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OFFICIAL MAGAZINE FOR KENT INVICTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • December 2016 - January 2017

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Finance for Business Confidence in securing funding - page 24

Also Inside: • International Trade • Spotlight on Canterbury • 24 Hours with... • Big Interview with Goldhawk Associates


CONTENTS

Welcome

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Looking forward to an exciting 2017 Nevertheless, he does comment on a number of areas which interest business people, everything from trade agreements to the issue of workers from abroad. One of our features, starting on page 24, examines one of the biggest issues facing business at any time – finance, how to access funding for growth and how to manage it once you have it. Talking of investment, we also have a focus on Canterbury starting on page 16 in our regular Spotlight feature. Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business, which comes out as we approach the end of a truly momentous year. Brexit, a new Prime Minister, Donald Trump, the new US President Elect, it has it all! However, throughout everything that has happened, business has continued to do what it always does, get on with the job, and this edition reflects that sense of resilience. On page 5. British Chambers of Commerce Director General Adam Marshall looks at the effect of Brexit, highlighting some of the key issues to watch out for in the months to come. As Adam says; “Most of the pronouncements we have seen and heard so far are little more than political warning shots, with the heavy artillery and the precision weapons held in reserve for later. They may make waves in the British and international press, but until Article 50 is triggered by the end of March 2017, and the exit process is well under way, many of these positions are just speculative.”

There is a truly impressive range of activities happening in the area and our feature looks at some of the investment that is driving the local economy forward. It promises to be an exciting few years for Canterbury. Our big interview on page 22 is with a businessman whose company thrives in the competitive world of recruitment. Maidstone-based Goldhawk Associates has seen its bespoke approach to finding the right person for the job lead to expansion. Overseeing the process is Managing Director David Harris, who explains how the personal touch is still the best way to do business. So it is business as usual and, as we reach the festive season may I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2017 promises to be an exciting ride!

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Members Corner Chamber News Members News Focus on Finance Members News Movers & Shakers Spotlight On.... Big Interview Cover Feature Finance for business Industry Comment Members News

Editorial and General Enquiries Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 Email: info@kentinvictachamber.co.uk Web: www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk Chief Executive: Jo James Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com Published December 2016 © Benham Publishing Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: karen@benhampublishing.com

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24 Hours with..... International Trade Members News The Economy & Us Ask the Expert Business News Getting Started Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions New Members The Last Word

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: mark@benhampublishing.com Media No. 1486 Disclaimer Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2016 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS CHAMBER PATRON

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MEMBERSCORNER

Members Corner from

Linda Marsh Director of Membership Services

County well placed to survive Brexit uncertainty, says Kent Property Market Report 2016 Kent’s commercial property market has evolved significantly over recent years, reaching a critical mass that leaves it well placed to weather the uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with Europe, according to the Kent Property Market Report 2016.

October and November have been busy months for the Chamber with The Construction Expo in Detling, East Kent B2B in Folkestone and Get Social in Dartford. All of these events have been well attended and lots of business and contacts have been made. At the B2B in Folkestone we had a “Meet the Buyer” event. This had a special feel as we were lucky enough to have talks from Nims Crisps, Tesco and Thanet Earth. Nims provided a feel for the journey from manufacturing to supermarket sales, Thanet Earth spoke on the work they are doing in Thanet and Tesco provided not only a route into their stores but plenty of local fruit from producers within 20 miles of Folkestone. Smart Support provided support in the tendering process and The Chamber, via the Interreg project provided a free networking lunch. Get Social – again another successful social media event. Talks from NATO, Facebook and the Internationally renowned speaker Zoe Cairns. This event attracted over 400 delegates all gaining from an interactive session on using Facebook LIVE in business, so look out for more like these. We are currently busy planning the 2017 event programme for YOU,

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our members, so if there is something, or somewhere you would like us to take an event to, call me and let’s see what we can do. We are always looking for businesses to get involved with our very successful Young Chamber programme, so if you and your business can offer us any time or help please just call me and let me know, this programme relies on the goodwill of local business support helping to raise the aspirations and skills in our young people of Kent, so please get involved, its fun and a great way to share your expertise too. As this is the last edition of Thinking Business before Christmas I should like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and I really hope that you can all come along to the Christmas Luncheon it promises to be packed with surprises and games, so get booked on!

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

Produced by Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Kent County Council and Locate in Kent, the report was launched at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel. It says that the result of the EU referendum has taken its toll on expectations for the performance of the UK-wide property market but the outlook in Kent and Medway remains positive because: • The county has a significant concentration of high value industries, which is attractive to relocating business seeking space; • The relative affordability of business space provides it with a competitive edge over many other South East locations; • The county will remain a vital gateway to continental Europe regardless of the impact of Brexit. The upturn in demand has been reflected in rents, with those at all the county’s major business parks now

exceeding pre-recession peaks. A number of the town centre office markets saw record rents achieved. The industrial and distribution sector saw a year of strong demand, with the average prime rent rising by nearly 7% with greater demand from more technical sectors. Turning to the retail sector, the report finds average prime rents in key centres rising slightly ahead of inflation, with levels in Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and Dartford ahead of their pre-recession peaks. Much needed residential development is taking place across the county, with the improved market attracting developers from elsewhere in the South East, the report says. The Kent Property Market Report is also supported by Clague Architects, Cripps, DHA Planning, Kreston Reeves, Mitchell Design, RICS and Savills.

The upturn in demand has been reflected in rents, with those at all the county’s major business parks now exceeding pre-recession peaks.


CHAMBERNEWS

Brexit reflections, four months postreferendum BCC Director General Adam Marshall

No one, least of all myself, can yet predict either the political endgame or the ultimate economic impacts of the transition that lies ahead. Most of the pronouncements we have seen and heard so far are little more than political warning shots, with the heavy artillery and the precision weapons held in reserve for later. They may make waves in the British and international press, but until Article 50 is triggered by the end of March 2017, and the exit process is well underway, many of these positions are just speculative. There are a number of areas that are of areas of prime importance to business. TRADE There is universal agreement across government that Britain's future is as "a trading nation". Yet that is where the consensus ends. Many Brexiteers want a full exit from the EU customs union, eschew access to the single market, and favour the conclusion of free trade agreements with our traditional allies and the Commonwealth. Others speak more cautiously about maintaining single market access, particularly in sensitive sectors like financial services, and prioritising an in-depth agreement with the EU over free trade agreements elsewhere. There are a number of nations who will want to do a trade deal with the UK in future - although most are careful to say that this can only take place after we leave the EU. Even where there’s a will, there is caution - which will likely keep talks informal for now. What's most interesting is that, in this era of protectionism and conflicting interests, many also express a private belief that doing a trade deal with the UK will be easier than doing a deal with the EU, as one country is easier to reach agreement with than 27. So there are some who believe that there is a real opportunity to increase the flows of two-way trade between the UK and a range of other countries, something that we must

continue to explore. Our growing network of British Chambers and business groups in markets around the world will be key partners in helping to seek out intelligence and opportunities in this regard. LABOUR MARKET Of all the Brexit-related subjects we're dealing with, this is the most pressing one for many of the UK and multinational firms we speak to, and possibly the most frustrating for me. We continue to call for guarantees for existing EU workers in the UK. It's the right thing to do for our businesses, for the economy and for the individuals concerned. Ministers, even those sympathetic to our arguments, demur. They insist on their responsibility to British citizens living elsewhere in the EU, and that formal guarantees can only be made when both issues are resolved. The issue with this “bargaining chip” approach when it comes to existing EU workers is that businesses are left with unacceptable levels of uncertainty about their workforce planning. My present worry is a short-term crackdown on non-EU skilled workers and students - so that ministers can say they are making progress on migration. We will have to fight this as a business community, to protect both the interests of our firms and the universities and colleges that serve as anchors for many local economies and as links to many markets around the world. REGULATION Good news here. Regulatory stability, at least in the short-to-medium term, looks to be the order of the day. Businesses around the UK, and those they trade with around the world, cite potential regulatory instability during the Brexit transition as a key concern. Ministers have, to date, sensibly spoken of maintaining regulatory equivalence for a period of time, including bringing forward a Great Repeal Bill, to transpose all existing EU law into the UK statute books before we leave the European Union. The early talk is of making regulatory change as painless as possible - a good aspiration when compared to the long history of burdensome,

resource-sapping regulatory change that businesses have often faced. EU FUNDING Here, the Chamber Network has already had a significant - if incomplete - win. Following on from our protests about the impact of the potential withdrawal of EU funding for key local growth projects, research collaborations and infrastructure schemes, Chancellor Philip Hammond responded with a swift Treasury guarantee for all projects signed off by Autumn 2016. This will keep many local projects, as well as match-funded schemes for trade with other countries, going until the end of the current parliament in 2020. TAXATION AND CUSTOMS Indirect taxes, such as VAT, and questions of origin, are important concerns for UK companies doing business across Europe - and beyond - during the Brexit transition. While the UK itself is very likely to adopt much of the EU Union Customs Code as a point of departure, there will be opportunities to sharpen and improve some elements of this in the interests of our importing and exporting firms. While it is still very early days, the Chambers of Commerce plan to engage at both political and technical levels to achieve a good outcome for businesses and the Chambers that support them. The Prime Minister and her team have a real chance to craft a bespoke set of arrangements that are both advantageous to UK firms and acceptable to our trading partners in the EU and beyond. The diverse businesses in the Chamber Network are – rightly – focused on the impact of our transition on their own business models and prospects. They expect HM Government and the Bank of England to deliver stability of markets, further clarity on the timetable for transition, and firm action on those matters that are entirely within Westminster’s gift. Calm, rational consideration is the order of the day.

In My Opinion Paul Hill Solicitor Private Client

Clear and effective succession planning is of critical importance to every business. However, whilst the importance of succession planning is widely known, the busy schedules of business owners mean that it is rarely seen as an urgent priority. As a result, succession planning is often pushed down the to-do list and recent studies suggest that as few as 10% of business owners have a formal written succession plan in place. Moreover, whilst 38% have an informal strategy in mind, the remaining 52% have nothing at all. In addition, small and medium-sized enterprises with no succession plan are more likely to fail upon the death or exit of their owner or majority shareholder. Each individual business owner’s objectives will, of course, be different. Some will wish to sell their business to move on to a new venture, whereas some will wish to sell so as to fund their retirement. Alternatively, some may wish to hold onto their business, perhaps delegating day-to-day management, so as to take advantage of Business Property Relief; a relief from Inheritance Tax which allows 50 – 100% of the value of the business to pass tax free upon the business owner’s death. It is common practice, and sensible, to consider succession planning alongside the preparation of a Will. Whether a business owner identifies a single future owner of their business, or a series of potential future owners, a properly tailored Will should allow the executors and trustees sufficient power to preserve the business until such time as ownership can be transferred. If a business is to be sold rather than left to heirs, it is important to consider whether an ‘option to purchase’ the business is to be included. Such an option allows a business owner flexibility in respect of the terms on which their business is to be offered for sale. In my opinion a great New Year’s resolution would be to start thinking about succession planning and the future of your business.

Paul can be contacted on 01227 768374 paulhill@girlings.com

www.girlings.com December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

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MEMBERSNEWS

Event provides a buzz During the recent half-term break, Longfield Academy hosted, in conjunction with ZC Social Media and Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, ‘Get Social Kent,’ the largest social media event in the region. The day-long conference attracted 350 business delegates eager to learn more about the best use of social media for their businesses. The day included presentations and workshops by industry experts on all aspects of social media as well as the opportunity for businesses from diverse sectors to talk to an audience of the local business community at their exhibition stands. Keynote speakers were Franky Saegerman (Head of Digital Insights, NATO), Zoe Cairns (Chief Executive, ZC Social Media), Greg Russell (Partner Manager EMEA, Facebook) and Luke Quilter (Chief Executive, Sleeping Giant Media). Workshops were provided by Facebook, AM Marketing, ZC Social Media and Sendible. An interesting addition to what was the third Get Social event to take place in Kent, were interviews by the Techtalk radio show.

