Updates and Support around Coronavirus

Last updated: 26th March 2020 at 18:30pm
This is unprecedented times and information and updates form the government and officials are being released over the coming days and weeks.

As this is released, we will collate the information and action here for you in one location.

For any Cone clients, please use this but feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or require any support.

Recommended Cash Flow Steps

Step 1
We have created a cash flow forecast template for you to use. Please make a copy of this.
Please see the link here.
There is an explainer video that you can access here as well.
Work through this to see how your business will be doing over the coming weeks.

Step 2
Consider deferring any tax payments you have coming up. You can then set up and arrange a payment plan instead. We have a guide on how to do this here.
If you are a Cone client, please contact your client manager who can assist you with this.

Step 3
If you pay business rates, contact your Local Authority to see what support is available for your business. You may be eligible for the Business Rates Holiday or time to pay/payment plans, subject to eligibility.

Step 4
Talk with your Landlord of your business premises. It is expected that a bill will be passed to ensure no business can be removed from their premises between March and June 2020 if they miss a rent payment. This is not yet confirmed but could be passed into law very soon.

Step 5
Designate your staff. Look through your workforce at who is needed for the foreseeable future. Any employees who are not needed during this time can be furloughed and have 80% of their wages paid for during this time, albeit they cannot work for you while this is the case. This can allow them to come back to the position once we are on the otherside of all of this. Please ensure you follow appropriate HR procedures though. There is a really useful guide here from esphr.co.uk.

Paying taxes and pensions

HMRC Direct Debits
We recommend you cancel your direct debit with HMRC via your bank either online or via your mobile banking app. You can then follow the new deadlines and updates to paying your taxes to HMRC.

VAT Deferral
In short, VAT due between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020 is now deferred until the end of the tax year, 5th April 2021. This will affect February, March and April quarter ending VAT returns. This may be extended if the pandemic continues. May and June VAT returns are due after 30th June so these would currently be payable as normal on 7th July 2020 or 7th August 2020 respectively.

Time To Pay (TTP)
Corporation Tax can be negotiated with payment plans - we are seeing up to 3 months extension given with no questions asked and up to 12 month payment plans set up for those going to HMRC with a monthly amount they can pay. This can alleviate cash flow stress by spreading it out rather than having the lump sum come out in one go. As always, recommended to tell HMRC about this before the deadline, rather than approach them once it is already late.

Workplace Pensions
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has been explicit that it expects employers to continue contributing as per their normal deadlines. This includes uploading employee earnings and contributions as well as paying these over to the pension provider as normal. No support, payment holidays or support on this side of things. Non-compliance can result in fines of up to £400 per day.

HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559
This is a new helpline and more details around this can be found here.
Coronavirus Business Support Centre link is here.
If you have questions about paying HMRC taxes, please see this link here.

Self Employed Support

Only eligible for those who have completed a 2018-19 personal tax return.
If you are late and haven't filed, you have 4 weeks to do so until 26th April 2020.

- 80% of monthly average trading profits up to £2500 per month.
- Profits on 3 years average, but nothing available for you if you earn over £50,000 trading profits
- Must have been self-employed for 2018/19 and completed your tax return that was due 31st January 2020. (New businesses from April 2019 are not supported currently)
- Payment by June (backdated to include April, May and June? To Be Confirmed)
- Cashflow options meanwhile via Business Interruption loans, using tax set aside for July 2020 payment on account and Universal credit, if applicable.

Nothing currently for small close company directors with salary and dividends under £50,000.

HMRC Support and Guidance

Currently, the Chancellor has been releasing updates regularly and this will be updated as new information comes available. Current measures in place are as follows;

  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief  (you do not apply for this. Your local authority will write to you about your eligibility)
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank. Link of providers can be found here.
  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The information will be submitted to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal. This portal is yet to be created and will be available in the near future. We will provide links and details as this becomes available.

We've put together a handy one-pager for help available currently.
Click the button below to download your copy now for free.

Download COVID-19 Help Sheet

Our Tips and Support

We recommend you cancel Direct Debits with HMRC for VAT to avoid the payments automatically coming from your account - You can make a manual payment by the new deadlines. This is automatically applied and you do not need to tell HMRC or apply for this extension.

If you had Payments on Account (POA) due for 31st July 2020 then this can now be postponed and paid by 31st January 2021. Cancel any scheduled payments if you have set these up already and pay by the new deadline. This is automatically applied and you do not need to tell HMRC or apply for this extension.

For any grants for small business rates, please wait for your local council to be in touch. Don't waste your time calling them or HMRC. It is expected to be early-mid April for any grants to be issued.

Please talk to your suppliers as early as possible. You can perhaps postpone deliveries and orders or hold off on any goods or services that you won't now need. Opening a dialogue is the best solution here. Cash flow is tight for most small businesses right now and communication is key. Put plans into place now and make suppliers aware. We're all in this together.

As an employer, it is vital you keep a track of staff who are not being paid and who have had their hours cut. HMRC will ask for all the information when it comes to claiming the 80% relief or the SSP relief when those portals and methods become available to use. If you pay a mortgage, you can discuss a mortgage holiday break with them for 3 months. Just be aware that it gets added to the end so will cost you more interest in the long run but can alleviate some stress and pressure in the interim.

For renters, there is not an equivalent but the law on evictions has been suspended so you cannot lose the home if you cannot pay during this time. However, as above, it is best to have a dialogue with your landlord or letting agent and be transparent and clear with them on what you can afford to do. If any support for renters is provided, we will update this section.

We have been remote for several years and have experience in various tools, software and systems. If you need our help, please ask - we are running webinars on these topics and you can find more over on our resources page that can be found here.

Free Cash Flow Forecast (please make a copy)

We have created a cash flow forecast template for you to use. Please make a copy of this.
Please see the link here.

