The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in very many ways. The way people live, the way people interact and of course – the way people do business. Businesses around the world are having to re-think the way they operate, make adjustments to their models and look carefully at their staffing structures.

As part of this process, it’s possible that some businesses will be considering staff redundancies. As companies are forced to make tough decisions in order to keep their businesses viable, redundancy may be a way to maintain the health of the business.

The world however is a very different place now, compared to six months ago. The unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic means that the government has stepped in to support companies with a range of benefits including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – supporting businesses up and down the country and placing millions on furlough leave.

But as this scheme is gradually wound down by the government, it’s important that businesses considering redundancy procedures are equipped with the very latest information about how the to implement this process properly, particularly where furloughed staff might be involved.

 

What is the impact of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for businesses considering redundancy procedures?

The UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was created to help businesses deal with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. By placing employees on a temporary leave of absence – otherwise known as a ‘furlough’ leave – businesses could claim 80% of staff wages directly from the government, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

A flexible phase of the scheme is currently in place up to October, allowing employers to bring staff back to work on a part-furloughed, part-employed basis. From 31 October however, the scheme will be stopped and employers will no longer be able to claim this financial support from the government.

In this changing economic picture, some businesses may be considering staff redundancies. This is never an easy decision for any business owner but it’s an important one that should be handled with dignity and respect for all involved. It’s also key to roll out this process in accordance with government rules around redundancy, with special consideration to staff that have been furloughed.

The fundamental rules around redundancy remain as they always have been. But while the furlough scheme is still operational and many staff are still at home, there are some extra pointers that businesses will need to consider if these employees are at risk of redundancy. These include:

  • The logistics of running a redundancy process remotely. Furloughed staff will not be working or sitting in an office and it’s important that businesses manage the practicalities of the situation.
  • Redundancy must remain a fair process, with pooling and selection criteria given careful consideration. It’s important not to discriminate against staff who have been placed on furlough and put in place a selection process that is based on clear and fair criteria.
  • Staff who are being made redundant are likely to be entitled to a full salary payment while in their notice periods, regardless of whether they have been furloughed or not. Their redundancy payments must also be based on their full pay, rather than their furlough pay.
  • Businesses should carefully consider the legalities of making staff redundant and ensure that any dismissal is not an ‘unfair dismissal’. This means considering other viable alternatives to redundancy, such as keeping the member of staff on furlough.

 

When to consider redundancies

As the furlough scheme continues to change and evolve, many businesses are considering their medium to long term health – and looking at redundancy as a possible option to keep the business afloat.

In these situations, it’s important that the redundancy process is a fair process, but at the current time it can be tricky to determine whether a genuine redundancy situation has come up – given the unusual nature of the furlough scheme.

It’s important to seek legal advice about making staff redundant while the furlough scheme is still active, in order to ensure that employment law is adhered to. At the moment all the usual regulations around fairness of any redundancy process are still in place, as the government support is still on the table.

As the 31 October deadline begins to loom, and the furlough scheme is withdrawn, more information is expected from the Government to help businesses make decisions about redundancy. In some cases, redundancy will be a business necessity.

 

Consultation with staff

It’s very important that businesses stick to rules around formal consultations with staff affected by potential redundancy. Employment law stipulates that a fair consultation should be carried out, and it’s important that businesses recognise this whether or not their staff are on furlough.

The logistics of running a staff consultation remotely should be properly thought out. Consultations with staff – whether collective or individual – may need to take place via a video conference or in writing. Employers should make time in the consultation process to handle these practical issues.

Employees also have the right to be accompanied to any redundancy meetings – this includes those taking place remotely. Videos calls or telephone calls could be a good option in these instances.

It may be necessary for the employer to engage with a Trade Union or staff representative group, if 20 or more redundancies are being considered within a 90 day time period. This can be tricky given the nature of the current situation, and employers should consider how to engage in a full and proper consultation while social distancing measures are still in place.

The furlough scheme is due to end on 31 October and employers should consider the impact this may have on redundancy consultation timeframes. Businesses should put adequate timings in place to ensure that full consultation can take place in a way that works around this deadline.

 

How to select roles for redundancy

It’s important that the redundancy process is fair and transparent. A list of selection criteria for roles at risk of redundancy should be drawn up, based on an objective list of considerations. These criteria must not be discriminatory in any way and full staff consultation should take place before they are confirmed.

For staff who have been furloughed, the same employment law around redundancy will apply, including rights around unfair dismissal and discrimination. Businesses should not automatically earmark furloughed roles for redundancy, for many reasons. These include:

  • The initial reasons for which the furloughed staff were selected for furlough. These would have to be fair in those circumstances to remain a fair basis of the decision to make the roles redundant.
  • Some staff may have been placed on furlough because they are shielding or have caring responsibility. Making these staff redundant could constitute as discrimination based on a variety of reasons. They should not be at increased risk of redundancy purely because they have been furloughed.
  • Employers should consider whether to wait until the furlough scheme has ceased, before implementing any redundancies. The current situation is unprecedented, and there remains a grey area around making furloughed staff redundant, and the potential of an unfair dismissal claim.

 

Redundancy payments

When it comes to pay-outs, an employee’s rights should not be affected by their furlough status. All staff made redundant while furloughed will be eligible for a statutory redundancy payment, if they have two years or more continuous service with the business. These payments should be calculated based on the full salary of the individual, prior to the period of furlough. Any additional contractual payment should be calculated based on the terms and conditions of the contract, before the period of furlough.

Notice periods for staff made redundant while on furlough should also be enacted in accordance with their employment contracts. Pay during this period is most likely to be due at the rate of the employee’s pre-furlough salary, although there may be some legal discrepancies around this regarding statutory versus contractual notice pay.

For employers making a furloughed staff member redundant, there are certain costs that they will not be able to re-claim. These include:

  • Payments associated with statutory redundancy
  • Payments associated with contractual redundancy
  • Payments associated with unused annual leave
  • Extra compensation payments linked to the termination of employment

Employers may be able to reclaim certain costs:

  • Costs associated with notice pay for staff carrying out notice periods while on furlough
  • Costs associated with annual leave taken by the staff member while in a notice period

Both the above items can only be claimed for up to the relevant monthly cap set out in the furlough scheme.

 

Is the Covid crisis harming your business

You are not alone, the unprecedented damage due to the large scale forced economic shutdown has caused, and continues to cause, businesses of all sizes threats to their long term viability.

