Office Assistants News 2

New Flexible Working Rules Explained
On Monday 30 June 2014, new regulations came into force regarding flexible working hours. Now all employees who have been with you for at least 26 weeks can request flexibility in the hours they work. Previously only parents or other carers could expect this to be considered and granted. Now this category of employee no longer has to be given priority as every request must be considered on its merits.
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The Difference Between your Profit and Loss Account and your Balance Sheet
When you peruse your accounts, do you know what you are looking at in your profit and loss report (P&L) and in your balance sheet? This is something that is important for every entrepreneur to understand. Even if you leave dealing with the detail of the finance side of your business to others, these two reports will help you to keep tabs on your performance and to know when to put the brakes on and when to surge forward.
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Are you Working Too Long and Too Hard?
If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you may think you have to work 18 hours a day. Plenty of small business owners do. But you'll also have heard that this, in the end, can be counter-productive. Get too tired, and you'll start to find it difficult to stay focussed. You'll be missing things and making bad decisions. There are plenty of examples of start-ups that were unsuccessful for just this reason.
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The Importance of Numbers in Business
If you want to be successful and ensure your business reaches its full potential, there is a multitude of numbers that you have to keep tabs on. Unless you are aware of your sales, profit and cash flow numbers, as well as a number of other performance indicators, you can't make accurate forecasts and estimates that will help you to plan for growth.
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Official Recognition for Entrepreneurs
November 19th 2014 is the date of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards ceremony. From now until August 8th you can enter for one of the awards. All entries are welcome: last year one of those shortlisted was a 9 year old girl. It costs nothing to enter one or more of the various categories, which will all have winners, and the judges will also decide on an overall winner to be named the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year.
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Cash Flow Consistency
Does your business revenue have peaks and troughs? Are you familiar with the self-employed dilemma of feast or famine? Is the demand you experience seasonal? If so, one of your problems may be a lack of consistency in your cash flow.
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The Dreaded HMRC Enquiry
Recent publicity surrounding tax avoidance by Gary Barlow and two other members of the Take That band shows that HMRC can get tough. The misdemeanours are reported to be costing the band members around £20 million, following a prosecution. Some errors are innocent, of course, and if they are satisfied that they were not intended, you won't be fined, but just cautioned and required to pay your tax promptly with any interest due. Innocent errors, though, are not likely if you have the help of your outsourced bookkeepers.
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The NIC Break for Employers
If you have been considering taking on your first employee, now would be a good time to do it. This is because you could take advantage of the new national insurance contributions rules that came into force on 6th April 2014.
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How to Make Sure Your Credit Control System is Working Well
To keep a healthy cashflow, every business, of whatever size, needs a really efficient credit control system. Unless its procedures are followed faithfully, it might not be long before a financial crisis occurs. So what are good credit control procedures?
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The Best Tax Structure for your Small Business
If your profits are £25,000 or more, you'd probably be much better off as a limited company than as a sole trader or a partnership. Experts believe that a sole trader who becomes a limited company can save up to 30p in the pound. You have to know how to do it though.
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New Rules for Crowdfunding
In information released by the Crowd Funding Centre of The Social Foundation, during the first couple of months of 2014, £2.4 million has been raised through crowd funding in the UK. The number of equity and rewards projects that have been launched has topped 2,600, and more than £1,700 an hour is being raised.
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Be Prepared for the Next Tax Year
Just as January 1st is a time when we might take stock of our personal lives and make our resolutions to do some things differently, so April 6th - start of a new financial year - can be a time when we've taken a fresh look at our business practices and decided what needs to change. What could you do differently in future to get better results?
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The Pros and Cons of Exporting
Nearly two thirds of all UK small and medium-sized businesses are not interested in exporting, according to the latest quarterly Close Brothers Business Barometer. Of those considering exports just over half believe the European Union (EU) has the opportunities they need. The rest are mainly looking to the Middle East and Asia.
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Money no Object for Flood Relief

'Whatever money is needed, we will spend it,' the Prime Minister said recently. Welcome news if you are among the million or so businesses that the Environment Agency thought would be badly affected by the severe weather. The effects of the severe weather have added up to a bitter blow to the economy, and have been devastating to small businesses without the resources to withstand the financial knock backs.
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The Importance of Good Financial Record Keeping

How would you fare if HMRC decided to come and inspect the records that back up your accounts? It states that it finds failings in nearly 50% of the businesses it investigates. If it finds untidy records haphazardly stored in boxes, inaccurate or rounded amounts listed, cash books not in the right order, or any other incorrect aspect of record keeping, it has the power to fine offenders up to £3,000. It doesn't matter how small your business is, you must comply with the record keeping regulations.
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Advice on Chasing Late Payments

