Champion Round-Up | Friday 10th September

Written by Ged Cosgrove, group managing partner

Since we last spoke, there has been another easing of Coronavirus restrictions, which has seen many sectors operating at pre-pandemic levels for the first time since March 2020. The full reopening of businesses will serve to get our economy moving again, bring the furloughed back into the workplace, and put many struggling firms back into positive numbers when it comes to their financial position.

What companies can also benefit from moving forwards is all the learnings they have taken on board about people – whether colleagues or customers – in the last 18 months, to form strategies that strike a perfect balance between wellbeing and doing well. The pandemic meant individuals’ physical and mental health was, for the first time in a long time, many organisations’ absolute priority and as such, expectations on companies have changed hugely.

With that in mind, many will be looking at how the changing of restrictions can help them continue improving colleague care and customer service – and those who aren’t, should be. As we all got used to working from home at the start of the lockdown, there was an inevitable shift in the way services were delivered. The public and supply chains were lenient with that, understanding these were unprecedented circumstances.

However, the traditional working pattern has now been changed forever and we’ve all had a long time to get used to it; companies that aren’t able to demonstrate their ability to meet pre-pandemic levels of care and service and use COVID-19 as a reason for it, won’t be received well for much longer. The trick is to ensure your workforce can use hybrid working to create even better conditions for those who work for and buy from your company. Those who get this right have a prosperous future ahead in a world that will now make flexibility one of its key criteria for success.

Something to bear in mind as we continue to emerge from the pandemic is how difficult trading conditions have affected business credit scores, with many nervous about the extent that credit rating agencies and credit reference agencies (CRAs) will use the impact of Coronavirus to draw a conclusion on a company’s risk. Businesses have faced an exceptional set of circumstances in the last 18 months, and as a result there are more material uncertainty paragraphs relating to going concern, emphasis of matter paragraphs and modified audit opinions being published.

CRAs have reassured that it will take the COVID-19 crisis into consideration, will tailor its approach to credit rating scores to reflect this and won’t automatically downgrade a business on the basis of a disclosure related to the pandemic. We’ll be working closely with businesses over coming months to ensure the amount of credit they’re receiving to help their businesses recover won’t impact their credit score, so if you have any worries or questions, please contact us.

Take care and stay safe.