SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member, 

 

Welcome to the this edition of the SFA e-zine. 

 

While the Coronavirus still poses a low risk in Ireland, we must assess the steps businesses can take to try to minimise the effects. I recommend members visit the SFA dedicated HR and business advice pages to ensure they are prepared for any disruption to operations and read the newly published Business Continuity Planning Checklist from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  

 

In this edition we provide information on how to ensure that your business has access to funding to address cash flow and working capital issues that may arise during the year. 

 

Following on from our successful taxation webinars, we are delighted to invite members to register for our taxation seminar structuring your business now and for the future. We also provide recent press coverage.

 

As always, we’d love to hear from you about any queries you may have, issues you wish to have raised with Government or other stakeholders and your ideas on how we can improve the business

environment for us all. Please contact me on tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: sven@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit our website.

 

Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director

 


SFA IN THE MEDIA
SFA in the media
 
  • Small Business Manifesto

Small Business Manifesto

The Irish Times covered the SFA's Small Business Manifesto on 20 February, calling on the next government to be more supportive of small businesses.

NEWS
Coronavirus
 

While the Coronavirus still poses a low risk in Ireland, we must assess the steps businesses can take to try to minimise the effects...


While the Coronavirus still poses a low risk in Ireland, we must assess the steps businesses can take to try to minimise the effects.  

 

Hygiene 

The HSE provides recommendations to prevent infection spread. These include:

 

Wash hands properly and regularly 

  • After coughing or sneezing
  • after toilet use
  • before eating
  • if in contact with a sick person, especially those with respiratory symptoms 

The HSE and World Health Organisation have stated that there is no evidence that masks can protect you against contracting the virus, it can only prevent the transmission of it to other people.  

 

Health and safety 
If an employee feels unwell and displays symptoms of the virus (cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing), they should be referred to their GP / HSE. If they are certified unfit for work, they should be treated as per their company absence procedure.  


Whilst a business has the duty of care to employees to take reasonable steps to ensure their health and safety and to protect employees against reasonably foreseeable risks, there is no legal obligation to enforce a precautionary suspension of employees returning from holiday or work in an affected region. However, if the HSE and or GP does not certify the employee unfit for work and the employer is still concerned, you may consider briefly suspending them on precautionary grounds. This should be on full pay unless the contract gives the right to suspend without pay.  


The company could also instruct the employee to attend the company doctor if their contract allows them of that right. If there is a contractual right and the employee refuses to agree, then the refusal may be treated as a disciplinary matter. 

 

Communication 

The risk of contracting the coronavirus in Ireland is still low and this should be communicated to all employees to reduce panic and fear. 

 

Communication is important to ensure employees know what is happening, when will it happen, for how long will it last, etc. There should be a point of contact in each business to streamline the queries. An all-staff briefing should be held to explain the situation in a simplistic and accurate manner. Encourage employees to participate in the planning for protection against the virus, they can bring forward ideas of more hygienic practices or business continuity plans which will also bring reassurance to them as there is the sense of involvement and control.  

 

An employer must consider the risks and consider whether the employee is a vulnerable employee. The employer should be reasonable in situations such as “my child’s school has closed due to possible outbreak”, “my ill grandmother lives with me and is high risk”, or “I am in self-isolation”. However, where there is no risk for the employee, the employer can request them to attend work. An employee who continues to be absent from work in these circumstances may be subject to disciplinary action for unauthorised absence.  

 

Travel 
Companies should not require an employee travel to countries that have been affected by the virus, nor should they encourage non-essential travel to other countries for either work or holiday purposes. Practical alternatives to travel include postponing a trip and holding meetings via Skype or video conference where possible is advised. Due to the uncertainty, employees may cancel their holiday plans at short notice which may result in requests to postpone holiday dates that have already been agreed by the employer. These requests to postpone should be granted where possible, to support their precautionary decision.  

 

Can an employer stop their employee’s from going on holidays? There should only be a travel ban on affected areas (e.g. northern Italy, China). Employers must ensure employees have adequate up to date information to form their own opinion and conduct their own risk assessment (what are the issues, what is the level of risk, what controls are in place).  

 

If you have a query involving the coronavirus and your business and would like further advice, please contact Emma at SFA on 01 605 1668 or at emma.crowley@sfa.ie or visit our HR and Employment Law advice section.  

 

 

Business Continuity Planning Checklist
 

New checklist for measures to safeguard the continuity of your business published...


Last Friday, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) published a comprehensive checklist that will help dealing with some of the key risks to the continuity of your business activities during the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and advise preparatory actions that can be taken to respond. Many of the actions are the same as you would have prepared during any type of similar threat such as preparations for adverse weather conditions or dealing with a global influenza outbreak.  

 

The checklist covers the following aspects: 

  • Overview of required contingency planning activities: 

  • Key areas for business owners to focus on: 

  • Measures to safeguard continuity: 

  • Identifying and responding to workplace risks. 

One of the key areas to be considered for the continuity of your business is the identification of your key suppliers.  

 

For each key supplier:   

  • Understand to what extent inventories buffer your business from supply disruption;   

  • Explore what the impact would be if the supplier was unable to serve your business, if it could not supply usual volumes, or if its lead times lengthened;   

  • Assess how vulnerable the source of supply is to disruption, taking account of staffing issues, the supplier’s upstream supply chain, competing commitments and any other factors that seem relevant;   

  • Assess how vulnerable your business is to problems with logistics;   

  • Assess whether your business would have access to alternative sources of supply, and whether this would improve security of supply meaningfully.   

You can access the checklist here. The checklist also offers links to HSE issued posters for the workplace and other relevant documents.  

