Guidance for our clients and contacts - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In these uncertain times we wanted to reach out to all our clients and contacts to let you know we are here to offer support and guidance over the next few months.

In these uncertain times we wanted to reach out to all our clients and contacts to let you know we are here to offer support and guidance over the next few months.

Health and wellbeing are the most important things right now and so we have made the decision to keep our offices open but with a reduced number of staff, with some people working remotely.

You can still drop off and collect records but please call or email in advance. If you are showing any signs of the virus we kindly ask you to postpone your visit to our offices. Alternatively, you can use our portal system to upload information securely or can scan and email documents.

To limit the risk to all, we will not be holding face-to-face meetings during this time. As well as communications over email and the telephone, we are also able to offer meetings via Skype.

We have excellent IT systems and the infrastructure to carry on working. We will continue to complete your accounts, VAT, payroll and tax returns in a timely manner.

If you and your people are working remotely and / or struggling to keep your records straight then please let us know. There are a variety of Cloud based solutions that can help.

We are confident that we will be able to manage the impact that any further developments with COVID-19 will have on our day-to-day operations.

If you need anything let us know. Our business depends on your business and we must all pull together during the next few weeks/months.

Here is a quick action plan to help focus your thoughts:

  1. Keep your eye on Government advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
  2. Your main purpose is to protect the health of yourself, employees and customers and then reduce the risk of the financial impact to your business. So you need to take action now.
  3. Work through an action plan. Possible issues to be considered are included on the Guide and Tough Times Business Checklist below
  4. Summarise the actions and allocate responsibility to make them happen.
  5. Talk to us – we are all in this together.

Guide

Use this as a guide or meeting agenda to answer the question:

“WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW?”

The agenda and guide are not intended for use if the situation turns into an emergency, and it is crucial that follow-up meetings are scheduled. We recommend there is a weekly Coronavirus report and review meeting.

Topic 1 – Introduction and purpose of the meeting

  • State the purpose of the meeting, to create a Coronavirus action plan to:
    • Reduce risk and financial impact
    • Support the government's objective to minimise and slow down the spread to reduce pressure on the NHS
    • Explore if there is an opportunity to provide support to the community
    • Review the situation report using the prompt questions
    • Get agreement of the level of risk to the business

Topic 2 - Employees

  • Our duty of care
  • Self-isolate
  • Advise of sick pay
  • Encourage employees taking sick days
  • Consider a remote working policy
  • Policy customer visits
  • Encourage video / Skype / tele conference style meetings
  • No shaking hands
  • Policy on events
  • Defer non-essential seminar training

Topic 3 - Customers

  • Advise customers of the firm's Coronavirus plans
  • Fewer face to face meetings
  • Use of video calls
  • Courier papers rather than drop off
  • Offer Coronavirus support
  • Blog posts and newsletter

Topic 4 - IT & Cybersecurity

Remote working and cybersecurity is a topical subject. In an effort to do the right thing by having people work at home to limit the impact of Coronavirus, you may create a bigger problem; home working environments are likely to be insecure and not risk assessed, e.g. home Wi-Fi and sharing of work devices with family members.

  • What IT is required?
  • Hardware
  • Remote working
  • Video conferencing
  • What data security risks need to be addressed and managed?

Topic 5 - Marketing & Business Development

  • Events and exhibitions – cancel?
  • Switch seminars for webinars
  • Budget and resource
  • Do we need to step up our investment?

Topic 6 - Purpose

  • What can we do to support the community?
  • Sector
  • Town or region

Topic 7 - Financial Impact

Cashflow management is key. Consider the impact of:

  • Customers paying more slowly
  • Bad debts
  • Fewer new customers
  • Risk of clients moving to lower-priced competitors
  • Customers asking for lower prices because profits are hit
  • Look at payment terms
  • Offer customers time to pay
  • Expenditure – cut non-essential
  • Delay capital purchases
  • Finance all capital purchases
  • Avoid discretionary costs
  • Contact your bank – if you have an overdraft can it be converted to a loan?
  • Loan holidays
  • Alternative funding for the business
  • Bookkeeping, VAT and payroll – do we need our accountants help?

Topic 8 - Actions

  • Agreed actions
  • To do or project
  • Person
  • Deadline/timeline
  • Notes
  • Who is producing notes?
  • When and how are they to be circulated?
  • The date for next review

Tough Times Business Checklist

No Action Item Completed
1. Review your Budgets and set realistic and achievable targets for 2020.  
2. Get rid of Won't pay customers.  
3. Review debtors list and chase up overdue invoices (if appropriate).  
4. Offer existing debtors extended payment terms and/or discounts.  
5. Make sure your terms of business contain explicit payment terms.  
6. Assign responsibility to one individual for invoicing and collections.  
7. Agree extended payment terms with all suppliers in advance.  
8. If appropriate, review banking facilities and discuss future needs.  
9. Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your better customers are solid.  
10. Review and flow chart the main processes in your business (e.g. Sales processing, order fulfilment, shipping etc) and challenge the need for each step.  
11. Encourage team members to suggest ways to streamline and simplify processes (e.g. sit down and brainstorm about efficiencies and cost reduction).  
12. Use 'bottom up' budgeting where everyone in the office gives input on areas over which they have control – target a 10% cost saving.  
13. Review your staffing needs over the next few months.  
14. Get your members of staff involved in a discussion of likely trading conditions and get their input on reducing costs and maintaining revenues.  
15. Review your list of products and services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core products/services.  
16. Establish your key performance indicators (KPI's) and measure them on a daily basis e.g:
  • Sales Leads generated
  • Orders supplied/fulfilled
  • Cash balance
  • Stock Turnover
  • Debtor Days
  • Gross Profit
  • Net Profit
 
17. Review efficiency of business processes and consider alternatives such as outsourcing certain activities locally or overseas.  
18. Explain the business strategy to everyone and get their buy-in.  

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