• It’s vital to respect the health guidelines so that we minimise Covid-19 impacts now BUT ALSO so that we all avoid a second round of mass infections after we survive the current round.
  • The most immediately useful exercise we can all be doing in our businesses is a rolling 13-week Cashflow forecast and to update it in real time at least every week.
  • Key to business survival now is to be 100% focused on Cash adequacy.
  • Wherever a cost exists, look to either Cost-Eliminate or Cost-Defer, including through landlord facilitation, waivers or deferrals etc.
  • Avail of all possible supports including from Government, the Revenue Commissioners, the State or the Banks.
  • Start your updated cashflow forecast with your opening cash balance and –
    • if you’re selling on credit, assess debtors realistically and the timing of expected actual cash receipts.
    • consider the impact of the current crisis on both your costs and your income.
    • assess your eligibility for the government’s support schemes
    • talk to your landlord/tenant relationship collaboratively – both sides want a good outcome and relationship when we get to the other side of this crisis.
  • Be careful about deferring too many liabilities to the recovery phase (there is little point is surviving the crisis but not making it through the recovery because of the burden of accumulated arrears to be paid).
  • Don’t abuse your creditors either – maintain your liquidity collaboratively.
  • 13 weeks is an ideal timeframe for a cashflow forecast, thinking about normal business cycles and the timing of cash items both in/out (and hopefully we will be on the other side of the crisis by three months from now.
  • If we approach matters on this basis, no good business should fail because of COVID 19 – if you had a good business beforehand, you have the basis of a good business afterwards too.
  • On planning forward in uncertainty, until we can see the green shoots of recovery, we can’t fully understand the way forward but understanding your supply chain can reveal and help a lot, for contingency and efficiency now.
  • What we all want to do is to create and maintain a safe working environment so understanding all the interactions of our business can help us to stay as safe as possible.
  • And, indeed, navigating the current crisis-driven changes at least may help us to be prepared for other changes that Brexit may yet bring.
  • The Revenue Commissioners are helping the trade in various ways including –
  • It’s currently no longer obligatory to present original documents for imported goods as scanned documents will suffice.
  • Drivers won’t need to interact directly with Customs staff at ports.
  • Businesses are urged to engage with Revenue to address any concerns.
  • On Returns required by Revenue in general, businesses should continue to file their Returns as usual and to the best of their ability even if payment cannot fully be made at this time.
  • Revenue are not looking at Enforcement Procedures in any form at present.
  • Revenue are now paying OUT on the COVID-19 Temporary Wage Support Scheme.
  • Revenue are reachable continually for enquiries and it’s best to access them through My Enquiries on Revenue’s website.
  • If a business has a Revenue Commissioners authorisation, it is automatically extended to end May currently.
  • If a business opts to lodge its Returns but needs to delay the actual payment, Revenue will work with them to agree an arrangement.
  • The established system of Revenue’s Direct Debit being presented at the end of month still continues but if unpaid, the Revenue practice of automatically polling your bank account a week is currently suspended.
  • The Chair of the Revenue Commissioners, Niall Cody, has directly encouraged qualifying employers to avail of the COVID-19 Temporary Wage Supplement Scheme.
  • Revenue define an SME as a business with turnover under €3million and they currently attract no fines for late payment.
  • Larger businesses are dealt with collaboratively and empathetically by Revenue.
  • In road-based transportation, the EU’s Green Lane / Ten-T network throughout the EU are functioning well.
  • There are however some issues in relation to Third Country transit with e.g. Turkey and some variability on even the Dover/Calais route but road freight is generally flowing ok and definitely so on the island of Ireland.
  • We really want to maintain the strong cooperation throughout supply chains for best practice and efficiencies going forward.
  • Health & Safety processes are important and good practical actions are now being taken.
  • New support schemes for business are still appearing, including the imminent update of Enterprise Ireland’s €200million support fund for “viable but vulnerable” businesses (which has been approved as State Aid by the EU). This will deliver repayable grants and we can expect wide uptake of this support.
  • Businesses should also look at the supports available through the banks including SBCI’s €200m support fund (and its “innovation” criterion can be satisfied by the “changes” that every business is having to make at present). This scheme is straightforward to access, simply log-in to the website for support of up to €1.5m and bring your voucher to your bank.
  • Other consultancy grants are available as well as supports for cashflow and eCommerce innovation to help businesses react quickly (and see BDO’s Toolkit on its website).
  • It’s important to track these resources through quality sources of information as the supports are evolving rapidly and continuously.
  • The banks too have good information and can help and a business with a decent well- presented business case and a viable history has every prospect of being supported.
  • On foreign imports, there are issues around items ordered from Asia pre-February as there is, in some cases, nowhere to put them or to get paid for them as so many businesses are closed.
  • Slowdowns in some parts of a supply chain are quickly impacting in other areas.
  • Cooperation between businesses can really help, such as through sharing/optimising valuable logistics capacity.
  • China is not yet back up and running and it takes a while to turn the sophisticated, heavily disrupted system fully back on.
  • Numerous operational challenges will take a period of time to recover from.
  • Regarding products shipped by air, 75% of all air freight is transported on passenger flights and they’re largely shut down so that trade channel is seriously disrupted and so the carriers are switching passenger planes into freight usage.

Overall – prioritising Cash, Pragmatism, Collaboration, Innovation, Availing of the Supports that are out there and Safe Practices in all that we do are key to getting through the current crisis and being in a position to both contribute to, and benefit from, the Recovery.