It is now eight weeks since our world was turned upside down by the coronavirus and lock-down.
Last week, the first signs of an easing in the disruption this process has created for businesses in the UK were announced, but there are still many businesses facing ruin or starting over.
The good news:
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended to the end of October although from 1 August the rules of the scheme will be adapted to allow furloughed workers to work part-time. Employers may be asked to contribute to the scheme costs from this 1 August date.
During the summer, we may see a gradual re-opening of the High Street and the hospitality sector although how this can be achieved and observe social distancing rules remains unclear.
The bad news:
Many businesses that were obliged to close, restaurants, hotels, public houses and the like, may no longer be in a position to trade.
The fear-factor may discourage social gatherings on a scale that we were used to before the close-down was announced March 2020. In which case businesses may struggle to re-establish themselves.
It will take raw courage and focussed professional support from business advisers to win through this process.
The strategies that accountants can offer to contribute to this rebuilding of UK’s SMEs has never been more relevant and required. Central to this process will be the ability of firms to communicate changes in finance matters that may help their clients.
During the lock-down, there has been no change in the scale of information we have provided to our newsfeeds; if anything, we have reacted swiftly to the frequent announcements made in the past eight weeks, and posted more updates for practitioners, their staff and clients.
It is fortunate that all our teams can work remotely. It is gratifying that our continued efforts to support the UK accountancy profession will assist in the rebuilding of our considerable and indispensable SME base in the UK.
Our best regards to readers. Let us hope that the coming months will see a sustained return to more like normality.