Q&A Coronavirus Financial Support

small business accounting advice

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We are in strange times and things seem to be changing on a daily basis. I hope that you and your family and friends are well.

A lot of my clients have been in touch over the last few weeks with queries about the financial support available to them at this time. Understandably, people are anxious about their business and their own personal situation.

I have been helping them understand how the measures affect them.  Of course, each business, and each individual within the business is in a unique situation. However, I thought you might find this Q & A of the most common questions I am asked useful.

Hi, I’m Anna Goodwin – Author of five books, Director, Mentor, and Trainer for Anna Goodwin Accountancy.

Basically, I take the stress out of finances – both business and personal. From running my own business and helping others to run theirs, I know it’s important to ask for help and advice when you need it, as well as knowing where you stand so that you can plan ahead.

small business accounting advice

Soletrader – Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

What do I do if I haven’t yet submitted my tax return for 2018/19?

Earlier this year I was contacted by someone who needed to get his tax returns up to date.  He was waiting for information from HMRC before he could do this.  He got back in touch last week to say he has all of the information and was asking could I still sort his tax returns out and bring him up to date.

You may be aware that one of the conditions for being able to receive the above grant is that the 18/19 tax return has been submitted.  Of course his hasn’t yet.  We have until 23/04/20 to get this done.  No pressure there then!

It’s always interesting when I take on a new client as I am dealing with a person and of course we are all different.  It would be easy to think that because his tax returns aren’t up to date that he isn’t efficient.  In reality, his paperwork was filed and he got back to me promptly with replies and missing information.

So the answer is you still have time to complete your tax return. But get it in before the 23rd April.

It’s the first time I have gone through paperwork wearing gloves – better safe than sorry!  Writing with gloves on isn’t ideal!

Limited Company – Job Retention Scheme

What work can I do if I am furloughed?

One of my existing clients is a director of a limited company with employees.  He is going to furlough the other employees as they can’t work at the moment.  He can’t furlough himself as he still has to get some work done.  Even though he isn’t doing any actual jobs within the company, he can’t be furloughed if he works at all.  Even checking emails or getting his accounts up to date are considered work!

However, there has been a plus side. It has been nice for him to be able to be at home more and he is taking advantage of this unexpected situation to have some time with his young daughter.  As he said, it will be a shock to leave her and go back to normal, long days at work.

Employed Person

What happens if I am employed but I can do my work at home?

One of my colleagues is an employed person who can continue to work from home so her salary is not affected. Therefore she cannot claim any additional money. However, her self-employed husband can’t work as he is a floor fitter, but at least he will be covered by the self-employment income support scheme.  For them it is a case of juggling cashflow until that grant appears in June.

It’s also a case of learning how to work from home when you have always been employed and working elsewhere. This is especially difficult  when there are children in the house.  Luckily, the husband can home school them while she works.

Limited Company – Small Business Grant Scheme

How can I make best use of this extra time to improve my business?

Again, this client is a director with employees.  He can furlough his employees but not himself as he needs to keep on top of any administration.  He, like many other clients, is using the additional time he has to decide what is the best thing for his business.  He closed the factory down last week but is likely to reopen to a limited extent during the lockdown as he has received orders from a different sector and he can work on his own

Luckily he is entitled to the small business grant scheme as fundamentally under the job retention scheme he is not allowed to work and therefore wouldn’t be allowed to furlough himself.

Limited Company – New Ways Of Thinking

What do I do if I am not good at doing things online?

Of course, this situation is a big shock and a worry.  In my experience, it has been even harder for the more traditional businesses who still fundamentally work in a manual way on many aspects of the business.  Even accessing the guidance isn’t easy as it is online.

I have spent my time explaining the situation to them and trying to work out the most favourable way for them to continue. The conversations have been very emotive as they still have regular orders coming in and have had to say no to people because of the situation.

Phone your accountant and talk to them. There is also a helpline 0800 024 1222 – available Mon-Fri 8am – 4pm.

For a long established business and older clients, I think it’s even more of an emotional time than other businesses. Usually I pop in to get any paperwork but now I can’t they are having to step up and scan information over.  This is proving very successful which is great! We should never stop learning new skills!

As I have said, there is support out there but it is not always clear how it impacts on your business.  If I can help to give you some clarity then get in touch.

Next week, I will concentrate on tackling your tax return.