Simon Beamish, Leigh Academies Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “Leigh Academies Trust and Longfield Academy were proud to host Get Social 2016. The digital media industries are a rapidly growing employment market in the UK.” Cucina Catering provided refreshments for the day. Comments on the day included: “The venue was perfect for the buzzing amazing atmosphere for Get Social Kent. I would highly recommend Longfield Academy to any business looking to run a conference, event or meeting without any hesitation.” Zoe Cairns, CEO ZC Social Media “The venue was way above my expectations, the facilities were first class, the staff incredibly helpful and supportive and the day went very, very smoothly. I wouldn’t hesitate to stage more events at this superb venue. A great day”. Paul Andrews, CEO Jobs in Kent

Small business, big achievement - Diligence

It’s been an exciting few months for Diligence with the recent Construction Expo and various events around the investment coming to north Kent, but equally the spotlight has been on Nicola Coppen, who is a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2016. Here’s a little about her: Nicola Coppen from Diligence (PM) Services Ltd (known as ‘Diligence’) has been announced as a shortlisted entrepreneur within the Micro Business Entrepreneur of the Year category for 2016. Nicola started Diligence in April 2014, with the first contract being for the provision of Infrastructure Project Management for Thames Water – an early milestone for the company and in April 2016, she decided the time was right to begin expansion for the company into a larger consultancy.

Diligence is a people-led consultancy, providing proven Project Managers, incorporating the need to encourage local employment and develop Project Managers of the future. As a word synonymous with Nicola’s aptitude, given to her by those she worked with, ‘Diligence’ was the obvious company name and therefore we have to consider ‘diligence’ in all we do. As you can imagine this news has boosted the profile of Diligence and has resulted in more enquiries, setting us on the track to achieve our business objectives and to ensure that Diligence continues to make a positive difference.

Please call 01322 838004 email Nicola@diligence-pm-services.co.uk or contact us through our website www.diligence-pm-services.co.uk

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ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

“I felt that the venue and the staff suited the event well. The staff were extremely accommodating and helpful, especially when we needed things instantly. We were so well looked after in every

area it was a real pleasure to bring our event to Longfield.” Linda Marsh, Director of Membership Services, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

Ashford Borough Council doubles up with engagement awards Ashford Borough Council picked up two awards at the national Engagement Excellence Awards. The Engagement Excellence Awards seek to celebrate excellence in employee engagement. Ashford Borough Council was one of only a few local authorities to be nominated against national and global brands such as Vodafone, Vue Entertainment, London City Airport, AXA UK, Specsavers and the Royal Albert Hall. The awards took place at the Natural History Museum in London on 21 September. The council won both ‘Best branding’ (up against Hertfordshire County Council, National Housing Federation, Transport for London and The Oasis Partnership) and ‘Most strategic communications for public sector/charity organisation’ (up against Arriva, Coleman and Company, London City Airport and STYLE.COM). They were also shortlisted for Engagement Team of the Year, a category won by Samsung.

Ashford Borough Council was commended for its work around staff engagement, specifically how it interacts and communicates with its workforce. This is the second year the council has been successful at the event and this year it was the only organisation to be shortlisted for three awards. The judging panel consisted of 20 Human Resources and Reward leaders from companies all around the UK. Cllr Callum Knowles, ABC’s portfolio holder for Information, Technology and Communications, said: “We’re delighted to be recognised for our hard work and focus on staff engagement. To be nominated for three awards is a reflection of our commitment to nurture a motivated and productive workforce, which we believe contributes to achieving the council’s aspirations on behalf of the borough and our residents.”


FOCUSONFINANCE

Gift Aid:

Don’t get a tax bill for Christmas Christmas is the time for giving and if you are in the charitable mood this Christmas then you might want to give some thought to how a few tax changes brought in this year may have affected your Gift Aid status. Many people could actually find themselves outside of the taxable bracket for Gift Aid – and the charity could be the one footing the tax bill. Kevin Thornby Senior Personal Tax Manager 01233 629255 (Ashford) Kevin.Thornby@wilkinskennedy.com www.wilkinskennedy.com

As well as individuals, there have also been some changes to Gift Aid declarations that could affect charities themselves. With the Christmas period recognised as the annual opportunity to capitalise on the season of goodwill so that charities can fund the important work they do, they need to ensure they are making every penny count!

What is Gift Aid? Gift Aid was introduced in 1990 as a way of enabling charities to claim back the income tax that has already been paid on donations. This is only claimable in the event that the donor is a UK taxpayer – an individual that is earning above the minimum threshold of £10,600 per annum. Gift Aid can help boost donations by 25%, making a significant difference to the fundraising pot.

A sting in the tail New legislation relating to tax changes introduced in April 2016 could have seen many people paying less tax. Not a bad thing you may think, but in the process, those people may have unknowingly been lifted out of eligibility for Gift Aid payment. Following changes to the dividend tax allowance, which came in to effect from 1st April, the “notional” tax credit of 10% has been abolished. This was replaced by a new exemption from tax on the first £5,000 of dividends received by each taxpayer each tax year.

There are two traps that tax payers could fall into. For low earners, perhaps pensioners who receive up to £11,000 in income which is free of tax and dividend income of £5,000, they will have no taxable income. If they make any Gift Aid payments, then the revenue may ask them to pay the tax that the charity reclaims. Very wealthy taxpayers earning all their income from dividends and making Gift Aid payments to a charity will be in for a shock that their tax bill will increase as the tax credit is no longer off set against their income. Not only has the taxation of individuals changed that may affect Gift Aid payments, the Government has also recently updated its guidance on the Gift Aid scheme for charities themselves. Donors must now sign a declaration at the point of their donation to declare their taxpayer status and their eligibility for Gift Aid. This is even more important bearing in mind the above relating to changes in Gift Aid status, unbeknownst to the donor. If the giver is not a taxpayer, they cannot sign up as there will be no tax to reclaim – and the new wording makes clear that if a donor has paid an insufficient amount of tax to cover their donations then the charity is responsible for paying the difference.

Ringing the changes Charity shops play a huge role in fundraising throughout the year, but even more so at Christmas time. The sale of single Christmas cards account for

12% of the total retail value of the UK market, in addition to 900 million boxed cards, worth an estimated £2bn, sent every year. From that number, charities receive approximately £50m from Christmas card sales alone. All the sales that are made via charity shops are all subject to Gift Aid on the proceeds raised from the sale – at no extra cost to the donor. If this applies to your charity, then I would recommend that you review the Retail Gift Aid guidance, released at the end of last year, and amend your procedures accordingly as well as ensure you train all staff into following it. There is some light at the end of the tunnel. The Government announced in the Budget of March 2015 that the Small Donations Scheme would be extended from April 2016. This would extend the limit for claims made under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which enables charities to claim a Gift Aid-like payment on small donations, from £5,000 to £8,000 a year from April 2016. Therefore, charities will be able to claim up to £2,000 of payments from the Government under the scheme each year. Of course, if you are a charity and want to know more about the changes to Gift Aid, you can call in to your local Kent branch of Wilkins Kennedy where our specialist Tax and Not-For-Profit teams are on hand to help with any enquiries.

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

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MEMBERSNEWS

Kent Ambassadors visit ellenor during Hospice Care Week A group of 20 Kent Ambassadors visited ellenor Gravesend to discover more about what the hospice charity does and the support it gives to more than 2000 Kent families each year. Their visit came during the national awareness week - Hospice Care Week - and among those Kent Ambassadors who visited the hospice was The Rt Hon Lord Howard of Lympne CH QC, who is also chair of the board of trustees at Hospice UK, and Amanda Cottrell OBE. Others who attended included Lord Alastair Colgrain, Lady Tess Bruce-Lockhart, Sonja Wood and Alastair Jessel. The Kent Ambassadors are a group of highly successful and experienced people who either live or work in Kent and who have come together, by invitation, in a voluntary arrangement to help all aspects of life in Kent. Mo Tutty, Chair of the Board of Trustees at ellenor (left) with Lord Michael Howard. Photo credit: David Bartholomew

The group were able to meet with some of the team at ellenor,

including Mo Tutty, Chair of the Board of Trustees; Claire Cardy, Chief Executive; Jacquie Hackett, Director of Patient Care; and Rachel Holweger, Director of Fundraising, as well as being shown round the hospice building. Claire said: “It was an absolute honour to welcome the Kent Ambassadors to ellenor particularly during Hospice Care Week. “They seemed to really appreciate the opportunity to hear about the work we do at ellenor and recognised the impact we are making in this county, providing care to families facing terminal illness across North and South West Kent.”

Growth town Ashford powers ahead Ashford’s reputation as the fastest growing town between London and Continental Europe – driven by the commercial skills of Ashford Borough Council – has been underlined in the Kent Property Market Report 2016, design and print. The report reviews activity across the commercial and residential sectors in Kent and Medway in the past 12 months and looks at the prospects for the year ahead. Now in it’s 25th year, the guide is produced by Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Locate in Kent and Kent County Council. A raft of new commercial developments are under way in the borough and more than 1,000 homes were completed in Ashford last year, with the district seeing the fastest population growth in Kent (for full details visit www.ashfordfor.com)

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Improved business confidence has spurred strong office demand across the South East, particularly for quality town centre space, which is in short supply. In Ashford, where the early benefits of the scale of regeneration projects under way has also fuelled an upturn in rents, permission has been granted for 7,479m2 at Dover Place in the new commercial quarter, which will include 54,813m2 of office space. In the town centre, work will start soon on a brownfield site in Elwick Place, incorporating a six-screen cinema, hotel, restaurants and bars, while Cineworld is extending its complex at Eureka Leisure Park.

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

McArthur Glen is to add 40 new stores and six restaurants to the Ashford Designer Outlet, while a new £26 million Ashford College campus is due to welcome its first students in September 2017.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership has secured funding from the Government to build a new junction, Junction 10a, on the M20, which will be a catalyst for further economic and commercial development, the report adds.

A raft of new commercial developments are under way in the borough and more than 1,000 homes were completed in Ashford last year.


MEMBERSNEWS

Proposals for Earth Lodges at Bewl Water unveiled Plans to create 60 earth lodges to provide self-catering accommodation at Bewl Water have been unveiled by its owners Markerstudy Leisure.

Ashford college celebrates topping out The two bedroom earth lodges would be cut into a slope, covered by earth banks and sheltered beneath a wild meadow roof. Each would incorporate high performance construction and renewable energy technologies. The low-energy units could accommodate up to 240 people and would use existing on site car parking. Each would have views of the water and woodland with private outdoor space. The intention is to provide accommodation to

compliment the leisure and recreation facilities already available at the 800 acre Bewl Water County Park, as well as providing a base for short break holidays from which to explore Wealden and West Kent. Andrew Daniells, Chief Operating Officer at Bewl Water, said: “Since taking over the management of Bewl Water Country Park and investing in new facilities and improving the existing leisure activities, it has become clear that there is a demand for high quality self-

catering accommodation that is sensitive to the environment.” The event, held at the Waterside Visitor Centre on Wednesday, 9 November, was attended by 130 people. Andrew added: “The response from local residents and watersports enthusiasts was overwhelmingly positive. We believe that the addition of self-catering accommodation at Bewl would enable us to play a greater role in supporting other local tourism businesses.”

Gullands Solicitors is ranked as a leading law firm in Kent Kent law firm Gullands Solicitors has once again been commended for its consistently high levels of service across five practice areas by recently-published, The Legal 500. The Legal 500 is the largest and most in-depth survey of the UK’s legal market and is an essential reference tool for buyers of legal services. Gullands has been ranked as a leading firm in five separate legal sectors • Crime • Charities • Family • Tax, trust and probate • Construction

The Legal 500 commends Gullands’ criminal department, naming partner John Roberts and associate Patrick Bligh as “key figures”. Last year’s Legal 500 credited John with giving “clients the utmost confidence”. The directory also praised Gullands’ Head of Construction David Brown for being “adept at handling adjudications and assisting with JCT contracts”. Blair Gulland, Chairman at Gullands, said: “We are delighted that our track record and standing in the South East legal market has once again been acknowledged and praised by The Legal 500.”

Ashford College held a topping out ceremony to celebrate construction of the new £26 million further and higher education campus in the town centre reaching roof height. The college, which is part of the Hadlow Group, is due to open to students in September 2017. Located close to Ashford’s new Commercial Quarter, the college will focus on courses for jobs in the manufacturing, construction, technology and service sectors. The rooftop topping out ceremony was conducted by Mark Lumsdon-Taylor for the Hadlow Group, who said: “The people of Ashford have been waiting for their new college for a long time so this is a real celebration. Ashford College is located in a wonderfully vibrant part of the town where so much is happening.” Damian Green, MP for Ashford and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “I’m delighted to see the building, which symbolises a new start for Ashford and a new chance for thousands of young people to gain excellent qualifications which will help them start their working lives with confidence.” The construction company commissioned by the Hadlow Group is BAM Construction. The architect is HNW Architects, the quantity surveyor is Bailey Partnership and the structural engineer and M&E consultants are Ramboll.

