Support for your business. Returning to work. Mortgages.

We practice what we preach and have got ourselves well and truly prepared for the real storm that awaits as we face up to the challenges that lie ahead and are in a position to support you as needed.

We do now have three new members of the team that I’m sure you will all hear from in due course but also wanted to highlight some of the other changes that we are implementing over the coming weeks and months off the back of what we have learnt from lockdown and where we will be investing further in terms of time and resources:

  • We will; within our newsletters, be making our content more operational as well as financial based to assist you with the new challenges you are likely to face.
  • We will be issuing not just one newsletter per month, but as many as we see fit depending on announcements made to keep you as well-informed and up to date as possible.
  • Appreciating that not everybody will love the reading our newsletters and some would prefer something more interactive, we are currently considering the idea of fortnightly ‘huddles’ where we will have a dedicated hour for clients to join us and ask us whatever questions they wish.
  • We will maintain the idea of running webinars and are currently looking to run maybe one a month that will either be ran by us or an external expert from outside our field.
  • We will continue to update our resources page on our website; which can be found here for those that have not yet visited this, so if you miss anything you can go back and take a look at a time convenient to you.
  • Yes we have not started blogging as well to share our personal views and experiences as well so these too can be found on our resources page with one of favourites being the increasing importance of data.
  • We are in the process of fully rebuilding our website to again make this of more value and ‘future-proof’ for us and clients going forward.
  • We are also having some full customer-relationship software built to further tailor the content and support provided to you as clients and potential clients.
  • We are introducing new service offerings that we have already been providing during lockdown that we consider will be needed more than ever with one of these being the role of helping be your bank manager.  In the current climate, not everybody has a dedicated bank manager, but for those that do; including us, it has been invaluable and we will help breach this gap so we can support you when it comes to accessing finance.
  • In addition to our dedicated resources page, we have built out dedicated communication channels for specific support that include the following:
    • xero@gtaccountants.com – if you have any training needs or suggestions about content that you would like then please use this e-mail address.  Specific queries about your data within Xero should continue to be fed back directly to your client manager for a quicker and more tailored response.
    • funding@gtaccountants.com – should have any funding needs or questions then feel free to send them here and these can be picked up by our dedicated funding team.
    • enquiries@gtaccountants.com – we would ask that should you have any general comments, suggestions or even just improvements you would like for us to consider implementing, please feel free to share them here as we want to keep moving forward and improving so that we can do the same with our clients.

What I want to leave you with; at the bottom of this section, is that I remain cautiously optimistic about the future.  We must acknowledge that we are all at a crossroad or junction in our business journeys, and those that are looking optimistically ahead have taken similar actions to those above but tailored to their own businesses.

Have you done enough to prepare for what lies ahead?

Returning to work

One of our clients has kindly shared some recent work that they have been working on that might be of use for those returning to their usual place of work soon.

Feel free to contact Paul directly.

Mortgages

As the financial landscape right before us changes so rapidly, we have been chatting with mortgage brokers about what this means for those about to renew their mortgage this year and we are all in agreement that if this applies to you, then chat to your mortgage/financial advisor as soon as possible just to make sure you are prepared.

Government Support Update

Rather than rush to get this out to you on Friday evening, we’ve taken a closer look at this and the detail then followed so can now summarise the latest announcements below.

Furlough changes
From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work.

Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them – and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:

  • June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
  • August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
  • September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
  • October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

Self-employment income support scheme extension
Rishi Sunak announced last week that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended – with those eligible able to claim a second and final grant capped at £6,570.
Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

New Funding/further updates

Local authority grants:

It now appears that local authorities are gradually starting to drip feed out the discretionary grants that we mentioned on previous newsletters though they appear to each be operating at different speeds.  If you feel like you fell between the cracks then contact your local authority today for an update or keep an eye on their website.

There is also other financial support still out there that is not all directly related to COVID-19 with us including just a handful below:

General support for start-ups and those businesses looking to grow:

https://nbsl.org.uk/
https://www.rtcnorth.co.uk/

A great resource for finding grants generally:
https://www.grantfinder.co.uk/

Webinars: finance, cash flow, Government support

Building on what might lie ahead, please do make a point of registering for as many of these webinars as possible; even if you just access the recording at a later date.

