Saturday, 19 December 2015

How to Write a Perfect Press Release?

A well-written press release should be short, to the point and contain all the essential information in the first paragraph.  Most importantly, it should be a complete story that could be published without too many changes, as all the facts are there and the content is well structured.

Here are a few tips to help you to put together a good press release.

Put in the most newsworthy information

Who, what, when, where should be at the top, with the least important information at the bottom - this is called the inverted pyramid model and it is how journalists are trained to write.

Facts and photos

Boost your story with relevant data and good photos (ideally taken by a professional photographer, not taken on a smartphone). Include one photo and say “more available” rather than clogging up journalists’ inboxes with big files.

Call a spade a spade

A journalists’ job is to untangle professional jargon before it reaches the press. You can make their life a bit easier by avoiding technical terms and writing in plain English.


Quotes are important but they need to add something to the story without repeating information contained elsewhere. Try to avoid being “thrilled” “honoured” or “excited”.

Don’t attach your story, put it in the body of the email

Don’t send one line emails saying “See Attachment”. It may not be opened. Always paste the press release directly into an email so it can be easily read on a smartphone or tablet.

Give it a good headline

Your headline should tell the story even if a person doesn’t actually read the rest of the article. If you want ideas on how to write a good headline, just pick up a newspaper and have a read. Which headlines catch your eye and why? Now try to write a similar headline for your press release.

Are you ready to write your business Press Release yourself? Let us know your experience and the response. Also share with us if you have any more points to add.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Strategy Versus Tactics - What to implement for your business?

Do you know the difference between strategy and tactics? Many senior managers who think they are talking about strategy are really focusing on tactics.   Indeed, many small and medium sized businesses aren’t very good at creating and executing a business plan at all. As a result, a lot of business owners and managers operate at a tactical rather than a strategic level; responding reactively versus proactively. 

So, what is the difference? A simple explanation would be to say that strategy refers to the "what and the why" and tactical refers to the "how". Strategic thinking, planning and actions require the ability to look at the "big picture", recognise patterns and trends, establish priorities, anticipate issues, predict outcomes, and have strategic alternatives to engage as necessary. Strategic plans involve the vision, the mission, the guiding principles and the goals for the business.

Tactical is the more hands-on or the "doing it" part of getting the job done, to ensure the strategic goals are met. The tactics are the detailed actions needed to meet the goals or solve a problem.

An example would be, Strategy: Be the leader in terms of sales and percentage market share in the mid-market in our industry sector in the UK. Tactics: Offer lower cost solutions than our competitors, win 5 new contracts worth at least £100,000 each and expand our business by buying out two competitors over the next 12 months.

When it comes to managing any business, having a good strategic plan and utilising good tactics are both very important. A business owner or a management team leader must know and use strategy and they must also have an awareness of their business's tactics.

It is important to note that this does not mean that management should perform these tasks on a regular basis. The whole team has a responsibility to undertake the right tactics in order to deliver the company strategy. If the management team are truly aware of what "good tactics" are and are able to recognise them, they will become "tactically credible" in the eyes of their team mates.

It is critical for the owners and managers to  have this credibility in order to demonstrate to their team members how the tactical work helps the overall business to achieve its strategic goals and objectives.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

4 Strategies to Embrace Diversity in Your Business Place!

Diversity is an economic and legal priority in business. It increases the bottom line, encourages innovation and steers businesses away from legal issues. Business owners, managers and employees need to find ways to embrace and respect diversity. Diversity, in business, makes it more sustainable & successful.

Take a moment to write down what your biases are and how you can avoid these affecting the way you conduct yourself when you are at work. Here are 4 strategies to start with:

1. Language

Avoid language that demeans a particular group of individuals. Avoid being patronising and jokes that have religious or cultural inferences.

2. Invite input from people with different backgrounds

Not only does this show respect, it makes good business sense to have a diverse opinion.  Inviting people from many backgrounds and cultures will increase the pace and creativity involved with innovation.

3. Respect religious holidays

Most businesses respect Christian holidays. However, all important religious holidays should be respected for employees of that particular religion.

4. Recruitment

When hiring or promoting individuals do so on the basis of facts only. Skills, abilities, knowledge and results should be the only factors involved in your decisions.

Though there are a lot more, these help you start with implementing diversity at your work place. Embrace diversity in your firm and you are on the way to a more fulfilling and productive business.

The world is a mosaic of cultural differences and the workplace should be as well. Respecting your colleagues and employees is paramount to tapping the valuable diversity in your business.

What are your thoughts?

Contact us for further advice to have a diverse company culture!
020 89310165 | 📱 07900537459 |

Monday, 14 December 2015

Engaging Employees through listening!