 

For additional business advise see the SFA Covid - 19 (Coronavirus) pages

Taxation seminar and webinar series
 

Register for our taxation seminar structuring your business now and for the future... 


The SFA is delighted to invite members and non-members to structuring your business now and for the future, as part of our taxation series supported by PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes on Thursday, 16th April from 8.30am to 10.00am. 

 

This taxation seminar will demonstrate the tax implications for different business structures, what to consider when restructuring and how to wind down your structure. No matter what size your organisation or industry is, you can benefit from attending this event. 

 

Structuring your business now and for the future will be delivered by Catherine McGovern, Tax Partner at PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes. Catherine has 20 years experience in providing tax advice. Her areas of expertise include retirement planning, succession planning, structuring property transactions, VAT on property transactions and employee share rewards. For small business owners this event is not to be missed.  

 

The event is open to SFA members and non-members. A light breakfast will be provided at 8.30am along with an opportunity to network before the event starts at 9am. The seminar will last for approximately one hour.   

 

This event is entirely free of charge, but you must pre-register. 

 

 

Webinar series 

 

Our Taxation Webinar Series continues tomorrow, Wednesday, 4th March, at 11am. Tax Tips for your Business will provide you with information on the effective remuneration of employees and will give you advise and tips on the many forms of corporate taxes small businesses encounter.   

 

Register here for this members only webinar. 

 

The VAT Health Check webinar will take place on Wednesday, 25th March at 12.00pm and will provide you with information to ensure that VAT is being calculated and accounted correctly within your business. Click here to register

 

To view the PAYE Health Check webinar see here

 

Access to Finance
 

Ensure your business has access to funding to address cash flow and working capital issues...


Due to the challenges posed by Brexit and global supply chains it is essential that businesses have access to funding to address cash flow and working capital issues that might arise over the coming months. 

 

Listed below are several government schemes available to eligible Irish businesses to mitigate the impact of Brexit and other interuptions.  

  • The Brexit Loan Scheme, will provide affordable financing to businesses that are either currently impacted by Brexit or will be in the future. The Scheme, which will be delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through commercial lenders will make €300 million available to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees at an interest rate of 4% or less.   
  • Start to Plan Voucher Scheme (through Inter TradeIreland) offers SMEs advice and guidance to help navigate their way through Brexit. The vouchers offer 100% financial supports of up to £2,000/€2, 250 (inclusive of VAT), towards professional advice in relation to Brexit matters. This support can help businesses get advice on specific issues, such as the movement of labour, goods, services, customs, logistics and financial issues such as VAT and currency management.   
  • The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is designed to assist small businesses. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Participating in this scheme can make the process of trading online much easier for you.   
  • The Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters (TAME) grant supports LEO clients to explore and develop new export market opportunities. This scheme is a matched funding opportunity with up to €2,500 available to eligible businesses. Under the scheme costs incurred when investigating, researching and accessing export markets can be part funded.   
  • The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme 2017 aims to assist viable SMEs, which under normal lending criteria are unable to borrow from their bank, in accessing credit. The scheme operates by providing an 80% guarantee (previously 75%) to participating finance providers (currently AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank) on qualifying facilities to SMEs. 
  • Credit Review Office provides a simple and effective review process for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), sole traders and farm enterprises refused credit from Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, PTSB and Ulster Bank. 
  • Local Enterprise Offices offer several other financial supports see for more information.   
  • Microfinance Ireland offers loan funding up to €25,000 to both new and existing small businesses in the Republic of Ireland. 
  • This simple guide sets out the types of equity and debt financing supports and resources available to business at all stages of the business cycle - from those just starting out to those wishing to scale up. 
  • The Currency Risk Management guide answers many of the questions that Irish SMEs may have when assessing and managing their exposure to foreign currency risk. 

For information on supports available to SMEs in Ireland please see the Supporting SME tool at supportingsmes.ie which sets out the full range of Government financial and other supports. 

 

EVENTS
Webinar: Tax Tips for your Business
 
  • 4 March

In this 20-minute webinar, Catherine McGovern, Tax Partner, PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes, provides SFA members with Tax Tips to consider for their business.

This webinar will provide you with information on the effective remuneration of employees and will give you advise and tips on the many forms of corporate taxes small businesses encounter.

This webinar is part of a series of taxation webinars supported by PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes, that will discuss some of the topical tax issues affecting small businesses today.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 4th March at 11am.

Click here to register for the Tax Tips for your Business webinar.
Webinar: VAT Health Check
 
  • 25 March

In this 20-minute webinar, Catherine McGovern, Tax Partner, PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes, provides SFA members with a VAT Health Check to help identify any VAT related issues.

 

This webinar will provide you with information to ensure that VAT is being calculated and accounted correctly within your business.

 

This webinar is part of a series of taxation webinars supported by PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes, that will discuss some of the topical tax issues affecting small businesses today.

 

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 25th March at 12pm.

 

Click here to register for the VAT Health Check webinar.

SFA Taxation Series Briefing
 
  • 16 April

The SFA is delighted to invite members and non-members to ‘Structuring your business now and for the future’, as part of our taxation series supported by PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes.  This taxation seminar will demonstrate the tax implications for different business structures, what to consider when restructuring and how to wind down your structure. No matter what size your organisation or industry is, you can benefit from attending this event.  Structuring your business now and for the future will be delivered by Catherine McGovern, Tax Partner, PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes.

 

The event is open to SFA members and non-members. It will last for approximately one hour with an opportunity to network before. A light breakfast will be provided.  

 

This event is entirely free of charge, but you must pre-register