When you're concerned about keeping your business afloat and the government is doing its best to help, there is a danger regulatory issues could slip from the front of your mind.
However, as the situation unfolds, tighter restrictions may be introduced to help manage the crisis. You need to be agile and aware of developments as they happen.
While the focus is naturally on the crisis at hand, the pandemic will end eventually and business as usual will return. When it does, you need to be certain you haven't stretched regulatory guidelines more than you are able to deal with, and that your business hasn't become reliant on relaxed rules.
Keepingup to date with the regulatory environment is a challenge at the best of times. But with daily government announcements, changing guidance and new legislation bombarding us daily, it is even harder to know exactly what is needed.
Adaptingto remote working and changing day-to-day operations can be difficult. Ensuring everyone is aware of their roles and following the latest guidance, as well as informed about their rights and responsibilities is not an easy task.
Reportingand stress-testing when things are moving quickly is challenging. It can be difficult to report accurately or update modelling when the situation is changing by the hour.
Actions to consider
Find out what your financial third-party providers are doing and what instructions are coming from regulatory bodies. How is pressure being alleviated by them and can you benefit from that help?
Engage with the regulators, because the more you do, the more informed your planning will be. Correct and timely information is essential for you to adapt to the circumstances as needed. Make use of any simplifications or reductions in reporting requirements that might be available.
Don’t forget your responsibilities. The regulator may have granted leniency during the crisis, but rules will come back into force once things go back to normal. Don't become too reliant on the measures put in place to help you through the crisis or push the limits more than you will be able to cope with once it runs out.
Consider these questions
Are you in a position to respond quickly and effectively to regulators’ questions and requests for ad hoc information?
With the outbreak having an impact on your profits and cashflow, do you need extra time to pay any outstanding tax debt or file?
Will you be able to acquire evidence and make contact remotely to carry out your audit?
Will you be able to reschedule audit dates and filing deadlines, given the uncertainty of when the pandemic will end?
Is your audit team still able to obtain sufficient audit evidence with restrictions to your premises and staff?
“Having a team dedicated to staying absolutely up to date with the regulatory environment is vital to make sure your business is doing everything it can to adhere to guidance. It’s easy to miss details in the milieu, but being aware of your responsibilities, as well as any potential benefits, helps future-proof your company now.”