ACCA has today called on the UK government to offer greater support to UK businesses trying to mitigate the disruption Covid-19 outbreak.
ACCA's recommendations include greater flexibility from HMRC with ‘time to pay’ interventions, extending recognition of home worker allowances and measures to ensure apprentices and students can continue to learn.
ACCA believes these measures would boost certainty for the broader UK business base. Greater support and flexibility would enable financial professionals and accountancy practitioners to meet businesses day-to-day accounting needs as well as emergency business and financial advice and planning during disruptive periods.
ACCA members will continue to play a key role in assessing the financial implications and risks of the Covid-19, helping to guide organisations through the challenges, and playing a key role in business continuity. This is an important part of the public value demonstrated by the profession - providing leadership in challenging circumstances.
Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA said: 'There is an opportunity for the government to act early to intercept the imminent turbulence for many UK businesses. Recognising that the situation is fast-moving with advice changing on a daily basis, the Government can create some certainty over the longer term with indefinite measures while business as usual activity is suspended.
'For hundreds of thousands of SME businesses in the UK, their accountant is a lifeline of business support and advice in troubling times and via our UK networks, ACCA will continue to do all we can to rise to this evolving challenge.'
Calls to Government:
1. Extending time to pay: HMRC must move to relax time to pay measures and suspend all missed deadline penalties until business as usual activity resumes, giving businesses certainty that if their accountant or finance team need to self-isolate or take time off, they will not be penalised.
Further, relaxation of rules must be extended to Companies House to grant extensions to filing deadlines for as long as necessary for businesses hit by covid-19 disruption, bypassing the three-month limit on extensions and automatic penalties which would be applied across the board.
2. Creating flexibility for home working: Government should look to relax the home working allowances to extend the tax relief already available to home-based contractors, to all employees asked to work from home by their employer due to physical distancing and isolation requirements.
3. Flexible support for learning: Apprentices and employers must be supported to continue their learning and development, creating flexibility around training and assessment programmes to ensure students can continue to develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills & behaviours required under the standards.
4. Timely delivery of business hardship funds: Government must continue to work closely with lenders, to ensure they are able to strike the right balance between credit risk analysis and timely delivery of funds. The government has the opportunity to act as a consistent and responsive intermediary to ease terms for funds that could be life or death for SME’s concerned about cashflow.
5. Delay incoming payroll regulations: HMRC must urgently reconsider their proposed implementation date of April 1 2020 for the incoming off-payroll rules. Business concern over the measures has been growing in recent months and the unresolved lack of clarity over the application of the rules will create an unnecessary burden for businesses. Access to skilled, flexible workers and advisors will be crucial for those trying to mitigate business and supply chain disruption.
ACCA is operating within official guidelines to support our members and other stakeholders, and as far as possible continue business as usual. Recognising that members and businesses are all in this together, sharing best practice will be essential.
ACCA has taken steps to support its 219,000 members and 527,000 students all over the world via a COVID-19 online hub (www.accaglobal.com/covid-19) with resources and updates for students, employers and staff as well as guides to aid business planning as well as insights from members in international markets.
In addition, ACCA’s Technical Advisory services will continue to be available to members in the UK via the email helpline.
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ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development.
Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.
ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.
Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com