Remote working: how to get your business ready

In a crisis, the ability for your staff to work remotely could, quite literally, be a lifesaver.

But how do you set up your team to become remote workers? And what are the key considerations to think about when working remotely in the cloud?

Key considerations of remote working

61% of global companies currently have some sort of remote working policy for their staff, according to a 2019 survey. But for remote working to be effective, your business needs to put some serious thought into the infrastructure, security and culture around home-working.

  • Use the right cloud-based software tools and IT hardware.   To make remote working effective, ensure you have the right hardware and software to keep your team connected and working productively. So, laptops, tablets and a speedy internet connection are vital.
  • Be highly conscious of online security.  You’re likely to have sensitive customer and business data on your network, so it’s absolutely critical to use a secure connection. This may mean using a VPN (virtual private network) and two-step encryption.
  • Track your time and manage workflow online. When your team is remote you can’t keep track of their workflow in person. Instead, use time-tracking tools and online workflow management systems to monitor time spent and the progress of projects.
  • Ensure there’s real-time communication and messaging.  A key element that remote workers miss is face-to-face interaction with their colleagues. So, it’s important to have video and online messaging tools to promote good communication within the team.
  • Give clear guidance and retraining for staff. The motivation levels needed to stay efficient as a remote worker are very different to those of traditional office-based staff. Training is needed to help your people acclimatise and get used to self-managing their workload.

Covid – 19 Update

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Following a series of calls and emails received from concerned customers regarding Covid -19, we want to outline our strategy in response to the virus.

Continuation of Service:

Whilst we have to react to the situation as it unfolds, as a cloud-based business, Normans is well placed to continue to deliver our services with minimal disruption. We have already introduced home working inline with the government request to minimise social contact. At present all our staff are unaffected by the virus and working on your accounts as usual.  Our office landline number is being managed so at present there is absolutely no difficulty in contacting us.

We will keep you updated over the coming weeks if things change.

Customer Support:

The Government have announced a number of measures to support businesses through this situation. These include:

  • For businesses with fewer than 250 employees.  The cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full.

 

  • A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement

 

  • Introduced a new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank. This will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41 million to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million. The government will cover up to 80% of any losses with no fees.

If you need help or support with any of the points above then please feel free to call us on 01922 456 105. Our Managing Director Rob Burnell will help you wherever possible.

National Minimum Wage Increase

In April legislation comes in to increase the National Living Wage (NMW).

Here is a breakdown of the new salary rates that apply from April 2020 onwards.

  • The National Living Wage for ages 25 and above – up 6.2% to £8.72
  • The National Minimum Wage for 21 to 24-year-olds – up 6.5% to £8.20
  • 18 to 20-year-olds – up 4.9% to £6.45
  • Under-18s – up 4.6% to £4.55
  • Apprentices – up 6.4% to £4.15

If Normans Bookkeeping and Payroll Ltd process your payrolls, do not worry, we will make any salary amendments necessary.

 

 

 

Set the right growth goals for your business this year

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If you’re going to grow your company in the right way, pinning down your goals and having a clear vision for the business from the outset is vital.

You may want to increase profits and create an income that supports your lifestyle, or you are looking to increase market share and aim for hypergrowth. You may even be aiming to increase the overall value of the company to get the best return when exiting the business.

So, how do you define the goal that’s right for you?

Driving your performance over time

Your financial model will drive the way you generate value, so it’s important to make your business strategy fit the goals and type of growth you want to attain.

To set your finances up in the optimum way, you must:

  • Know what you want to achieve with the business – decide if you’re aiming for lifestyle, hypergrowth or return on investment and make this your key business goal.
  • Align your personal goals with the business – so your finances can be set-up to deliver the cash you need, with the best return and the most effective tax liability.
  • Track and measure your performance – allowing you to see how you’re progressing against your goal, and provide a scorecard to drive your ongoing business strategy.

Talk to us about about goal-setting

If you’re looking to grow your business, we’ll help you talk through your core vision, define the most effective goals and set up your finances to achieve these aims.

Get in touch with us at Normans Bookkeeping & Payroll Ltd to talk through your business goals.

KPMG closes SME accounting unit – do you need to find an alternative arrangement?

Does this affect you?

Earlier this year it was announced that KPMG is set to close the department they set up in 2015 to offer accounting services to small businesses. See the article at Accounting web.com for more details on the closure.

With KPMG having a prominent presence in Birmingham, this will be leaving a lot of small and medium-sized business in Birmingham and the surrounding areas such as Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Walsall, Lichfield in the position of having to source new providers for their bookkeeping, payroll and general accountancy needs.

