All Domains

2018 - December

CLIMATE CHANGE - 20.12.2018

Will climate change affect you?

The Environment Agency (EA) has published a report that urges businesses to prepare for climate change. What does it suggest?

ENERGY - 20.12.2018

Energy from waste solutions

Investment in energy from waste (EFW) projects across the UK continues to soar. But is EFW right for your business, and if so what is the right solution for your site and premises?

NUISANCE - 20.12.2018

Is there a smell in the air?

Some local residents have complained to the council that there is a foul smell coming from your premises. How can they prove that there are grounds for a complaint, and if there are what should you expect?

WEEE - 20.12.2018

WEEE compliance fee to be agreed

Two proposals have been put forward for the 2018 waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) compliance fee. What is being called for and how will it affect you in complying with the legislation going forward?

POLLUTION - 20.12.2018

A river ran purple

A packaging and print company has been fined after it was found to be responsible for the pollution of the River Yeo. What happened and could it have been prevented?

FLORA AND FAUNA - 20.12.2018

Knotweed just won’t go away

The impact of Japanese knotweed on buildings is once again under scrutiny and is now being investigated by MPs. What do you need to know about knotweed and what is the best way to deal with it before it causes irreparable damage?

MARKETING - 20.12.2018

Marketing police looking at green claims

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is ramping up efforts to catch businesses making dubious claims about the environment. What is its focus and how can you stay in the clear?


IKEA fined £100,000 for lost fingers

IKEA has been given a heavy fine after an untrained engineer lost parts of two fingers while trying to repair equipment. How did the accident happen and what were the wider implications for the company?

OFFICE - 20.12.2018

Sedentary risks underestimated

A study has highlighted a common misconception that the dangers of prolonged periods of sitting can be offset by weekend activity. What were the findings and what’s the message about office workers’ health?

FIRST AID - 20.12.2018

Mental health first aid update

The HSE has performed an about-turn and is now recommending that employers consider mental health first aid courses. What do you need to know?

HYGIENE - 20.12.2018

What’s lurking in the till?

London Metropolitan University has assigned a whole new meaning to the term “dirty money”. It has found that coins and notes harbour an array of different bacteria. Taking this into account, what can you do to avoid spreading illness?


Keeping your staff warm in winter

Your outside workers are complaining that more should be done to keep them warm and dry in the winter. What are your legal obligations and what’s the best way to fulfil them?


Q&A - must we have an ISO transition audit?


Poorly managed chemical spill led to court

A company has been fined after a garden centre employee suffered breathing difficulties when he cleared up a spilled chemical. Where did the company go wrong and how can you avoid the same mistakes?

THERMAL COMFORT - 20.12.2018

Is a maximum temperature on the way?

ASBESTOS - 20.12.2018

Firm had workers dry sweeping asbestos dust

A court has heard how workers cleaned up asbestos dust from a floor the size of a football pitch without any precautions. As a result, the firm has been prosecuted. What should the company have done instead?

TAX CODES - 19.12.2018

The ins and outs of tax codes

With dynamic coding coming to the end of its second year of operation, you’re probably receiving many more tax code queries from employees than previously. What answers can you give them?

MINIMUM WAGE - 19.12.2018

New NMW guidance issued

STATUS - 19.12.2018

Getting from off-payroll to on-payroll

In the October 2018 Budget the Chancellor announced that the much-anticipated rollout of the off-payroll rules to the private sector would be from April 2020. That’s not as far away as it seems, so what do you need to do to prepare?

CIS - 19.12.2018

How to take care of (sub)contractors

Whilst off-payroll working is a hot topic at the moment, withholding tax from subcontractors in the construction industry has been with us for many years. But what are the rules you need to be familiar with?


Goodbye “earlier year update”

Back in 2014 HMRC promised to redesign the process that allows employers to amend RTI data for prior years. Finally, proposals have been released. What do you need to know?

OVERTIME - 19.12.2018

“Workin’ 9 to 5” …and a bit more

Your staff are contracted to work from 9.00am to 5.00pm yet to meet peaks in demand they’re often expected to put in overtime, either on a voluntary or compulsory basis. What are the rules from a payroll perspective?

STATUTORY RATES - 19.12.2018

Statutory payments announced

HEALTH & SAFETY - 18.12.2018

The law on health and safety posters

One of your employees claims that you must display a health and safety poster for every risk you have on your premises. Are they correct? If not, how can you get the most out of these posters?

