There seems to be a degree of 'dust settling' out there, which is a good thing. The sooner we feel the draw of normality, or maybe that is the draw of new normality, the better.
There are without a doubt, massive challenges that exist in retail, catering, pubs, restaurants and leisure - amongst others. But in terms of the rest of the economy, it feels like UK Ltd (the smaller cousin of UK plc) is in quite a good shape, all things considered.
We're all apprehensive about what the future holds, but I know many clients are more cash positive than normal (albeit on the back of bounce back loans and business rates grants), and many have plans, ideas and indeed actions already happening as to how they are going to embrace the new future.
Some deadwood has been pruned, costs have been cut.
And of course, most of those reading this live in an agricultural area, a sector which has been relatively unscathed by what is going on.
So in contrast to the Armageddon that was feared 6-8 weeks ago, we're overall not in bad shape. What the challenge is now is to keep the focus, keep the pressure on, and make sure that when the score is taken of 'who won/who lost', that your business is on the right side of that divide.
Did you miss all the Furlough and SEISS changes on Friday ? They can be found at
What are my positives today:-:
1. I've had fun today baiting an IT business
I know, I should behave but...
For some years I've used a very large company to supply our practice software. I won't name them, but they are famous in accountancy practices for the way they sell their core database. Phrases appear in their marketing like 'everyone in your organisation will know exactly what's going on with your client'. And 'Never again will you have incomplete client data'
Anyway, I've terminated my contract but got a reminder for an unpaid invoice. I asked for this to be credited, and during the email trail I have variously been called:-
"Dear Talpa', 'Dear Mr Hall', 'Dear Old' (!), 'Dear Mr FCA' and at the end 'Dear Mole'.
You couldn't make it up...but it's made me smile along the way
2.Rain is coming
I know - that sounds like a rather odd twist of the Game of Thrones.. But if the forecast is right we should see some water later this week.
3. Nigel's still in business
Nigel (name changed) has a business in a construction-related, heating and plumbing industry.
Three weeks post lockdown he'd seen his order book collapse, cash dwindling and he was ready to call time.
We virtually sat down and redrew a business plan and budgets. Coincidentally a week later he won his biggest contract ever, he's reopened and things are looking good. What great news.
What have I been talking to clients about today ?
Furloughing and HR is continuing to be a massive concern.
The problem we have is that furloughing was launched on us without any warning or consultation, huge amounts of effort have gone in to designing the interaction of how the furlough grant is calculated from payroll. And it is clear that the intention has been throughout, job retention (The scheme after all is called the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme).
But nowhere near as much thought has been given to the HR aspects.
So whilst we can do an entirely accurate calculation of the grant due back, the situation of whether furloughing is fair or unfair, whether the 20% reduction in gross pay could be an unlawful deduction of wages, how to handle returners, can you make furloughees redundant and any number of associated discussions are causing lengthy debates amongst lawyers and HR advisers.
I hope that we don't, but fear that we will, see a plethora of employment tribunal cases in the next couple of years. And it is noticeable that advice coming from HR is increasingly risk averse. Which, if we're not careful will lead to some sensible and obvious decisions not being taken out of fear.
That will be self serving and self fulfilling
Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay positive
Please - if you do read this far and feel inspired to forward it to anyone and everyone, please do so.
Regular readers will remember the tale of what I think is the Ermine moth's destruction of a hedgerow. I think I found a moth on it today