Wylie & Bisset: Strong leadership fundamental for family businesses to survive impact of coronavirus

Chartered accountants Wylie & Bisset has said that strong leadership is fundamental if family businesses are to survive the economic impact of COVID-19.

Wylie & Bisset: Strong leadership fundamental for family businesses to survive impact of coronavirus

Catherine McManus

Catherine McManus, tax partner, said that there is no doubt that 2020 is going to go down as a unique year in history due to the worldwide impact of the virus.

She said: “It is remarkable how this illness has impacted the worldwide economy and galvanised countries in ways not seen since times of war. Everyone has a part to play and business operations, from small family-owned business to multinationals, will all be facing challenges in these strangest of times.”

Whether it is facing the challenges of the distribution chain, changing working practices to accommodate home-working or making tough decisions on workforce needs, McManus emphasises that business survival is key and that strong leadership is fundamental.  

She continued: “From a business support perspective, the government has announced a plethora of measures intended to be supported by the whole of the UK, including the Scottish government.

“There are business rates reliefs alongside extension of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and repayments to businesses for up to 14 days for eligible employees. We are also waiting to hear more about how businesses can obtain Business Support loans guaranteed by the government to address short term funding requirements.

“From a tax perspective, HMRC has extended its ‘Time to Pay’ arrangements and has increased call handlers on its dedicated ‘Time to Pay’ helpline. Individual arrangements will be supported for those businesses affected by the impact of the virus in terms of income/cash flow, which will ease the burden of VAT, PAYE, corporation tax and income tax.” 

Measures include: initial deferral of VAT/PAYE; coming to an arrangement on instalment payments and timing thereon; suspending debt collection proceedings and cancelling penalties for non-compliance.

“Even with these measures, some may still find they have to cut staff, change working hours or, in the very worst cases, close down businesses,” notes McManus.

“We believe that strong leadership in the family business sector is key. Helping others and utilising all agencies offering support, together with regular communication with employees, is vital and at Wylie & Bisset we can help clients navigate these challenges.

“We suggest businesses review their needs regularly, engage and communicate with staff, use the government support as required and liaise with their accountants and other advisers as early as possible to get the advice they need to survive.

“If they do find themselves in the situation where they need to close, they will need ongoing advice on how best to achieve a supported and tax efficient closure. Wylie and Bisset has a range of partners and advisers across all sectors and disciplines and we remain on hand to help business owners.”

Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.

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