OCTOBER 2009 EDITION—Topical Information for SME’s and their advisors
INSIDE THIS ISSUE THE ACTIVE BUSINESS SERIES – Don’t Miss Out
Our fortnightly business briefings – The Active Business
Series – were launched at the beginning of the month.
Already published are the first three editions on Disaster
Recovery, Going Green and Credit Management.
These topical, concise and thought-provoking briefings are
available exclusively to Viewpoint‟s clients and registered members of our website
– from where they can be downloaded. Registration as a member of our website is
free and takes less than 2 minutes to complete.
The next two editions of the Active Business Series will cover Buying a
Business (published on 9.11.2009) and The Law and Your Company (published
For more information about how to access this essential, free information to help
MICROSOFT - Lucky run your business go to www.viewpointbs.co.uk/activebusiness
Number 7? CAPITALS WITH CARE ! - Email Etiquette Guide
CONSTRUCTION A New Zealand woman lost her job after sending “confrontational” emails
WORKERS - Employed or to her colleagues which were in BLOCK CAPITALS.
self-employed The title of one of the emails she sent was “TO ENSURE YOUR STAFF
CLAIM IS PROCESSED AND PAID, PLEASE FOLLOW THE
VIEWPOINT - What we do CHECKLIST BELOW”. The actual words may seem harmless enough,
but their appearance ultimately contributed to the firing of Health Worker,
Page 3 Vicki Walker, in Auckland.
It was one of a number of emails that her employer claimed, at a tribunal, had spread
MARKETING - Web 3.0 : disharmony at work. Some also “provocatively” contained highlighted phrases in bold or
What’s that all about? red, the tribunal heard.
So take care – most web users know capital letters are a capital offence – they’re commonly
FUNDING YOUR BUSINESS thought to be the online equivalent to shouting or screaming. Although there are less
- is there another way? written rules surrounding emails, compared to conventional letters for example, many
business owners will have experienced friction in their teams caused by poor email
FORECASTING SOLUTION As your business grows creating an email policy as part of your Employee Handbook is
- Review offer recommended. For smaller businesses circulating some guidance can be useful. To help you
out we have prepared an Email Etiquette Guide which you can download from our website
Page 4 at www.viewpointbs.co.uk/emailguide.
BUSINESS BOOK OF THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS – Check Your Record Now
MONTH - The 4-Hour Work
We have recently become aware that, for some individuals,
Week national insurance contributions that have been paid have not been
correctly allocated against their HMRC record. This could mean
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH that although they have correctly paid national insurance over the
- www.mylawyer.co.uk years, some amounts may not be recorded against their personal
NI number, and therefore this could reduce their state pension
DRESS DOWN FRIDAY - entitlement when they come to retire.
funny story or true? If you would like to find out your national insurance contribution history then phone
HMRC on 0845 3021279, ready with your NI number, and request a “National
TECHNICAL BIT - Free Insurance Statement”. If you discover that you do have missing contributions,
online Health & Safety sufficient to cause your pension entitlement to be reduced, you will need to provide
Guidance proof of contributions for the missing periods to get them reinstated – however this
could be well worth the effort.
GADGET OF THE MONTH - If you would like us to help you with either getting a statement or interpreting what
Baby Henry Vacuum cleaner it means then please contact Steve Bird on 01245 249240 or by email to
MICROSOFT – LUCKY NUMBER 7 ?
Have you found Microsoft Vista to be a „pane‟ of an operating system? If so, you are not alone. Vista was not the
remarkable upgrade that people expected. It was disappointingly slow and many users claim it was prone to crashes.
To remain the computer giant that it is, faced with increased competition from Apple and other small “netbooks”,
Microsoft has needed to address these issues.
As a result Microsoft has launched, somewhat quietly, its latest software upgrade on 22 October 2009. This is called,
unimaginatively, Windows 7, and will be make or break for the market leader. Microsoft says that this software has
undergone more testing than any other that it has previously released. Perhaps this was their weakness with Vista – not
enough rigorous testing before making it available to the public. A lesson for all businesses!
Windows 7 is promised to be more responsive with faster graphics, even on cheaper laptops.
Customers should be more satisfied with a more reliable product.
HomeGroup - Takes the headache out of home networking, so it's easier to share files and printers.
Jump Lists - Speedy access to your favourite pictures, songs, websites, and documents.
Snap - A quick, and fun, new way to resize and compare windows on your desktop. Allows you to view two
windows side by side on the screen.
