Latest news from HCA – September 2017

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Are you utilising software & technology for your bookkeeping?

The last couple of years has seen much change in our profession, with a vast array of new software providers plus the advancement in technology. These welcome additions have changed the traditional way that bookkeeping is undertaken and has brought more efficient ways of working, improved collaboration and a clearer understanding of the financial position for many businesses. 

For example:

  • Automated bank statement feeds into your bookkeeping software
  • Intuitive matching of data to support your bank reconciliation
  • Scanning of invoice data to input information into your accounts
  • Apps that take photographs of those receipts often lost and automatically linked to your bookkeeping software
  • The ability to establish ‘What if’ rules to manage those repeating transactions
  • The synchronisation of data from your software to third parties including your Auto Enrolment provider and HMRC
  • Cloud access or App’s for your employees to access their payroll data and receive their payslip digitally

We use a range of Bookkeeping software including Sage, Xero and BrightPay for Payroll. We look to match the right software that we support with your business and the way you work.

At HCA we offer bookkeeping, accounts, training and IT Support, so this blend of services enables us to be in the best position of supporting our clients with the effective use of software and technology. If you would like to discuss more, then please contact us.

How will Brexit impact your workforce?

There is no doubt, the Brexit referendum result has created a period of uncertainty as the country waits to find out what the decision to leave the European Union will exactly mean.

One of the biggest impacts of Britain leaving the European Union will be the change of free movement of workers. It is understood that a high percentage of current EU workers employed would be ineligible for a work permit issued under the existing rules.

Have you considered the impact on your business, if it was more difficult to recruit the skills and resources you require at the current wages rates?

What would be the impact if you had new or higher recruitment costs to recruit x% of new staff or perhaps pay 10% extra in wages to attract new team members?

What impact could potential changes make on your business? Will additional costs mean higher prices to your customers or the need to reduce other costs / investments or find more customers to maintain the profitability? 

We do recommend a ‘sensitivity’ review of your financial forecast to consider such ‘What If’ scenarios.

Protecting your business against network attacks

New ‘headline’ stories continue to be shared of large or public organisations being attacked and potentially losing data. However, there are many stories of small businesses that we do not hear about and the risk of an attack is perhaps greater than ever as the techniques to access become more sophisticated and some tools to use for such activity are freely available online.

So, what can you do to prevent against your network being attacked?

  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for any remote access, adding privacy and security to public networks.
  • Ensure there is a padlock symbol in the URL address bar, indicating your connection is secure.
  • Avoid unknown public Wi-Fi sources and build your knowledge of trusted secure locations to connect from.
  • Ensure you anti-virus software is up to date and doing what you think it should be doing. Not all anti-virus software does everything you think it may do!
  • Invest in Intrusion-detection systems (IDS) and DDoS mitigation appliances that can help protect against protocols used and block illegitimate traffic to your website.

If you would like to discuss the security of your network and how best to protect your valuable data, then do not hesitate to call our IT-tech team at HCA. 

Tax-free benefits you can provide for employees

There are certain benefits you can provide to employees without any ‘Benefits in kind’ tax implications for them, such as:

  • meals in a staff canteen
  • hot drinks and water at work
  • a mobile phone
  • workplace parking

You can also pay for their Christmas party attendance, if it costs £150 or less per head and the offer is open to all employees. As an employer you may also provide tax free childcare support. 

If you have a question about taxation on benefits, then do not hesitate to contact us.

Tax relief on the purchase of your tools

One sector we specialise in, is supporting the construction industry and we are often asked about whether buying new tools is an allowable tax expense.

In general, if the tool you are purchasing is for repairing or replacing existing small tools that you need to do your job (for example, scissors or an electric drill), is of small value and likely to last less than two years, then this is an allowable expense shown to reduce your tax liability. The relief available either takes consideration of the amount you spend (keep the receipt!) or by using the Flat rate deduction amount set by HMRC.  

If you are buying other, new or more substantial equipment, then you can claim tax relief on the full cost of equipment you have to buy to do your work. These are classified as capital allowances.

If you would like to discuss any personal circumstances, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Are you a Subcontractor local to Newbury?

If so, why not join the online community we have established on Facebook.

The group has been established to share news and information to support Subcontractors and for you to share your news with others.