Despite us all being aware of Coronavirus (COVID-19) since January, it was only until it reached our shores at the end of last month that it really began to hit home the gravity of the situation. Indeed even then, less than 3 weeks ago, none of us could have envisaged the impact it would have, and will continue to have, on our lives
COVID-19 is already having a serious impact on all businesses in Ireland but particularly so for the SME sector.
The difficult decisions the government have had to make over the last week will have a significant impact on trading for all businesses, which in turn will impact cash flow and liquidity.
There are steps that can be taken to address the impact of CoVID-19 and the government has recognised the need to provide support.
The following are immediate actions that you can take to help address trading shocks and cash flow impact:
Employees/Sole Traders: We have been contacted by employers who have unfortunately had to cease trading for the foreseeable future. Please click HERE for information on how to apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment which links to a simple one page application form which can then be posted to the FREEPOST address on the form thereby eliminating the requirement to call in to your local INTREO office in person.
Alternatively, the government are encouraging employers to retain employees where possible and, to that end, are in the process of setting up a refund scheme which will pay them the €203 for each employee that would otherwise have been laid off. Full details of this scheme have not yet been released but we expect to receive same in the coming days. In the meantime, please click HERE for further details and also further information on what employees need to do in the event they need to self-isolate or take time off to care for a person affected by COVID-19
Revenue Payments: Revenue have published guidance stating that they will not charge interest on late payments or take any enforcement action for the non-payment of taxes. However, you should continue to make tax returns on time. Click HERE for further details.
Support from Pillar Banks: The main banks are advising that if you need to defer repayments they will assist businesses but you must contact your bank immediately. We understand that Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, is to meet with the five main banks today (18th March 2020) to discuss measures on how the banks can ease pressure on people.
Capital Expenditure: Consider suspending immediately all capital expenditure and other discretionary projects
Insurance: Review your insurance policies to identify any provision for making claim for losses arising from Business Interruption
Property Rent: Review the terms of each lease and begin discussions with property owners to seek a moratorium. There may be a greater negotiation position if your landlord is in a position to seek a moratorium from mortgage repayments.
Creditors: Engage with your key suppliers now to review existing credit terms and continue regular communication to ensure continuity of supply. Make contingency plans for alternative supply if required.
Customers/Clients: Communicate regularly with your key customers and clients in order to retain confidence and support.
Kearney Naughton is working to implement measures to allow business continuity.