The issue of late payments continues to be a problem for many small businesses. Confederation of British Industry (CBI) statistics give £31,000 as the average amount that UK businesses are owed and put the total of outstanding late payments at over £30 billion. According to Matthew Fell, the CBI's Director for Competitive Markets, 'Many firms are being held back from growing and creating jobs because they are owed thousands of pounds.' This, he says, is unacceptable, and he advocates measures to 'create a culture of prompt payment in all businesses.'
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Getting Back on Track After the Floods
Storms affected many small businesses in the south of England. Many have been flooded out, losing stock and trade, with premises and equipment needing repair or replacement. Insurance claims take time and not much can be done in the meantime without cash to get things going. If you have suffered setbacks because of the recent horrendous storms, you could get some financial help for your recovery.
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New Year, New Pricing?
January is a month to think about a fresh start, spring cleaning, de-cluttering and reviewing aspects of your business. One of these could be your pricing strategies. Are you as competitive as you could be? Are you charging too much and therefore losing business? Are you charging too little so your margins are too tight?
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Ambitions for your Small Business
With 500,000 small businesses created last year, there are now about 4,900,000 in the UK. They make up 99% of the private sector and provide around 47% of jobs. Clearly you and the rest of the small business sector are really important to the UK economy, and the government recognises that it should be doing more to support and help you.
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Small Business Aspects of the Autumn Statement
The Chancellor's Autumn Statement wasn't all doom and gloom. There is some heartening news for small businesses, despite his assurances of continuing austerity measures.
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The Problem of Business Inflation
It's official. Business inflation is still more than twice as high as that for consumers. In 2013 it is running at over 6%. On a positive note, it is not quite as high as 6.7%, which was last year's statistic. The news comes from a survey of members of the Forum of Private Businesses. It reported that costs had risen for a number of areas.
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How Bookkeepers can Make a Difference
November 4th, 2013 saw the start of the first National Bookkeeping Week. It sparked a discussion of how the bookkeeping can make or mar a business. Done well, it can help you to grow and blossom. Done badly, it can cause your downfall.
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Reaping the Benefits of Management Accounts
Loughborough University's Deputy Director of its Centre for Global Sourcing and Services, together with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and SKS Business Services, recently published a report entitled Accounting for Growth. The report explains that many SMEs think of their accounting function as just performing a 'bean counting' exercise, instead of encouraging management accounting techniques to support the business objectives.
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Tips on Developing Your Business
Do you have a plan for business growth? It really helps to have a long term vision, and a plan to make each of the small steps you can take to bring closer to that final goal. First though, you need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
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Regulation Reforms for the Small Business
October 1st 2013 was one of the Red Tape Freedom Days, on which the government introduced a number of reforms in the regulatory requirements of small businesses. They were in response to the Red Tape Challenge which looked at how to minimise the effects of, or do away with altogether, some 3,000 regulations. The government believes this will make life easier for small businesses and encourage more start-ups.
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The Importance of Having Sensible Payment Policies
Some business owners have never thought about having a payment policy. Deadlines on bills, wages and taxes come and go; amounts due get paid as soon as possible. When available cash doesn't cover it, the deadlines slip.
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Do Not Allow Your Systems to Let you Down
According to Hartmut Wagner, MD of Cloud Solutions Exact, 'many SMEs who are eager to grow are not doing themselves any favours, particularly with so many of them expressing concern over their cash-flow.' He was referring to the results of an online survey that found many of these companies were losing out big time through poor internal systems and procedures.
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Pension Auto-Enrolment Reminder
Pension auto-enrolment started a year ago and over 1,600,000 have been enrolled, with about one in ten opted out. If you have eligible employees, by now you should be well into your planning for this in your business.
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Could your Business Save Money on Energy?
Are you locked in to an energy supply contract in which you have to accept price rises? Has your initial contract been rolled over onto a new one without your knowledge? Many fixed term contracts for power supply include a clause that allows them to do this unless you notify them otherwise within a window of months before the end of the initial contract term.
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VAT Knowledge Makes for a Healthier Balance Sheet
If you don't reclaim all the VAT you are entitled to, you could be losing hundreds of pounds a year. If that continues over a number of years, you're looking at thousands. According to accounting software giant, Sage UK, reporting on the results of recent research, over a third of UK SMEs could make 'significant savings' on their VAT returns. More than half the business owners surveyed believed they might be around £500 or more better off.
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Do Not Lose your Entrepreneurial Spirit
Can you remember how you felt when you first set up your business? How proud you felt and how determined to make a success of it? No matter how confident you felt, there must have been some anxious moments. Since fear of failure didn't hold you back, you had a truly entrepreneurial spirit, and it's important to hold on to it.
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The New Broom at the Bank of England
The new governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, is already making his presence felt. His announcements and intentions are all interesting, but contentious. We will be watching developments to see how his policies will end up affecting you.
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The Perils of Having Favourites Among Your Staff Members
If you have favourites amongst your staff members, whilst you may be keeping a few of them happy, you could be alienating the rest. Some bosses don't even realise they have favourites, and wonder why there is so much tension in the team.
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Non-bank Fundraising via Funding Circle
Are you fed up with waiting to hear if your bank will lend you the cash you need to take your business to the next stage? Or just daunted at the very prospect of asking for it? If you are a limited company or limited liability partnership with two years accounts filed and a turnover that has reached £100,000, you may do better through Funding Circle.
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Opportunities of Apprenticeships
Do you, or could you, employ an apprentice or two? Taking on an apprentice could benefit your business as well as the individual concerned.
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Tax Aspects of Company Cars
The tax aspects of company cars have become more and more onerous over recent years. The laudable fact that government wants to encourage businesses to buy and use more eco-friendly vehicles is just one of the contributing factors4
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Reduced Red Tape on Tax on the Way
The government has announced the introduction of a new digital system whereby you will be able to manage your own tax accounts online. Exchequer Secretary, David Gauke, said that the idea is that people should be able to manage their tax affairs just as they manage their bank accounts online.
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Do you have Adequate Business Contents Insurance?
When you make an investment in technology or other equipment, don't forget the insurance. Your business will soon become dependent on these tools as they allow your practices to adapt. If something happened to make them unusable, or if they were stolen, how would you cope? With adequate insurance, they can quickly be replaced - but are they fully covered? It's true that business contents insurance is yet another cost, but is it something you can afford to do without?
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Protecting Your Business from Cyber Crime
Cyber crime costs the UK economy around £27 billion a year. The average cost of it to a small business is £4,000 a year. These worrying statistics were highlighted in a recent report published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in collaboration with the Home Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
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Practising Risk Reversal Aids Business Growth
Are you trying to find ways to grow your business? Stephen Fear, Entrepreneur in Residence at The British Library, believes that one of the strategies that will help you develop more business is what he calls risk reversal.
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Cost Cutting Tips
The powers that be tell us that we have just avoided a triple dip in the economy. That may not mean much to small business owners and entrepreneurs struggling to survive or grow an enterprise. They now have increasing competition from new start-ups as people lose jobs, find it impossible to get alternative employment and decide to go it alone. All the headlines point to small and micro businesses being hit hard, and those owned by men or women aged 45+ the hardest.
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It's Not a Crime to Be Wrong
As a business owner or director, while it would certainly help to be right all the time, you're only human, and you can't expect it. There's no shame in making honest mistakes. Everyone makes them. You just have to chalk them up to experience and make sure that you learn their lessons so you won't make them again.
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Managing Creditors
When times are tough, as well as making sure you get in all the cash that's owed to you, and managing your cash flow, you also have to deal with your creditors. Unless you manage and pay for your taxes and procurement efficiently, nasty things can happen. If you have clear business policies for managing creditors that you follow consistently, you are less likely to reach crisis point. Even if you do run into cash flow problems, they will be easier to deal with if you have set the right priorities and kept up good relationships with your suppliers.
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HMRC Make RTI Easier for Small Businesses
The requirement for real time information (RTI) to HMRC on payment to employees was phased in on 6 April. This means that details must be sent to HMRC every time a payment is made to a member of staff. The method of doing this is to send this information electronically using payroll software as part of the routine payroll process. The Revenue was aware that this has been causing headaches for many small businesses.
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Taking Part in a Pop Up Shop Project
If you trade online, would you like an opportunity to meet some customers face to face and let them see and touch your products, and recognise their quality? There would be a number of advantages to this, not least the invaluable feedback you could get, and the opportunity to promote your website first hand.
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Where Does Your Money Go?
Everyone would like to cut their business costs. The starting point is knowing exactly where every penny goes. Your outsourced bookkeepers can help you with this, and when you have this accurate information, you'll be able to see where you might be able to shave off a few pounds. Here are a few possibilities.
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Current Government Consultations
Among the government's latest project consultations are two that will have a direct effect on small businesses which are soon due to close. One is about the regulations surrounding business names, which will affect all business organisations, large and small. The other is relevant to microbusinesses with up to ten employees, and is about the proposals to simplify their reporting requirements. Both come up in the context of The Red Tape Challenge which is now looking at the rules that affect business and commerce.
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Pitchforit Brings Dragons' Den Opportunities to All
You may be among the millions who have watched the TV programme Dragons' Den and cringed for the would-be entrepreneurs who are ill prepared to beard the dragons in their den. You might also have admired their courage in putting themselves into such a stressful situation. And you may have envied those who were successful and walked away with thousands of pounds of investment in their businesses by the dragons, as well as gaining the benefit of their experience and expertise.
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Are you Ready for RTI?
Last year we published information about the forthcoming changes to PAYE reporting by employers. The time for Real Time Information (RTI) is now upon us and hopefully, you are already prepared. Starting in April, employers should be reporting on their PAYE records for every employee every time they are paid. Some may be favoured with a window of a few months after that before compliance is expected from everyone in October.
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Managing your Credit Rating