Protect and build a better business and life
Tuesday 2 June, 2pm (book here) – booking now closed

Covid-19 has forced us all to rethink.  Our teams have been working in different ways, our customers have wanted to interact with us differently, and our supply chains have been disrupted.

Join us for our “Protect and Build Better” webinar, where we’ll share a 5-step framework for delivering short-term actions while looking forward and (re)building a business based on purpose, values, and profitability.

We’re only at the start of the financial struggles, we have a long road ahead!
Wednesday 3 June, Midday (book here) – booking now closed

As uncertain times ahead loom, but a degree of optimism returns, we must be cautiously optimistic.

Join our webinar where we consider several ‘what-if’ scenarios around cash flow, Government support and how best to act to avoid losing your business.

Finance not just for today but for the future
Thursday 4 June, 11am (book here) – booking now closed

With the amount of financial support out there it is very easy to consider that once accessed that is it – job done!

We need to be looking at our finances on an ongoing basis and putting these to work and ensure the right sort of finance is accessed at the right time and utilised in the right way.

In this webinar we will cover some common mistakes currently being seen and look at how best you can structure financially for what lies ahead in these uncertain times.

The challenges we can expect next

The Easy Part Has Now Passed. Whilst we won’t deny the fact that the past few weeks and months have been challenging; as we fast approach a further announcement regarding the potential easing of lock down, more troubled times await us in the business world.

I have said on a number of occasions already that the business curve is most definitely behind the health curve and will be very different to it also.

We don’t say this to make people feel uneasy as we want to remain calm, but we don’t want people to grow complacent over the coming weeks and months.  To maintain this calm, we must retain control to the best of our ability and that means not letting up as we strike back against the current challenges that we have faced and those that still await us.

Let’s first start with some fairly obvious issues that lie ahead:

  1. These Government-backed loans will need repaying and whether they are 80% backed or 100% backed, if they are not repaid, it will impact your credit rating as a minimum.
  2. Aside from the loans, the Government has provided significant financial support such as local authority grants, furlough payments, self-employed grants etc.  These will all need to repaid but indirectly; in some shape or form, and we expect this to be via any or all of the following:
    1. Increase in personal tax rates
    2. Increase in company tax rates
    3. Increase in national insurance
    4. Increase in VAT

Some of these may come subtly through the reduction of some allowances and some may just be in terms of a hike in rates such as a jump in company tax from 19% to 30% would not be beyond the realms of possibility.  Whilst it would unreasonable and probably unlikely that these hikes will come immediately; we would be shocked if they don’t come at all, and whilst some industries might benefit from some respite such as hospitality, they may also not benefit at all nor may anybody be given any degree of leniency.

  1. Whether you have accessed any of the financial support or not, we cannot realistically see any way in which you will not be part of the repaying of it!

There are then the operational challenges that may await such as:

  • Suppliers reducing or revoking credit terms
  • Delivery timescales for materials being longer
  • Staff not wanting to return to work
  • Customers delaying orders, cancelling them or wanting extended credit
  • All of the above and more!

You might even think a lot of the above might not apply to you but it will impact you in some way or another as prices just in day to day life with regards to shopping are likely to rise!

Our key message and support

The support you have benefited from to date must continue in some shape or form to help you through the times we have ahead.  We encourage you to engage with us over the coming days and weeks to discuss this support in greater detail as we grow our team and other resources to be able to deliver this on an ongoing basis for you.

We know concerns will remain and cost will be a barrier for some if not many, but we have worked hard to find solutions to this that we can discuss at the same time.

Remember these two messages

  1. With the government support to date and the announcements made and pending, they may have whetted our appetite with regards to more positive times ahead, but it will not go far enough to quench our thirst.
  2. Finally, never forget – calm is the word but not complacency.

Webinars (NOT TO BE MISSED)

With us coming back of the bank holiday we have focused on just the one webinar this week that is ran alongside our software partner that assists with cash flow management.

Cash flow planning beyond COVID-19
Friday 29 May, Midday (book here)

Would you like to have the answers to all of the questions I have raised in the section above?

Join us for this webinar to hear how we as a business have adapted, how other businesses have adapted and how you too could to not just survive but really strike-back!

Government Loan And New Grant Announcement

So the bounce back loans are now live and can be accessed via most banks websites as we have been tracking them this morning.

