Updates and FAQ
on the Coronavirus - COVID-19

Standing strong as a group versus COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken the world by storm and caused unpredictable and unfathomable consequences. As we all face the challenges posed by the virus, it is more important now than ever that we are prepared and united. Throughout Europe and the rest of the world, Coronavirus is wreaking economic havoc and we cannot predict how long or how intensely the effects will last. On this page, you will find answers to some Frequently Asked Questions as well as regular updates on the circumstances. 

Latest update on
the Coronavirus

United Kingdom2 July 2020

Flexible furlough scheme started

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has so far helped protect more than 9.3 million jobs through the pandemic, with employers claiming more than £25.5 billion to support wages.

The scheme will remain open until the end of October and will continue to support jobs and business in a measured way as people return to work, our economy reopens and the country moves to the next stage of its recovery.

From today, a month earlier than previously announced, employers will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis.

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.

Read more »

 
 
United Kingdom2 July 2020
Find examples to help you calculate your employees’ wages

Check examples to help you calculate your employee's wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions if you're claiming through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Examples of how to calculate your employees' wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions

Example of how to calculate the amount you should claim for an employee who is flexibly furloughed

Read more »

United Kingdom2 July 2020
More firms can now benefit from the Future Fund

More start-ups and innovative firms will be able to apply for investment from the government’s Future Fund from 30 June:

  • companies which have participated in accelerator programmes now eligible for the popular scheme
  • more than 320 early-stage, high-growth firms have so far benefitted from £320 million of support through the Fund
  • this surpasses the £250 million initial funding made available by the government

Changes to the scheme’s eligibility criteria will mean that UK companies who have participated in highly selective accelerator programmes and were required, as part of that programme, to have parent companies outside of the UK will now be able to apply for investment.

To date, more than 320 companies have benefitted from £320 million of Future Fund support. Under the scheme, early-stage, high-growth businesses from a diverse range of sectors can apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million to help them through the Coronavirus outbreak.

United Kingdom2 July 2020
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme – A Way for Small Businesses to Bounce Back?

The Coronavirus crisis has affected the majority of businesses across the UK, with small businesses in particular being hit the hardest. It is estimated that around two thirds of all small and medium sized businesses in the UK have been forced to temporarily cease trading during the crisis.

The Government has announced a range of measures to support small businesses through the crisis and help them get back on their feet; this includes the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) which became available in May.

What is the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)?

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme was introduced to help small businesses manage their cash flow without overburdening them. The scheme provides small businesses with access to loans of up to £50,000 and the Government will guarantee 100% of the finance which covers both the loan and interest. In addition to this, there are a number of other key elements to be aware of:

Read more »

United Kingdom2 July 2020
Re-opening of businesses and venues from 4 July

On 23 June 2020, the Prime Minister announced further easements of the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions as part of Step Three of the government’s plan to return life to as near normal as we can.

In addition, all businesses and venues can reopen from 4 July, except for the list below, which remain closed in law:

  • Nightclubs
  • Casinos
  • Bowling alleys and Indoor skating rinks
  • Indoor play areas including soft-play
  • Spas
  • Nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons
  • Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours
  • Indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
  • Swimming pools including water parks
  • Exhibition or conference centres must remain closed for events such as exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for the business or organisation who run the venue.

Cafes, restaurants and shops that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside, will still be permitted to open.

Read more »

Ireland26 June 2020
COVID-19 Stability Scheme Funding

Minister Ring today announced the approval of €10.5M in funding under Tranche One of the COVID-19 Stability Fund for Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises (Stability Scheme). 179 organisations will benefit from this funding initially under Tranche One. Once-off cash injections of between €2,000 and €200,000 are being awarded to qualifying organisations that provide critical services to those most vulnerable in society to help with short term cash flow issues being suffered due to the COVID crisis.

Read the full press release -->

Ireland2 July 2020
Covid-19: Publicans and restaurateurs row over calls for VAT cuts

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) had a row with groups representing publicans over a drive by the drinks industry for a near €700 million cut to VAT on pub alcohol sales in the Government’s promised July stimulus.

The restaurants group argued that a VAT cut on pub drink from 23 to 9 per cent was unrealistic, given the cost, and said lobbying should be focused elsewhere. This week, pub lobbyists criticised their RAI counterparts.

Read the full article on IrishTimes-->

Ireland29 June 2020
HR: Work-related stress

As businesses begin to reopen, they are facing a number of challenges within the work environment when dealing with employees. This guide is aimed to aid employers in navigating these challenges while complying with all health safety and welfare obligations.

Employees may be feeling stressed and anxious for any number of reasons, and this may lead to an increase in grievances, misconduct, and general unhappiness in the workplace. Employers need to be equipped to manage these correctly within the bounds of the return to work safety protocols.

Read the full article on ISME.ie-->

Ireland1 July 2020
Early Repayment of 2020 R&D Tax Credits and Cash Refunds

Revenue has announced several measures to combat the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses in Ireland. One such measure is the accelerated payment of the R&D credit which could free up thousands of euro for many businesses currently struggling with cash-flow and operating capital during this crisis.

Read the full article on ISME.ie-->

Ireland30 June 2020
Update Guidance for PAYE employees – V5

This FAQ document that provides guidance for PAYE employees whose employers have been affected by COVID-19 has been updated.

There is a change to TWSS to include apprentices training with SOLAS in
February 2020 and all employees receiving TWSS to be put on week 1 basis for tax purposes.

Open the FAQ-->

25 June 2020
Why marketing and advertising can help you grow during a crisis

What can you do as a business owner or manager to grow your company during a crisis, and in the aftermath of such a difficult period? Well, the answer is simple: keep focusing on marketing and advertising. Here’s why.

In times of crisis, most companies tend to drastically cut down on marketing and advertising expenses. For instance, during the economic recession of 2008, the amount of money spent on (online) advertising dropped 13% on average, according to Forbes. Exactly the same is happening now, creating (growth) opportunities for companies that haven’t reduced their marketing budget.

Snowball

First of all: when other companies stop advertising, there is more room for the success of your ads. In addition, advertising is more affordable because the demand is lower, giving you the opportunity to cheaply strengthen your market position and/or introduce a new product, service or feature.

Henry Ford once said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”

In other words: advertising is an integral part of a successful business.

Read more »

United Kingdom25 June 2020
Managing the impact of COVID-19 on your supply chains

After the immediate effects of the coronavirus on our health and healthcare, the economic effects become apparent. The pandemic takes its toll on global supply chains and international production networks. Particularly the drop in import from China has and will continue to have a substantial impact on businesses worldwide. How can you decrease the risk for your supply chain, now and in the future?

Traditionally, global supply chain management has been designed to deliver just-in-time and to optimize for cost reductions. The impact of COVID-19 forces the need to change focus on risk reductions as well. Mitigating the effects on supply chains now will also help build resilience against future results and build less reliance on single suppliers. Both short term and long term strategies are needed to build resilience against further impact.

Read more »

United Kingdom25 June 2020
Emergency cut in VAT planned to rescue ailing economy

Treasury officials along with HMRC have been told to prepare to cut VAT for a fixed period to help the economy rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, also discussed slashing business rates in private briefings last week, the Sunday Times reports. The cut to VAT would include zero rating more products as well as a cut to the headline rate.

Other proposals being worked up include extending a scheme under which businesses can defer VAT for three months, cutting employer’s national insurance to encourage bosses to hold on to staff and introducing an employer’s national insurance holiday for new staff to encourage recruitment.

Former chancellor Sajid Javid says in an interview with the same paper that VAT should be cut from 20% to 17% for a year, arguing that it would “turbocharge growth”.

Source: The Sunday Times (21/06/2020)

25 June 2020
Mind matters: mental health for small business owners

Running a small business is stressful. Managing cashflow, customers and commercial partners can increase anxiety, which if unchecked, can become a more chronic mental health condition. And with the current Covid-19 crisis placing even more uncertainty on the shoulders of owner-managers, paying attention to your overall mental health is now more critical than ever.

In 2018, NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards conducted its Mental Health in Entrepreneurship survey concluding that over half (58%) of respondents experienced some form of mental health condition. Stress was by far the most debilitating condition (41%) with anxiety (21%) and depression (19%) also being cited by respondents to the survey.