There is an explainer video that you can access here as well.

Latest HMRC Support Guidance (CLICK HERE)

This link is frequently updated with official guidance from HMRC

Frequent Asked Questions

What accounting software do you use?

We use Xero accounting software for your day-to-day transactions and record keeping. Xero is an online accounting platform where both you and us can log in and make sure the data is tidy, up to date and looked after. We can also pull off reports and analysis from this place and we don't have to go back and forth with pesky back ups or desktop installations. All of our pricing includes the cost of your Xero subscription and we'll even get it set up and ready for you.

I'm already using an accountant/bookkeeper. How do I switch?

If this isn't your first time working with a bookkeeping or accounts service then don't worry. We take care of the transition when you join us. We'll get in touch with your previous provider and ensure all the information is transferred over so we can hit the ground running.

Can you help review legal contracts and insurance for my business?

We have a network of trusted advisors from legal to insurance to financial advisors and mortgage brokers. We will be happy to introduce you to them so you can have any of these areas reviewed and improved. In most cases, there are no consultation fees and these trusted advisors act with a similar ethos to us, with transparent pricing and clear, actionable advice.

How do your packages work? Can you send me a price list or a rate card?

All of our packages are tailored to your particular business via our clear and transparent pricing system. As such, we do not have a price list or rate card. Your business doesn't deserve to be stuffed into a package it may not get value from. Instead, you can book a discovery call where we find out if we're a good fit for each other first. Then we get down to your business and go through the pricing together. You can book your discovery call here.

I'm interested to get started with Cone. What is the sign up process?

We go through a discovery call first to ensure we're a good fit for each other and we prepare a proposal together which breaks down your monthly investment with us and the services you will receive in exchange. Once this has all been agreed electronically, you enter our onboarding journey. We will send you the next steps with some quick online forms to complete and get your setup booked in. Your software will be created (or transferred) and we help you along the way. If you're moving from another accountant then we'll also handle this switch for you as well.

What payment methods are available?

We use GoCardless as our Direct Debit provider to collect payments automatically each month in line with your agreed proposal.

Is there someone I can talk to about my current accounting requirements?

Absolutely! You can reach us via he chat widget in the bottom right corner, or by completing our contact us form on our contact page. We're happy to help!

How frequent do we communicate throughout the year?

This can depend on your chosen services and how much you require from us. However, as part of our panoramic accounting methods, you will have, at least, a quarterly call to check up on your progress, goals and queries, as well as a pre-year end meeting and a finalisation check up around the year end process. Any queries throughout the year can go straight to your client manager who will be happy to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I claim the £10,000 or £25,000 grants available?

The grants are provided by the local council and they will be in touch early April (estimated) about your eligibility, if any. If you don't pay business rates or eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR) or your ratable value is above £51,000 then you will not be eligible for a grant. You cannot apply for this - the council will be in touch.

I'm a director of a company. Can I claim 80% of my earnings?

The government have clarified their position that directors can be furloughed providing they are not carrying out any work or business activities (sales, marketing, systems, etc.) but they can maintain their office holding duties during this time (i.e. sign accounts, prepare VAT returns, run payroll). The salary is based on February submission so you must have had a payroll scheme and the 80% of your earnings is calculated from the February amount paid to prevent any fraud possibilities.

My employees hours are reduced. Are they eligible for 80%?

Unfortunately not. The employee must be not working at all and has effectively laid off and without work. The scheme protects this and keeps their job and 80% pay but you cannot then have them work as well during that time. There will be a portal to declare this which will be available soon as we understand. If you are reducing employee hours to 30% for example, it could be more beneficial for the employee to be furloughed instead as they would receive 80% of their normal pay.

When will SSP be reimbursed for my employees?

SSP for employees affected by the Coronavirus or via Self Isolation is payable on day 1 instead of day 4 like normal. The SSP will be reimbursed for up to 2 weeks by HMRC although there is currently no process in place on how to receive this as a refund. It is likely it could be offset against PAYE outstanding for the month or it could be a physical payment made. Claims are expected to start April/May time and we will update as we know more.

How do the business interruption loans work?

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is replacing the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) temporarily and is available from 23rd March 2020. Over 40 providers are available and if eligible, the loan will have the first 12 months interest free. You still remain liable for the full 100% of the balance loaned but lenders are guaranteed 80% of the loan by the government. However, if the lender would provide a loan to you on a normal basis then they will do so and the CBILS will apply in this case. A list of the lenders currently available can be found here.

What other funding options are available?

We recommend checking with your bank for any loans or overdrafts that may be available to you at this time. Some alternative providers can be found below as well. Please note these are only a few of the options available to you and these do not form a recommendation by Cone.
Capital On Tap - https://www.capitalontap.com/en/
Funding Circle - https://www.fundingcircle.com/uk/
Iwoca - https://www.iwoca.co.uk/
NatWest Rapid Cash - https://rapidcash.natwest.com/
Satago - https://www.satago.com/

Can I talk to someone about my accounting requirements?

Absolutely! You can reach us via he chat widget in the bottom right corner, or by completing our contact us form on our contact page. We're happy to help however we can.

What support is available from Cone?

We have a free employer HR helpline set up exclusively for our clients who have questions around their employees and payroll situations. Please contact your client manager for further details such as the number to call and reference to use.

We are running webinars on the awareness of measures discussed on this page, remote working tips and tricks and more. You can see what webinars we have coming up here.

We have also partnered with Float, a cashflow tool app that can be connected to Xero and help you look at your short term cash flow. This Float software is free until July 2020.

Where possible, we will be assisting clients with time to pay arrangements with HMRC and ultimately here for anything our clients need, from a sounding board tto support and guidance during this time.