Stepping in to help

Harris & Co

17th April 2020

Economic Advice & Solutions

ONCE the reality of the effects of the coronavirus were evident, the government stepped in with an unprecedented range of measures to help businesses cope. Phil Harris from Harris & Co Chartered Accountants, provides an overview of the assistance available.

WHATEVER the size of your company, for the health of your business, if you can continue to trade then you should certainly do so. 
That may mean talking to employees about more flexible working arrangements, and to key suppliers about payment arrangements but the simple fact is that everyone has to do what they can to ensure goods and services are available as close to normal as possible.

Employers 
The government assistance covers all sectors and is available to any firm that has suffered a loss of income as a result of coronavirus. You can still trade and be eligible for government help. 
There is a range of potential assistance, from guarantees, loans and grants, so it is important to stay in close communications with your accountants to work out the right solution and the effect any help you access will have on your future trading.
I believe that the government has been very bold and very imaginative in the different levels of support available.
I think what will be interesting when all this is over is what the new ‘normal’ will be. People are discovering, perhaps for the first time, the benefits of modern technology and how we can build it into our businesses. 
Working from home, bringing teams together online and changing working practices may require a complete rethink of business models for the future. 

Self-employed
If you trade as a sole trader or partner you are classed as being self-employed. As such the main source of support for your business, should your profits be below £50,000, will be through the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), this is a scheme that has been set up to safeguard the incomes of the self-employed until we hopefully return to some sort of normality.
Although it took longer to announce, I think the government learned some things from the earlier announcements which were, to an extent, rushed out. 
The information for the self-employed was, when it came, more comprehensive and well thought out by comparison, but even that didn’t answer all of the questions. It was detailed and informative and there is a process and parameters there for those whose livelihoods are affected by the crisis, but again, it is vital to take advice from your accountant. Keep the lines of communication open and get the advice you need on how to access help and what you can and can’t do to keep your business viable during these challenging times.
It will also be important to stay on top of your accounts very quickly next year. We are going to be in the midst of a very complicated accounting period and it is vital that businesses don’t leave their accounts for 2020-2021 to the last minute.

If you have tax liabilities that you are struggling to meet then HMRC will be understanding when  it comes to making payment arrangements, they have a dedicated telephone number 0800 0241222. Full details of the government assistance available can be found at www.gov.uk
Contact Harris & Co on 01604 660661 or at www.harrisandco.biz