Cashflow is such a basic that almost all businesses will say they understand its importance. However, people often struggle with the tangible actions they need to take to effectively manage it. This is especially true if a change in circumstances places them in a situation they are unfamiliar with.
During National Payroll Week, we have been reflecting on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on this crucial business function in what has been an extraordinary year.
Approximately 40 of our accountants advise our business clients on their payroll. Some are full time payroll specialists, while others provide payroll support, alongside other services.
Our Financial Planning team believes the Covid-19 pandemic has forced more business owners to face up to their own mortality and the potential financial impact on their business. We are seeing an unprecedented increase in enquiries from business owners seeking advice on how to protect their businesses in the event of their death or a serious illness.
Do you have employees your business simply couldn’t do without? This could be the business owner or director, key salesperson or any employee with specialist skills or expertise. If one should die unexpectedly, as well as the emotional trauma of dealing with such a devastating event you have to consider the potential impact on the business and possibly a significant portion of its income, perhaps for several months.
Given the current situation we find ourselves in, with the huge hike in public borrowing to fund the various Coronavirus support measures, it is just a matter of time before we start to see how the tax payer will be asked to fund these measures. To many people Capital Gains Tax (“CGT”) is seen as an easy target – typically less than 300,000 people a year pay any CGT at all.
Have you considered the risk of a local lockdown on your leisure or tourism business?
With non-essential shops re-opening and a drop in the number of new cases, there is currently an optimistic view that the worst of Covid-19 has now passed. Policy now seems to be to move towards a limited, socially-distanced re-opening of tourism and leisure businesses at the earliest opportunity.
With so much uncertainty around when we might be able to start to enjoy holidays once again, the tourism sector is facing a difficult summer. We do not yet know whether or not it will be possible to have a break away in the traditional months of July or August. Some tourism experts are predicting a later holiday season in 2020. Could we see more visitors coming down to the South West over the October half term, for example, or booking a stay for Christmas and New Year?
It is now two months since I issued my last statement in respect of how we, at Thomas Westcott, are adapting our working practices during COVID-19. Those two months seem to have flown by. There has been so much Government guidance for businesses, all of which needed to be reviewed and put into practice, while also prioritising the health and safety of our teams and making sure everyone we work with is protected to the maximum. At Thomas Westcott we have taken every piece of information published by the Government, reviewed and summarised it for our own business needs, and also for our clients.
We continue to be available for all our clients and contacts. As ever, we are very much ‘By Your Side. On Your Side’, just a little more remotely than normal. Our clients have benefited from our regular COVID-19 technical updates, weekly topical webinars and general assistance with grant applications, advice on furlough, assistance with loan applications. In fact, we have successfully completed more than 400 Job Retention Scheme applications for our clients. We remain committed to ensuring the continuity of our services to you and doing all we can to be there for you.
Behind the scenes we are, of course, working on plans to open our offices and ensure everything is in place from a health & safety viewpoint to protect both you and our teams. In the meantime, we are focusing on making everything as smooth as possible. Please contact us using your normal office contact number and your call will be answered. In addition, all of our partners’ mobile numbers are on our website. If you wish to drop off your records, please call us and this can be arranged.
To help you during this time, we will be posting Coronavirus related content on our Insights page, which includes useful information to help individuals and all types of businesses get advice as to what actions to take as this situation develops. This will be updated daily but in addition, please do call us for assistance. We are here to help and to support you through these challenging times.
Shona Godefroy, Managing Partner
The outbreak of the Coronavirus is starting to impact on farms and the situation is changing daily. When the outbreak first occurred many thought that farming would be relatively safe, with milk contracts having performed well in recent times and indeed some buyers putting prices up.
What this time should teach us all is that businesses of all kinds are reliant on all parts of the supply chain; from primary producer through to the end consumer to work well. Major changes at any point will impact on those both up and down the food chain.
In a crisis there is usually a ‘knee jerk’ reaction before markets settle at a less extreme position. However, the big problem for farming is that the commodities produced are often perishable and part of a long production chain that cannot be sped up or slowed down quickly, meaning that produce once it is ready needs to be sold.
Looking at individual commodities;
Milk is a huge part of the South West farming landscape. A number of local buyers have lost their markets at this time as a result of the service sector, café and restaurant trades all being forced to close. Whilst it could be assumed that the milk would be consumed elsewhere we are seeing a significant shortfall in demand. With milk production normally beginning to run up to peak production there is a real issue for many farms. Some dairies have decreased their milk prices and some have also delayed payment taking payment terms to 45 days to try and cope with this to avoid unsold milk.
Given difficult markets, what actions should individual farmers be taking to minimise the disruption to their farms?
We are here to support you during these unprecedented times. If you have any queries or need any advice, please do not hesitate to contact me or your local Thomas Westcott representative
If you are a buy-to-let landlord, you may experience rental income problems this year.
If your tenant is unable to pay their rent you should speak to your tenant and follow the emergency government guideline procedures on tenancies.