Latest News from Office Assistants

Office Assistants regularly updates this page with our latest news releases and bulletins, so keep it bookmarked!

How to Save Money as a Small Business in 2022
Added: 7 September 2022
With the cost of living crisis hitting businesses hard on the bottom line, it is a good time to be looking at ways to save money. The following tips will help you reduce costs, without compromising on service quality or client care.
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How to Set Up and Run Payroll
Added: 8 August 2022
Employers in the UK are required to follow specific guidelines when setting up and running payroll. Here we take you through each stage so that you can prepare and run your payroll in line with the rules.

Making Tax Digital Key Dates
Added: 8 July 2022
Since 2019, most VAT registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000) have been required to keep digital VAT records and send VAT returns using Making Tax Digital (MTD) compatible software. From April 2022 these requirements applied to all VAT registered businesses. But there is more to come for MTD, with the launch date for MTD for Income Tax Self-Assessment (MTD ITSA) fast approaching.

A Guide to Benefits in Kind
Added: 10 June 2022
Benefits in kind are a way to provide employees with additional perks. However, there are tax implications for the employer, so it is important to be clear on how benefits in kind work, and how to report them to HMRC.

The Pros and Cons of Paying a Tax Bill Early
Added: 9 May 2022
Filing returns and paying tax bills on time are accounting necessities. But what if you're super-organised and have your returns filed well ahead of the deadlines, should you just go right ahead and pay what you owe early Or is it best to leave it to the deadline Here we look at the pros and cons of paying Corporation Tax and Income Tax bills earlier than the deadlines, as well as important factors to think about.
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Dividend Tax Increase from April 2022
Added: 8 April 2022
As of the new tax year, 6th April 2022, Dividend Tax will increase, affecting limited company directors who rely on dividend income to top up their salaries. All Dividend Tax rates are to increase by 1.25 per cent, in line with the rise in National Insurance Contributions.

The Benefits of Keeping Management Accounts
Added: 7 March 2022
Management accounts are not a legal requirement for companies, neither is there a set way to prepare them. They are however highly valuable tools when it comes to getting a clear picture of the financial position of your business, and in making strategic decisions.
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The Benefits of Going Electric With Your Company Vehicle
Added: 7 February 2022
Whether it's concerns over rising fuel prices or availability, or a growing commitment to sustainability, many business owners are thinking about going electric with their company vehicles. And there are numerous benefits to enjoy.

6 Tax Saving Strategies for Your Small Business
Added: 6 January 2022
Reducing your bottom line is a vital business strategy, and there will always be various ways in which you can save money. But did you know that tax is one area where you could potentially make savings Here we set out some of the best ways a business can reduce its tax bill, legally.
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How to Deal with Self Isolating Staff
Added: 14 December 2021
A common question being asked as the new COVID variant takes hold and revised testing and isolating rules come in to play, is do you have to pay employees who are self-isolating full wage because they have been pinged by NHS Test and Trace If so, is there any help available for employers
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Autumn Budget 2021 Review for Small Businesses
Added: 7 November 2021
Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his 2021 Autumn Budget at the end of October, presenting a number of financial initiatives and updates that will affect the UK economy. We've picked out the key announcements that will impact upon the small business.
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Getting Ready for the New Plastic Packaging Tax
Added: 7 October 2021
From April 2022, a new tax on plastic packaging is set to be introduced in the UK. Any business that manufactures or imports plastic packaging will be affected, including those that import packaging containing goods, such as plastic bottles filled with drinks.
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National Insurance and the New Health and Social Care Tax
Added: 16 September 2021
The government recently announced an additional tax to fund social care in England which will also help the NHS to get back on its feet following COVID. The new plans will see employees, employers and the self-employed paying 1.25p in the pound for National Insurance (NI) from April 2022. This will equate to an extra £130 for employees earning £20,000 per year, and £505 for those earning £50,000.

How the Capital Allowance Super Deduction Works
Added: 8 August 2021
The Chancellor announced in the March 2021 budget that companies would be allowed to take advantage of a new system by which they can claim 130 per cent capital allowance deduction on most new plan and machinery purchased between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2023. Read on to learn in more detail how this generous allowance known as the super-deduction will work.

Claiming Tax Relief on a Garden Office
Added: 11 July 2021
If you regularly find yourself getting distracted by family life, you are struggling for a space within the home to call your own, or are finding it a challenge to strike the right work life balance, it could be time to consider a garden office. Here's what you can and can't claim tax wise.

All You Need to Know About Financial Statements
Added: 14 June 2021
Financial statements are not the same as bank statements. They are crucial if you are looking for investment and, depending on the structure of your business, you may need to submit one as a legal requirement at the end of your financial year. Here we explore what a financial statement involves, why you might need to prepare one, and what should be included.

The Benefits of Cash Flow Forecasting and How to do it
Added: 17 May 2021
Cash flow forecasting can be helpful when making significant business decisions. It helps you look ahead, which is essential to the health of your business, and makes it possible to put strategies in place. The goal of a cash flow forecast is to enhance business strategy. Because cash flow is one of the most obvious indicators of business health, forecasting is very important.

The New Off Payroll Working Rules Explained
Added: 6 April 2021
From 6 April 2021, medium and large employers are required to determine the employment status of contractors following major changes to the off-payroll working rules. Here we reveal all about the new rules, known more commonly as IR35.

Budget 2021 Summary for Businesses
Added: 4 March 2021
In his recent 'budget for the pandemic', Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak set out a number of measures that will affect both businesses and individuals. Here we summarise the key points of the Budget 2021 that are most relevant to business owners and the self-employed.

A Guide to End of Year Tax Planning
Added: 16 February 2021
The current tax year 2021/21 comes to an end on 5 April 2021, so the next few weeks are your last chance to save money with some careful tax planning. Read on to learn what tax breaks might be available to you, and how to use them to your advantage.

Time to Pay in 2021
Added: 15 January 2021
With the challenges of 2020 in the rear view mirror of so many businesses, but still posing financial burdens, it is helpful to know that there is some leeway this year when it comes to paying HMRC. Let's take a look at what's on offer on terms of time to pay and filing deadline extensions.

How to Protect Your Business from Online Scams
Added: 14 December 2020
Cases of scams have been rife since the pandemic took hold, with fraudsters looking to take advantage of unsuspecting businesses and individuals. From emails mimicking HMRC, to investment fraud and purchase scams, there really is so much to put you on your guard. Here we are summarising the most prevalent scams to look out for to help you stay safe when doing business.

Job Retention Scheme Extended in Light of Lockdown 2
Added: 11 November 2020
As Lockdown 2.0 got underway for four weeks from 5 November 2020, the government announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would be extended to 31 March 2021 across the whole of the UK. From 1 November, the UK Government will pay 80 per cent of employees' regular wages for any hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The scheme will be reviewed in January 2021.

How the New Government Job Support Scheme Works
Added: 12 October 2020
From 1 November 2020, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will support viable UK employers facing lower demand as a result of the pandemic. The objective is to keep employees attached to the workforce. Read on to find out how it works, and whether your business is eligible.

What Happens When the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Ends
Added: 7 September 2020
With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) coming to an end at the end of October 2020, many businesses and employees are all wondering what will happen next. Here we explore a number of schemes on offer, and a range of options open to employers.

How the Flexible Furlough Scheme Works
Added: 11 August 2020
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme underwent some changes from 1 July. Flexibility has now been introduced, so that potentially, employers can bring back employees on a part time basis, whilst claiming through the JRS for the days not worked. Let's take a look in more detail at how the scheme works.