Did you know that moving premises could affect your credit score? How? If you don't report it swiftly to Companies House, announce it on social media sites or register it with relevant address directories, people will start wondering whether you've gone bust and asking questions about your company. And if someone else takes over your previous location, your credit score could get mixed up with theirs, which may not be good.
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What to Do About Late Payments
Many small enterprises in the business to business sector suffer cash flow problems because their customers do not honour their payment commitments at the time agreed. But Business Minister, Michael Fallon, believes that the majority don't want new legislation regarding late payment because it could interfere with their business relationships. Instead he seeks ways of changing the late payment culture to make prompt payment the norm.
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Did you Fall into the Swap Trap?
In 2007, few people foresaw the drastic reduction of interest rates to come, including financial advisers. They were enthusiastic about swaps, the hedging products designed to protect business loans from interest rises. Some business funding from banks was conditional on having a swap attached.
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Do you Sell Online?
Only a small proportion of UK SMEs do. The others could be missing out on the many e-commerce advantages. It's clearly the way of the future and, unless they make the jump, they will be left behind.
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Smarter Purchasing to Reduce Costs
Most entrepreneurs start a new year determined to make changes that will bring benefits. One of the areas of your business it could pay to take a good look at is purchasing. Sometimes we set up procedures, and get into habits, that are great at the time but may not continue to be the best way to do things as the business develops. Here are some questions that might help you recognise where this might be the case.
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Getting Ready for Your Annual Accounts
If you have a company with a March year end, you may be starting to think about the annual accounts about now. Your outsourced bookkeepers should have everything kept up to date, but did you know that the responsibility for accuracy lies not with them, or with your accountant, but with you jointly with any other directors of your company? You have 12 months from the year end to submit them, but most people do it three months before that, at the time that tax must be paid.
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Will Social Media Help or Hinder your Business Success?
Now that social media platforms are recognised, not only as opportunities to collect customer data, but also for a super-fast way to spread the word wide about brands and products, how much of your marketing budget will you allocate to social media in 2013? According to some recent global research carried out by Pitney Bowes Software, many businesses in Australia, France, Germany, the UK and the USA are planning to spend about half of their budgets that way.
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Get into the Festive Spirit
It's really hard for small business owners to take time off and really switch off from their businesses. That said, unless, you need a break as much as any employee. If you do have to work over the holidays, perhaps because you are in the hospitality sector or any other that requires attention 365 days a year, then you need to make up for it with time off afterwards. You need to get into the spirit of the season and be refreshed and ready for the challenges of a new year of business.
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Crisis in Flood Insurance
If your business has been affected by flooding this year, you know that insurance is a lifeline, even though excess clause amounts have risen by an average of 1,750% in the last three years. But will you be able to renew it?
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A New Method of Invoice Financing
The government's Supply Chain Finance Scheme (SCFS), announced by the Prime Minister last month, has had a mixed reception. The scheme provides that, if you send an invoice to a large corporation, the recipient can respond with a promissory note informing your bank that they intend to pay it. You can then draw on the amount promised from your account, but you will have to pay interest on it until the money comes in, albeit a smaller amount than on other types of loan.
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How would you Cope with a Tax Investigation?
Chancellor George Osborne's tax yield targets have given HMRC quite a challenge. The revenue department seems to have responded by increasing its focus on investigating the tax affairs of small businesses. In 2011-12 it increased its collection of extra taxes and fines from SMEs by 39% on the previous year. In all likelihood the figures will continue to rise.
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The Small Business Personal Touch
One of the advantages of being a small business is that your customer base is probably small enough to make good communication and a personal touch relatively easy. Of course, this might mean yet more tasks to add to your endless all-round list, but they are really important to maintain profitability and grow your company. You'll be well aware that what keeps customers and clients loyal is not just what they buy from you, but also how it is packaged and delivered to them, and what happens next.
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Managing a Less Visible Fire Risk
Do you or your employees bring electrical goods from home into the workplace? Did you realise that, if these goods have not been safety checked, you are not compliant with health and safety regulations and are at greater risk of fire? Personal items of electrical equipment brought onto your premises are subject to the same regulations as appliances that belong to the business.
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Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference
People are still talking about the amazing Olympic successes of the Team GB cyclists both in and out of the velodrome. How did they manage to win all those medals? Chris Hoy, who won two gold medals, said it was about asking the question, how can we get better? And then coming up with answers. Head coach Dave Brailsford famously named these the 'marginal gains', because if you make lots of small or marginal changes for the better, when they are added together they make a significant difference.
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SMEs Making a Vital Contribution
If you are an employer running a small business, you can give yourself a pat on the back. According to a recent report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), you are in a sector which is vitally important to the UK workforce which is making a significant contribution to the economy.
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Are your Procurement Practices Helping your Business?
There's a lot of talk about cost cutting these days, not so much about smart spending. Of course, if your spending gets smarter, you'll cut your costs, but an ongoing smart spending strategy will release cash for business development that you won't have known you had.
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Real Time Information on PAYE
HMRC is introducing changes to PAYE reporting, currently with volunteer employers. On April 2013 the changes will become mandatory and by October that year, every business will have to be compliant. The changes have been labelled Real Time Information(RTI).
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Are you getting the most from your outsourced bookkeepers?
You need them to keep your accounts up to date and make sure your business meets all those onerous HMRC deadlines. But they can do so much more than that for you.
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Tips for a Smooth Running Cash Flow
This aspect of your business is so important that it's worth looking at over and over again. The economy is still in the doldrums with more negative news recently, and it's never been more vital to make sure the cash is flowing in as your products and services flow out.
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Olympic Inspiration
The incredible efforts of the 2012 Olympic athletes are inspiring both the young and the mature. Of course what we spectators have been watching is just the culmination of years of training and interim achievements. The achievements come when they succeed in meeting their goals, and there will have been many of those in the build up to the ultimate objective of winning an Olympic medal.
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Good News on Bank Lending
When Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, announced the £80 billion Fund for Lending scheme at his Mansion House speech in June this year, he said it would be a 'joint effort' between the Bank of England and the Treasury. On August 1st, the Fund for Lending made cash available to high street banks at low interest rates specifically to be passed on to their small business customers. The aim is to encourage the banks to lend and businesses to gain the finance they need for growth which will help the economy.
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Getting Value from your Management Information
As a business owner or manager, you have to make decisions every day. Can you say, hand on heart, that you always know how to make good ones? Are you confident about them? Or do you sometimes feel you are flying by the seat of your pants?
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Consultation on Business Insurance Law Reform Proposals
Have you ever had a claim rejected by an insurance company because you failed to disclose an element of risk before signing the contract? This is a fairly common occurrence that has been the cause of many disputes which have been resolved in and out of court. It can have a devastating effect on organisations of any size, but small businesses are naturally less able to cope with the losses.
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Finding Alternative Funding
It's still horrendously difficult for SMEs to prise funding out of the banks. Despite the government's best efforts, they just don't seem to be cooperating. Even Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, appears to have given up. Last month, at the Investec Entrepreneurs' Summit, he said that the banks have their own problems and entrepreneurs should stop blaming them and find alternative funding for survival and growth.
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Do you Have the Right Bank Accounts?
If you haven't reviewed your bank recently, and considered whether you might get a better deal elsewhere, think about doing it now. If more small businesses did this more often, and acted on their findings, we might all start getting some additional value from our banking service.
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Business Advice from Chartered Accountants
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) recently initiated a Business Advice Service, with many of its member firms agreeing to offer free consultations to potential entrepreneurs looking to set up a business. The network of accountancy offices involved across the country is 3,200 strong, so everyone should be able to find one nearby.
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E-marketplaces: the Latest HMRC Campaign
Each campaign of HMRC is, as you probably expect, a focus on a particular area where people have been avoiding paying their taxes or are unaware that they should. The campaigns are publicised on its website so you can take a look at the areas they've covered in the past and what is coming up, as well as what campaigns are current.
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What the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Means for Business
Last year it was the royal wedding. This year it is the diamond jubilee. Yet another royal event marked by an extra Bank Holiday.
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Remember to License your Olympics Viewing
Some business owners think that installing a viewing screen in public areas during the Olympics might bring them more business. Many pubs, hotels and restaurants already have facilities for their customers to view sporting events while they eat or drink. Now others have decided to jump on this bandwagon.
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Is Late Payment Affecting Your Business?
Research on Payment Culture is the April 2012 report on a survey conducted by Graydon, a prominent credit management firm, and the Forum of Private Businesses. The research drew on a number of sources, including a recent e-survey of small businesses, which received 498 usable responses.
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The Chancellor's Budget for Business
In his budget on March 21st, George Osborne insisted that his measures were designed so that we could 'work our way out' of the troubled economy. His aim, he said was that UK businesses could 'have the self-confidence to invest, expand, hire, innovate and be the best.' There were not many surprises among his announcements, because many of his ideas had been leaked and discussed beforehand.
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Could you be Paying Unnecessary Tax
A recent Small Business Tax Action Report issued by unbiased.co.uk predicts that SMEs in the UK will waste around £7.15 billion by paying unnecessary taxes. The tax system is so convoluted that busy entrepreneurs and their staff are unable to understand where they might save money that is currently going to HMRC. Only about three in five small business owners use a professional tax adviser who could prevent them paying unnecessary tax.
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Don't Fall into the Trap of Ambush Marketing
The International Olympics Committee (IOC) is concerned about the practice of ambush marketing where companies try to gain competitive advantage by basing their marketing campaigns on some aspect of the Olympic or Paralympic Games.
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Automatic Tax Penalties
You did, of course, submit your self-assessment tax return before end of January. But even with the deadline extended to 2 February this year, the revenue's coffers are to be boosted by around £85 million from the automatic penalties levied on the 850,000 people who didn't. Even those registered as self-employed but with no tax payment due should have submitted a return, and will be fined £100 if they didn't. Read more ...

