COVID-19 virus

There is a lot of panic and scaremongering in the press at the moment and the first thing that we are asking clients to do is to remain calm but naturally some steps do need to be taken and that does not include panicking which is going to do no good whatsoever and we are here to guide you through these uncertain times.

First of all, all any planned price increases that had previously been communicated to you; due to come in from 1 April 2020, have been postponed indefinitely, as we look to support clients through these troubled times.

In this newsletter we are going to cover:

  • the quickest and easiest way to not have HMRC liabilities adding to any current cash flow concerns
  • how information is more critical than ever
  • some new software you will get access to for no charge to help you make better decisions sooner
  • quick access to finance both through the banks and other parties at favourable rates
  • the latest government announcements

For clients we are recommending the following actions be considered; as appropriate, and in this order:

  1. If you have outstanding liabilities with HMRC, contact the HMRC hotline that has specifically been set up to assist in light of the COVID-19 virus. As a matter of principle we are urging clients with any concern to even just set up some form of arrangement in principle; even if they believe they should be able to make payment, as it will just ease the stress and hopefully the payment arrangement will not even be needed.

The main caveat to the above is that naturally this helpline has just been opened and we are yet to see the results from this so you’ll have to bear with it.

  1. Information is critical at this point in time and this alone will help you and us; alongside one another, to make the best possible decision as soon as possible. For those clients already on Xero we are plugging in two extra bits of software that we were initially going to just launch in April but are doing this early that you have the following key benefits:
    • This will enable us and you to best predict your cash flow in the future based on historical trends that in turn helps pin point financial concerns within your business together with the financial impact of certain decisions being made along before they have to actually be made.
    • You will also gain a better understanding of the cash flow position of your customers and have access to unlimited credit searches that will better allow you to anticipate issues before they become issues and this can even be automated to the point at which you receive an e-mail when any of customer credit ratings change.

We will as a firm starting issuing these licenses as soon as we can over the course of the next couple of days but the main caveat with either of the two above bits of software is the data that comes out is only as good as the data that goes in so work with us to ensure that this is as accurate as possible.

I appreciate that not all clients are on Xero and this will be a concern to you. The above process can be replicated manually and; though not quite as accurate or as timely, is still a valuable exercise that needs to be completed.

  1. Access to finance naturally has to be a consideration and once the above two options have been exhausted we will explore this option ALONGSIDE YOU; so please do not go and do anything without our involvement first and foremost. We have excellent relationships with the banks and Natwest and RBS have already publicised ‘mortgage holidays’ for customers along with offering quicker and cheaper access to finance (see here).
  2. Government announcements; yes there were some last week but they were vague to say the least and lacked detail behind them so are still awaiting information around these and do expect more information over the coming days and weeks but the latest guidance can be found here.

The main thing we want to reiterate though is to remain calm and explore each of the above steps.

Now we have already had a number of phone calls and e-mails to us over the course of the weekend and today and expect many more and ask that you do please get in touch if you have any concerns as we would do any other time.

In addition to ensuring that we continue to support you either here in the office or remotely we are also running daily group webinars from 12pm until 1pm up until and including Friday 27 March starting from Wednesday of this week whereby we ask that you attend one of these live chats so that Graeme can run through some of the features of the software above and he can field any questions that you have which I’m sure many others might have also.

It is just that; us a firm, we feel that this is first and foremost the quickest way to put your minds at ease as naturally we don’t have the resource to have one to one meetings with everybody. We will however, follow up these sessions with one to one calls with any clients that wish to discuss things in more detail following the webinars as appreciate some matters may not want to be shared in a group environment.

The links for these live webinars can be found below:

Wednesday 18 March [No longer available]

Thursday 19 March [No longer available]

Friday 20 March [No longer available]

Monday 23 March [No longer available]

Tuesday 24 March [No longer available]

Wednesday 25 March [No longer available]

Thursday 26 March [No longer available]

Friday 27 March [No longer available]

Some further additional/immediate points to note

  1. Post – please only post things to us that can not be transmitted via other means. As most of you already know, we are almost completely paperless so let’s work towards making our means of communicating with you and vica versa much slicker. Similarly; unless we have no option otherwise or you insist upon it, we will no longer be using the postal service in the interim to ensure that there is no break in service.
  2. Meetings – all meetings will go ahead until further notice as we all need to proceed as normal. Should circumstances drastically change we will still hold meetings but do these remotely via the internet so again there is no break in service.
  3. Cloud software – if you are not already on cloud software then this is the time to venture down this path and a lot of the software companies offer 30 day free trials for which we can organise for you.
  4. Social media – please monitor our feeds with regards to additional information being shared as we use all channels possible to keep clients informed but don’t worry we will still be e-mailing but social media and newsletters will often be the quickest; particularly when sharing regular and more generic updates from third parties.

Also, note that updates are naturally coming all of the time so keep an eye for these.

Together we stand the best chance of getting through this but by being calm, collective and maintaining control is critical with all information consolidated and centralised in one place so that we are best positioned to tackle this together head on.

Let’s not forget the budget.

For an excellent summary of the budget announcements there last week please click here and these can be downloaded and shared.

Sean Clifford - Clifford Aviation Limited

"Whether it is in person, or on the phone, I always feel better after speaking with you."

Sean Clifford – Director of Clifford Aviation Limited

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