REDUNDANCY - 18.12.2018

Redundancy and other job roles

An employee’s job role is being made redundant. They’ve identified a vacant position elsewhere in your business which they believe would suit them but you’re not sure they’re the right fit. Who decides?

PART-TIME WORKERS - 18.12.2018

Part timers, parity of hours and pay

The Court of Appeal has decided that a part timer who worked 53.5% of a comparable full-time employee’s hours was treated less favourably because she only received 50% of the full timer’s rate of pay. Why was this problematic?

DATA PROTECTION - 18.12.2018

Data subject access requests: illegible meeting notes

An employee has made a data subject access request (DSAR) under the GDPR. Your response will need to include a copy of meeting notes, but the note taker’s handwriting is illegible. Are you obliged to provide a typed version as well?

benefits - 18.12.2018

Interest-free season ticket loans

On 2 January 2019 rail fares will increase by 3.1%. Whilst you’re not obliged to help with commuting costs, you can assist employees with interest-free season ticket loans. How do they work?

DISMISSAL - 18.12.2018

£1 million compensation over car park dispute

The tribunal has awarded an employee £1 million after it ruled he had been unfairly dismissed and suffered race discrimination following an argument in a car park. What went wrong?

DRUG ABUSE - 18.12.2018

Increased use of performance enhancing drugs

There has been an increase in employees taking so-called smart drugs or micro-dosing to boost their performance at work. If it comes to your attention that a member of staff is doing this, how should you handle it?

STATUTORY RATES - 18.12.2018

New statutory payment rates for 2019/20

RESIGNATIONS - 17.12.2018

Responding to an employee resignation

When an employee resigns, there’s no legal requirement for you to actually “accept” their resignation, but that doesn’t mean you should do nothing. What action should you take in response to a resignation?

PAY - 17.12.2018

Calculating a week’s pay

The statutory concept of a “week’s pay” is used as the basis for a number of statutory employment rights, including redundancy pay, notice pay for minimum notice and some holiday pay. How exactly do you calculate it?


How to conduct a disciplinary hearing

One of the key stages in the disciplinary process is the disciplinary hearing, so it’s essential to get it right. How should you conduct a hearing and what problems might you need to tackle at this stage of the process?


Employers’ NI changes further delayed to 2020

RETENTION - 17.12.2018

Why managing talent is important

You are having problems recruiting people with the right skills and then keeping them for more than a couple of years. What actions can you take to help create a stable and productive workforce?


Pregnant employees - avoid the risks

Avoiding risks for pregnant employees may involve altering their working conditions or hours, offering them alternative work or, as a last resort, suspending them. What do you need to do to be legally compliant with the statutory provisions?

STATUTORY RATES - 17.12.2018

New statutory payment rates announced

WORK AND PARENTS - 17.12.2018

The government’s response to bereavement leave consultation

The government has published its response to its consultation on the finer details of the parental bereavement leave and pay scheme. What decisions has it now taken?


Private hire drivers were workers and not self-employed

In yet another gig economy case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that private hire drivers were workers. What advice can you take from this decision?

DATA PROTECTION - 17.12.2018

Have you paid the data protection fee?

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued the first fines to organisations that haven’t paid the new data protection fee. Does the fee apply to your business?

HOLIDAYS - 17.12.2018

Workers may carry over holiday if not encouraged to take it

The Court of Justice of the European Union has held that workers don’t automatically lose the right to holiday if they didn’t seek to take it because they weren’t encouraged to do so. What does this mean for employers?

VAT - 13.12.2018

What’s changing with VAT and vouchers?

HMRC says that it’s simplifying the rules for VAT and vouchers. The trouble is the changes aren’t that straightforward. What exactly is changing and when will they take effect?

CORPORATION TAX - 13.12.2018

Can a pension payment turn a profit into a loss?

Usually your company makes a substantial pension contribution for its directors. But projections show only a modest profit for this year which won’t be enough to cover the pension payments. Is it still tax efficient for it to go ahead?

CHILD BENEFIT - 13.12.2018

Avoiding a child benefit tax trap

Deciding if the “high income child benefit charge” (HICBC) applies to you can be difficult. Thousands of individuals who were liable to pay the charge without realising it have been hit for penalties. How can you avoid a similar fate?

LANDFILL TAX - 13.12.2018

More businesses caught by Landfill Tax

New rules significantly widen the scope and increase the cost of Landfill Tax. Ordinary businesses can now be caught in the net. What steps should you take to avoid being one of them?

