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Alternative Lending

Flender

Flender Ireland  is a Peer to Peer Lender for small and medium sized business. It is authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Flender offer the  following products:

 

Term Loans

Flender offers businesses access to fast funding up to €300,000. Get a credit decision within 6 hours and receive funds within 24 hours. Terms range from 6 to 36 months, with rates starting as low as 6.45%.

In order to apply for a term loan companies / sole traders need:

  • Completed Application form
  • Last 2 years Filed Accounts – Unabridged version with P & L and Balance Sheet
  • Last 2 years Revenue Filed Form 11s (if sole trader)
  • Up to date Management accounts if available
  • Last 6 months bank statements
  • Up to date tax cert – (Tax Ref Number & Access Number ID)

Applications are made on line at : https://www.flender.ie/users/registration/borrower

 

Merchant Cash Advance

Online merchants and other businesses that conduct a majority of their sales online are prime candidates for our MCA product. Since businesses of this nature receive payment primarily via credit card purchases, the monthly payment amount is less when a business is making less revenue and increases when the business makes more revenue. If you earn revenue via check or cash, an MCA probably isn’t right for you.

 

  • Works with natural trade cycles – ideal for retail, hospitality and service businesses
  • Repayments made daily as a small percentage of card terminal revenues
  • Lump sum funding from €10,000 to €250,000
  • Terms from 3 to 12 months
  • Repayments made directly through merchant card processors

 

For further information please contact:

Ecovis DCA

Stephen Connolly – Stephen.connolly@ecovis.ie

Dennis Duffy  – dennis.duffy@ecovis.ie

 

Flender

Colin Canny  – colin.canny@flender.ie

 

Linked Finance

Covid 19 Emergency Loan Product

Linked Finance has launched a Deferred Start Loan for businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It means businesses can get access to working capital now, with the reassurance of no repayments for the first 3 months.

After the first 3 months payment-free, the loan is then repaid over a 12 month period.

Loans are available up to €100,000 to businesses that are trading for at least 2 years and have a (pre-crisis) annual turnover in excess of €100,000. As with their standard loans, the application process is very simple, just three standard documents, no projections and a credit decision will be given in 24 hours

Any established and creditworthy business, whether it is a limited company, sole trader or business partnership, can apply for a loan on Linked Finance.

In order to apply for this facility companies / sole traders will need:

  • Last 6 full calendar months bank statements i.e. Sept 1st to Feb 29th.
  • Proof of overdraft (IF ANY) Even online screen-print is fine
  • Latest full set of accounts to include Admin Expenses breakdown

Some conditions apply. These include:

  • If you are a sole trader, you must be a permanent resident of Ireland.
  • If your business is a partnership, it must have a permanent place of business in Ireland and at least half of its partners must be permanent residents of Ireland.
  • If your business is a limited company, it must be registered with the Companies Registration Office (CRO).
  • It must have filed accounts with the CRO (if required to do so) at least once and at least half of its directors must be Irish residents.
  • Your business must have been actively trading for at least the past two years.
  • Your business must meet our minimum credit risk and fraud criteria.
  • Your business must not have any outstanding judgements for more than €250.
  • In special circumstances, we can support younger companies who have demonstrated strong growth potential over a shorter trading history but this is at Linked Finance’s sole discretion.

For further information please contact

Ecovis DCA

Stephen Connolly – Stephen.connolly@ecovis.ie

Dennis Duffy  – dennis.duffy@ecovis.ie

Linked Finance

Mark Lindsey – mark@linkedfinance.com

Covid 19 – Update on Social Welfare supports for Employees and Employers

  • Social Welfare measures for Employees & the Self Employed
  • Process for Employers for keeping staff on the Payroll
  • The process for Refunds to Employers who engage with the scheme

COVID 19 – Pandemic Unemployment Payment

If you have lost work due to a downturn in economic activity caused by COVID-19 you can apply for the new  COVID 19 – Pandemic Unemployment Payment at this link – https://www.gov.ie/en/service/be74d3-covid-19-pandemic-unemployment-payment/

This new payment quickly delivers income support to the unemployed (be they self-employed or employees) for a 6-week period.

It is designed to provide income security for a period during which you can apply for a full Jobseekers payment (and receive any additional entitlements backdated).

