Commercial

5 Significant Legislative Changes Coming Into Force on 6th April

Beginning on 6th April, UK businesses will have several new pieces of legislation that they will have to comply with unless they wish to incur fines and penalties. To ensure that your business is aptly prepared, here are the five most significant pieces of legislation coming into force:

  1. Gender pay gap: Qualifying companies (250 or more employees) will need to publish the details of their gender pay gap on their websites and to the government on an annual basis. The first publication is due in April 2018 and must contain six specific pieces of information. You can review the requirements by clicking here.
  2. Apprenticeship levy: All companies with a pay bill of more than £3 million each year will be required to pay an apprenticeship levy. The levy will be set at 0.5 per cent of their total pay bill, minus a £15,000 levy allowance from the government.
  3. Modern Slavery Act reports: All companies that produce goods and services with an annual global turnover of at least £36 million must make a financial statement within six months of the end of the first financial year. For more information, consult the government’s practical guide, located here.
  4. National living wage change: The national minimum wage (NMW) and national living wage (NLW) will increase to the following amounts:

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The Gender Pay Gap

On 28th January, the final draft of the gender pay gap regulations were published. Under the new regulations, if your company employs at least 250 staff members, you will be required to disclose the pay gap between your male and female employees. These amounts must be made publicly available on your company’s website for at least three years. However, whilst the regulations come into force on 6th April 2017, you will not have to publish your company’s findings until 30th April 2018.

But, that does not mean that your company should wait until 2018 to take any action, as you will be responsible for compiling data starting 5th April 2017. Your company should begin preparing now in order to ensure that you are able to adequately capture the following six pieces of information that you will need to include in your report: (more…)

Choose Bespoke Cover, Not Cheap Boilerplate Cover

In general, the more comprehensive and thorough a policy is, the more protected your business will be. Despite the security that an extensive policy can provide, only 38 per cent of SMEs ranked a policy’s scope as being the top influencer when choosing a new policy, according to recent industry research. Instead, a majority of the surveyed SMEs ranked the cost of a policy as the most important factor. Whilst the cost of a policy is an important consideration, focusing solely on cost could expose your business to potential risks—such as under-insurance and unnecessary add-ons. (more…)

UK Companies’ Top 3 Risks in 2017

Each new year brings with it a collection of challenges for businesses to overcome, and 2017 is no different. That is why your company needs to be adequately prepared for this year’s forecast, which includes digital threats and shifting economic conditions. According to a recent industry survey, the following three risks are the most significant and worrisome that UK companies of all sizes will be confronted with this year: (more…)

Don’t Let Social Media Tarnish Your Organisation’s Reputation

Seventy-four per cent of board members believe that reputational damage is the most concerning repercussion of an incident, according to research from the Economic Intelligence Unit. Regardless of your organisation’s size, your reputation, which is intrinsically linked to your brand, is a precious commodity that is just as important to bolster and protect as your goods and services. Those tasks are made both infinitely easier and more difficult with social media.

As a tool, social media connects your organisation to potential customers around the world. Yet, it can also allow the public to just as easily tarnish your reputation by sharing an ill-conceived or objectionable business decision or action taken by one of your employees. What’s more is that the potential damage that social media can cause is just not immediate, but can linger on for years as an indelible blemish on your organisation’s reputation. For example, Sainsbury’s experienced social media backlash after a poster encouraging employees to get customers to spend 50 pence more was accidentally posted in a shop window rather than the staff room in 2014. A picture of the poster was then tweeted, causing social media outrage. Although reputation loss is difficult to quantify in terms of loss of potential revenue and customers, it is surely felt, and the brand will always bear that mark of scandal. (more…)

6 Best Practices to Prevent Age Discrimination Claims

The average life expectancy has steadily been rising over the past several decades, and as a result, people are remaining in the workforce longer—making organisations increasingly multi-generational. In fact, there are an estimated 1.3 million employees over the age of 65 currently employed. However, as the number of older workers has increased, so has the potential for an organisation to be served with an age discrimination claim—which cost an average of £9,000 in 2015-16.

