Keep calm and focus on what’s really important
With the constant news surrounding the energy crisis (and waiting for a new Prime Minister to see what the government will do about it), soaring interest rates and rising inflation, it’s difficult not to worry and lose sight of what’s really important – the health and welfare of you and your loved ones.
The crisis we all face is a potent mix of inflation, recession, high debts, and the core reason for it all, a wartime energy shock. It is worth remembering that this is the point. It is not the market driving the crisis, it is geopolitics, diplomacy and conflict. On an individual level, this situation is not within our control. So what can we do to keep rational whilst this crisis unfolds?
It is worth recalling a quote from the singer Celine Dion: “Life imposes things on you that you can’t control, but you still have the choice of how you’re going to live through this”.
Firstly, know that you can only control your life and those close to you. Everything else going on is typically uncontrollable. So take time to set some long-term goals to give you a sense of control. Next, list the things that make you happy and safe. By doing this, you can focus on the good things and not the other stuff. Thirdly, take time out of your busy schedule to do things you enjoy. Doing something you are good at reinforces a sense of self-worth and purpose.
If you own a business, then:
- Take time to review your personal objectives – the business is there to provide you with what you want from life, not the other way around!
- Look at where the business is now – its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and understand its position in the marketplace, the competition, the systems, the way things are done and the improvements that could be made.
- Focus on what the business will look like when it is “complete” or running profitably and successfully. Then you can determine priorities – the big issues that need to be focussed on.
It is also a good idea to look at where you are now and plan for a range of scenarios (good and bad) so that you can be flexible about the direction you should take.
Ask us about our One Page Analyst, a “what if” scenario planner which takes your projected 2022 figures and allows you to work out the effect on profit of reducing expenses, increasing sales, and increasing or decreasing prices.
If you need help during the next few months, please call us – we are here to support you!
Businesses advised to plan around the expected Royal Mail strike
If you use Royal Mail to deliver your goods, you should be aware of the planned industrial action that is due to take place on:
- Thursday 8 September
- Friday 9 September
Royal Mail’s services will be affected by delays to mail posted the day before, during, or in the days after any strike action.
Royal Mail has contingency plans, but they cannot fully replace the daily efforts of its frontline workforce. They say that they will be doing what they can to keep services running, but customers should expect significant disruption.
On days when strike action is taking place, they say they will:
- Deliver as many Special Delivery and Tracked24 parcels as possible.
- Prioritise the delivery of COVID test kits and medical prescriptions, wherever possible.
- Not be delivering letters (with the exception of Special Delivery).
To avoid disruption to your business, it is advised to:
- Post your items as early as possible in advance of the strike dates.
- Continue to post your items at postboxes or post offices, however, collections will be less frequent on days when strike action is taking place.
HMRC issues warning to contractors about the use of umbrella companies
“Umbrella” companies are often set up by employment agencies to supply workers to end user clients. Many of these are compliant with the tax rules, but some use contrived arrangements that claim to allow agency workers and contractors to pay less tax on their earnings. HMRC have successfully challenged many of these arrangements.
HMRC view these arrangements as tax avoidance schemes that use disguised remuneration arrangements to pay the workers. The umbrella company might claim that a payment is non-taxable to try to avoid paying National Insurance contributions (NICs) – currently 15.05% for employers. The arrangements also purport to avoid employee NICs – currently 13.25% between £12,570 and £50,270 a year.
Using these non-compliant umbrella companies could leave the workers at risk of being involved in a tax avoidance scheme and owing HMRC the tax and NICs that should have been deducted.
Under PAYE regulations, employers have an obligation to deduct tax and NICs from employment income on workers’ behalf. However, where this does not happen, HMRC may recover the tax directly from the worker.
For updated HMRC guidance see: Warning for agency workers and contractors employed by umbrella companies (Spotlight 60) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Net zero carbon start-up grants
These grants offer financial support to budding Welsh social businesses to get trading or investment ready, plus technical support to embed climate-friendly practices.
The Net zero carbon start-up grant is a pilot scheme which aims to help get social business ‘start-ups’ off the ground, while at the same time embedding climate-friendly practices.
Round 2 of the scheme is now open to any up-and-coming social business or trading voluntary organisation in Wales. You don’t need to be an environmental or climate change focused group to apply.
This is a pilot project with an initial grant pot of £150,000 to support 12 social enterprises, and it will be subject to competitive selection.
The deadline for Expressions of Interest in this round is 21 September 2022.