Thursday, 27 October 2016

3 Tips for Better Talent Management!

The "war on talent" seems to be raging on. Large businesses are competing to recruit the best graduates straight from university and many firms are prepared to pay well for the most experienced candidates. As a result, all businesses need to manage the talent they already have.

Talent management is often considered to be an HR matter but the management team in any business should be involved in managing the firm’s most valuable resource – its people. Start by identifying the high potential people in your firm and work towards developing them and retaining them in the business.

Talent Development

Create a strategy to hire the best people and nurture them throughout their careers. Managers should set the tone and work to develop employee’s skills and knowledge to help them to realise their potential in the firm. Your firm’s talent development programme should include theory and practice as well as coaching and mentoring sessions for your high potential employees. If your team feels like they have an opportunity to develop at their current firm, they are less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere.

Learn from Others 

Consider what talent management looks like at other firms within your industry sector. What do the biggest international firms do well and what could you offer to your team members that would differentiate your firm from the competition? Even if you run a smaller business, you can learn from the market leaders and implement some of their ideas.

Recognition and Reward

Consider the skills, knowledge and performance of employees and identify those who are high performers and/or exhibit leadership potential. Formal performance appraisals should happen at least annually and “top talent” within the business should be sufficiently challenged with objectives which will encourage them to perform, while retaining their commitment to the firm. The appraisal process should be transparent in order to avoid any potential conflict between employees.

Continuous Professional Development

Good businesses tend to promote a culture of life long learning. All members of your team should be offered access to and encouraged to take part in training courses, development opportunities, etc. Investment in continuous professional development should be viewed by the firm as an investment in the future of the business as today’s “top talent” are the business leaders of tomorrow.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

4 Advantages of Being a Sustainable Business!

The “green agenda” has moved to the forefront of the modern business world. Society is experiencing an increasing shift in focus to sustainable business and environmental responsibility.

For businesses, embracing sustainability includes encouraging active preservation of the environment and communities, while also promising attractive cost savings. Many firms have made considerable savings through implementing sustainability programs across their value chains.

1. Reducing Operational Costs

Low-cost initiatives can have a profound impact on reducing energy consumption. Legislation in the form of tax incentives is also encouraging businesses to implement sustainable practices. This includes property tax exemptions, income tax credits or easier access to financing and government grants. To qualify for these programmes, businesses must either install certain equipment, implement pollution control mechanisms or utilise environmentally friendly materials, recycled components etc.

2. Strengthening Brands

With the increasing global concern about the environment, businesses can now leverage their sustainability and related achievements, investments, and skills, to strengthen their value and reputation. Conversely, those businesses that fail to resonate with what consumers and stakeholders deem to be important could see a detrimental impact on their brands.

3. Improving Employee Recruitment and Retention

The next generation of professionals (millennials) are more environmentally aware and focused on sustainability. They are attracted to businesses that are socially responsible, and want to work for companies with a positive impact on the world around them. Therefore, building your firm's brand around sustainability will help you to attract the best new generation recruits.

4. Enhancing Innovation

Building a more sustainable business encourages your people to become more innovative. This focus on innovation encourages the development of new products or services and new ways of doing business.  Nike, who used plastic bottles from landfills in Japan to manufacture soccer jerseys, being a great example.

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Friday, 21 October 2016

Knowledge Management - Importance & Strategy!

Knowledge management in business is all about identifying and developing critical technical and management knowledge and deploying it across the firm in a way that adds value.

Importance of Knowledge Management:

Most businesses will have considered the risk of losing valuable knowledge to the extent that when talent walks out the door, the prime concern is losing the technical know-how which those people possess. Exit interviews are reactive, somewhat ineffective and instead managers should adopt more proactive practices.

Knowledge Management Strategy:

Collaboration Systems

Collaboration systems such as internal forums can be useful in encouraging teams to share know-how across the firm. Some firms even create wiki sites which can be searched by staff who need to access important knowledge or information quickly and easily.

Central Repository

The firm should have a central repository, with policies and procedures as well as relevant know-how documents and guides. The majority of this knowledge will be internal and the focus should be on documenting and sharing know-how around operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Customer Focused

Your knowledge management strategy can also be customer focused. The key here is to create and share know-how that helps to ensure that customer relationships are maintained, service levels are high and sales volumes are increased. The crucial knowledge is centered around the products or services that the business offers, as well as knowledge about the customers themselves, the market, competitors and other firms in the sector. The majority of this knowledge will be internal with some external knowledge (such as market information) being needed to fully understand the client, your competitors and the sector in which you operate.