“Everyone is very unclear of what the business world will look like at the end of the COVID-19 crisis,” says Alison McDowall, the co-founder of The Positive Planner “This in itself is anxiety-inducing. It is an uncertain time to be a business owner; many people are working long irregular hours to try and accommodate other factors of life that have collided with our work.

Read more »

United Kingdom25 June 2020
Sending your forms to Companies House during the coronavirus outbreak

As an emergency response to coronavirus (COVID-19), Companies House have developed a temporary online service to upload a number of completed forms and send them to Companies House digitally.

Read below the latest release from Companies House regarding sending forms:

At Companies House, our priority is to protect the welfare of our employees during the coronavirus outbreak. We may not be able to process paper documents as quickly as we have done previously.

As part of our response to coronavirus, we’re currently working new ways to allow our users to file documents with us. We’ve introduced a temporary service to Upload a document to Companies House during the coronavirus outbreak.

Read the guidance to find out which documents you can upload using our upload service.

We’re continually working to improve the service. As this service is updated, it will include more document types and features such as acknowledgments and payments.

This service will not be available for Companies House documents you can already send to us online.

You must use our existing online services to:

Ireland23 June 2020
Ibec launches “Sustaining SME’s campaign”

Ibec has launched the Sustaining SMEs campaign to support SMEs at this critical time. To reboot SMEs it is crucial that the proposed ‘July Stimulus Plan’ delivers the following three outcomes:

1. Significantly improve the Restart Grant: increase the fund to over €1 billion, including a flat rate payment of €15,000 per company to match the German and UK schemes and remove the link to the rates system which disqualifies so many smaller operators

2. Introduce a new and radically improved ‘bounce-back’ credit guarantee scheme for firms with below 50 employees: with 100% guarantees on loans, no portfolio limit and an interest rate holiday of 12 months followed by interest rates well below the eurozone average

3. Introduce measures to address fixed costs and debts: Introduce a fund to write down debts under the Revenue tax warehousing scheme where they threaten business viability, extend the commercial rates waiver to six months with a further six-month deferral, and introduce a binding mandatory arbitration model for disputes over commercial leases. This arbitration model should include some State burden-sharing based on the recent Swedish state-aid approved model.

Read the Campaign document->

Ireland22 June 2020
Podcast: Revenue discuss the eligibility criteria for the TWSS

Senior Revenue officials Anne Dullea and Gearoid Murphy joined Chartered Accountants Ireland in a podcast to talk through eligibility criteria for the TWSS along with common operational issues on running the scheme. (This recording is based on Revenue Guidance as at the date of recording on Wednesday 17 June). 

Listen to Tax under the spotlight podcast here

Ireland22 June 2020
No clawback of TWSS claims on subsequent redundancies

Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe confirmed in a response to Parliamentary questions, on Tuesday 17 June, that Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) payments will not be clawed back where the employee is subsequently laid off.  

Read full article on Chartered Accountants Ireland->

Ireland23 June 2020
Update Guidance on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme- V16

The FAQ document now contains a Quick start guide. Other changes are highlighted in grey.

United Kingdom18 June 2020
Businesses need to reinstate VAT direct debits

The deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus comes to an end on 30 June and businesses need to take action to reinstate their direct debit mandates.

The Institute of Chartered accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) Tax Faculty has reminded its members.

The VAT payment deferral means that all UK VAT-registered businesses have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 until 31 March 2021.

Read more »

United Kingdom18 June 2020
Firms that missed VAT deferral may be able to claim a refund

Taxpayers that wanted to defer VAT payments, but failed to cancel their Direct Debits in time, can claim a refund.

HMRC has confirmed that where taxpayers wanted to defer VAT payments due between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020, but did not manage to cancel their Direct Debit in time, can claim a refund.

The quickest way for taxpayers to do so, according to HMRC, is to submit a Direct Debit Indemnity Claim to their bank, ensuring that they state they want to claim a refund under the Direct Debit Indemnity Scheme (DDI). HMRC confirms that there is no time limit in making this request.

If the taxpayer wants a repayment from HMRC rather than contacting the bank, they must ensure that their bank details are updated using the online services.

HMRC reminds taxpayers that due to COVID-19 restrictions, Payable Orders are not being issued and that it may take up to 21 days for the refund to be received if the Direct Debit Indemnity Claim process is not used.

Businesses will also need to make arrangements to pay VAT falling due from 1st July 2020 to 31st March 2021 (ie, amounts that are not deferred).

United Kingdom18 June 2020
Updated help and support if your business is affected by Coronavirus

The Government has updated its site where you can watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

Read more »

United Kingdom18 June 2020
Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the CJRS

The first time you will be able to make claims for days in July will be 1 July, you cannot claim for periods in July before this point.

31 July is the last day that you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 30 June.

Read more »

United Kingdom18 June 2020
Updated guidance on which venues can open and which business remain closed

In line with the government roadmap, on 15 June 2020 changes were made to the regulations to ease restrictions on business closures. These changes mean that further businesses and venues can open, in particular non-essential retail.

To reduce social contact, some businesses and venues, including many of those in the leisure and hospitality sectors must remain closed. The full list of business and venues that must remain closed are included in the table below, with exceptions shown in the right-hand column.

Failure to follow the law relating to these closures can lead to the business being issued a prohibition notice or the individual responsible for the business being issued a fixed penalty notice or being prosecuted.

All business and venues that are in operation should follow COVID-19 secure guidelines.

Read more »

United Kingdom18 June 2020
HM Treasury (HMT) Coronavirus business loan scheme statistics

HMT management information about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme.

Read more »

Ireland18 June 2020
Support Ireland’s Charities

As you’ll know, many fundraising events have been postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst we’re hopefuly many of these events will go ahead at a later date, many charities across Ireland have been left struggling to maintain their vital services.

These charities need our support now more than ever. From those supporting children to the elderly, as well as those providing vital palliative care, mental health support, housing, food supplies and more. It’s never been more important to come together and show how much we care.

By joining the #challengethirtytwo you can do your bit to help them!

Ireland18 June 2020
Nearly a third of company bosses planning to downsize office, survey shows

Only a small percentage of company bosses believe all staff will be back in the office after lockdown, a new survey shows.

The poll by the Institute of Directors in Ireland (IoD) found that just 12 per cent of business leaders think their entire staff will revert to working from the office once the restrictions are lifted, albeit only 5 per cent believe all their staff will work remotely in the future.

Read the full article on Irishtimes->

Ireland15 June 2020
Fáilte Ireland Guidelines for re-opening published

As tourism businesses begin to re-open their doors, how you open in a way that is safe and effective will differ depending on the sector you operate in – with specific advice for hotels, self catering businesses, B&Bs, caravan and camping businesses, activity providers, attractions and restaurants, amongst others. 

Fáilte Ireland, in collaboration with industry groups, has created a series of guidelines for re-opening tailored to the various sectors of the Irish tourism industry. The guidelines are designed to support business owners and management in every step as they tackle the challenges specific to their industry. 

Find the guidelines here-->

Ireland15 June 2020
Revenue’s answers to member queries on the TWSS

Chartered Accountants Ireland members have contacted us for clarification on several Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) related issues which we put to Revenue.  The issues relate to the Q2 25% reduced turnover test, employer top-up payments, and clarification on how Revenue plan to collect tax on TWSS payments to employees.  

Read the answers to the questions on the Chartered Accountants website.

11 June 2020
How to monitor team wellbeing

While the long-term impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) may not be known for months, many businesses are already having to adapt to their employees working from home – making the need to monitor team wellbeing increasingly important.

For some, this can feel like a pleasant change, particularly early on. However, it can throw up all sorts of challenges for employers and team members who are not used to it. For owners and managers, perhaps the most important question is how do you monitor team wellbeing if you’re not in the same building every day?

Why it’s so important to monitor team wellbeing

There’s plenty of research that shows a happy workforce increases performance and productivity in a business. Employees who feel physically and emotionally healthy are more likely to be engaged, productive and committed to their jobs.

