The world is a little scary for our clients right now, so here’s how we are helping them through the Covid-19 pandemic.
1 – COVID-19 Financial Measures
We are working on a COVID-19 Hub which will set out each of the financial measures announced by the government, what the criteria are and how these can be accessed in the coming weeks.
The hub will be updated as the government makes further announcements.
We will send an update and a link to the Covid-19 HUB as soon as it is ready.
This is a tough and quite surreal time for everyone, but rest assured Harry, Tom and I will do everything we possibly can to help you ride this storm.
2 – Keeping The Team Safe
Keeping the team safe and protected is our number one priority and we have all been working from home since the first suggestions of remote working and social isolation due to Covid-19 were issued.
The vast majority of our systems are all online so we can work remotely as well as we work from the office.
We have Skype open most of the day (with the exception of meetings) so it still feels like we are working as a team, we can stay informed, talk through client queries and we can keep on top of your accounts.
3 – Keeping Your Accounts Up To Date
It’s even more important than ever that your accounts are kept up to date, clean and tidy.
You need to know how your business is being impacted by COVID-19 so you can make informed decisions on a real-time basis:
- How is your income impacted by the change to your clients business?
- What are the implications on your margins?
- Who owes you money?
- Who do you owe?
- Do you need to reduce costs?
- Will you need to defer your Q2 VAT payment?
- Which costs can you cut?
- Which costs can you defer?
- Keeping a record of costs you have deferred
- Do you need to furlough employees?
- Do you need to investigate funding options?
- Are you at risk of an overdrawn directors’ loan account?
4 – Keeping On Top of Receipts And Purchase Invoices
Your time is precious, make sure you spend it wisely.
One of the most efficient ways of getting receipts and purchase invoices into Xero is through Receipt Bank. We are Receipt Bank partners.
If we do your bookkeeping – you will already use Receipt Bank to send your paperwork to us.
If you want to use Receipt Bank to increase the efficiency of your own bookkeeping, please reply to this email and let me know and I’ll set you up with an account.
If you would like us to take over your bookkeeping so you can focus on customer service, client retention and sales – let me know!
5 – Keeping On Top Of Aged Receivables With Proactive Credit Control
Managing cash flow has always been a huge issue for UK SMEs, with over £225 billion owed to them collectively at any one time. Covid-19 has made this situation drastically worse.
As your customers assess the impact of COVID-19, you will need us to be hotter on your credit control to make sure we collect as much cash as possible.
It is super important that your outstanding invoice is front of mind as and when cash comes into your clients’ bank account to ensure you get paid as early as possible.
There are quite a few credit control tools on the market and we have tried most of them.
Our favourite is Chaser.
Chaser will do all the automated credit control, sending weekly polite but persistent overdue invoice reminders into your client inboxes. Those who can pay but just haven’t got round to it yet, are more likely to pay when reminded.
This means we can then spend our time calling and personally chasing those that don’t pay, despite the reminders.
If we look after your credit control and you don’t already have Chaser set up to chase your overdue receivables; we will be implementing Chaser over the next few weeks so that we can use our time on your credit control more proactively.
If we don’t look after your credit control but you would like us to, please let me know.
6 – Keeping Payments On Track And Simplifying Bulk Payments
For clients where we pay suppliers on your behalf and cash flow is tight – we will agree payments with you before we make them, instead of making them automatically as we do now.
For clients where we pay suppliers on your behalf and cashflow is not under threat, we will continue to pay suppliers as they fall due, however…
With so many people working from home due to Covid-19, I have noticed significant lags and persistent crashing of some online banking sites – Lloyds and Barclays in particular.
If I notice the sites are slow on the normal Friday payments day – I’ll make those payments on Saturday instead.
We are looking at new tools and resources that might help build efficiency into these processes.
One such tool is TELLEROO.
Telleroo imports Xero, Brightpay and Moneysoft BACS files and allows us to create staff and supplier pay runs for you to log in and approve.
This means that we can set payment runs up for you, but you have the ultimate control over which payments are approved :
- we create the payrun
- we / you transfer the cash to cover the payments into a dedicated ClearBank Ltd account
- you log into Telleroo to approve the payments that you want to make that week
- faster payments are processed immediately
If you are finding manual bulk payments from home quite painful and time-consuming, and you want to take a closer look at Telleroo – please let me know!
7 – Helping You To Identify Unnecessary Payments And Profit Leaks
If we do your bookkeeping, we will have already sent you a list of all regular subscriptions, IT services and training subscriptions to review.