Image Source: Pixabay
 Engaging your employees is very important if you want to keep them on board. The traditional reward for good performance is a pay rise and while most employees would welcome this, managers need to give that little bit extra to particularly strong employees. Pay rises might boost performance for a period of time, but they don’t tend to generate sustained levels of engagement from your team.

Sometimes managers think that because they aren’t hearing much from their employees that everything is fine. However, this generally isn’t the case. Perhaps your employees are either scared to approach management to discuss issues or are quite passive and they don’t really care anymore. Either way they are not engaged or energised in their work. If you want your employees to go the extra mile for you, then you need to give them support.

When it comes to engaging with your employees, the ability to listen is key. Listening is defined as the act of hearing attentively, or to hear with intention. It is not just nodding along while half concentrating on what the other person is saying. If listening is so powerful, then why do so many businesses and their managers do so little of it when it comes to listening to employees?

The ability to listen is a very powerful asset. The best managers and business executives don’t necessarily have all the answers. Often, the ideas they employ are not their own. However by listening to their people and choosing the best ideas produced by their team, they can make decisions that can potentially move the whole business forward.

Very often, the people who are considered to be the best communicators are the ones who listen to others. Why is this? Maybe it is because people like listeners, and leaders who are great listeners are often great leaders. Employees want to know that their voices are heard, and that they matter to the firm. Nothing is more frustrating for employees than to come to work in a place where they are treated like a number.

The untapped resources and ideas locked in the hearts and minds of employees could be worth a lot to your business. A great manager or leader is the one who unlocks and taps into the brilliant minds of their employees by listening.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Hashtags - Getting More Exposure on Social Media

Hashtags were first created by an early Twitter user as a way to keep up with new abbreviations and trending phrases. While they were originally implemented into the Twitter platform, hashtags can now be used across a wide variety of social media sites. The proliferation of hashtags is truly incredible. What began on Twitter has now spread to Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Google search, and almost everywhere in between.

In short, a hashtag is a word or phrase that is preceded by a number sign, in the form of #keyword. Hashtags are commonly a single word, something like #marketing, but sometimes they can be comprised of an entire phrase, like KitKat's #HaveABreak.

When you're using hashtags in your content, you're identifying the most important and popular keywords to highlight. Users are able to search through social media, both on individual platforms and on third-party websites which scan many different news streams, and find you or your message by the hashtags you've associated with it.

Two types of hashtags

There are essentially two types of hashtags: those that consumers can identify with your brand, and hashtags that are currently trending.

Hashtags which represent your brand are the ones you should be focusing on in the long-term. These are phrases that should be highlighted on a regular basis in your posts and tweets, and will serve as the foundation of your hashtag marketing strategy.

Trending hashtags are phrases that are really popular on social media and have the possibility to bring you a lot of online profile in a short period of time. While Twitter provides the most popular hashtags directly on its site, other websites like Sprout and Trendsmap can make it easy to find out what words and phrases are trending across various different social media platforms. It's important to keep it relevant. Make sure your hashtag is related to your post content. Using one or two keywords and phrases in your posts is acceptable, but refrain from putting too many in there at once. Not only does this take away from the content you’re actually trying to promote, but it can also push consumers away who see the practice as unprofessional.

Which hashtags to use

Websites such as and are great tools which have lots of data you can use to analyse hashtags. These tools allow you to identify which are the most popular or relevant hashtags. When you type in a hashtag, these services will show you other hashtags to consider and will display how popular each hashtag is and how closely it correlates to the original. This information is invaluable to business people who want to promote their products and services over social media. By using keywords that are truly relevant to your product, service, or even just your target market, you can connect with a wide range of prospective customers.

Friday, 4 December 2015

The BlackBerry Priv - How Blackberry entered the Android Market?

The new Blackberry Priv is BlackBerry's first Android phone. That means you get BlackBerry's best productivity features, like BlackBerry Hub and Blend, and supreme security, plus access to around 1.5 million Android apps. Not only do you get more apps than ever, Android also gives you the flexibility to personalise everything about your device.
Image Source:

The BlackBerry Priv's best feature is probably its slide out keyboard. This is complemented by a 5.4-inch screen coated in Corning Gorilla Glass 4, it has a relatively high pixel density paired with a 1440p resolution, leaving text sharp and crisp and images looking attractive. The device also features the signature professional BlackBerry styling.

The Priv also has a curved display. The phone's sliding mechanism means the screen doesn't wrap around quite as completely as Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge+, and it isn't as useful. Samsung's curved displays let you store app shortcuts, or serve up notifications, or keep tabs on missed calls. The Priv's curved sides host a fairly mundane productivity app and a little battery status indicator when you're charging the device.

