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Reviewing your financial position


Understanding your cash in and out

a) Review all your outgoings; rent, salaries, commission, bank loans, fees and charges, advertising spend and subscriptions. 

b) Contact your customers to ensure you continue to have a business relationship during this period and obtain confirmation of when you can expect to receive payment for permanent and self-funded temp/contract invoices.

c) Review financial commitments such as hire purchase/leasing/loan payments. Speak with the financier, they may be able to offer you a payment holiday.

d) Agree longer payment terms with your suppliers to delay cash outgoings for the foreseeable

e) Where possible, make purchases on a credit card and maximise repayment days.

f) Approach suppliers and landlords to see if you can negotiate longer payment terms or potentially payment holidays until trading activities increase.

Prepare a cashflow forecast to understand your cash limit

  • Use last 3 months of your business cashflow report as a base to start preparing for the cashflow forecast (your bookkeeping software should be able to provide you with a cashflow report)
  • Understand how COVID-19 will affect your business for the next 3-6 months and forecast your income accordingly
  • Review points a) b) c) d), e) and f)
  • Closely analyse and revise the forecast as often as you feel is necessary to keep on top your cash availability

Self-funding temporary/contract placements

Turning invoices into cash should be an immediate priority for all recruitment businesses.

If you’re self-funding placements - strongly consider both your financial, operational and insurance position.

  • How valuable is the cash in hand now?
  • How much strain is administration adding to your business operation during this period?
  • What happens if your client cannot pay? Are you covered?
  • Check your payments. Are they overdue? Is your client increasing time to pay?

Government Support

The Chancellor announced £330bn worth of government-backed loans (equivalent to 15% of UK GDP) and more than £20bn in tax cuts and grants for companies to support firms and help them manage cashflow through this period.  

Key points for recruitment businesses and consultancies:

  • Loans worth £330bn will be made available to help businesses
  • New Business Interruption Loan Scheme to provide loans of up to £5 million, with no interest due for the first six months for SMEs
  • Businesses worth less than £51,000 will have access to a cash grant of up to £25,000 per business. Existing grants of £3,000 cash grants, which were made available for the 700,000 smallest businesses last week, have been increased to £10,000.
  • Government will pay 80% of salary for staff, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

CBILS is a new scheme, announced by The Chancellor at Budget 2020, that can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow.

Key features

  • Up to £5m facility: The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £5m, available on repayment terms of up to six years.
  • 80% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance, subject to an overall cap per lender.

Eligibility

  • Be UK-based in its business activity, with annual turnover of no more than £45m
  • Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable the business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty.

How to apply 

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

  • Small and medium-sized businesses (up to 250 employees) and employers can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19 for 2 weeks per eligible employee who is off-work.
  • For those who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who are unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with Government advice SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals, without any medical proof for 7 days. After the 7 days, the businesses need to decide if they need evidence.

Business Rates

  • Business Rates retail discount to 100% for one year. 
  • You can contact your local authority from 20th March, 2020

Grants

  • One-off grant of £10,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR).
  • Government will pay 80% of salary for furloughed* staff, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month.

*Furloughed staff are those whose employers cannot cover staff costs due to coronavirus, and as such they have been asked to stop working, but have not been made redundant.

Support with Tax Affairs

  • All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service on 0800 0159 559.
  • Self-assessment income tax payments for July 2020 deferred for six months
  • VAT payments by companies deferred until the end of June, 2020

Mortgage support

  • Mortgage lenders have agreed they will support customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of Covid-19, including through payment holidays of up to 3 months.
  • All businesses should review their terms of insurance, if they cover for both pandemics and government advice.

Business Rates

The government has introduced a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • for hospitality, as hotels, guest & boarding premises or self-catering accommodation

Employment agencies are included in the expanded retail discount 2020 to 2021: coronavirus response – local authority guidance under "ii. Hereditaments that are being used for the provision of the following services to visiting members of the public"

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge using the business rates calculator.

Guidance for local authorities

Guidance for local authorities is available in the expanded retail discount guidance.

Government links


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