The friendly and helpful team at An Accounting Gem can help you navigate through this worrying time and towards the brighter future we all hope is not too far away.

Please call us on 01473 744 700 or send us an email at contactus@aag-accountants.co.uk and we will get back in touch with you ASAP.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), launched following strict nationwide lockdowns in response to the outbreak of coronavirus, managed to help one million employers protect the jobs and livelihoods of more than eight million workers.

Now, as the Government begins phase three of its plan to reopen the UK and get the economy moving again, businesses have the ability to start bringing back furloughed employees to work part time on a flexible basis.

Starting on the 1 July, employers have been able to bring back those employees who have been furloughed as part-time staff, whilst the government will pay for the hours that they don’t work on a continuing furlough basis. This move is designed to help businesses to reopen workplaces whilst maintaining social distancing, with the aim of getting employees back to work as quickly as possible.

Employers will have to pay staff for the hours that they are working, and contribute towards wage costs on an increasing scale, up to a maximum of 20% by October, whether the employees are working or not.

 

Important Points To Note

  • Going forward, no new employees can be furloughed, apart from those returning from statutory parental leave.
  • As of 1 July, there is no minimum furlough period, and employees can be brought back at any time to work part time as agreed between themselves and their employer.
  • Employers are required to pay in full for the hours worked by furloughed employees but can continue to claim a furlough grant to cover the difference between the actual hours worked and an employee’s ‘usual hours’.
  • From August, employers will be required to begin contributing towards the cost of furlough payments, up to a maximum of 20% in October. The Job Retention Scheme will end on 31 October 2020.

 

How Will ‘Flexible Furlough’ Work?

As of 1 July, employers can begin to bring any member of staff that is currently furloughed back into the workplace, for any amount of time and any shift pattern, claiming a CJRS grant for the hours not worked by the employee.

Employers are able to choose to continue to fully furlough some or all of their employees, or rotate employees on and off of furlough, so that everyone gets a chance to work and social distancing can be maintained.

If an employee is fully furloughed, they will not be able to do any work for an employer until they are moved to flexible furlough.

 

Who Is Eligible To Be Furloughed Under The New Scheme?

Employees must have been furloughed for at least three weeks before 30 June under the old scheme to be eligible to be furloughed under the new one from 1 July. The only exceptions to this rule are those returning to work from statutory parental leave, such as those returning to work after maternity leave, shared parental leave, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave.

You cannot furlough new employees now. The final date for new furloughs was 10 June.

All other eligibility criteria are the same, but you can check the government’s ‘Check which employees you can furlough’ guidance for more information.

 

How Long Can Employees Be Furloughed

The last date anyone could be added to the furlough scheme was 10 June, and if you furloughed any employee on that date, they will be able to move to the new scheme straight away.

For employees re-furloughed after 10 June, you will have to wait three weeks until you can move them onto the new scheme, even if this period ends after 1 July. A previously furloughed employee who started a new furlough period as of 15 June, for example, would then remain furloughed under the old scheme until 6 July.

Once employees have all been moved to the new scheme, they can be flexibly furloughed for any period up until 31 October 2020.

Whilst businesses are not able to furlough anyone new, they are able to re-furlough staff if they are forced to close again amidst any local lockdown.

On this subject, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister has said: “If employers have used the furlough scheme at any point between March 1 and June 30, which of course many will have, they can re-furlough those employees from July 1.

“If someone worked in non-essential retail and they have been able to go back to work and that non-essential retail now has to close again they will still be eligible to benefit from the furlough scheme.

“It applies nationwide but obviously it’s a particular circumstance to Leicester and those surrounding conurbations at the moment.”

 

How Many Employees Can You Furlough?

From 1 July you can only furlough as many employees as the maximum number of employees you had furloughed under the old scheme, although you don’t need to include returning parents in this calculation as they are exempt.

This may cause some problems for employers already working with rotating furlough patterns. If you had 100 employees, with two groups of 50 working on a rotating furlough basis, you are only eligible to have 50 employees flexibly furloughed at any one time. This means that you still cannot bring back your entire workforce for part time hours and will need to work out a way to keep your rotation going to take part in the scheme.

 

How To Calculate Flexible Furlough

It may be tricky for businesses to calculate the CJRS grant for employees on flexible furlough, due to the complex nature of shift patterns, hours worked and your required contribution increasing over time.

When an employee is working under the flexible furlough scheme, they can work as many hours as necessary, agreed between employer and employee. Employers must pay the employee’s normal wages in full (this must be the pre-furlough rate of pay) each month.

Employers can then claim a pro-rated furlough grant for the hours that the employee hasn’t worked, based on an employee’s ‘usual hours’ when they are not on furlough, minus the hours they actually worked.

For each claim period and for each employee, an employer must work out and submit:

  • The employee’s usual working hours;
  • The actual hours they worked
  • Their furloughed hours.

Wages will be proportional to the hours not worked by the employee.

The government guidance document “Calculate how much you can claim”. Offers in-depth details on how to calculate the wages you need to pay and how much grant you can apply for. There is also a CJRS calculator, which has been updated to include flexible furlough calculations.

 

Help With Flexible Furlough

The new rules regarding furloughing can be difficult to interpret in some cases, so if you need help making sure you comply with the new rules then you can call the friendly team at An Accounting Gem

You can reach us on 01473 744 700 or by email at contactus@aag-accountants.co.ukfor a friendly discussion along with expert advice on this or any other accountancy topic.

 

Following a nationwide lockdown designed to curb the spread of coronavirus, the government announced on 10 May 2020 that the country would begin reopening on a phased basis. At the time of writing, we are currently in phase three, meaning that the majority of businesses are now looking at how to get their workplaces in order, so as to be able to return to work.

Before you can welcome employees back on-site, you are legally required, as an employer, to fully assess the risk to employees and customers of returning to the workplace, and then put steps in place to ensure that this is safely managed.

The government has published fourteen guides on working safely during coronavirus that focus on a variety of different workplace environments. These are worth looking at before doing anything else, as different workplaces will require different safety guidelines.

 

What Is A COVID Secure Workplace?

The health and safety obligations of employers in relation to COVID-19 are the same as they have always been, coming under a range of workplace legislation including:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974;
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999;
  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992;
  • The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992; and
  • The Control of Substance Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

With COVID-19 still an issue, employers are required to take more targeted and severe steps to ensure the health and safety of employees, customers, and site visitors.