Continued Support for Clients During Coronavirus
Added: 8 July 2020
An update on how much we've claimed to help support our clients through the pandemic, together with the latest news on the Government Job Retention Scheme and the newly introduced Job Retention Bonus, VAT reduction and Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday.

What You Need to Know About Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Added: 8 June 2020
So far the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected 7.5 million works and nearly a million businesses. The JRS will continue until the end of October 2020. Furloughed workers will continue to receive 80 per cent of their current salary, up to £2,500.

Supporting Our Clients Through the Coronavirus Pandemic
Added: 4 May 2020
Here at Office Assistants we have been working hard through the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure all our clients have been able to access the relevant financial support that is available to them.

Useful Coronavirus Resources for Employers and the Self Employed
Added: 7 April 2020
During this time of uncertainty, it is important that every business owner has access to all the support and guidance available. Here we are summarising the main sources of help for employers and the self-employed, together with links to further information so that you have access to the most up to date information from official sources.

Preparing for Payroll Changes April 2020
Added: 3 March 2020
As April approaches, so as ever does a raft of changes affecting payroll and PAYE. The changes on the horizon may impact upon the amount paid to employees as well as how you deal with National Insurance Contributions for contractors. Read on to find out what's changing, and how you need to prepare.

Claiming for Clothing as a Business Expense
Added: 5 February 2020
Is it possible to make an expense claim for clothing worn for business purposes This is a much misunderstood topic, and one we will set out to try and demystify. When you purchase clothing to wear for work, you may naturally assume that it is perfectly acceptable to put the bill through your company expense account and claim tax relief on it. After all, the clothing was for work. However, what you may assume is business workwear, and what HMRC classes as workwear are often very different.

How to Manage Mental Health in the Workplace
Added: 6 January 2020
Every year, literally millions of working days are lost due to mental health related issues, and over a third of workers have considered leaving their job due to stress. The stark fact is that mental health issues that are left unmanaged can lead to suicide. And there are indirect concerns that must be considered too. Poor mental health at work can result in reduced concentration, which can lead to more accidents and lowered productivity. So, for the benefit of staff well-being, and regulatory compliance, employers should take steps to ensure they promote good mental health at work.

3 Exciting Small Business Trends to Look out for in 2020
Added: 9 December 2019
As we get closer to the end of the year, and approach a new decade, there is plenty on the horizon that small business owners should be looking out for. Adopting emerging trends is known to give companies competitive edge, so let's take a look at the concepts and technologies that could help to take your business to the next level as we step into the Twenties.

How to Deal with an Overdrawn Directors Loan Account
Added: 7 November 2019
An overdrawn director's loan account comes about when you take money out of the company outside of your salary or dividends and the amount exceeds what you have put into the company. It is not illegal to have an overdrawn account, providing you keep records of all transfers, and the amounts are repaid within nine months of the company year end. But what happens when the loan is not repaid in full, and the sum is in excess of £10,000

A Guide to Making Pension Contributions Through a Limited Company
Added: 16 October 2019
Limited companies seeking to make use of legal tax breaks could benefit from making pension contributions for company directors and employees. The law already dictates that certain contributions must be made into qualifying employees' pension funds under the auto-enrolment system. However, it could be wise to consider contributing more than the minimum required.

A Guide to Form P11D
Added: 7 September 2019
In our last article we explored the subject of benefits in kind. We touched upon the need to submit a Form P11D for any employee who has received benefits in addition to their salary. In this post we are going to take a closer look at the P11D, what must be included on it and when it needs to be filed.

A Company Guide to Benefits in Kind
Added: 8 August 2019
Benefits in kind are 'perks' that a company provides to employees or directors outside of their regular salaries. Whilst some benefits in kind are subject to taxation, others aren't. This can make it tricky to understand how the whole system works and how certain benefits should be treated. Of course, as with anything tax related, it is important to get it right. So with this in mind, let's take a look at how benefits in kind work, how they should be reported and what is officially classed as a benefit in kind.

A Guide to Business Banking for Limited Companies
Added: 16 July 2019
As a limited company, you'll need to operate a business bank account. Most banks won't allow the use of a personal account for business use, it will usually contravene their terms and conditions. Whilst it can be tempting to use a personal account in order to avoid the fees associated with a business account, it is useful to know that most will offer free banking for an initial period. Let's take a look at what to consider when choosing a business bank account.

A Guide to Research and Development Tax Relief
Added: 10 June 2019
If your company has carried out any research and development (R&D) work, or you have worked for a company on its R&D project, you may be able to claim Research and Development Tax Relief. This guide will help you decide whether you qualify.

A Guide to Dividends
Added: 8 May 2019
Dividends are payments made to the shareholders of a company. They are taken from the profits of a company after Corporation Tax and other expenses are paid. Shareholders usually find that dividends are the most tax efficient method of taking money from a limited company. Here we are taking a look at what dividends are, how they can be issued, and the tax implications of taking them.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Bookkeeper for your Limited Company
Added: 1 May 2019
The case for engaging a professional bookkeeper to take care of your limited company was put across in our March article, 3 Ways a Bookkeeper Makes a Wise Investment for a Limited Company. If you have decided to go ahead and hand your everyday bookkeeping over to a professional, you'll no doubt be thinking about what you need to consider before choosing one. Precisely what we are looking at in this article.

Standard Rate VAT versus Flat Rate VAT - Which Scheme to Choose
Added: 10 April 2019
If you are nearing the threshold for VAT registration, or are considering registering voluntarily, then one of the most important decisions you will need to make is whether to opt for Standard Rate VAT, or Flat Rate VAT.

3 Ways a Bookkeeper Makes a Wise Investment for a Limited Company
Added: 5 March 2019
If bookkeeping is not your business, why would you want to spend hours of your time doing it every month Surely your time would be better spent working on your own business Many business owners are of the opinion that doing their own bookkeeping will save them money. In this article we set out to disprove this myth and prove that engaging a professional bookkeeper is a wise investment.

Directors Loan Accounts Explained
Added: 1 March 2019
What is a director's loan account If you're not sure, and you run a limited company, then this is definitely something you'll need to familiarise yourself with. Even if you have a bookkeeper or accountant who takes care of 'all that stuff', it is useful to be aware of the most important pieces of tax legislation so that you are well-prepared to avoid any unintentional hiccups. Our overview guide to the director's loan account (DLA) will help you do just that, without any technical jargon involved.

A Guide to Travelling Expenses for the Limited Company
Added: 14 February 2019
Travelling expenses are generally part and parcel of life when you run a limited company. The good news is that a lot of these costs can be paid by or claimed back from your company. Let's take a closer look at what you can and can't claim for when it comes to travelling expenses.

The MTD Guide to Digital Record Keeping
Added: 3 January 2019
At a recent conference we learnt that HMRC believes up to 40 per cent of businesses currently submit their VAT returns through the HMRC website having made their calculations using spreadsheets or even paper formats. Any VAT registered business that continues to do this after 1 April 2019 will be considered non-compliant with Making Tax Digital for VAT. In this article we will be taking a closer look at what digital record keeping actually means, and how HMRC is expecting businesses to comply with the new regime.

Proud to Achieve Xero Silver Partner Status
Added: 2 January 2019
We are proud to announce that we have recently been awarded Silver Partner status by Xero, one of the leading online accounting systems used by businesses worldwide.

