When we planned this blog, things were a bit different. We were going to focus on advances of technology that help SMEs manage their cashflow. But then COVID-19 gripped the UK and it felt wrong not to acknowledge what is now a global pandemic.
By now, we’ve spoken to businesses in many sectors that are starting to see a slowdown. Think tourism, hospitality or even supply chains. In a matter of days, what was a theoretical question in a blog (How would your business trade through a rough patch?) is now sadly the reality for business owners up and down the country.
Finpoint is fortunate to be a partner of choice for a wide range of business support groups, which puts us in a unique position. For example, we have links with FSB and UK Finance, giving us an early view on:
- how to get information in the hands of SMEs swiftly, and
- the shape of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Lending Scheme
Based on these partnerships – and our original plan for this blog – we have put together a list of helpful resources. Things are moving fast, which may mean we need to revise the list, so please check back for the last update.
Take care with whom you share your data
Not all websites are created equal. Some are just nice ‘shopfronts’ promising you easy access to finance, with not much behind them. And during a crisis such as COVID-19, you can expect more of those to appear. Remember that criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police.
To get real help for your business finances, you can have peace of mind by going through trusted third parties. For example, FSB is a trusted business organisation and UK Finance a reputable industry body. Both have a track record of supporting small businesses for many years. Thanks to our technology being embedded in their business finance services, you can control who can access your data.
Learn more: Take Five to Stop Fraud is a national campaign offering straight-forward, impartial advice that helps prevent email, phone-based and online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.
Fast access to finance, in the office or while working remotely
Through to the use of technology, we can help you find finance fast. And it doesn’t matter if you are in the office or are working from home.
This is good news for business owners looking for an alternative, e.g. to a bank overdraft. You can enter a few bits of information in our secure platform and get an Instant Quote on-screen. We use APIs (Application Programming Interface) to make the Finpoint platform compatible with providers such as iwoca or Capital on Tap, and are looking to add more funding options as quickly as we can.
Stay in touch with your bank
With additional measures announced by the new Chancellor in his speech on 17 March, please contact your bank to get support. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is up and running and – if your business qualifies – may ease some of the cashflow challenges your business is facing.
You can find out more about the scheme on the British Business Bank website.
In case you bank with a provider who is not part of the scheme, then please check out our free comparison service. With over 130 different providers, our platform features the largest selection of business finance providers in the UK.
Information hub for FSB members – Business support checklist :
Trustworthy business support links
- FSB members can find information about legal, insurance and employment matters here or watch a comprehensive webinar here
- The COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility for larger companies, whereby the Bank of England will buy short term debt to provide cover for short-term liabilities is now accepting applications
- UK Finance is providing updates here
- The official website with guidance for businesses from the UK Government
- Companies House will give businesses an additional 3 months to file accounts to help avoid penalties as companies deal with the impact of COVID-19
Coming soon: support from HMRC
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support through a new online portal
- Support for businesses and the self-employed: HMRC are designing a second scheme announced on 26 March 2020, which is expected to be available at the beginning of June (current plan is 3 months backdated). Current eligibility criteria are: people who 1) have trading profits of up to £50,000, 2) make the majority of their income being self-employed, 3) have a self-employed tax return for 2019. HMRC will contact you directly and you’ll have to fill out a form
- Tax payment holidays : VAT payments will be deferred for 3 months, from 20 March 2020 through to 30 June 2020
Coming soon: support from your local authority
- If your business qualifies, you may not need to pay business rates this year. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday is expected to be published by 20 March
- Various announcements have been made about cash grants, and it is worth checking your local authority website for more information about the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have now released their guidance for local councils and more detailed guidance for businesses is expected in early April
Links to financial support options
- Bank of Ireland – Measure for business customers include emergency working capital, payment flexibility on loan facilities, provision of trade finance and foreign currency products and prioritisation of loan decisions
- Barclays has a range of measures that can help customers impacted by COVID-19 as well as a dedicated helpline for UK Business Banking clients affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Contact via telephone: 0800 1971 086
- HSBC UK has announced a package of support for and advice on how business can respond to the situation
- Lloyds Banking Group support for UK small businesses
- Natwest has pledged £5 billion working capital support and practical advice through its Growth Funding Package
- Information for customers of the Co-operative Bank, who are in talks with British Business Bank and UK Finance about joining the CBILS scheme
How we help
FSB Funding Platform is free to use for members. We’re 100% transparent about fees and rates, and give you access to the UK’s largest panel of business lenders. We’re also 100% independent. Our only interest is in making sure you get the right funding option for your business need.
Want to know more? Speak to us about funding or your financial planning needs.