The phone offers NFC connectivity for file sharing or shopping with Android Pay, and there's a single micro USB 2.0 connector at the bottom that's SlimPort enabled - with the right adapters, you can get HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort connectivity, as well as the ability to output 4K video at 30 frames per second.

The Priv is equipped with an 18-megapixel camera engineered by German lens manufacturer Schneider-Kreuznach. Features like phase detect autofocus mean you'll have a better shot at capturing the action, and the dual colour LED flash promises to brighten up your shots without casting an unsightly blue or yellow haze on your images.

Blackberry specs the phone with powerful processors. The Priv is powered by a 64-bit, Snapdragon 808 hexa-core system-on-chip (SoC). There's a dual-core 1.8GHz CPU that the phone will tap for high-intensity tasks, and a 1.44GHz quad-core CPU that'll be slower, but more energy efficient, for general phone use.

The Priv is the phone BlackBerry fans have been waiting for. It has BlackBerry's security, a physical keyboard paired with a spacious, beautiful screen, and access to Android apps. If you're an Android fan who likes a nicely designed smartphone that is a true alternative to Samsung, LG or even Apple, then this could be the phone for you.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Collection Of Unpaid Tax Through Your Tax Code!

Remember that HM Revenue and Customs can collect tax debts by adjusting your Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax code. HMRC refers to this as ‘coding out’. The effect of this is to recover the tax debt from your pay or pension, by increasing the amount deducted during the tax year. This applies if you have a debt with HMRC and:
  • are an employee paying tax through (PAYE) and/or
  • receive a taxable UK-based private pension.
This facility is available if your annual earnings are £30,000 or more. To do this, HMRC apply a sliding scale to your main PAYE income. The maximum amount that can be coded out is £17,000 where your earnings exceed £90,000 a year. These changes will only apply to underpaid Self-Assessment and Class 2 National Insurance debts and Tax Credit overpayments. Changes will then be reflected in your 2016/17 tax code.

Coding out the unpaid 2014/15 tax is only possible if you submitted your paper tax return by 31 October 2015 or file your tax return online by 30 December 2015. If you would like your outstanding tax collected through PAYE please ensure that we receive your tax information in good time to meet the 30 December deadline!

Contact us for all your Tax & Accounting needs!
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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Payrolling Of Benefits In Kind - HMRC Update!

Legislation to require employers to report 'Benefits in Kind' in real time as opposed to the end of year form P11D was included in the first Finance Act of 2015. However, there are concerns amongst accountants that this should not be mandatory until 2017/18 at the earliest, as many employers are only just getting to grips with real time processing of basic wages and salary data.

The new system will require employers to calculate the cash equivalent of the Benefit in Kind and effectively spread it over the tax year. The tax due on benefits will then be collected by adding a notional value to the employee’s payroll, rather than reporting the Benefits in Kind separately on the end of year form P11D.

End of Informal Payrolling process

If you have an existing informal payrolling arrangement with HMRC this will stop on 5 April 2016.

If you continue with this process the P11Ds you submit may be processed and your employees may be taxed twice on their benefits. To avoid this you should use the online PBIK service to register the benefits you’re payrolling. This means you’ll no longer need to submit P11Ds for payrolled benefits and expenses.

More about Payrolling Benefits in Kind online service

Please get in touch with us if you would like to use this system for 2016/17 as you will need to register with HMRC before 6 April 2016.
020 89310165 ☏ 07900537459 |

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Tax Diary Of Main Events - December 2015 & January 2016

Taxes due to be paid on the months of December 2015 and January 2016 for businesses:

Tax Diary Of Main Events - December 2015 & January 2016

UK Tax Deadlines for December 2015 & January 2016

DateWhat’s Due
December 19, 2015PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/12/15 (due 22 December if you pay electronically)
January 1, 2015Corporation tax for year to 31/3/15
January 19, 2015PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/1/16 (due 22 January if you pay electronically)
January 31, 2015Deadline to file 2015 SA tax return online
January 31, 2015Income tax balancing payment for 2014/15, plus CGT for 2014/15
January 31, 2015Income tax 1st payment on account for 2015/16

Contact us for all your Tax & Accounting needs!
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Monday, 30 November 2015

Tax Relief Under The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)

The Enterprise Investment Scheme allows unconnected investors to obtain a 30% set off against their income tax liability up to £1,000,000 investment each tax year. So a £10,000 investment reduces the investor’s income tax liability by £3,000.  In addition, provided those shares are held for at least 3 years, the gain on disposal of those shares is tax free.

However, as illustrated in a recent tax case, the capital gains exemption is only available where the investor has made a claim for income tax relief. In Ames v HMRC (2015) the taxpayer, Mr Ames, invested £50,000 in a new company but unfortunately had very little income that year so did not claim EIS income tax relief. When he sold the shares several years later for £333,000, he found that the exemption did not apply and the gain was taxable!