Read more »

United Kingdom11 June 2020
Apply for the coronavirus local authority discretionary grants fund

The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for othergrant schemes opened on the 8 June.

Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme.

Read more »

United Kingdom11 June 2020
Government help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus

Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

View more »

United Kingdom11 June 2020
Sending your forms to companies house during the coronavirus outbreak

As an emergency response to coronavirus (COVID-19), Companies House has developed a temporary online service to upload a number of completed forms and send them to Companies House digitally.

As part of their response to coronavirus, they are currently working new ways to allow users to file documents with them. They have introduced a temporary service to upload a document to Companies House during the coronavirus outbreak.

Read the guidance to find out which documents you can upload using the new upload service.

They are continually working to improve the service. As this service is updated, it will include more document types and features such as acknowledgments and payments.

This service will not be available for Companies House documents you can already send to them online.

You must use the existing online services to:

  • file your accounts
  • file your confirmation statement
  • make changes to your company
  • close your company
United Kingdom11 June 2020
High street shops, department stores and shopping centres to reopen in England

Shops in England selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June.

High street retailers and department stores, including book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling clothes, shoes and toys, will be allowed to open their doors again provided they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines set out by the government in May.

Retailers will need to take certain steps to protect customers and staff, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.

Employers should also display a notice visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance. In summary:

  • All non-essential retail shops to reopen in England from Monday 15 June, provided they follow government guidelines to keep staff and customers as safe as possible
  • the government issued detailed COVID-19 secure guidance for retailers and other sectors in May, following extensive consultation with businesses, trade unions and devolved administrations
  • businesses should display a downloadable notice to inform customers and staff they have followed COVID-secure guidance
United Kingdom11 June 2020
Parents returning to work after extended leave eligible for furlough

People on paternity and maternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for the government’s furlough scheme, HM Treasury announced 9 June.

In essence:

  • Parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for furlough scheme even after 10 June cut-off date
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close to new entrants at the end of June as new flexibilities are introduced to support economy
  • This will only apply where they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees
  • This also applies to people on adoption leave, shared parental leave, and parental bereavement leave.

Read more »

United Kingdom11 June 2020
UK regional rebalancing may be boosted by COVID-19 response

The COVID-19 pandemic may have boosted the Government’s regional rebalancing strategy to benefit areas including the North West, according to the UK chief economist at global commercial property services company Colliers International.

Speaking at a Northern Powerhouse Regional Economic Briefing webinar, which is part of a series around the UK regions focusing upon his paper ‘Regional Revolution III: Rise of Cross Border Investment’, Dr Walter Boettcher (pictured), said: “Regional rebalancing that lies at the heart of Government economic planning may have just received an unexpected, but decisive boost.”

Read more »

United Kingdom11 June 2020
The Way Forward: Health – Staying Safe

Chris Fletcher, Policy, Campaigns and Communications Director at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, looks at the health impact of Covid-19.

What we have been through the last 3 months is primarily a health-related crisis caused by Covid-19. Social distancing and restrictive measures on movement, work and social contacts were put in place to stop the spread of what has proven to be a highly contagious and lethal virus. Extra measures have been placed to protect those most at risk: the clinically extremely vulnerable through “shielding”, in addition to ongoing strict self-isolation rules for those showing symptoms.

Read more »

10 June 2020
Adressing the high cost of COVID-19 on life satisfaction – by Mckinsey

As leaders across Europe turn their attention to ensuring a safe and rapid recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, they are right to focus on promoting economic growth while preventing further loss of life. A prolonged downturn could permanently hamper countries’ future growth, with the resulting income and job losses likely to disproportionately impact the most vulnerable in society. Fresh research shows why leaders can’t afford to ignore another critical and underappreciated consequence of the pandemic: the toll on happiness.1

11 June 2020
Global pandemics and climate change pose risks to actuarial quality

Today the Joint Forum on Actuarial Regulation (JFAR) has issued an updated Risk Perspective which identifies 8 ‘hotspots’ intended to raise awareness of the risks to high-quality actuarial work in mitigating risks to the public interest. This year, a new “Systemic Risk” has been included within which the JFAR considers the potential impacts of the current pandemic on actuarial work.
 

Ireland11 June 2020
ISME: Returning to work info page

ISME provides a useful webpage where relevant information around "going back to work" from the different (government) organisations is brought together.

Ireland9 June 2020
IBEC: Quarterly Economic Outlook Q2 2020

The latest Ibec Quarterly Economic Outlook Q2 2020 forecasts a contraction in GDP of 11% in 2020 and for consumer spending to fall by 14%.

The report highlights the length of the lockdown in Ireland, including a more conservative pace to re-opening of the economy than our peers, will help determine the scale of the fall in economic activity. If we plan to have a significantly longer lockdown than most developed countries then we cannot, at the same time, plan to run a deficit which is at the lower end of that same group of countries unless we are providing lower relative supports for businesses.

Ireland8 June 2020
Strong corporation tax receipts in May Exchequer returns

May’s Exchequer returns show a €78 million (1.3 per cent) increase in tax revenues compared to May 2019 due to a €1.2 billion increase in corporation tax receipts.  Income tax fell 7.8 per cent year-on-year, or by €137 million. VAT and Excise receipts fell by 35 per cent and 36 per cent year-on-year respectively, or nearly €1 billion combined.  An Exchequer deficit of over €6.1 billion was recorded to end-May 2020 due to public funding demands in response to the COVID-19 crisis.  

Read the full article on Chartered Accountants Ireland

Ireland8 June 2020
Guidance for non-resident students during COVID-19

Revenue’s Manual on Income from Scholarships has been updated to include details of concessions for non-resident students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Revenue’s Manual on Income from Scholarships now includes a link within Revenue’s website, providing guidance for non-resident students who are unable to travel to the State to obtain a PPSN from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (“DEASP”).

United Kingdom9 June 2020
Updated news on coronavirus job retention scheme

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to 30 June.

This means that the final date by which an employer needs to agree with their employee and ensure they place them on furlough is 10 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

Read more »

United Kingdom9 June 2020
Business secretary launches working groups to help unleash Britain’s growth potential

Beginning this week, Mr Sharma will chair the first meetings of new ‘recovery roundtables’ bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics. They will consider measures to support economic recovery and ensure we have the right skills and opportunities in place for our workforce over the next 18 months.

They will also explore key domestic and global challenges to support a green and resilient recovery and ensure the UK is at the forefront of new and emerging industries.

Read more »

United Kingdom9 June 2020
Businesses and venues in England – who can open and who must stay closed for now

The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, as quickly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect the NHS. The strategy sets out a roadmap to easing existing measures in phases.

All businesses and venues outlined in the table below must not open to the public: failure to follow the law relating to these closures can lead to the individual responsible for the business being issued a prohibition notice, a fixed penalty notice or being prosecuted.

Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance below. Online retail and click and collect services may continue.

Employers who have people in their offices or onsite are advised to ensure that employees are able to follow the government’s guidelines on working safely.

United Kingdom9 June 2020
Making and registering a lasting power of attorney (LPA) during the coronavirus outbreak

If you want to make an LPA now, you can still do so while observing government guidance on social distancing, self-isolating and shielding.

Read more »

United Kingdom9 June 2020
Reverse charge VAT for construction services – delay in implementation

This brief explains that the introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services will be delayed for a period of 5 months from 1 October 2020 until 1 March 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the construction sector.

In addition, there will be an amendment to the original legislation, which was laid in April 2019, to make it a requirement that for businesses to be excluded from the reverse charge because they are end users or intermediary suppliers, they must inform their sub-contractors in writing that they are end users or intermediary suppliers.

View more »

United Kingdom4 June 2020
Covid VAT Update – Procedures where VAT returns have been paid in error

HMRC have recognised that some taxpayers have encountered problems when trying to take advantage of some of the COVID-19 measures, and have announced details of the procedure for taxpayers who have paid their VAT returns in error (e.g. direct debit not cancelled) when they meant to defer the payment under the COVID-19 VAT deferral easement.

Read more »

United Kingdom4 June 2020
Business Continuity – are you prepared?

