Covid-19 Update

The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to dominate the news, with major implications for public health and the NHS. We are monitoring developments closely and have also put in place sensible measures to ensure that Alexander Sloan is well prepared.

We want to reassure you that in respect of the spread of COVID-19 outbreak we are focused on two things: the health and welfare of both our clients and staff, and our ability to continue to support clients in all scenarios. We are therefore writing to share with you some of the specific actions that we have taken. 

Operational Resilience

As I’m sure is the case at your business, Alexander Sloan has invested in technology and infrastructure to ensure that the business is both robust and adaptable to be able to cope with significant and potentially disruptive events. Our staff have the ability to work from home if required and can remotely access our systems within a secure IT environment. We are also able to redirect work phone lines to employee mobile phones.

Employee and client safety

The health, safety and well-being of our staff and clients is of paramount importance to us. We are therefore closely monitoring and implementing official guidelines from the Government and health organisations in respect of COVID-19. Specific actions taken include:

  • We have encouraged everyone to be able to work from home and have the technology in place to facilitate this
  • We have asked staff to reduce business and personal travel to a minimum. We recognise that many clients will also want to minimise their travel and face-to-face contact during this period and therefore we can facilitate meetings by telephone and videoconferencing. In the current circumstances, we believe that facilitating meetings by telephone or video conference is best practice.

With all businesses in the UK facing the same uncertainty, supporting our clients is our core priority. Our team is ready to provide you with quick and up to date advice on all your Banking, Working Capital, Cashflow, Tax, and payroll queries and concerns.

We have outlined below details on the current supports available to businesses, useful Government guidelines and other areas of consideration. We will continue to closely monitor developments as they emerge and keep you updated.

Business Continuity

Ensuring your business and employees are operational during these unprecedented times requires careful planning and having a response team who is ready to make quick and sometimes difficult decisions.

In line with our own Business Continuity Plan we have initiated protocols to maintain continuity on service delivery to our clients while safeguarding the health and safety of our staff. This is likely to include the majority of our employees carrying out their work from home locations. We have taken steps to facilitate this and are ready to introduce home working if this becomes necessary. We will continue to monitor Government guidelines in this regard. If you need advice with your contingency planning, please contact us.

Cashflow and Projections

Cashflow will inevitably be an issue for all businesses in the coming weeks. It is vital that you monitor cashflow, plan and are prepared for reductions in cash inflows. Make sure that you have a cash flow projection that can be tested for various scenarios.

If you need our help with cash flow reviews and projections, please let us know and we will be happy to assist.

Government Support

In the Budget on 11 March 2020, the Chancellor announced a package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses to help minimize the impact of COVID-19.

    • A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41 million to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. This will unlock up to £1 billion pounds to protect and support small businesses.
    • For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
    • A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
    • There will be a £3,000 cash grant to 700,000 of the smallest businesses, delivered by Local Authorities, and worth a total of £2 billion.
    • In addition, the decisions announced by the Bank of England on 11 March 2020 mean that banks are in a better position to provide additional credit to smaller businesses.
    • the government’s coronavirus action plan provides detailed information about the government’s response and can be found via the following link:

  • the government has put a range of support in place for those who do not receive Statutory Sick Pay, including Universal Credit and contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff which can be accessed via the following link:

    • a number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest


The Government is urging all employers to be as flexible as possible with employees and to explore options as the need might arise. As well as working from home, you may want to consider a range of other flexible working arrangements with your employees such as:

  • compassionate leave
  • allowing the staff member to ‘work-up’ any time taken at a future date
  • allowing the employee to avail of annual leave entitlements
  • rearranging parental leave.

Loss of Income

Does your insurance include cover for business interruption? Check your insurance policy and speak with your insurance broker to determine if there are any potential impacts on your business for which cover is provided in your policy. There may be little cover on common policies, but some businesses may have specific Business Interruption Cover. If you have cover this can be a valuable means of recuperating loss in income.

Even if you don’t have insurance cover it will be important that you quantify the effects of the coronavirus on your bottom line. This will help you later in discussions with finance providers, suppliers, tendering etc.

  • Examine all aspects of your operations to identify potential areas of impact.
  • Track time spent managing issues related to the crisis.
  • Keep detailed records of direct costs associated with any affected business process.
  • Segregate unusual or potentially claim-related costs from normal operating expenses.
  • Maintain customer correspondence regarding cancelled orders and sales.
  • Retain copies of your pre-crisis projections, forecasts, budgets, meeting notes, etc. that detail expected operations.

These are truly unprecedented times and Alexander Sloan is here to help you. We are at the other end of the telephone on 0141 204 8989 / 0131 228 7979 or feel free to email your usual contact at the firm when you need us.