 

Steps To A COVID-Secure Workplace

  1. Employers must carry out a full COVID-19 risk assessment, in line with current HSE Guidance, and then share the results of this assessment both internally and on their website.
  2. Employers should create new, in-depth, cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures, create visible guidance for employees to follow, and support employees in increased cleaning and hygiene routines. This would include having more handwashing stations, hand sanitisers available at entry and exit points and regular cleaning of high-contact areas such as door handles.
  3. Employers should support employees to work from home, including providing them with the equipment and software required for remote working, and providing them with physical and mental wellbeing support. At the time of writing the government is now encouraging people to go back to work, however it remains the case that continued support is necessary for those who must continue to work from home.
  4. Employers should ensure that workplaces are set up for social distancing, redesigning areas where necessary, creating one-way traffic systems and so on.
  5. Where it is not possible to have social distancing, employers need to manage transmission risk with the use of screens, having employees sit side-by-side instead of face-on, use of masks, or changing hours and appointments so that there are less people working at once.

 

How To Do A COVID-19 Risk Assessment

Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic is an unusual and unprecedented situation, the risk assessments you need to conduct are basically the same as any other health and safety risk assessment.

During a COVID risk assessment you will:

  • Identify any situations that put people at risk of transmission
  • Identify the employees that are at risk, and the likelihood of exposure
  • Control the risk or remove the activity altogether

One of the first steps every employer should take, in line with the government’s own guidance, is facilitating employees working from home, where possible.

 

Questions To Ask

  • Who can work from home?
  • Who needs to be in the workplace, and what is the minimum number of staff members required on site to run the workplace?
  • How do employees get to work? How can I reduce the risk to staff on their commute?
  • What jobs and tasks could be adapted to lessen the risk of transmission?
  • What, if any, PPE should I be providing?
  • How can I communicate new hygiene procedures, and ensure that they are followed?
  • How can we ensure that cleaning routines are completed regularly?
  • How secure is the building? How can I redesign toilets, stairways, hallways and lifts for safety?

 

Sharing The Results Of Your COVID Risk Assessment

After your risk assessment is complete, it is necessary for employers to share the results with their entire workforce. It is a legal requirement for any business with more than 50 employees to publish the results of their risk assessment on their website, but all businesses are encouraged to do so.

Publishing your results not only makes your employees feel more secure, but also helps customers and other companies to feel good about the business and how you take care of your staff.

To communicate your findings directly to staff, send emails or have meetings and site inductions for all those returning to work. Make sure that they know where they can go to refer to the new health and safety guidelines and be proactive in following up with any staff that have not yet been in touch regarding their understanding of the guidelines.

 

What If Staff Members Don’t Want To Come Back?

Many employers have found that staff members are unhappy at the prospect of returning to work whilst coronavirus is still active. In this case, employees may cite Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, which states that if an employee has a reasonable belief of ‘serious or imminent danger’ to their health, they can refuse to work.

As an employer, it is your duty to provide a safe and secure work environment for employees. Coronavirus classifies as a danger to health, and is thus a good enough reason for staff to refuse to return, if you have not put enough procedures in place to keep them safe.

To make sure that you have done enough, and to reiterate to employees that you are focused on their health and safety, and dedicated to providing a secure working environment, you must perform your coronavirus-specific risk assessment first. After this you should communicate the findings and steps you have taken to secure the workplace, before asking employees to return.

 

We Can Help

An Accounting Gem is on hand to provide your businesses with the help and advice it needs to facilitate a return to the workplace. We can help you to apply for any grants and funding you may be entitled to, as well as working out what is necessary to secure the working environment, including steps like switching to flexible furloughing.

To find out more, get in touch on 01473 744 700 or email us at contactus@aag-accountants.co.uk

For over 15 years now, An Accounting Gem has worked with local entrepreneurs taking the first steps of their journey into self-employment and running a company. Opening a business is hard, particularly if you’ve never done it before, and the services we offer to clients are designed to help them transition to their new lives and their new professional responsibilities as quickly and with as little friction as possible.

In this article, we share with you the journey we go through with our clients from when they first approach us with their idea right up until 6 months or more after launch. We cover:

  • preparing your business plan
  • setting up your company
  • finding a bank account and funding if you require it
  • starting as you mean to go on – proper recordkeeping post-launch

 

Preparing a business plan – is your idea viable?

Business plans are long and detailed documents describing every aspect of your business including what you sell, who you intend to sell it to, the competition you face, how you find and convert customers, and more.

A business plan may be as short as 20 pages or as long as 60 pages. When we start working with a client, we have no target length in mind – our only target is that it should be as long and as detailed as it needs to be so that you’re sure of the viability of your business from every angle.

We want you to be as prepared as possible for the journey so that you understand every aspect of what you’re likely to be doing on a daily basis. This is first to find out if you think it’s possible and second is this the type of life you want for a year or two before you can start handing responsibilities to the members of staff you’ll recruit.

Making mistakes in the first year or two of a new company is inevitable but the purpose of your business plan is to try to minimise the number of mistakes and the severity of those mistakes while your company is becoming established.

A business plan is an action plan which not only informs you of your progress on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly level but which also contains a blueprint of how you should approach every aspect of company management and ownership.

Integral to your business plan is a set of financial forecasts. The profit and loss report is the forecast which most new entrepreneurs are interested in but the cash flow forecast is the one you need to pay most attention to in the early days.

How you balance the demands for cash coming out of your business account with the money coming in is a key test of any entrepreneur and your business plan will give you an idea, if you sell B2B on invoice, about the maximum length of time you can give a client to pay before it starts causing you difficulties in meeting your own invoices to others.

When preparing your plan, we’ll also include loan repayments and investor returns once we fully understand how much funding you need if you intend to approach banks, other financial institutions, or investors.

 

Setting up your company

From your business plan, we’ll be able to advice you on which company structure is more suitable for you – sole trader, partnership, or limited company. Please note that, if you intend to find an investor, they will almost always require that your business be a limited company.

Once you have decided which structure you want, we’ll then notify the relevant authorities on your behalf including HMRC and, if applicable, Companies House. At this point, we would also advice that you authorise An Accounting Gem to be your designated agent with HMRC for both personal and corporate tax affairs.

We can assist you with the type of computing system you want for your company together with the online bookkeeping platform of your choice. We strongly advice all of our clients, especially newer entrepreneurs, to use their online bookkeeping platform every day to issue invoices to clients and to record invoices you’ve received from customers. We’ll explain why later on in this article.

