What businesses can do to boost recovery as further reopening is expected

7th May 2021
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Almost all businesses have been affected by lockdowns over the last year and are now looking for ways to boost their recovery ahead of next week’s expected announcement of further reopening and easing of restrictions from May 17th.

ONS data from the BICS survey shows that 34% of businesses reported lower turnover than they would usually expect for the period of 5th to 18th April 2021. However, compared to early in the 2021 lockdown, almost 2.5 times as many businesses reported higher than expected turnover, correlating with the reopening of more businesses across the country and suggesting that further recovery is on the cards after the next announcement of reopening from Boris Johnson.

Chart showing that the number of businesses reporting higher than expected turnover has grown since January 2021

As the economy awaits the next boost from further relaxation on the roadmap out of lockdown, we take a look at how your business can support its recovery.

Furlough – the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Over the last few weeks, the proportion of businesses workforce on furlough leave has fallen by 4%.

! icon (important)  An update to the CJRS page on gov.uk on 6th May provides a deadline of 14th May to claim for your employees’ furlough days in April 2021.

And although many businesses will be able to open their doors to more customers from 12th May, you will still be able to furlough employees at 80% of their usual salary for their hours not worked and claim that back from the government until 30th June 2021.

As your business moves into a recovery period, you may find that you still need to make use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The cost of finding a new employee further down the line will be higher and a larger strain on your business as they train, so be sure to keep your employees informed of what’s going on, agree on any changes to their hours in advance and keep written records of your decisions. That way, your most valuable players will be ready to return as soon as they’re needed.

VAT instalments deadline

If your business deferred VAT last year, be sure to set up your repayment instalments before the window to join the VAT deferral new payment scheme closes on 21st June. The earlier you join, the more instalments you will pay over. If you don’t opt into the scheme, your VAT bill is due in full on 30th June 2021. Be sure to act and avoid the potential 5% penalty or interest charge to protect your financial recovery plans.

! icon (important)  After 30th June 2021, businesses may face penalties or interest on unpaid deferred VAT.

Set your first new goal

Now you’ve checked your financial health is being well supported, you’ll start looking to the future.

It’s tempting for business owners to set huge goals without keeping an eye on whether or not the goal is achievable or too far-sighted. When you set an aspirational goal but don’t see results, it’s very easy to get disheartened and lose motivation. You also need your team to be on board with your aims, as they are the people who will do much of the work that gets your business to the goal.

When our teams set goals at BTCSoftware, we work on a quarterly basis while keeping one eye on the long-term plan. The objectives we set are always aspirational, but also have milestones along the way that we can celebrate and use to see our progress. The method of marking progress this way means your team can keep moving forward with a full view of what works well and what needs to be focussed on or adjusted.

Always remember SMART – Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited – goals will give you a great chance to move towards your profitable future.

And, as the last year has demonstrated, businesses should keep in mind that things can and will change. Be prepared to adjust your goals as needed, whether you’re over-achieving and feel your goal is too easy, or if things get tough and you need to switch your focus to different activities to survive.

Check your tools

In a 2020 survey from Lloyds Bank, 48% of business said that adopting digital technology helped them to survive the pandemic. That’s a great indication that your business can benefit from an internal audit of all of the tools you use, from software through to physical processes and equipment.

In some areas, you will find that spending a little more on tools will make your team more efficient to result in a net saving, and in others, cheaper tools will make a huge difference to your overheads. And in some places within your audit, you’ll find new tools that both save you money and boost efficiency – like BTCSoftware for Business.

Be sure to understand what adds value for your team too. Of businesses surveyed by the Office for National Statistics, 24% intend to use increased homeworking as a permanent business model going forward. Homeworking is a new development for many businesses so ensuring your team is able to work effectively is key. Reliable cloud access to the software they use most is one important area to focus on now.

How can we help?

At BTCSoftware, we provide tools that make it easy for your finance team members to work on business tax returns for Corporation Tax and VAT and annual accounts. Our modules link with a huge variety of bookkeeping tools so you can get started quickly without unnecessary additional outlay, plus we support your team with unlimited telephone and email support.

Whether you have one business or work within a group of companies, it’s easy to buy online. Or you can get in touch to request your free 30-minute consultation and demo.