Digital Growth Grant

Welcome to our round up of the latest business news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

Facing Crisis Upon Crisis – a perfect storm?

Facing Crisis Upon Crisis – a perfect storm?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated the war in Ukraine will severely set back the world economy and the UK is predicted to have the slowest growth in the G7 and across Europe’s main economies at 1.2% for 2023.

Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Managing Director Washington, DC Comments “The pandemic turned our lives and economies upside down, and it is not over. The continued spread of the virus could give rise to even more contagious or worse, more lethal variants, prompting further disruptions. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, devastating for the Ukrainian economy, is sending shock waves throughout the globe”.

In economic terms, growth is down, and inflation is up. In human terms, people’s incomes are down, and hardship is up.

These double crises – pandemic and war – and our ability to deal with them, are further complicated by another growing risk: fragmentation of the world economy into geopolitical blocs – with different trade and technology standards, payment systems, and reserve currencies.

See: Facing Crisis Upon Crisis: How the World Can Respond (imf.org)

If you are in business and you know growth is slowing, inflation is rising and there are supply chain issues then what actions can you take to shore up resilience and stay ahead of the curve?

Building business resilience requires several key attributes:

  • Collaboration amongst departments, your suppliers and even fellow
  • Sharing resources and removing inefficiencies with duplicate information and
  • Team formation so all employees know what impact they have on the business and can adapt to
  • Suppleness and adaptability to make
  • Having a business culture that allows for some failures or mistakes with new ways of doing things and learning from them and adjusting
  • Spending time working on change management as well as working “in the business”.

Where do you start? Our top performing clients regularly discuss building resilience with all employees and collect their ideas and thoughts so, together, the whole team can work for change.

Please talk to us about the resources we have to help you in accounting and provide you digital accounting services in Ilford.

Job vacancies rise to new level

In the Office for National Statistics (ONS) latest labour market overview, they state that the number of job vacancies in January to March 2022 rose to a new record of 1,288,000.

The ONS also state that the unemployment rate for December 2021 to February 2022 decreased by 0.2 percentage points on the quarter to 3.8%.

What is clear from the latest survey is that job applicants are still calling the shots and employers are still struggling to recruit.

There are a number of actions you can take to make your business attractive to new staff. In addition to reviewing your pay and conditions to be as competitive as possible, these include:

  • Treating recruitment as a permanent process;
  • Regularly asking existing staff, customers and suppliers for introductions;
  • Offering incentives for referrals;
  • Make sure you are running constant online social media and local advertisements;
  • Embracing flexibility in hours and location in your business;
  • Introducing a “golden hello” and loyalty bonusses for length of service (typically one to three years);
  • Advertising testimonials from existing staff;
  • Using government initiatives for apprentices;
  • Making your company and the job sound as attractive as possible by outlining the position to sound prestigious and challenging. These two factors are big incentives for bright potential candidates;
  • Convey your businesses personality so potential employees get a feel for what it would be like to work for

Recruiting new employees is tough just now so be different! For example, some employers are now offering “wellbeing leave” in addition to the usual holiday package. If you want to recruit more you must get serious about the process and be on it 24/7, 365!

Digital Growth Grant

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will run a Digital Growth Grant competition over Summer 2022. Bids will be invited to address identified market failures and accelerate the growth of tech start-up and scale-up ecosystems across the regions and nations of the UK. The successful bidder will be awarded up to £12.09 million to be spent over two financial years; 2023/24 and 2024/25.

Further detail on the grant objectives, eligibility and application process will be published in Summer 2022 when the competition opens for applications.

The detailed grant specification is currently being developed in consultation with the market. DCMS is inviting organisations to participate in upcoming webinars as an opportunity to ask questions and to express their views and ideas about the scope of future provision of government-funded support for tech start-ups and scale-ups.

Express your interest to contribute your views and to stay up to date on when the Digital Growth Grant goes live so we can help you and provide you digital accounting services in Ilford.

See: Digital Growth Grant – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Please contact us to learn more about the tools we have available to assist you with your accounting needs and to give you with digital accounting services in Ilford.