A Guide to Making Tax Digital for VAT
Added: 3 December 2018
Making Tax Digital (MTD) is the government's scheme that makes online tax filing and payment ad digital record keeping mandatory. Whilst all types of business related tax will be included in the scheme, only Making Tax Digital for VAT has so far been given a roll-out date. This is 1 April 2019, and if you are a VAT registered business, then you need to be ready for it. Here's what you need to do.

The Pros and Cons of Traditional Accounting
Added: 2 December 2018
Last month we looked at what is involved in cash basis accounting. This month we are exploring the alternative: traditional accounting.

A Guide to Limited Company Allowable Expenses
Added: 1 December 2018
Last month we looked at allowable expenses for self-employed workers. We pointed out that limited company rules on expenses are different and that we would look at those separately, which is precisely what we are doing in this post.

Cash Basis Accounting Explained
Added: 3 November 2018
Cash basis accounting is a method often used by sole traders and partners to work out income and expenses for a Self-Assessment tax return. Many small business owners choose to use cash basis accounting rather than traditional accounting. Here we look at why that is, and how cash basis accounting works so you can decide whether it's for you.

A Guide to Self Employed Expenses
Added: 2 November 2018
If you work on a self-employed basis, there are certain running costs that you are allowed to deduct from your overall turnover before you calculate your taxable profit. These are known as 'allowable expenses', and as a self-employed worker, it is important that you are aware of what these are, because if you don't factor them in when you calculate your annual tax return, you could be missing out on potential savings which could be quite significant.

2018 Autumn Budget Summary
Added: 1 November 2018
The Autumn Budget of 2018 has proved quite a beneficial one, particularly for the small business. Let's take a look at some of the key points from this year's Chancellor's speech.

Time for Employers to Get Winter Ready
Added: 5 October 2018
Unpredicted, unusual weather often leaves employees in a spin as to whether they should be putting themselves at risk by tackling icy conditions to get into work. There is also the question as to whether staff who cannot make it in due to transport problems should be paid; what happens if you decide to close the premises and what obligations employers have for keeping staff safe and comfortable during cold weather spells. Let's take a look at all these issues.

The Extended Working Day
Added: 3 October 2018
Recent media discussion has raised the question of whether dealing with work emails whilst commuting to and from the workplace should be counted as part of the working day. Let's take a look at what's being said.

Government Guidance on VAT and Brexit
Added: 1 October 2018
What are the implications of VAT for businesses if there's no Brexit deal That's precisely what the recent guidance published by the government sets out to explain.

The Law on Employing Children
Added: 10 September 2018
If you are in an industry where employing children is the norm, you will need to know about the laws surrounding child employment, such as minimum ages and pay scales.

The Law on Holiday Pay and Casual Workers
Added: 7 September 2018
Employers are of course aware of the requirement to pay its workforce a certain amount of paid leave every year. But what about casual workers, are they also entitled to paid holiday leave Let's take a look.

The Law on Work Rest Breaks Explained
Added: 1 September 2018
Workers over the age of 18 years are generally entitled to three different types of rest break during the working day. These are rest breaks at work; daily rest and weekly rest. Here we are taking a look at each of these three types of break.

Why Employers Should Look to Soft Skills Over Technical Skills
Added: 10 August 2018
Research has revealed that almost half of UK companies are finding it a challenge to source skilled workers. Because of this, just over 20 per cent are seeking out candidates with outstanding soft skills so they can work on honing the necessary technical skills on the job.

Five Days Paid Leave for Working Carers Could be on the Cards
Added: 8 August 2018
The case for five day's statutory paid leave for carers is being discussed by the government. This is good news for everyone, including employees and employers. The government has set up a working group comprised of representatives from various departments and the Treasury to look into the implications of giving carers certain employment rights.

How to Deal with a Summer Heatwave
Added: 1 August 2018
The summer heatwave of 2018 has hit the headlines for so many reasons. It is perhaps the fact that is has been so prolonged that has taken us all by surprise, not least employers who have to deal with cries of 'it's too hot to work' from their staff. So, is there actually a temperature limit when it comes to working conditions And can employees officially cry off when the mercury rises to a certain point A summer heatwave can be a bone of contention for any employer, so let's take a look at some of the most common issues that arise when things really start to hot up in the workplace.

Recommendations for Keeping Your Books in Line
Added: 7 July 2018
Surrounded by boxes of receipts Using Word to produce your invoices Excel to keep track of your earnings and outgoings It's time to get your small business books in line! Nowadays there are all sorts of easy to use online bookkeeping systems that can help you manage your invoicing and purchase transactions and keep you on top of everything. They can be accessed any time, any place you have an internet connection.

Data Vulnerability Could Cost Small Businesses Dear
Added: 4 July 2018
According to research, almost one million businesses in the UK are at risk of losing company data because they do not back it up. A further 2.8 million risk losing valuable information because they are storing back-up copies in the same location as the original data. This is according to Beaming, a business internet service provider.

Can a Disqualified Director act as a Shareholder
Added: 2 July 2018
Disqualified directors are not permitted to act as trustees; they cannot sit on the board of a charity, police authority or school; neither are they allowed to act as a registered social landlord. They cannot sit on a health board or social care body and they are banned from practising as an accountant, solicitor or barrister. Despite all of this, disqualified directors are actually not banned from owning shares. Anyone disqualified as a director is still permitted to purchase shares in public companies and can also hold shares in UK registered private limited companies.

Physical Data Security for GDPR Compliance
Added: 8 June 2018
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) states that practical steps must be taken to secure sensitive data. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) recorded nearly 700 data security incidents between April and June 2017, of which 3.5 per cent resulted from data being kept in an insecure location, or theft of the only copy of encrypted data.

Operating as a Sole Trader Following Director Disqualification
Added: 4 June 2018
Directors who have been disqualified for fraudulent or wrongful trading in insolvency, or for other reasons, are bound by the restrictions placed upon them by the Company Director Disqualification Act 1986. Disqualification can last between 2 and 15 years. Many directors wonder what they can do in terms of working.

A Guide to Misfeasance Claims
Added: 1 June 2018
Misfeasance is the misapplication of money or company property. As far as directors of a company are concerned, misfeasance is considered a breach of fiduciary duty. For directors facing a misfeasance claim, there are certain steps that must be taken.

What to Consider When Choosing a Business Bank
Added: 7 May 2018
Whether you are setting up a business bank account for the first time as a new business, or switching to a new banking facility, there is a lot to consider when making your choice of business bank. Here we look at what you should think about when weighing up your options.

The importance of having a privacy notice and data protection policy in light of GDPR
Added: 4 May 2018
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on the 25th of this month. Under the Regulation, businesses have a duty to keep individuals informed about the use of their personal data and about their legal rights concerning that data.

A Guide to Choosing the Best Business Structure for Your New Enterprise
Added: 1 May 2018
When you start a new business, one of the biggest considerations is how to structure it. Some businesses start out small as a sole trader or partnership then, as they grow, they decide to incorporate so that their personal liability is limited. Here we take a look at the main options available to you for structuring your business, and what is involved in each one.

Government Gigabit Scheme a Boon for the Small Business
Added: 9 April 2018
The government has just launched a new scheme across the UK to assist small to medium sized businesses in upgrading their broadband. The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme will see firms being able to claim up to 3,000 pounds to upgrade their broadband.