SELF-ASSESSMENT - 13.12.2018

HMRC’s new self-assessment tool

HMRC has launched an online tool which allows you to check if you need to submit a tax return for 2017/18. It’s easy to access, simple to use but very misleading. What’s the full story?

INHERITANCE TAX - 13.12.2018

What’s the right type of discounted gift scheme for you?

After a long career you’ve sold your business and are sitting on a pile of cash. You’re now worried about inheritance tax. A friend has suggested using a discounted gift trust to reduce the risk. What does this involve?

VAT - 13.12.2018

Changes to EU VAT registration

Changes to the VAT place of supply rules in 2019 will make life easier for thousands of businesses, but increase complexity for others. What’s the full story?

CONTRACTS - 13.12.2018

No right to a refund?

You placed an order for some new goods. On delivery, they weren’t up to scratch so you complained to the seller. It says that it only has to offer replacement items, but no refund. Is this correct?

TAX - 13.12.2018

Tax relief for being a club supporter

You want to help the local sports club that your kids are involved with. If your company provides sponsorship you’re aware that HMRC often challenges tax relief. Is there a more certain alternative?

ONLINE SELLING - 13.12.2018

Small shops can win big online

It’s no secret that online shopping is killing the high street, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make money selling through your website. What do the most successful online businesses do to keep customers happy?

TAX - 13.12.2018

Closing a company - can you take tax-free profits?

You and your fellow shareholders want to shut down your company as it’s no longer trading. It has cash and other assets worth around £50,000. A colleague says £25,000 of this can be paid out tax free. Is this correct?

PERSONNEL - 13.12.2018

A small December bonus can save you thousands

New research indicates that businesses which give employees a small bonus in December are less likely to lose staff the following year. How can you avoid a one-off bonus from becoming a contractual entitlement?


Why you need a contingency plan

The Met Office has published a bleak picture of the UK climate to 2070. SMEs are already being hit by extreme weather, such as flooding. Do you have a plan to cover these events and, if not, where do you start?


Showcase Pages on LinkedIn - something for you?

Does your business involve multiple products, services, activities or departments? You can highlight them on separate “Showcase Pages” on your LinkedIn company page. How do you create them and are they useful?

SOFTWARE - AUDIO - 07.12.2018

The right app to listen to podcasts

The “podcast” remains very popular to listen to interesting broadcasts while in a traffic jam, on the train, etc. What exactly are podcasts and what are the best apps to listen to them?

CONSUMER - AUCTIONS - 07.12.2018

Gift hunting on eBay?

If you’re looking for gifts to buy, you might be tempted to shop on eBay. That’s a good idea, but buying on eBay is not the same as buying on, say, Amazon. The following tips will increase your chances of success.

E-MAIL - WEBMAIL - 07.12.2018

Add-ons for Gmail

The new version of Gmail can be expanded with lots of add-ons which add useful functions to the program. What are they and which add-ons should you definitely try?


Manage your passwords in iOS 12

The Keychain feature has long been part of iOS and macOS. However, the new iOS 12 comes with some extra features to manage your passwords. What are they?


The figures behind Instagram

Are you curious about who follows your business profile on Instagram and about how they respond to your posts and stories? Check out the “Instagram Insights” service.

SOFTWARE - WINDOWS - 07.12.2018

Get out of the starting blocks faster

It’s a familiar problem: the longer a computer is in use, the longer it will take to boot. Using an SSD will immediately give your system a boost, but there are software-based interventions that can shorten the boot process.


What can the leading webshops teach us?

Consumers often buy on instinct when visiting popular webshops. There’s a lot you can learn from them for your own webshop. Here are some tips from e-commerce specialists.


Free alternative to Photoshop


Going paperless - why, how, when?

The paperless office was first discussed in the late 1970s. The talk goes on and with new technology arriving every day, we’ve checked it out.


Take good care of your camera’s SD card!

An SD memory card that gets damaged can result in losing hundreds of photos of a company event, holiday, etc. A disaster! Here’s how to prevent this happening and what to do if things go wrong.

BUSINESS - BOOKS - 07.12.2018

Where do you find business e-books?

E-books are not only available for leisure or entertainment, but professional books exist in a digital format too. Where do you find them?


Keep your meetings under control

PURCHASE LEDGER - 07.12.2018

Is it time to clean up the purchase ledger master file?

During the last audit, the auditors noted that there were a number of errors emanating from input into the purchase ledger. They recommended that the purchase ledger be cleaned up. How should you do this and why is it important?

