29th July 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been understandably focused on stabilising cash-flow. As restrictions start to be eased, businesses will begin to look to the future and plan for recovery. For this reason, we thought it would be helpful to hold a “Life After Lockdown” mini-series of free live webinars, dedicated to supporting businesses into the next phase of this crisis.

Below you will be able to see the recordings of the previous webinars held during this series.

Cash flow planning and funding opportunities:

Our first webinar was hosted by Stephanie Davidson, Corporate Finance Senior Manager at UNW, who offered her insight into the factors that will immediately affect organisations as the UK comes out of lockdown.

Steph covered topics such as cash flow planning and why it is important (including considerations on furloughed employees returning to work); how to approach reforecasting (to cover changes to assumptions, as well as additional COVID-19 costs and considerations); and post-lockdown operational plans (including how you will work and respond to changes in demand).

Employment Taxes and Law Update:

Our second webinar was hosted by Lee Muter, Employment Taxes partner at UNW, with guest speaker Jean-Pierre van Zyl, Head of Employment at Square One Law.

Lee presented on a variety of topics, including: HMRC’s focus after the end of the lockdown (including the furlough scheme); working from home, and the implications and benefits and expenses if it becomes the new ‘normal’; and if employers will look to restructure at the end of the crisis.

Jean-Pierre then provided insight into the Health and Safety obligations facing employers as we return to work, and how to secure the confidence from employees. He also discussed making changes to terms and conditions of employment to better manage a staged return to work during and post-furlough.

Predicting the Unpredictable, a charity special:

Anne presented on a variety of topics, including the importance of planning; this includes making assumptions, such as the bounce back of income streams or the unavailability of volunteers with which to work. As these will be unpredictable, it was discussed that organisations need to plan for a variety of scenarios, understand key decision points, and be prepared to take swift action as things become clearer.

The session also explored the key time frames that organisations need to work to, including bringing back furloughed staff, applying for additional funding, and when they are may be able to reopen or resume normal service. As well as this, Anne looked at decision making between the Board and staff, and how traditional cycles of reporting and decision making may need to be adapted.

VAT Update:

Mark and Ian presented on a variety of topics, including COVID-19 support measures that have been implemented. These include an initial deferral of VAT payments that fell between 20 March to 30 June (which have been deferred to 31 March 2021), and the ability to make payments on an ad hoc basis prior to the deferral deadline. They also discussed the temporary reduction in VAT rate.

The session also explored the VAT changes linked to Brexit, as the UK did leave the EU on 31 January 2020 but is still regarded as a member of the EU Single Market until the Transitional Agreement expires on 31 December 2020. Mark and Ian discussed what the effects of this will be if there’s no extension, including a return to imports/exports to all counties, increase in customs entries to HMRC, Import Duty implications, and an increased flexibility for the UK to set its own VAT rates.

As well as this, the webinar offered insight into other changes, including the second phase of Making Tax Digital and the deferral on reverse charge accounting on construction services until March 2021. It further looked at VAT groups, tax points, Bad Debt Relief adjustments, and Customs Approvals.

Understanding Capital Grants for SMEs:

The webinar was geared to SMEs that offer more than a local service and that are considering undertaking capital investment of at least £100,000 in the short-to-medium term. It discussed what support is available to organisations to help them through the application process and what to consider when applying. It also included examples of business that have successfully undertaken capital investment projects to create growth and jobs within their organisations.

The webinar covered the aims of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) capital grants and the types of projects that can be supported. Carole and Simon also covered the eligibility criteria; including business sector, size and location, capital expenditure requirements, and job creation, alongside other things to consider such as the need for the grant, viability, and displacement.

Accounting Standards Update:

The webinar covered a variety of topics, including the implications that COVID-19 has had. This included accounting for year-end accounts, encompassing going concern, impairment reviews, and any bank covenants; alongside this, accounting for any restructuring costs and changing reporting dates (as well as any extensions) to the filing deadline was discussed. Accounting for COVID-19 Government schemes, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, any related funding, and possible business rates holidays, was also explored.

The session further looked at financial reporting, offering insight into the triennial review of FRS 102. Notable amendments, such as those affecting investment properties, the classification of financial instruments, intangible assets, and the discounting of long-term loans, were discussed. It also covered other issues, such as accounting for rent holidays and onerous leases, as well as new strategic report requirements for large companies.

M&A and Markets Update:

Gareth reflected on global market behaviour and performance during the first half of 2020, in response to the effects of the pandemic. Following unprecedented governmental intervention in the normal functioning of economies, and despite huge stimulus efforts from central banks, a severe global recession is widely forecast.  He shared views on the likely next phases for global markets, and which industries and business are best positioned to weather the storm ahead of a possible ‘V’, ‘U’ or ‘W’ shaped recovery.

After a sharp decline in deal activity in March, there are signs that the transaction markets are starting to recover, but what has changed? John and Stephanie presented on a variety of topics, such as the impact of COVID-19 on M&A and capital raising, transaction market prospects and the shape of deals to come.

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