Prior to launch, we’ll help you with establishing a recording system and training you how to use it so that you can comply with all statutory requirements including any insurance policies you need to do business.

Let us take care of all of the fiddly work while you prepare your company for launch.

 

Finding a bank account and funding if required

We have long-stablished relationships with many local banks and we’ll be pleased to help you set up a bank account for your company.

If, as part of your business plan, you’ve asked us to help raise money for your venture, we’ll be able to prepare the documentation which either a bank or an investor will expect to see so that they have the information they need to back your new company.

Particularly with investors, they may ask for more information prior to making a decision and we can assist you with this. And please believe us that, if an investor is asking questions, that’s normally a good sign.

If an investment looks probable, we can put you in touch with experienced corporate local solicitors to help you and your investor draw up the agreement you need prior to the investor transferring funds and you issuing shares in your company to the investor.

 

Proper recordkeeping post-launch

When you have launched, An Accounting Gem is there to assist you in all aspects of business compliance and administration.

By updating your online bookkeeping software every day, we’re able to keep up to date with your progress. If we spot an opportunity we think you should take advantage of we’ll let you know. Likewise, if we’re concerned about the amount of headroom you’ll have when making your next VAT payment, we’ll let you know that you need to conserve as much cash as possible or that you need to collect payments from clients faster.

You’ll learn so much in the first six months of running your own business – many things you might never have expected – however you can be assured of our support and availability at all times whenever you need us and whatever you need us for.

 

From countdown to take-off – start-up services with An Accounting Gem

Your An Accounting Gem partner is here to help you at all stages of the business cycle from start-up to expansion to exit. Get in touch with us on 01473 744 700 or email us on contactus@aag-accountants.co.uk

No-one quite prepares any business owner prior to the launching of their company for the baptism of fire you face in the initial fight for revenues, in keeping those early customers happy, and in juggling all of your new-found responsibilities. It’s a steep learning curve.

But this learning curve turns you from being an expert in your chosen field to being an expert in running a business in your chosen field. The importance of moving from the first step to the second step cannot be overstated.

One of the more unwelcome bonuses of opening a business for many company owners is the responsibility to keep accurate financial records. Financial recordkeeping is not only required so that you can submit accurate tax returns when they’re due – financial recordkeeping also provides you with the insights you need on how well your business is doing and with the information you need to make better decisions.

It’s almost always better for a business owner to outsource their bookkeeping and accounting rather than manage the responsibility themselves. Of course, we have a vested interest in promoting that belief so we wanted to share with you the five most significant ways that an accounting firm adds value to your business.

In this article, we’ll cover how An Accounting Gem:

  • frees up more of your time,
  • normally more than covers their cost by making sure every allowable expense is claimed,
  • helps you see the real meaning in the numbers,
  • can open doors when it’s time to expand, and
  • has helped other clients through business highs and lows and how they help you do the same.

 

An Accounting Gem frees up more of your time

For all our clients, we strongly encourage the use of online bookkeeping platforms – in our mind, they are one of the most useful business tools to have been created since widespread adoption of the Internet. If you can, spend 5-10 minutes a day on which platform you are using issuing invoices you’re issuing to your customers, inputting invoices issued to you, reconciling with your bank account, and keeping your records as a whole in good order.

While online bookkeeping platforms are easy to use, we appreciate that many of our clients would prefer someone to do their bookkeeping for them. If that’s you, please let us know and we can arrange a personal, part-time bookkeeper for you.

Calculating VAT, PAYE, corporation tax, and your own personal taxation is time-consuming and complicated. An Accounting Gem produces account for Companies House and prepares tax returns to HMRC on your behalf when you’re a client of ours.

By outsourcing your bookkeeping and/or accounting to An Accounting Gem, you will save yourself a significant amount of time and negative stress. This is time you should be using to find new customers, build your company infrastructure, improve your operating processes, recruit the new members of staff you need, and more.

Running a business always involves stress – negative stress is unproductive, it doesn’t make you money, and it doesn’t make yours a better business. If you’re going to work with stress, it’s better that stress is positive – use the emotion instead to make money and to make your company more efficient and smoother running.

But accountants cost money – money you could keep in the business and perhaps even pay yourself with. But that’s not the full picture.

 

An Accounting Gem makes sure that every allowable expense is claimed

An accountant makes sure that, on your VAT, PAYE, corporation tax, and your own personal tax, that every single allowable expense is claimed for.

When you switch to working with An Accounting Gem instead of doing your own financial recordkeeping, you will likely be genuinely surprised at the level of reductions that they will discover and claim for in your VAT, corporation tax, and personal tax liabilities.

Your accountant forensically examines your financial records not just at the end of the year but when your financial year is in progress too. Each claimable expenses will be marked as such and each claimable expense means that you and/or your company pay less tax.

Even going through the smallest invoices you’ve received from your suppliers with a fine toothcomb can save £100s a year on VAT. We make sure that your personal income is split into the most efficient mix of salary and dividends possible to bring down the amount of tax you pay.

Once a business passes £100,000 a year turnover, company owners who keep their own financial records and manage their own tax affairs tend to forget to claim (or don’t realise they can claim) against certain expenses.

For most accountants, including An Accounting Gem, our aim is to make sure that the fees you spend with us on a monthly basis are lower than the amount of money we save you in tax by forensically analysing your records and making sure that we claim for everything.

 

An Accounting Gem is there to help you make sense of the numbers

With your financial recordkeeping very well managed and the amount you’re paying in tax reduced, what other benefits does an accountant offer which adds value to your business?

It’s often difficult to spot trends in a business. Your turnover may be going up but are you managing to maintain your level of profitability? If not, is that because your cost per sale is going up (the amount you spend on sales and marketing to find a new customer) or because your unit cost is going up (the amount you pay to fulfil an order).

Your accountant can match up what occasionally may appear to be unrelated sets of statistics and form a story from them. They’re able to produce monthly or quarterly management accounts identifying areas in which business performance has improved and areas in which business performance has deteriorated.

 

An Accounting Gem is a valuable ally when it’s time to grow

This increased knowledge of your own business’s performance, knowledge which your accountant also has, is valuable when you are seeking advice and support on growing your company.

If you intend to grow your company using careful cash flow management, your accountant will help you plan your expansion in stages, setting targets for each stage which, when achieved, can unlock the next stage of growth.

