2020 certainly has been eventful and many will be looking forward to what will hopefully be a more promising New Year.

We hope you’ve enjoyed all our updates and that they’ve helped your business stay on top of all the latest news. To see you into the festive season, we’ve put together an end-of-year round up of everything we’ve covered in recent months and what we might be able to expect in 2021.


A big well done to our clients

We’ve been amazed at how resilient our clients have been through the pandemic and how they’ve used a bad situation to repurpose or pivot their businesses into new areas. We’ve seen some of you redesign delivery and payment systems, move all your processes online, adapt to remote working and invest in new technologies to help survive and even prosper during COVID-19.

You’ve all done brilliantly and hopefully by this time next year, everyone will be back to where they want to be.


Government grants to continue into 2021

The government’s coronavirus support schemes will continue until at least 31 March 2021. The main grants and support available are outlined below. Please contact us if you need help making a claim.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

The CJRS has just been extended to 30 April 2021.

From 1 November 2020 employers can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Employers can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as long as they have made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between the 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. This may differ where they have re-employed an employee after 23 September 2020.

All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant.

Employers can furlough employees for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked. Employers might need to contribute towards the cost of their furloughed employees’ wages for these periods. For periods from 1 November 2020, they will need to pay for the cost of employer NICs and pension costs.

Please head to our story ‘Updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ to find out all the latest information about claiming.


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The SEISS is available for another two grants, each available for three-month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.

To be eligible for the grant extension, self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • Have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • Declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
    • Are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand
    • Were previously trading but temporarily unable to do so

The extension will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments, each covering a three-month period. The third grant will cover a three-month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021.

The Government will provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of three months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The CBILS helps small and medium-sized businesses access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. The scheme has been extended and is open until 31 January 2021.

You can find out more about this on the gov.uk website.


Bounce Back Loans

This scheme enables small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months, the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. The scheme is open to applications until 31 January 2021.

You can find out more about Bounce Back Loans on the gov.uk website.


The Future Fund

A scheme you may not have heard as much about is The Future Fund. This scheme issues convertible loans, between £125,000 to £5 million, to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Future Fund provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

These convertible loans may be an option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit.

The scheme is open for applications until 31 January 2021. You can find out more on the gov.uk website.


Regional and local support

There are a number of regional and local support schemes available which you can find details about on the government website.


Business planning for 2021

Although planning for 2021 is difficult at the moment, there are some practical steps businesses can take to minimise potential disruption.

  1. Review your budget and set realistic and achievable targets for 2021.
  2. Get your employees involved in a discussion of likely trading conditions and ask for their input on reducing costs and maintaining revenues.
  3. Review and flow chart the main processes in your business (for example, sales processing, order fulfilment or shipping and challenge the need for each step.
  4. Encourage team members to suggest ways to streamline and simplify processes (e.g. sit down and brainstorm about efficiencies and cost reduction).
  5. Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your customers are solid.
  6. Review your list of products and services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core products/services.
  7. Review efficiency of business processes and consider alternatives such as outsourcing certain activities locally or overseas.
  8. Agree extended payment terms (if applicable) with all suppliers in advance.
  9. Pull everyone together and explain the business strategy and get their buy-in.
  10. Remember to spend some quality time with the people that matter to you, especially family and friends.
  11. Use the holiday period as an opportunity to reflect on the exceptional challenges you have faced as a result of Covid-19 over the last 12 months. What were your most significant accomplishments? Have you encountered any setbacks or disappointments? Consider what you have learned from your experiences to improve your prospects for 2021.
  12. Send notes to colleagues, customers and contacts to thank them for their support during such a difficult year.
  13. Your final task is to set yourself and the business some specific goals for 2021. Make sure to keep them visible and share them.

If you’re worried about cashflow, please get in touch with PKB. We have strategies we can show you how to implement which will help protect your business’s future.


Brexit planning for January

Whether or not there is a trade deal with the EU, there will be new rules for businesses and citizens from 1 January 2021.

There is a Government Brexit checker to assist with planning for business, family, and personal circumstances. Use the Brexit checker to get a personalised list of actions. You can also sign up for emails to get updates explaining what you need to do.


Merry Christmas from PKB

We would like to wish all our clients a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We look forward to working with you in 2021 and as always, if there’s anything you need help with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


To read news and blogs from Rebecca Austin, click here >>