Tag Archive | "social media"

Social media to drive the anti-pasty tax campaign

Accountants for contractors will undoubtedly remember that George Osborne introduced what has become referred to as a “pasty tax” in the Budget, at least by their counterparts in the south west of England.

There continues to be an outcry in Cornwall after the Chancellor announced that VAT would be added to the price of Cornish pasties. Bishop Fleming, an accountancy firm based in the South West now want to kick-start a social-media campaign against the tax.

Greggs, the bakery chain that originally started up in the North East, has also jumped on the bandwagon saying it will fight the proposal. Greggs saw about £30 million wiped off its share price the day after the budget announcement and the company has requested a meeting with government ministers to talk about the implications of implementing VAT on its products.

Currently VAT is charged on pasties that have been specifically heated for consumption, but under the new rule, full rate VAT will be charged on pasties when they are still above ambient room temperature after baking.

As from the 1st of October, any pasty that is not below ambient temperature will attract VAT at 20% and according to Robert Bailey from Bishop Fleming in Truro, this is madness. Shops will need to implement a two-tier system for pricing.

A Twitter campaign against the tax is already underway at #pastytax and Bishop Fleming has vowed to use social media to fight the campaign until the consultation period ends on the 4th of May.

Back in 2010, Subway fought a legal battle to have toasted sandwiches zero-rated for VAT. The claim was rejected by the first tier tribunal, but Subway says it will appeal the decision.

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Image: Pasty01 by Gareth_Rogers

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Do online accountants understand social media?

Nearly half of the UK’s B2B businesses, including accountants for contractors, are not utilising social media to their best advantage, according to research conducted by PricewaterhouseCooper.

The survey found that although companies are investing money in social media, they are not laying down clear usage strategies or investing in the necessary human resources to make it effective. In fact, less than one in eight B2B companies have a dedicated full-time social media team.

Sean Mahdi, from PwC, explained that social media is transforming the way we work and communicate with each other. Businesses have to adapt to a new way of engaging with customers, who increasingly put more trust in their peers.

B2C companies appear to be exploiting social media with much more success than B2B organisations, he added.

Social media is not only used to drive sales. It can be used to create loyalty to a particular brand, demonstrate that a company is being transparent and responsible and used to create two way dialogue. It is therefore essential for businesses to draw up a strong social media strategy in order to interact successfully with customers.

Network security professionals agree that using social media in the workplace can be good for business, but that it can create risks that companies lack the tools to address.

The Ponemon Institute questioned 4,640 IT practitioners and contractors in twelve countries, including the UK and Hong Kong, and 63% of respondents said that social media usage put their organisation at risk. 52% said their business suffered more malware and virus attacks now that their employees used social media.

Even though the majority of companies allow their employees to use social media at work, 89% of respondents felt it diminished productivity.

© 2011 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: Social Media Magazin by some_communication

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Should SMEs rethink their Internet marketing strategies?

Owners of small firms should always keep their customers in mind when they think about putting their business online, according to the founder of KKSmarts, a web promotion company.

Mike Seddon said that some firms lose sight of important things when they have a website created. The two questions they should always ask themselves are, why the website is being created and who it is being targeted to.

Well known brands will want to have the highest ranking on their brand name, whilst competitive tradesmen, such as electricians and plumbers, will want to rank highly for trade related phrases.

He went on to say that firms seem to lose sight of reality and think they will reach the whole world, rather than thinking where the customers are and how they will search for what they want on the Internet.

As well as falling down in the website design stakes, small businesses and online accountants are not leveraging the power of social media efficiently.

IFF Research’s SME Omnibus study shows that only 5% of small business decision makers use and fully exploit Facebook as a marketing tool. 18% think LinkedIn is an effective sales generating tool, but only 3% take advantage of all of its features. Twitter fares no better with figures of 17% and 4% respectively.

Mark Speed from IFF Research commenting on the findings said that social media is not necessarily the right set of tools for every business, but there seems to be a big divide between those who think it is effective for lead generation and those who actually take advantage of it.

He went on to point out that there are simple ways to engage online with customers, such as updating a company website with information that will appeal to its readers. However, the study showed that of the firms with a website, 16% update it at most once a year.

