Though the exact impact of Coronavirus in the UK is currently uncertain, there are steps that your business should be taking to prepare for potential disruption. The following checklist outlines a range of actions you can take across your business operations.
COVID-19 Ten things that business owners should be doing now:
|1.||Preparation of cash flow: Short-term cashflows should be prepared to show what funding requirements exist within the business for the next 3-6 months.|
|2.||Speak to your bank on current facilities. Perhaps consider payment holidays on loans, hire purchase or lease commitments (where applicable)|
|3.||Take decisions. |
• Employee strategy: Will you be furloughing staff? If so, how many, from when and act now
• Securing of premises and insurance notification (if trading isn’t continuing in the short term)
• Engagement with customers and creditors
• Engagement with your landlord
• Cost reductions
|4.||Are you self-employed? If so, await invitation from HMRC to register for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme|
|5.||The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) offers financial support for small businesses with loans of up to £5m.|
|6.||If you’re a UK VAT registered business and have a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you have the option to:|
a) defer the payment until a later date, or b) pay the VAT as normal.
If you choose to defer paying your VAT:
• HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount deferred as a result of the Chancellor’s announcement.
• You will still need to submit your VAT returns to HMRC on time.
• You must pay the VAT due on or before 31 March 2021.
• You do not need to tell HMRC that you are deferring your VAT payment.
o Payments made by Direct Debit: You should contact your bank to cancel your Direct Debit as soon as you can, or you can cancel online if you’re registered for online banking.
|7.||Annual company accounts. Can these be filed, or will an extension be required? Companies can receive a 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19. If so, contact your accountants to discuss.|
|8.||Need access to finance? Reach out to your bank or finance provider many of whom are putting in place emergency measures, including extensions to overdraft, invoice finance and other working capital facilities and fee waivers.|
|9.||Do you hold commercial insurance? Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19. However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy).|
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.
|10.||Consider contacting your accountants. We need to know about many of the decisions above, including furlough for payroll, end of year accounts and other financial decisions that may impact your business.|
You are not in this alone, please contact our team if we can be of assistance in relation to any of the matters discussed. We will engage with you to help you through these difficult times.
For more information, useful sites to visit are:
• NI Business Info and Invest NI – https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/campaign/coronavirus-updates-support-your-business
• UK Government COVID-19 Guidance – http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses