Welcome to our round up of the latest business news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!
Table of Contents
Transitioning to a Digital Landscape for Enhanced Efficiency
The shift towards paperless office solutions is rapidly gaining momentum, driven by the dual objectives of bolstering operational efficiency and meeting environmental targets. Our most successful clients have already streamlined their internal processes by embracing paperless practices across various functions.
Listed below are some strategies to transition towards a paperless operation, along with tangible benefits observed in our client base.
Adopting Cloud Storage for Information Management
Most businesses store critical data such as customer information, contracts, and sensitive employee records. Keeping these documents in physical form poses a higher risk of data loss compared to utilising a secure online portal.
Traditional filing systems often struggle to restrict access to authorised personnel only. Once a filing cabinet is accessed, anyone can peruse the files, potentially leading to information leakage.
The truth is, storing information on the cloud provides the most secure repository for sensitive data. Online storage offers:
a.Regular security updates: Cloud storage providers routinely and automatically update their software, eliminating the need for manual system updates.
b.Firewalls: Cloud software comes equipped with built-in firewalls, guarding against cyber threats and viruses.
c.Data encryption: Cloud providers employ encryption to scramble data, rendering it unreadable to unauthorised users.
d.Two-factor authentication: Implementing a two-factor authorization process adds an extra layer of security, making it significantly harder for hackers and data snoopers to gain access.
Transitioning to Online Payroll Software:
Replacing paper payslips with online payroll software not only reduces administrative overhead but also allows the finance team to focus on critical tasks. Additionally, it eases employees’ concerns about receiving their payments on time.
Adopting a paperless payroll system offers:
a.Enhanced security: Online payroll systems are encrypted and password protected.
b.Streamlined management: Modern payroll software automates the entire process, eliminating the need for manual tax and national insurance calculations as well as payslip printing. Employees typically experience minimal disruptions when transitioning to a paperless payroll system, such as receiving email notifications instead of physical letters. Moreover, your finance team gains access to a more secure and manageable system.
Embracing Digital Receipts for Expense Claims:
Managing paper receipts for expense claims can be cumbersome, with the risk of misplacing or forgetting vital details. Simplify the process and reduce paper usage by opting for digital receipts.
For instance, many of our clients utilise mobile apps to capture receipt images, which are automatically processed and seamlessly integrated into their accounting software. This results in a summarised record that employees can use to claim expenses.
Digital receipts are gaining popularity and can be used for various expenses. Most retailers now offer eInvoices, and for those still receiving paper invoices, software can be employed to scan and digitise them directly into your accounting system.
Leveraging Online Accounting Software:
Despite meticulous organization, physical documents often accumulate and are susceptible to loss. Cloud-based accounting software serves as a remedy to this issue. It allows for the processing of sales, purchases, receipts, and payments without the need for costly infrastructure or annual licensing fees. Most cloud providers offer a reasonable monthly subscription, granting 24/7, 365 access to the software.
Imagine being able to:
- – Snap a photo of a purchase invoice on your phone and have it automatically logged.
- – Have your bank data seamlessly feed into your accounts on a daily basis.
- – View your financial results, outstanding receivables, payables, and business bank balance anytime, anywhere, from your smartphone.
By adopting a cloud accounting package, you’ll gain:
- – Real-time insights into your current financial standing.
- – A fully online bookkeeping system without the need for software installations, with automatic backups.
- – Relief from upfront accounting software costs, including upgrades, maintenance, system, and administration expenses.
Book a free consultation with us to explore the benefits of a cloud accounting package. You’ll be astounded by the positive impact real-time financial knowledge can have on your business!
Empowering Start-ups and Small Businesses with Google’s AI Training
Google has recently unveiled a comprehensive online training program focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI), designed to equip individuals and businesses with the skills to harness the potential of AI, be it for time-saving purposes, career advancement, or business growth.
These modules offer practical guidance and insights centered around critical AI proficiencies, including:
Elevate Productivity with AI
This session serves as an introduction to advanced AI tools, both from Google and other sources. It demonstrates how modern workers can leverage these tools intelligently to optimise time management in the workplace and various tasks.