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

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MEMBERSNEWS

Kent agency brings impact to Maidstone development A Kent-based creative agency, known for its award-winning branding of highprofile science parks across the UK, has been appointed to work on one of the most prestigious projects in Kent and the south east. Impact has been chosen as the brand developer for the 30-acre Kent Medical Campus in Maidstone in a move that consolidates its commitment to concentrate on supporting businesses in the county. Impact Managing Director Wayne Hall says: “We are passionate about working in the science sector because of the positive innovation and change it brings to the world. There is enormous potential at KMC with a unique development of specialist academic, health and research facilities.

“We’ve had a lot of success in other parts of the country, particularly at Silverstone Park where our team won the Property Marketing Award for Best Marketing Campaign, but the prospect of bringing our passion and enthusiasm to a project in our home town is very exciting.” Gary Watson, consultant with the sole selling agents for the campus, JLL, said Impact’s previous achievements in the sector sealed the appointment. The multi-million pound Kent Medical Campus is unique in Kent in being

developed as the first Academic, Health and Science centre (AHSC) for the county. The first phase has been completed with the opening of Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS) and Cygnet Health Care is on site conducting its pre-commencement works to enable construction to begin in January 2017. The initial branding and website development will keep Impact’s design team busy until after Christmas.

Leisure development to dazzle Ashford as Cinema expansion with Imax approved Ashford’s position as the fastest growing town between London and Continental Europe continues to attract major investors, with plans approved for an extension to the Cineworld complex at the Eureka Leisure Park alongside J9 of the M20. Land Securities has begun preliminary work to develop a further three screens at the Cineworld site, to include an IMAX screen which will be only the second in Kent. The expansion complements the proposed six-screen town centre cinema at Elwick Place, which will be operated by Picturehouse, Cineworld’s boutique cinema brand. Developer Stanhope PLC was granted planning consent for the £75m Elwick Place scheme in December 2015,

which forms the first phase of development. Together with multi-million-pound investments in other facilities, including the Ashford International Model Railway Education Centre and Chapel Down’s Curious Brew visitor centre and state-of-the-art brewery which received planning consent this autumn, the development and expansion of the two cinema complexes represents a huge boost for Ashford’s leisure offering.

Kreston Reeves shortlisted for two awards at the British Accountancy Awards Kreston Reeves, one of the leading accountancy and financial services firms located across London and the South East, have been shortlisted in the 'Mid-tier Firm of the Year' and ‘Top 50 Audit Team of the Year’ categories for the British Accountancy Awards. To qualify to be shortlisted for 'Mid-tier Firm of the Year' the entries were judged against five key criteria; profitability and growth, professionalism, measurable success, innovation and people and community. Awarded to the firm with turnover between £3m and £25m that demonstrates how the firm has added significant value to its clients and across all service areas, the winning firm will show how the services it has provided have been fundamental in enabling their clients to achieve their business goals. The ‘Top 50 Audit Team of the Year’ entrants were asked to demonstrate

innovation, return on investment, quality of management and impact. This award is open to audit work within firms that are placed in the 2015 Accountancy Age Top 50 Survey. This award seeks to recognise the audit advice that has delivered greatest measurable benefit to the client, demonstrating clearly the high value of quality professional audit advice. This is not the first time that Kreston Reeves have been recognised at these awards. In 2014, they won 'Training Team of the Year' and were declared finalists in the 'Top 50 Audit Team of the Year'. In 2013 they were finalists in the ‘Best

Employers’ category, in 2012 finalists in the ‘Mid Tier Firm’ and ‘Tax Award of the Year-Non Global Firm’ categories and in 2011 they also won the title of ‘Best Employer’ in a category backed by Accountancy Age and the Best Companies Group. Nigel Fright, Managing Partner at Kreston Reeves, said: “Our fundamental core value is quality client relationships and service, so to be shortlisted using criteria that judges this value means a lot to us - we look forward to attending the awards ceremony and hearing the results”.

Gold award for Kings Hill Kings Hill has won a gold and a silver gilt award in the South & South East in Bloom competition, proving that the 38,000 hours its landscaping team and community volunteers put in has paid off, making the development one of the most attractive places to live and work in the UK. The development was awarded gold in the ‘Business Landscape of the Year’ category and silver gilt in the ‘Village/Town/City Centre’ category. The judges, who included TV gardener Jim Buttress, noted ‘the well-designed landscaping and beautiful surroundings, combined with the excellent choices and variety of plants offering impact and creating colour and interest throughout the year’. They also praised the inclusion of conservation areas and were impressed by the encouragement given to schoolchildren with the introduction of raised allotment beds and fruit trees planted in the grounds of The Discovery School. Attention was drawn to the significant trees on the development, including a ‘very fine specimen walnut tree’ at 17 Kings Hill Avenue and the fact there is ‘an excellent standard of cleanliness with no graffiti, litter or detritus’. “The quality of the landscape and ecology of the development is of paramount importance to us and we take great care to plant not only what is attractive but which also provides a habitat for wildlife” said Susan Davies, Property and Estate manager for Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust. Liberty is advised by project ecologist Susan Deakin and the landscaping carried out by Coblands Landscapes, who have been tending Kings Hill for two decades. The South and South East in Bloom award is part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom campaign.

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MEMBERSNEWS

LR Legal Recruitment welcome Kent & Sussex Young Lawyers LR Legal recruitment hosted their first young lawyers welcome event in conjunction with the Kent law society and young lawyer’s division.

On a chilly autumnal evening, they welcomed a great turn out of attendees from a variety of regional law firms at the Barn Pub in Tunbridge Wells. The audience enjoyed short speeches from Vanda James, president of the Kent Law Society, Rich Rosino Associate, of Sussex-based Riks & Kay, and Leilani Reader, MD at LR Legal, as well as complimentary refreshments.

The aim of the event was to welcome new members to the young lawyer’s division and to provide them with interesting and motivational keynote speeches in a relaxed yet professional environment. The topic at the Autumn event was to discuss the benefits of regional working as opposed to the fast-paced city life.

Twig Group well received at Construction Expo Twig Group, a Kent based company offering ecological contracting, grounds maintenance and solar farm maintenance services, hosted a panel discussion on avoiding unnecessary ecological pitfalls, at the Construction Expo held at Kent Event Centre, Detling. Visitors from some of the very largest main contracting and house building firms gathered to learn, network and capitalise on the region’s major construction opportunities. Over the years many developers, architects, contractors and home owners have found ecology something that can be complicated, daunting and confusing; cause serious delays and costs to the planning process. The panel discussions provided by Twig Group explored the pitfalls in this area of construction.

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ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

The panel comprised of: • David Banfield, Planning Director of Redrow Homes • Glen Ernest, Director at GDM Architects • David Eyre, Managing Director of the Twig Group • James Dickenson, Head of Ecology, Twig Group Chairing the panel discussion was Cheryl Causebrook, Chair of Constructing Excellence Kent Club. David Eyre, Managing Director, Twig Group, said: “During the session the panel discussed what ecological requirements should be considered when appraising a site for development and how to avoid costly delays if there are protected species on your site.”


MOVERS&SHAKERS

Kent property expert launches his own business in growth town Ashford

One of the most highly respected figures in Kent’s commercial property sector has launched his own consultancy in the fastest growing town between London and Continental Europe. Stafford Perkins Chartered Surveyors has been set up in Ashford by Richard Stafford. Richard has provided a range of commercial property services for the past 30 years and has earned plaudits in Kent and nationally for his achievements – the highly regarded commercial property magazine Estates Gazette recognised him as a top deal maker in Kent for four years running from 2012 to 2015. Richard, a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, has worked in Kent since 1985, first with Geering & Colyer, then Colyer Commercial and, for the past decade, as a Director with Ashford-based Taylor Riley Stafford. He said: “The time was right for me to set out my own vision of what a modern commercial property consultancy should be. My established clients have responded very positively and I’m looking forward to delivering a highly personalised service which is tailored to their own individual needs. “There was never a doubt that I would choose Ashford as the home of my new business. It’s a dynamic and fast growing town that is ideally suited to my own aspirations to expand my services to clients both old and new,” adds Richard.

Richard has particular expertise in working with agricultural and rural business clients, assisting landowners to maximise their business interests across rural Ashford, Romney Marsh and surrounding districts. He is also a former chairman of the Ashford Chamber of Commerce. His skills were honed over three decades of working with clients in Kent include lettings, valuation, real estate development, property management, rent reviews and lease renewals, land acquisition and contract negotiations. Richard has been involved in transactions spanning a range of values, from small standalone retail units to large multi-let industrial estates. A strong interest in planning also allows Richard to advise on local planning matters and make planning applications for basic change of use on behalf of clients. Stafford Perkins is a letting agent for the first phase of the Commercial Quarter in Ashford, a multi-million-pound town centre office and retail scheme from Kent-based property development company Quinn Estates. Director Mark Quinn said: “Having known him for more than 20 years, I’ve been happy to instruct Richard to market the Commercial Quarter scheme in Ashford along with other properties. Richard impresses with his in-depth knowledge and professionalism and I wish Stafford Perkins nothing but success in the future.”

Find a Voice

The Ashford based charity, Find a Voice, was originally started to help some of the 500,000 people living in the UK that have speech problems severe enough to require specialist equipment to speak for them. Still today the resource library provides a wealth of communication aids loaned to individuals, schools and speech & language therapists across Kent. The charity has evolved and now assists adults with learning difficulties to improve their education and social development, supporting 24 adults on a oneto-one basis with individually tailored training programmes being one of the few places to continue their education in ICT, personal development, reading or maths. Some of our students are in employment; Simon particularly wanted to concentrate on his ability to recognise sequential numbers, specifically dates. This work helped gain promotion at his

work enabling him to recognise dates on products and work unsupervised. Find a Voice is a very special place and all those associated with it are proud of its achievements since the charity’s conception. The Trustees look to celebrate this milestone by inviting known associates, employees, Trustees and Patrons to a luncheon at The London Beach Hotel, Tenterden, providing an opportunity to say a BIG thank you to all who have supported Find a Voice along the way. If you would like to find out more about the work Find a Voice does locally, please contact admin@findavoice.org.uk

Leading Kent law firm keeps young achiever One of Furley Page’s talented and recently qualified solicitors has become the latest addition to the Kent law firm’s Private Client, Trusts and Estates team. Melanie Christodoulou, aged 25, spent two years training with Furley Page, which is recognised by independent legal guides Chambers UK and The Legal 500. Prior to joining Furley Page’s trainee solicitor programme, Melanie worked in London

as a Corporate M&A Professional Support Legal Assistant at an international law firm, having already gained experience with several regional and national firms. Melanie, who has Greek parentage and is a fluent Greek speaker, now advises clients on all aspects of Will drafting, administration of estates, Lasting Powers of Attorney and trust creation and administration.

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Clinical Lead joins KIMS Hospital Dr Laurence Gant, Consultant in Sport and Emergency Medicine, has joined KIMS Hospital to run the new Sport Medicine and Injury Clinic. As Clinical Lead for Polyclinics at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, where he delivered medical care for athletes at the Games, and as a club doctor for Tottenham Hotspur, Dr Gant brings a wealth of specialist expertise in sport medicine to Kent. Dr Gant specialises in the assessment and management of acute and longer term injuries relating to sport and activity.

He said: “I am delighted to be running the only Sport Medicine consultant-led clinic in Kent at KIMS Hospital. Sport Medicine deals with the treatment and prevention of injuries relating to sport and physical activity. Anyone doing physical activity can get an injury and the clinic is designed to offer treatment and advice to all patients whether a sporadic jogger or a professional athlete.” Simon James, CEO KIMS Hospital, said: “From speaking to local people and GPs, we know that there is a requirement to offer a dedicated Sport Medicine and Injury Clinic at KIMS Hospital.”

