SMEs

Company Directors: Why You Should be Making the Most of Tax Relief Allowances

Company Directors: Why You Should be Making the Most of Tax Relief Allowances

As a company director, you’ve already got your head round all the legally enforceable regulations that govern your role. You have taken on the responsibilities directorship entails and kept the interests of the company at the heart of your decision making. Your record keeping and company accounts are maintained through clear, scrupulous systems; and a crucial part of your financial management is the administration and payment of relevant taxation. As unpopular as it is inevitable, there is one upside to the tax system – allowances! Nobody wants to miss out on their entitlement so here we look at what you need to pay and what you can claim back… The main business taxes: What you need to be aware of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) establishes the rules and you are legally responsibl... »

Small and Mid-Sized Businesses Concerned about Funding Growth

Over half of small businesses have growth plans but two thirds believe they will not get the necessary funding from banks A recent survey by Close Brothers Business Barometer (CBBB) emphasised the need for small and mid-sized businesses to consider alternative finance options. The survey revealed that over 50% of small businesses plan to grow next year, but in order to do so they must seek funding from their banks – which nearly two thirds believe they may be denied. The number of businesses concerned about being refused funding has risen 10% since the start of 2013, with one in five respondents denied financial help by their bank in the last six months. The survey emphasised a need for a change in small and mid-sized bank lending; and the necessity of alternative funding information for s... »

SMEs Spend 3 Weeks a Year Chasing Payment

New research from RBS Invoice Finance, suggests that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) spend an average of 130 hours, or up to three weeks, per year chasing payments. In addition, the research shows that SMEs wait on average 30 days longer than their agreed payment terms before they actually receive the money. Those twin factors are contributing to the cash flow problems plaguing many SMEs. RBS Invoice Finance has issued five Golden Rules that can ease the burden of chasing payments and help businesses maintain a healthy cashflow: SMEs should think about re-visiting their current cashflow projections with a ‘worst case scenario’ in mind, so that they can see exactly what impact late payers are likely to have on the business – and then plan accordingly; Businesses might be able to en... »

Prepaid Cards for Business: Why They Work for SMEs

Credit control and audit trails are not just the province of large corporates. In fact, a lot of the success of rapidly-growing SMEs is derived through efficient control and management of information systems. So how do prepaid cards work? Where do prepaid cards for small business come in? There are a number of ways- here are some ideas: Cash floats for sales and field based staff The problem here is that historically, staff have had to use their money for fuel, per diem expenses and travel, or you have to give a cash advance. Businesses, big and small, are often reluctant to provide credit cards as incidents of misuse can be costly and time consuming. With a prepaid card you can set a limit on the financial exposure (this is the amount you load on the card), reporting on expenditure can be... »

ONS Research Highlights the Importance of UK SMEs

ONS Research Highlights the Importance of UK SMEs

Analysis of recent research published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) highlights the importance of UK SMEs within the private sector according to business insurance provider SimplyBusiness. The Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions 2010 issued by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills illustrate that: 99.9% of the total enterprises in the UK are SMEs SMEs provide 59.1% of the jobs in the private sector SMEs generate 48.7% of the turnover of the private sector Jason Stockwood, CEO at Simply Business, commented: “This research clearly confirms the importance of SMEs in the UK private sector – particularly in terms of the number of jobs they provide. They really are essential to our economy.” The government have shown support to SME... »

SMEs Hit with Backdated Energy Bills

Almost 2,000 small businesses have been charged additional fees on their electricity and gas bills after their energy use was inaccurately estimated last year, government figures have revealed. A total of 1,848 small businesses (those with less than ten employees) called the government-backed helpline, Consumer Direct, in 2010 to complain after receiving backdated bills. Energy watchdog Consumer Focus’ head of energy, Audrey Gallacher, said the problem was caused by energy suppliers sending estimated bills and small firms giving suppliers inaccurate readings. “This is probably just the tip of the iceberg, because a lot of small firms wouldn’t think of going to Consumer Direct. Many small firms are unaware that they can be back-billed for up to six years. If they get a bill for thousands of... »

Small Businesses Need Protection in Dispute Resolution

The Forum of Private Business is calling on the Government to protect small businesses against employees who exploit employment laws to make ‘vexatious claims’ against them. Based on its Employment Panel research, in addition to 2008-09 employment tribunal statistics and data from the Civil Mediation Council (CMC), the Forum estimates that there are approximately 1,900,000 workplace disputes in the UK every year. As part of its new Get Britain Trading campaign, the Forum is calling for more flexibility for smaller employers in order to free them to create jobs and drive economic growth. Responding to the Government’s ‘resolving workplace disputes’ consultation, the not-for-profit organisation is highlighting the results of its latest Employment Law member panel survey. According to the For... »

UK SMBs Reach for the Clouds

Can cloud computing work for your business? Listen to today’s podcast with Tanya Shirlow, Head of SMB Marketing at Microsoft. Uncertain economic conditions have brought about new business models which have fundamentally transformed the way that we do business, for employees and customers alike. With a heightened focus on speed and flexibility to perform everyday business tasks and swiftly meet customer demand, technology is uniquely positioned to help small businesses adapt. Agile and unrestricted unlike many larger players, Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) have much to gain from technology, particularly cloud computing. The cloud has enormous potential for SMBs in terms of economics, management, productivity and business flexibility. By having the applications at your finger... »

ACCA concerned over Government Pledge to ‘remove accounts and audit’ for SMEs

Audit is not red tape, and it adds value in an enterprising culture. The preparation of accounts and the independent audit of that information bring value to businesses large and small, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) in response to the Government’s announcement that “no small firm will have to have independently audited accounts any longer.” ACCA is concerned that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), in a news release issued on Friday 4 March, referred to annual accounts as ‘paperwork’ and the current obligation of companies to prepare them as ‘burdensome’. John Davies, head of technical at ACCA, says: “Annual accounts are prepared and published as a quid pro quo for the privilege of adopting limited liabili... »

Cyber Crime, E-risks and Professional Indemnity Insurance

Research by specialist small business insurer Hiscox reveals that 75% of SMEs do not feel completely confident that their office premises are safe from thieves and nearly a quarter (22%) are concerned about e-risks and cyber crime. Since the start of the financial downturn, over a third (38%) believe their offices are more likely to be a target of burglary. The item deemed most at risk, by 41% of SME owners in the study, was computer equipment. E-risks that they face, such as theft of data, online identity fraud, loss of confidential information or hacker damage were also cited as a concern. This comes as no surprise as government statistics reveal that the average cost of the worst IT information security incident to a small company each year is £10,000-£20,000. Just 17% of SME owners sai... »

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