SME Relief from Onerous Reporting Requirements
A recent EU directive allows countries to relieve smaller companies of their most exacting accounting and reporting regulations. Individual countries can make their own arrangements for this, and the UK's Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced that changes will be implemented here as soon as possible. This has been interpreted as a possible topic for the chancellor's budget of March 21st. Read more ...

New Pension Regulation Dates Postponed
Small business managers have had one onerous burden reduced by the government, which has now decided to revise the dates by which the auto-enrolment pension process for all staff must be commenced and completed. If you haven't yet managed to start planning for these pension reforms, you'll be relieved to hear that you may have up to two extra years to prepare and complete the enrolment of your eligible staff. Read more ...

Royal Mail Survival Plan: a Threat to Small Businesses
What would happen to your business if your mailing and shipping costs rose by around 50%? That is what might happen this April if Royal Mail and Ofcom have their way. Read more ...

Dealing with Weather Enforced Staff Absence
Some areas of the UK have already seen very harsh and disruptive weather conditions this year. London and the south east could well be in line for it before the end of winter. To mitigate your losses during harsh weather conditions, it's a good idea to make some flexitime arrangements or prepare staff for home working. Read more ...

Get Your Personal Tax Return in on Time
Yes, the deadline is almost upon us. If your on-line tax return and payment doesn't arrive at HMRC by January 31st, the initial penalty of £100 will be levied. Greater amounts will soon accrue and could add up to £1,300 over six months. And that doesn't include the interest that will be added to the tax due. Clearly it makes sense to submit and pay on time. Read more ...

Is your Business Prepared for Bad Weather?
In 2010, the serious snow and icy weather came before Christmas and many businesses were adversely affected. So far this winter we've had some bad storms but only a few areas have seen snow and ice. But it could still be on the way, so it's time to get your business ready for any disruption it might cause. Read more ...

Join the British Library for Free Business Advice
Ever thought of going to the British Library to do some market research? Since 2006 it has been an ideal venue for business information for entrepreneurs with easy access to London. The centre was set up to support and assist them right through from the spark of an idea, to setting up a business and developing it through successful growth. Read more ...

Christmas - will it be a Taxing Time for your Business?
At this time of year, business owners like to reward their loyal staff with gifts, bonuses and parties. But don't forget that the tax man is also rubbing his hands together in anticipation of extra income for the Revenue. There are some rules to be aware of if you don't want to have extra tax or NI liabilities for the company or your staff. Read more ...

Unfair VAT Relief to Change
Large organisations have been taking advantage of shipping via the Channel Islands for years via the Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) arrangement. This rule allows goods with a value of below £18, and more recently, £15, from outside the EU to be VAT free. But from 1 April 2012, this VAT relief will cease. Read more ...

Recent Bribery Act Sentencing - will it be a Real Deterrent?
Earlier this year, we brought you the news that the new Bribery Act came into force on July 1st. Now we are able to report on the sentencing of the first case brought to the courts under the new Act. Read more ...

Understanding Profit
Are you sure you understand the difference between gross and net profit, and how to calculate your profit margins? It's surprising how many business owners are vague about this. This guide will help you understand the differences, and the importance of keeping track of your bottom line. Read more ...

How Healthy is Your Credit Rating?
The credit rating of small businesses doesn't just affect how much cash you can borrow. It can also affect the amount and timing of the credit your suppliers will allow you, and whether you can source materials from new suppliers as quickly as you need them. Some businesses will not trade with you at all if they believe your credit rating is poor, so you really do need a good credit rating. Read more ...

Going the Extra Mile for Customers
In a recent survey of 2000 consumers by the accountancy software company Sage UK, they found that customer service performance was becoming even more important. Nearly a third of their sample reported that they wouldn't give a second chance to suppliers who let them down in some way. Read more ...

Don't Fall Foul of the Phishers
What would you do if you received an email saying you were due a large tax rebate and should go to a link to claim it? If you are sensible you won't click on that link. You could have received one of a batch of phishing emails which will take you to a clone of the HMRC site. Once you are there, you'll have a request to give credit or debit card details. If you comply with that, your bank account will be emptied and your credit card maxed out. Read more...

The Benefits of Non-executive Directors
Do you have a non-executive director, or have you ever considered it? There are many benefits to be gained if you have the right one. A good non-executive director will take on many different roles as your business develops. Read more...

Farewell Default Retirement Age
Do you have anyone over 65 on your payroll? October is the month when the Default Retirement Age (DRA) begins to be phased out. Unless you informed them of the date you intend them to retire before the 6th of April this year, you can no longer force them out because they have reached the DRA. While they retain their right to retirement at 65 if they wish, you can no longer oblige them to do so. Read more...

Freelancers Sometimes Make More Sense than Employees
When you are supplying a service or a product, that's what you need to concentrate on if you are to make any money. But running a business involves all sorts of other jobs that have to be covered and can keep you away from your core activity. That's why you need to employ other people to deal with all these intricacies, allowing you to get out there and make a profit. Read more...

Sole Trader or Limited Company?
Many micro businesses start life as a sole trader. In the first year at least, if the profit is likely to be less than the owner's personal tax allowance, this is the sensible thing to do. If you anticipate significantly higher earnings, or if your start-up really takes off, you should consider setting up a limited company to maximise your personal profit and reduce your personal risk. Read more...

Small Businesses: Get help with Problem Solving
When you have a business problem to solve, what do you do? Do you mull it over for as long as you can and then make a decision because there's no time left, even though you're not really sure about it? Do you ever discover when it's too late, and you are briefing your staff that someone actually had a better solution, but they hadn't known it was needed? Read more...

Can You Pay Your Bills on Time?
A major problem for small businesses is late payments. While individuals usually pay on time, the business to business sector really suffers here. Those who supply goods or services to major companies frequently experience long delays in getting paid. Some have to resort to factoring, which incurs more expense for them. It seems that many larger organisations follow their own terms for payment, completely ignoring the terms on invoices they receive. Read more...

Reprieve for Cheques
So after all the head scratching about how to replace payments by cheque, we're not going to lose them after all. They had been due to be phased out completely by 2018, but no-one has been able to come up with a viable alternative, so the decision has been reversed. Read more...

After the August Riot Mayhem
Most businesses in the areas of the recent rioting have been affected in some way. Even those serving the public on the fringes lost revenue either because people stayed away thinking it too risky to come there, or because management decided to close much earlier than usual and get their staff out of the area before nightfall. Read more...

Compliance With the Bribery Act 2010
On July 1st, the Bribery Act came into force. Do you know what this means for you and your company? If not, you need to get familiar with it, because the penalties for non-compliance can be crippling fines and even imprisonment if the offence is serious enough. Read more...

What's Most Important - Profit or Cash?
It's always good to know you are making a healthy profit. Regular positive profit and loss reports can give you confidence that your business is developing well. But profitable companies have been known to have cash flow problems and even to go under because of them. Read more...

Do you Have a Good Accountant?
Do you have an accountant, and is your accountant good for your business? If you haven't appointed one yet, how will you know when you've found the right one? Read more...


Do you Have Public Liability Insurance?
Assuming you do have public liability insurance, do you know what it covers? Some small businesses are aware they should have it, but they are not really sure why so here is a quick guide to what is covered and why it is so important. Read more...

Helping the Environment by Helping Yourself
Would you like to green your business premises and save money at the same time? Most people realise that using solar energy brings a return for the energy generated as well as keeping the building warm and light and running all the appliances and computer equipment. Read more...

Cheque Guarantees Go out of the Window
If your customers are consumers, you probably get many payments by cheque. But did you know that the cheque guarantee scheme will no longer operate after 30 June this year? If a cheque bounces you will have no protection and will lose out unless the customer has made an honest mistake and puts it right. Read more...

Are You Eligible for Rate Relief?
Did you know that, if your business occupies a single location with a rateable value below £12,000, you could make claim under the Government's Small Business Rate Relief Scheme? Read more...

Bank Loan Appeals
If you are looking for business funding from your bank, you need to gather all sorts of information to back up your application. Of course, your outsourced bookkeepers are the ones to advise you on putting the best possible case, and hopefully, you'll get what you want. But what happens if you don't? Read more...

Preparing for Pension Reform
If you are an employer, you need to be aware of the pension responsibilities that will fall on you in April 2012. This is when the requirements of the Pensions Act 2008 come into force, and for every employee aged between 22 and 65 on April 3rd who earns above a specified amount - likely to be £7,475.00 - you will be obliged to automatically enrol them on a qualifying pension scheme. Read more...

How an Effective To-do List can Make all the Difference in Business
In a small business, everyone has to perform more than one role. If you are a sole trader, you are responsible for everything. Whatever you are doing now, you're probably aware that you are neglecting something else. To allay anxieties about this, you need a strategy that makes you comfortable that you have all the important aspects covered. Read more...

New Grant Scheme for Research & Development
The government's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has just launched a new grant scheme for small businesses' research and development (R&D) projects. The scheme will pay up to £250K to enterprises developing new prototypes and products, or pursuing market research for their ideas. Read more...

In Business Together
Are you a couple who own a business between you, or about to start up such a venture? Lots of successful businesses are operated this way. Others unfortunately have fallen by the wayside, the personal relationships of their owners being more of a hindrance than a help. Read more...

Business Expenses to Claim Against Income Tax
The warnings that HMRC are going to do more record checking in small businesses means that it is even more crucial to get all your business expenses repayments and reporting correct. This can be so complicated that applying common sense is not enough. You really need to know the rules or get some expert advice. Read more...

Yet Another Bank Holiday
Will you and your staff be working on Friday April 29th this year? This is the day that Prince William will marry Kate Middleton, and it has been officially declared an additional bank holiday. But not every worker will be entitled to it. Read more...

Keeping Up Your Credit Rating
Just as you need to keep an eye on your customers' credit rating, your suppliers are likely to be doing the same for you. If your credit score slips below 80, red lights will start flashing. Interest rates might go up, the bank will start to ask questions, lenders might call in their loans, suppliers may withdraw credit. The life of your business will get a lot more difficult. Read more...

Don't be Just a Workaholic
When you are working for yourself, or helping to start or build up a business, it's often hard to stop working. Many small business owners work all day and late into the night. Whilst that might be necessary for a while, it's dangerous to continue the practice for too long. Read more...

Adequate and Accurate Accounting Records
HMRC has recently announced that it will be checking the accounts records of 50,000 businesses in each of the next three years, to see if the records are adequate and accurate. You could be one of those businesses. The penalties for any non-compliance they find can be up to £3,000, and there may be extra tax to pay, so you are advised to have everything in order before they come calling. Read more...


New Year System Review
Did your New Year resolutions include sprucing up your business systems? Whether or not you feel they might need it, now is a good time to review them, when you and your staff are full of good intentions for the year ahead. Read more...

Corporation Tax Changes in 2011
If you are in a limited company, or other organisation that pays corporation tax, are you on target to be ready for the new requirement to submit your company tax returns and payments on-line from this coming April? Some companies have already started doing this; others haven't yet, but from April 2011, it is mandatory. Read more...

Business Support in 2011
Have you used a Business Link adviser? From November this year, no-one will be able to do that. The government has decided to scrap that side of the business, retaining only a new Business Link website for online information. Read more...

Make Sure your Business Can Cope at Christmas
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you that Christmas is for most businesses, both large and small, the busiest time of the year. Taking advantage of all of this increased trade is vital and the perfect way to start the New Year on a strong financial footing. In fact many businesses rely heavily on doing a roaring trade in the build up to Christmas.Read more...

The Importance of Cash Flow Management
Hopefully you experienced a brisk trade in December. With the increase in sales, you could find that your cash flow differs during this month compared to any other time of the year. Stay on top of your December cash flow by making sure that you follow these tips:Read more...

Business Expenses Advice for Small Businesses
There are certain times of the year when business expense claims become more common. Christmas is one such time. But what can be claimed as an expense? Are there different types of expenses? Follow this guide and you should not go far wrong:Read more...

Prepare for the VAT Rise
As of January 4th 2011, VAT will rise from 17.5% to 20%, bringing the UK in line with other major European nations such as France and Italy. Although businesses up and down the country will be bracing themselves for the effects to hit, what are you actually going to do to combat it? Has your business tweaked its plans and budget to help deal with the rise?Read more...

Avoid Staff Entitlement Confusion in Your Business
Whether a fresh recruit in a small family run business or the CEO of a large company, everyone needs time off for holidays as well as the occasional sick day. It is a right that you and your employees deserve and should use. But if you run a small business, how do you know what your employees are entitled to? How do you pay somebody who is on maternity leave? What about sick pay - who qualifies and for how long? These are common questions that can be easily answered if you know who to turn to.Read more...

Shortage of Accounting Staff Affecting Small Businesses
Finding trained, qualified and reliable accounting staff is always difficult. No matter your sector, finding somebody perfect for a role that involves number crunching can be a real slog. Read more...

Areas to Manage to Prevent Business Failure
The Prime Minister recently made a plea for individuals to continue to set up their own businesses. It is common knowledge, however, that around half of businesses fail within a year and a very high percentage fail to last beyond the five year mark.
However, taking some time to understand a few of the key areas to get right when setting up a business, as well as being aware of support services of which they can take advantage, could make a considerable difference. Read more...


Understand Basic Business Terms to Get Ahead
It is natural to feel confused when faced with a document full of figures and calculations. However, in business, everything revolves around numbers whether you like it or not: profit and loss, payroll, tax, National Insurance and general cash flow management and no matter how nervous you are in this area, if you are to get ahead in business, you need to take control.Read more..

Cash Flow Warning Signs
Cash flow is probably the most important thing to keep on top of and understand in business. Whether a small sole trader or a large business, knowing where your money is coming from and going to is extremely important. There are a number of guides and helpful articles available outlining how to calculate and keep on top of your cash flow, as well as qualified bookkeepers who can control it for you. Read more..

The Importance of Keeping the Cash Flowing
Anything that disrupts a business' cashflow is a serious problem that needs to be solved quickly. But, although they are more likely to be affected by late payers than large companies, many small and medium sized businesses do not take positive action against debtors. Read more...

Why you should Keep your Business Plan Up To Date
Every business, no matter how small, needs business plan. It's an essential tool if you need a loan or want to attract a business partner, but its usefulness doesn't end there. Read more

How to Get Your Bank Lending to Your Business
Despite banks such as RBS and Lloyds recording monster profits, they are being accused of not supporting Britain's 4.5 million small businesses. New lending to this sector has fallen from an average of £991million a month in 2008 to £564million in 2010 - down 43per cent according figures published in the Daily Mail. Read more...

Research Highlights the Importance of Holidays for Business Owners
New research from business comparison service Make It Cheaper has indicated that 29% of business leaders are reducing their holiday time this year, citing financial worries and lack of trust in their staff as the main reasons. Read more...

The Different Ways of Paying your Staff
Paying staff a fair wage on time is a vital element of business, no matter the size of a company. Failure on the part of the employer to pay staff can have catastrophic consequences for employees, many of whom rely heavily on being able to get paid so that they can keep on top of bills themselves. Read more...

Business Survival in Hard Times
The business world is about to get even tougher. Everyone is talking about it. The coalition government has announced where their levels of support will drop. Public sector building and maintenance projects have been abandoned. Responsibility for managing public services with less devolves down. Read more...

Fewer Strands in the Tax Spaghetti Bowl
According to George Osborne, our recently appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Britain's tax system is one of the most "complex and opaque in the world". It is so difficult to sort out that he has likened it to a bowl of spaghetti. Most people would agree with him, and we can all breathe sighs of relief at his announcement that he will simplify it. Read more...

Recognising When Your Customers Are in Trouble
The fewer customers you have, the more it will affect your business if one of them flounders and sinks. You won't always be told about this until it's all washed up and you are left with a bad debt and a big hole in your income. Read more...

The Importance of Creating a Budget
One way of making sure that financial mismanagement does not cost you your business is by having a budget that is rigorously followed and professionally created. Read more...

The Payroll Basics
Payroll is an important task that must be completed accurately and on time. An inaccurate payroll system could mean that staff go unpaid and taxes go undeclared - potentially costing your business money in unnecessary fines and penalties. Read more...

How to Write a Business Plan
In simple terms, a business plan outlines your vision for the future of your business, assessing where you are now and where you want to be in the future. By asking yourself a few questions a comprehensive plan will begin to emerge. Read more...

How to become a Sole Trader
Setting up your own business and becoming an independent sole trader is a becoming an increasingly popular option mainly because of the easy start up procedures and the obvious appeals of being your own bos. Although relatively straight forward, it is important to follow the steps involved to avoid any unnecessary financial penalties. Read more...

