Green shoots of recovery for UK businesses and the economy

 

Green shoots of recovery for UK businesses and the economy

In a blog response to budget announcements, ICM CEO Philip King talks of the good news coming out of the UK government for business, and the green shoots of recovery for the UK economy. Philip states how he sees the controversial pension reforms as a positive change, and predicted statistics for the 2014 UK economy as very encouraging.

Quoting the creation of 1.5 million jobs in the next five years and grants for 100,000 more apprenticeships, Philip sounds quite positive about the direction of the economy. You can read his blog in full here: http://www.icm.org.uk/ceoblog/calm-seas-fair-wind-blog-philip-king/. It certainly seems to echo the thoughts of many that the UK economy is certainly recovering after a tricky few years. News reports such as this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27047966 only the other day talked of the first signs that wages might finally be increasing disproportionally better than the costs of goods and services for the first time in many years. There seems, however, to be a difference of opinion over whether this is four or six years of history. Either way, essentially, soon the working man or woman, should start to find that impact of the positive echoes of the economy in how far their day to day pay packet stretches. A pay packet that the office of national statistics believes is currently increasing annually by two percent in the private sector. In the same report, the office  states how the figures for unemployment have fallen by 77,000 in the last three months. It certainly would seem to be the beginnings of a much needed boom period for UK businesses.

While growth is key, so is keeping on top of your finances while growing, especially if you’re nurturing the cash flow of an SME. Cash flow can be king, and over stretching funds outwards whilst not getting enough back in, can quickly see a business fall below the agreed overdraft line and into closure. Software tools such as Safe Financials and Safe Credit Control can help business keep the books in order, reduce debtor days, and keep payments processing through the business. To find out more about these products, visit www.safe-financials.co.uk and www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk or call 0844 583 2134. 

 

 

 

Credit history, a help or hindrance to budding entrepreneurs?

Credit history, a help or hindrance to budding entrepreneurs?

In his most recent blog, ICM CEO Philip King pulls into question some of the government MP statements on credit history and entrepreneurship in the SME sector, making some valid points.

Philip’s blog can be read in full here: http://www.icm.org.uk/ceoblog/confused-thinking-blog-philip-king-2/. Crux of his argument seems to pull into question seemingly conflicting views voiced by George Osbourne and other MPs at a recent conference in Manchester. On one hand, a proven history of trying and failing in business, could indicate lessons learned and a safer bet for any funding for the future. Equally, some try and repeatedly fail, never attaining a successful enterprise, leaving creditors reeling in their wake.  Essentially the question brought about is should banks transfer history between them or is this counterproductive to business growth? 

It’s been argued that a Californian idea is that no transfer of information occurs. If a business has a bad credit history with one bank, they simply apply to another bank and are assessed afresh. That perhaps by comparison our credit history system in the UK is thus stalling our own country’s growth and entrepreneurship. Indeed as Philip states in his blog, numerous celebrity entrepreneurs did not succeed first time, many of which now have well documented life stories of how they learned from those past failures to become the success they now are. However the argument that we transfer information if good and bury if bad seems impractical logistically. Who decides how good or bad, and where to draw the line? The main question seems to be how reliable the history is for predicting the future. For which a conclusion might be that no one can truly foresee the future, so why not give business a chance? The reality is the risk of lost capital to investors, and the potential domino effect one unsuccessful enterprise may have on others invested in it, supplying to it, awaiting return from it.

Safe Credit Control is a software product that aims to minimise that risk by reducing debtor days with proactive customer relationship management with creditors. As a software solution, Safe Credit Control engages those who owe early for repayment, rather than awaiting the traditional 60 days before beginning the chasing process. Reducing debtor days can improve cash flow which can be make or break for SMEs. To find out more visit www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk or call 0844 583 2134. 

How can you be sure you’re happy with an outsourcing service provider?

How can you be sure you’re happy with an outsourcing service provider?

The most common resistance to even thinking about outsourcing anything, is the fear of a loss of control. So what can you do to ensure that you choose a provider who will work for you in the way you want, so you never feel like what they do for you, is outside of your control?

One recommended strategy is to be clear at the outset of exactly what it is you’re after. Some clients can come prepared with a written document detailing their needs wants and desires. Be prepared to put some work in initially to be sure to get the work you want out of your chosen supplier.

Another strategy is to arrange a meeting. Be sure you work smarter, not harder. Many prospective clients will often put off or avoid meeting outsourcing providers, for fear they don’t have the time to meet and discuss fully their needs. This is most likely due to the fact they are busy doing or managing the very job or task they could be outsourcing, to free up their time on more core business activities. Make the time for a meeting. It might prove a little more work in the short term, but could be well worth it for saving you time in the long run.