Alternatively, if you want to grow using external funding, either via an expansion loan or by attracting investors, your accountant will help you prepare the financial and operational forecasts for each stage of growth so that a lender or investor gains the confidence they need to back your proposal.

 

An Accounting Gem helps you take advantage of opportunities and threats

No matter at what stage of development, companies are sometimes subject to major swings in revenue. Sometimes this is caused by a temporary change in the market, the arrival of a new competitor, a key member of staff leaving, and more.

If turnover has substantially increased in recent months, this opportunity may be disguising a number of threats – threats often caused by a business owner chasing revenue but not controlling their costs as carefully as usual. Spikes in turnover may lead to over-purchasing of stock or the hiring of new members of staff who may not actually be needed. If turnover returns to normal levels, a lot of cash that would otherwise have been free is tied up in excess stock and is being drained faster because of increased fixed costs.

If turnover has substantially decreased, the threat may actually present a number of opportunities. Together with your accountant, you can analyse in detail each cost to justify its continuation. If you can’t see the added value in that cost, it can be (subject to any contracts you’ve signed) discarded. You can use the reduction in turnover to rapidly streamline all aspects of your business so that, when turnover does return to normal levels, your profit levels on that turnover are higher than before the downturn.

 

Services built around your commercial needs with An Accounting Gem

You may wish to choose an in-house bookkeeper and or accountant to establish and maintain your company’s financial recordkeeping systems. Your annual investment in wages for these two members of staff will be significant however and do you really have enough work to keep them both busy for 40 hours a week?

At An Accounting Gem, we provide all of the services and support listed above (and more) for a fixed monthly fee.

Your An Accounting Gem partner is here to help you at all stages of the business cycle from start-up to expansion to exit. Get in touch with us on 01473 744 700 or email us on contactus@aag-accountants.co.uk.

For small businesses, the coronavirus pandemic has created an environment of severe uncertainty and financial hardship that is constantly changing.

The modern world has never faced a crisis like this before, nor one on this scale, making it difficult for businesses to know what to do to stay afloat. Luckily, there are a number of support options available for SMEs, and more support is being announced all the time.

At the time of writing, some of the most useful and wide-ranging support options are:

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is a government initiative which has been set up in tandem with a number of the UK’s biggest banks and lenders. Under the scheme, businesses can apply directly to lenders for loans, overdrafts and other financial products, with a guarantee from the government to the tune of 80% of the cost of the loan in the event that the business cannot pay it back.

 

Key Features

  • Up to £5m facility. Businesses are able to borrow up to £5m under the scheme, on repayment terms of up to six years.
  • 80% guarantee. Although businesses are 100% liable for the debt, the government will guarantee up to 80% should they not be able to pay it back.
  • Limited fees. There is no guarantee fee for SMEs and lenders will pay a fee in order to access the scheme.
  • Interest and fees paid by the government for 12 months
  • No personal securityrequired. At the discretion of the lender, the scheme may be used for unsecured lending for facilities of £250,000 and under.

 

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the scheme, a business must:

  • Be UK-based with an annual turnover of less than £45m
  • Provide a borrowing proposal that would be considered viable by the lender if not for the coronavirus pandemic
  • Prove to the lender that the loan will help them to survive during the crisis

There are more than 40 accredited lenders signed up to the scheme so far, and businesses should apply to their own bank or lender first, before looking at other lenders.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is designed to help UK employers who work under a PAYE system to access support that will enable them to pay workers wages. The idea behind the scheme is that employers will be able to retain staff that they otherwise would have had to make redundant due to the coronavirus crisis.

The scheme is designed to benefit employees who have been asked to stop working in order to stop the spread of the virus, but who remain on the payroll (otherwise known as ‘furloughed workers’). HMRC have agreed to pay 80% of an employee’s monthly wage costs, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, and wages will be backdated to March 1st if applicable.

 

Eligibility Criteria

This scheme applies to all employers in the UK with a PAYE scheme that was started on or before 28 February 2020, including:

  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Recruitment Agencies
  • Public Authorities

 

How To Apply

You need to work out which of your employees you want to retain and designate them ‘furloughed workers’. All employees should be notified of this change as soon as possible, and existing employment law still applies when changing the status of employees.

HMRC are still working on the online portal which will be used to set up and pay these grants. Once it is up and running, you can submit information about your furloughed employees and their earnings here, and HMRC expects the first payments to go out by the end of April.

 

Deferring VAT And Income Tax Payments

The government has agreed to support businesses during this time of financial hardship by deferring VAT payments. At the time of writing this support allows for any VAT payment to HMRC that would ordinarily have been due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 to be deferrable up until 31 March 2021.

For the self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system are now due in January 2021.

 

Eligibility Criteria

All UK businesses are eligible.

 

How To Apply

This is an automatic offer which means that there is nothing that you need to do in order to take advantage of it.

 

Small Business Grant Funding

The government has agreed to provide additional funding to Local Authorities so that they are able to support small businesses in their area. The businesses that will benefit are the smallest businesses, that already pay little or no business rates because of business rates relief, rural rate relief and tapered relief.

Local Authorities can use this funding to provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help them to continue to meet their business costs.

 

Eligibility Criteria

In order to access this grant, businesses must:

  • Be based in England
  • Be in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief as of 11 March 2020
  • Be a business that occupies property

 

How To Apply

Your Local Authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant, with details on how to claim it. If you have any questions about the grant, business rates relief or eligibility, you should contact your Local Authority directly.

 

Reclaim Statutory Sick Pay

Emergency legislation has been announced which offers small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which has been paid out for sickness absence due to COVID-19

 

Eligibility Criteria

To benefit from this legislation, businesses must:

  • Have fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020
  • Have a record of staff absences and payments of SSP. Employees are not required to provide a GP fit note in this instance
  • Eligible period commences the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force.

The refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. At the time of writing, the scheme is still being developed, so it is worth keeping an eye on the HMRC website for further details of how to apply.

Whilst this is a difficult financial time for all businesses, the government is dedicated to providing as much support and advice as possible to help companies to stay afloat and ensure that businesses can bounce back after the pandemic.

 

Get in touch

We would encourage all businesses that are eligible to apply for the funding they are entitled too as soon as possible. Nobody knows how long this situation will continue so ensuring you have adequate funds in your business should certainly be a priority.

Accessing the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) does require a formal application, and depending on your circumstances you may be asked for various pieces of documentation such as business plans, financial forecasts, management account and the like.