To protect your organisation from such a claim, review the following six best practices for preventing age discrimination claims: (more…)

Why Bad Reviews Can Sometimes Be Good For Business

Negative reviews are an unfortunate inevitability—some customers just cannot be pleased. That is fine, as long as you approach negative reviews with the right mindset. While it may seem counter-intuitive, negative reviews can be beneficial to the overall well-being of your company.

Negative reviews are thought of as holes in the hull of a ship—receive one too many and your ship sinks. Yet, negative reviews provide your company with a certain level of credibility, as 68 per cent of customers trust a collection of reviews more when they see both positive and negative comments, according to a study done by review site, Reevoo. In fact, negative reviews are three times more popular than the most complimentary reviews. When customers are already interested in the product or service, they want to know why it may be a poor investment. (more…)

Learning From The Panama Papers

Published in April of this year, the Panama Papers—a collection of 11.5 million documents that provide information on the identities of shareholders and directors of more than 214,000 offshore companies—represent one of the largest data breaches in history. The information contained in these documents is concerning, since an offshore company, sometimes called a ‘tax haven’, can help investors deposit large sums of money that are exempt from taxes. The breach not only highlighted the value of a robust cyber security system, but how a lack of transparency in business contributes to corruption.

Corporate transparency is vital to the long-term well-being of companies of all sizes, as it builds a rapport with the public, shareholders, investors and even the government. However, as the Panama Papers illustrated, corruption can undermine that rapport. In fact, according to a report published by Eversheds, a multinational law firm, 80 per cent of executives have seen bribes and corruption within their firms. Companies that are desperate to remain competitive within their industries may be willing to take any measure to get ahead. However, in order to mitigate the temptation to succumb to corruption and bribery, companies must adhere to the Bribery Act 2010 and adopt a risk-based approach to managing those types of risks. (more…)

Keep Calm and Hold Your Nerve: A Brexit Update for Businesses

Brexit is poised to bring significant changes to nearly every aspect of the nation, and while it is still too soon to know whether the long-term effects will be positive or negative, UK businesses have already begun to feel the strain. In July, BDO, an accountancy and services firm, published its Business Trends Report, which is a weighted average of Britain’s main business surveys. The survey revealed that the business optimism score, which predicts growth over the next six months, fell from 99.4 in May to 98.9 in June, while the figure for predicted output fell from 99.7 in May to 99.0 in June. While these shifts may seem minute, they actually signal that business sentiment in Britain has fallen to a three-year low.

Unfortunately, until Britain can accurately identify and address the effects of Brexit, the economic climate is not expected to greatly improve. However, that is not to say that it will continue to get worse. The only statement that can be made definitively is that change, whether for the better or worse, is on the horizon. While the prospect of change is generally coloured by uncertainty and unease, your company needs to remain calm—now is not the time to panic. Instead, stay smart and judicious to avoid getting caught up in needless hysteria. (more…)

How Will Brexit Affect Your Business?

The repercussions of Britain’s decision to leave the EU will undoubtedly have a lasting impact. While many of the long-term effects of Brexit are still only speculative, the more immediate repercussions are clearer.

A pall has been cast over Britain’s economy, with Goldman Sachs predicting a mild recession by early 2017. The initial signs of this forecast can already be observed in the weakened value of the pound, which fell about 12 per cent the day after the vote, bottoming out at a 30-year low. Furthermore, international investors have already begun to withdraw their support from UK businesses.

Despite Britain’s current tumultuous financial environment, SMEs should remain calm. Britain will remain a member of the EU until the negotiations for the terms of its decoupling are finalised. This process will take at least two years, meaning that UK businesses will continue to have access to more than 500 million EU customers. However, that time should additionally be spent finding alternatives to EU suppliers and customers in case Britain is unable to secure access to the single market. (more…)