Fraudulent Trading in Insolvency Explained
Added: 4 April 2018
In our last article we discussed ways to avoid accusations of wrongful trading in insolvency. We said that whilst wrongful trading is a result of negligence, fraudulent trading is more about dishonesty. Fraudulent trading occurs when a director purposely sets out to deceive or defraud creditors, or acts unethically or recklessly. It is a very serious offence that leads to criminal proceedings.

How to Avoid Wrongful Trading in Insolvency
Added: 2 April 2018
The wrongful or fraudulent trading provisions of the Insolvency Act 1986 place a responsibility on directors of failed companies to contribute to the company's assets. Even though claims against directors for wrongful trading are not that common, with only just a little over 5 per cent of directors disqualified following insolvency proceedings, wrongful trading can still prove a risk to directors of companies facing insolvency.

A Guide to Preference Claims
Added: 16 March 2018
When a company is going through financial difficulties and there is a prospect of insolvency, it is vital to take care over actions taken. This includes who you decide to pay. If you decide to clear debts with a particular creditor and paying that creditor puts them in a more beneficial position than the rest of your creditors, this action could be challenged by the liquidator or administrator in the event of insolvency proceedings following. This is known as a 'preference' under the Insolvency Act 1986.

Apprentices to be Top Source of Talent in 2018
Added: 9 March 2018
Are you making use of apprentices to grow your business 37 per cent of businesses say apprentices will be their top source of talent this year according to a poll of more than 2,000 senior HR professionals.

How to Boost Your Bottom Line with Charitable Giving
Added: 1 March 2018
Smaller businesses are able to enhance their bottom line courtesy of charitable donations. But only 20 per cent are actually giving regularly. Here's why as a business, you should be seriously considering donating a proportion of your turnover to charity. Research has revealed that the more a smaller business donates to charity, the better its business performance.

How Technology can Help You Grow Your Business
Added: 16 February 2018
Growth is one of the key objectives for most businesses, and without a doubt, one of the most effective methods of achieving growth is through the use of technology. Here we take a look at three great technology innovations that could really help take your business to the next level.

Shared Parental Leave Campaign Follows Poor Take Up
Added: 8 February 2018
The Government has launched a campaign to promote shared parental leave after statistics have revealed that very few couples are making use of the programme. Figures published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show that of the 285,000 couples eligible, only 2 per cent have actually used shared parental leave since it was introduced in 2015.

Working Hours and Salary Main Drivers for Career Change
Added: 1 February 2018
A poll undertaken by the Oxford Open Learning Trust has revealed that working hours are just as important as salary when it comes to seeking a new job. The poll of 2,000 adults explored the main motivations that drive people to career change.

Tax Exempt Bonuses Could Boost Staff Morale
Added: 4 January 2018
A survey of 1,500 UK workers and business leaders has revealed that an increasing number of UK businesses would like to regularly reward their staff with bonuses, but feel they are being held back by budgets.

How to Protect Yourself as a Director or Company Officer
Added: 2 January 2018
Under the Companies Act 2006, directors and company officers are subject to over 200 areas of statutory liability. A breach of any legislation has the potential to lead to civil or even criminal charges. Directors and officers of companies can be held personally liable for these charges and could face significant fines and possible custodial sentences.

GDPR and Email Marketing
Added: 13 December 2017
If you regularly send email newsletters or updates to a contact list that resides within the EU, then you are going to need to follow a number of steps to make sure you are not breaching the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Remember, a breach could cost you literally millions of pounds.

Christmas Advice for Employers
Added: 6 December 2017
Christmas time is filled with doubts and concerns for the employer who tends to spend much of his or her time during the festive season run-up dealing with all sorts of issues such as annual leave requests, overtime grievances and disciplinary issues. Now is a good time to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead and to help you we've summarised five of the most common problems faced by employers at this time of year, together with advice on how to deal with them.

Autumn Budget 2017 Key Announcements for Small Businesses
Added: 1 December 2017
For the small business owner there was a fair amount to digest following Chancellor Philip Hammond's first Autumn Budget on 22 November. Here we provide an at-a-glance summary of the key points.

Key Ruling in the Long Running Self Employed or Employed Argument
Added: 11 November 2017
Is your workforce employed or self-employed The recent high profile case involving Uber drivers may well have connotations for other employers operating businesses on a similar basis. The issue of employment status is considered serious by HMRC, which is keen to get to the bottom of whether claims by business owners that its workforce is self-employed are genuine.

The Importance of Getting Your Buildings Reinstatement Value Right
Added: 6 November 2017
The property from which you operate your business is obviously of vital importance. What would you do if it was completely wiped out No doubt you'd rely on your buildings insurance to cover you for full reinstatement. If this is the case, then you'll need to check something vitally important: that your buildings reinstatement value has been quoted correctly on your insurance policy.

GDPR Essentials for Businesses
Added: 1 November 2017
Back in August we wrote about how a new Data Protection Bill was set to be published in September this year which would bring the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK law. GDPR is now officially due to come into force on 25th May 2018 and will mark the most wide-ranging change to global privacy law in two decades.

Why Employers Need to Beware of Vicarious Liability
Added: 16 October 2017
Employers insure their own risks, covering themselves for actions they take that may lead to a claim for compensation. But what about the actions of their employees or third parties, where does an employer stand should a claim be made against them for something someone else has done Vicarious liability is the situation where employers could be liable to pay damages where someone who works for them, either employed or outsourced, causes losses or personal injury to another through actions taken during the course of their duties.

How to Get Your New Business Off the Ground
Added: 9 October 2017
Had an idea for a business All businesses start with an idea, but you need to take the next step and transform that idea into something tangible. It's at this stage that you may start to feel overwhelmed and lost at sea. However, it's not actually as challenging as you might think, especially if you break the overall task list into smaller, bite-size chunks that you find more manageable. The following advice should help you segregate the process and get moving with your business idea.

Beware the Employee Private Admin Cyber Security Risk
Added: 10 September 2017
It is a much discussed fact that one of the greatest threats to data security is the human factor, rather than technology. Whilst you may invest heavily in firewalls and virus protection, cyber-attacks so often come down to human error. It is said that employees using company networks to carry out private admin is one of the most significant risks, and employers need to realise just how serious this risk could be.

To Sit, or to Stand - Modern Working Methods Examined
Added: 7 September 2017
Working days are getting longer and breaks are getting shorter. Sitting down for hours without much movement can have a negative effect on health. It can lead to cardiovascular issues as well as diabetes. So is it time for employers to start considering alternatives In Scandinavia, sit-stand desks are commonplace, with more than 90 per cent of PC-using office personnel making use of them. The benefits are said to be manifold.

Charity Urging Businesses to Increase Employment for those with Learning Disabilities
Added: 1 September 2017
Registered charity Mencap is trying to encourage employers to make use of apprenticeships to boost levels of employment for potential employees with learning disabilities.

Regular Voluntary Overtime Included in Holiday Pay
Added: 8 August 2017
Towards the end of last year, we discussed in an article how holiday pay must now include results based commission. Further to this and no doubt of even further concern to business owners, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently confirmed that payments for overtime undertaken on a purely voluntary basis should be included in holiday pay, providing they are paid regularly enough to constitute 'normal pay'.

GDPR to Become Law Next Month
Added: 6 August 2017
A new Data Protection Bill is due to be published in September 2017, bringing the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK law. Under GDPR, individuals will be awarded a new right to request that their personal data is completely erased. UK law will extend this right by requiring social media providers to delete all of a personal's posts from before they were under 18, if requested.

