It's Friday, thank Crunchie (or whatever other deity you subscribe to)
As someone who qualified in the early 90's recession (question, what do you say to a newly qualified Chartered Accountant ? answer - I'll have a Big Mac and Fries please), bought his first house the week before Black Wednesday, remembers the 9/11 slump, was working in the City at the time of bank crash (my office looked over the Northern Rock branch that had queues down Bishopsgate), I thought I'd seen everything. But I hadn't.
This week I've seen well established, well run, profitable and cash positive businesses literally melt in front of my eyes.
I'm hopeful that the support packages of the Government are going to keep the economy going.
However, the devil is always in the detail, and based on what I've seen today, it seems that HMRC are out to trip us up every way they can. To quote a highly respectable client , in response to my circular this afternoon about VAT deferral, "Interesting b…s..t even now!"
Picking up on that (VAT deferral not b...s..t), do notethat if you pay your VAT by direct debit, and want to defer that as an interest free loan for 12 months,you must cancel your direct debit.
What are my positives today:-
1. I've saved 65kg of carbon emissions this week. Actually I've got no idea, that seems way too high. Like a true accountant I'll give you my workings - typically 600 miles a week at 30 mpg, = say 90l, google tells me there is 720g of carbon per litre. But anyway, I've saved a lot ! Multiply that by how many of us haven't been driving anywhere, and that's got to be a good thing.
2. We got some information on furloughing today. Hooray ! It's a start, although the official guidelines are still some way off, and the money coming in still seems like it is at the end of a very long tunnel !
3. I haven't once had to bluff my way through a football or rugby anecdote.
Here's a confession, I'm not interested in sport. As in, just not interested. At all. Ever. End of.
Yet I've often had to bluff my way through a conversation about how great Ryan Giggs' try was at Lords that weekend. Or what a great Innings Jonny Wilkinson had at the Crucible. Don't get me started on Tiger Woods' triumph in the America's Cup at Wimbledon.
I haven't had to do that once over the last fortnight !
One from someone else, David from Natwest tells me that
"I’m working on the top floor of my 3 storey town house and weigh less than at any other time since Xmas thanks to walking up and down!"
What are the things I'm talking to clients about today:-
1.Payroll and accounting help ! At least one client has furloughed their bookkeeper...which causes an obvious problem. Yes, we can help.
2.Security of deposits. So you want to buy some widgets from X Ltd, X Ltd requires a deposit of £Y. All seems good in normal circumstances. But what if X Ltd goes bust before delivery ? You don't get your widgets and you've lost £Y
There's no easy way of solving this, maybe an escrow account might work? Credit checks can help, but things are moving very quickly and affecting all sorts of businesses, big and small.
The watchword is take care, try and negotiate the deposit down, think about whether you can pay for it on credit card (which might give you consumer protection). I'm open to ideas on how to solve this from anyone else.
Until tomorrow, stay safe