According to a report by smallbusiness.co.uk, just 27 per cent of small businesses have a business continuity plan (BCP) in place, and of those 73 per cent said they hadn’t tested it in the last 12 months. And yet, tweaking and testing business continuity plans on a regular basis is critical. Many business owners believe business continuity planning is a costly and difficult exercise – but it doesn’t need to be either of those.

Read more »

United Kingdom4 June 2020
How to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus

Find out about taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of coronavirus and how to report them to HMRC.

Read more »

United Kingdom4 June 2020
Personal liability – Warning for company directors over ‘bounce back’ loans

Small firms have borrowed more than £14bn under the scheme since it was launched on 4 May 2020.

Read more »

United Kingdom4 June 2020
Customs Duty and VAT Reliefs on Imported Goods

Couple of Import Duty and VAT reliefs were announced this week which will be of interest to those in the Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical sectors as well as in Universities, Museums and Local Councils.

Read more »

United Kingdom4 June 2020
Coronavirus support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations

The government is working closely with Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations to support the national response to coronavirus.

Below is a list of organisations you can speak with to get advice. Many of these organisations are also happy to respond to non-member queries related to coronavirus.

Many of these websites also include sector-specific guidance and Q&A. This list does not cover all trade associations and business representatives.

Read more »

Ireland4 June 2020
Mortgage approvals down over 40% in April as the impact of COVID-19 takes effect

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has today published the latest figures from the BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report for April 2020. The following are the key elements:

  • A total of 2,200 mortgages were approved in April 2020 – some 1,034 were for FTBs (47% of total volume) while mover purchasers accounted for 528 (24%).
  • The number of mortgages approved fell by 41.1% month-on-month and fell by 46.5% compared with the same period last year.
  • Mortgages approved in April 2020 were valued at €525 million – of which FTBs accounted for €256 million (48.8%) and €135 million by mover purchasers (25.7%).
  • The value of mortgage approvals fell by 40.3% month-on-month fell by 43.6% year-on-year.

Read the full report-->

3 June 2020
Will remote working become the norm?

According to Forbes latest study, flexible working arrangements have been shown to improve productivity, performance, engagement, retention and profitability across the board. Remote workers are an average of 35-40% more productive. With stronger autonomy, remote workers produce results with 40% fewer quality defects. Higher productivity and performance combine to create stronger engagement and lower absenteeism. Remote working also allows organisations to widen their talent pools, allowing recruitment of candidates who may not be in a position to travel to an office location.

Read the full article on ISME.IE-->

Ireland2 June 2020
Childcare services relief rules amended for COVID-19 restrictions

Childminders caring for the children of Covid-19 essential workers in the child’s own home may still qualify for Childcare Services Relief according to updated Revenue guidance. Childcare Services Relief is an income tax exemption available to individuals who provide childminding services in their own homes. 

Read the full article on Chartered Accountants Ireland->

Ireland4 June 2020
Economic Outlook by IBEC

IBEC published today its new Quarterly Economic Outlook Q2 2020, which forecasts a contraction in GDP of 11% in 2020 and for consumer spending to fall by 14%. The Outlook says that in a best-case scenario unemployment will fall from a current 28% to 16% by the end of 2020 and falling to 7% by the end of 2021. Investment is expected to fall by almost 40% this year. Recovery of the economy to its 2019 level will not happen until 2022 at the earliest.  

Read the full press release->

United Kingdom2 June 2020
Self-employed get second grant from government

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said self-employed workers across the UK will be able to access a second Grant from the government to cover lost income while the country is in lockdown.

The grants paid out by the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be worth 70% of a self-employed person's average monthly trading profits to cover three months' worth of income.

They will be capped at £6,570.

The scheme so far has been used by 2.6 million people and has paid out £6.8bn in claims to self-employed who have been affected by the impact of coronavirus on the economy.

This is the second and final time grants will be offered, the chancellor said.

The Government offered the first grant to the self-employed in March, paying 80% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500.

No announcement or Grant was made at the Daily press conference regarding Company Directors and those who became self-employed after April 2019.

United Kingdom2 June 2020
Changes to Furlough

On Friday 29th May 2020, Rishi Sunak announced the changes that would be made to furlough leave and the CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme). He explained that as from 1st July, there would be a more flexible approach to furlough, to allow for part-time work whilst still benefiting from the scheme.

So, what are the changes to the furlough scheme?

June

From the 1st July, employers will only be able to claim for employees who have been on the furlough scheme for a minimum of 3 weeks previously. This means that, from the 10th June, the scheme will be effectively be closed to employees being furloughed for the first time. Therefore, if you want to take advantage of the scheme going forward, then you will need to furlough any new entrants by this date.

In June, employers will be able to continue claiming 80% of salary up to a maximum of £2,500 (gross) per month – including NI and pension contributions.

Read more »

United Kingdom2 June 2020
Redundancies during Furlough

Following the recent government announcements, you will no doubt be starting to think about what your business might look like after lock-down and how you might operate and survive in the future months.

Although it is not pleasant, you may need to consider making some redundancies. As such, we have put together some frequently asked questions, please see below.

At what stage can you start a redundancy process when someone is on furlough leave? Do you have to end their furlough first?

You can start a redundancy process at any stage, including the period when employees are on furlough. Furlough does not have to be ended before starting the redundancy process.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is designed to minimise redundancies, but employers can still make staff redundant during or after furlough. The redundancy process can be commenced at any time provided the correct procedures and consultations are followed.

Read more »

United Kingdom2 June 2020
The power of collaboration post-COVID

We’ve entered unprecedented territory in recent weeks, and though the end is not yet in sight, we’ve already learned some heart-warming lessons about what the manufacturing sector can achieve when working together.

No manufacturer has been left untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it’s a collapse in demand for some, skyrocketing demand for others, supply chain disruption or responding to social distancing requirements. Businesses have been driven by necessity to co-operate in new and creative ways, to remarkable effect. The way the manufacturing community has come together so rapidly to produce critical supplies for the NHS shows we can achieve extraordinary things through collaboration. 

Once the dust settles, we’ll be able to look back on this experience as proof that collaboration is a powerful tool that will help us navigate through other shared challenges like changing consumer behaviour, EU exit or the looming climate crisis. The benefits of exchanging information, networks and expertise with peers can include not only new commercial opportunities but also lower costs, improved corporate reputation and increased resilience. Lots of companies will come out of the current crisis with a much closer customer and supplier relationships, which will put them in good stead for the future.

Read more »

United Kingdom2 June 2020
Apply for the Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund

Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme.

What you get

You can get a grant of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000.

Eligibility

You’re potentially eligible if your business:

  • is based in England
  • has fewer than 50 employees
  • has fixed building costs such as rent
  • was trading on 11 March 2020
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

Read more »

United Kingdom2 June 2020
New corporate insolvency & governance bill – COVID-19 condenses 12 month process into 6 weeks

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill (CIGB) was published on 20th May and is designed to help businesses in difficulty that need to restructure, to increase their chances of survival during these turbulent times.

Whilst wide-ranging reform of the insolvency legislation had been planned for some time, the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forced the government to bring the timetable forward and squeeze a process that would normally take over a year into just six weeks.

The resulting 240 page Bill contains both temporary and permanent legislation that should support a culture of business rescue and restructuring during the current unusual times and beyond.

It should be noted, that given the speed with which the legislation was pulled together, the government has made it clear that it is likely to remain a work in progress with additions, amendments and corrections expected over time. Furthermore there are a number of areas where the government appears to have left it to the Courts to resolve any issues which are not made clear by the new legislation. Therefore trade creditors, landlords, lenders and directors will all need to take advice on their respective positions when operating with businesses in distress during the next few months. 

Read more »

United Kingdom2 June 2020
Apply for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

You need to show that:

  • your business would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • your business has been affected by coronavirus
  • the loan will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty resulting from coronavirus

If you’re borrowing more than £50 million you must agree to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan. Check the eligibility requirements.

Read more »

Ireland2 June 2020
Prepare for phase 2 of reopening – Roadmap

The "Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business" gives a detailed description of the changes in policy in the different phases. Phase 2 will start on the 8th. of June. So this document provides good guidelines to see how it will affect your life/business.