The team at An Accounting Gem Limited can help you get this documentation ready for your application and assist you in putting your best foot forward to maximise your chances of success.

Please get in touch on 01473 744 700 or email us at contactus@aag-accountants.co.uk for more information.

By now, businesses are starting to understand the impact that coronavirus is going to have on our economy, and on various sectors. For some that impact is already being keenly felt, such as in the hospitality and leisure industries. For others, it is only a matter of time.

However, now is not the time for companies to bury their heads in the sand and wait for it all to be over. This is the perfect time to look at what you can do to minimise the damage likely to be caused by the pandemic and put some resources into place to keep your finances on the straight and narrow.

A recent package of government support measures, announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, goes some way towards helping businesses stay afloat, and there are a number of other things that organisations are starting to do in order to bolster their profits for the coming months.

Whilst there will still be plenty of difficult decisions that need to be made in the coming weeks, now is the time to see what you can do to improve your cash position and make preparations for the hardships that are likely to occur later on.

Here are some of the most practical actions that small firms can take right now.

 

Delay Tax Payments

HMRC are willing in some cases to delay or defer tax payments in order to help small businesses to manage their cash flow. You can call 0800 0159559 to speak to HMRC today.

 

Get Debt Support

Most businesses will face a crisis in the form of debts in the coming months, as payments become due whilst business is slow. There are plenty of debt advice sites and phone lines available to support companies at this time, and your accountant or financial adviser can also provide you with solutions.

 

Look Into Loan

This is actually one of the easiest times to get a business loan, thanks to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The scheme was recently launched as a way to help businesses to access a range of financial products, including loans and overdrafts, to ease their financial worries during the COVID-19 crisis.

Whilst the borrower is 100% liable for the debt, the government has promised to provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on any lending in order to give banks and lenders more confidence in providing finance to smaller firms. It is important to note that there can be no requirement for director guarantees for loan amounts under £250,000.

 

Business Rates Relief

For High Street businesses in England, including all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, there will be no business rates due in 2020-21. This will automatically be applied to your council tax bill in April 2020.

 

Apply For Job Retention Support

All UK employers are able to access grants from the government to cover part of their employee’s salaries during the crisis, in order to retain staff that otherwise would have had to be laid off. HMRC promises to reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wages, up to £2,500 per month

 

Head Online

For businesses who want to continue working and providing services throughout the pandemic, and whose work is conducive to an online environment, there may be ways to carry on some aspects of your business. Shops and restaurants may be able to provide an online delivery service, whilst others can provide services via email or video chat.

Some companies are even hosting events, setting them up online so that people can pay to watch and take part. There are plenty of apps and other technologies for this, including Facebook Live, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and IGTV on Instagram.

 

Prepare Your Cash Flow

One of the most critical measures that you need to take now is to prepare your cash flow so that you are fully aware of where you stand and are able to work out what package of support you might require in the future.

 

Address Your Financial Situation In Full

You need to look at the full picture of your business’s financial health, and make a report that demonstrates a clear understanding of your own finances. In order to obtain government or bank support and lending, you will need to provide records that show that you are in control of and understand your cash position.

 

Get Some Cash In The Bank

Whilst it is important under normal circumstances to have a good mix of cash and assets, in the current climate it makes sense to ensure that your bank accounts have sufficient liquidity to cope with the ensuing weeks and months.

Sell any unwanted assets in order to top up your bank accounts, and try to call in debts now, whilst other companies and organisations are still able to meet demands.

 

Keep Taking Orders

Whilst it is unfair to take money for services that you aren’t 100% certain that you can fulfill, you should still be taking orders that you know that you can see through, and take payments for existing customer orders that are already in process. Keep a close eye on your orders, though, and don’t allow yourself to get carried away if you are unsure at any point that you will be able to meet demand.

 

Capacity Checking

You may be one of the lucky businesses that is able to practice remote working, and is thus able to carry on somewhat in the same capacity as before, with a few minor changes. However, it is critical that you ensure that you put measures in place to ensure that staff have everything they need to do their jobs remotely (such as the right software and equipment).

You should also be monitoring your employees to see how they are managing workloads and working from home. This information will help you should you decide to use the Job Retention scheme.

 

Apply For Government Support Sooner Rather Than Later

In the current climate, it is fair to assume that a majority of businesses will be looking for some form of support from the government, to ease their financial worries. Once you have all of your information ready, make your application for government support as soon as you can, as it is likely there will be some backlog over time.

 

Not Sure Of Your Next Move?

These are unprecedented times for our country, with the Government being forced to “slam on the brakes” on the economy in order to tackle the current crisis.

Many companies have gone into enforced hibernation and are waiting to see how a post Covid-19 economy operates, before they take the risk of opening up and trading again in some capacity. With the protection of cash and assets being the current priority of most company owners, it is no surprise that trade has reduced dramatically.

The longer this uncertainty continues the more likely it is that more companies will need government assistance to survive. If you are not sure of the next move for your business and want some advice then please get in touch with An Accounting Gem Limited on 01473 744 700 or email us on contactus@aag-accountants.co.uk for further assistance.

Wage push inflation is an idea that economists and governments often use as a reason that it could be difficult to increase minimum wage in a country. But what does it actually mean?

Put simply, the term refers to a situation where a rapid increase in the wages of employees causes the rate of inflation to increase at the same time. It is explained by the fact that when workers’ incomes rise, they will have more disposable income to spend. Once their money enters the economy, the competition for goods increases, and prices rise over time.

 

Understanding Wage Push Inflation

The most common reason for a company to increase its wages is an increase to the national minimum wage, as decided by the government. Many companies also increase the minimum wage of their employees incrementally, meaning that to make back the profit they are losing on raising their wages across the entire company, they have to put up their prices at the same time.

If the government or a company decides to raise wages, this will naturally lead to a spike in consumer spending, as their employees have more money available to spend. A significant increase in the minimum wage could lead to higher growth, and contribute towards inflation due to two factors:

  • Higher costs for firms
  • More spending by workers

Industry factors may also play a part in wage increases. In industries that are experiencing growth, surging profits and higher demand for products/services, companies might decide to raise their wages in order to make jobs more competitive, and attract more skilled or talented workers. These factors often have a wage push inflation effect on the products and/or services that the company provides.

However, when it comes to growth and inflation, minimum wage, according to many, is the single biggest factor in driving inflation.