Small Business and the New Coalition Government - What's in store?
With the new coalition government settling into its seats, how will your business fair in light of the proposed changes on the horizon? Many uncertainties are still lingering, so what can we expect from the new government and how will it affect the smaller business and sole trader? Read more...

Know the Rules on VAT Filing
From this April, if at or since 31 December 2009, your business turnover for the previous 12 months was more than £100,000, or you are newly registering for VAT, you have to file your returns online and pay electronically. HMRC is phasing out paper returns and this will eventually apply to all businesses, so even if you've already registered but don't reach the £100K threshold, it is a good idea to go electronic if you can. Read more...

Employed or Self-Employed: Guidance When Recruiting
The UK arm of the massively successful organisation WeightWatchers International was recently required to pay nearly £24 million to HMRC. Why? Because it had deemed its 1700 or so class leaders self employed, while the Revenue disagreed and was eventually backed up by a tax tribunal. Read more...

Data Protection: Have You Registered with the Information Commissioner?
Registration with the Information Commissioner is mandatory if you control data about individuals which is not for the purpose of staff administration; business accounts and records; or marketing activities for your own business. If you do these things for someone else, or if you use personal data for any other purpose, and the records are held electronically, you must be registered to comply with UK law. Read more...

More Cash Flow Tips: Get your Clients on Standing Orders
Good cash flow is imperative to businesses survival. One of the most common problems affecting cashflow is late or sporadic client payments. The most effective way of avoiding this problem is by encouraging clients to make their payments by standing order or direct debit. Read more...

Saying NO to the National Insurance Contributions Rise
Businesses both large and small are more than familiar with the devastating effects the recession has had on the economy. But along with cut backs and job losses, the business community will now have to contend with a 1% National Insurance Contributions increase. Read more...

Cash Flow Forecasting: Why your Business Must Know the Future
As a small business, it is imperative that you are able to estimate your cash flow in advance so that you can be prepared for any unexpected expenses that may arise. You can achieve this by ensuring you are up to date with cash flow forecasting. Read more...

CHEQUES: IS THE END NIGH?
Did you know that you may not be able to use or accept cheques for much longer? If the Payments Council has its way, central cheque clearing in the UK will cease at some point in 2018, so we could all be ditching our cheque books in eight years time. Read more...

TOP TIPS FOR ONLINE BANKING
All online banking services work hard to ensure security, but criminals are always looking for ways to access accounts, and your bank needs your cooperation to keep your money safe. Follow the general rules for keeping your own computer safe, and take heed of our top tips for real confidence in online banking. Read more...

WHAT BUSINESS INSURANCE DO I NEED?
Are you sure you have all the insurance cover you need for your business? This brief guide covers just some of the cover you may need to protect you and your business from risk. Read more...

HOW TO PREPARE AN INVOICE
Clients often ask us the correct way to go about setting out an invoice so we thought we'd put together this useful guide to help you get it right first time and ensure you include all the required information. Read more...

DEBT RECOVERY GUIDE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
In any small business, cash flow is crucial. It definitely pays you to stay on top of the cash you are owed. If any of your debtors are slow to pay, you need to do something about it. Read more...

HOW TO KEEP ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HMRC
Tax can be a minefield for the unwary. Here is a checklist to help you through. Read more...

NEW PREMISES FOR OFFICE ASSISTANTS
Professional bookkeeping company Office Assistants has recently moved into new, larger premises. The modern offices, based in Rainham, Essex are centrally located and easily accessible with ample parking. Read more...

Making a Claim on your Insurance: Hidden Rule Warning
What do you think about when you are deciding whether to make a claim on your home contents insurance? How much you can get and whether you can claim more than the excess? There is something else you need to think about and it involves a worrying hidden rule. Read more...

Pre-Budget Report: What News for the Small Business?
As usual, there is both good and bad news for the small business in the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report. How does it affect your small business? Find out in our brief summary. Read more...

THE TAX BENEFITS OF WORKING FROM HOME
If you run your business from your home, you will not only save on overheads, there are also a few tax perks to be had. You do, of course, need to know the rules. HMRC is strict about what constitutes legitimate expenses that can be claimed and deducted from the taxable income of the business. Read more...

THE BENEFITS OF ONLNE BANKING FOR THE SMALL BUSINESS
If you haven't switched to on-line banking yet, now is the time to give it some serious consideration. There are many benefits to gain from banking on-line and this article explores the main ones. Read more...

VAT INCREASE ON NEW YEARS DAY
If your business is VAT registered don't forget that the standard rate will change on 1 January 2010. It was reduced to 15% in December 2008 in an effort to boost consumer sales but will rise to 17.5% again as soon as the calendar turns to 2010. Read more...

SMALL BUSINESS TAX SAVING TIPS
You can legitimately reduce your tax bill if you familiarise yourself with the rules. Here a few tax saving tips from Office Assistants to get you on your way to a better tax year! Read more...

ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES OF BEING A SOLE TRADER
There are advantages and disadvantages to operating as a sole trader, partnership or limited company, so it's worthwhile taking some time to understand how each might affect your business and the way you run it. Read more...

MAXIMISE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS CASHFLOW!
Profit is good, but there's no point in making money on paper if there's not enough in the bank to pay the creditors knocking on your door. If you want your small business to be successful you need to pay close attention to the Cash Flow. Read more...

ATTEMPTS TO SAVE TAX COULD LEAD TO POOR CREDIT RATING
Decided not to Supply Full Audited Accounts to Companies House? Think Carefully; it could Affect your Credit Rating! Read more...

SUBMITTING AN ONLINE SELF ASSESSMENT? PROTECT YOUR PASSWORD!
HMRC has recently issued a warning to the self employed tax payer who submits an online self assessment return. According to HMRC, fraudsters have been making illegal claims by impersonating taxpayers. Read more...

TAXPAYERS TARGETED BY NEW HOAX E-MAIL
Have you received an e-mail supposedly from HMRC lately? If so, take care because it could be a hoax. Read more...

THE END OF THE LINE FOR PAYMENT BY CHEQUE?
The demise of cheque payments seems to have gathered pace according to research by Creditsafe. Their report indicates that a third of businesses will have stopped paying by cheque, and that one in nine will stop accepting cheque payments, within 12 months. Read more...

DEFERRING TAX PAYMENTS? PREPARE FOR TOUGHER QUESTIONS FROM HMRC!
Small businesses that rely on HMRC to defer their tax payments should prepare themselves for tougher questioning from HMRC. Read more...

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT OUR FREEPOST ENVELOPES
If you use our freepost envelopes then please stop with IMMEDIATE effect as we are no longer using our PO Box number. Read more...

DO YOU HAVE A CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT PLAN IN PLACE?
With so much financial pressure on small businesses it is imperative that you have a cash flow management plan in place to help you through these troubled economic times. Read more...

