How to Combat Coronavirus Cash Flow Concerns
As the world grapples with the unprecedented spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), small businesses are beginning to see strains on their cash flow from cancelled flights, cancelled events, social distancing and consumer panic.
As of the date of publishing (19th of March), countries have taken the following actions, all of which (however necessary) have negatively impacted businesses:
- Closing of borders
- Closing schools and universities
- Cancelling of public events and sports matches
- Travel bans
- Lockdowns of whole areas (and even countries)
- Recommendations to self-isolate with mild symptoms
During this difficult time, we’ve been keeping in touch with our customers. We’ve been asked for guidance on how to best weather the storm. And we’ve heard many heartbreaking stories about short-term cash flow issues resulting in potential layoffs, reduction in salaries, and even potential business closure if other measures fail.
One signage provider told us: “The vast majority of our work is event-related and, understandably, a lot of events have already been cancelled with more being postponed or cancelled every day. We are losing 90% of our work which, added to the unpredictability of the outbreak’s duration, leaves us in a very difficult position.”
So how can small businesses, who make up almost half of GDP worldwide, survive the Coronavirus pandemic? What practical steps can you take to weather this storm?
7 Practical steps to take to combat cash flow issues
1. Speak to your accountant
Your accountant is there to help you during this difficult time. They will be doing the same for all of their clients, so reach out if they haven’t already contacted you.
2. Take advantage of government loans
Contact your local council for further information on business rates and how they can help you, as you may be eligible for a business rate reduction.
3. Take advantage of government statutory sick pay, if available
The British government has announced that employers will be able to claim statutory sick pay for any employees off work showing symptoms of Coronavirus from Day 1, rather than the usual Day 4, for a total of up to 14 days per employee. Employees will not be required to provide a sick note, but they can get evidence of needing to self-isolate by calling 111. It’s still unclear how businesses can reclaim these benefits, but in the meantime we recommend keeping note of any staff that are sick or self-isolating, and inform your accountant.
4. Ask for extended payment terms
Contact any large suppliers who you owe money to and ask for an extension of your payment terms. It can’t hurt to ask.
5. Educate yourself about measures such as delay of VAT/GST/sales tax
If you’re in the UK, we recommend that you stop payments to HMRC if your income will be directly impacted by government action. Contact HMRC on the dedicated helpline – 0800 0159 559 to let them know, and set up a time to pay anything you owe.
6. Plan your cash flow
As the Coronavirus situation unfolds, it’s incredibly important that you keep a close eye on your cash flow. One of the key reasons to do this is to be able to understand and minimise the impact of potential scenarios. Of course, we can’t predict the future, but by forecasting your cash, you can prepare your business for any outcome.
For more information on how Float can help you plan for the economic impact of COVID-19, check out this article.
7. Look after your staff
Look after your staff, they are one of your biggest assets. Keep them updated with a team messaging group or email, and keep communication channels open. Provide accurate information about the situation and how you intend to get through it. Whether you are working remotely or still working together, your team/s will be looking to you for honest, accurate updates at this time.
For specific advice and resources in your country, please see the following links:
UK – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
USA – https://www.uschamber.com/coronavirus
Australia – https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources
New Zealand – https://www.employment.govt.nz/about/news-and-updates/workplace-response-coronavirus-covid-19/
We’ll keep these resources updated as the situation progresses.
As always, we’re here for you and your business. Please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re always happy to help.
Go to our Float COVID-19 Hub for the latest resources
Your 6 Step Guide To Covid-19 Cash Flow Forecasting with Float