Innovation Focused

Your knowledge management strategy could also have an innovation focus. This involves the creation and utilisation of new and existing knowledge in order to create new products and services. Much of this knowledge will be external and may include market research, analysing client data, etc.

A successful management strategy must identify the key needs and issues within the firm, and provide a framework for addressing these.

Contact us for your business help requirement:
PJ | ☎ 020 89310165 | ☏ 07900537459 | ✉

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

UK Tax Changes: October-November 2016!

Changes To Farmers Averaging:

From 2016/17 onwards farmers now have the option to smooth out their profits over two or five tax years as the result of a change in Finance Act 2016.

Farmers’ and market gardeners’ profits often fluctuate wildly from one year to the next and the tax rules for many years have allowed them to average their profits in order to smooth out those fluctuations.

It is expected that there could be even greater fluctuations as the result of changes to subsidies and support payments following Britain’s exit from the EU so 2 or 5-year averaging will need to be carefully considered. We can of course assist you in this decision process.

Paying 20% Instead Of 28% On The Sale Of Property:

The latest Finance Act has retained the 28% CGT rate for sales of residential property, whereas the general rate was reduced to 20% for higher rate taxpayers.

It has been suggested that it is possible to reduce the rate from 28% to 20% by deferring the gain temporarily into qualifying EIS company shares.

The tax planning opportunity arises because reinvesting the property gain in Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) company shares defers the gain until the shares are sold when the gain comes back into charge at the general rate of CGT, currently 20% for a higher rate taxpayer.

There is no minimum holding period for EIS deferral relief, however where the investor is seeking income tax relief and CGT exemption on the sale of the shares they need to be an unconnected investor and retain the EIS shares for at least 3 years.

The reinvestment in EIS shares must take place during the period of 12 months before to 36 months after the date of disposal of the property.

Shares in EIS qualifying companies are risky investments and specialist investment advice should be taken. There is also a chance that HMRC may block this tax planning strategy in the future.

Advisory Fuel Rate For Company Cars:

These are the suggested reimbursement rates for employees' private mileage using their company car from 1 September 2016. Where there has been a change the previous rate is shown in brackets.

Engine Size
1400cc or less


1600cc or less

9p (8p)

1401cc to 2000cc

13p (12p)

9p (8p)
1601 to 2000cc


Over 2000cc

20p (19p)
12p (11p)
You can continue to use the previous rates for up to 1 month from the date the new rates apply.

VAT Implications of Employee Mileage Claims:

Note that where employers reimburse their employees 45p per mile for using their own cars they are able to reclaim input VAT based on the amounts shown in the table. 

In the case of a 1600cc diesel car that would be 1.5 pence per mile.  (9p x 20/120). Such a claim needs to be supported by a receipt from the filling station.

Contact us if you need business help:
PJ | ☎ 020 89310165 | ☏ 07900537459 | ✉

Monday, 17 October 2016

Reporting To HMRC Every Quarter To Go Ahead In 2018!

The Government and HMRC remain committed to the "Making Tax Digital" project with more information being sent online to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by employers, pension funds, banks and other institutions.

The next big step will be the introduction of quarterly reporting of income and expenditure by businesses and landlords from 2018. HMRC are currently consulting on a number of proposals to make radical changes to facilitate the introduction of the new regime. We accountants have serious concerns about the timescale; HMRC say “you will not need an accountant to fill out the information on the new system.” They are expecting businesses to use new Apps on their Smart phones and Tablets to transmit their data to HMRC.


Small businesses and landlords will be encouraged to prepare their accounts on a cash basis with the threshold for using the basis significantly increased.

The current basis period rules for unincorporated businesses to be reformed.

A new voluntary Pay As You Go (PAYG) system to be introduced to help businesses budget for their tax payments.


About 1 million small businesses currently prepare their accounts on a cash basis. The present threshold for using the cash basis is the VAT registration limit £83,000 and HMRC are consulting on the limit being significantly increased, possibly double the VAT threshold of £166,000, the current limit for leaving the scheme.


The current cash basis for preparing accounts was introduced as a simplification measure from 6 April 2013. Using the cash basis means that businesses merely need to calculate their profits based on receipts and payments.
There are no adjustments at the end of each period for accrued expenses and amounts prepaid, and no adjustment for stock or bad debts at the end of the period.
Another simplification is that the cost of equipment bought for the business, except for motor cars, can be deducted directly in arriving at the profit without the need for a capital allowances claim. One disadvantage of the current cash basis rules is that interest on money borrowed to finance the business is limited to £500 a year and a similar restriction is likely to be incorporated into the new rules.


