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A business toolkit to tackle the coronavirus crisis

24 April 2020: as we prepare to enter a second month of lockdown, businesses face a range of extreme and diverse challenges. To help overcome these obstacles, ICAEW has produced a range of resources.

The coronavirus pandemic has tested the accountancy profession like perhaps no other event before it. As the trusted adviser of millions of businesses around the world, in moments such as these Chartered Accountants are looked to as guides through the uncertainty.

Many businesses and individuals face a difficult May and beyond as cashflow concerns continue to escalate. The government has rolled out schemes to help those affected by the virus measures, some of which are already getting much-needed cash out into the economy.

However, these programmes are being built at speed, with eligibility factors sometimes shifting and hundreds of pages of guidance documentation. Accountants are being asked to digest and interpret new information on a daily basis, sometimes at very short notice, and sometimes with the very fate of a business at stake.

For many Chartered Accountants, this is a busy and potentially stressful time. To assist members through this, ICAEW has been working throughout the crisis to provide clarity on the many points of uncertainty thrown up by the coronavirus measures. Below is a summary of the key resources the Institute has published in the past month.

Getting cash into my business

How can I access government support?

ICAEW’s practical business advice page has key information and insights on what we now know about the government support schemes and how to access them. 

What can I do to strengthen an application for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan funding?

To maximise the chance of first-time success in applying for CBILs funding, there are a number of things businesses should bear in mind. Read the Corporate Finance Faculty’s checklist to find out more.

How can I improve my cashflow?

As cashflow is the lifeblood of any business, to help finance professionals through these uncertain times ICAEW has created a guide featuring practical actions finance professionals can take when considering cashflow to support their businesses through the coronavirus crisis.

How can I improve cashflow analysis and forecasting?

The economic impact of coronavirus means effective cashflow analysis and forecasting have never been more important to businesses. ICAEW has created a guide setting out the fundamental principles of effective cashflow analysis and forecasting

How can I build high-quality spreadsheets that avoid errors?

Organisations looking to plug funding gaps through the coronavirus loan schemes need supporting evidence such as cashflow forecasts. ICAEW offers good-practice guidance on how to reduce errors on such spreadsheets

Considerations for directors

How do I discharge my duties as a director in the current crisis?

Directors are rightly concerned about how to fulfil their responsibilities and duties during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help with this, ICAEW has created a guide for directors on what to consider in these challenging times. 

What should I consider before paying dividends?

Companies considering whether to pay a dividend during these turbulent times should take a range of factors into account. There are plenty of factors to consider, according to ICAEW’s Head of Business Law Charles Worth.

Considerations for auditors and reporters

What are the implications for FRS 102 accounts and what do I need to do?

The extent to which coronavirus affects financial statements, both in terms of measurement and disclosure, will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of the entity. ICAEW’s Financial Reporting Faculty has created a checklist of factors to consider when preparing financial statements with early 2020 year ends. 

Understanding audit reports – how to communicate with stakeholders?

While COVID-19 will affect businesses differently, it is likely to have a significant impact on audit reports on company financial statements for the foreseeable future. The Audit and Assurance Faculty has created an FAQs document designed to help investors and other users of audit reports to better understand the different types of audit report wordings used by auditors and their significance. 

How should auditors test inventory?

The spread of coronavirus and restrictions on movement are affecting year-end inventory counts, which has implications for auditors. Here is ICAEW's guidance on the issue

Tech considerations

How can I protect my business from cyberattacks?

Unfortunately, criminals thrive in times of uncertainty and fear, and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has already reported an increase in cyber threats which refer directly to the coronavirus. ICAEW Tech Faculty’s guide outlines the key steps to basic cyber hygiene

For the latest news and guidance on the ongoing impact of COVID-19 for businesses and accountants, visit ICAEW’s dedicated coronavirus hub.