Williams Giles make gains in the tax department Leading local accountancy firm Williams Giles have recently appointed Lesley Carrington as Tax Director, and Adam Lacchin as Tax Manager, to deal with the ongoing challenges faced by businesses in the ever changing taxation landscape. Lesley and Adam are members of both the Chartered Institute of Taxation, and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and this means that Williams Giles is one of the few local practices who benefit from the appointment of two Chartered Tax Advisers. Lesley, who heads the department, qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser in 2000 and has vast experience in all

areas of taxation, and across a wide range of business sectors including not for profit, manufacturing and service industries. Lesley is a member of the committee of the Chartered Institute of Tax Kent Branch, and an active member of the BNI networking organisation within which her technical acumen and approachable nature have earnt her a huge amount of respect. Adam was appointed in May 2016 following the retirement of his predecessor and brings over 9 years’ experience in dealing with the taxation requirements of individuals and small businesses to the firm. Having qualified locally, Adam is well versed in the requirements of Kent based businesses and is well placed to provide advice to new and existing clients alike.

Rix & Kay strengthens its Kent team Leading south east law firm Rix & Kay has announced that experienced professional services BD manager Robin Evans has joined its rapidly expanding Kent team based in Ashford and Sevenoaks. With a detailed understanding of the regional market, he has worked throughout Kent for more than a decade and will be responsible for driving Rix & Kay’s growth aspirations in the county by working closely with

other corporate and commercial professionals to support business owners and entrepreneurs. Richard Cripps, Partner who leads the firm’s operation in Kent, said: “Robin has a great reputation and is well known within the business community in Kent.” Robin said: “Rix & Kay has a terrific reputation not only in Kent but across the South East and an enviable client list. I am delighted to be joining the firm and spearheading its business development programme in Kent.”

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MEMBERSNEWS

Accountants MHA MacIntyre Hudson ready for Making Tax Digital In readiness for the first roll out of Making Tax Digital in April 2018, the Government’s mandatory requirement for businesses to keep digital records, Top 20 Accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson, which has offices in Maidstone, Canterbury and Folkestone, has partnered with Xero, a leading cloud accounting software provider. Under its new Platinum partnership with Xero, MHA MacIntyre Hudson’s staff and clients will be able to manage all business accounts in the cloud, making the filing of 2018’s new compulsory quarterly tax statements a much simpler process. For clients who prefer, or who are already using, other accounting software packages, MHA MacIntyre Hudson has also adopted cloud versions of SageOne and QuickBooks Online, amongst others, so it will have the accounting solution most suited to their needs. Filing quarterly tax statements is just one of many benefits of adopting cloud accounting software. Others include automated invoice production, live management accounts and, of course, the primary benefit of the cloud: instant secure access to their records via a laptop, smartphone or other device from anywhere in the world. Clients will continue to have the choice of principally managing their own record keeping and filings or if they prefer, they can elect MHA MacIntyre Hudson to act as their proxy, setting up their business in the cloud on their behalf. James Gransby, partner at the Maidstone office, said: “Making Tax Digital will be implemented in 2018, requiring quarterly on-line tax statements for all businesses. By acting now, we are more than ready to comply with the new government digital tax requirements when they are finalised. “Our partnerships with a range of cloud accounting packages, gives our clients a choice of the best, most cost effective solutions. For us, the time saved in managing their tax affairs and company accounts means we have more time to devote to helping our clients’ businesses become more profitable.”

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Brexit: embrace the New Zealand approach to business Months after the Brexit vote, it still seems the only certainty is uncertainty. But as Wayne Hall, Managing Director of Impact Creative in Marden, argues, the waiting time before Article 50 is invoked brings a period of opportunity that all businesses can use creatively. Feeling alone can be exciting The Brexit vote has led to so much panic about not being part of the bigger picture that I’m almost afraid to admit that, creatively, I find it all rather exciting. This probably comes from spending 17 years of my working life in New Zealand, where feeling alone is nothing new. Kiwis understand isolation on many levels. In business, their home market is limited so they face greater competition; on the world stage they are competing with much larger, more central economies. Now the UK is breaking ties with the EU, what can we learn from the New Zealand experience? Embrace innovation to keep moving forward New Zealanders recognise the advantages of valuing innovation and developing an appetite for start-ups and emerging companies with great ideas. Smaller companies often deliver the most change; if you begin in the business world the way it is today, you treat it as normal, not letting the

past get in your way. Larger, older companies in New Zealand recognise the value of this approach. Embracing innovation is a great way to give all businesses energy, to keep them moving forward and to avoid complacency. Communicate effectively New Zealand businesses, large and small, have an intuitive sense for marketing. They have learned the value of brand and even the smallest of companies takes this aspect of business very seriously. If you miss opportunities to affect and influence your market, your competition may well take advantage of your mistake. Kiwis know that brand helps you punch above your weight and keeps you relevant. Make yourself bigger New Zealand has been building a brand identity for decades with brand values of self-reliance and innovation. The silver fern logo is an emotional and inspirational image that all New Zealanders relate to. If you are a small company in a small country, you need to make yourself

bigger by piggybacking on the brand of your country and gaining strength from it. The “100% Pure New Zealand” campaign, run by the Tourism Board of New Zealand, enhances the country significantly and gives great value to the tourism industry as a whole. So why is this exciting for the UK? Most Kiwis I talk to still think of the UK as a nation at the forefront of the world. Being a part of the EU has not diluted the idea of the UK being where all the best ideas come from in business, science, technology, engineering and culture. Let’s build the UK brand from this. The Olympic ‘Team GB’ brand should be the inspiration from which to launch the post-Brexit campaign. A national brand that will thrive and build on our reputation for being innovators, leaders and disrupters across so many sectors. Every business should understand the value of communicating their positive messages to both internal and external audiences. It’s working for a country of 4.5 million. Imagine what it could do for the UK.

New Mobile Health Screening Unit draws the crowds at the Construction Expo All Health Matters, the occupational health provider based in Canterbury, received an overwhelming reaction to their new Mobile Health Screening Unit at the Construction Expo, held yesterday (Thursday 6th October) at the Kent Event Centre, Detling, Kent. Visitors from a wide range of industry sectors, were interested to take a closer look inside. One visitor commented “My goodness this is like a tardis!” All Health matters have invested in the new unit in order to increase their support to the construction industry. The vehicle is fully equipped to carry out ‘Construction Industry Medicals’ on site to industry standards. This includes hearing tests in an acoustic booth, lung function tests, vision, drug & alcohol testing, vaccinations etc. – in fact all types of medicals.

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

Visitors were interested to see how having this mobile service visit construction sites could majorly lessen the impact of downtime on any project. Gill Monk, Managing Director says: "Selecting the right occupational health provider for your company should not be a decision taken lightly. Apart from cost, it is essential to understand the different service models offered, the standard of reports produced and the timescales from service request to report. Here at All Health Matters, we pride ourselves in our ability to adapt our

service to meet your requirements, and we recognised that developing this new service for the construction industry would add value to our customers. We are thrilled at the level of interest we received at the Expo and look forward to rolling out the service across Kent and beyond." For more information about the Mobile Health Screen Unit and All Health Matters please visit their website allhealthmatters.co.uk


Looking for finance? Think outside the box

Being a business owner and looking for the right finance is not as straight forward as it used to be.

Traditionally owners wandered down to see their local bank manager and either the funding was approved or not. Now the options, unless you have a degree in Financial Services Management, are more likely to confuse rather than enlighten. The local bank is still likely to be the first port of call but actually meeting the manager is less likely and the choice of funding options is also limited to the services the bank provides.

Let’s take a simple funding option which continues to grow year on year - Invoice Finance. Most business owners know what factoring is. Or do they? What is the difference between invoice discounting or spot factoring and a recourse or non recourse factoring facility? Which factoring companies offer international factoring? What is reasonable personal security to be offered to support the funding facility? Invoice finance is just one alternative to a bank loan. Other options could be, Peer to Peer Lending, Asset Based Loans, Property Finance or Equity Funding. Here at MHA Financial Solutions we make it our mission to know what funding options are on offer in the market. Who are the most flexible lenders and how each funding option works.

Here is an example of how Invoice Finance can support a new venture to grow into a multimillion pound business without ever providing any more security than it provided on the first day of trading. In the past we provided all the funding for a company who produced the first ever coloured vodka. Up until its launch all vodka sold worldwide was a clear liquid. The investor who bought this genius idea to market was sat in a bar in Los Angeles waiting to catch a plane back to the UK and ordered a black coffee and a black vodka. The barman look at him astounded and replied “I am sorry sir but all the vodka is a clear liquid not coloured”. And so a gem of an idea for Blavod Black Vodka was formed.

Arriving back in the UK the investor located a small local distillery in Essex who could produce the product and bottle it. With the first bottle in hand, the proud owner arrived at our offices produced his samples and asked us to fund the business. He had run out of cash. We negotiated short terms of credit with the distillery, the business owner sold the products to both large and small retailers and an invoice finance arrangement funded all the sales worldwide. Eventually the business was sold at a profit of over £6m to the original shareholders.

Here at MHA Financial Solutions we receive funding requests every day for everything from a small piece of capital equipment such as company motor cars to equity funding up to £50m plus. We have also been approached to find funding for businesses registered in as far flung places as Panama, Eastern Europe and the Far East. We now have funders based in Australia across Europe and Hong Kong.

The opportunities and options are too numerous to explain here but if you would like more information or a formal discussion please call us on 0845 5701200. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

MHA Financial Solutions is a commercial finance intermediary with over 100 years’ experience. This means we combine old fashions values, such as working in partnership with businesses alongside forward thinking, to make commercial funding as accessible and simple as possible.

This is just one example of how thinking outside the box can help business owners find the cash they need to expand and grow.

Greg Taylor

Director MHA Financial Solutions Tel: 0845 570 1200 Email: hello@fundingbusiness.co.uk

www.fundingbusiness.co.uk

MHA MacIntyre Hudson is the trading name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in England with registered number OC385090. A list of partners’ names is open for inspection at its registered office, 201 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 1LZ. MacIntyre Hudson LLP which also trades under the name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, controls MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP and is an independent member of MHA, a national association of UK accountancy firms. The term ‘partner’ or ‘partners’ indicates that the person (or persons) in question is (or are) a member(s) of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP or a member, an employee or consultant of its affiliated businesses with equivalent standing and qualifications. Further information can be found via our website www.macintyrehudson.co.uk/information.html MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP is registered to carry on audit work in the United Kingdom and Ireland and is regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is an independent member of Baker Tilly International. Baker Tilly International Limited is an English company. Baker Tilly International provides no professional services to clients. Each member firm is a separate and independent legal entity and each describes itself as such. Baker Tilly UK Group LLP is the owner of the Baker Tilly trademark. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is not Baker Tilly International’s agent and does not have the authority to bind Baker Tilly International or act on Baker Tilly International’s behalf. None of Baker Tilly International, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, nor any of the other member firms of Baker Tilly International has any liability for each other’s acts or omissions.


SPOTLIGHTON...

Exciting times ahead in Canterbury

Canterbury Riverside

Planning is well under way on the vision for Canterbury’s development over the next fifteen years – and it promises to be an exciting time. Canterbury City Council has been working on its Local Plan to 2031 which sets the framework for Canterbury’s growth and identifies sites for 16,000 new homes as well as employment land. In addition to the impact of the investment in housing, the city is expected to experience a large amount of commercial investment, the growth bound to be helped by the upgrade of the HS1 fast rail link planned for next year for Ashford which will reduce travel times to/from London even further. In the meantime, the city is seeing significant investment, much of which

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will benefit the business community, including Logan House, the first new Grade A office space development in the city centre for a number of years. Work also is under way on a complete re-planning of Canterbury Christ Church University campus and the University of Kent campus. These developments are significant because the universities are of huge importance to the city and its future economic growth. In 2014/15 the two universities had a combined impact of £909million on the local economy, generating 16% of all jobs in Canterbury city and those figures are set to grow.

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

Another large-scale regeneration project, Canterbury Riverside, will see a multi-screen cinema, associated restaurants, student accommodation and housing delivered by development partner Linkcity on predominantly council owned land at Kingsmead. Linkcity, formerly Bouygues Development, was chosen as Canterbury City Council’s preferred Development Partner to bring forward the regeneration of the existing Serco Depot and former coach park in the Kingsmead area. It is hoped that a planning application will be submitted shortly.

Also exciting is the Slatters Development, a new development in the heart of Canterbury city centre, which aims to deliver a high quality hotel and separate roof-top destination restaurant, which will also provide opportunities for regeneration, conservation, employment and additional tourism. Located in St Margarets Street on the site of the former Slatters Hotel and Ha-Ha Bar, it will regenerate a location and dilapidated buildings which are currently an eyesore to the Canterbury street scene.


