Weekly update - 3 October 2020

This week we have seen stricter lock down rules in many parts of the country including Government rules to include not attending amateur sports events as spectators, only visiting care homes in exceptional circumstances and the Government states people should not travel unless it is essential - for example to school and work.


Following on from last week’s Winter Economy Plan we are still awaiting the details of the new supports issued and we will keep you up to date when these are known.


There is a pattern with COVID driving sales online and we are seeing more high street shops close.


Many of our clients are looking to pivot their businesses online or move into new areas, taking the time to think about a strategy to survive and prosper with customers changing buying patterns. We can help you with this and it’s something we’ve done regularly with our clients. Please talk to us and we will be delighted to assist.      


Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) is designed to help employers retain valuable employees by subsidising their salaries by up to 22%, but only if the employee works at least one third of their usual hours. However, the JSS may have a low take-up due to the heavy cost burden on the employer.

The employer must pay the employee in full (at their usual pre-covid rates) for all the hours actually worked, but the employee will also receive pay for two thirds of the time that do not work. The employee won’t have to work every week or month, as they will be able move in and out of the JSS scheme, as long as each working period is at least seven days.

The scheme is designed to help retain team members that a business wants to keep on. If it is not financially viable to retain team members then difficult decisions need to be made about whether to let team members go. We have covered this in previous weekly e-mails.


SEISS grants extended


We were told that the second SEISS grant (SEISS-2) would be the final grant. But the Chancellor has announced the provision of two more SEISS grants to help support the self-employed over the six months from November 2020 to April 2021.


The third grant: SEISS-3, will be calculated at 20% of average monthly profits, based on the same profit figures used for the earlier grants, ie the self-employed profits reported on tax returns for 2016/17 to 2018/19.


There are some additional conditions for the SEISS-3 grant.


The SEISS-3 grant will be capped at £1,875 for three months, working out at just £625 per month.


A fourth grant: SEISS-4 will be payable for the period February to April 2021. We don’t know how much that grant will be or what the cap will be. The qualifying conditions for the SEISS-4 grant are likely to be similar to those for the SEISS-3 grant.


The profits used as the basis for the SEISS-4 grant will also be the average annual profits derived from tax returns for 2016/17 to 2018/19.


Are you trading insolvently?


With the current crisis many businesses have closed or significantly reduced their level of income. For some businesses they are trading but are not making profits. If the level of reserves is low then, especially for limited companies, there is a requirement that, where trading, no debts are incurred which it is not likely that they will be paid.


If a company is insolvent and it continues to trade then the directors are personally liable for the debts incurred if they knew, or should have known, that the company was insolvent.


 Therefore it is essential that any company director seriously considers, in the current climate, whether they are trading solvently or insolvently.


If you are not sure then speak to us as soon as possible as it could impact you directly in your pocket.


In order to determine whether you can continue trading I consider it essential that you have some form of cash flow forecast or summary. I have been pushing every business since lockdown to have some plan or forecast. It is still not too late to get moving with this. See other parts of this newsletter about how we can help you.


If you want to go it alone then please do so. The only thing you should not be doing is burying your head in the sand and do nothing. 


Do you have bad debts that you cannot recover?


Sometimes customers do not pay you for the work you have done. This could be because they just do not have the money but also sometimes they are just being difficult or do not want to pay for the service they have received.


If you have debtors in the later category then we have access to debt recovery solicitors who will fight your case. They will look at the situation and give you an independent opinion as to whether the debt can be recovered. They are on a no win no fee basis and will only reject where the is no case for the amount to be paid or the debtor is insolvent. The service is provided through capitalize.com.


If you are having difficulty in recovering amounts owed to you then talk to us to see if we can advise you. If it does not go well can refer you to recover the amounts due to your business.



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2 new great FREE offerings for clients if you use online bookkeeping.


Fluidly lite - 90-day cashflow forecasting updated in real-time and fully automated. It shows what's going on in your business on a day-to-day basis, from the cash going into the cash going out, and everything in between. If you are interested in a demonstration please let me know.


We have held our first online demonstration of the product which went very well. Our client thought that it was a great tool that could help him when looking at scenario planning for taking on more staff or purchasing a piece of equipment.


Reducer - Analyses your accounting data to find out where you can reduce your business costs. If you decide to switch suppliers Reducer will work with you directly to complete the process. Your own procurement professionals but not costing you a penny! E-mails about the scheme have been sent out. If you want to join then please get in contact.


