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Cowgills Coronavirus client Q&A summary – 6 April

On the 6 April we held a Q&A session for clients through Zoom and were delighted to welcome over 40 attendees. Guests were able to hear from a panel of experts at Cowgills.

The team helped to demystify the current package of help from the Government and provided some valuable information and advice to assist business during this turbulent time. Our thanks also to Sally Hulston of Knights who provided his insight from an employment law angle.

We have provided a summary of some of the key topics that were discussed. We will be holding future events for clients and contacts, do drop us a line if you would be interested in attending enquiries@cowgills.co.uk

Summary of the items discussed:

Lisa Wilson, Cowgills – Tax observation

Self-employed could defer automatic measure payments until the 31 July. Automatic measures do not apply to everyone.

HMRC are bending over backwards to offer relief on Time to Pay measures that weren’t covered by automatic measures previously.

We have seen HMRC throw more resource behind the helpline (helpline number 0800 024 1222) and they are still agreeing Time to Pay arrangements for PAYE and Corporation Tax.

Act now, we have had a number of clients who have received back-payments.

Our advice is to persevere with the HMRC helpline.  HMRC are willing now and are likely to put in place arrangements but who knows what the situation will be two or three months down the line.

Sally Hulston, Knights – Furlough and your employees

Sally went into a great of detail around furlough and your employees. Keep up to date with changes and updates via Sally’s LinkedIn page – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sally-hulston-55668419/

A full overview of what she discussed can be found here.

Some key points from the questions asked:

  • If an employee has a holiday which has now been cancelled, they can request for their annual leave to also be cancelled. As an employer you can refuse this request if they are a furloughed employee but think carefully before you do from a health and safety perspective.
  • Employee pension schemes should be maintained. Minimum Auto Enrolment amounts are covered by the grant for furloughed workers.
  • Pension contributions that are over the 3% minimum should still be paid unless you have agreed to a contribution change with the employee. You still have a contractual right to fulfill even if an employee has been furloughed.
  • There is no limit on what someone can work after being furloughed. A furloughed employee can go and find employment elsewhere to ‘top-up’ their monthly income.
  • If you have employees who have been furloughed and are on the National Living Wage, you don’t have to take into account the uplift that came into force on the 1 April.
  • Once an employee has been furloughed and you have agreed a length of time, there is no need to re-furlough employees every three weeks.

Ben Day, Cowgills – Business Interruption Loan

The last couple of weeks has shown that the Business Interruption Loan Scheme is evolving.

We have seen the Government have put more pressure on banks to get funds out to companies quicker than they have been doing.

We have seen some exceptional cases being portrayed in the press. For more clarity on what is the best option for you, speak to your bank.

Since Friday, it has been announced that banks will no longer be taking any personal guarantees.

We are seeing that the application process with HSBC is a lot quicker if you are applying for less than £250k and the business turns over less than £2m. Larger loan applications are still needing some level of underwriting.

HSBC now have an automated application process online. Three questions are asked and there is a need to link your sage account to the application making it easier to review accounts.

All banks are different, for more advice we would recommend you contact your bank as the process isn’t a one size fits all.

What is clear is that you have to have the preparations done before applying for the Business Interruption Loan.

  • Cashflow forecasting model – you will receive better terms from the bank if you have a cashflow forecast.
  • A bank will want you to prove viability pre and post Coronavirus and the steps you’ve made in the interim – The Cowgills team have built a model template and we can roll this out quickly to clients. It is simplified so you have to a tool use and update yourself.
  • Basic set of forecasts, the historical viability of the business to show how the businesses financial performance will track during Coronavirus, including the steps taken will be critical for the bank.
  • Relatively simple business plan will also need to be put together which we have a template for and are more than happy to sit down with you to discuss this.

Should you require any further assistance do not hesitate to contact us


The information was correct at time of publishing but may now be out of date.

Posted by Cowgills
7th April, 2020
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