Tag Archive | "turnover"

Smallest firms could get more time to prepare for pensions auto-enrolment


Smaller firms may be pleased to learn that the government is considering giving them more time to get ready for automatically enrolling their employees in pension schemes.

The Pensions Regulator last week issued guidance for employers that says smaller firms sharing PAYE schemes with other like businesses will see their staging dates deferred by up to 23 months.

The new alterations are expected to be written into legislation prior to the Pensions Bill becoming law and will cover firms with less than 10 employees who are included in a larger PAYE scheme which has in excess of 239 members.

A business fitting the above description would have until the first of January 2016 to implement auto-enrolment.

The Pensions Regulator has also launched some interactive tools to explain the new regulations. As from October next year, employers and recruitment businesses will be required to auto-enrol workers after they have completed 12 weeks service. Employees then have the option of opting out if they do not want to participate in the scheme their employer has chosen. This new duty is to be phased in over several years, starting with larger organisations.

The interactive tools will help businesses establish their staging date, help them understand which employees need to be enrolled and how to enrol them, and what level of contribution is required for each eligible employee.

The REC still has concerns that auto-enrolment will create challenges for recruiters due to high levels of turnover amongst temps and the expectation that a lot of agency workers will opt-out of the pension scheme they have been enrolled in.

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Should online accountants encourage micro-firms to still file accounts?


There are growing concerns amongst finance professionals that the government’s plans to exempt small businesses from filing accounts with Companies House might backfire.

Under new proposals, firms with an annual turnover less than £88,000 will no longer need to file statutory accounts, but experts believe this could make it harder for them to get access to trade credit. The Institute of Credit Management’s chief executive, Philip King, said suppliers rely on financial information when deciding whether or not to extend credit terms. If micro-firms do not need to file accounts, suppliers are unlikely to give them credit.

He thinks that businesses should provide more information rather than less and that rather than encouraging growth, the government’s new proposals will restrict it.

Graydon, the credit reference agency, recently conducted research that found that only 8% of businesses would extend credit if they did not have access to a company’s financial information. Martin Williams from Graydon said that most suppliers admitted they would not grant credit or finance to a small business unless its financial information was available.

He went on to explain that this is not the solution to reducing the red tape problem and there is a danger that it will actually increase the administrative burden on SMEs if they have to answer financial questions directly from trade suppliers.

A lot of entrepreneurs were no doubt relieved when the EU agreed to exempt micro-businesses from filing some reports with Companies House. Ed Davey, the business minister, said this was a significant step forward in the battle to reduce red tape. However, businesses would still have to file simplified information at the government’s discretion.

It has not been decided whether the UK coalition will actually adopt the new rules and in the meantime, financial experts hope they can convince the government that they will do more harm than good.

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VAT increase will be detrimental to the wealth of SMEs


VAT rose to 20% on Tuesday and over 70% of small firms think this will impact negatively on their business.

The FSB conducted a survey of its members and 71% of the 1,600 respondents said the increase will not be beneficial to their business. 52% said they would have to increase prices, 45% expect turnover to decrease and 36% believe the rise will result in a loss of customers.

George Osborne says the increase is here to stay but the FSB is urging him to return VAT to 17.5% once the fiscal deficit has been reduced significantly.

SMEs will be hardest hit by the VAT increase as they are unable to absorb it in the way larger organisations can. The majority of small businesses will have to pass on the full rise to their customers, reduce their level of stocks or look to implement alternate cost saving measures.

The Federation has also called on the coalition to raise the threshold at which firms start to pay VAT to £90,000 from the current £70,000 rate. It says this move would help SMEs and could generate up to 35,000 additional jobs.

The chancellor has defended the rise, saying it shows the government is determined to tackle the budget deficit and this should lead to increased employment. Ed Milliband, on the other hand, believes the increase will cost 250,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, Jason Collins, a partner at law firm McGrigors, has warned that carousel fraud may make a comeback due to the VAT increase.

Carousel fraud occurs when a business purchases VAT-free products from one country, sells them on in a different country and then vanishes before settling the VAT liability. This type of fraud had died down in the UK but Collins warns that the increase could see VAT fraud doubling to £4bn this year.

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