New Rules on PSC Registers
Added: 1 August 2017
As of April 2016, most UK limited companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) have been required to hold and maintain a register of people with significant control. The PSC Register as it is known must be filed with Companies House on incorporation and as part of a company's annual confirmation statement as of June 2016. With the regime only still fairly new, it has come as something of a surprise to the business world that changes have already been introduced as of 26th June 2017.

How to Protect Your Business Against Cyber Attacks
Added: 17 July 2017
The worldwide cyber-attack that brought the NHS to its knees recently has definitely reiterated the threats faced by businesses working in the modern digital environment. The much publicised attack made use of hacking tools to spread ransomware known as 'WannaCry'. Not only did it affect the NHS, but also global shipping outfit FedEx as well as more than 300,000 computers over 150 countries. So how to protect against cyber attacks

Digital Signatures Now Permissible by law
Added: 11 July 2017
The process of obtaining written signatures on contracts has long been a serious challenge for businesses in the B2B sector. It can lead to lowered productivity, difficulties in closing deals and delayed projects. Electronic signatures have been used for many years, but they have long been questioned from a legal point of view, which has led business owners to put off relying on them. The good news is, however, that in 2016, a significant milestone came about concerning the adoption of e-signatures.

New Inheritance Tax Allowance Sparks Good News for Direct Descendants
Added: 1 July 2017
On 6th April 2017, amendments were made to inheritance tax law courtesy of the new 'residence nil rate inheritance tax break' came into operation. The new 'nil rate band' applies where a residence passes to a direct descendent.

The Importance of Having a Dynamic Lockdown Strategy
Added: 12 June 2017
Now the UK's threat level has been raised to critical, businesses really should be listening to the Government's advice to develop a 'dynamic lockdown' strategy. Here we look at what a dynamic lockdown strategy involves and how you can go about preparing one.

What You Need to Know About Making Tax Digital
Added: 8 June 2017
Chancellor Philip Hammond's March Budget was pretty much all doom and gloom although the backtracking on the self-employed National Insurance Contributions hike was a welcome relief. One other glimmer of hope came in the shape of a delay to the introduction of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime which means that the self-employed, buy-to-let landlords, sole traders and small businesses that fall below the VAT threshold of £85,000 (as of 1 April 2017) will have an extra year to get ready for MTD. There is also a promise on the part of the government to consult on the design elements of tax administration in an attempt to streamline the system for taxpayers.

Employers of Non EEA Workers Now Facing Increased Costs
Added: 2 June 2017
From 6 April 2017, the Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017 are in operation. These Regulations call for sponsoring employers of migrant workers employed under Tier 2 of the points-based immigration system to pay a new charge known as the 'Immigration Skills Charge'. Here we answer the most commonly asked questions on the subject.

Useful HMRC Resources
Added: 14 May 2017
As a business owner, and particularly as a sole trader, keeping up with what you need to do to comply with HMRC's rules and regulations can be a little daunting. But did you know that there is actually a whole range of HMRC resources available to help you With everything from webinars to email alerts on a range of subjects from self-assessment to VAT returns, there is a range of tools available to you on the HMRC website which can help with the smooth running of your business.

The Benefits of Business Forums to the Small Business Owner
Added: 7 May 2017
Any good businessperson will know the benefits of a trustworthy network of suppliers and contacts. Businesses often grow through word of mouth, but in addition to referrals, you may well need to call upon other professions that you can trust to help and advise in certain situations. Business forums are a great place to network and make these connections, as well as being a place to exchange ideas and find support.

How to Attend Business Meetings Without Travelling
Added: 2 May 2017
Doing business face to face and collaborating with others has always been an essential part of trade. Apart from the fact that things can often get lost in translation when done by telephone or email, putting the personal touch into negotiations often goes a long way towards problem solving or sealing the deal. Obviously, it's not always easy, economical or convenient to travel to meetings, but this doesn't mean you can't do business face to face. The good news is that modern technology can help to overcome this obstacle.

Important Dates for the Small Business Pension Diary 2017
Added: 11 April 2017
Approximately 500,000 small to medium sized businesses will set up a workplace pension this year. Indeed, it's the biggest ever year for workplace pension enrolment. If you're a small to medium business that will be required under the regime to provide a workplace pension, there are certain key dates that you need to have in your pension diary for this year. These are as follows.

Warning for Employers over Tough New Health & Safety Sentencing Regime
Added: 4 April 2017
Two recent prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have brought home the gravity of the reformed and far more stringent health and safety offence sentencing guidelines which were introduced in February 2016.

What the 2017 Budget Means for the Smaller Business
Added: 1 April 2017
For many small business owners, the 2017 Budget will have cast more gloom than it did sunshine. Listening to Chancellor Philip Hammond will have left many small firms worried about the impact the budget will have on their bottom line, but it's important to stay abreast of any changes so that you can plan accordingly. These are the main points from this year's Budget that will affect small businesses in the coming period.

Getting it Right with Subject Access Rights
Added: 6 March 2017
At any given time an employee can ask to see any personal data that their employer holds on them. This is known as a 'subject access request', and when it happens employers need to tread very carefully.

What VAT Registered Businesses Need to Know About the 2017 Flat Rate Scheme Changes
Added: 3 March 2017
The VAT Flat Rate Scheme was introduced over a decade ago to make paying VAT easier for small businesses by removing the complex need for record keeping. However, from 1st April this year, the government is setting the Flat Rate at 16.5 per cent for all limited costs traders.

The Apprenticeship Levy Explained
Added: 1 March 2017
Later on this year, large organisations will be subject an Apprenticeship Levy as the government changes legislation surrounding apprenticeships. Although it will mainly be large employers that are affected by the levy, there may well be some effect on small businesses too. So what do you need to know Here we explain what the apprenticeship levy is, when it comes into effect and who will be affected by it.

The Latest Business Trends for 2017
Added: 10 February 2017
If you want to get ahead of the trend in business, you need to be constantly ahead of the trends in life. Small businesses are appearing all the time, and those that are successful will have kept a keen eye on emerging trends and new technologies. Now that we're in the New Year, it's the perfect time to brush up on what's new in business, both in terms of the latest technology and those emerging markets which are going to be big business in 2017.

How to Use the Internet of Things to Your Advantage as a Small Business
Added: 6 February 2017
Nowadays, the Internet of Things allows us to control everything from our heating to our TV recording devices via the internet. But how can this connectivity help small businesses Well, as the possibilities are almost endless, there are multiple ways that small businesses can take advantage of the IoT. Here are just a few examples of how it can help your brand.

New Legislation Every Business Needs to Know About in 2017
Added: 1 February 2017
If you are a business owner or an employer, you'll know that with every New Year that rolls around, new legislation comes with it. 2017 is no exception to this, and there is a variety of new rules and laws on the horizon. Business owners need to be aware of what's about to change, so here's a guide to what you need to know this year.

Understanding the Law on Unfair Terms and Conditions
Added: 11 January 2017
The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a campaign to help customers know the rules on unfair terms and conditions and to help businesses keep within the law when it comes to unfair terms. But, according to a poll carried out by the CMA, 54 percent of business owners to not understand the rules themselves.

New Small Business Taskforce to Speak up for SMEs
Added: 6 January 2017
A new taskforce has been set up to act as the lobbying voice for small to medium sized businesses in the UK. By bringing together some of the key SME membership organisations into one lobbying group, it is thought that the Small Business Taskforce, which is the brainchild of Emma Jones of Enterprise Nation, will become the voice of small businesses.