I know we covered most of this last week but the key known facts that we are aware of so far:

  • They cover borrowing from £2,000 to £50,000 with some banks adding that the amount borrowed must not exceed 25% of turnover as well as a guideline.
  • The Government guarantees 100% of the loan and there will be no repayments within the first 12 months.
  • You cannot claim if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).  If you have already received a loan of up to £50,000 through the CBILS you can transfer this to the Bounce Back Loan scheme but this must be arranged with your lender by not later than 4 November 2020.
  • After the first year, interest is fixed at 2.5%.
  • There are no early repayment fees.

We’re told that the application process should be relatively quick and simple but naturally nobody has been through this and we would initially recommend you contact your bank if this is of interest then liaise with us if you require any assistance.

New premises grant

This one almost slipped under the radar but we spotted it and there is a new discretionary fund that has been made available to local authorities that is aimed at small businesses with on-going fixed property-related costs.

Now there is no mention of working from home costs so as yet we are not aware of any additional allowance for this but there are HMRC allowances for businesses and employees working from home and more information regarding this can be found here.

In terms of this new grant, local authorities are being asked to prioritise businesses in share spaces, regular market traders etc and more guidance can be found here.

To qualify, businesses must be deemed to be small as in have less than 50 employees and be able to demonstrate a significant drop in income due to COVID-19.

There are three levels of grants:

  1. Grants of £10,000
  2. Grants of up to £25,000
  3. Grants of less than £10,000 which will be at the discretion of local authorities

Further guidance for local authorities is set to be forthcoming so contact them directly if you have any further queries.

What is planned for May?

Whilst we must get back on track ourselves as firm in May, our ‘Strike-Back’ strategy continues and we have an exciting line-up of speakers planned for clients that will further help you reinforce and re-engineer your business so that you come back with a bang as you are most likely sick of us by now!

We have our first four speakers lined up so will announce more information later this week.

Strike Back. Government Loan

Major funding announcement by the Government
The Government have literally; within the last hour, announced a new corona virus crisis aid scheme that will offer businesses support for those who were perhaps struggling to access the current CBILS Scheme in place.

The scheme aims to support small businesses in accessing loans of up to £50,000 and will guarantee 100% of these.

The scheme is due to be in place as of next Monday with applications allegedly being via a ‘simple form’ through your bank.

Naturally hold off contacting your bank just yet as with previous announcements the Government does not always share these initiatives any quicker with them than they do with you.

This will provide another option out there for businesses that are in desperate need of financial support and who have exhausted other channels.

Hopefully it will also be accessible much more quickly than the current CBILS scheme due to the additional security being provided and following the lessons learnt by the Government when the guidance given to banks previously was lacking.

What is planned for May?

Whilst we must get back on track ourselves as firm in May, our ‘Strike-Back’ strategy continues and we have an exciting line-up of speakers planned for clients that will further help you reinforce and re-engineer your business so that you come back with a bang as you are most likely sick of us by now!

Business support. Help might be closer than what you think.

As business owners, we have all seen the impact of customers no longer trading; be it temporarily or permanently and the money troubles that they have had.  You may too have seen this with suppliers.  Both of which you may even know personally.

If you could help them through this, they could ultimately keep working with so in turn you too will then be supported operationally and/or financially as appropriate.

I therefore ask you this – are you doing all that you can for others around you because if you do a little bit more; the theme of this newsletter, what positive impact might that have?

I’m going to give you one tip straight away – the content and knowledge shared with you by us, why don’t you share it with them?  If they want to discuss what and how you are striking back, then share this with them.  Pick up the phone and call them and see how they are. If they want a discussion we are opening our doors to non-clients for some brief informal advice also for no charge as now is the time to give back as ultimately this will in turn help you and the wider society out.

All of these small steps could just mean that they; and you, end up with money back in your pocket sooner than you otherwise would have done.

Giving Back to Society

As we have said on more than one occasion; we are going over and beyond current letters of engagement to support clients in their time of need.

This has included:

  • regular updates via newsletters
  • one to one phone calls and zoom meetings
  • free access to additional software
  • assistance with funding applications
  • and more

We did this out of choice but also consider that we should be giving back to society as a whole so we ask if you could put a value on the additional support given to you by us, would you kindly mind making an anonymous donation to NHS Charities Together (a donation can be made here).

If you have already donated or do not wish to we totally understand hence asking you to do this without our knowledge and it being at your own discretion and it is just be a further way that together we can be making a difference to the wider society in these unprecedented times.

