Wylie & Bisset relaunches helpline offering free business advice to steer licensees through latest coronavirus restrictions

In response to new temporary coronavirus restrictions requiring pubs and restaurants in central Scotland to close for more than two weeks, Chartered Accountants Wylie & Bisset has relaunched a helpline to deliver free business advice to help steer hospitality businesses through the period.

oct20 donald mckinnon

Outwith the central belt, Scottish hospitality venues will have reduced opening hours and be barred from selling alcohol inside. The measures come into force at 6pm on Friday 9 October and will last until 25 October.

Donald McKinnon, managing partner at Wylie & Bisset, said: “The key message to licensees is that there are various options available and if they need a sounding board to speak to a financial expert about what their options are, we are here to listen and offer free advice.

“We sympathise with the unprecedented predicament with which the licensed trade is now faced, given the hard work these businesses have done to transform their operations over recent months to be compliant with restrictions, together with the resilience shown by dedicated staff working in such challenging conditions, and offer our support.”

According to McKinnon, the government’s latest measures have prompted an understandable degree of panic in the hospitality sector, resulting in a kneejerk reaction from some operators. His hope is that, through this helpline, Wylie & Bisset can play a part in helping to ease that sense of panic.

“It is not all doom and gloom for licensees,” he said. “We can advise on the options available to companies going forward and what steps they should consider taking immediately to safeguard cashflow, while reviewing their outgoings and seeking to maximise their income.

“For example, aa Debt Payment Programme under the Business Debt Arrangement Scheme is a business statutory debt management tool available to Scottish businesses. A Business DAS offering a moratorium could be a solution for many licensees, but early advice is crucial,” he said. “If approved, the plan will freeze all interest and charges.”

McKinnon urges licensees to consider how best to restructure their operations while there is still time to do so and warns that there might well be a rise in insolvencies in the hospitality sector come March 2021 if they do not act now.

“Most government assistance schemes, such as capital repayment holidays and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), will have expired by the first quarter of next year, when it will be time for anyone who has deferred their personal tax and VAT to pay their bills,” he said.

“We would therefore recommend that licensees seek professional turnaround and restructuring advice ahead of the first quarter of next year to prepare in advance for the conclusion of government assistance by reviewing the various options available to them rather than wait until it is too late.

“Rather than make any knee-jerk reactions to the latest measures, we would advise licensees to seek professional advice to reschedule and restructure their operations.”

The Wylie & Bisset free business advice helpline number is 0141 566 7096.

ENDS

For further information please contact Donald McKinnon on 0141 566 7000

Issued on behalf of Wylie & Bisset by Liquorice Media tel 0141 332 4935 www.liquorice-media.com

Date: 8 Oct20