REDUCING YOUR JULY PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT
If you are due to make your second payment on account to HM Revenue & Customs come 31 July, but you feel this year's earnings will be lower than last year's, you need to read this. Read more...

PREVENT UNWANTED CALLS TO YOUR MOBILE!
A new directory of personal mobile telephone numbers was launched at the end of last month. 118800 connects people by texting anyone looking for you with your mobile phone number or by trying to connect them directly to your mobile or landline. It is likely that your mobile number is on this directory which could lead to unsolicited calls so it is recommended you become ex-directory. Read more...

TAX CREDITS: A REMINDER
If you claim Tax Credits, don't forget that you need to renew your claim and to do this you need to know your annual income. HMRC uses this information to check you received all the money you were entitled to in the previous year, and to make sure your payments for the year ahead are correct. Read more...

SUBCONTRACTOR TAX REFUNDS: GET WHAT'S DUE WITHOUT DELAY!
Subcontractors: now the end of the tax year has passed we can work out whether HMRC owes you a tax refund, and the sooner we do it, the sooner you could have some extra money in your pocket to help you enjoy your summer holidays! Read more...

YOUR VERY OWN ADMIN DEPARTMENT FOR A FRACTION OF THE COST OF HIRING FULL TIME STAFF
How often could you do with a 'virtual' office? Background support that makes it look like you have a team behind you answering your calls, dealing with enquiries, producing quotes and invoices, keeping paperwork up to date and allowing you to portray the impression of a professionally run company. Read more...

GOING THE EXTRA MILE WITH MORE SERVICES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Office Assistants is going the extra mile to help smaller businesses with a range of affordable additional services that will help their companies run more smoothly. Read more...

DO YOU KNOW HOW YOUR STAFF ARE SPENDING YOUR VALUABLE TIME?
Statistics show the average employee spends more than an hour and a half surfing the internet for personal use over the course of a week; that is ten days per year and is costing the economy some £10.6bn during that year. But what can be done to eliminate the problem? Read more...

BUDGET 2009: NEWS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Although the news on the budget front can't really be considered all bad for businesses, it appears from internet reports that small business owners and business support groups, such as the Federation of Small Businesses, feel Alistair Darling could have done more to soften the blow of the economic crisis. Read more...

INCREASED LATE FILING PENALTIES FOR ANNUAL COMPANY ACCOUNTS
The penalties for the late filing of annual company accounts rose as of 1 February 2009. The Companies Act 2006 provides that all companies must deliver annual accounts to the Registrar of Companies by the due date otherwise a late filing penalty will be payable. Business owners who wish to avoid these now quite substantial penalties should ensure their records are given to us in plenty of time. Read more...

SELF CERT MORTGAGE CULL MEANS REGULAR BOOKKEEPING IS IMPERATIVE FOR THE SELF EMPLOYED
Self certification mortgages look like they are about to fizzle out as anxious lenders decide borrowers without a robust proof of income are not worth the risk. Now it seems that self employed workers must have proper sets of accounts in readiness if they want to get a mortgage which means regular bookkeeping will become vital. Read more...

OFFICE ASSISTANTS GETS CASH ROLLING IN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Keeping invoices going out and payments coming in is a vital part of running a successful business. But having the time to do these things and keep the cash flow balanced can be a real challenge. Office Assistants fully understands the challenges faced by smaller businesses so they have put together a cash flow management service specifically tailored to them. Read more...

DON'T LET COST CUTTING COST YOU MONEY SAYS OFFICE ASSISTANTS!
Business owners looking for ways to cut costs are all too often taking action that can have the completely opposite effect and prove a drastically false economy. One of these mistakes is switching to a cheaper accountant or opting to handle their own accounts. Read more...

ESSEX BOOKKEEPING FIRM OFFERS FULL CIS SERVICE
Penalties charged for late or non-submission of CIS returns are high and can be easily avoided by handing over to an experienced company like Office Assistants that has dedicated, fully trained and qualified staff waiting to take the job off time strapped hands. Read more...

OFFICE ASSISTANTS OFFERS BOOKKEEPING ADVICE FOR NEW BUSINESSES IN ESSEX AND LONDON
Anyone setting up in business should make sure they get organised from day one as far as bookkeeping goes so as to avoid any future issues with HM Revenue and Customs. Read more...

Small Business Advice: Make Sure your Bookkeeper Ticks all the Right Boxes!
Trying to find a bookkeeper that will offer you the very best service and value for money is not always a straightforward task. Lynn Watson offers a helping hand by way of advice on what factors that should appear at the top of a business owner's wish list when sourcing a professional to take care of their accounting and admin needs. Read more...

Christmas Parties and Gifts: What you need to Know about Tax and VAT
The rules surrounding what can and can't be claimed back on tax and VAT when it comes to Christmas entertaining and gifts for staff or clients can be quite ambiguous and often many business owners don't realise the conditions associated with the rules, so we have put together a straightforward guide covering what you need to know, and the things to beware of! Read more...

Office Assistants says 'Leave bookkeeping to the professionals' as they find one client £6,000 in unclaimed VAT
It was a case of 'should have left it to the professionals' last week as Office Assistants was called in to bail out a small business with a big bookkeeping problem. Read more...

Save your Business Money: Outsource your Bookkeeping and Admin Systems
Office Assistants has seen a recent upturn in companies outsourcing things like payroll administration, invoicing and bookkeeping. Why? Because it can save businesses a considerable amount of money. Read more...

Office Assistants offers Bespoke Bookkeeping Package for Sole Traders
Any sole trader that feels bogged down with paperwork, keeps missing vital deadlines and ends up paying fines as a result will not fail to be tempted by the affordable new Sole Trader Service being offered by Office Assistants. Read more...

Office Assistants receives accolade from the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
In July this year, Office Assistants was very proud to be awarded membership of The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB); the largest bookkeeping institute in the world. Read more...

Office Assistants launches website and offers Lifeline for SMEs in southeast England
Small to medium sized businesses bogged down in the rigmarole of accounts paperwork are to be thrown a lifeline by Essex-based bookkeeping and office administration company Office Assistants. Read more...

Free e-mail reminder service helps companies avoid late payment fines
Essex-based bookkeeping and office administration company Office Assistants is offering a helping hand to small and medium sized businesses through its free e-mail reminder service which will help them avoid late filing and payment fines. Read more...

Office Assistants offers tailored services for small building & construction companies in Essex and London
Small businesses or sole traders in the southeast's building and construction industry are being thrown a lifeline with the chance to shift the weight of paperwork worries off their shoulders. Read more...

A helping hand for London and Essex tradespeople suffering paperwork overload
Businesses bogged down in the rigmarole of filing returns and remembering to make crucial payments can stop worrying because Essex bookkeeping and office admin company Office Assistants has just launched a free e-mail reminder service via their website. Read more...

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