Are you selling online? 20% more will be sold online in 2014 Reply

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Last year in was reported by BBC News….

A record amount of online shopping was done in December 2013, says the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Close to one in five non-food items was bought online last month.

There was also a 19.2% growth in internet purchases from a year earlier, the fastest increase in four years……..

According to Law Donut….

Online sales in the run up to Christmas this year are expected to grow by 19.5% over 2013, with UK shoppers expected to spend £17.4 billion online.

Total Christmas sales are predicted to reach £74.3bn according to research conducted by the Centre of Retail Research for RetailMeNot, with the average UK household spending £775 on all of their Christmas shopping.

Are you trading online? do you have a website? do you have an App?

steve@bicknells.net

Sales Forecasting using Weighted Averages 2

Profitability

For project based businesses you need to understand the sales pipeline inorder to produce a forecast, a typical sales pipeline looks like this:

  1. Prospects and Leads
  2. Qualified Opportunities
  3. Visits/Meetings
  4. Proposals
  5. Revised Proposals
  6. Sales

In many cases larger contracts require a Prequalification Questionnaire (PQQ) and Tender.

If you want to forecast Sales you have to start by recording the volume of activity at each stage of the pipeline and your success rate at each stage.

Sales is all about activity, the more Prospects you can find the more Sales will be achieved.

Finding propects will be different for every organisation but Social Media and Linked In are increasing being used to find Prospects.

To prepare a Weighted Average forecast you simply use you success ratios and apply them to each stage of the process, so for example if you win 1 in 3 proposals that means you need 3 proposals to get one sale.

You can use this approach to set targets for your sales team.

On submitted proposals you can also apply a probability of success assessed by your sales team.

The key to Sales is to Always Be Closing!

steve@bicknells.net

Will you be supporting Small Business Saturday? 3

Small Business Saturday Chalk board Sign

Small Business Saturday will be on Saturday 6th December 2014.

Over 99% of Business are Small or Medium Sized! and 47% of employees work for those businesses.

https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/#small-biz-100

We want all kinds of small businesses to get involved, so know that whether you are a family business, local shop, online business, wholesaler or small manufacturer, Small Business Saturday is supporting you!

Research carried out by American Express following last year’s event found that 43 per cent of consumers chose to visit small businesses as a direct result of Small Business Saturday.

Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Vince Cable confirmed: “The Government is fully behind the Small Business Saturday campaign, which gives people the opportunity to trumpet the valuable contribution they make, not just to the economy but to their local communities.”

steve@bicknells.net

Top 15 points in the Small Business Bill 1

Business teamwork for success

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill is going through parliment now

The Bill will open up new opportunities for small businesses to:

  • compete
  • get finance to create jobs
  • grow
  • innovate
  • export

Here are my top 15 key points:

  1. For every piece of legislative brought in two pieces will be removed
  2. Prompt Payment
  3. Changes to Childcare Early Years and Child Minder Registrations
  4. Cheque imaging from smart phones (Presentment of Cheques)
  5. Banks will share data on Small Businesses with other Lenders
  6. Invalidating restrictive terms in business contracts to increase access to Invoice Discounting
  7. Company Transparency – Register of People with Significant Control
  8. Accelerated Strike Off
  9. Company filing changes
  10. Directors Disqualification – tougher rules
  11. Schools, Colleges, Higher Education to track students into the labour force
  12. Penalties for employers who fail to pay an Employment Tribunal award
  13. Penalties for non compliance with National Minimum Wage increased to 100% or upto £20,000
  14. Improved access to alternative finance
  15. Streamlined Company Registration

These are major changes that will affect us all!

steve@bicknells.net

How far would you go to retain staff? 1

Biological Clock

Apple and Facebook are now offering to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs!

The initiative is part of the so-called “perks arms race” as Silicon Valley firms battle to recruit top talent and it is hoped the perk will attract more women into a traditionally male-dominated sector. (Sky News)

Fertility specialist Philip Chenette is quoted as saying “providing egg-freezing coverage for employees can be viewed as a type of payback for women’s commitment in a mael-dominated industry where technology firms are often competing to attract female talent” (NBC News)

https://www.pacificfertilitycenter.com/fertility-preservation/

The cost for egg freezing in the US is about $10,000 (£6,200) for every round, as well as $500 or more for storage each year.

Apple also offer assistance with adoption.