Windows Search - At last, searching your PC is as simple as searching the web.
Performance improvements - Designed to sleep and resume quicker, be less memory hungry, and spot USB devices faster.
Full 64-bit support - Windows 7 makes the most of powerful 64-bit PCs, the new desktop standard.
Power management - New power-saving features are designed to help laptops run longer.
Easier wireless networking - Windows 7 gets you online in fewer clicks.
Windows Media Center - Watch, record, and pause live TV (additional hardware required).
Windows Touch – Combine Windows 7 with a touch-sensitive PC and you won't always need a keyboard or mouse. Allows users to control
their computer with just the use of one finger.
More information can be found on www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7
Sounds exciting! It will cost you £80 to upgrade to Windows 7 if you are currently running Vista.
The question everyone is asking is why has it taken so long for Microsoft to produce this easy to use and reliable
operating system? And will it prove as reliable as they have promised – or will we have to wait 6 months until most of the
bugs have been sorted out?
CONSTRUCTION WORKERS—Employed or Self Employed – that is the question!
Viewpoint – What We Do
In July 2009, HMRC issued a consultation document: “False employment in construction: taxation
of workers”. HMRC’s view is that “false self employment occurs where the underlying
Everything you would expect characteristics of the relationship are employment but the engagement is presented as self
from a firm of accountants employment”.
but with our priority always In the past these types of disputes have been settled by reference to case law and three simple tests
being to help you grow the were considered:
profitability and capital value
of your business. Mutuality of Obligation
Business Consultancy Personal Service
HMRC’s proposal is to ignore case law and instead one or more of the following criteria MUST be
Management Accounts met for self employed status to apply:
Financial Accounts Provision of plant and equipment (excluding tools)
Provision of all materials
Provision of other workers
Business Tax If HMRC’s proposals are implemented, a significant number of labour
only subcontractors would be deemed to be employees.
Bookkeeping In turn, this would lead to a huge increase in costs for contractors in
terms of employees and employers national insurance contributions.
Marketing Advice At the moment this is only a proposal. However, HMRC are seriously
concerned about continually losing cases in the courts and therefore are
Funding Your Business keen to introduce new legislation. The advice is to monitor
developments closely and in the event of change, think ahead and plan
Personal Wealth how to adapt and survive.
Management For further information on this subject or to discuss ideas on how to adapt and survive, contact
Steve Bird on 01245 249249 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
MARKETING - Web 3.0 – What’s That All About?
Did you ever get to grips with the marketing implications of Web 2.0 – or Web 1.0 for that matter? Well don’t worry about them – it’s Web
3.0 you need to understand now!
Confused? Let us help you with our brief glossary of what these terms mean and why they’re important to your businesses marketing
Web 1.0 : One-way information flow
This was when the web was just an information portal – content was owned, publishing was static and there
was little or no interaction between provider and user.
Web 2.0 : The move to participation
With web users becoming more demanding, information-sharing and collaboration became hot topics. User-
generated content became the norm and the internet community was given the power to create and validate
information. Examples of this include blogs, forums, social networking sites, video and image sharing, wikis and the like.
Web 3.0 : The unrealised vision?
This is still very much a “work in progress” – but get used to it as it’s not going to go away. In summary, Web 3.0 will be a more intelligent
version of Web 2.0 where the web understands how to personalise your on-line experience and recommend what you are looking for.
So pay attention when you hear the term “Web 3.0” in the future as this may have implications on the design of your website and the way
you use the internet for marketing.
FUNDING YOUR BUSINESS – Is There Another Way?
We continue to hear stories that the banks are not helping small businesses in what are difficult times and like the old adage
are “taking away the umbrella just as it starts to rain.”
Well perhaps we need to look at what alternatives might be available and these could include:
Support from families and friends.
Other funders, such as Invoice Discounters and Factors.
Asset financers, HP or Lease for capital items.
Equity Capital & Business Angels
Some or all of these may be available to you and perhaps we can help you to assess your needs and source potential
providers for you.
You can of course get additional information on all of these on our web site at www.viewpointbs.co.uk/funding
A simple call to Keith Andrew on 07885 795903 in complete confidence, or an e-mail to him at
email@example.com could be the first step to resolving a potential problem for you.
FINANCIAL FORECASTING SOLUTION
Viewpoint Use Sage Forecasting
Regular forecasting is essential for monitoring the profitability and solvency in any business. With our help and
the use of Sage Forecasting this process can be focused and streamlined, allowing you to quickly predict the
impact of critical business decisions and make them with confidence.