Banks Must Now Offer an Alternative to Businesses Turned Down for Finance
Added: 2 January 2017
From 1st November, it became a legal obligation for the UK's nine major banks to refer any small to medium businesses who they have refused for finance to an alternative provider.

Why Directors Facing Insolvency Must Beware Transactions at Undervalue
Added: 9 December 2016
When a director of a company is facing insolvency, the thought may well occur to them to that it may be a good idea to sell or transfer company assets as quickly as possible in order to protect them. However, it's actually a requirement for company directors to maximise creditor returns during insolvency, and therefore by selling or transferring assets at an undervalue they could be considered to be carrying out wrongful or fraudulent trading. Company directors therefore need to be very careful of transactions at undervalue if they are facing insolvency.
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Fake Bailiff Warning for Businesses
Added: 5 December 2016
Local businesses have been warned of a fake bailiff scam. Police have been warning businesses that conmen are contacting companies requesting payment for non-existent debt.
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Are you Wasting Too Much Time on Admin
Added: 1 December 2016
Do you find yourself constantly tied up in the red tape of admin Struggling with day to day financial tasks such as tax calculations and payroll, when all you really want to do is work on the products and services you offer If so, you're not alone.
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Accentism - the Latest Workplace Discrimination Issue
Added: 4 November 2016
Employers currently have a duty to protect workers from harassment and victimisation that is based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or age. Now there is a suggestion that accents should be added to that list.
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An Employer's Guide to Brexit
Added: 2 November 2016
Following the Brexit referendum there is some disquiet and anxiety in the working world of the UK. Some employees from EU countries are worried about whether they will be able to remain in their jobs here and some even feel unwelcome. The wave of hate crime in the streets has reinforced that feeling.
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Holiday Pay Must Include Results Based Commission Says New Ruling
Added: 1 November 2016
While the business community awaits the results of the Brexit deliberations of the UK government, of course, EU Law continues to influence the rulings of UK judges. A recent judgement in the Court of Appeal could have serious implications for any business that has employees on commission schemes.
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How to Patent Your Invention
Added: 7 October 2016
If you believe an idea or invention you are working on will take off and be valuable to you, you need to protect it as your intellectual property. The way to do this might be via trademarks, design rights or binding non-disclosure agreements or you might decide to apply for a patent.
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How to Deal with Reference Requests
Added: 3 October 2016
When an employee gives you notice that they will be leaving at the end of the term specified in their contract of employment, you know that they will probably be requesting that you give them a written reference to pass to their new employer. You may also receive reference requests for past employees from their new employer.
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Insurance Act Now in Force, What Businesses Need to Know
Added: 1 October 2016
The Insurance Act 2015 came into force on 12 August 2016. It is intended to make for a fairer balance of interests between the insured and the insurer.
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How Flexible Working Makes Businesses Attractive to Employees
Added: 10 September 2016
When you are considering the type of people you want to join your business, and how to attract them, you would do well to look at your working practices, especially if you are competing for a small pool of good people.
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Carrying Over Annual Leave - What you Need to Know as an Employer
Added: 7 September 2016
As an employer you will be aware that you are obliged to give your staff 5.6 weeks annual leave, or the appropriate proportion of that for part-time personnel. You can, of course, offer more than that if you want to offer a really attractive contract and compete with other companies to gain and retain a loyal and motivated team.
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New Immigration Act Rules Now in Force
Added: 2 September 2016
On 12 July 2016 new legislation on employing illegal workers came into force. According to the Immigration Act 2016, if a worker is found to be in the UK illegally, the government no longer has to prove that the employer knew about it. If this were to happen in your business, you could be prosecuted if you had 'reasonable cause to believe that the employee is disqualified from employment' because of being in the country illegally.
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How to Deal with Bank Holidays and Part Time Workers
Added: 8 August 2016
Under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, it is illegal to treat any workers differently from their colleagues, and this applies as much to how leave is allowed and paid as to anything else. All employees must have at least the minimum annual leave entitlement. For those working a five day week or more, this is 28 days a year. Those working fewer days or hours must be given the appropriate proportion of this amount.
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New Tax Rules Affecting Company Distributions
Added: 5 August 2016
In previous years it has been financially advantageous for business owners and directors to take a small salary during the year, and take a lump sum dividend at its end. This is because the rates of dividend tax have been much less than the rates of income tax. From 6 April 2016, however, this changed and dividend tax has been raised.
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What you Need to Know About the New Confirmation Statement
Added: 1 August 2016
If you own or are with a company that normally submits an annual return to Companies House, since 30 June 2016, you can no longer do this. Instead you must file a Confirmation Statement. Failure to comply could mean prosecution for yourself and any other directors or officers of the business as well as the company itself. Late filing can carry severe financial penalties.
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Common Misconceptions About Claiming VAT Back
Added: 11 July 2016
When you are completing your VAT return and claiming back VAT you have paid on purchases, it should be a simple job that is easily completed. But it is also easy to get things wrong without even knowing. Some of the rules are complicated and unfortunately, ignorance is no defence if HMRC pick up your mistakes. They can, and will, impose heavy penalties.
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All you Need to Know About Secondments
Added: 8 July 2016
Have you ever thought about taking on a secondee from another business A secondment can be particularly useful when there is a need for temporary help, perhaps to get you through a particularly busy period or to cover another staff member's maternity or parental leave, or long term sickness. Would it be a good idea to second one of your staff members elsewhere to help someone out, or to acquire skills that would be useful in your own business
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Why the Human Touch is Still so Crucial in Customer Service
Added: 1 July 2016
'Press one for x, press two for xx, three for xxx, four to talk to one of our customer service representatives.' How many times have you fumed through this scenario and breathed a sigh of relief when you heard the final option Why do you occasionally see companies proudly announcing that you will always talk to a person when you call them Doesn't it make you feel good when you enter a shop and a member of staff steps up to welcome you in with a beaming smile
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Time to Update Your Display Screen Equipment Risk Assessments
Added: 11 June 2016
Pretty well any time you buy new business equipment, you need to produce a new risk assessment. Work stations, which comprise equipment such as desks, chairs, monitors and other display screens, are no exception.
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The 'Gig Economy' - a Guide for Employers
Added: 3 June 2016
A new buzzword in the business world is the 'gig economy', but do you know for sure what it means Some people think it just refers to being able to use websites such as People per Hour where you place your bid for services offered. Others give it a much wider application as if it refers to using any freelancers for specific projects.
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Shared Parental Leave - the Story so Far
Added: 6 May 2016
One year after the introduction of shared parental leave for parents of babies born on or after 1 April 2014, surveys on take-up were undertaken. Reports in the press declared it to be very poor, but it seems they got the wrong end of the stick.
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National Living Wage: Common Questions Answered
Added: 1 May 2016
Each time new regulations are introduced, they throw up many questions that need to be answered to be sure of compliance. On 1 April 2016 the national living wage (NLW) of £7.20 per hour became the minimum amount that employers could pay workers aged 25 or over. Here are our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this.
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Two Important Insurance Policies Businesses Think They Have (But usually do NOT have)
Added: 8 April 2016
It is a legal requirement for any company that employees staff to hold employer's liability insurance, and no doubt there will be numerous other policies you hold as a business owner. But do they cover every area for which you need protection
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What to Consider When Taking on Your First Employee
Added: 4 April 2016
When your business has developed to the point where you need additional help, courage is needed for the next step. It has to be taken though, otherwise your business won't be able to grow any more.According to the government's web page about taking on your first employees, there are seven things you need to take action on immediately. Actually you'll find there is a lot more to it than that, but its list is a good starting point.