You can apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment by filling in a one page application at the link above and returning to PO BOX 12896, Dublin 1. by FREEPOST. You do not need to visit an Intreo Centre to apply.

 

How to Qualify

Both employees and self-employed people can apply for the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

You can apply for the payment if you:

  • Are aged between 18 and 66 years AND
  • You have lost employment due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • And it also includes people who have been put on part-time or casual work.
  • Students who have lost employment can also apply.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is paid at a flat rate of €203 per week for 6 weeks. It is equivalent to the jobseeker payment rate.

If you are getting another social welfare payment and you have lost your employment, it can be paid in addition to this.

 

Employers – Keeping Staff & Refunds

Revenue has worked closely with Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) to provide an option for employers to make this payment to their employees through the normal payroll process. The amounts paid to employees under the scheme are not subject to tax, USC or PRSI.

Employers are encouraged to facilitate employees by operating the scheme. The amounts paid to employees and notified to Revenue will then be transferred into the employer’s bank account by Revenue.

This reimbursement will, in general, be made on a ‘next day’ basis. It will ensure a speedy payment process for employees and minimise the hardship for employees who are temporarily laid off. Refunds of income tax or USC that an employee may be entitled to because of being laid off will also be administered by the employer and will be repaid (to the employer) through the scheme.

The scheme can be operated for all employees for whom a payroll submission was made by the employer in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020. Where employees have already been laid off and their employer has ceased their employment, they can apply directly to DEASP for the payment.

 

Who does the scheme apply to?

  • Employers who have temporarily laid off staff as a result of the impact on their business of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • Employers that keep their staff on payroll and have not ceased the employee(s) with Revenue
  • Employees for whom a payroll submission was made by the employer in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020
  • Employers that are unable to make top-up payments over and above the emergency payment of €203 per week.

Making an application for the Refund Scheme

Employers, or their agents, apply to Revenue to operate the scheme by carrying out the following steps:

Log on to ROS myEnquiries and select the category Employer COVID -19 Refund Scheme’.

Read the declaration and press the ‘Submit’ button.

Log on to ROS and in ‘Manage bank accounts’, ‘Manage EFT’, ensure that the bank account details provided are correct.

 

Key features of the scheme

The employer will make the payroll submission to Revenue on or before each pay date.

Employers should contact their payroll software providers for assistance in respect of payroll to be processed under this scheme.

The employer runs the payroll as normal, entering the following details for each relevant employee:

 

PRSI Class set to J9

A pay amount of €0.01 (there must be some pay entered for the payroll to run).

A non-taxable amount of €203. No other payment amounts are made by the employer to the employee and all temporarily laid off employees are granted the €203.

The payroll submission must include pay frequency and period number.

No other payments are made by the employer to the employee for the applicable week(s) and all temporarily laid off employees receive the €203 per week.

Income tax, USC and PRSI are not deducted from the €203 payment.

Any Income Tax and USC refunds that arise as a result of the application of tax credits and rate bands can be repaid by the employer and this amount will also be refunded to the employer.

The employee must confirm to the employer that they have not, and will not, claim a payment from DEASP whilst the employer makes this payment through the payroll.

Employers will be asked to advise employees to make a Jobseeker’s Benefit claim via the MyWelfare.ie online portal (so that the employee(s) can access qualified dependant payments if appropriate).

Based on the information provided in payroll submissions, Revenue will credit €203 per employee per week to the employer’s bank account recorded in ROS.  The credit will include the reference COVID Employer Refund. (The main identifiers include Employer Number Gross Pay of €0.01, J9 PRSI class, Pay Frequency and Employee PPSN, Employment ID).

Revenue will credit the employer bank account for payroll submissions received before 2:00 PM each day.  Depending on the individual bank, the refund should be with the employer on the next banking day.

If the employee(s) resume employment with the employer, or obtains other supports from DEASP, or secures employment elsewhere, the employer will not include the employee(s) concerned in future submissions.

 

Guidance/Information

For general issues relating to the Scheme, employers should contact Revenue’s National Employer Helpdesk via the myEnquiries system, providing details of the query and a direct dial contact number.

Employers should make sure to select ‘Employer’s PAYE’ and then ‘Employer’s PAYE General Enquiry’ when submitting the query through myEnquiries.