CORPORATION TAX - 07.12.2018

Finance Act 2019 - what’s new?

The draft Finance Act 2019 contains a number of tax measures affecting business finances. Which are most likely to impact your company?

CONTRACTS - 07.12.2018

Getting indemnities right

You’re likely to be involved in setting contract terms with customers. One area that is usually heavily negotiated is indemnities. What should you be looking out for when reviewing them?

UTILITIES - 07.12.2018

Water switch savings greater than expected

In April 2017 the retail water market changed. New research suggests the money SMEs could save by shopping around is more than predicted. But how much more and should you bother switching?

TRAINING COSTS - 07.12.2018

Tax breaks for trainees

You accept the need to invest in training your staff. But though the costs can quickly mount up, there are some little-known tax savings that could help you out. What might you save?

CREDIT CONTROL - 07.12.2018

Getting invoices paid before Christmas

With many businesses shutting down for the Christmas holidays, there’s only a small window of opportunity for your customers to pay you. How can you ensure that you don’t start the new year with a poor cash flow forecast?

OFFICE COSTS - 07.12.2018

Rising food costs - check the fridge

The long hot and dry summer is pushing up the price of some essential foods this winter. If you supply free food, drinks, etc. to your staff what can you do to manage the increased cost?


How can you improve the company’s debtor days?

Following a review of debtor days with the bank manager, the MD has asked you for a plan to improve the efficiency of the accounts receivable department. Where should you start and what should you consider?

SPREADSHEETS - 07.12.2018

New SORT and SORTBY functions in Excel

A new set of powerful array functions is being rolled out to Office 365 subscribers. Three useful ones are SORT, SORTBY and FILTER. What’s the advantage of using these and how do they work?

PURCHASING - 07.12.2018

Can you use incremental analysis to make a choice?

Your factory manager wants to buy a replacement machine for the production line. It’s an expensive piece of equipment and the existing machine still functions well. How can you help the directors decide on the best course of action?

ENERGY - 07.12.2018

A bright idea - change the light bulbs

Another ban on light bulbs has now come into effect. Which ones are affected this time around and could the change to lower energy replacements actually save your business money?

CONTRACTORS - 07.12.2018

Don’t assume your contractor will work safely

A company recently found itself in a very awkward spot when an HSE inspector caught a contractor working unsafely. What were they doing and how could the incident have been avoided?

VEHICLES - 07.12.2018

Diesel exhaust fume risk

The Trades Union Congress is urging employers to prevent their workers from being exposed to diesel engine emissions. What’s the concern and what should you be doing about it?

WORKPLACE - 07.12.2018

Customer fell through shopfloor hatch

WHSmith has been fined following an incident which resulted in a member of the public falling in to the basement while shopping in one of its stores. How did this happen and what did it do to prevent further incidents?


Prevent slips and trips on your premises

As you enter the depths of winter, the likelihood of waking up to snow and ice increases. To ensure staff and others can access your premises safely in such conditions, follow our safe system of work.

FIRE - 07.12.2018

Record fire fine for landlord

A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay over £400,000 after committing 28 offences which left his tenants in serious danger. How did he rack up so many charges and such a large fine?


Prevention is better than cure

The government expects employers to play their part in improving the health of the nation. What’s under the closest scrutiny?

NOISE - 07.12.2018

Heading for a hearing loss claim?

You have noisy equipment on your premises and unfortunately staff have to work nearby. Although you provide a box of earplugs, you’re not sure if that’s enough. Could you be liable if they suffer hearing loss?

VEHICLES - 07.12.2018

MOT reminders

WORKPLACE - 07.12.2018

Q&A - must we provide showers?


Claiming input tax on subcontractors’ expenses

Our subscriber, a construction business, uses subcontractors as well as employees. Where working away is required they pay for hotels and meals for both types of worker. Can they claim the input tax back for the subcontractors?


Default surcharge: no fine means no problem, doesn’t it?

Where you’re late submitting a VAT return or paying your bill, HMRC will issue a surcharge notice. But if it’s your first offence it won’t fine you. Why is it important that you don’t simply breathe a sigh of relief at not receiving a penalty?

PLACE OF SUPPLY - 04.12.2018

Do you need to charge VAT to overseas customers?

You normally only provide your services to UK customers but you’ve had an unexpected opportunity to do some work for a customer based abroad. How do you decide whether to charge VAT?

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