Be certain to exercise due diligence when choosing an outsourcing supplier, especially if you’re choosing a supplier to provide you with payroll services. Security should be paramount for anything to do with financial information or employees personal data. A supplier such as Safe Outsourcing is, for example, backed by Safe, a software company which broke away from the Chubb group in the mid-seventies, so has a long history to the core of high security.

Be prepared to spend some time choosing the right supplier for you and your business. Taking the time to choose the correct supplier initially, will give you the peace of mind you desire when using the service further down the line.

To find out more about Safe Outsourcing visit www.safeoutsourcing.co.uk, call 0844 583 2134, or email info@safeoutsourcing.co.uk.

As seen on ‘The Staffing Stream’, see: http://www.thestaffingstream.com/2014/04/23/how-to-choose-an-outsourcing-service-provider-youll-be-happy-with/ .

Auto enrolment, are you ready?

Auto enrolment, are you ready?

Although auto enrolment staging has been happening for around a year and a half we are now moving into the phase affecting companies with 250 employees or fewer.  The impact of this is many more organisations than ever before will find themselves trying to cope with this legislation.  Almost all will need to change operational processes, many will need to change payroll systems, and some may just not have a clue what to do or where to begin!  In their latest blog, one pensions provider states that those who have been through staging are just the tip of the, proverbial, iceberg. The largest employers went first in an attempt to ease in the process.  However the largest employees in schemes to date reportedly only collectively make up 3 million employees from 10,000 companies. Between now and the end of the staging process a further 30,000 organisations need to establish suitable processes to assess, and where appropriate enrol, all their employees.

Managing opt outs is thought to be trickier for smaller operations than larger businesses and, whereas larger employers probably have the staff to deal with the issues or can simply outsource, smaller businesses might be concerned about the additional costs.  When it comes to running the assessments workplace pension auto enrolment isn’t a one off check of all employees, it needs to be a continual process.  Every time payroll runs the eligibility of employees, not already enrolled, needs to be checked.  Every time someone is opted in there has to be a process to deal with their opt out (if chosen).  Opt out communication needs to be worded correctly and be impartial - anything that could be seen as inducing opt out may be deemed something the employer could be fined for.  When an employee opts out that employee has to be re-assessed after three years, in accordance with legislation. It’s a lot for a smaller employer to cope with in house.

What can help is outsourcing payroll to a company like Safe who know how to process employee data correctly for pension auto enrolment.  Safe processes auto enrolment processes within the payroll solution negating any need for third party ‘middleware’ to make the assessment.  Safe offers two service options: - a fully managed payroll provided by Safe Outsourcing or a software as a service (SaaS) model using Safe’s flagship payroll product Safe EMS.  Both of these options are charged on a pay as you go basis, helping smaller businesses budget for and manage costs.  Safe integrate with Now:Pensions and Nest pension providers (and many other providers too), who can help businesses establish a suitable scheme and provide the legally compliant and suitably impartial employee communications necessary.  

Speak to Safe about how they can help your business on 0844 583 2134, email info@safecomputing.co.uk, or visit www.safe-ems.co.uk or www.safeoutsourcing.co.uk to find out more.

Save yourself the burden of legislation

 

Save yourself the burden of legislation

 

Recent years have seen many businesses have struggled as legislation surrounding payroll continues to grow. Operationally, keeping on top of it all is tiresome. In smaller businesses resources can be stretched, trying to comply with the ever growing law of directives. 

 

The introduction of pensions auto enrolment has been rolling out in stages for a while now for larger employers. This year sees the smaller and medium enterprises hit with this new legislation, which they will now need to be able to cope with. Last year real time information came into effect. The combinations of these two new legislation pieces have made many employers switch to outsourcing, when they hadn’t necessarily considered it an option before. 

 

As well as ensuring compliance, a cost saving can be made by outsourcing, as instead of stretching internal human resources, outsourcing means using another company’s team to run your business payroll activities. Ultimately this frees your company’s resource, either to leave the business, or more often, to be reassigned to focus on more core business tasks. 

 

Outsourcing can bring further benefits. Service level agreements can be set prior to utilising the service. These SLAs could mean measuring aspects that either hadn’t been possible to measure or hadn’t been thought of as measurable before. 

 

Let’s face it, times change. Legislative changes surrounding HR will continue to occur in the future, if not from our government directly, than from directives cascaded down from the European Union. Further legislation will build further complexity to payroll operationally, and require increasing amounts of management in terms of resource. By far the easiest way to save the burden and enjoy economies of scale cost savings is to outsource. 

 

To see how a supplier of outsourcing services can help you to outsource your payroll, visit www.safeoutsourcing.co.uk and click on the ‘enquire online’ link, email info@safeoutsourcing.co.uk, or call 0844 583 2134.

 

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