 

Lay off procedures

Do I need to pay employees sick pay?

If an employee presents a medical certificate for any reason, including contraction of the virus or self-isolation, you should follow your sick pay policy as normal.

If an employee contracts Coronavirus (COVD-19) or is medically instructed to self-isolate, they will be entitled to received €305 per week from the Department of Social Protection. This payment is up to 2 weeks for self-isolation and for the duration of the illness if contracted.

Can I place employees on a period of lay-off?

A ‘lay-off’ situation can occur when there is an unexpected downturn in the business that is out of the Company’s control. If you have no work for the employee, and/or the Business is under extreme financial pressure, you can place an employee on lay-off.

Lay-off is viewed as being a temporary situation, so employers should be aware that if lay-off lasts for a certain length of time, the employee may be entitled to seek a redundancy payment.

If you are considering placing an employee on lay-off, you need to ensure you have a business justification for doing so. If your decision was ever challenged in the WRC, you will need to show your reasoning.

Can I put some staff on lay off while others work?

In relation to choosing employees for the reduction/short time, the criteria should be reasonable and applied in a fair manner. The last in, first out is deemed as appropriate, or by department based on the tasks that they are completing.

What is the process for placing employees on lay-off?

You must have a lay off clause in the employees’ contract of employment.

Lay Off

You as the employer would need to inform your employees that you are placing them on lay off and issue them with the relevant notification (Form RP9) confirming this.

Employees are not paid during a period of lay off, they can claim Social Welfare during this period. If an employee is on lay off from a business for a period of four weeks, they can request to be made redundant, if they have in excess of 2 years’ service. If this happens, there will be a cost involved for the company.

Short Time

When employees are placed on short time this requires that they be reduced to 50% or less of their normal working hours. When on short time employees may apply for Social Welfare to make up the rest of the week. It is important that the hours do not go above 50% while the period of short time continues.

 

With regards to redundancy claims under both of these systems;

Lay-off and short-time are viewed as being temporary situations, so  you as the employer should be aware that if either the lay-off or short-time working lasts for a certain length of time, the employee may be entitled to seek a redundancy payment.

This occurs when the employee has been laid off or kept on short-time (or a combination of both) for either

  • At least four consecutive weeks or,
  • within a 13-week period, for a series of at least six weeks of which not more than three were consecutive

Within 4 weeks of either of the above situations ceasing, the employee can decide to claim redundancy. The claim must be made on the form RP9. Once the employer receives this form s/he has two options:

  • S/he can accept it and pay the redundancy lump sum thereby accepting that there is a termination of employment; or
  • S/he can give a counter notice within seven days to the employee contesting their claim for redundancy.

Counter Notice

By issuing a counter notice the employer promises that within four weeks the employee will be employed for a period of 13 consecutive weeks.

If this does not happen, the counter notice is invalid and the employee is entitled to a redundancy payment. The employee is entitled to statutory redundancy only. S/he is not entitled to a notice payment, as s/he is the party terminating the employment.

Form RP9 – Lay-off and short time procedures

Banking supports

Micro Finance Ireland

If your business is impacted or may be impacted by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in actual or projected turnover or profit, AND you are having difficulty in accessing  finance from commercial lending providers, the MFI COVID-19 Business Loan may be able to help your business.

In addition, Local Enterprise Offices in every county provide a range of business supports for micro- enterprises including business continuity and preparedness advisory supports connected to the  COVID-19 outbreak. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for more information.

Eligibility

  • Any business (Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company) with less than 10 employees and annual turnover of up to €2m
  • Not in a position to avail of finance from Banks and other commercial lending providers
  • 15% of actual or projected turnover or profit is negatively impacted by COVID-19

Product Features

  • Loans from €5,000 – €50,000
  • Supports businesses who have been impacted negatively by coronavirus in Ireland
  • Loan terms typically up to 3 years
  • Up to 6 months Interest only payments
  • No fees/no hidden costs/charges
  • Fixed repayments/no penalty for early repayment

Application process

Application documentation can be found at this web addresshttps://microfinanceireland.ie/loan-packages/covid19/

  • Complete application form
  • Prepare monthly cash flow forecast for 12 months
  • Complete Micro Finance Ireland Business Plan
  • Submit six months bank statements and in the case of a Limited company six months bank statements for Directors and Shareholders holding 25% or more of the issued share capital of the company.
  • For Limited company applicants only – A central Credit Register report for each Director and for any Shareholders holding 25% or more of the issued share capital of the company.

