It is important that when businesses in Northern Ireland that are presently in lockdown are given the green light to start trading again, that they are fully prepared and ready to go with a well thought out plan of how to resume and thrive.
Accessing Government Support Schemes
Recently most businesses have been concentrating on getting access to all the various government support schemes that are available to them, so that they can keep their head above water whilst the revenue has all but dried up. But they also need to be ready to burst out of the traps and get a head start when they resume full time trading so a little forward planning is required.
A Sound Business Resumption Plan
There was a very good article in the Belfast Telegraph today on this very subject and it outlined some of the steps which businesses should take to ensure they have a sound business resumption plan. Here are those steps from the article:
- “What will your business look like after lockdown? This should include several assumptions and different scenarios depending on how the government exit strategy is rolled out in the weeks and months ahead.
- What resources will you need to start trading again?
- What do you need to do to have your supply chain ready?
- It is likely that social distancing will be in place for some time, what will you need to do to ensureyour business can enforce/manage this?
- Check your insurance policy to see if it includes Business Interruption Cover and if so, consider what information is required to initiate a claim.
- Communication is key, with your employees, bank, customers, suppliers and stakeholders.
- Look at your manpower. In preparation for a return to some level of normal activity you may wish to bring some furloughed employees back into work. Remember that employees can be furloughed multiple times, but each separate instance must be for a minimum period of three consecutive weeks.
- Cash is still king. Continue to prepare weekly cash flows. Assume a baseline of activities continuing as they are now. Work out if your existing cash resources will be enough to sustain the business for the coming months after accessing the government support initiatives of the job retention scheme, the grants for small businesses, deferred VAT and self-assessment payments and CBILS lending.
- Having carried out the above base line analysis, consider if you have sufficient working capital for resumption of business activities. Operationally once you start to bring staff off furlough do you have the working capital to pay them until your income starts to flow again? If not, you may need to go back to your bank for further credit or consider other ways of bridging this gap.
- Review key contracts with customers and suppliers to ensure you understand your duties and obligations. Each contract will need to be carefully considered to ascertain the impact, if any, that Covid-19 may have. The current crisis may excuse or postpone the performance of certain contractual obligations.”
Helping Out Northern Ireland Businesses
It has been a very tough time for businesses and they need all the help they can get. At WHR Accountants we provide sound business advice on how to fund and grow your business through the good times and the bad. For help and advice please give our offices a call for a free initial consultation on 028 3752 2909.