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Finance is key to smooth transition

Shropshire businesses are being urged to make sure their finances are in the best possible shape in order to ease the transition out of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Marie Bramwell, managing director at Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants, in Shrewsbury and Telford, said everyone was facing challenging circumstances, but with the Government now announcing an exit strategy (including guidance for different business categories), companies would need to be prepared.

“Before your business can even think about re-opening, there are many steps you will need to consider as it’s vital that staff – and customers – are confident they will be safe at all times.

“Make sure you have a strategic plan and a financial projection which includes all your additional costs, your cashflow for making payments, and a credit control process for collecting in money which you are owed.

“You will need to be confident too that you have sufficient finance available (before you run out of cash or other finance options) to withstand the reduction in employees you are claiming furlough grants for. In preparing projections you should allow for sufficient flexibility over payment terms - whether this is a choice you have made or not, there will inevitably be some slippage in cash flow.”

Mrs Bramwell said the current advice was that if staff could work from home, they must continue to do so. “If your staff need to travel to work – to maybe a factory or an engineering plant – they should only return to work if you can ensure social distancing at all times in working and in common areas, such as canteens and toilets.

“Think too about possible shift changes or staggered working patterns, personal protection equipment, and hand washing/sanitising facilities, reducing the need to touch surfaces by wedging doors open, and a schedule of deep cleaning. You need to be sure your staff can travel to work safely in their own vehicles, by foot/cycle, or on public transport that will allow for social distancing.

“Check that they don’t have caring or childcare responsibilities they won’t be able to meet if they are out of the home, and that they are not in the high-risk category who should be shielding.

“Ensure staff know they need to be symptom-free before entering the workplace and that they should self-isolate at home if they (or a member of their family) show symptoms – statutory sick pay will be paid to them from day one of their quarantine.

“Health and safety experts have suggested employers should carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment, and publish it, with details of how it will be enforced, so that employees and stakeholders feel safe in the knowledge that you have done all that you can to act responsibly.”

Pictured: Marie Bramwell - managing director at Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants

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