us an email and we can talk through how we can best help you.

General business tips/advice

There are many things you can do to ease the pressure while needed, here are a few of our top tips:

  • Cancel all non essential monthly subscriptions - check for break and cancellation clauses first though!

  • Can you downgrade any services/subscriptions to lower tiers and therefore lower costs - ie Zoom - do you really need to be paying for Pro - can you downgrade to the free version temporarily (again double check your contracts, I’m not sure of Zoom’s t&cs just using this as an example!)

  • Keep talking to your suppliers, keep them updated if you’re experiencing any trouble paying them, let them know of any issues asap.  Most businesses will be in a similar position.  Keeping the lines of communication open will be key for the next few months.

  • Prioritising paying your suppliers is a must.  We need to keep the economy going as much as possible, but who do you pay and who do you not?  My first tip is who do you still want to be working with once this is all over? Prioritise those you need to work with right now - the ones who will get you through this.  The suppliers who need to keep supplying you products and services so you can keep trading to some degree.  Those you dont need, and the bog boys, can wait.

  • Can you get a break clause in your lease or negotiate new terms?

  • If your premises are empty then make sure all appliances are turned off to save electric and minimise the bill!

  • Cancel your broadband and any other services you can (obviously check your contracts for minimum term/re-connection costs)

  • Only order items you really need - I know it makes sense to bulk buy in normal times, but we’re trying to keep costs to a minimum so look to implement a ‘Just In Time’ ordering process where you can.

  • Can you reduce staff costs? I know this will be controversial as you won’t want to loose staff at this time, but it’s a reality some may need to explore.

  • Check your insurance policies for business interruption and/or loss of earnings - you may be able to make a claim if need be.

  • Email scams - those scammers love to exploit these type of situations, and I expect there will be loads of ‘get your Coronavirus refund’ emails on their way - be on high alert - HMRC will not email you re a refund - always check the email address it’s coming from and if in doubt just ask - never click on links unless you know for sure it’s genuine.

  • Can you be more creative with your offerings - offer delivery if you’re a restaurant or high street shop, switch to online events/training (using Zoom!), can you sell online rather than face to face?  Can you sell gift vouchers to be used when everything calms down? Is your offering something that will help others get through these uncertain times? Can you deliver something to kids over the internet via a webinar that will keep them entertained and give parents a chance to work or recharge for half an hour?  I’m happy to run through any ideas you may have to see if they are viable options - just give me a shout :)

  • Use the time wisely - do that job you’ve been putting off cause you don’t have time -re-write your website, do the blog, answer those emails you’ve been putting off, look at your current processes - can you improve them, get those missing records to your accountant (nudge nudge haha!) - do all the things that your future self will thank you for and will help once this has all passed and you’re back to having no time again.  We’re always saying I don’t have time or I wish I had more time - well this could be your opportunity.