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ICAEW backs recovery advice scheme

10 July 2020: Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers are on hand to offer free online advice to help small businesses bounce back from coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Recovery Advice for Business scheme, supported by the government and hosted on the Enterprise Nation website, will give small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery. The platform is now live.

Advice offered will include bespoke, specialist assistance from accountancy, legal, and advertising to marketing, recruitment and digital to help businesses adapt to difficult circumstances and to bounce back as the UK economy recovers.

Business experts, supported by the UK’s major professional and trade bodies, have rallied behind the government-backed initiative, with thousands of expert advisers already on hand and ready to do their bit to help small businesses recover and rebuild.

Sharron Gunn, BFP FCA, Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales, Executive Director, Members, Commercial & Shared Services, said: “Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, ICAEW Chartered Accountants have acted as trusted advisers to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Now, as companies seek to recover and rebuild, we are proud to support the Recovery Advice for Business scheme to better connect firms to the high-quality professional advice they need. Whether it’s cash flow management, tax advice or securing access to finance, I know our members will want to help any small businesses who may be struggling, and support the UK to get back on its feet.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “We have stood by small businesses throughout this crisis, offering a wide-ranging package of financial support. However, it is also important that business owners get easy access to expert advice and support.”

“It is incredible to see so many professional advisers stepping up to do their bit for small businesses across the country. This advice platform will help to boost our recovery from the impact of coronavirus, giving small businesses extra support to adapt their business models and come back fighting.”

Emma Jones, founder of small business support network Enterprise Nation, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has left thousands of SMEs facing a set of completely new challenges now and into the future. There has never been a more important time for firms to turn to the trusted advice of a professional and start on a path to recovery.”

“We’ve been overwhelmed and astonished by the generosity of the adviser community, thousands of whom have stepped forward to give their time and knowledge to revive, guide and support the nation’s small businesses through the pandemic to regain the momentum and restore the economic confidence with which we started the year.

“Running a business can be isolating at the best of times, and this initiative will mean founders will not have to face the future alone.”

Each adviser has offered at least one hour of free advice a month until the end of 2020 which could deliver a lifeline to thousands of SMEs looking for support.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales (ICAEW), the Advertising Association, the Law Society and the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) are among the professional bodies to have signed up for the scheme.

The scheme will be launched to businesses in early July and run until 31 December 2020. Members who are interested in signing up to provide up to 1-hour free advice calls to businesses in need of expert advice to aid recovery from coronavirus impacts should go to enterprisenation.com/join-the-campaign/and use their Trade Body Coupon Code to set up a free profile. Members can log in here to reveal the coupon code below.

Please note that pro-bono work of this nature is classed as a practice activity and therefore any members wishing to sign up must hold a practising certificate

ICAEW also runs and operates the long-established ICAEW Business Advice Service (BAS) which connects owners of small and medium-sized businesses with ICAEW regulated firms who provide a free initial consultation, without obligation. For information on BAS go to icaew.com/bas