Take advantage of the extension to the Recovery Loan Scheme

Find out how your businesses can benefit from this Government-backed funding

Although much of the COVID-19 financial support has been withdrawn, the Government still wants businesses to access funding to aid their recovery.

That is why the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has extended the Recovery Loan Scheme until 30 June 2022 – instead of it ending on 31 December this year.

Intended to bridge the gap between the previous Coronavirus loans and regular credit conditions, the Recovery Loan could be worth up to £10 million per business, or up to £30 million across a business group.

However, as part of the extension to this scheme, certain criteria will change from 1 January 2022, including:

  • The scheme will only remain open to small and medium-sized enterprises
  • The maximum amount of finance available will decrease to £2 million, per business
  • The Government guarantee offered to lenders will fall from 80 per cent to 70 per cent.

To apply for the Recovery Loan Scheme, businesses need to check the list of accredited lenders on the British Business Bank’s website here.

Not sure if you are eligible or need help making an application?

Speak to us for assistance

Simple steps you can take to cut business costs and maximise profits

Cost-saving will be key for many businesses struggling to get back up to speed after the pandemic.

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were hit hard and now face higher inflation, skills shortages and rising wages.

The Bank of England says the inflation figure could even hit four per cent by December. So, cutting costs can help get thousands of UK firms through these challenging times.

There are many options for businesses to cut costs, including:

Review your suppliers

Make sure you are getting the best value for money. Get a minimum of three quotes for your supplies, particularly in areas like communication, where there are often better deals to be had.

You should also give existing suppliers the chance to review their prices.

Your business is important to them, but don’t be afraid to walk away for a better deal.


Sometimes you need to spend a little to save a lot. If you are operating on older systems or software, it may make sense to upgrade now so that you are more efficient as a business.

An example of this is digital invoicing and bill payments. These techniques could help to reduce administration costs and postage, while also helping you to avoid piles of paperwork – saving you time and money.

Many of the latest cloud accounting platforms allow you to digitise these processes, while also offering you many other benefits, including the option to go paperless.

Assess your workspaces

The requirements for your business premises may have changed during the last year, especially if many of your staff have moved to hybrid or remote working.

Assess whether your current commercial property still meets your needs or whether there could be cheaper alternatives elsewhere.

If you have moved entirely to remote working, you could do away with business premises altogether.

Go second-hand

Quite often refurbished equipment can perform just as well as new and allow for considerable savings. This does not just apply to office furniture.

Properly refurbished computer equipment can also result in big savings as can equipment like copiers.

Be aware, some capital allowance tax schemes won’t allow claims made on second-hand machinery or equipment.

Use an accountant

It may seem obvious, but using our expertise could help you cut your costs considerably.

We can look through your books and spot cost-saving opportunities that you may have missed and make a detailed analysis of the day-to-day running costs of your business.

We can also help you find reliefs and allowances that help you reduce the costs you already have by offsetting them against tax.

If you are struggling with a cost crisis, act now. Cash flow issues are one of the most common reasons for business failure.

Is your business struggling with debt? Regain control today

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were hit hardest at the beginning of the pandemic.

They had access to support, like the Bounce Back Loan, which was easier to access and had lower interest rates, but those only helped during the short term.

Now a growing number of SMEs are struggling with debt. The latest Bank of England Credit Conditions Survey shows that the majority of banks (44 per cent) reported an increase in loan defaults by small companies in the third quarter of this year.

This is twice the levels seen during the height of the pandemic.

There are options for businesses that have got into a debt spiral, including:

Deal with priority debts first, including:

  • Business rates
  • Utility bills
  • Mortgage and rent payments
  • Outstanding tax payments
  • Payments to strategic suppliers
  • Bank loans
  • Any form of borrowing with a personal guarantee

Consolidate or refinance loans

It may make sense to consolidate several loans into a single payment or refinance an existing loan.

With inflation increasing, businesses should take advantage of the historically low interest rates that currently exist.

You should seek independent advice before doing anything around consolidating or refinancing loans.

