Total commitment to clients, combined with a willingness to question the status quo and some excellent professional contacts, not only helped to save two clients’ business but was reflected in a change in national policy benefitting thousands of businesses across the country.
When Clare Emery’s clients, husband and wife Daniel Flynn and Lucinda Simpson, bought a dental practice in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, in early March, they made their first foray into business ownership, signing up to Eagle HR’s service HR for Dentists, which provides support through a retainer.
They needed that support sooner than expected – Covid-19, social distancing and lockdown resulted in employees self-isolating, and because the staff had transferred through TUPE after February, the new owners had no access to the furlough scheme.
Because the practice, in line with dental practices across the country, was also required to close, the resulting lack of income and lack of staff could have forced them into insolvency almost before they had begun to run their new business.
But the support provided for them, by Clare Emery and her colleagues at Harrison Clark Rickerbys (including Stephenie Malone and Alan Meiklejohn) and by Eagle HR, meant that they soon had access to the in-depth expertise and professional contacts of Sarah Woodall, HCR’s Head of Tax, who was able to discuss the issue with HMRC.
Clare Emery said: “It seemed so unfair that our client had bought a business in good faith, had been required to close it by the government and yet, by an accident of timing, could not access government backed financial support. Sarah’s specialist tax support enabled us to approach matters from a different angle which ultimately produced the right result for our client.”
Sarah’s expertise, combined with a calm, persistent and reasoned approach, gave HMRC the opportunity to change their guidance, extending the period during which staff were eligible for furlough. This meant that the practice staff could receive 80% of their pay, the business could avoid insolvency measures and is now able to survive the pandemic.
Daniel and Lucinda said: “We have worked closely with Clare to complete the purchase of our dental practice over the past 12 months. Their service has been outstanding, we have been extremely happy. They are very responsive and attentive, they are always available via phone and email.
We completed on our practice acquisition six days before the Covid-19 crisis, and the original government guidance overlooked new businesses and TUPE transfers. It was with Sarah’s help that we are now able to claim furlough for our protected staff members, something which has saved our business!
The Eagle HR team [Elaine Fisher and Stephanie Hallet] have also been hugely beneficial and offered us detailed advice in such uncertain times.
May we take this opportunity to thank the whole team at HCR; we really have been delighted with the service from day one!”