We are very excited to be offering you the opportunity to use these pieces of software for free. However, both software offers only work with online bookkeeping systems so if you are not using Xero or Quick Books now is a good time to look at changing. Contact Simon for more details.



The team at Stewart & Partners is working from home during the crisis although we do very occasionally visit the office if needed. All post is being forwarded onto us from the office.


Don’t forget to access our dedicated Covid 19 hub for all new announcements and far more detailed information.






The CJRS continues in October but with changes to the amounts that can be claimed.


From 1 October the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1875.00 per employee but employers will be required to pay 80% of the normal salary together with the related ER NICs and pension contributions.


There is a new scheme starting on 1 November (JSS) – see above for more details.


CJRS – Paperwork


As previously advised all supporting paperwork relating to furlough must be kept until at least October 2025 in case HMRC wishes to review it.


Bounce Back loans


A list of banks currently offering the BB loans is available on the British Business Bank web site.





The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is still running for loans above £50,000. A Business can only have either a BB loan or a CBILS loan but not both. If you need a loan over £50,000 CBILS is the way to go.


If you already have a BB loan and need more funds you can apply for a CBILS loan as long as the new loan is used, in part, to repay the BB loan.


Again, planning for the repayment for the loan is essential and we can help with preparing cashflows and budgets if needed.



Accounting for grants and loans


If you need help with your bookkeeping for the various loans and grants please contact us for advice on how to record these.





Here are a few links which may be of help:


Coronavirus support for business from outside government - List of public bodies, organisations and charities that have produced additional resources that may be useful to employers and employees.  


Stewart & Partners outgoings timeline spreadsheet – a spreadsheet to record upcoming payments


Government 10 guides to working safely during CV19


Stewart & Partners UK Covid 19 business guidance and resources - http://clientresources.co.uk/ - a 3rd party web site with good advice and resources that Stewart & Partners link to.


Hertfordshire Growth Hub - www.hertsgrowthhub.com – support for existing businesses.


Enterprise Nation - www.enterprisenation.com – Small business support, free to join.


HMRC Skills toolkit - theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/ - free online courses to learn new digital and numeracy skills.


CIPD – CV19 Returning to the workplace - https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/emp-law/employees/workplace-guide-returning-after-coronavirus - How to plan a return to work.


CJRS: Step by step guide for employers


How to set up a direct debit for VAT returns - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-instruction-to-your-bank-or-building-society-to-pay-by-direct-debit-vatc9


Zoom tips for home working https://blog.zoom.us/working-from-home-tips-to-meet-like-a-pro/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=postattendee&utm_campaign=WFHQ1FY21&zcid=3710


How to change your zoom background -  https://www.loom.com/share/269c91301db747c18eed82cdc2f615bd


Online Client meeting


We continue to hold weekly online meetings that all clients are entitled to attend. The meetings are a drop in opportunity for clients to come online and ask any questions they may have. If there are any updates on the current situation these will also be discussed.


There is no obligation to attend but you may hear something you would otherwise have missed. You may also receive support or ideas from other clients.


The next meeting will be next Wednesday morning. Details as follows:


Date and Time:  Wednesday 7 October 2020, 11.00 am


Meeting URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83879726978  


Meeting ID: 838 7972 6978


Invites will also be sent out separately.



Contact us


The best way to contact us is by e-mail but I am accepting calls on 07738 242299. The office phone is not being monitored so any messages left will not be dealt with.


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Feedback from clients is important. It would help me to know that this weekly e-mail is being appreciated.


Also if you have any queries join us for the meeting on Wednesday.




We are still looking for referrals from you. If you know anyone requires support or help then please ask them to get in touch.



Don’t forget we put out at least one and on some days two articles on social media. Follow us on:


Twitter: @StewartPtnrs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stewart-Partners-780549322295593/ 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/simonalever and also   www.linkedin.com/company/stewart-partners-chartered-accountants



This e-mail is written by Stewart & Partners for our clients and direct contacts but we are happy for you to pass it onto any of your contacts. The information is based upon our understanding of the current situation but we can accept no responsibility for any action or inaction in respect of the content.



Kinetic Business Centre, Theobald Street
Elstree, Herts, WD6 4PJ
Contact Us: mail@stewartpartners.co.uk | Call: 07738 242299


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