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A Useful Summary of Employment Law Changes April 2016
Added: 1 April 2016
April 2016 sees the introduction of a number of changes to employment law. If you are an employer, read on for a summary.
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Preparing for the New Rules on PSC Registers
Added: 11 March 2016
One of the most far reaching changes this 6th of April is the introduction of the need for the majority of UK companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) to start keeping a register of 'people with significant control'. The 'PSC register' as it will be known is a new statutory register which has been formulated to make sure the people that ultimately own and control a company are identified.
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Four Things to Consider Before Going it Alone with Self Employment
Added: 7 March 2016
Self employment in the UK reached an all time high of 4.5 million in 2014. The benefits are many: freedom to work the hours you want; control your own earnings; take holidays when you wish; challenge yourself. But is it right for you If you are considering taking the plunge into working for yourself, here are four key things to think about before you do so.
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A Guide to Keeping Employees Happy and Fulfilled
Added: 15 February 2016
Finding good employees takes time and investment, so once you get the right people in your organisation, you really want to hold onto them. Money may seem like the obvious lure in this respect, but this won't always be possible, and in fact there are things that can mean a lot more to your staff. Here are some ideas to help you retain your star workforce.
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Why You Need to Take Care Over Employment Advertising
Added: 8 February 2016
If you are recruiting in 2016 you will need to heed the recently released advice of the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) when putting together the wording for your advertisements.
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Businesses Need to Prepare for the National Living Wage
Added: 1 February 2016
April 2016 will see the introduction of the compulsory national living wage. The new minimum wage of £7.20 per hour is set to become law for all working people aged 25 plus. The National Living Wage will have to be paid as a minimum by all employers, and the Government aims for it to rise to £9 per hour by 2020.
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Tax Changes Affecting Buy to Let Investors
Added: 15 January 2016
Back in August we reported on how the landlord fair wear and tear allowance was to be scrapped as of April this year, and how tax relief on buy to let mortgages was also set to be decreased down to the basic rate by 2019. Then there was the news that landlords would face a change to the way tax is paid when a buy-to-let property is sold. Now we hear that stamp duty changes will also be introduced in April this year, applying to anyone purchasing additional residential property.
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What you Need to Know About Gender Pay Gap Reporting
Added: 8 January 2016
Early this year, draft Regulations will be published by the Government that will call for larger employers to publish information detailing any differences in gender pay. Information about variations in pay between men and women will have to be provided and this will need to include a single annual figure setting out the gender pay gap and the method by which the calculations have been made.
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Data Protection Law to see Biggest Change in 20 Years
Added: 1 January 2016
An agreement was reached on the draft EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at the end of 2015, and it signifies the dawn of momentous changes to privacy law: the biggest changes in two decades.
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Your Handy Business Travel Checklist
Added: 13 December 2015
You're off on a business trip. Amongst all the meeting preparation, getting your presentation ready and making sure your laptop is charged, there is still your packing to do. Overlook this at your peril, however, because there will always be something vital you'll wish you never left behind. If you're packing in a hurry for a business trip, use this at-a-glance guide to make sure you don't miss anything essential.
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Statutory Pay Freeze for 2016
Added: 4 December 2015
The Government has announced that there will be no annual increase in various types of statutory pay in 2016.
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Crucial Christmas Considerations for Employers
Added: 1 December 2015
It's that time of year when as an employer, you are faced with a raft of trials and tribulations. Christmas always tends to throw up all sorts of issues where annual leave, discipline and discrimination are concerned. Here are some of our top tips on what you should be doing in order to deal with these issues effectively, so that your workplace Christmas can be a peaceful one.
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What you Need to Know About Competition Law
Added: 11 November 2015
Competition law promotes or seeks to maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct amongst companies. Any company that fails to comply with UK or EU competition law will meet with serious consequences.
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Employee Referral Schemes Could Help you Find the Right Staff
Added: 5 November 2015
If like a significant number of employers you find it a challenge to source the right calibre of personnel for your business and have exhausted all the traditional avenues such as advertising, recruitment consultants and social media, there is another initiative you may wish to try.
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How to Guard your Small Business Against a Cyber Attack
Added: 1 November 2015
The very recent major website cyber breach suffered by TalkTalk has left businesses exceptionally worried. And with the increasing use of the cloud to store confidential data and information, it is no wonder. So what to do You need to focus on minimising your vulnerabilities, and implement policies and initiatives that are rolled out throughout the business, including to any remote workers.
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Taking Care of Lone Workers
Added: 9 October 2015
According to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), more than six million UK employees work without supervision or in isolated conditions, and a high proportion of these work in situations or locations that pose a considerable risk. If you employ lone workers, or any of your staff may be at particular risk then the following information may prove very useful.
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Petition to Halt New Tax on Share Dividends
Added: 5 October 2015
As of April 2016, notional 10% tax credit on dividends will be abolished. Instead, a £5,000 tax-free dividend allowance will be brought in. Dividends above this level will be taxed at 7.5% on the basic rate, 32.5% on the higher rate and 38.1% on the additional rate. The changes have been met by much furore amongst the small business community, and a campaign has been launched with the aim of attracting the support of 100,000 business leaders via signatures on a petition.
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Important Considerations for Employers of Remote Workers
Added: 1 October 2015
The Office for National Statistics reports that 13.9 per cent of UK workers carry out their jobs remotely. That translates as 4.2 million people, and it is a figure that is on the rise. As an employer offering remote working, you will enjoy numerous benefits, but there are a lot of considerations to take into account, from data protection and insurance to health and safety.
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Does your Company Logo Actually Belong to your Company
Added: 4 September 2015
Most businesses have a logo these days; even the smallest companies appreciate the importance of carrying an identity to reinforce their brand. Logos form a significant part of the marketing armoury because they allow people to instantly recognise a business. With this in mind, it may come as something of a surprise that in some cases, companies don't actually own their own logos. Here is a story to illustrate what we appreciate has probably come as something of a shock to you.
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Landlord Wear and Tear Allowance to be Scrapped
Added: 8 August 2015
The July budget headline that mortgage interest relief for private landlords is to be restricted to the basic rate of income tax has perhaps overshadowed another announcement by the Chancellor that is going to leave landlords reeling. By April 2016, the current system whereby landlords of furnished residential properties are allowed to deduct 10 per cent as a tax break for wear and tear will be no more. Instead, only actual costs incurred will be deductible.
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Fit for Work Service Now in Place
Added: 5 August 2015
The Fit for Work service, formerly known as the Health and Work Service, is now in place and ready to provide occupational health assistance to employees, employers and GPs, free of charge.
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Changes to the Law on Marketing Calls and Texts
Added: 1 August 2015
When the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) was given enhanced powers on 6th April 2015 allowing action to be taken against companies making nuisance calls and sending spam messages, the whole marketing landscape changed.
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Underinsurance Warning for Businesses
Added: 6 July 2015
The Building Cost Information Service, part of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, has announced that close to 80% of UK commercial properties could be underinsured for rebuild costs by as much as 60%. For a property worth £500,000 this would mean a shortfall of £300,000: a very worrying thought.
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What you Need to Know When Taking on an Apprentice
Added: 1 July 2015
If you've been thinking about taking on one or more apprentices as a way to fill skills gaps in a cost effective way, taking advantage of the various apprenticeship grants that are often available, you probably have a selection of questions when it comes to things like their rights, pay and training. In this article we run through some of the most frequently asked questions about apprentices to help you obtain a clearer picture before you make your decision.