Will UK companies soon be offering this perk?

steve@bicknells.net

Companies House reports will be Free in 2015 Reply

Businessman get idea

Its time to review your subscription to company information databases!

Companies House is to make all of its digital data available free of charge. This will make the UK the first country to establish a truly open register of business information.

As a result, it will be easier for businesses and members of the public to research and scrutinise the activities and ownership of companies and connected individuals. Last year (2013/14), customers searching the Companies House website spent £8.7 million accessing company information on the register.

Until it becomes free in 2015, you will still have to pay

Companies House WebCHeck Charges
Company accounts £1
Annual return £1
Company record report £1
Current appointments report FREE
Monitor Service (per company, per year) FREE

This change will come into effect from the second quarter of 2015 (April – June).

steve@bicknells.net

 

When will your company stop being small? Reply

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Back in June 2013 the EU passed a directive 2013/34/EU which changed the thresholds for small companies.

 

Present Proposed
Turnover  £6,500,000  £10,200,000
Total assets  £3,260,000  £5,100,000
Average no. of employees  50 50

As before its a  2 out of 3 test. The Audit thresholds are unchanged.

The UK was required to transpose this into UK Law no later than 20th July 2015.

The Dept for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) have just concluded their consultation (24th October 2014) and the plan is currently to implement the change for financial years starting on or after 1st January 2016.

As pointed out by SWAT

This could mean that a company with a turnover between £6.5m and £10.2m will be required to prepare its accounts for year ended 31 December as follows:

2014 as a medium sized company under present UK GAAP;

2015 as a medium sized company under FRS 102;

2016 as a small company under the applicable accounting regime for small companies.

This might depend on whether the company could early adopt the new regulations for its 2015 accounts. The possibility of early adoption is one of the questions asked by BIS.

Surely BIS can see that not allowing early adoption will place an unnecessary reporting burden on Small Companies?

 

steve@bicknells.net

Will you be exporting in Export Week? Reply

Export - Red Hanging Cargo Container.

Its the UK Trade and Investment’s 6th annual Export Week (10 to 14 November).

Previous Export Weeks have seen over 17,000 companies in the UK attend exporting focussed events. This week we will again have over 70 events across the UK; there will be at least one event per day in every part of the UK.

According to a recent survey by Barclays Corporate Banking, in new emerging markets 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product which displays the Union Jack.

A survey by Exact back in June 2014 showed…

The survey of 453 SME leaders found that 54% of SMEs now sell products or services abroad. It found that exporting is the biggest growth area for 19% of the UK’s SMEs, and 68% of those who currently export saw export sales increase in 2013 over the previous year. For 18%, exports now account for over half their sales.

HMRC have a helpsheet TH/FS15 which has some helpful advice on importing and exporting.

So will your business be exporting this week?

steve@bicknells.net

What is the Foster Care Allowance? Reply

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All Foster Carers are classed as Self Employed and can choose whether to be taxed using one of two methods – the Simplified or Profit methods.

Simplified Method

This is the most common method.

Your ‘qualifying amount’ for a tax year consists of two parts:

  1. Your Annual Fixed Amount per household of £10,000
  2. Plus your Weekly/Part Week Amount of £200 (under 11 years old) or £250 (over 11 years old)

If your income exceeds this level under the Simplified Method your are taxed on the difference.

Profit Method

This method works best if you have high expenses, to use this method you need to keep detailed records of all your expenses including capital expenditure.

Using the Profit Method you don’t use the allowances but prepare detailed accounts on which you are taxed.

National Insurance

Foster Carers are subject to Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance.

Further details are in HMRC Helpsheet 236

steve@bicknells.net

Is your act theatrical enough to have tax deductible agents fees? Reply

Las Vegas Elvis impersonator

Actors, singers, musicians, dancers and theatrical artists are permitted to make a deduction for agents fees under ITEPA 2003 S352.

But its more complicated than you might think based on recent cases…

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan (2006) SpC 547 it was only on appeal that the Special Commissioner agreed that their chat show was considered theatrical.

The Special Commissioners also thought that Bruce Forsyth and Ant and Dec qualified.

But that Quiz shows were borderline, for example they felt Jeremy Paxman (University Challenge) and John Humphry (Mastermind) didn’t qualify, but Anne Robinson (The Weakest Link) did qualify and Chris Tarrant (Who wants to be a Millionaire) was borderline.

So do you think the special commissioners would see your act as Theatrical?

steve@bicknells.net