Ireland2 June 2020
Coronavirus: Workplaces review office design with view to return

Coronavirus has sparked landlords and tenants to review office design, according to a report published on Tuesday by real-estate agents Savills.

Those returning to work in the aftermath of the pandemic will have to maintain safe distances from each other, along with other precautions.

Read the article on Irish Times->

Ireland29 May 2020
Updated list of Essential Retail Outlets

The National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended that all non-essential retail outlets will close to members of the public and all other retail outlets are to implement physical distancing. You can see the full list of essential workers here.

Ireland29 June 2020
Extension of Emergency Legislation relating to redundancy provisions

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, confirmed that the Cabinet has decided to extend the suspension of redundancy provisions relating to temporary lay-off and short-time work which arose as a result of Covid-19 until August 10th.

Read the press release->

28 May 2020
5 tips for leading your company out of a crisis

Getting out of a crisis is difficult and requires extraordinary measures and great efforts from a company and its people. Since we’re here to help, we’ve listed 5 tips for leading your company out of a crisis or turnaround situation. Read on and make smart use of these tips.

  1. Identify (and solve) the problem(s)

How do you know that your company is in trouble? Well, depending on the situation, there are more than 25 different signs of potential distress – as you can see below. Most of the time, troubled companies are dealing with multiple signs or problems at the same time, caused by internal and external factors (i.e. the current COVID-19 crisis) interacting together. Identifying these signs and solving the underlying problems is one of the things you should do first when you strive to lead a company out of a crisis.

Distress signals

  • Declining or negative cash flow;
  • Declining stock price;
  • Regulatory inquiries;
  • Large or unplanned workforce reductions;
  • Increase in outstanding accounts payable;
  • Resignations of key finance staff;
  • Management turnover;
  • Shrinking EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margin.

View the full list »

United Kingdom28 May 2020
Sustainability offers Coronavirus protection

Evidence is emerging that companies with strong environmental and social credentials are more likely to be resilient to the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to research from HSBC, shares of companies focused on climate change or environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have largely outperformed the market during the early weeks of the pandemic.

Share performance

Ashim Paun, co-head of ESG research at HSBC, said ESG factors were important in understanding how companies and sectors are exposed to the Coronavirus crisis.

Read more »

United Kingdom28 May 2020
Small businesses voice cashflow fears as UK economy prepares to open shop

Thousands of small businesses say they are firefighting immediate concerns such as cashflow pressures and resuming operations safely ahead of lockdown lift.

Small businesses are seeing their survival instincts kick-in amid fears over their ability to access cash required to operate post-lockdown.

The latest research from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and The Corporate Finance Network (CFN) highlights the growing number of SMEs seeking reassurance on how to manage their cashflow as the UK comes out of the Covid-19 lockdown.

ACCA and CFN’s Weekly SME Health Tracker surveyed accountancy practitioners advising 1,800 small businesses. They revealed clients’ three main fears were the ability to manage cashflow pressures, implementing the practicalities of social distancing guidelines at work, and the late payment of invoices.

Read more »

United Kingdom28 May 2020
Working and childcare during the Covid-19 pandemic

With schools closed to the majority of children during the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents now working from home are having to balance childcare and their jobs.

For many working parents, life has changed as we know it due to the current pandemic.

The Government announced on 10 May that a return to school is imminent for some children, with certain year groups to start back on 1 June. However, this did not cover all age groups and some local authorities have decided they will not be following the Government’s guidance in any event. Therefore, it is likely that many children will be at home for the foreseeable future.

One issue which therefore seems to be causing problems is that many parents / carers are being expected to carry out their jobs, with no consideration of the fact that they also need to look after their children due to nurseries and schools being closed. Not only dealing with homeschooling but everything that comes from the children being at home, such as feeding them, cleaning and keeping them entertained.

Read more »

United Kingdom28 May 2020
Timeline for retail to reopen in June

Prime Minister Boris Johnson sets out a timeline for retail to reopen in June.

Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England are set to reopen next month once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.

Read more »

Ireland28 May 2020
June application deadline for bank repayment break

Bank customers who require a break from repaying their mortgages or loans because of the impact the Covid-19 crisis is having on their finances will have to apply for one by 30 June, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland has said.

The BPFI said the deadline has been set by the European Banking Authority.

Read the article on RTE.ie->

United Kingdom26 May 2020
£50 million boost to support the recovery of our high streets

A new £50 million fund for councils to support their local high streets get safely back to business announced by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke (24 May 2020).

To prepare for the reopening of non-essential retail when the scientific advice allows, the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.

It will also support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers. This will help get businesses get ready for when they can begin trading safely, not only in high streets and town and city centres, but also in other public spaces like beachfronts and promenades.

Read more »

United Kingdom26 May 2020
Financial support for when you are waiting to return to the UK during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Getting essential care whilst abroad

Where needed, British embassies and high commissions may be able to provide support to help British people who are unable to return to the UK get essential care.

Emergency repatriation loans

When it is safe and possible to return to the UK, you will need to pay for your return travel. If you cannot afford to, and have no other funding options, you may be able to apply for an emergency loan.

If there are commercial flights to return to the UK, our commercial partner CTM is authorised to offer loans. Contact CTM for an emergency loan for a commercial flight.

Read more »

United Kingdom26 May 2020
Financial support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is working to ensure that VCSEs can effectively support HMG’s operational response to key challenges, such as helping the shielding population and the Non-shielding Vulnerable to access food, and other activities that are delivering charitable purposes.

The government has pledged £750 million to ensure VCSE can continue their vital work supporting the country during the coronavirus outbreak including £200 million for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, along with an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts. The Office for Civil Society in DCMS is working with colleagues across government to direct funds to support the VCSE and the wide range of essential activities they undertake.

Funding announced

The funding is aimed at supporting those who need to continue providing their services as part of the national coronavirus response and is being allocated through the following ways:

Read more »

United Kingdom26 May 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for care homes

The government has announced a new care homes support package backed by a £600 million adult social care infection control fund. This has been introduced to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in care homes. This guidance provides information on the support package.

Documents

Coronavirus (COVID-19): care home support package

Support for care homes: letter from the Minister of State for Care

Template for local authorities care home support planning

Read more »

United Kingdom26 May 2020
Statistics on coronavirus funding for business

A collection of documents bringing together information on the amount of funding distributed to businesses and the number of claims that have been made.

Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) data – Bank of England

Documents

  1. Latest figures show millions benefitting from Treasury coronavirus support schemes
  2. HMRC coronavirus (COVID-19) statistics
  3. Coronavirus grant funding: local authority payments to small and medium businesses

Read more »

United Kingdom26 May 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers

Travel safely during the coronavirus outbreak

This guide will help you understand how to travel safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in England. It provides guidance for walking, cycling, using private vehicles (for example cars and vans), and travelling by taxis and public transport (for example trains, buses, coaches and ferries).

You should avoid using public transport where possible. Instead try to walk, cycle, or drive. If you do travel, thinking carefully about the times, routes and ways you travel will mean we will all have more space to stay safe.

Read more »

United Kingdom26 May 2020
Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to your employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

How to use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Before you start

You’ll need to:

Work out your claim period

You can claim for multiple pay periods and employees at the same time.

To complete your claim you’ll need the start and end dates of the claim period which is the:

  • start date of the earliest pay period you’re claiming for - if the pay period started before 13 March you’ll need to use 13 March as the start date
  • end date of the most recent pay period you’re claiming for - this must be on or before the date you make your claim (because you can only claim for SSP paid in arrears)

Read more »

United Kingdom26 May 2020
New Covid-19 business recovery website – helping Stockport get back to work

As Stockport’s business community prepares for recovery post-coronavirus, a new website – http://www.skbusinessrecovery.co.uk is helping to support businesses through the phases of recovery.

The new website provides a portal to a wealth of information and support tools to help businesses quickly navigate their way through the complexities brought about as a result of the coronavirus. It has been designed to help businesses and the economy recover from the considerable impact of Covid-19, including a forum where users can seek advice,  share experiences and discuss ideas. 

The ‘SK Recovery’ website is also a platform to showcase innovation, where businesses have been inspired to revise their business models, to look for opportunities, to trial new ideas and to launch new products. 