Check these carefully to make sure you are only paying for the services that are business-critical and eliminate unnecessary profit leaks.
If you do your own bookkeeping, review your overhead accounts carefully.
You can review the transactions either from your Xero account or your bank, credit card and paPayPalccounts. Go through each one in turn for the last three months and apply the 3 R’s:
- R etain – because it’s business-critical
- R educe – where possible and appropriate
- R emove – cancel everything that is not business-critical. It’s a profit leak!
If you need help identifying potential profit leaks – let me know.
8 – Cancelling Any Unnecessary Direct Debits
Cancel any unnecessary direct debits in your personal accounts and your business accounts.
If you are worried about cash flow, call your suppliers and try to negotiate reductions in costs or payment holidays.
If you are worried about the timing of cash flow, even if you need to keep the cost – cancel the direct debit so you have more control over when it is paid, rather than if it is paid.
Call all lenders, credit cards and HP agreements and ask for payment holidays and interest rate freezes. Some lenders are more helpful than others but worth investigating.
If you need to keep cash in your business over the next 3 months – cancel your VAT direct debit. VAT returns need to be submitted within normal timeframes but VAT payments can be deferred if necessary.
Keep direct debits of business-critical services such as insurance, phones, broadband, utilities and your accountant!! 🙂
If you need help identifying payments made by direct debits – let me know.
9 – Setting Up Skype/Whatsapp Chats With Clients To Keep Communication Lines Open
We have open Skype chat channels with most clients to keep lines of communication fluid and open.
Brilliant for a quick chat, online meeting, screen share, troubleshooting etc.
Like Slack but easier and free!!
If you use Skype and we are not already connected – connect with us:
- Lisa: caseron_01
- Harry: caseron_harry
- Tom: live:tom.p.quick (he never did set up a Caseron Skype account)
10 – Trello for Task Management
Email just doesn’t cut it any more when there is a lot to do in a short space of time and we need to move fast.
We use Trello for task sharing, issues logging, projects, to do’s etc.
If you don’t have a Trello account and you need to manage your team from home Trello is a godsend.
If you want to share an accounts related Trello board, let me know and I’ll set one up and invite you to it.
11 – Business Planning and Cashflow Forecasting
If we prepare business plans and cashflow forecasts for you, they will have been priced into your monthly subscription as part of our virtual finance team services.
We often prepare them in Excel. Excel is great but provides a flat 2 way forecast usually P&L and cashflow. They are time-consuming to set up but fairly easy to edit and update going forward. As much as we love our spreadsheets, its time to up our game and provide more insightful forecasts.
In the months ahead you may need more robust business and cashflow forecasts, especially if you are looking for funding. You may be asked for a three-way forecast: P&L, Balance Sheet and Cashflow.
To that end, Harry and I are now Spotlight Reporting Certified (for reporting AND forecasting) and will be building business plans and cashflow forecasts for those of you who need them, in order of urgency.
12 – Assisting With Finance And BSIL Applications
If you need help with Covid-19 funding, please let us know.
If we are still working on your year-end, we will work with you to get that closed as soon as possible. This is where Trello comes into its own. We will let you know exactly what we need from you to close year-end.
We can help create business plans, projections and cashflow forecasts to help with loan applications if required.
We are Capitalise partners which means that we can connect you with 100+ lenders, 10+ of which are accredited BSIL lenders.
If you need help with funding please let me know.
13 – Help With Invoice Financing And Credit Risk
We also work with Satago, who can offer On-Demand Invoice Financing and Credit Risk Tools.
Customer risk insights: we can link Satago to your Xero account. Satago will monitor the credit risk profile of your customers and email you with updates to their credit profile. You can see how your customers are performing with up-to-date credit reports so you can manage your credit limits and customer credit risk effectively.
In the weeks to come, the increased risk of bad debt could seriously harm your cashflow. As much as you will want to secure the sale, you might also want to look at payment facilities so more of your customers pay upfront to mitigate your increased risk of bad debt.
14 – Help With Furloughing Staff – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If you need help furloughing staff, we have letter templates that you can use to notify them as you get them ready to be furloughed.
We can run payroll, set up the furloughed payroll and upload those details into the HMRC portal once it is open, to ensure that you get the full grant available through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
15 – Daily Live Updates In Profit Hackers
We have set up a Facebook group where Harry and I are going LIVE daily with the latest updates on the financial measures, tips and advice on how to survive the crisis and everything we know about taking your business online.
We’d love to see you there.