The current basis period rules are complex, and many unincorporated business owners find them difficult to comprehend.  Where the business makes up accounts to a date other than 5 April the accounts and profits have to be made to “fit” into the tax year. There are particular problems at the commencement of trading as some of the initial profits are taxed twice and the “overlap” profits are then deducted on cessation.

One proposal is for businesses to prepare accounts for a period that aligns with the tax year (6 April - 5 April) or even prepare accounts for shorter periods such as each quarter to align with their VAT quarters and submissions to HMRC.


Another complication of the current self-assessment regime is that where tax has not been collected under PAYE or at source, primarily on self-employed profits and rental income, the taxpayer is required to make payments on account.

These payments on account are due on 31 January and 31 July based on 50% of the outstanding liability for the previous tax year with a balancing payment the following 31 January.

This can make budgeting cash flow for the self-employed and landlords difficult for some to manage.
The government is proposing to introduce a new voluntary Pay as You Go (PAYG) system for the self-employed and landlords to make payments towards their income tax, national insurance and VAT liabilities monthly with a reconciliation at the end of the year.

Many of these proposals may have significant implications for your business. We will update you on further details once we see the outcome of the various consultations. We can then discuss how we can assist you with your quarterly obligations.

Contact us for more:
PJ | ☎ 020 89310165 | ☏ 07900537459 | ✉

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Importance of Gaining a Competitive Edge!

Competition is a fact of life. The best businesses set the pace and aren't afraid to go their own way. How do you and your firm respond to competition? Are you leaders, differentiators or do you follow the pack?

If you want to move ahead of your competitors, you need to change how your business positions itself within its sector of the market. After all, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a definition of madness.

Being in business is about running your own race and doing it your way. Have a plan and execute it the way you want and at the pace you want to. Running after the competition is no good if they are running in the wrong direction.

Many businesses struggle to identify their competitive advantage and even those that do manage to define it, tend to be ineffective at communicating that advantage. Consider what it is that makes your business unique. What is it that sets your business apart from the competition?

Identify, clarify, and communicate to your prospects and customers why they should buy from you instead of from someone else. Some firms will focus on being the highest quality provider, others will choose to offer the better service or the lowest price.

If you don’t focus on your competitive advantage and communicate that to your clients and targets, you could lose customers. If you don’t try to differentiate your firm, they could mistake your competitors as being the same as you.

Tell your clients why you are different and what that difference means to them. Create a marketing message which explains the benefit that using your firm provides. It is important to “sell the benefit” of the service rather than to sell the service based on its features.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Liquidating A Company - Is It A Capital Gain?

One of the anti-avoidance measures being introduced by the latest Finance Bill potentially changes the way that certain payments to shareholders will be taxed. This may result in payments following some company liquidations being taxed as dividends instead of capital gains.

The Government is concerned that the new  higher rates of income tax that have applied to dividends since 6 April 2016 may tempt some shareholder / directors to extract value built up within their companies in a capital form, rather than paying out the retained profits as dividends. This is because capital gains are generally taxed at a lower rate than income, possibly as low as 10% where entrepreneurs relief is available.

For example, a higher rate taxpaying shareholder receiving £100,000 on the liquidation of his company would pay £32,500 (32.5%) if the anti-avoidance applies, whereas CGT would be just £10,000 (10%) if entrepreneurs relief is available.  Consequently, new stricter rules are being introduced to apply to transactions on or after 6 April 2016.

When is a liquidation taxed as income?

For the new anti-avoidance rules to apply, the company being wound up must firstly be a close company and the individual must have held at least a 5% interest in the company (ordinary share capital and voting rights).

A further condition is that the individual (or connected person) continues to carry on the same or a similar trade or activity to that carried on by the wound-up company within the two years following the distribution.

It must also be reasonable to assume, having regard to all of the circumstances that the arrangements appear to have a tax advantage as one of the main purposes.

Can we obtain clearance prior to the liquidation?

Accountants and tax advisors requested that the new anti-avoidance rules should provide a formal clearance procedure prior to the transaction, thus providing certainty as to whether or not the payment would be taxed as income or capital.  Unfortunately, there is no formal clearance procedure. HMRC have however received a number of clearance requests from taxpayers and have confirmed that it is not their general practice to offer clearances on recently introduced legislation with a purpose test.

HMRC have therefore drafted a standard reply that sets out a small number of examples and they are working on more detailed guidance, which should be published before the end of this year.

This is a very complex area and we suggest that you contact us before you consider liquidating your company.

Contact us if you need business help:
PJ | ☎ 020 89310165 | ☏ 07900537459 | ✉