Banking, cash flow and working capital- our step by step guide

  • Written By: Con Casey
  • Published: Mon, 23 Mar 2020 13:00 GMT
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What you need to know?

Smith and Williamson have been looking at Government and Banks’ actions and initiatives announced to support economic activity and businesses during the current Covid-19 crisis. Business owners also need to take some practical initiatives and steps to safeguard their commercial future.

"A small but important change for many businesses is the limit for contactless credit card payments has been increased from €30 to €50."


Step 1: Consider your options and talk to an advisor

A phone call to your lead partner at Smith & Williamson will help steer you in the right direction. At this time of crisis don’t worry that the “clock is ticking”, a phone call and conversation will cost you nothing but could help get you on the right track.

Step 2: Engage with your bank

All the banks have announced that they will offer flexibility to their customers, and they may be able to provide payment holidays or emergency working capital facilities. Importantly, the government are seeking to ensure that forbearance, if granted by banks will not affect credit ratings.

The pillar banks have indicated publicly that they will offer flexibility to their customers and have agreed to implement a payment break of up to three months for business and personal customers affected by Covid-19.

This is to be followed by ongoing reviews depending on the scale, extent and development of the crisis. The finer details of this support are currently being worked out however the banks have signalled that that for business customers they will make the application process as seamless as possible and Smith & Williamson will update you on the details as they become available.

A deferral of up to 3-months on loan repayments will be available to many businesses. In addition, the banks are adopting a customer-focussed approach to these businesses with a wide variety of tailored supports, including extensions of credit lines, risk guarantees, and trade finance. These supports complement the range of Government supports available through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and other agencies. (See the table below)

To support the banks The Central bank has confirmed that it will allow banks to “dip” into their rainy-day capital reserves to keep lending flowing. It is anticipated that this move could free up considerable additional credit for businesses.

Our team can support you with your banking conversation ensuring you have the information required and know what to ask. Robust cash flow projections will be critical to support your request for finance, to ensure you have adequate cash resources to meet your needs over the coming months – particularly given the uncertainty around the timeline of the crisis.

Step 3: Look to manage your cashflow

Identify areas where there is flexibility in the short term to minimise spending including:

  • Lowering variable costs where possible
  • Delay discretionary spend and investment
  • Extend your payables by seeking support from key suppliers
  • Expedite your receivables from clients and customers
  • Further review means to finance critical supply chain
  • Consider more judicious management of stock levels

Our team can support you in developing cash flow projections, assist in analysis of how different actions will impact working capital requirements and assist in identifying areas where business may be able to self-help.

Step 4: Check if you have Business Interruption or temporary closure cover built into your insurance

Your insurance broker should be able to guide you on the cover applicable and help you through the claims process.

Step 5: Availing of support through the various announced finance and guarantee schemes

Table of Government supports and Schemes to help meet and augment your business’ working capital needs

Funding Lines



Credit Guarantee Scheme

Supports loans up to €1 million for up to 7 years

Applications can be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank

Eligibility criteria applies


Micro-Finance Ireland

Microenterprises can access COVID-19 loans of up to €50,000.

Loans are available at an interest rate of between 6.8% and 7.8%.

Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at

Eligibility criteria applies


SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme

Maximum loan size of €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) and the maximum interest rate will be 4%

Applications can be made through the SBCI website at

Eligibility criteria applies


Enterprise Ireland Rescue and Restructuring Scheme

This Scheme is for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business


Local Enterprise Office Business Continuity Voucher

This Voucher provides up to €2,500 to assist any business facing continuity issues that arise in the current challenging environment

Eligibility criteria applies

Business Continuity Planning


The Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation has provided a checklist of preparatory actions for businesses in responding to Covid-19 and other relevant information

Details can be found here


Enterprise Ireland Finance in Focus Grant


Up to €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews


We are here to support and advise you on your application and the information you need to have available to ensure you navigate the process as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

Government legislation is that prevailing at the time, is subject to change without notice and depends on individual circumstances. Clients should always seek appropriate tax advice from their financial adviser before making financial decisions.

Who to contact?

We have taken great care to ensure the accuracy of this publication. However, the publication is written in general terms and you are strongly recommended to seek specific advice before taking any action on the information it contains.
Smith & Williamson Freaney Limited Authorised to carry on investment business by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. A member of Nexia International.

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If you would like more information or to discuss how coronavirus will affect you or your business, please contact using the form below.



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