Read more »

26 May 2020
Minding your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

Infectious disease pandemics like coronavirus (COVID-19) can be worrying. This can affect your mental health. But there are many things you can do to mind your mental health during times like this.

How it might affect your mental health

The spread of coronavirus is a new and challenging event. Some people might find it more worrying than others. Medical, scientific and public health experts are working hard to contain the virus. Try to remember this when you feel worried.

Most people’s lives will change in some way over a period of days, weeks or months. But in time, it will pass.

You may notice some of the following:

  • increased anxiety
  • feeling stressed
  • finding yourself excessively checking for symptoms, in yourself, or others
  • becoming irritable more easily
  • feeling insecure or unsettled
  • fearing that normal aches and pains might be the virus
  • having trouble sleeping
  • feeling helpless or a lack of control
  • having irrational thoughts

Read more »

United Kingdom26 May 2020
Economic Indicators and updated government measures

Leading indicators including; financial markets, crude oil prices, transport numbers are all increasing, showing a slow move toward recovery. However, overall electricity consumption remains lower. 

Read more »

Ireland25 May 2020
New measures to support Housebuilders

Home Building Finance Ireland has opened new channels to enable more small and large housebuilders access funding to resume developments. The measures will also make funding available for large apartment developments for the first time.

Read the article on Construction News->

Ireland25 May 2020
Consumer spending analysis by EY

One-quarter of consumers have cut spending as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, while 42% think that the way they shop from now on will fundamentally change, according to research published by EY.

EY also found that more than one-third of consumers fall into its ‘save and stockpile’ segment, which EY interprets as pessimism about the future. Meanwhile, 11% of consumers are described by EY as the ‘hibernate and spend’ segment, and are spending more across the board.

Read the article on Bizplus->

Ireland25 May 2020
COVID-19 Restart Grant from your Local Authority

The new €250m Restart Grant provides direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures.

Apply for your restart grant through your local authority->

21 May 2020
Strategic supply chain and furlough options

Survival is about being strategic. Company directors and investors that choose to simply stop paying suppliers may be hurting their own post-lockdown recovery, as well as their suppliers.

Our economy is made up of interconnected supply chains. Companies would be well advised to keep in mind corporate self-interests in the broader context of mutual interdependence across all stakeholders. In respect to managing suppliers, more than ever, a strategic approach is required to balance near-term self-interest and long-term mutual dependence. Companies should identify where existing supply chain capital repayment time horizons can be used to their advantage.

Read more »

United Kingdom21 May 2020
Are your business premises Covid-19 safe?

If you operate within the identified sectors and plan to bring your employees back on site then you must complete an online HSE assessment in order to achieve your H&S certificate and also be prepared for the possibility of a random spot check to ensure you are following the new Covid-19 secure guidelines.

Health and safety has always been an important factor within the workplace but under the current circumstances employers are going to need to make sure they are implementing new procedures to ensure they are complying to the new guidelines and even more importantly keeping their employees and themselves safe. HSE will be taking this very seriously and there will be serious implications if the guidelines are not being followed.

The government said the new Covid-19 secure guidance will work alongside current health and safety rules and a further 14m in funding will be provided to the HSE for extra call-centre workers, inspectors and equipment.

The HSE ‘Five Steps To Safer Working Together’ that you must show compliance with to obtain your certificate are:

  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment and share the results with the people who work there
  • Have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in place in line with guidance
  • Have taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home
  • Have taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace
  • Where people cannot be 2m apart, have done everything practical to manage transmission risk
United Kingdom21 May 2020
£40m boost for cutting-edge start-ups

Innovative businesses and start-ups are set to benefit from a £40 million government investment to drive forward new technological advances. Business Secretary Alok Sharma today (20 May 2020) announced the government is doubling investment in the Fast Start Competition with an additional £20 million.

The competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups – helping to build the businesses of tomorrow and propel their future prosperity.

Among the successful projects to receive the funding to date, is a virtual-reality surgical training simulator and an online farmers’ market platform.

Read more »

21 May 2020
Long read: “The winners of the low touch Economy” – by Board of Innovation

The Low Touch Economy is the new state of our society
and economy, permanently altered by Covid-19. It is
characterized by low-touch interactions, health and
safety measures, new human behaviours, and permanent
industry shifts.

In this strategy report BOI provides a checklist to determine if your business is ready for the next normal

Ireland21 May 2020
IFAC Launches Small Business Continuity Checklist

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) published a ‘Small Business Continuity Checklist – How to Survive and Thrive Post Covid-19’.

The Checklist is included on IFAC’s dedicated COVID-19 web page with many other useful resources. It covers key financial management and strategic management tasks, helping businesses to proactively identify and consider essential and timely information.

20 May 2020
Touch-Free Buying With PayPal’s QR Code

PayPal has introduced a method of paying for goods using QR codes so that customers won’t need to use the point-of-sale terminal in a shop at all.

The payment method is being introduced to 28 territories around the world as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and aims to enhance safety for retailers and customers by eliminating the need to use a card terminal.

Read full article on Bizplus->

United Kingdom19 May 2020
£500m Future Fund clears crucial state aid hurdle

The government's new vehicle for backing fast-growing UK companies will launch next week after clearing a crucial state aid hurdle that will pave the way for investments by hundreds of venture capital funds.

The final terms of the £500m Future Fund - to which the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has pledged £250m of taxpayers' money - will be announced on Monday.

Technology company investors said that Enterprise Capital Funds, which include private investors and public money from the British Business Bank (BBB) had been deemed eligible for Future Fund investment following talks in recent days.

One senior tech figure said the Treasury had been seeking clarity over whether the inclusion of ECFs in the new programme would breach EU state aid rules.

Industry sources said they had been briefed on the development on Friday.

The scale of the ECF's existing investments, which comprise a significant proportion of the UK venture capital landscape, mean its eligibility will substantially expand the number of companies which can seek money from the new vehicle.

Under the Future Fund's terms, companies will be able to apply to it for match-funding of between £125,000 and £5m, with the loans ultimately converting into discounted equity if they are not repaid.

Read more »

United Kingdom19 May 2020
Advice for the freight transport industry

Freight industry guidance on international travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, following government advice for British nationals.

International and domestic freight transport (including by air, ship, road, and rail, including roll-on/roll-off transports) is classified by UK government as an essential activity in the context of its travel advice. The advice against non-essential travel is not intended to apply to international and domestic freight transport.

FCO travel advice remains under constant review and is being updated regularly with the latest information on restrictions and other measures in place in each country/territory. Check the latest travel advice and sign up for email alerts for all countries where you are travelling.

See guidance

United Kingdom19 May 2020
Self-employed deferment of second payment on account

Option for self-employed to defer their second payment on account due 31 July 2020

Choose how and when you can delay making your second payment on account for the 2019 to 2020 tax year.

You have the option to defer your second payment on account if you are:

  • registered in the UK for Self-Assessment and
  • finding it difficult to make your second payment on account by 31 July 2020 due to the impact of coronavirus

You can still make the payment by 31 July 2020 as normal if you are able to do so.

HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount of the deferred payment on account, provided it is paid on or before 31 January 2021.

If you want to pay in full

You can pay your second payment on account bill in full any time between 31 July 2020 and 31 January 2021 using the online service.

Read more »

Ireland18 May 2020
New guidance for charities on Charity reserves

This guidance is issued by the Charities Regulator pursuant to section 14(1) of the Charities Act 2009, to encourage and facilitate the better administration and management of charitable organisations (charities).

Download the PDF guidance->

Ireland15 May 2020
Consumers more likely to continue online shopping after COVID restrictions are lifted

Consumers are more likely to continue shopping online for clothes, toys and electronic goods after Covid restrictions have been lifted according to new national survey conducted by Banking & Payment Federation Ireland (BPFI). The survey, which looks at consumer’s current online shopping habits and how these might change post restrictions also found that Irish adults shopping for groceries, hardware and DIY products as well as newspapers and magazines are less likely to do so online once the restrictions are eased.

Read the survey results->

Ireland18 May 2020
CSO Publishes Data on Business Impact of COVID-19

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (18 May 2020) published the results of the second wave of its Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS). Wave Two of the BICS release differs from the results previously published on Friday, 1 May in that the online questionnaire included additional questions on how prices have changed, and what innovative business practices have been adopted in response to COVID-19.

