Coronavirus

Covid-19

Whatever your business, it’s likely that COVID-19 will be impacting you. 

You may be dealing with stock shortages, exporting issues, disrupted travel plans or a sales downturn due to tourist drop off. 

The key now is to plan ahead for this disruption. Here is a summary of the latest government guidelines. 

Planning for business disruption 

The UK government has provided guidance for employers and businesses. This includes: • Advice on the key symptoms of COVID-19 • How to prevent the spread of the virus • What to do if a staff member tests positive • Advice on travel restrictions to overseas locations.  

You’ll want to have a plan on how to look after or protect your staff, how to manage sick leave and self isolation, plus consider issues around privacy. Setting up remote working is another option – allowing employees to self-isolate, if deemed necessary, and continue working.  

Coronavirus support from the Chancellor’s Budget 2020 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced a number of coronavirus-related measures in his first Budget on 11 March 2020 

A £12 billion package of targeted COVID-19 measures was announced to help the National Health Service, support UK businesses and fund continued research into the virus. 

Key business measures include: 

• Extending Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for all those advised to self-isolate and their carers. • Statutory Sick Pay costs for businesses with fewer than 250 employees to be met by the government in full for up to 14 days. • Financial support for self-employed individuals if they are affected by the virus. • Extending the Business Rates retail discount to 100% for one year and expanding it to the leisure and hospitality sectors.  

Read the UK Government advice on COVID-19 for employers and businesses.  

What Abacus Are Doing and How This Will Affect You 

At Abacus, our key focus is on the health and wellbeing of our staff and clients. Our plan is as follows: 

Health is a priority: We are encouraging everybody to wash their hands regularly and to follow best practices as advised by the government. This includes socially distancing ourselves and self isolation if we suspect that we (or our close family members) have come into contact with the virus. Our team members will be able to take as much time off as they need to fully recover. 

Remote working: At the moment we are still working in our offices. Our intention is to keep normal business hours so that there is a little disruption to our services as possible. However, should the government advise working from home then we have the systems in place to enable this. 

Client meetings: As a precaution, we are only conducting client meetings online at the moment and not face to face. We have been doing this for many years with a lot of our clients anyway, and we’ve found it to be a much more efficient way of doing business. We can use Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype for this, and can easily do screen shares, send files etc using this technology. 

Clients on Xero: As most of our clients are now using Xero and Receipt Bank, it’s business as usual! These systems allow us to work from anywhere in the World providing we have an internet connection, and they integrate perfectly into our in-house systems so we can still produce accounts, tax returns, VAT returns etc without any problem whatsoever. Clients on this platform shouldn’t have any disruption in service. 

Clients not yet on Xero: At the moment this is not a problem. However, if the government ask us to work remotely then there could be some disruption of service as manual records can’t be dealt with electronically without some kind of digital conversion. Should this situation arise we will do our utmost to ensure a consistent service, but our advice in the meantime would be to take advantage of the free upgrade to Xero that is available. You can find out more and get in touch by clicking the button below.  

There are several grants and help schemes available from the government to help business owners cope with the downturn in trade that will inevitably occur from this outbreak.  

Our team will be keeping abreast of these developments so if you need any advice or reassurance then please get in touch on 01376 343535 or email us at info@abacus-accountancy.com