SPOTLIGHTON...

Logan House

Canterbury City Council has been working on its Local Plan to 2031 which sets the framework for Canterbury’s growth and identifies sites for 16,000 new homes as well as employment land.

Having obtained full planning permission at the end of 2015, the developers are now targeting a start in early 2017 with an opening date for late 2019. The city council itself is playing its part, building two additional decks of car parking space at Canterbury West next year which will treble the capacity and allow the city to capitalise on the increased activity brought about by all the new investment. City councillors are also investing in upgrading car parks to use automatic number plate recognition technology which means that

customers pay after use rather than buying a ticket up front. The council is planning a number of traffic infrastructure projects including new slip roads at Bridge and Wincheap to reduce pressure on the city ring road. The Wincheap improvements form part of the infrastructure investment being put into place in relation to the Thanington Park housing development. Thanington Park was granted outline planning permission by Canterbury City Council’s Planning Committee on 5th January 2016. At the time, Pentland Properties Managing Director Martin Hart said: “Thanington Park

not only helps plug the gap in the City Council’s housing supply with its Local Plan but also in the city council’s infrastructure funding.” Thanington will benefit from a new state of the art hospice for Pilgrims Hospices, a new business park, an expanded Park and Ride, a primary school and new community facilities. Also under way are complete upgrades planned for key parts of the public realm in the city centre including St George’s Street, Orange Street, Castle Street and Best Lane. The city council is planning to redesign the street, between

Canterbury Lane and Rose Lane, and create a flexible, attractive and vibrant open space that can be used to its full potential both in the daytime and in the evening. Its width means it could accommodate a wide range of events, such as markets and performances. Among the proposals are: • De-clutter the existing street and bring in a ‘central spine’ for items such as electrical cabinets and lighting • Bring in more light by removing the existing trees with overbearing canopies and replacing them with smaller, semi-mature trees

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SPOTLIGHTON...

St George’s Street is one of our busiest shopping areas and a key entrance to the city, but it has declined in recent years. It’s now time to invest in improving its appearance and character.

Marlowe Theatre

Cont. from page 17 • Lighting improvements, including LED lighting to illuminate trees and open spaces • Create small event spaces at either end of the street for performances, promotions and community activities • Provide free Wi-Fi access • Electronic information, signposting and advertising boards • Hosting a regular market with the paving layout defining the location of the stalls Chairman of the council’s Regeneration and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, said: “St George’s Street is one

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of our busiest shopping areas and a key entrance to the city, but it has declined in recent years. It’s now time to invest in improving its appearance and character. “We have £640,000 available for this work, which should allow us to create a fantastic new public space, and look forward to hearing views on the proposals and any other suggestions people may have.” Also, Canterbury Connected Business Improvement District is now in its third year of a five-year term. Among many projects it has spearheaded is Canterbury’s entry into South East in Bloom and subsequently Britain in Bloom – both of which resulted in Gold.

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

The city is also blessed with a vibrant night time economy and has held the Purple Flag for more than five years in recognition of the fact. It is five years since the opening of the new Marlowe Theatre - which sits at the heart of the evening and night time economy - and the economic impact over that time is estimated at more than £150 million. Canterbury also benefits from a vibrant visitor economy with in excess of six million tourists being attracted to the city each year.

Bank provides a truly local service Handelsbanken was established 145 years ago in Stockholm and has operated in the UK since 1982. The local relationship bank manages a decentralised network of 207 branches across Britain with further expansion ongoing. The Canterbury Branch of the Bank opened in September 2011 and provides a full banking service to businesses and private individuals who live and operate in the Canterbury area. Through its UK subsidiary Heartwood Investment Management it provides wealth management services by specialists, Handelsbanken Wealth Management. The Canterbury branch operates as a small business enabling it to make decisions locally by branch staff who know their customers and patch best (There is no credit scoring or computer based decisions) and provide a bespoke service. The branch team of seven bankers, led by the Branch Manager Andy Davies draws on a combined 160 years of banking experience. Since September 2011 the Branch has grown by recommendation, the Bank does not embark on central marketing campaigns. The Bank has the highest credit ratings of UK banks and is rated as one of the world’s strongest banks by Bloomberg (2011-2015). It has been independently rated top for UK customer satisfaction and loyalty 8 years running (EPSI). There are no sales targets or bonuses, the only aim is to provide consistent long-term good value across a customer’s relationship with us. The Canterbury Branch can be contacted on 01227 787702, the branch’s website www.handelsbanken.co.uk/canterbury or by visiting the branch in at St Andrews House, Station Road East, Canterbury, CT1 2BJ.


SPOTLIGHTON...

Architects Hazle McCormack Young comment on working in Canterbury The joy of practicing in a city like Canterbury comes from the opportunities which exist, in a relatively small area, to design all forms of building for a varied client base. Whilst passionate about its heritage, the city can still respond to modern interventions and adaptive re-use of its heritage assets. Typical of this is the conversion HMY undertook of the George Gilbert Scott designed, ‘Gothic Revival’ St Gregory’s Church to secure a viable and sustainable future for the building and its site to greatly enhance the quality and capacity of this unique performance space. St Gregory’s Church was decommissioned as a place of

worship, fell into disrepair and was taken into the estate of Canterbury Christ Church University. The Department of Music has developed a programme of performances that have become established in the calendar of annual arts activities in Canterbury and the County of Kent. The space is used for large ensemble rehearsal, music teaching, and public performance, including visiting artists throughout the year. It is a key venue during the Canterbury and Sounds New Festivals. Many visitors experience the building at night and so new lighting was designed to highlight the existing features of the Church and increase safety without impacting on neighbouring properties.

The future of St Gregory’s Church is now assured. An important local landmark and venue has been revitalised for Canterbury festivals, education and outreach work for the local community with its quality environment and performance technology.

However, the district is more than just the city and the contrast between the coastal and urban areas, the range of educational and scientific institutions in addition to the variety of places people want to live, makes for a very varied client base.

Whilst passionate about its heritage, the city can still respond to modern interventions and adaptive re-use of its heritage assets.

“Recently named the ‘most vibrant’ city in England, our ancient heritage is now enhanced by modern iconic buildings that, nevertheless, add to its timelessness. The unique mix of our universities and their thousands of students; the developing creative and IT based businesses, our exciting cultural scene, and the millions of people who visit each year from across the globe, creates an environment and climate which has the potential to take the city beyond anything it has so far achieved, punching well above its weight.” Canterbury City Council – corporate plan 2016-2020

To discuss opportunities for business

growth, start up or relocation contact the Business and Regeneration Team at

Canterbury City Council on 01227 862532

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ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017


BIGINTERVIEW

BIGINTERVIEW

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ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

Bespoke service is key to success of Recruitment Company In the competitive world of recruitment, the companies that succeed are the ones that can adapt and provide a quality, consultative service that benefits both candidate and prospective employer alike.

The company, which was founded in 2002 and bought by current Managing Directors David Harris and Matthew Ruddick three years ago, is a recruitment and executive search consultancy that specialises in Accountancy, senior and executive Finance, Public Practice and Human Resources recruitment. That is why Kent-based Goldhawk Associates with its quality approach to finding the right person for the job is expanding all the time, investing in its infrastructure and staff to increase their bespoke service to candidates and clients.

With clients ranging from small and medium-sized local organisations right through to FTSE 100 companies and multinationals, they have built an enviable reputation for quality service which has enabled them to expand their operations across the South East and into London.

David and Matthew, who have both enjoyed long and successful careers in investment banking, bought Goldhawk Associates because they wanted to take on a new challenge. David, who worked all over the world during his 28 years in the banking sector, said: “It felt like the right time for a change and we bought Goldhawk Associates because it was a company which enjoyed a reputation for a high quality of service and expert market knowledge.” “Since then, we have continued to develop the bespoke service that Goldhawk Associates offers.”


BIGINTERVIEW

(Left to right ) David Harris - Managing Director, Rebecca Cobb - Recruitment Director and Chris Clements - Operations Manager

“We do not believe that recruitment is about one-size-fits-all. We have to gain a solid understanding of each company that we work with so that we can understand what they require from a new recruit before we start sourcing and presenting suitable candidates.” We not only pride ourselves on our ability to source the right person for each vacancy but also our ability to match the aspirations and skills of individual candidates with whom we develop strong, long term working relationships. That approach has borne fruit for Goldhawk Associates and its growth has continued despite the

uncertainty within many sectors caused by the referendum vote on June 23rd. David said: “After the announcement of the result on June 24, July saw some uncertainty in the market but we only saw one client withdraw a vacancy as a direct result of the vote. We have not seen any changes to the mind-set of our candidates and they continue to seek new employment opportunities.” “Come August, things started to settle and companies have continued to recruit on a business-as-usual basis ever since.” “We ourselves have continued to grow. We have a strong presence

in Kent and are now pushing into Sussex, Surrey and London. Not only are we expanding geographically but we are also expanding our service offer with the recent creation of a specialist Human Resources Division to complement our established Accountancy and Finance and Public Practice Divisions.” Our success is based on the fact that we have a proven track record which connects our clients with the right candidates and vice versa. We continue to achieve this by delivering a personable, professional and highly responsive service that is tailored to each clients’ and candidates’ individual need.”

“It is not just about finding someone with the right qualifications. Our consultants will examine the culture of a company and match it with a candidate who has the personality to fit in with the business and the team. We want to provide companies with individuals who can stay with them for the long-term.” The company, which itself has a very high retention rate for its own staff, is confident for 2017 and is seeking to expand further. David said: “There will remain uncertainty, particularly when the Government triggers Article 50 in 2017, but we feel optimistic about the future for Goldhawk Associates.”

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

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FINANCEFORBUSINESS

Loans to power the economy By Jonathan Reeves, Regional Director, South East, ArchOver P2P Business Lending

Working capital is a key requirement for groundworks contractors such as BTR Building Services

Refinancing with a P2P loan can generate funds for expansion.

Whether you are a business borrower or an investor, peer-to-peer lending is providing a much-needed service where banks and other traditional institutions are failing. This increasingly mainstream form of financing provides loans to UK companies and higher returns for the multiple investors lending to these businesses. ArchOver has been successfully raising and lending commercial finance in this way for over two years and its business loans do not require personal guarantees from company directors. The Government is looking to SMEs across the country to lead the way in growth and prosperity for the UK as

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a whole, yet getting hold of the right type finance to fuel this growth through traditional lenders is proving massively challenging; which is where peer-topeer lending comes in. Peer-to-peer is the oldest form of lending. At its simplest, it is a combination of an individual or organisation lending directly to a person or business that needs it. Over the years, banks have complicated this process and demanded more and more security and paperwork, to the point where homes have to be put on the line to secure finance. During the course of my work, I talk to a large variety of businesses and all of them have stories of how they have spent months trying to get loans from

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

traditional lenders, only to be finally turned down, and how the fear of losing their family’s home adds to their everyday stress. At ArchOver, we look at how viable the business is, not how much property it owns, or its directors own. If a business has at least a two-year track record, is well run and its forward orders are strong, we will do our best to ensure it gets the finance it needs. ArchOver’s peer-to-peer lending platform provides borrowers with fixed term loans, by engaging with individual and institutional investors who wish to lend to UK businesses. To increase security, ArchOver, on behalf of its lenders, takes a first floating charge over the accounts

receivable and the borrower takes out credit insurance with ArchOver jointly insured. ArchOver refers to this as the ‘Secured and Insured’ model, which is beneficial to all parties involved. We examine the company and its debtor book and, if both stand up to scrutiny, we will lend a minimum of £100,000 up to 80% of the continuing value of the accounts receivable. This is a fixed term loan for up to two years, but if everything remains sound, this can be rolled over for a further period. Because bank loans are so difficult to obtain, many businesses have turned to invoice financers, but these can also need personal guarantees and require a lot of continuing extra administration.


COVERFEATURE

Your business could claim cash for innovation – really! Providing finance to help Soligard export to Nigeria Border Steelwork Structures received financing to help fund work on a new training facility at Sellafield

Innovative healthcare products, developed with the help of loans that the banks turned down.

Another major problem with invoice financers is that the amount of money available at any one time is dependent on the value of the invoices issued that month, so you never know exactly how much cash you have. The value of a fixed term loan never changes. Peer-to-peer business lending grew out of the alternative finance sector that has filled the vacuum left by banks over the past few years, but it is no-longer an alternative. To date, the ArchOver team has lent over £24 million to UK businesses and never had a default.

