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If you’re not able to work for a while, this can have a big impact on your financial situation.
You may have to think about cash flow, how you plan your business finances, and how much money you have available right now to meet your business expenses and to pay any staff (including yourself).
Taking on new work is probably not the best solution at the moment.
If you’re not sure how to pay your business bills or debts, you can get free, confidential advice and help from organisations such as Business Debtline| or Business Link|.
It’s a good idea to get expert, independent advice before you approach your creditors or agree to new finance arrangements.
You may not want to tell people about your cancer, but if you owe them money or if you need to claim insurance you will probably have to. You may also be asked for a letter from your doctor confirming your diagnosis.
When you’re approaching creditors, it always helps to have a plan in mind. Be open, honest and realistic about when payments will be made, and tell them where you expect the money to come from.
It is important to contact HMRC| straight away if you’re worried about paying your tax on time. You may be able to make arrangements with them to delay payment of certain taxes, or to pay large bills over a longer period of time. If you think your income will be lower while you have treatment, you can also ask HMRC to reduce part of your future tax payments. There’s a special helpline for self-employed people and small businesses|.
Macmillan can’t advise you on business debt and finances, but we can help you with information about personal money matters. Contact our cancer support specialists|.
If you anticipate problems paying your bank the money you owe (for example, your overdraft, business credit card or business loan), you will need to talk to your bank manager. If you’re looking for funding to help you in the short term, you’ll need to explain why.
Before approaching your bank, be prepared to answer any questions about your health. Any information you provide must be accurate. If you have insurance through your bank, for example, this could become invalid if the information you give the bank is incorrect or if you don’t give all the important facts about your health.
If you think you have been treated unfairly by your bank because you have cancer, you should contact the bank’s own internal complaints department first. If you are not satisfied with your bank’s response, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service|.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission| also has a helpline that can give you information and guidance about your rights as a person with a disability.
The Equality Act in England, Wales and Scotland and the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland mean that, when banks are deciding on loans, they are not allowed to discriminate against disabled people. This includes people with cancer, from the time of diagnosis and then for the rest of their lives. Your bank can’t offer you different terms because you have cancer. The bank also has a duty to make any changes needed to make sure people with cancer can still use their banking services.
You may want to look into getting external help with your finances. Perhaps you already have a bookkeeper or accountant. They can help you keep your finances under control while you are taking some time off. If you don’t have this kind of help already, it might be worth thinking about.
A good accountant will save you more money than you pay them. It might also be useful to hire someone to send out your invoices and chase payments to make sure the money comes in as steadily as possible.
One of the best ways to find an accountant or bookkeeper is through personal recommendations. Ask your neighbours, friends and business contacts. Your local Chamber of Commerce or small business group will be able to give you a list of providers of these services. You can also find an accountant through Business Link| or the ICAEW| (Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales).
If you’re a member of a professional body, you may find that they have a fund to help members facing problems as a result of their health.
You can use the checklist below to identify the support you may need with your business finances, and to come up with some ideas about who can help. Download a blank checklist [PDF, 179kb]|.
Task or problem
Content last reviewed: 1 April 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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