The past year has seen the majority of Welsh businesses either closed or severely restricted by Covid-19 restrictions.

The governments of Wales and the UK responded quickly and effectively with support packages.

Newport-based UHY Hacker Young quickly became experts in the newly-created government-backed support schemes and was able to help clients access more than £6m in furlough payments, more than £3m in CBILs loans, and about £1m in Bounce Back loans and nearly £1m in grant support.

When restrictions came into force, the firm immediately set up a team dedicated to helping clients access the complex and varied government support schemes from furlough to grants to self-employed support schemes.

That team, which included members from the payroll, business services and tax departments, started with daily advice bulletins to point the 3,000-plus clients in the right direction, as it was promptly established that most clients were capable of accessing this funding themselves.

This quickly moved into the specialist teams accessing Bounce Back Loans and CBILs Loans in excess of £4m from financial institutions on behalf of clients, while UHY Hacker Young’s payroll team claimed well over £6million pounds of furlough funding though the Government schemes. A figure that continues to grow.

Clients were also advised on the VAT deferral scheme then many hundreds of thousands of pounds of grant support through Welsh Assembly and through Local Authorities.

Paul Byett, managing partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “When lockdowns came into force our clients relied on us to react quickly and guide them through the information. Each day brought another announcement, greater uncertainty, and a deluge of detail to be scrutinized.

“Our work became essential in protecting workforces and ensuring the stability of businesses that had taken years to build. At the same time, we continued to ensure that normal the daily operations we perform for clients, such as payroll services, would not be interrupted.”

As a result of this unwavering support for clients through the pandemic Wales’ largest independently owned accountancy firm has experienced a double-digit growth in annual turnover along with more than 200 new clients, which has required eight additional appointments to manage the additional support needs.

UHY Hacker Young has invested around £100,000 in new technology and infrastructure which has enabled it to meet the demand for high volumes of virtual meetings during lockdown.

The firm is already supporting many businesses to prepare for a more stable and optimistic future.

Paul Byett said: “After a year where the goal for the majority of businesses has been to survive, our mission has solely been to support those efforts. Our growth is a welcome bonus to our true successes, which are demonstrated by the fact that our clients and their workforces have been protected.”