Helping Aviramp turn an idea into an internationally best-selling air ramp for disabled people

For this reason, and the fact that we offer investors on average 7.25% pa, we have not only attracted borrowers but numerous individuals and organisations who are receiving the benefits by adding to their monthly income. So, if you have not invested all your capital in your business, you might also want to talk to us about lending on the ArchOver platform. Once an investor has registered on the platform, they can view all available loans, their fixed

returns and terms, and choose which business or businesses to lend to. The minimum is £1,000 and the interest is paid out monthly. As an investor you are always in control and are able to select which project or company you lend to. The platform is completely transparent and the loan details, which include company overview, financial performance, key people, security and conditions, are visible to all investors.

If you want to know more contact Jonathan Reeves, Regional Director, on 07764 193094, jonathan.reeves@archover.com or see www.archover.com

ArchOver’s peer-to-peer lending platform provides borrowers with fixed term loans, by engaging with individual and institutional investors who wish to lend to UK businesses.

Sue Nelson Founder & CEO

The government is giving away cash to innovative small companies based anywhere in the UK. No, don’t roll your eyes; they really are. On average it’s just short of £50,000 per company - not bad, is it? But I bet you’re thinking, “What’s the catch and why haven’t I heard about it before?” The catch is you have to be eligible, obviously. That means 1) you must have fewer than 500 employees, 2) you must be paying permanent staff (or subcontractors) to develop something new or different and crucially, 3) you must be carrying out innovative work that HMRC would classify as research and development. Why haven’t you heard of it before, despite the scheme being around for 16 years? Well, probably because it’s called the “R&D tax credit scheme”, a terrible name. At Breakthrough Funding we prefer to call it “cash for innovation”. Many accountants believe their clients can’t claim because the business doesn’t employ boffins in white lab coats peering down microscopes. Mistakenly too, they think you have to be making a profit and paying tax in order to get the money. This is completely untrue. You can get a cash payment whether you’re in profit or loss and it’s fine if you don’t own a microscope. According to HMRC statistics, of the 5.4 million SMEs across the UK, only 18,630 applied for it last year. Government policy in this area is really good, but SMEs are losing out on millions, if not billions, in cash payments. Calling it “R&D tax credits” doesn’t help. This scheme is about innovation - trying to overcome design or manufacturing obstacles, solving problems or building something bespoke, like a software programme or a new product that no one else has considered yet. If any of the above might apply to you or your clients, get cracking and join the thousands of businesses that cashed in last year. Visit our website to take the quick eligibility test or if you want to speak to a person who can explain it all, give our friendly team a call.

Breakthrough Funding 0800 772 0800 hello@breakthroughfunding.com www.breakthroughfunding.com

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

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COVERFEATURE

Small businesses are confident in their bank’s ability to lend According to the latest Owner Managed Business (OMB) Barometer from Bank of Cyprus UK, the UK’s business owners and small businesses are confident that banks will provide them with further funding. However, the businesses are yet to be convinced about the merits of borrowing more. ”We hope the Bank of England remains committed to this scheme. In light of the Brexit referendum vote it’s essential that the nation’s vital bedrock of businesses – Britain’s independent high street retailers, family businesses and shopkeepers have access to the best rates during these times of uncertainty.” To take advantage of the opportunities, good financial advice is crucial and the good advisers are the ones who pride themselves on working with their clients in a way which makes them feel comfortable.

The findings come on the heels of the Bank of England’s new £100bn Term Funding Scheme, announced in August. The OMB study states that more than half (52%) of business owners and small businesses are confident in their bank providing further funding, whilst only 10% are not confident. This represents a steady increase from previous studies, where less than half of these businesses expressed confidence, 45% and 39% in August 2015 and 2014 respectively.

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Almost three quarters (74%) of these businesses are satisfied that their current borrowing commitments are sufficient to meet their cash flow and business investment needs over the next 12 months. Just over one in ten of UK’s business owners and small businesses plan to apply for new or increased facilities from their bank (13%). The Bank of England’s new Term Funding Scheme has a capacity of £100bn and provides funding for banks at interest rates close to the Bank of England’s record low interest rate of 0.25%, supporting growing

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

banks in their efforts to pass on lower rates to small businesses. Nick Fahy, Chief Executive Officer at Bank of Cyprus UK said: “The UK’s business owners and small businesses are showing increasing confidence that they can turn to their banks for new or increased lending, which is very encouraging. It’s important that these businesses continue to take advantage of a highly competitive lending marketplace and low interest rates and the Bank of England’s Term Funding Scheme should not be overlooked.

Their role is particularly important as firms seek the funding they need to survive and thrive and, although funding streams are available, including from Government-backed sources, those running SMEs can find themselves daunted by the complexities of the process. Advisors start by finding out what a business needs; it may be help with better financial management or it may be support applying for loans or grants to buy equipment or take on new staff. The way they work means an initial meeting when the adviser, be it a specialist financial services company or based within a bank, sits down with the client and draws up a detailed plan based not just on current needs but also looking to the future.


COVERFEATURE

In light of the Brexit referendum vote it’s essential that the nation’s vital bedrock of businesses – Britain’s independent high street retailers, family businesses and shopkeepers - have access to the best rates during these times of uncertainty.

Key to that is agreeing priorities. What does the client want to achieve in the short term, where do they want to be in the mid-term, what is the long-term vision? Where do they see their company in ten years and what kind of finance is required to make that possible? Are the newly-created funds applicable, are there other avenues to explore? Through talking things honestly and sensibly, adviser and client can work together to come up with an action plan which is based on a solid financial platform. Once that initial plan has been drawn up, the process moves onto the next stage, obtaining the finance to make things happen.

Funding schemes Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce recommends a wide range of funding programmes to help businesses grow through grants, loans and finance schemes. You can find out more at www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/ business-advice/grants-funding/

smarter financial moves • Auto enrolment

01233 722 922 www.fffp.co.uk

• Wealth management • Pension freedom Stoke House, Church Road, Ashford, Kent. TN23 1RD

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

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COVERFEATURE

Protecting People in Business Scarlett Financial Services ask some important questions to assist you to plan for these possible circumstances and there are 3 main areas that we review: 1. Key person cover 2. Shareholder protection 3. Loan protection

1. Key Person Cover Think about these responsibilities:

Business Protection: As you are all aware, business start-ups take hard work, dedication and finance and losing control of this business would be devastating for most business owners. Unless your business is extremely cash-rich, without a protection policy in place, if a business experienced loss of a key person or a shareholder it is likely that you would face 3 possible eventualities: 1. Loss of profitability 2. Loss of control of the business 3. The business dissolving

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ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

• Would it be nice to avoid business interruption and uncertainty if the unexpected happens to a key employee – are you not accountable to your customers? • Would it be nice to avoid having to sell part of the business or all of it? • Would it be nice to ensure continuation of employment for your staff and quality of life for you and your family?

2. Share Protection Have you planned what would happen to the shares in your business in the event of illness or death of any shareholders, this is where things can get very difficult and complicated: • Are there multiple shareholders? • Would you have cash in the business to buy out any shareholder beneficiaries?

3. Business Loan protection: Does the business have any unprotected loans or debts? How would you secure payments of these with the loss of a key person? You can get yourself some peace of mind, Scarlett Financial Services work with clients to prioritise the concerns for them within a realistic monthly budget. Scarlett Financial Services are a business that have historically worked in the traditional mortgage and insurance areas supporting individuals. However, during the last year they have begun to specialise in providing advice to businesses. Their qualified financial advisors, Joanne and Matt, have MBA and Business strategy degrees, and felt that operating solely in the B2C arena were not fully utilising their skillsets. They are really enjoying working with businesses and getting to know them to ensure that they understand how they work, their objectives and their issues. They believe that the people in business are the most important components to its success. They work with clients on solutions to ensure that they have plans in place to protect their business, and their people from the difficult eventualities that come with everyday life If you would like to discuss any of these areas further you can contact them on info@scarlettfs.com or 01233 800 555.


INDUSTRYCOMMENT

Finance for Business The phrase ‘Turnover is Vanity, Profit is Sanity, Cash is Reality’ is a business mantra that has become almost cliché, but as with all clichés it is based in truth and is never more so than when managing cash flow. So many businesses enthusiastically show off their plans and forecasts and expected revenues. They impress with graphs and tables and calculations all to fall short within a few months because they don’t manage the day to day cash flow. Be a wise business and focus not only on your projections but also your payment terms. This will help immeasurably in achieving those all important profit margins, even if that means initially taking on smaller clients. As soon as you start your business idea there are some golden rules to follow: 1. Targets, targets, targets Do you have a cash flow forecast prepared? You do? Then use it, and make sure it’s thoroughly accurate. Use the technology at your disposal to update your forecast weekly on a software package of your choice – Excel works fine in the short term but the new breed of cloud-based packages offer smarter ways to track

and manage your accounts, even when you’re out of the office. The sizeable FAQ’s on Xero and QuickBooks should help give you extra knowledge of making sure that you maintain your target. There are numerous accounting blogs with tips to help you make sure that you are up to date. If you need help, find it or ask for it. 2. Agree payment terms If your client has a 30 day rule, don’t expect the money to be with you in 7! Otherwise you will run into problems very quickly. If you are getting shorter payment terms from your suppliers than you’re giving to your customers you will soon be in trouble, that finance gap has to be closed. First things first, establish the terms of your payment at the earliest possible convenience. This makes sure that you, your clients, and your suppliers are on the same page. Don’t do cheques as they only cause delays. For continuing work, direct debits are great but for ad hoc services and

adjustments ask for payment by electronic transfer – and make sure your bank details are clearly visible on your invoices along with the due date. Paypal for Business is another option that has become increasingly popular. 3. Have a contingency for your contingency Batman - yes Gotham’s finest really has a contingency plan for every possible scenario. So should you. Put measures in place to help in the lean times – invoice discounting and factoring are good for this. Make a friend of your bank manager and keep him or her informed if difficulties are looming. Do you spend what you’ve got or save for future requirements? Keep VAT money in the VAT pot and don’t be tempted to spend it. 4. Invoice Promptly Only origami designers like paperwork but your invoices can’t be paid if you’ve not issued them! Make sure that you have a template set up that is clear and easy to use.

This will make invoice quick and easy. There are even apps you can use to build invoices fresh that can send them off and track the subsequent payments. 5. Chase, chase, chase Has someone not paid your invoice? Keeping clients happy and maintain a good relationship is one thing but no cash means no business. Take the time to pick up the phone, write an email, or write a letter to remind a client of an overdue payment. Another chance to talk to your client might lead to more work – and the cash! Don’t be one sided. Pay your suppliers promptly and on time too. Paying promptly earns your business respect and may allow you to negotiate better deals or agree a prompt payment discount. These tips may be simple, obvious even, but they are useful and can help make your business successful and profitable.

Be a wise business and focus not only on your projections but also your payment terms.

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

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MEMBERSNEWS

Furley Page celebrates excellent results in Chambers UK 2017

Teams and individual lawyers at Furley Page have achieved an exceptional set of results in the annual rankings published by the UK’s independent national legal guide, Chambers UK. Eleven lawyers have been personally recognised for their legal expertise and outstanding services to clients, while Chambers UK has praised Furley Page teams operating in nine specialised areas. The Corporate Team is again top ranked at the highest level for SME and owner-managed business. Partner and Head of Corporate Susan Jennings, who is personally recognised, is held in high regard by clients. “She tells it like it is, very straight and to the point,” is one comment. Partner Tony Chester – described as “excellent” by one client – is personally listed as part of the Corporate Team for the first time, having previously been included for his work with the Charities Team.