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New Regulations Affecting Building Developments with a Commercial Nature
Added: 7 June 2015
If you are planning building or renovation works that have a commercial nature - and that includes developing or refurbishing property that you intend to let, or constructing an outbuilding for use as an office or commercial workshop for example - then you should read on.
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How to Avoid Late Payment and Prevent Cashflow Problems
Added: 4 June 2015
Whilst late payment can lead to detrimental cashflow issues, a lot of companies take the decision to not pursue debtors too strongly, concerned about losing their business. But staying in control of outstanding accounts with regular reminders is a good way to do business, and most customers will realise that you are simply doing what is necessary to keep afloat. Chasing debts though should be considered a secondary measure. In fact, it is something that could be avoided for the most part by putting certain processes in place. Here are five such processes that could make all the difference to your business.
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Getting Your Business Ready for Summer
Added: 1 June 2015
Summer is generally one of those times in the business calendar when requests for leave escalate. It can be a challenging time for any business owner and one for which planning ahead is essential so that you can be sure your operation continues as normal.
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Are you Familiar with the Sunday Working Rules
Added: 9 May 2015
If you run a business that operates on Sundays, then it is important you make yourself aware of the rules surrounding Sunday working as there are various obligations you need to adhere to.
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Take Care When Telemarketing to Avoid Costly Fines
Added: 5 May 2015
If you have decided to take advantage of increased confidence in the economy and boost your marketing efforts, something you may be thinking about trying is telemarketing. It is certainly a very popular initiative, but, as with all marketing, there are particular guidelines you need to adhere to. So before you get started on your campaign, have a read of this article so you can get it off the ground whilst staying within the law.
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Toll Fraud - The Latest Threat to Businesses
Added: 1 May 2015
When you hear about 'hacking', you automatically think of attempts to gain access to your data, or your website. Whilst these are of course very real threats that cost businesses billions collectively, there is something else that is becoming a significant problem, and that is telephone hacking, otherwise known as 'toll fraud' or 'phreaking'.
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The Small Business, Enterprise & Employment Act 2015
Added: 10 April 2015
The Small Business, Enterprise & Employment Bill was introduced to Parliament in June 2014 and received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015. The Act has the intention of fostering and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit in the UK, and will impact upon a number of company and employment law matters. Smaller, privately owned companies are likely to experience the greatest impact.
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The Vital Importance of Partnership Agreements
Added: 2 April 2015
When starting out in business with a friend, colleague or relative, it is easy to think that everything will continue remain as pleasant and smooth running for the long term as it is at the beginning. However, it is important to realise that business partnerships can go wrong. Relationships can turn sour for all sorts of reasons, in particular where things like the obligations and duties and financial input of each partner are not clearly defined. The most common reason for a business partnership to fail is a lack of a written partnership agreement.
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How to Choose a Name for your New Business
Added: 14 March 2015
When you're setting up a new business, probably the most important step you'll take is choosing a name for it. Changing a company name once you have developed a logo, had stationery and marketing material printed and registered domain names and social handles is far more trouble than it's worth, so it pays to get it right from the start. If you are in the throes of setting up a business and not quite sure where to start in deciding on a name, the following tips may be useful.
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Things to Consider When Introducing Bring Your Own Device Working
Added: 10 March 2015
Bring your own device (BYOD) working has become very popular, and for good reason. With employees able to work wherever they wish, whenever they wish, it boosts goodwill, enhances productivity and helps businesses gain the edge over competitors. However, there are data protection and security considerations you need to make as an employer if you are promoting BYOD working.
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Taking Care of Mental Health in the Workplace
Added: 2 March 2015
Mental health in the workplace is becoming a much talked-about subject. The promotion of mental well-being is very important if you want to see your employees enjoying the best possible physical health, and if you'd like to ensure maximum productivity.
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Pension Auto Enrolment and the Micro Business
Added: 20 February 2015
If you are a company that operates a PAYE scheme you will by now probably have received your 12-month 'notice' letter from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) confirming your staging date and providing key information and advice on preparing to enrol your staff. But do the rules actually apply to your business, and if not, what should you be doing about it Not ignoring it, that's for sure ...
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Home Business Owners Must Check Their Insurance
Added: 12 February 2015
If you are one of the UK's fast growing number of home business owners, and share the view of 145,000 others who mistakenly believe that their home contents insurance will cover their business, it's time for a wake-up call.
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Preparing for the Unexpected with a Disaster Recovery Plan
Added: 4 February 2015
Whatever size business you run, wherever you run it from, it is imperative you have a Disaster Recovery Plan. 'Disasters' don't just mean catastrophes like floods or fires. Anything that can bring business to a halt can be classed as a disaster.
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Why You Need to Keep a Check on Your Energy Contracts
Added: 28 January 2015
If you have been fortunate enough to negotiate favourable rates for your electricity and gas supplies then you should pat yourself on the back. But don't sit back and relax for too long, because you absolutely must keep an eye on the end-dates for your contracts. And if you are moving premises and think your special rates are going to relocate with you, think again.
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Get Ready for Significant Changes to Business Insurance with the Insurance Bill
Added: 20 January 2015
Back in July 2014 the Law Commission, a public advisory body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, put a report forward to Government. It consisted of a set of recommendations for reforms to non-consumer insurance in the UK. It also included a draft bill called the Insurance Bill. This Bill is set to have a significant - and beneficial - effect on the way commercial insurance is sold in the UK.
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Get Ready for the New Shared Parental Leave and Pay Rules
Added: 12 January 2015
As an employer you will of course be well aware of the new shared parental leave and pay rules introduced in respect of children due on or after 5 April 2015. With the notice period being a minimum of eight weeks, requests are likely to start coming in this month. You will therefore need to put a process in place without delay to deal with such requests from expectant employees with babies due on or after 5 April.
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New Ideas to Combat the Late Payment Problem
Many small businesses are still having difficulties caused by late payments for goods and services supplied to other organisations. If this is a problem for you, you may, like many other small business owners, be reluctant to charge the interest and compensation that is legally allowable by the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. This is understandable because you need to maintain relationships and get more business.
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How to Make the Most of your Working Time
How do you organise your working day Do you make a list of things to do and religiously follow it Or do you find that most activities roll onto the list for the next day Here are some of the worst time wasters that you should be looking to avoid.
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The Pros and Cons of Bitcoin
Throughout the recent recession, entrepreneurs have been constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency, cut costs and ensure their businesses survived. Although we are told that the economy is recovering, this is not the time to relax efforts in this respect. One of the innovative ways that some owners of businesses operating beyond their own localities is to use Bitcoin as an option for payments and receipts. For most people, though, Bitcoin and how it works is still something of a mystery.
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Be Prepared for the New Waste Management Laws
An amendment to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, based on the EU Waste Framework Directive, means that you will be legally obliged to separate recyclable materials from your landfill waste from January 2015. This is so that the waste collection services can collect it separately. Fines for non-compliance can be unlimited. Are you prepared
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Managing Without Borrowing
Can you run a successful business without borrowing Some do, and if the circumstances are right, with some good cash flow management, you could too. The circumstances will be right when the business income is reasonably predictable; you are not planning excessively expensive changes; you have ample stocks; and you have the staff you need and the cash to pay them. These are aspects that can also be managed, but you need to take them into account when considering the cash flow situation.
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