 

The Minimum Wage

A minimum wage is the lowest legal remuneration that any employer is allowed to pay their employees in a country. In the UK in 2019, the minimum wage was set at £8.21 per hour for workers over 25, £7.70 for workers aged between 21 and 24, and £6.15 for those aged 18 to 20.

When it comes to economic growth and inflation, the minimum wage has been proven to be a factor that affects both, although economists disagree on the significance of the minimum wage to either. Whilst many experts argue that a raise in the minimum wage will, through wage push inflation, naturally lead to significant economic growth and inflation, history shows that when the UK has seen above inflation increases in the minimum wage, there hasn’t been any negative impact on inflation or unemployment, and there has been almost no noticeable change to economic growth.

In theory, if all workers receive a pay increase, then there should be a rise in consumer spending across the board. Low income workers tend to spend a higher percentage of their extra pay than high earners, a multiplier effect (an increase in overall spending coming from a new injection of cash into the monthly income of a household) that should boost economic growth.

However, by the same token, when minimum wages are raised there is more competition for work, as companies are forced to pay more and hire less, and thus there should be more unemployment as a result. People who are unemployed will spend much less, thus balancing out the effect of rising wages amongst the low earners.

 

Does A Minimum Wage Raise Actually Cause Inflation?

The best way to assess the real threat of a minimum wage hike on inflation is to estimate how it would, by necessity, raise businesses’ costs.

Whilst many businesses will raise prices, it is important to note that there are other ways to adjust costs, such as raising employee productivity, or laying off unnecessary staff members. However, say a business were to simply raise the prices in response to a minimum wage hike. In this case research suggests that a 10% minimum wage hike will generate a cost increase of less than 1/10 of 1% of their sales revenue. This amount is worked out based on three factors:

  1. Mandated raises – the raise that employers must provide to all staff members to ensure that they are being paid the legal minimum wage
  2. ‘Ripple-effect’ raises – the raises that employers must give throughout the company to ensure the wage hierarchy is maintained for employees with already higher wages and authority
  3. Higher payroll taxes – a higher wage means paying more employer tax

The average business, wanting to cover the cost increase from a 10% minimum wage raise through higher prices, would only need to raise their wages by less than 0.1%. In real terms, this would take a £100 item up to £100.10

 

Is Wage Push Inflation A Myth?

Whilst some experts believe that higher wages lead to higher prices and thus inflation, economists are beginning to understand that this could well be a myth. In fact, many economists now argue that wage and price increases are actually a reflection of inflation, rather than the cause of it.

Whilst both wages and prices tend to rise at the same time, it is actually prices that lead wages, as opposed to the other way around

The best way to understand this is with an example.

Say an entrepreneur creates a new product. After a short time, word gets out about his company, and very soon his products are selling out faster than he and his small team of staff can make them.

He can’t keep making them on his own if he wants to keep up with demand, so what is his next port of call? The first step to take would be to raise his prices whilst he sells his (now limited) existing supply. This may mean that demand slows down and he can return to the way that things were, but he may also think about pushing his staff to increase their output, and accept that by paying overtime that productivity will increase enough to cover this extra cost. If demand is still too high, then he will have to think about adding staff members.

By contrast, if the world were to run as wage push inflation assumes that it does, the entrepreneur would respond to increased demand by paying workers more, in the hopes of attracting more workers, then raising the prices in order to balance profit margins.

 

Get In Touch

Are you thinking about increasing your wages in the hope of attracting a more talented and capable work force? Do you think this will boost your business profile and sales enough to compensate for the extra cost?

No course of action in business has a guaranteed end result, but by employing talented and experienced financial professionals to create accurate projections and forecasts, you can reduce the risk of failure and be in a position to make an informed decision on what are the best next steps for your business.

The team at An Accounting Gem can help you with this, as well as all your other accounting requirements, and can be reached by calling 01473 744 700 orvia email at contactus@aag-accountants.co.uk.

 

For new businesses, finding investment can be the most nerve-wracking part of getting set up. With thousands of start-ups springing up every year, investors receive dozens of pitches every day, and it will take something special to convince them that yours is the right company to choose.

It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to meet with dozens of investors before they are able to secure any funding, which means that it is best to try to research as many different types of investor and types of funding as possible, to give yourself a better shot at finding the right fit for your business.

Some of the avenues you could consider include:

 

Angel Networks

An angel investor is a wealthy individual looking for small businesses to invest in, with the idea being that if they choose the right investment, they will be able to capitalise on the ‘next big thing’ right at the start.

An angel investor is a great option for small businesses, as they not only supply capital, but are also able to provide mentorship, business advice and access to their own business networks.

Finding an angel investor means putting in the time and effort, looking for the right type of individual who will fit with your business and take a real interest in what you are selling.

There are a number of angel networks online, with a couple of the best being the Angel Investment Network and the UK Business Angels Association. Both have thousands of angel investors available, with information available on the types of investment they are looking for.

 

SEIS/EIS

Securing investment means more than having a great idea and a strong business plan. One of the key factors in getting investment in the UK is your SEIS/EIS eligibility.

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) are two programmes set up by the government to incentivise investment in small business through tax breaks. Your business will be a much better prospect for any investor if they are able to see a return on their investment right away.

  • SEIS is for the smallest businesses, still at a very early stage (or Seed stage). An investor is able to invest up to £100,000 every tax year under this scheme, to receive a 50% tax break. Start-ups and entrepreneurs are able to raise a maximum of £150,000 in SEIS funding.
  • EIS is more suited to businesses who are further along in their development, as investors are able to put up to £1m into the business per tax year, to receive a 30% tax break. Businesses can receive a maximum of £12m in EIS funding.

Under these schemes, investors also benefit from not having to pay any inheritance tax on shares owned, for a minimum of two years. If a loss is registered on shares sold at any point, the investor is able to offset these against their capital gains tax burden.

The HMRC website provides an exhaustive list to help you to decide whether or not you are eligible to apply for either scheme.

 

Crowdfunding

Whilst crowdfunding has gotten something of a bad reputation in recent years, with a proliferation of crowdfunding websites and causes springing up at once, it is still a promising idea for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Because you come to a crowdfunding platform with your own marketing and community, it provides investors with a better idea of how successful your business is likely to be. To make your crowdfunding project more likely to be successful, it helps to:

  • Bring your own crowd. With investment from your own supporters and community, investors are able to see that you already have an interested crowd, making investment in your company appear less risky.
  • Take time to market yourself. You want to provide proof that you are dedicated and business-savvy, and are able to create a buzz on your own before an investor has even gotten involved.
  • Stand out from the crowd. Work out what your USP is and capitalise on it. Make sure that you have a brand that can’t be ignored.

