Small businesses have had a demanding year already due to the coronavirus and measures to contain its spread, but further challenges – and potential opportunities – lie ahead. What’s more, Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU are ongoing. This is having an impact on small business confidence. But nimble small businesses have already demonstrated that they are able to stay ahead of the curve.
At Xero, we are monitoring the situation closely to see how we support our 600,000+ subscribers as they adapt to change. Here are some of the developments that you need to know about.
The government is stepping up to provide support to small businesses for both COVID-19 Brexit.
In terms of coronavirus support, the government has announced measures to allow businesses to pay back deferred VAT, as well as extending temporary VAT reductions for the hospitality and tourism industries. The Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) are both available to eligible businesses until the end of November, as are applications for the government’s Future Fund. For more details on how to apply and information about other schemes, visit the British Chambers of Commerce.
In anticipation of Brexit, the government previously made grant funding, worth £16 million, available to help businesses make IT improvements and participate in training to help complete customs declarations and processes. Additionally, several grants are still available for small businesses to prepare for any Brexit eventuality.
Other useful resources
The government also recently launched a new campaign to help prepare the UK for the end of the Brexit transition campaign. The effort, which is called “The UK’s new start: let’s get going”, adds to existing “check, change, go” advice on the transition website.
There are a few other tools available to support small businesses through the transition:
The Enterprise Nation Brexit Advice Service: Enterprise Nation is a UK-based network of small businesses and advisors. The Brexit Advice Service helps you work out the issues you should be prepared to deal with and will help you produce a checklist and plan.
The FSB Small Business Brexit Pack: The FSB is a trusted business organisation. It has created a Small Business Brexit pack that explains the Withdrawal Agreement, the range of ‘end state’ scenarios, and the principles of proper contingency planning. It also has information on what to do in the event of a no-deal.
Who to speak to?
If you’ve seen some of the resources available and are still seeking clarity, the best person to speak to is your accountant. They will be spending a lot of time understanding the implications of the imminent Brexit deadline and the ongoing coronavirus crisis on your business, and they can help you put together a plan. Working with an accountant also means that business owners will have more time to focus on running the business and keeping it in good shape to take on tomorrow’s challenges. If you want to find the right accountant for the job, find one here.
There are a lot of unknowns ahead – but it’s not impossible to plan for what might come. Use available resources, speak to experts, and make sure you have the right technology in place to adapt to change – only then will you be ready for the ride ahead.
Visit our dedicated Brexit Hub for more advice.