best practice

National Minimum Wage

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage sets out the hourly rates almost all UK workers are entitled to by law and every employer, no matter how small, must pay. Designed to provide employees with decent minimum standards and fairness in the workplace, the National Minimum Wage helps small businesses compete on the basis of the quality of goods and services provided rather than low prices based on low rates of pay. The law was first introduced on 1 April 1999 by the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999. Set by government, the headline figure is based on guidance provided by the independent body the Low Pay Commission. What is the National Minimum Wage? The Minimum Wage is a legal right which covers almost all workers above compulsory school leaving age. There are... »

Cloud Computing – Benefits and Best Practices

Cloud computing, or virtualisation as it is sometimes called, is one of the hottest trends in information technology. This innovative new way of doing business allows companies to store their vital information and frequently used applications offsite using the internet for access. So how does cloud computing benefit business? For most companies, cloud computing is a great way to reduce IT costs and equipment requirements by storing the bulk of the company’s electronic data and computing applications offsite and accessing it through the internet. Rather than having copies of the software installed on each computer or on a centralized server, cloud computing uses the process of virtualisation to provide access to that same software through the company’s internet connection. Virtualisation si... »

Local Enterprise Partnership Good Practice Guide

Introduction For most businesses it is the private sector which can best provide the most professional customer focussed help for small firms and the government’s role is to facilitate that help and make the market work better for business. The government is continuing to drive a simpler approach to the support that it offers and provide a framework businesses can understand and navigate. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have simplified the Government funded offer for business improvement by introducing a streamlined Solutions for Business (SfB) portfolio with a much clearer focus on improving business performance and growth. The portfolio will be targeted at activities where a Government lead is required, for example, on supporting complex trade deals and challengi... »

Data Protection Good Practice

Security of personal information This good practice article aims to alert small and medium sized organisations to the security measures they should have in place to protect the personal information they hold. The Data Protection Act 1998 requires all organisations to have appropriate security to protect personal information against unlawful or unauthorised use or disclosure, and accidental loss, destruction or damage. It is not intended, and cannot be, a comprehensive guide to all aspects of security in all circumstances and for all organisations. The British Standards Institute (BSI) has an information assurance standard that can be tailored to individual circumstances. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have also produced guides and checklists which will help you to... »

Choosing an Accountant

A good accountant will save you and your business money, but it’s essential to choose the right one for your particular business. Use the following checklist to find the right person. 1) Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations 2) Check that the accountant is suitably qualified 3) Find out if the accountant has expertise at dealing with your sort of business 4 ) Set up an initial meeting to discuss your needs 5) Find out how much the accountant charges 6) Check who will actually handle your work Choosing an Accountant – Things to Do 1. Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations Ask friends, colleagues or business associates if they would recommend their own accountants. Alternatively, ask your local Business Link or bank manager for advice on accountants in the area or ... »

A Small Business Guide to Leadership

A Small Business Guide to Leadership

Achieving best practice in your small business is a key theme within any approach to business support solutions, providing ideas and insights into how you can improve performance across your business. Seeing what works in other businesses can help you see what can help you, and then support you in implementation. This small business guide focuses on these solutions. An inspired and motivated workforce is essential for any small business that hopes to stay ahead of the competition. But just how do you motivate people? What kind of leadership do people respond to? And how can you improve the quality of leadership in your business? This small business advice article looks at examples of best practice in leadership and how businesses can apply the lessons to their own organisations. What makes... »