We can help you:
Create accurate reports with figures you can trust
Pre-installed formulae speed up the forecasting process. You can re-forecast based on actual results while still leaving
your original budgets intact, allowing you to track progress and identify opportunities.
Predict and monitor your cash flow
By forecasting your cash flow, you can predict your future financial status. This then allows you to capitalise on the
situation or take preventative action.
See the impact of potential business decisions
You can experiment with different ‘What if?’ scenarios, without affecting your base data.
Make the most of exciting new business opportunities
By experimenting with business scenarios you’ll be given a risk-free view of the potential impact on your business, which
will allow you to make the most of any new business opportunities that come along.
Save hours creating professional reports
Because data can be taken directly from your Sage 50 Accounts or Microsoft Excel, we’ll save hours of data re-entry.
OFFER : For a free no obligation meeting to review your data, devise an action plan and provide a quote for setting up your
forecast please contact Paul Hunt on 01245 249249, or complete our on-line request form at www.viewpointbs.co.uk/
BUSINESS BOOK OF THE MONTH GADGET OF THE MONTH
The 4-hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss Baby Henry Desktop Vacuum Cleaner
This is not just another time management Powered by 3xAA batteries, Baby Henry is ideal
book. The author takes a more radical
for sucking up biscuit crumbs
approach in looking at work schedules and
habits and gives advice on how to really and unidentified specks from
eliminate all those tasks that aren’t your work space, as well as
contributing to your current role or career dust on electronic bits and
bobs. And that can only be
To find out how to win one of three copies of this book that good because life's too short
we have available to give away for free then go to to waste time faffing about
www.viewpointbs.co.uk/businessbooks with dusters and soggy
specialist wipes. What's more Henry's generous
DRESS DOWN FRIDAY drum section can hold a considerable amount of
Week 1 Memo No 1 detritus.
Effective this week, the company is adopting Fridays as
Casual Day. Employees are free to dress in the casual attire But more than its handy cleaning abilities, the
of their choice. Baby Henry Desktop Vacuum serves as a
Week 3 Memo No 2 miniature tribute to one helluva popular sucker -
Spandex and leather micro-miniskirts are not appropriate over 6 million of the full-sized units have been
attire for Casual Day. Neither are string ties, rodeo belt
buckles or moccasins. sold worldwide.
Week 6 Memo No 3
Casual Day refers to dress only, TECHNICAL
not attitude. When planning Health & Safety Guidance Free Online
Friday‟s wardrobe, remember
image is the key to our success. The Health and Safety Executive has made available,
free of charge, a wealth of guidance for businesses
Week 8 Memo No 4
A seminar on how to dress for about how to protect their employees from workplace
Casual Day will be held at 4pm danger. These guides were previously only available if
on Friday in the staff canteen. A paid for. The publications cover the full range of HSE
fashion show will follow. Attendance is mandatory. guidance as well as approved codes of practice and
Week 9 Memo No 5 guidance on regulations.
Following last Friday‟s seminar a 14 member Casual Day
Task Force (CDTF) has been appointed to prepare These guides can be accessed by
guidelines for proper casual-day dress. following this link –
Week 14 Memo No 6 www.hse.gov.uk/guidance/
The CDTF has now completed a 30 page manual entitled topics.htm
“Relaxing Dress Without Relaxing Company Standards”. A
copy has been distributed to every employee. Please review
the chapter “You Are What You Wear” and consult the “home WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
casual” versus “business casual” checklist before leaving for On-line legal document creation – with review and advice
work each Friday. If you have any doubts about the from a top law firm
appropriateness of an item of clothing, contact your CDTF
representative before 7am on Friday.
Week 18 Memo No 7
Our Employee Assistant Plan (EAP) has now been
expanded to provide support for psychological counselling
for employees who may be having difficulty adjusting to Go to www.mylawyer.co.uk for an on-line service for a range
Casual Day. of simple legal documents and contracts.
Week 20 Memo No 8 Is this the future way in which we are going to be able to
Due to budget cuts in the HR Department we are no longer access legal services?
able to effectively support or manage Casual Day. Casual
Day will be discontinued, effective immediately. It’s certainly worth a look !
VIEWPOINT BUSINESS SERVICES LIMITED
The Old Mill Office, Boyton Hall Lane, Boyton Hall, Roxwell, Essex CM1 4LN
Tel : 01245 249249 Fax : 01245 248549
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org