The Immediate Survival Steps Your Clients Can Take During The COVID-19 Pandemic
The coronavirus crisis has affected businesses across the country in very different ways. Some have managed to carry on trading albeit with significant adaptations, whilst many others have had to close either temporarily or permanently.
So with plague and pestilence now added to their ever-growing worry list, we’ve put together a few tips to help your business clients get through these challenging times.
With staff working remotely, the channels of communication need to stay open
Thanks to modern technology, running a company from home is easier than ever before. But although daily business tasks in general can be done remotely, now more than ever it’s important to actually communicate. With people no longer in the same office, catching up with colleagues is something that needs to be remembered more consciously than before.
Zoom in particular has risen massively in popularity since the lockdown started, allowing video calls with many people at once. It’s the perfect chance to have meetings, plan strategies and to just generally chat, even when being physically together isn’t possible. Failing that, WhatsApp groups or good old fashioned phone calls can all help colleagues to stay in touch.
Changing the business model
Businesses that have been significantly impacted by coronavirus may need to reconsider their business model going forward. For example, they might think about new ways to generate additional revenue, or cut costs. It may also be prudent to ask if there any innovative new ideas they could try, or any skills amongst employees that could be utilised which haven’t been already.
Changing an organisation’s business model also brings with it the chance for some fresh thinking. For example, a small company could take the opportunity to run promotions for new customers, or add a welcome note to customer delivery packages. It’s about reaching out to customers in a new way and fulfilling their expectations so they come back to the business in future.
Companies should be flexible in helping their customers at this time - especially those in most need
With coronavirus bringing fear especially amongst older members of society, many businesses particularly in the retail sector have had to adapt. A large number now dedicate their first hour open each day to vulnerable customers so they can shop for essentials more easily. Not only is this of huge help to those in need, it is excellent PR for companies too. Other businesses are running a mobile service for the first time ever, or reducing their standard delivery costs where possible.
With credit and debit card use at an all-time high, and online shopping becoming easier, a cashless society is certainly possible. Plus, until COVID-19 came along many people didn’t consider how grubby cash actually is. In fact, a recent survey revealed that a £10 note will be touched by around 594 different people during its average life span of 36 months.
With the public on high alert for germs, cash is becoming an unhygienic inconvenience. This has meant that many businesses are now asking their customers to temporarily switch to using a contactless card or payments over the phone to limit cross contamination.
Relying less heavily on cash throughout the COVID-19 outbreak could even lead to companies becoming totally contactless going forward. It means putting customers potentially at less risk and can drive online sales particularly.
It’s well worth businesses tapping into resources provided by the government and by banks
As you’ll be aware, the government has already put together a wide range of financial measures designed to help business weather the storm of COVID-19. These measures are regularly evolving, and clients with operations in other countries will need to be aware not just of UK government assistance but assistance from other governments too. This means that business accountants working with clients during the uncertainty should at least understand the UK government COVID-19 business support inside out, plus key available supports elsewhere in the world where necessary.
Finally, don’t forget to encourage your clients to familiarise themselves with existing government incentive schemes too, like R&D Tax Credits.
What are R&D Tax Credits and how can the scheme boost company cash flow?
The R&D Tax Credits scheme is a generous tax incentive offered by HMRC, and is designed to encourage company investment into research and development. It came about originally in the year 2000 for SMEs, and in 2002 a separate scheme for larger companies was launched.
Essentially, if a company has taken a financial risk in making a scientific or technological advancement - either through creating a new product/service or enhancing an existing one - then R&D Tax Credits could help cover the cost. It works by reducing a company’s Corporation Tax bill by as much as 33 pence for every £1 of R&D expenditure, even if the project ultimately failed. For businesses that have made a loss, the relief can be received as a cash payment instead.
The good news too is that the definition of eligible R&D projects and costs are very broad, with qualifying work often taking place across a large variety of company operations.
Sound like one of your clients? Read up more on our R&D Tax Credits page.
Why work alongside Myriad Associates on your clients’ R&D tax claims?
Myriad Associates has been working with both businesses and their accountants for almost two decades. The government is keen to boost economic growth by attracting R&D investment. This means that the rules and guidelines around R&D tax relief change often, therefore making it easy for misinterpretations to creep in - even for the most experienced of company accountants.
Our highly trained R&D consultants will work with you and your client in compiling an accurate, successful - maximised - R&D Tax Credits claim. We will collate all the eligible costs, write the technical report and calculate the associated benefit for inclusion in your client’s tax return. Lastly, we will take care of any HMRC queries or enquiries, leaving you to get on with everything else.
Why not discover how we can help you to help your clients boost their cash flow through R&D Tax Credits by calling Myriad Associates on 01858 776 045 or use our contact page so we can get back to you.