 

Friends And Family

According to research, 38% of funds raised by start-ups comes from friends and family. These are the people that are likely to care the most about your success, who will have the most trust in you and won’t charge you significant interest or want to take huge shares. For start-ups, this can be the least stressful way of securing funding.

Bear in mind, though, that although your friends and family are unlikely to ask difficult questions about financial projections and business valuations, they will want to see that their money is being used well. In some cases, the pressure to achieve can be even more when the money tied in with the business belongs to the people closest to you.

You must also be sensible and ensure that you work with a lawyer when it comes to drafting up your venture deal, so that they can explain the risks and benefits and make sure you have a solid agreement put in place.

 

Venture Capital

Venture capital funding is one of the trickiest and most difficult forms of funding to obtain. Most start-ups will never get it and many argue that they should never even try to!

Most businesses who look to venture capital funding are those who have already been around for some time and have proven their worth and market value. It is at this point that they’ll look into venture capital to give them the extra funding they need to expand.

Venture capital companies are looking for businesses who can offer real proof of their value, as well as a firm understanding of the exact route they need to take to expand. They don’t want to take a supporting role, simply capitalise on what is already there by providing the funding necessary. It is also true that this type of investment often means giving up a lot of control, which businesses can find it hard to take.

As mentioned previously, it is an option, and one which many companies have taken up successfully, but there are arguably better options when you are first trying to score investment.

 

Next Steps

Seeking investment is your business is a complex process, and to ensure success you need to have a convincing “pitch”. Without one of these, then your chances of finding funding are greatly diminished.

You need to demonstrate you have a firm understanding of where you are now, and where you want to be. Being able to show a firm grasp on the marketplace and a deep knowledge of your finances, with a costed and comprehensive business plan, goes a very long way in convincing someone that an investment in you is going to succeed for both parties.

An Accounting Gem can work alongside you in getting your business plan and financial projection to the standards required. Our expert team have extensive experience in helping businesses large and small with this process and would welcome the opportunity to work with you.

Call today on 01473 744 700 or email us at contactus@aag-accountants.co.uk to see how we can help you and your business.

An exit strategy is the preparation made by a business owner to leave their company on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. Departure from a business is normally followed by succession (passing the business onto a family member), a disposal (through a sale or a merger), or the permanent closure of the company.

 

Succession Planning And The Protection Of Value

A succession-focused exit strategy is about the protection of value. After working on your business for many years, maintaining the value and the viability of the company you’ve built up is important for both financial and personal reasons.

Many businesses are family-owned and -managed businesses. The hope for many exiting entrepreneurs is that the younger members of their family will lead the company eventually.

Once you have resolved that you do want to pass your business on to family members, you then need to plan how to do it. You can never start to soon in your preparation but we would advice that a handover period takes a minimum of 18 months to complete.

You need to consider your own role in the business – if you want one. If you want to no longer be involved in the decision-making process, you need to plan which family member will do what and provide them with the appropriate training and mentorship on their new responsibilities.

If you still want to be involved but at an arm’s length, you and other family members need to know whether your pronouncements are either advisory or binding on the company. In other words, are you going to be a backseat passenger reading out the directions the driver has given you or are you going to insist that your own route is taken regardless of the feelings and knowledge of the driver?

You’ll also need to consider whether you still wish to draw an income from the business and how much. If you take out too much, this could bring about negative consequences for both your company cash flow and your successors’ ability to pay themselves more in the future. If you take out too little, what has the point been in working for so many decades only to be a poor retiree?

Other aspects to consider could include:

  • leaving your company on your own schedule
  • choosing a strategic direction for your company before you leave
  • removing entirely or mitigating any capital gains tax liability
  • inheritance tax considerations
  • ensuring jobs to your current employees

In many ways, succession planning is the most complicated and emotionally-fraught exit you can choose because of the need to preserve the valuable relationships you have with the people who will in charge of the company you’ve worked so hard to build.

 

How To Exit A Business By Selling

There are two main ways to exit via the transfer of company shares, namely:

  • mergers – a merger usually brings your company and another together within one new organisation (a NewCo). You’ll have to negotiate your level of active involvement in the NewCo, any ongoing income you can drawdown, and consideration for the value of the shares you’ll be “selling”.
  • acquisition – your business is sold to another company, potentially a private equity firm or to another firm, and you receive a pay-out for the sale of the issued shares in the company.

The sale of a company is ferociously complicated and that complexity only increases for higher-turnover businesses. You should start the preparation you need to take your company to market at least 12 months before you start inviting others to bid for ownership.

You should ensure that, during both the negotiation and buying stages, that the following information is kept up to date:

  • financial accounts
  • legal issues and contracts
  • litigation and employee disputes
  • utilised debt

Once the initial negotiation is complete and a price has been agreed, expect the buyers and their solicitors to take every opportunity to denigrate as many aspects of your business as possible in order to secure a price discount. While you may be on friendly terms with your buyers, their solicitors are paid to secure your buyer the best possible deal so do not expect your interactions with them to be particularly cordial.

In addition to engaging us during and after the sale to provide financial information to your buyer and their solicitors, you’ll also need to take advice on taxation following disposal – please contact us for more.

Once the negotiations have concluded, you should budget 4-6 months for due diligence and the drawing up of the final sales and purchase agreement to occur.

 

Exit Strategy Support At Accounting Gem

Taking the decision to leave your business is an emotional decision. How you leave your business is a big financial decision whose consequences will dictate the quality of your life after you’re no longer a (major) part of the business you’ve created, nurtured, and grown.

Therefore, you need to have access to accountants and solicitors who are experienced in the sale of businesses or the handover of businesses to the next generation during this time. This is especially so if you wish to retire permanently and live off either the proceeds of the sale or the drawings from the company from which you’ve stepped back.

Your Accounting Gem partner is here to guide you through the entire process of exiting your business but please remember that it’s important to start your exit planning as soon as possible. Whichever method you choose to exit, the likelihood is that you’ll still be in situ for the next two years and you have to maintain the health and profitability of your business in the face of the multiple distractions that exit planning will present to you. Get in touch with us on 01473 744 700 or email us on contactus@aag-accountants.co.uk.