Coronavirus – CFW Rising to the Challenge
The Covid 19 lockdown created massive uncertainty and chaos across the country as business owners and their employees immediately felt its impact. Here’s what’s been happening at CFW over the past few weeks and how we’ve responded in these uncertain times.
Like many of our clients, we’ve been working safely and remotely from home. The first challenge was getting the whole CFW team set up to work at home. All staff were transitioned almost immediately and initial teething problems were rectified relatively quickly. Our aim was to make sure that we could continue to provide both individuals and their businesses with all the support and guidance they needed.
At CFW, we quickly started to collate and share any information issued by HMRC so clients could easily access the most up-to-date information.
With several updates every week we’ve been highlighting the impact of each announcement and what it means for individuals and for businesses. We’ve given advice on furloughing staff, calculated furlough claims, prepared cashflow forecasts for businesses needing extra finance as well as calculating likely self-employment grants. And that’s as well as our normal workload including VAT returns, management accounts and tax returns.
Here’s a flavour what our Payroll Department has been up to!
Spotlight on CFW Payroll Department
It’s been an interesting and very busy time for our payroll team. As March is the tax and payroll year-end and usually our busiest period, we’ve been managing these as usual, as well as giving advice about and processing furlough claims.
HMRC’s new portal was up and running within 18 days of being announced which is very fast since systems like this usually take a couple of years to develop! Detailed calculation guidance was released on Friday 17th April with the portal live on the following Monday. So, some weekend reading for our team!
Waiting for HMRC announcements and for the live portal meant there were sometimes delays before we had HMRC’s detailed answers to clients’ questions. Understandably, clients wanted to know how much they were entitled to claim and needed to process claims as quickly as possible to help with cashflow.
To help us work as efficiently as possible, we pulled together a detailed checklist and calculation template based on guidance issued by both HMRC and ICAEW (our governing institute) so that the correct paperwork was in place for any furloughed employees with a clear audit trail for each claim. More complex claims included variable pay employees, car allowances, apprentices still attending training one day a week, and employer’s pension contributions. We went through claims step-by-step with clients before approval and submission to HMRC.
Working remotely, our team has risen superbly to the challenge and managed to prepare, calculate and process 100% of all March and April furlough claims for all eligible clients.
CFW – here to support you
With two more months of furlough claims being available taking us to the end of June, we now have a great system in place. HMRC updates are a constant for payroll staff, so we’re used to being flexible and applying these updates to clients’ individual business circumstances. We’re keeping on top of all announcements on a daily basis so we can advise each client, based on their specific situation.
Thank you to all our clients who have been very understanding throughout.