What is planned for May?

Whilst we must get back on track ourselves as firm in May, our ‘Strike-Back’ strategy continues and we have an exciting line-up of speakers planned for clients that will further help you reinforce and re-engineer your business so that you come back with a bang as you are most likely sick of us by now!

Watch this space for further information.

HR and Health and Safety Challenges

Covid-19 is presenting businesses large and small with unprecedented HR and Health & Safety challenges, and Mentor recognise that many business owners are feeling confused and anxious.

Natwest have kindly invited you all to a short webinar where a panel of experts will discuss the latest developments on the hot topics. This week the expert panel will focus on areas of employment law including:

·         The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – the latest updates and the situation during week 1 of claims

·         Workforce planning – considerations and steps to take for the future return to work

To book onto this please click here.

Furlough and Help for Self-Employed Update

The timing of our two webinars; links towards the foot of this newsletter, couldn’t have been timed better.  We’ve just outlined the headlines below together with the links to the full HMRC articles and will go through all of this in more detail this coming Friday.

Furlough Update
Thousands more employees will now be able to receive support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) after the eligibility date was extended to 19 March 2020, the government announced today (full article can be found here).
Employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.
This change makes the scheme more generous while keeping the substantial fraud risks under control and is expected to benefit over 200,000 employees.
HMRC are aiming to have the scheme fully operational next week but anticipate issues and the system crashing when it first goes live.

Update for the Self-Employed
How the figures will be calculated has now been outlined in detail and the breakdown of which can be found here.It will be based on those figures declared on your tax returns covering the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 tax years as appropriate.

Any more queries around either of the above, please come along to our webinar on Friday where we will look to answer as many as we can.

COVID 19 Strike Back – Lets hit back and lets hit back hard!

Now that the dust has settled and we should have digested the support there and how we access this; though some finer details are still yet to be clarified, let’s hit back with all of this rather than feel sorry for ourselves and our business.  If you don’t, you more than likely won’t have a business to return to.

To start with we are ecstatic that we can now share our co-branded document that has been produced alongside one of our software providers that has a walk-through of how best you can do this.  This can be found here.

There is still time to jump onto our second 30 minute LIVE work-out webinar without the spandex this week where we will look at pivoting your business to bounce back (register here) REGISTRATIONS NOW CLOSED.

Following on from this I am opening up the diary for the team for the week commencing 20 April 2020 for you to have a 30 minute one-to-one free session to discuss anything we cover next week in more detail.

Just to stress, now is not the time to stand still, it is the time to strike back!

Further guidance

Following our previous newsletter and as referred to above, people have been asking for further guidance around:
  • Help for the self-employed (to book on click here) REGISTRATIONS NOW CLOSED.
  • Furloughing of staff (to book on click here) REGISTRATIONS NOW CLOSED

As a result of this we will be doing two separate 30 minute live webinars this Friday covering the above two areas and will add access to finance to each of them also.

To book on, click either of the respective links above.

Finally – Client Exchange (APRIL ONLY)

Don’t worry we are not exchanging any clients.

During such unprecedented times we are going to support one another and we won’t always be able to do this for free.

We can however help one another out in exchange for goods/services to the value.

In light of this; and only for the remainder of this month as a trial, if you need some assistance but are struggling financially, can you email what you need to enquiries@gtaccountants.com and we will try to see if we can match you up with another customer.

Please note this is not a free advertising tool but instead to help those clients in need so that we can be specific.

If you are looking to advertise, let me know and I will do a separate client-led newsletter with content provided by you so you can advertise your services but by way of a newsletter rather than direct e-mail as I don’t think any of us would appreciate being sold to in the current climate unless we were looking to buy.

Small Business COVID-19 Help Guide

Now more than ever, as a small business owner you need to know the key numbers to focus on and how to make them better. Understanding the key metrics in your business means you can form a plan that you can work towards in the short term, that will get you through to the long term.

Read more about  Small Business COVID Help

Ian Prior - Director of Caretech Systems Ltd

"We have used Tennick Accountants now for a few years and what a breath of fresh air. Regularly discussing more than tax and accounts and recently they convinced me to join one of their 12 week workshops that in one session alone has saved me thousands of pounds already."

Ian Prior – Director of Caretech Systems Ltd
 

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