Open the survey results->

United Kingdom14 May 2020
Managing risks and risk assessment at work

As an employer, you’re required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:

  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

Assessing risk is just one part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace.

For most small, low-risk businesses the steps you need to take are straightforward and are explained in these pages.

If you’re self-employed, check if health and safety law applies to you.

If your business is larger or higher-risk, you can find detailed guidance here.

United Kingdom14 May 2020
Chancellor Extends Furlough Scheme Until October

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October,

The key points announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak are:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until end of October
  • furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500
  • new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy

The Government stated as we reopen the economy, we need to support people to get back to work. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

Read more »

Ireland13 May 2020
Virtual meetings, gone wrong – a guide for the bewildered

Want to improve the effectiveness of your online meeting than this article by Bob Semple is a must read.

Read the full article on Chartered Accountants Ireland

Ireland13 May 2020
Innovate Together Fund – applications are open

The ‘Innovate Together’ Fund starts as a €5 million Fund which will focus on supporting innovative responses to the Covid-19 crisis that will also be part of the “new normal”. 

‘Innovate Together’ is a collaboration between Government, philanthropists and social innovations. The Fund is supported by a commitment of €5 million from the Department of Rural and Community Development through the support of the Dormant Accounts Fund. Social Innovation Fund Ireland pledges to raise additional significant philanthropic funds for this initiative.

Find out how you can apply for this new fund.

Ireland13 May 2020
Revenue further extends date for payment of Local Property Tax (LPT) to 21 July

Today (13/5/2020), Revenue announced that, given the continuing situation regarding COVID-19, the deduction date for property owners who opted to pay their LPT for 2020 by Annual Debit Instruction (ADI) has been further extended to 21 July 2020.

Read the press release->

Ireland13 May 2020
Supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19

This updated booklet details the key supports and resources available to help businesses impacted by COVID-19.

United Kingdom12 May 2020
Ecommerce trends during Covid-19

There is no doubt that Coronavirus has people concerned about the potential impact on the economy. But is it as catastrophic as we think?

Whilst it may seem like the economy right now is a muddy old field, there are green shoots fighting through for certain products that are in high demand.

If it is safe and possible for you to adjust your business model, then you can soar during this tough time.

Platform81 have gathered four of the biggest ecommerce trends to appear since lockdown began:

Cleaning Products

Mid to the end of March, we saw a huge increase in demand for cleaning products. From Mrs Hinch favourite Zoflora to packs of antibacterial wipes, sales went through the roof. One of our clients who is a wholesaler, saw a 500% month on month, and a 450% year on year increase in revenue and their top ten dominated by these cleaning products.

View more »

United Kingdom12 May 2020
What next for commercial landlords and tenants?

The Government’s moratorium on all forms of possession action and debt recovery for three months has had the effect (as did Brexit) of kicking the can down the road. Tenants have breathing space for now but what happens after June if the moratorium is not extended at that point?

Unless a landlord has agreed to waive the rent due for the March quarter then, come July, many tenants who have been unable to pay some or all of this quarter’s rent will owe up to six months’ rent as the next quarter falls due for many on 24 June.

Learn more »

United Kingdom12 May 2020
Cash flow – Life after lockdown

The Firefight

Lockdown was announced on 23rd March and businesses began wondering how to manage. Certain businesses saw 100% of their income drop off overnight with a few having worrying signs prior to the lockdown.

Many businesses took action days before to make redundancies and then the government stepped in. New loan schemes were announced which were 80% government backed, a job retention scheme paying staff wages, grants available in tens of thousands for those worse hit and a new self-employed grant. With all the schemes in place, it seemed to at least help put those business’ that needed to, into a commercial coma.

Read more »

Ireland8 May 2020
CII welcomes government Stability Fund for the sector

Charities Institute Ireland has welcomed the announcement by the government today of a €35m Stability Fundto support the sector’s continued viability.  

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector’s ability to fundraise has been devastating with many cancelling their annual fundraising events and having to close their retail stores. Charities Institute Ireland has been in contact with the Government to highlight how this has threatened the very existence of many organisations and, for many, brings the ability to maintain existing supports and services into question. 

Read CII press release->

Ireland11 May 2020
Revenue warning: Latest email scam

This week the Revenue Commissioners have become aware of fraudulent emails and SMS (text messages) purporting to come from Revenue.  Some of these seek personal information (name, address, date of  birth) from taxpayers and/or seek credit card, debit card or bank account details in connection with a tax or wage subsidy refund.

Read the full update->

Ireland12 May 2020
COVID-19 Business Loan by Microfinance Ireland

The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland is a government initiative to support small businesses through the current period of uncertainty and protect job creation or sustainment in Ireland.

If your business is impacted or may be impacted by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in actual or projected turnover or profit, AND you are having difficulty in accessing  finance from commercial lending providers, the MFI COVID-19 Business Loan may be able to help your business.

More information ->

Ireland12 May 2020
Payment Breaks For 50,000 AIB Customers

Approximately 50,000 AIB customers have availed of payment breaks on loan principal and interest, according to AIB.

AIB says that at the end of the payment break, impacted customers will have an option to extend the term of the loan with associated repayments or maintain original repayment profile with increased repayments to reflect the accrued principal and interest.

Read the full article on Bizplus->

Ireland7 May 2020
COVID-19: Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprises launched

As part of the Sustaining Enterprise Fund recently announced by the Government, Enterprise Ireland today announced that it will administer a specific Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprises.

This fund will provide a €25k to €50k short term funding injection to eligible smaller companies to support business continuity and to strengthen their ability to return to growth. Eligible companies will have suffered, or be projected to suffer, a 15 percent or more reduction in actual or projected turnover or profit as a result of COVID-19 outbreak.

More information->

Ireland11 May 2020
Supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19

This booklet details the key supports and resources available to help businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Ireland9 May 2020
Minister Humphreys publishes National Return to Work Safely Protocol

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, today Saturday, 9 May 2020 published the National “Return to Work Safely Protocol”. The Protocol clearly and comprehensively sets out the steps and processes that businesses must take to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Read the full press release->

7 May 2020
Managing through Covid-19 and the ‘new normal’

What are the strategies and options for businesses?

You are probably flat out dealing with grants, suppliers, customers, employees and doing the day job. We cannot think of a time where businesses had so many difficult choices to make.

We also have been incredibly busy making sure you are informed, prepared to survive the pandemic, and prosper in the future. We have also been helping our clients with Government supports and ensuring as many of our clients survive as possible.

As we enter week 6 of the crisis we have concluded that there are now 3 choices for businesses that are not already surviving and prospering online:

  • Pivot or repurpose
  • Cocoon
  • Liquidate

Read more »

United Kingdom7 May 2020
Stockport collaborates to launch Covid-19 business recovery website

As Stockport’s business community prepares for recovery post-coronavirus, a group of influential business leaders from the town have collaborated with Stockport Council to launch a new website – http://www.skbusinessrecovery.co.uk – to support businesses through the phases of recovery.

When the Government announced its lockdown measures in mid-March, Stockport Council convened the Stockport Economic Resilience Group to support businesses and the local economy in response to the impact of coronavirus.

Read more »

7 May 2020
Dining room chair or office chair?

Now that many of us are working from home we have had to adapt our working space to fit in with our home environment.

The largest number of comments we have received during lockdown are from people saying their backs ache. Logically why wouldn’t they? If a dining room chair was ergonomically sound for the office environment, why wouldn’t they be in everyone’s offices?

Unless we are having a gargantuan Henry V111 type feast, most of us would not sit on a dining room chair for more than 2-3 hours, whereas our office chairs are designed to allow us to sit for longer. An office chair is a feast of moveable ergonomic parts.