Clients say that the Employment Team provides “exceptional service.” Partner and Head of Employment Andrew Masters, personally rated at band one, is “first-rate at getting to grips with a case” while Amanda Okill is again recognised. The Dispute Resolution Team is described as “an esteemed group.” One client said “in tricky litigation they were very calm and considered.” Senior Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution Peter Hawkes, who is personally rated, is praised as “very practical, straightforward and business-oriented.” The team’s George Crofton-Martin is “extremely knowledgeable.” Furley Page’s Insolvency Team is also recognised by Chambers UK, while the Real Estate Team has an excellent reputation for advising on commercial property services. Partner and Head

Ashford is now home to Aspire Landscape Management Less than three months after obtaining planning permission to redevelop the former Rimmel factory site at Cobbs Wood Industrial Estate, Ashford, Gallagher Properties has delivered a new home for Aspire Landscape Management. Ashford Borough Council took the decision in September 2015 to bring responsibility for grounds maintenance across the borough back inhouse and created Aspire Landscape Management. Aspire’s new facility was opened by Cllr Clair Bell, portfolio holder for borough presentation at Ashford Borough Council, and Pat Gallagher, Chairman of Gallagher Group. The new organisation covers the day-to-day work of mowing, pruning, planting, clearing and litter picking on various spaces owned by the council, including open green space, parks, floral beds, cemeteries, areas around housing sites, hedges, sports pitches and associated footpaths. Nick Yandle, of Gallagher Properties, said: “Given Ashford’s very positive approach to creating employment space to go alongside its housing developments, we are confident there will be many other projects we can help deliver in the borough.”

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ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

of Real Estate Jeremy Licence is personally ranked, with clients appreciating his depth of knowledge and commercial approach. Furley Page’s Real Estate Litigation Team is praised for its skilled resolution of disputes involving landlords and tenants. David Hall, Partner and Head of Property Dispute Resolution, is personally included for the first time just weeks after he retained his place in the elite ‘Leading Lawyers’ list of outstanding lawyers nationwide in The Legal 500 UK Awards. Property litigator Jeremy Ferris, who is personally recognised, benefits from a decade of experience as a chartered surveyor. Furley Page’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs Team is recognised, while

Senior Associate Ethan Desai, a new addition to the team in 2016, is personally rated. He had also been ranked at his previous law firm. The Personal Injury Team continues to excel and is rated at the highest level, along with Team Leader and Partner Neille Ryan. Furley Page’s Private Client Team is regarded as a recognised practitioner by Chambers UK. Peter Hawkes said Furley Page’s ongoing policy of strengthening its teams had helped to produce this year’s excellent results. “I’m delighted to see that Furley Page continues to be regarded as leaders in our field across so many sectors. “We strive to provide our clients with the highest quality service and legal expertise and we’re proud for this to be recognised by Chambers UK.”

Ashford firm helps get high speed rail services back on track With offices on the eighth floor of International House in Ashford, consulting structural, civil and geotechnical engineers Tony Gee & Partners has broad horizons in more ways than one. It provides engineering consultancy services to the construction industry worldwide, including major projects such as the London Eye, Hong Kong International Airport and the Dubai Mall. Named in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list, Tony Gee & Partners is an ownermanaged business founded in 1974. Ashford – the fastest growing town between London and Continental Europe – is one of seven offices in the UK while the company also has a presence in Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Malaysia, Australia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. “We are a multidisciplinary and multinational company, renowned for providing high calibre engineering design solutions, with a particular flair for the unique and challenging,” said Regional Director Justin Ryan. “Our 30-strong Ashford team has particular strength in the rail and

marine sectors. So when a severe storm brought down part of the Dover sea wall in December 2015, undermining the coastal rail track, we had the expertise to help get the Dover to London high speed rail route back up and running.” Working with Costain on behalf of Network Rail, Tony Gee & Partners were called in to design the repairs, incorporating a new 235-metre long concrete viaduct, rock armour revetment, a sea spray protection wall, a new culvert and a fibre reinforced polymer footbridge. Conscious that the work needed to be completed as quickly as possible, while remaining sustainable and value for money, the Ashford team rose to the challenge. They delivered a design to re-open the railway in just nine months, three months ahead of schedule, for which they received a special award of appreciation from Network Rail and Southeastern trains.

Tony Gee & Partners were uniquely placed to deliver the Dover project, having won construction industry awards and been personally congratulated by the then Prime Minister David Cameron for their work on the re-opening of the Dawlish to Teignmouth railway line and sea cliffs following major storm damage in 2014. Justin said: “After the success of the Dawlish Sea Wall project, we were able to bring our expertise to this challenge in Dover.”


24HOURS

24 HOURSWITH Be PRepared for anything Andrew Metcalf All that’s certain about a week in PR is that there is no certainty, thanks to 24/7 news. I’m either in the office by 8.30am, out at a business breakfast focused on the commercial property sector, inward investment or business support, or meeting with clients. Despite working in Kent for 25+ years I never cease to be amazed by the diversity of projects Maxim gets involved in. It might sound a cliché, but everyday really is different, whether it’s meeting a client to discuss strategy, preparing a press release, responding to a media enquiry with a comment for a client, or discussing a client with a reporter or editor. It’s not a life of long lunches.

“Andrew Metcalf is a director of Maxim, the Tunbridge Wellsbased PR and marketing communications specialist. He is also a director of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, and represents business on the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. The days when you’d spend an hour faxing press releases are a distant memory. The pace of PR is more frantic than ever thanks to social media, immediate access to news online, the rise of the citizen journalist, and news desks which have fewer journalists and are under constant pressure to post new stories. Watching the national news agenda enables us to identify opportunities to link our Kent clients to a story as expert commentators. Success doesn’t come immediately and requires a client to invest time and money in developing a relationship with the media. As well as promoting businesses, we can also be called upon to protect a company’s hard-earned reputation

by making sure their side of a story is heard. As a result, there’s often the need to react quickly, to consider the implications of a story, see how it develops and decide how best to serve the client. One thing’s for certain “No comment” doesn’t cut it. Like everybody else I’ve a constant flow of emails to go through and I’ve often got agenda papers to review from my work on various boards or business groups. The whole economic development agenda in Kent is one I feel passionate about. Some might think it dull, but without growth and new jobs how can we deliver everything we want, such as good schools and hospitals.

I get frustrated when businesses find themselves suddenly faced with local opposition to their plans to invest in their business or develop as planning ahead can minimise this opposition. Today mobilising local community opposition to a development can be as easy as setting up a Facebook page. A lot of what Maxim does is helping businesses to consider all the issues – including possible public and political reaction – before their plans go live. I’m home around 6.30pm and would like to say I switch off after going to the gym, but that’d be a lie. Too often I’m found on the iPad with a glass of red, checking news sites and planning for tomorrow.

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

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INTERNATIONALTRADE

Plan for the worst and hope for the best

The rise of uncertainty and unpredicatability ...

Post Brexit and Trump, the world has become significantly more uncertain and unpredictable. Economic and fiscal forecasts are therefore even more likely to be wildly inaccurate (and they weren’t great at predicting the future to start with). The OBR has admitted that its forecasts post the Autumn statement are even more inaccurate that they are already: “uncertainty could be greater than usual at present”. On December 4th the Italian Referendum and the Austrian Presidential elections could kick start similar uncertainty and unpredictability in the Eurozone. At the weekend all polls showed the No campaign in Italy winning. Where that takes us, is not yet known. And Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party in Austria may win his country’s presidency on the same day - the first time a European country has had a far right head of state since 1945. This year is not over yet. In 2017 Trump takes office, article 50 is due to be triggered and EZ elections continue. Next year could be equally as volatile. And its going to be a roller coaster as we try and get a feel for what the UK outside the EU, Trump in the White

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House and the Eurozone looks like. The latter being a risk which is still very much on global investors’ minds according to a recent poll of concerns. UBS put it “….unusual levels of uncertainty about policies and outcomes…” Or Deutsche Bank with “It is difficult to calibrate the growth impact of Trump’s policies at this point given how little is known about what these policies will be”. And the IFS adds on the UK “The Bank of England forecast is subject to higher uncertainty than normal and there is wide disagreement between independent forecasters on the path of the economy. This underlies substantial uncertainties over economic performance in the coming years”. However what we do know is that the UK will almost definitely be the fastest growing developed economy this year with growth over 2% (we are only just over one month away from year end). The ONS’s chief economist, Nick Vaughan: “The ONS data so far has shown an economy largely undisrupted by the UK’s decision to leave the EU” (this is my opportunity to remind you of the folly of financial

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

Louise Cooper, Coopercity.co.uk

and fiscal forecasting). However the ONS adds “Of course this is only the first chapter of a long story”. I am more bullish than consensus for next year’s growth. Firstly the UK economy has been accelerating in the last year: 4Q of 2015 1.7% annualised GDP, 1Q of 1.9%, 2Q is 2.1% and 3Q is 2.3%. Despite all predictions the economy has been gathering pace. That means more momentum going into next year. UK GDP 3Q 2016 The fall in unemployment to 4.9% out last week, was not expected. Despite a low unemployment rate, wages though are still not increasing at anything like the 4-5%pa that occurred pre the crisis. But at 2.3% (last week’s figure) wages are still growing faster than inflation. And despite £1.5tn of consumer indebtedness (largely driven by higher house prices and the resultant larger mortgages), Britons show little sign of wanting to stop spending as the retail sales figures last week showed. And now onto inflation – the CPI figure out last Tuesday showed prices rising 0.9%, down from the previous month’s rise of 1% yoy. I can see inflation

rising a bit but I do not see it increasing enough to overtake wages and therefore making consumers poorer in real terms. In that case I do not see the squeeze to consumption that underlies many of the 1% growth forecasts for next year. I was speaking at a conference last Friday with a large number of SMEs and business advisors. I asked them how many businesses were putting up prices, how many were holding prices flat and how many were cutting prices. On a show of hands I would guess the answers were 10%, 50%, 40% respectively. Not much sign that businesses will pass on price increases to their customers. Ahead of the conference I (yet again) was back on the internet and shopping. My Dorothy Perkins top cost £7 (down from over £20) and my black cropped trousers £12 (down from £25). The sparkling silver sequin dress for the swimming club disco at Streatham social club was £15 down from £40 (although I still have yet to receive it and the xmas disco is this Saturday). Only deflation on the fashion websites I visit. Economists are forecasting consumer prices to increase because in the past businesses have always passed on input prices to their customers and a lower pound means higher input costs. And factory gate prices are increasing rapidly. But as I have written many times before, economies are complex and ever changing systems. And blindly predicting the future based on the relationships of the past so often leads to poor predictions. Corporate profitability is high, companies have gorged on cheap debt and awash with cash, I think firms will take a hit to margins rather than pricing on price rises. The same conference did confirm that investment is slowing.. that “businesses are sitting on their hands”. One attendee said that he would guess demand for loans from SMEs that he saw, was down 25% since the vote. Of course the fall in Sterling should lead to an export boost and there is some evidence that export orders are increasing. I want to believe that export orders will boom as a result of Sterling’s depreciation, but it didn’t happen like that in 2010 after £ fell 25% in the Anglo Saxon financial crisis. Exports barely increased.


INTERNATIONALTRADE Before this week’s October PSNB figure, the IFS though warned that “six months into the year and public sector net borrowing was only £2.3bn lower than last year.” Consistently since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the budget deficit and borrowing levels have been worse than forecast. Debt to GDP is rising to over 90% in the next two years according to the latest OBR figures. The IFS warns “A considerable long run public financial challenge remains.” And that’s before the impact of an aging population with the resultant increase in spend on the NHS, social care and the triple lock pension (which we learnt from the Autumn statement may be under review in the next parliament). It was no surprise that Chancellor Hammond had to increase his debt and deficit forecasts, I wrote that Osborne’s targets were unachievable earlier in the year. However I would caution against the overly pessimistic view of the impact of Brexit. German growth figures this morning highlight that EZ output is sluggish and stagnating. GDP growth of just 0.2% for the Eurozone’s powerhouse says it all. And all of that came from state spending, mainly accommodating

the one million migrants into the country. Both exports, investment in plant and equipment and household spending all fell. The latest IMF forecast for EZ GDP is 1.5% next year, about the same as the UK which is being hit by Brexit uncertainty. The UK is not alone in suffering from sluggish growth and the resultant high debt levels. The US economy this year has slowed considerably. Only in April the IMF was forecasting the US to grow at 2.4%. Its latest forecast in October was for just 1.6%. Industrial production has been contracting for over a year: US industrial production As I have written before, since the 1950s, an industrial recession has always been a predictor of a wider industrial recession. Hence I had been fearing a US recession. However with Trump in the White House and a potential $1tn of spending and tax cuts, who knows what to expect? (or whether Congress will approve his spending plans) US wages, like the UK, have also been growing far slower than the past. Pre the crisis US wages grew at between 5-10%. The latest figure is 3.8%.