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation announced a number of supports for businesses facing challenges being presented by the current Covid-19 situation. The Credit Guarantee Scheme is in place and available now to SMEs subject to the relevant terms and conditions. Separately the SBCI is currently working to finalise the terms and conditions of the SBCI COVID19 Working Capital Scheme and the eligibility application process for this. The SBCI website will be updated as soon as these are finalised. In the interim if you wish to be kept informed on developments please email the SBCI at info@sbci.gov.ie

SME Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) 

The Scheme 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 to participating finance providers (currently AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank) on qualifying loans to SMEs.

The Scheme is operated on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (D/BEI) by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and is available from the participating banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank). If you are an SME,  you can approach any one of the participating banks and apply for a loan facility under CGS.

Key Features of the Scheme:

  • Facilities of €10,000 up to €1m
  • Terms of up to 7 years
  • Term Loans, Demand Loans and Performance Bonds

 

Who is eligible for the Scheme? 

SMEs may be eligible if they:

  • Are involved in a commercial activity
  • Are a sole trader, partnership, franchise, co-operative or limited company
  • In the lender’s opinion have a viable business proposal
  • Are able to repay the facility

 

How to apply do for the scheme

The scheme is available through participating lenders AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank at the web addresses below:

AIB : https://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/credit-guarantee-scheme

BOI : https://businessbanking.bankofireland.com/credit/credit-guarantee-scheme/

Ulster Bank : https://digital.ulsterbank.ie/business/loans-and-finance/alternative-financing.html

 

Allied Irish Bank (AIB)

AIB’s Covid 19 supports are available at this web address – https://aib.ie/covid19

The financial supports include the following

Cashflow products available to customers and web address for applications

Business Credit Linehttps://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/business-credit-line?_ga=2.155766331.160936585.1584353997-1581556376.1584353997

Farmer Credit Linehttps://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/business-credit-line?_ga=2.155766331.160936585.1584353997-1581556376.1584353997

Promptpay – https://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/promptpay-and-insurance-premium-finance?_ga=2.146517556.160936585.1584353997-1581556376.1584353997

Business loans of between €2,000 and €60,000 can be applied for on line at this web address : https://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/business-loans?_ga=2.185208617.160936585.1584353997-1581556376.1584353997

Customer in Difficulty (Forbearance Requests)

AIB have a number of possible solutions available depending on your circumstances

  • Capital Moratorium
  • Capital and Interest Moratorium
  • Covenant Waivers

AIB Advisors are available in branch or on the phone 1890 478 833

 

Bank of Ireland

The supports offered by Bank of Ireland are as follows:

  • Emergency working capital, prioritising loan decisions for impacted customers, payment flexibility on loan facilities, and the provision of trade finance and foreign currency products to support sourcing products from new suppliers internationally.
  • Customers who are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their business are encouraged to make contact with their Business Relationship Manager or ring 0818 200 348.
  • Bank of Ireland sectoral experts – in agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality, health, food and beverage, and retail convenience – are also available to support customers.

A full listing of supports from BOI are at this web address: https://businessbanking.bankofireland.com/covid-19/supports-for-businesses/

 

Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank have introduced a financial assessment that is designed to evaluate your financial situation and to offer support where you need it most.

Specially trained staff will carry out a financial review. They will review your current financial situation and take you through the repayment options available. These options include:

  • Extending loan terms
  • Temporarily moving to interest only payments
  • Reduced payments on a temporary basis
  • Postponement of monthly repayments for a defined period of time

A full listing of supports from Ulster Bank are at this web address: https://digital.ulsterbank.ie/personal/help-and-support/struggling-financially.html

 

Revenue Announce Measures during Covid 19 Outbreak

In recent days, the news around the spread of Covid-19 has become inescapable and naturally worrying for individuals, families and business owners. Here at EcovisDCA we have and will always be committed to providing SME and larger business owners with practical and useful advice to help their businesses survive and thrive, and we intend to continue that trend during this period of adversity and whatever aftermath lies ahead.

