Covid-19 and lockdown are continuing to send shock waves through our economy with business activity for many SMEs in decline, as well as tumbling consumer and business confidence.
In particular, according to the farming, food, and agribusiness professional services firm ifac, many business owners across the Irish food and agribusiness sectors report being challenged by the current circumstances.
Yet despite numerous supports being put in place from SBCI and the Credit Guarantee Scheme to Enterprise Ireland and Microfinance Ireland schemes, some businesses aren’t making the most of the opportunities available to help them to continue operating.
David Leydon, Head of Food and AgriBusiness with ifac, says:
“The speed at which businesses need to adapt to the ever-evolving circumstances is causing significant strain. Many business owners have mentioned to me that they’re not sure if they’re taking advantage of all the supports the State and banks have made available.
“Consequently, with our banking and tax teams, we’ve developed a checklist for business owners, or their financial controllers, to help them examine all the supports available to ensure they are not missing out on opportunities.”
The following is ifac’s Covid-19 supports checklist for business owners/ financial controllers:
- Have you applied for the SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme?
- Have you availed of the SBCI Credit Guarantee Scheme?
- Have you applied for a Microfinance Ireland loan (up to €50,000)?
- Are you communicating with your bankers?
- Have you applied for a payment break on your business loans?
- Have you sought an overdraft extension?
- Have you sought emergency working capital facilities?
- Have you applied and accessed the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme?
- Are you accessing the Covid-19 Illness Benefit Scheme for employees who have contracted the virus and are self-isolating for two-weeks (value €350)?
- Have you informed staff of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment Scheme if you have laid them off?
For Enterprise Ireland (EI) clients
- Have you touched base with your DA?
- If your business is now distressed but viable are you speaking to your DA about the EI Rescue and Restructure scheme?
- Have you secured the Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant of €5,000 for assistance in reviewing your financial situation?
- Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme has been launched by EI to assist client companies to get online – are you availing of this?
- The Lean Business Continuity Voucher provides funding of up to €2,500 for training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of your business during the current pandemic – have you accessed this funding?
For Local Enterprise Office (LEO) clients
- Business Continuity Voucher is 100 per cent funded €2,500 grant towards consultancy cost to help you develop a strategy in response to Covid-19- have you applied?
- The LEOs have expanded the Trading Online Voucher Scheme to support 90 per cent of costs incurred in developing a digital focus for your business – have you applied?
- Are you ensuring all returns are filed on time?
- Are you aware that there is no interest on VAT returns/employers returns filed on time in Jan/Feb – Mar/April?
- Have you considered a year-end change to help manage cashflow?
- Are you aware that you can pay an employee €3.20 per day tax-free for working from home?
- Are you availing of the opportunity to give an additional €500 tax-free voucher to staff members for exceptional performance during Covid-19?
- Where there is limited or reduced business travel during Covid-19, ensure you have evidence (e.g. photo of the speedometer) of mileage in January for your company car to avoid any BIK challenges?
Good business management
- Have you developed new cashflow forecasts and budgets to take account of the radically changed circumstances we are now operating in?
- Have you reviewed your capital structure and funding needs?
- Have you reviewed your debtors’ list and are actively following up on outstanding invoices?
- Have you reviewed your short and long-term creditors and put a plan in place to deal with them?
David Leydon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.