Participants will gain knowledge in the following areas:
- – An overview of generative AI and its functioning.
- – Practical utilization of AI-powered tools and techniques for time efficiency.
- – Techniques for formulating effective prompts.
Comprehending Machine Learning:
Tailored for small business leaders, owners, or anyone seeking a deeper comprehension of the subject, this session delves into the following aspects:
- – Understanding the mechanics of different machine learning models.
- – Fundamental steps for data preparation in a machine learning project.
- – Exploring avenues for implementing machine learning within a business context.
These training sessions exemplify Google’s commitment to democratising access to AI knowledge and skills. Whether you’re aiming to enhance your productivity or seeking to integrate machine learning into your business operations, these resources provide a valuable foundation. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to leverage the power of AI for your ventures!
Beware of Remote Access Scams, Warns Action Fraud
Since June 2023, Action Fraud has logged over 30 instances of remote access scams directed at businesses, resulting in reported losses exceeding £3.8 million.
After analysing these incidents, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified a common pattern employed by scammers to target businesses:
- – The scammer initiates contact with the victim, posing as a representative from their bank or a financial services provider utilised by the victim’s business.
- – The victim is coerced into installing a software, purportedly for a critical software update, that grants remote access to their computer.
- – At a certain point during the conversation, the victim is instructed to log in to their online banking account. Subsequently, the scammer deploys the remote access software to obscure the victim’s screen, allowing fraudulent transactions to be made from the victim’s account unbeknownst to them.
- – Additionally, the victim is instructed to vocalise a set of numbers sent to their mobile, purportedly by the scammer. In reality, these numbers constitute a one-time verification code from the victim’s bank, which, if disclosed to the scammer, permits unauthorised transfers from the victim’s account.
- – While some victims have reported variations in the execution of the scam, the scammers’ objective remains consistent – to persuade victims to access their online banking while the scammer maintains remote control over their computer.
To shield against remote access scams, adhere to the following guidance:
- – Never install remote access software on your device in response to an unsolicited call, browser pop-up, or text message. Legitimate banks will never request remote access to your computer or smartphone.
- – Refrain from disclosing one-time verification codes, even to bank personnel, that are sent to you to authorise transactions on your account.
If you suspect your device has been compromised by a virus or other form of malware, follow the National Cyber Security Centre’s guidance on recovering an infected device
Should you receive a suspicious call purporting to be from your bank, terminate the call, wait a few minutes, and then contact your bank using the contact details provided on the back of your debit card or from their official website or app.
In the event of falling victim to fraud or cybercrime, promptly report it to Action Fraud online or call at 0300 123 2040. For businesses, charities, or organizations experiencing an ongoing cyber-attack, call 0300 123 2040 immediately.
See: Action Fraud
UK Unveils Online Safety Bill to Safeguard Internet Users
The UK government has recently unveiled details of the Online Safety Bill, a comprehensive set of laws aimed at safeguarding both children and adults in the digital realm. This legislation will hold social media companies accountable for the safety of their users on their respective platforms.
Key provisions of the Online Safety Bill include:
- – Guide to the Online Safety Bill: An overview of the bill’s objectives and implementation.
- – Protection for Children: The bill will establish measures to ensure the safety of children while they navigate the online space.
- – Protection for Adults: Provisions will be in place to safeguard the online experience of adults.
- – Content Regulation: The bill will address various types of content, setting guidelines for permissible material.
- – Restricting Underage Access: Measures will be implemented to prevent underage children from accessing social media platforms.
- – Enhanced User Control: Adults will have increased authority over the content they encounter online.
- – Addressing Repeat Offenders: The bill will outline strategies to deal with individuals or entities engaging in repeated violations.
- – Enforcement Mechanisms: Mechanisms for the effective enforcement of the bill’s provisions.
- – Global Impact on Companies: Explanation of how these UK laws will affect international companies operating within the jurisdiction.