In the brief few minutes of the recent announcement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar regarding the Covid 19 pandemic, it seems that Irish life and business life would be instantly changed. As all schools, childcare facilities and tourism sites would be closed for a period of at least 2 weeks, workers worried about their capacity to continue working. Following on from that, new social distancing recommendations suggesting that workers should work from home where possible and limit direct social contact in the form of group lunches and face-to-face meetings instantly changed how businesses would function in Ireland. Obviously, this is uncharted territory and something that wasn’t planned for in anyone’s business plan for 2020 so it is natural that the business landscape and our economy will suffer to some extent as a result. We here at EcovisDCA will be updating on any and all information pertaining to business life and any news that may light up the uncertain darkness we find ourselves in.

  • Due to the new recommendations and the concerns that workers had for their working capacity going forward, the Government and Revenue have announced updated advice to support workers and SMEs who may experience cashflow issues.
  • All debt enforcement activity is suspending until further notice.
  • The Relevant Contract Tax review due to take place this month is suspended until further notice.
  • A customs ‘green routing’ status will be given to critical pharmaceutical products and medicines.
  • Tax returns should continue to be sent on time.
  • Extended availability of Government subsidised or Government guaranteed loan finance will be offered to businesses affected by Covid 19.
  • Extended grant availability through Enterprise Ireland, Udaras na Gaeltachta and local Enterprise Offices specifically allocated for businesses affected by Covid 19.

Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank have also become the first banks to assure their customers that practices like deferrals will be put in place for mortgage holders who may find themselves unable to keep on top of their payments during this time.

For social welfare support for self-employed please click on the links to get the latest information from Revenue:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2020/pr-130320-revenue-announce-measures-to-assist-smes-experiencing-cashflow-difficulties-arising-from-covid-19.aspx

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2020/pr-100320-engage-early-with-revenue-key-advice-to-businesses-experiencing-tax-payment-problems.aspx

Should you find that your business is beginning to struggle during this time, it is advisable that you contact Revenue directly to discuss your own specific case.

Covid-19

It is currently impossible to avoid the news of the Covid-19 epidemic at the moment as the situation unfolds rapidly and becomes an increased risk of becoming a global pandemic. A pandemic is an issue that we in this country would be unlikely to have prepared for in a business sense and as a result we may see this virus affect our business landscapes in ways we may not have expected. As cases begin to grow in number and community transmission begins to become more apparent, it is important for businesses to have a plan in place for keeping their employees safe.

The Government have recently published an income support and economic stimulus package which outlines the following main points for companies who may find themselves on lock down or needing to self-isolate their staff or work from home or to reduce economic impact:

  • The 6 waiting days for sick pay with a medical cert will be waived.
  • The means test requirement for Supplementary Welfare Allowance for medically certified self-isolation will be removed.
  • Self-employed individuals will now be entitled to receive either illness benefit, or non-means tested supplementary welfare allowance.
  • A €200million liquidity support fund will be available for impacted firms.
  • The existing systematic short time working scheme is available for employees who may be placed on reduced working arrangements.

On a more global scale, it has been reported that businesses worldwide are changing and adapting practises to better cope with Covid-19. Many companies in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States have immediately implemented travel restrictions or a work from home policy for the foreseeable future in order to avoid community transmission within the office space. Unfortunately, these issues will naturally cause service issues for some.

From looking at the China model which involves the businesses who were first hit and continue to deal with the fallout of the virus, a few key pointers for other businesses worldwide have been outlined:

  • Plan ahead but be prepared for the need to be adaptable as the situation develops.
  • Keep employees informed consistently so that they feel safe and protected.
  • Relocate labour where possible. In situations where employees can work from home to prevent community transmission this can be effective as well as social distancing practises in roles that can not be completed at home.
  • Utilise social media and shift some operations to an online system where possible.
  • Prepare for recovery be it fast or slow moving.
  • Look for the positive points and identify where your business can improve in the face of adversity.
  • Use the situation to become more innovative and embrace innovation within your business and your employees. Thinking on your feet is essential in such a fast moving constantly unfolding landscape of change.

This will undoubtedly be a period of unease and difficulty for many on both a business and personal level, but through following the appropriate guidelines we can endeavour to keep all feeling safe.