© 2011 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: Internet Marketing Plan with red markers by IvanWalsh.com

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Online accountants should embrace social media

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants has urged contractor accountants to embrace web 2.0 solutions to enhance their offerings.

The CIMA says that online accountants must use social media tools to streamline their business processes if they are to improve accounting practices. As the organisation recently discovered, very few accountants use social networking on a regular basis, but those that do reported that their effectiveness improved.

Web 2.0 technologies improve coordination, provide greater accessibility to knowledge and build up team relationships but accountants find it difficult to quantify these benefits.

CIMA’s R&D manager, Naomi Smith, pointed out that the younger generation of accountants are suing modern technologies to a much greater extent than their older counterparts. But she pointed out that all accountants should be taking advantage of the opportunities provided by social networking tools. Web 2.0 offers new ways of communicating with business colleagues, especially those based far away.

She went on to say that using these tools empowers employees to take more responsibility for organising business processes, knowledge and workplaces.

It seems strange that accountants are reluctant to use these new tools. Social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, are great places to capture new business through referrals. As we emerge from the recession, contractor accountants may want to expand their client base. And social media is an excellent way to do this.

© 2011 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: Twitter Bird Sketch by shawncampbell

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Big firms pay better but SMEs allow creativity say graduates

Accountants for contractors might want to know that UK graduates think they will receive better pay and career progression opportunities if they work for a corporation rather than an SME, according to Give A Grad A Go, an SME graduate recruiter.

Whilst 91% of graduates think salaries are better in corporations, 92% thought SMEs encouraged more creativity and at 62%, they also scored better on work-life balance.

The managing director of Give A Grad A Go, Cary Curtis, said graduates often do not realise that opportunities are available in SMEs and therefore smaller employers can struggle to source the best talent.

Graduates have been having a hard time trying to find a job over the last three years. According to Thames Ditton – SHL, 60% of people who graduated within the last three years have not been able to secure a graduate position. The class of 2010 has suffered most from the lack of graduate opportunities. Only 34% have secured a graduate position.

The survey also found that over 400,000 graduates would not have attended university if the fees were £9,000 per year. Nearly three quarters of the graduates surveyed said they would consider moving overseas to find a job and 36% of them cited better salaries as their main driver.

All the graduates who took part in the Thames Ditton – SHL survey said they would undertake unpaid work in order to get experience and 39% would be prepared to do this for more than three months if it would help them get a job.

Graduates could be losing out by not using social media in their job hunting efforts. Despite its growing popularity, only 39% of graduates would use it to market themselves to potential employers. Only 5% of graduates apply for roles through LinkedIn and yet 34% of recruiters use it to screen candidates.

Sean Howard, the vice president of business solutions at SHL, said he was amazed that graduates were not using social media in their job hunting efforts. He also believes recruiters may need to think again about their hiring criteria if the government doesn’t reconsider university tuition fees.

© 2011 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: Bean. by Bohman

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Online accountants benefit from trading through the Internet

The Internet now contributes 7.2% to the UK’s total GDP, according to research from the Boston Consulting Group. The report also shows that 250,000 people, including contractors, are employed in the sector.

About 60% of the £100 billion generated by the Internet is driven by consumption. This includes online shopping and the cost of the connections and devices needed to get on the net. The other 40% comes from government IT spending, investment in internet infrastructure and net exports.

It is expected that the Internet industry will continue to grow at an annual rate of 10% over the coming five years, meaning that by 2015, it will be contributing 10% GDP.

Women find the online world to be a safe, convenient channel when it comes to promoting their business. Ecademy, the UK’s first business social network, says 46% of its users are women and they actively promote their business through the site.

Companies that have still not invested in social media might be interested to learn that it has been heralded as the perfect environment when it comes to engaging with customers. ComScore, the technology analysis firm says that social networks inject life into online activity and even the recession has not affected the social network industry.

88% of the online population in the UK now spend time on social networks and/or blogs and these activities account for 20% of the total time spent by Brits online. In light of these figures, it’s easy to see why certain companies take advantage of the opportunities offered by social networks to promote their products and services.

© 2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: Hey guys, I captured the mouse! by Darwin Bell

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