Tackle late-paying customers

Late payments are the bane of most small businesses. Despite Government efforts to tackle this issue, it continues to be a problem for many.

Challenging customers about their debts can be difficult. However, businesses should strengthen their credit control processes so they are paid on time.

Focus on cash flow

Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business and there are some simple measures you can put in place to help keep it healthy.

For example:

  • Improve your process for chasing up debtors
  • Agree on payment terms in advance
  • Lease rather than buy equipment or vehicles
  • Review and reduce business costs.

Boost your revenue

As well as cutting costs, you can also tackle a cash flow crisis and pay off your debts by improving your turnover.

This can be achieved by:

  • Increasing leads to attract more customers
  • Raising your prices
  • Finding more ways to cross-sell or upsell your services or products
  • Engage your staff and seek their input. They may well have ideas that are well worth putting into action.

Managing your income and cash flow can be challenging so seeking professional advice and insights could pay dividends.

Avoid debt in favour of other forms of finance

You could explore the following:

  • Liquidating assets – Creditors may gain more than if a business is wound-up.
  • Look for new investors – Can you generate income through the sale of shares? Have you considered the tax-efficient Enterprise Investment Scheme?
  • Peer-to-peer lending or equity crowdfunding – These alternative forms of finance are great for businesses that can’t obtain traditional finance.
  • Invoice financing – If you have a large number of late payments, you could finance the invoices and get paid sooner.
  • Borrowing from friends or family – Beware, this can put a strain on relationships.

Make sure you’re getting fair treatment from lenders

You’re entitled to be treated fairly by your bank or building society.

The Lending Standards Board operates as an independent body (albeit one funded by its registered financial firms), with an independent board made up of non-executive directors.

Link: Small business loan defaults rise substantially

Top tips for filing your Self-Assessment tax return

If you have to submit a Self-Assessment tax return to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), you only have a few weeks left to submit it online.

The clock is ticking on the 31 January 2022 online tax return deadline – miss it, and you could face fines.

The 2020/21 tax return covers earnings and payments during the pandemic, including any taxable grants or payments from COVID-19 support schemes up to 5 April 2021.

To help you get your return in on time, here is some advice:

Don’t leave it until the last minute

You’re more likely to make mistakes or miss out important information if you leave it too late.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests that tax returns submitted just before the deadline are more likely to be subject to HMRC enquiries and investigations.

Save time, be prepared

When the tax year ends on 5 April, you can start getting prepared for submitting your tax return right away. If you collect information throughout the year and stay on top of your bookkeeping, you’ll save valuable time when it comes to filling in your tax return. Plus, if you do need to get in touch with HMRC, you’ll avoid the last-minute rush in January.

Organisation is key

Make sure all of your paperwork and details are prepared ahead of time, including:

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number (you need to register for one if you’ve not completed a Self-Assessment tax return before)
  • National Insurance number
  • Details of all your income; for example, if you also have rental income or have earned bank/building society interest, or have received dividend payments
  • Records of relevant business expenses.

File online

If you are still using a paper return now is a great time to switch. Registering to file online makes it easier to upload all the information that HMRC needs from you. You don’t need to do it all in one go – simply save your form and fill it in when you have the time.

Keep track of income and expenses

Keep accurate records of income and what you’ve claimed as business expenses throughout the tax year so that you’re ready to go, including:

  • Bank statements
  • Chequebooks and paying-in slips
  • Credit card statements
  • Sales invoices/till rolls
  • Job quotes or estimates
  • Purchase invoices and expense receipts
  • Payroll records
  • VAT records.

This information will make completing your return much easier.

Sick of paper records? Have you considered cloud accounting?

Taking your record-keeping online could help to cut back on the paperwork you have to retain and automate many bookkeeping processes.

Budget in advance

Once you’ve submitted your return, you can manage any surprises within your tax bill by budgeting in advance and getting ahead if you need to make any payments on account.

Get help

If you don’t fancy going it alone, why not hand the hard work to us. Every year we produce hundreds of tax returns for clients.

If you need help, don’t delay. Get your Self-Assessment information over to us today.