Head of Audit Department
The pandemic and the legal restrictions resulting from it have given such a hard time for many companies. How to survive the period of quarantine? Acsour experts have prepared some practical tips for you, the implementation of which will help to improve your company’s financial situation in a quite short period of time.
When negotiating with the lessor, you may draw on the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 439 dated 3/4/2020. Many owners of commercial real estate are willing to meet clients and agree to issue supplementary agreements on granting discounts (for unused cleaning services, parking spaces, and other additional items of expenditure this month) and deferrals in lease payments (understanding that in the current situation, they still probably will not be able to lease these premises to someone else).
Preferential loans for funds added to current assets are available to systemic companies. The rate on such loans will be subsidized by the state in the amount of the key rate of the Bank of Russia. The actual cost of the loan today will be 6% less than the current market rate. In addition, half of the loan will be provided by state guarantees of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. The list of systemic companies is currently being replenished (link).
If you have loans, you should check with the bank whether you may obtain a “repayment holiday”, as well as whether you may refinance a loan with another bank on preferential terms. Thus, interest free loans for salary payments will be guaranteed by the Bank for Foreign Economic Activity and will also be available to medium and large businesses. After the latest speech of the President of the Russian Federation, it became known that such loans will be available not only for SMEs, but medium and large enterprises in the affected sectors of the economy.
Now a number of statutory enactments have already been adopted (both at the federal and regional levels) that establish supporting measures for companies from various industries. Companies should check whether they may take advantage of any measures from the list that has already been approved. Acsour regularly monitors changes in legislation at all levels and informs about the possibilities of obtaining various benefits from the state in the current situation.
Now is the time to conduct an audit of expenses (including employees payroll expenses) for optimality of their taxation. It is possible that your company’s tax burden may be significantly reduced in a legal way by making adjustments to internal regulatory documents and issuing additional documents.
If you are entitled to VAT deductions, you should now step up work with suppliers and contractors to collect scan copies and originals of documents in order to include the relevant transactions in the purchase ledger for the first quarter. Many companies have now switched to remote working in full or in part, which makes it difficult to obtain the originals of documents – therefore you should put more time to this process than usual.
Accounts receivable are the money that your company has already earned, but has not received from clients. We recommend to pay close attention to the analysis of the terms of payment of accounts receivable and carefully monitor the financial status of your clients, creating reserves for doubtful debts in a timely manner. Correct accrual of the reserve will allow to reduce the amount of income tax payable.
The crisis is the best time to optimize expenses. In the context of rapidly changing legislation, it will be effective to give professionals legal support for business, maintenance of accounting and taxation, payroll accounting and HR administration services. As a rule, this is cheaper than maintaining in-house specialists in your staffing list. Moreover, the outsourcing company is responsible for its actions and will be able to compensate for losses if fines are imposed on the company – as a rule, the professional liability of large providers of accounting functions is insured for significant amounts.
These are just the primary response measures that will help you improve the current situation. To make the picture complete, you should create an anti-crisis management body and develop a full-fledged action plan that will affect all the company’s business processes.