- – Next Steps for the Bill: An outline of the future steps in the legislative process.
Find a grant service
“Find a Grant” service, provided by the UK government, offers businesses a convenient platform to explore all grants funded by the UK government. This user-friendly website enables businesses to peruse available grants, verify their eligibility, and obtain guidance on the application process for each grant.
Key features of the “Find a Grant” service include:
- – Comprehensive Database: Businesses can access an extensive database of government-funded grants.
- – Eligibility Check: The service allows users to determine if they meet the eligibility criteria for specific grants.
- – Application Guidance: Detailed information on how to apply for each grant is provided, streamlining the application process.
- – Accessible to All: The service is open to anyone, making it a valuable resource for businesses seeking grant funding.
- – No Cost Involved: There are no charges associated with using this service, ensuring accessibility to all businesses.
- – Updates on New Grants: Users have the option to sign up for updates, ensuring they stay informed about newly available grants.
HMRC’s New Overlap Relief Form for Unincorporated Businesses
Sole traders, trading partnership partners, and LLP members who pay income tax on business profits are now under the new basis period taxation method. In the 2024/25 tax year, these business owners will be taxed based on profits generated within that specific tax year, regardless of their accounting date.
For the 2023/24 tax year, special provisions have been implemented to facilitate the transition of non-tax year end businesses from the existing accounting year end taxation method to a tax year basis. This entails offsetting all carried-over overlap relief against profits in the 2023/24 tax year.
A recently launched online form allows unincorporated businesses to request the overlap relief information held by HMRC for claiming purposes in the 2023/24 transition year. Given recent delays in taxpayer communications with HMRC, this form, available since September 11, may prove to be the most efficient option, especially as HMRC has dedicated a specialist team to handle requests.
To provide further clarity on basis period reform, HMRC will be conducting webinars on September 12 at 3.45pm and September 27 at 11.45am. You can join either of these here: Registration (gotowebinar.com)
Book a free consultation with us if you need assistance with changing your accounting year end or understanding the new system as we have expertise in performing the new calculations and advising business owners in this complicated area.
Latest HMRC Employer tax webinars
Listed below are a number of live HMRC webinars that will help employers with payroll. The webinars are free and last around an hour.
Expenses and benefits for your employees – trivial benefits
Fri 15 Sep at 11:45am
Expenses and benefits for your employees – social functions and parties
Wed 20 Sep at 1:45pm
Statutory Maternity and Paternity Pay
Thu 21 Sep at 9:45am
Statutory Sick Pay
Fri 22 Sep at 11:45am
Taxing employees’ benefits and expenses through your payroll
Mon 16 Oct at 11:45am
Employer filing obligations
Tue 17 Oct at 9:45am
National Work Life Week 2023
National Work Life Week 2023, scheduled for October 2nd to 6th, offers a dedicated space for employers and employees to prioritise workplace well-being and achieve a healthy work-life equilibrium. This occasion allows employers to organise activities for their staff, while also spotlighting their flexible work policies and implementation.
Government Facilitates Onshore Wind Projects with Local Support
The Government is ushering in new measures to expedite the approval process for onshore wind projects, championed by local communities in England. By streamlining planning regulations, local areas gain more influence over the considerations of onshore wind initiatives, resulting in cost savings on electricity bills and bolstered national energy security.
These measures encompass a wider range of methods to pinpoint suitable locations, including community-led approaches. They also accelerate the site allocation process by offering alternatives to the local planning framework. This ensures that the entire community has a voice, not just a limited number of dissenters. This, in turn, paves the way for more onshore wind projects to be greenlit, provided they have the backing of the community.
Crucially, local policies regarding onshore wind will continue to be determined by duly elected local councillors who are accountable to the community. Plans will proceed only when they can demonstrate local endorsement and address planning concerns raised by the community.
Additionally, communities endorsing local wind farms may stand to gain from reduced energy costs under proposed incentives for more projects. The Government has sought input on enhancing benefits and rewards for communities supporting onshore wind farms, with further details slated for release this Autumn.