Self-driving vehicles to be included in the Highway Code

The government has confirmed planned changes to The Highway Code, responding to a public consultation, continuing to pave the way for safer, more efficient travel.

The changes to the code will help ensure the first wave of technology will be used safely, explaining clearly that while travelling in self-driving mode, motorists must be ready to resume control in a timely way if they are prompted to; such as when they approach motorway exits.

The plans also include a change to current regulation, allowing drivers to view content that is not related to driving on built-in display screens, while the self-driving vehicle is in control. It will, however, still be illegal to use mobile phones in self- driving mode, given the greater risk they pose in distracting drivers as shown in research.

With self-driving technology rapidly developing across the globe, Britain’s first vehicles approved for self-driving could be ready for use later this year. Vehicles will undergo rigorous testing and only be approved as self-driving when they have met stringent standards.

See: Britain moves closer to a self-driving revolution – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

End of tax year payroll procedures

As the 2021/22 tax year has now ended, employers need to carry out the following end of year procedures:

  • Provide your employees with their P60 annual summaries by 31 May 2022;
  • Prepare forms P11D for employees’ expenses and benefits by 5 July 2022;
  • Update your employees’ payroll data for 2022/23, in particular their new tax codes; and
  • Update your payroll software for 2022/23 if you haven’t already done so.

Here is a link to the HMRC guidance: Payroll: annual reporting and tasks: Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Please talk to us about your payroll – we would be delighted to help!

Please get in touch with us to learn more about the tools we have available to help you with your accounting needs and provide you with Ilford digital accounting services.

HMRC warn workers not to use schemes that claim to increase take home pay

HMRC have recently published details of the promoters of two tax avoidance schemes that purport to allow workers to maximise their take home pay. Employers and employees to understand that these schemes (involving individuals agreeing an employment contract and working as a contractor) do not work and is warning potential users to steer clear of the schemes or exit them. Use of the published schemes could leave users with big tax bills.

For further details see: HMRC names avoidance scheme promoters for first time – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

More than 142,000 individuals use online payment plans to pay their self- assessment tax bill

HMRC has issued a press release to confirm that more than 142,000 taxpayers have used HMRC’s online ‘Time to Pay’ facility to spread the cost of their self-assessment tax bill since April 2021.

The self-assessment deadline for 2020/21 tax returns was 31 January 2022 but, this year, HMRC gave taxpayers until 1 April to pay any tax owed and not face penalties.

HMRC has said that, since April 2021, self-assessment taxpayers have used this service to pay nearly £475 million worth of tax in instalments.

It should be noted that any self-assessment taxpayers who did not pay their outstanding tax by 1 April now face a 5% late payment penalty on any outstanding tax.

Strengthening consumer protection and enforcement

The government is consulting on a new law against:

  • commissioning someone to write or submit a fake review;
  • hosting consumer reviews without taking reasonable steps to check they are genuine; or
  • offering or advertising to submit, commission or facilitate fake

Prepayment schemes like Christmas savings clubs will have to fully safeguard customers’ money through insurance or trust accounts. Under new rules, businesses must:

  • provide clearer information to consumers before they enter a subscription contract;
  • issue a reminder to consumers that a free trial or low-cost introductory offer
  • ensure consumers can exit a contract in a straightforward, cost-effective and timely

The enforcement of consumer law is also being strength. The CMA, instead of a court, will be able to award compensation to consumers and directly impose financial penalties for:

  • breaking consumer protection laws, with penalties worth up to 10% of global annual turnover for businesses or up to £300,000 in the case.
  • breaching undertakings given to the CMA, with penalties worth up to 5% of a business
  • non-compliance with an information notice, concealing evidence or providing false information

See: New rules to protect consumers’ hard-earned cash  – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider

Updated ‘finding and choosing a private COVID-19 provider’ guidance. The guidance includes information on:

  • minimum standards;
  • UKAS accreditation;
  • the provider lists published on UK; and
  • what the government are doing to protect

The provider lists published on GOV.UK are of providers that have demonstrated compliance with the government’s. The lists are not exhaustive. Some providers have decide to opt out from being publish on these lists.

See: Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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