Note that Seed EIS for small start-up companies provides 50% income tax relief and the same CGT exemption when the shares are sold.

The connected persons rule means that existing employees, paid directors and their associates are not entitled to these reliefs. Shareholders with more than 30% of the company’s shares, together with their associates, are also excluded.

Note that these exclusions do not apply where the investor is merely seeking to defer capital gains tax via their EIS investment.

The rules for EIS and Seed EIS are very complex so please get in touch with us to discuss the tax implications if you are considering making such an investment.

Feel free to contact us for further advice.
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Friday, 27 November 2015

HMRC Business Records Checks To End… BUT

HMRC have recently announced that they have wound down their business record checks and will no longer initiate new checks using this process. HMRC say that they “remain committed to helping businesses to keep better records”.

A HMRC spokesperson said:

“We are honouring commitments made for checks but will not be undertaking any new ones. Best practice from the records checks will be embedded into routine compliance activities.”

He added:

“Our approach to supporting business in meeting their obligations changes over time as technology and the way we use data evolve. Business records checks have successfully helped many businesses to improve their record keeping and over time the checks delivered diminishing returns.

HMRC remain committed to helping businesses keep better records through online learning packages as well as digital tax accounts which mean businesses can easily interface with HMRC using their own accounting software.”

At the same time HMRC have updated their fact sheet on compliance checks.

…But They Can Still Visit Business Premises As Part Of A Compliance Check

Although HMRC have announced that they have wound down their business record checks, they may still need to visit business premises as part of a compliance check.

HMRC occasionally make unannounced visits to business premises, however they will normally give you at least 7 days notice of such a visit. This can include your home address where the business is run from home. You can ask us to be there when HMRC visit, and we would strongly advise this. If you prefer, we can request that HMRC look at your records at our offices or at HMRC premises.

HMRC do not usually need to talk to people who work for you about their checks but they may ask to speak to the people who keep your records up to date, such as payroll and finance records.

HMRC may also need to speak to some of the people who work for you if they are looking at their employment status and are trying to check whether or not they should be on your payroll.

Contact us if you have any issues or need help:

☎ 020 89310165 | 📱 07900537459 | ✉

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Apple iPad Pro - Things you need to know from business perspective!

The iPad Pro follows the general design principles of the iPad Air 2, but on a significantly larger scale. Aside from the increase in screen area, there are some key design differences, each corresponding to a functional difference.

One is that there are four speakers, as opposed to the twin speakers on the iPad Air 2. This results in far more volume output of course, and Apple says the device is also smart enough to adjust audio balance between the four units to maintain a consistent performance as you hold the iPad in different ways. There is also a new type of connector on the left hand side. Apple calls it the Smart Connector, and it's designed to fit the new Smart Keyboard accessory. Its not yet known if third parties will produce their own accessories to fit the Smart Connector, but it’s fairly likely that a range of accessories will be available in due course.
The iPad Pro gets a super-powered A9X processor chip, one that Apple claims is close to twice the speed of the iPad Air 2's A8X. It also comes with a 12.9-inch display, compared to the 9.7-inch display on the iPad Air and the 7.9-inch display on the iPad mini. That's 78 percent more screen space than the next-largest iPad. Apple claims the iPad Pro will last for 10 hours (of video play or web use) between charges. That figure is the same as the quoted battery life for the iPad Air 2.

A diagonal measurement of 12.9 inches makes for a device that is both sharply differentiated from the smaller iPads and a convenient size in terms of productivity and ease of use. The iPad Pro's screen is also pleasingly sharp, with a massive screen resolution of 2732 x 2048, the largest resolution ever seen on an iOS device. That's the same pixel density - 264.68 pixels per inch (ppi) - as the iPad Air 2, stretched across a much bigger screen. 

With a total of 5.6 million pixels on show, Apple boasts that the iPad Pro has more pixels than the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. And it's supposed to be power-efficient too, with the ability to adjust refresh rate as and when the movement on the screen warrants it. "For the first time in any of our devices," says Apple, "iPad Pro knows when the content on your screen is static and cuts the refresh rate in half, to 30 times per second instead of 60. This means that the screen isn’t just big, beautiful and bright. It's also incredibly energy efficient."

Apple has finally given way and launched a stylus, called the Apple Pencil, intended to offer pressure-sensitive drawing and painting rather than a standard control method. The Apple Pencil charges by plugging directly into the the iPad Pro’s Lightening Connector port.

The new iPad Pro will come in 64GB or 128GB versions, the latter coming with or without 4G LTE. The iPad Pro is backed by some new accessories: a detachable fabric keyboard and the aforementioned Apple Pencil stylus.