Read more »

6 May 2020
Long weekend read: “Restart” by McKinsey & Co

Eight actions CEOs can take to ensure a safe and successful relaunch of economic activity. This article on the McKinsey website describes these eight actions:

  1. Creating a detailed relaunch map
  2. Providing customers with safety guarantees that restore trust
  3. Safeguarding the health of employees
  4. Reviving demand
  5. Rebooting operations and supply chain
  6. Shifting IT and technology to restart mode
  7. Steering the restart with care
  8. Sustaining value creation born from crisis and reinvesting in recovery
United Kingdom5 May 2020
Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

The Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke spoke to local authorities in England yesterday to set out that up to £617 million would be made available.

This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF), so up to £617 million. We will confirm the exact amount for each local authority next week.

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.

Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.

Further guidance for local authorities will be set out shortly.

As of 27 April, over £7.5 billion has been paid out to over 614,000 business properties via the SBGF and RHLGF schemes. This is over 61% of the grant funding allocated to local authorities.

Read more »

2 May 2020
From surviving to thriving: reimagining the post-COVID-19 return

This article published by McKinsey and Company how companies can deal with crisis and 'counterattack' to come out stronger after the crisis. The focus is on:

  1. Rapidly recover revenue.
  2. Rebuilding operations.
  3. Rethinking the organization.
  4. Accelerate digital adoption to enable reimagination.

Read the full article->

1 May 2020
Coronavirus’ impact on auditing for 2019 year-ends and beyond

Analysis of guidance for European auditor published by Accountancy Europe.

This publication focuses on how this impacts businesses and the people that audit them. It aims to support European auditors in adapting their work to new circumstances in ongoing audits with 2019 year-ends and beyond. The factsheet highlights the following main matters for auditors to consider:

  • Obtaining audit evidence
  • Auditor’s assessment of going concern
  • Auditor’s reporting

For more updates see Accountancy Europe’s Coronavirus resources for European accountants. Most of the matters in this publication apply also to audits with closing dates after 2019 and there is an additional overview with main matters for consideration specifically for audits with 2020 closing dates in development.

Download the factsheet here

1 May 2020
6 Ways to maintain positive cash flow during and after the Corona crisis

One of the most important ways to keep your business healthy is to ensure positive cash flow. Under normal circumstances, this is not a problem, but due to the Corona crisis, it has become harder for businesses to maintain positive cash flow. For this reason, we have listed 6 ways to make sure there’s more cash coming in than going out.

Read more »

United Kingdom1 May 2020
Purpose and Connectedness

Gratitude gives us the solid ground, and purpose gives us the strength to jump high and far. Like the bright beam of a lighthouse, purpose gives us a direction and tells us where we need to put our next step, even in the darkest night and the roughest sea.

Read more »

1 May 2020
Weekend Read: How European businesses can position themselves for recovery

Article by McKinsey.

For European business, the priority is to keep their employees and customers safe, even as their companies face serious and unprecedented cash-flow, supply, and operational issues. It is also important, however, to look beyond the immediate crisis and begin to imagine paths to the next normal.

In this article, we present a number of indicators that could help European businesses anticipate the shape of recovery and help them in reformulating their strategic posture.

26 March 2020
New Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Chancellor, this evening, announced a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

GOV‌.UK has further details about who is eligible for the scheme and how it will work.

Self-employed people do not need to get in touch with HMRC as the scheme isn’t yet open for applications. HMRC will contact eligible customers by the beginning of June, inviting them to apply.

Read more »

United Kingdom26 March 2020
Guidance on business support grant funding

This guidance sets out details of eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). Details This guidance sets out details and eligibility criteria for: the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) It informs local authorities about the operation and delivery of the 2 funding schemes. The guidance applies to England only. 

Read more »

26 March 2020
UK: Guides for managing business finance

Whilst the Government have announced a business finance support package, it is unlikely to be accessible for several days (the loans via the banks) or weeks (the grants via the Local Authorities).

Not all businesses will meet the criteria for them. There may be more to come from the Government, but in the meantime business owners need to act now, today. When they are available, contact centres will be short on resources, as banks and local authorities are likely to be at lower staff levels, so the funds may not arrive quickly. However, there are many things business owners can do to take the pressure off themselves. 

  1. Getting Organised 
  2. Contacting your suppliers/lenders 
  3. Knowing your numbers going forward 
  4. Accessing finance 
United Kingdom25 March 2020
‘Avoid using microwave to get faster internet’

Offices, factories and schools across the UK have shut to manage the spread of the coronavirus. With the government now telling the nation to "stay at home", millions are logging on to work and keep themselves entertained during the lockdown.

But that has put pressure on broadband providers, with BT's Openreach reporting a 20% surge in internet use. To keep speeds up, media watchdog Ofcom has compiled a list of tips to get the most from your internet.

The national information campaign is backed by government and the telecoms industry. "Right now we need people to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives," said Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden.

"Reliable internet speeds will be crucial so we can work from home where possible, stay connected with our families and keep up to date with the latest health information," he said. 'Don't use the microwave'

Read the whole story »

United Kingdom24 March 2020
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) Is Now Available Through Participating Lenders

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. CBILS supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance.

The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt. Overview of the scheme.

Ireland20 March 2020
Working From Home Tax Relief

For those of you who have been asked to work from home as a result of Covid 19, there is a special tax relief you are eligible for from Revenue – The e-worker Tax Relief.

This tax relief means people working from home are entitled to be paid €3.20 a day by their employer to cover heating, electricity and broadband.

As this payment is tax-free, it means Employers won't be deducting PAYE, PRSI or USC from that amount. Any claims made may need to be supported with evidence in the form of receipts and possibly a letter from the Employer stating that you do, in fact, work from home and that they do not reimburse you for these expenses.

16 March 2020
Construction site advice

There are 2 helpful websites that give information on construction with COVID-19.

https://www.ceca.co.uk/ - This is the Civil Engineering Contractors Association – If you scroll down on their homepage they have blogs covering; The impact on Construction and COVID-19 guidance for employers and businesses.

https://builduk.org/ - This is Build UK 

Here is Build UK’s latest statement on coronavirus.

Ireland15 March 2020
Revenue publishes guidance on Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme

Revenue has published details of the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, which it is operating on behalf of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP).

Existing employees that have been temporarily laid off due to COVID-19, and not ceased on the employer’s payroll, can receive a single amount of €203 weekly, via their employer. This will be refunded to the employer if the terms of the scheme are met. This will mean that workers retain their link with their employer and there is no need for them to personally submit a jobseeker's claim.

Read all the details

 
 

How to: Stay connected and share files during the pandemic

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Coronavirus

The government is providing many benefits in an attempt to support businesses; these include: allowing SME’s a statutory sick pay relief package, providing retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses a 12-month business rates holiday, providing grant funding, and increasing lending in order to support liquidity among large businesses.

See this webpage for the most recent information from the UK government.

See this webpage for the most recent information from the Irish government.

All businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work from home whenever possible. At this time, all citizens are encouraged to follow social distancing protocols, meaning that in-person work should be avoided. Additionally, employees from vulnerable groups (such as the elderly and immune-compromised) should be strongly advised to remain home.

You and your managerial staff should be well versed in the signs of the virus. New, continuous coughs and high temperatures are often tell-tale signs and should be regarded as important indicators of disease. Should one of your employees show these symptoms, they should be sent home and told to follow Stay At Home guidance.

Any employee who is sick or following stay at home advice are eligible to receive statutory sick pay pack (SSP) and should not be punished in any way for their illness. Make sure your management staff are clear on processes relating to sickness reporting and sick pay.

In the case that an employee has a dependant who requires their assistance during illness, the employee is entitled to time off. Cases include caring for children due to school closures, or caring for sick children. There is no legal obligation to provide pay during this time, but some employers may wish to offer pay depending on their workplace policy and contract terms.

Some basic implementations can greatly help reduce the spread of Coronavirus in your office. Ensure that employees have access to paper tissues and handwashing stations, and that they are encouraged to use them. Make sure that you or your cleaning staff clean and disinfect all surfaces that are touched often, and that all staff understand the implications of the situation and their responsibilities.

You can learn more from this site for the UK, for Ireland you can visit this site

The following FAQ document issued by Revenue gives a lot of detail and hopefully answer your specific queries. If you are still stuck, do not hesitate to contact us and we try and get an answer for you.

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Daily advice and support

There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus affects us all, both personally and in business. What can you do to deal with the situation and its consequences? 

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