Can we help?

Normans Bookkeeping & Payroll Ltd uses the same package of accounting software that KPMG adopted. This combines the use of Xero with support software such as receipt bank. As we use the same software we can provide a seamless transition of accounting services. Quite simply we can pick up right where your previous accountant at KPMG has left off.

As a customer of Normans Ltd, you will have initial and ongoing face to face meetings with the staff working on your accounts. We know this helps us to establish and maintain excellent working relationships. The main aim of this approach is to give all parties peace of mind.  We want you to be confident that your accounts are up to date. We want you to be confident your accounts contain all the information to you want to make sound financial decisions.  The regular communication and clear working processes we adopt will give you peace of mind. Your Management accountant and Bookkeeper at Normans are one of your team. They are as focused on the success of your business as you.

Don’t be put off, if you don’t have the time for face to face meetings. Don’t be put off if you are based further afield. We use skype and phone calls to communicate with our customers. We work with businesses all over England.

At Normans Ltd we know and understand the challenges that small and medium-sized business face.  We use our experience and success to date,  to help our customers, and ensure the financial services we provide focus on the things that matter most to their business.

Contact us for more information

If you are the owner or finance manager of a small or medium sized business and want to know more about the service we offer then please give us a call at Normans on 01922 456106.

Automatic Enrolment

Automatic Enrolment Pension scheme contributions are set to increase on 6th April 2019 to a total of 8% of qualifying Earnings of which 3% must be paid by the Employer.

Date Employer minimum contribution Employee minimum contribution  Total minimum contribution
April 6 2018 – April 5 2019 2% 3% 5%
April 6 2019 onwards 3% 5% 8%

All Normans Payroll clients will have this increase effected Automatically on their next payroll onwards from 6th April 2019 ensuring they are on top of latest legislation.

For any Employers who need further information on Auto Enrolment and how we can help please see below:

What is Auto Enrolment?

Auto enrolment is the UK’s new workplace pensions initiative – geared towards motivating the working population into saving towards their retirement.

It is a legal requirement for all employers to provide a pension that meets minimum standards by 2018.

All employees over age 22 and below State Pension Age, who work or ordinarily work in the UK, must be enrolled into a pension scheme as long as they earn over a certain amount per week or month.

How do I go about registering a scheme?

We recommend using an expert to set up your scheme to ensure you have complied with all of the onerous legislation surrounding Auto Enrolment. Here at Normans we have a recommended Independent Financial Advisor who can help set this up for you.

Once your scheme has been set up you will need someone to administer the scheme on an ongoing basis for items such as writing to new employees to inform them of the scheme, dealing with Leavers, etc. and again we recommend you use a pension expert such as our recommended IFA for this service.

What are Normans Charges for Auto Enrolment?

In terms of processing your payroll and calculating your deductions, there is no extra charge or fee. We just ask for a clear instruction on your pension scheme type so that we can administer your pension calculations accurately. If you use our recommended IFA we will liaise with them directly to obtain this information.

If you require us to upload your Pension information to your pension provider we only charge £6.00 per upload or we will give you a report for free so that you can upload it yourself.

Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital – Nothing to worry about.

I am sure by now you will have heard of or been written to about HMRC’s digital tax initiative called Making Tax Digital or MTD.

Here at Normans we have been ahead of the game for some time now as we already keep our client’s data electronically and submit our returns through Xero software – Ta-daa!

What is Making Tax Digital:

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is an HMRC initiative designed to make sure the UK tax system is effective, efficient and easier for taxpayers.

Making Tax Digital for business (MTD) begins on 1 April 2019 with MTD for VAT. From that date, VAT-registered businesses above the threshold of £85k will have to keep digital records and submit VAT returns using compatible software.

Here at Normans we only use Xero software (Link - https://www.normansbp.co.uk/cloud-bookkeeping-solutions/ ), and this is listed by HMRC as being MTD compatible.

Other components of Making Tax Digital, such as income tax and corporation tax, have been placed on hold until April 2020 at the earliest.

Want some advice?

Contact us today if you are concerned about MTD and how it impacts your business and we can tell you how we can help.

Below are some some useful links

HMRC Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUYe7SjYWR4
Xero Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVPiuEqkYLw
HMRC Stakeholder Communications Pack - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-tax-digital-for-business-stakeholder-communications-pack/making-tax-digital-for-business-stakeholder-communications-pack#important-facts-about-mtd