Wages, industrial recession, slower GDP, Trump tapped into these economic numbers to win….. May it happen in Europe too? There are plenty of European elections coming up in 2017: • Dutch general election in March • French presidential elections in April/May • German Federal and presidential elections in Autumn. And there is a rise in populist and Euro sceptic parties: Populist rising But Nobel Prize Winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that the Italian referendum on December 4th could be the “cataclysmic event” similar to Brexit that could trigger the collapse of the Eurozone. Forget Marine Le Pen, concentrate on Italy (which by the way has the third biggest government debt market in the world after the US and Japan). And Italy has not grown for well over a decade and its economy is still significantly smaller than pre the crisis.

My favourite chart of all is the following from BlackRock: BlackRock chart Markets are beginning to price in political risk into the Euro which is down 5% against the pound in the last month and 4% against the dollar. December 4th could see an even weaker Euro depending on the outcome of the two elections. Therefore I have great issues with the gloomy post EU forecasts from the OBR. I don’t see staying within a sclerotic, fragile and stagnant EU is such a great thing for our economy. Particularly with respect to trade. And yet the OBR is assuming permanent damage to trade flows despite a 15% devaluation of sterling versus the Dollar, which is far greater than the average WTO tariff of 3%. I was listening to a great Radio 4 drama on the Suez crisis. It concluded that it was because the Pound was in freefall that Prime Minister Eden had to back down to the new state of Egypt. Politics and economics are inextricably linked. It is the problems with the US economy that lead to the rise of Trump. There is a lesson there for the political class of Europe (which is not listening).

growth. Predicted to grow a massive 28 percent per annum from 20162020, India is set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s second largest e-commerce market by 2034 at $2,039bn. The most popular payment method in India in 2016 is bank transfers at 27 percent, followed by cash on delivery at 22 percent. By 2020, bank transfers, prepaid cards and prepay are expected to gain market share while credit card usage is set to decline by 6 percent. Through a combination of technological change, rising income levels and favorable demographics, South East Asia is set to be the next center of explosive e-commerce growth after China. According to Worldpay’s projections, China’s share of the world online retailing

market will reach its peak in 2034, accounting for 50 percent of global spend. “Although many alternative payment methods feel like merely niche options today, the data indicates we will see large growth in every market in the next five years,” said Casey Bullock, General Manager, North America, Global eCom at Worldpay. “As we continue to see huge differences in payment methods across the world and different markets adopting new technologies at different rates, the lesson to merchants is clear. A fragmented payments landscape demands a tailored strategy for each market. Offer a mix of payment methods that cater to the needs of consumers today and tomorrow.”

2016 Global Payments Report from Worldpay predicts India will overtake the U.S. as the world’s second largest e-commerce market Nov. 14, 2016 – ATLANTA — As e-commerce continues to grow exponentially, alternative payment methods are set to replace card payments by 2020, according to new research by leading payment company Worldpay. Worldpay’s latest global overview of online payment habits, the Global Payments Report, predicts the global e-commerce market will grow 10.4 percent by 2020. The report, which compiled data from 30 countries, suggests China, the U.S. and the U.K. will continue leading the charge, but the growing fragmentation in global e-commerce will soon change the way these consumers pay – as more niche alternatives like mobile wallets, bank transfers and prepay cards continue to steal market share from more traditional payment options like credit cards. Though credit and debit cards still dominate more than 50 percent of the market in most countries in 2016, including the U.K., U.S., Brazil and Hong Kong, the report predicts a

relative decline in global usage by 2020 – by 4 percent for credit cards and 1 percent for debit cards. Mobile wallets are a close second for many e-commerce superpowers, and already lead in China with 56 percent of market share. For the U.S., mobile wallets are projected to grow by 7 percent, overtaking use of both credit and debit cards by 2020. Adoption rates for alternative payment methods are predicted to grow slowly but steadily in the next five years, as options including bank transfers (2 percent), prepaid cards (2 percent) and prepay (1 percent) begin to overtake cards, particularly in emerging markets. The Indian e-commerce market, for example, prefers alternative payment methods to cards and is primed for rapid

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INTERNATIONALTRADE

Measures to boost UK exports and build upon trade policy expertise as we leave the EU were announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement Key measures announced in the Autumn Statement yesterday (23 November) included: • financial support for UK exporters will double through UK Export Finance(UKEF) • the Department for International Trade (DIT) will receive £79.4 million to develop and deliver an independent international trade policy UKEF, the UK’s export credit agency, will make it easier for UK businesses to break into overseas markets and export UK goods and services. This additional support through UKEF will ensure that no viable UK export should fail for lack of finance or insurance from the private sector. The new measures will see UKEF’s total risk appetite double to £5 billion and the maximum cover limit for individual markets increase by up to 100%, potentially resulting in as much as £2.5 billion of additional capacity to support exports to some destinations. The number of preapproved local currencies in which UKEF can offer support also increased from 10 to 40, enabling more overseas buyers of UK exports to buy British and pay in their own currency. DIT will receive an additional £79.4 million over the Parliament funded from existing spending aggregates to build our capability and help support a smooth exit from the EU and negotiations for the best possible global trading arrangements for the UK. As the UK moves towards leaving the EU, additional resource will be allocated to strengthen trade policy capability in DIT, in cooperation with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), totalling £26 million a year by 2019 to 2020. This will ensure the department can build on the Trade Policy Group’s expertise and experience to operate and negotiate on the global stage. International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “Leaving the EU presents the UK with new opportunities in trade and investment, and this Autumn Statement sends the clearest message to the world that the UK is open for business. Government is determined to get the best deals for households and UK businesses and this settlement ensures we’re able to support more UK exporters, attract more overseas buyers and strengthen our capability to develop and deliver an international trade policy for the UK.” The Autumn Statement also includes for UKEF measures to support an enhanced approach to risk management, including the use of private insurance markets, to manage risk concentrations. This could create additional appetite to support UK exports in popular markets, amplifying the benefits of the other capacity-increasing measures.

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Boost SME export support to navigate uncertainty The British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL, publishes its latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook, which indicates that uncertainty following the vote to leave the European Union is slowing down export orders in the services sector. On the day that trade experts from Chambers of Commerce at home and in overseas markets across the world gather for the BCC Global Business Network conference, the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL, publishes its latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook, which indicates that uncertainty following the vote to leave the European Union is slowing down export orders in the services sector. The services sector saw a slowdown in growth, with the balance of businesses in the sector expecting an improvement in sales and orders also falling to its lowest level in five years. In contrast, the report also shows that a greater proportion of manufacturers enjoyed an improved export performance compared with the second quarter, with some benefiting from sterling’s recent fall. This is also replicated in an improvement to the sector’s future orders. The report’s Trade Confidence Index, which measures the volume of trade documentation issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce, fell by 4.14% on the quarter – following the surge of documentation issued before the EU referendum – but remains 5.32% up on the same quarter of 2015. The results show that exports are expected to grow at a slower pace in the coming months, and confidence in turnover and profitability has also fallen in the medium term. The BCC calls on the government to use the Autumn Statement to increase resources to directly support SME export plans, providing direct monetary support for firms to explore new markets or deepen sales abroad. Key findings from the report are: • The Trade Confidence Index, a measure of the volume of trade documentation issued nationally, fell by 4.14% on the quarter, but rose by 5.32% compared with Q3 2015. The Index now stands at 121.69, and remains high by historical levels

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

• The balance of manufacturers reporting improved export sales rose to +17%, up from +9% in Q2. However, the percentage balance of firms in the services sector reporting improved export sales fell three points to +8% • The balance of manufacturers reporting improved export orders rose to +12%, from +5% in Q2. Again this balance fell for firms in the services sector, to +5% from +13% • Looking at expectations of profitability over the next 12 months, the balance of firms expecting it to increase in the manufacturing sector fell to +22%, from +28% in Q2 • In the services sector, this fell sharply from +33% to +15% in Q2 – the lowest level in four years. Commenting on the findings, Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said: “While factors including the weaker pound have benefited manufacturers when it comes to exporting, the services sector continues to face challenges. The slowing in export orders in the services sector is concerning considering the sector is by far the largest part of the economy. “Our data suggests that slower growth is likely to come in the months ahead. However, it is important to note that while the UK’s economic growth may slow further, we are unlikely to enter a recession.

“To fire up the animal spirits of our exporters, and boost business confidence, the Chancellor should use the Autumn Statement to improve direct financial support for firms looking to access new markets without bureaucracy or delay. Enabling businesses to attend trade missions, trade fairs, commission market research or make themselves export ready would be a shot in the arm for our trade performance at a time of uncertainty.” Phil Couchman, CEO, DHL Express UK, said: “As the EU referendum approached there was an underlying sense of uncertainty on the part of British businesses and, despite a strong Trade Confidence Index against last year, this latest report shows that that feeling still exists – even amongst the manufacturing exporters currently enjoying the UK’s increased global competitiveness as a result fall in the value of the pound. “Businesses are now seeking advice and reassurance about getting their goods and services overseas and it is important that businesses and government work together as EU negotiations progress. At DHL, we will continue to leverage our strength in navigating complex customs processes to encourage the UK’s exporters to be confident in their ability to grow and succeed internationally.”


MEMBERSNEWS

Regional law firms out-perform those in City

Where’s my Crystal Ball? It all seems a bit of a minefield at the moment. “Do I buy or sell my currency now, or wait? Will these rates get any better? Surely they have to?” Or for those fortunate enough to be paid in euros or dollars – “this is great, do you think it will get better still?”

A survey of the country’s legal profession suggests that regional law firms are out-performing their City colleagues. The annual Law Firm Benchmarking Survey undertaken by audit, tax and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehill, suggests that one third of regional firms experienced growth of more than 10%, compared to just over a quarter (27%) of City firms. Simon Warne, Tax partner for Crowe in Kent, said: “This important snapshot shows that, despite increasing market competition, regional law firms have experienced faster growth than those in the City. “The challenge, especially for those close to London, is how to maintain growth against the backdrop of Brexit and business uncertainty. Nearly half (48%) of the regional firms identified the availability of high quality personnel, with many engaged in a ‘war for talent’, as their main challenge for the coming year. “In contrast, a third (32%) of City firms see price competition as their biggest issue. The winners going forward, whether regional or City firms, will be those who are change ready and able to adapt quickly. Given the proximity of Kent to London, there will be many local firms keeping a close eye on their competitors in the Capital.” Looking forward, City and regional firms appear to be adopting very different investment priorities for the next 12 to 24 months in order to maintain growth. The focus of 43% of the regional firms is on investing in new technology to improve efficiency, while more than a fifth (22%) of London law firms surveyed were now focused on investing more in their marketing. The survey does highlight an area of concern for regional firms with 20% of respondents reporting a drop in revenue, up from 17% the previous year. Those firms with a turnover below £10million appear to be the ones hardest hit, with 26% reporting a decline in revenue.

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These are just a few of the dilemmas for many of our clients post Brexit. In short, if we knew the answer, we would be sailing around the Caribbean right now. However, at Capital Currencies we are at hand to offer both corporate and private clients, not advice on when to buy or sell – we would need a crystal ball for that, but information and hand holding if necessary in order for our clients to make an informed decision as to the timings. We offer extremely competitive rates on both forward and spot trades and have no transfer charges. Efficient international payments are made via our secure and segregated client

accounts and we are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. We have no minimum or maximum amount so regular overseas mortgage payments, one off payments or large forward time options are all catered for by our friendly, competent and knowledgeable team based in Tunbridge Wells. We also offer an excellent travel money service along with prepaid currency cards. Please visit our website for contact information www.capitalcurrencies.com

Shortlist unveiled for development awards The finalists in the 2016 Kent Design and Development Awards have now been revealed. Twenty-four projects from across the county have been shortlisted in the awards, which are jointly organised and sponsored by DHA Planning, Kent County Council, and PR and marketing agency Maxim and take place every two years. Three projects have been shortlisted three times: The Wing in Capel le Ferne (Commercial, Industrial & Retail, Public Buildings – Community, and Environmental Performance), The Yarrow in Broadstairs (Commercial, Industrial & Retail, Public Buildings – Education, and Conservation), and Folkestone Harbour Arm (Conservation, Public Buildings – Community, and Infrastructure and Renewables). The Wing is a new visitor and learning centre at the National Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel le Ferne. It was designed by Godden Allen Lawn in Folkestone, with respect for the site’s location in an area of outstanding natural beauty as well as the memorial’s dignity. Part of the East Kent College estate, The Yarrow is a Grade II-listed building that has been regenerated for use as a four-star training hotel. A former children’s convalescent home, The Yarrow’s refurbishment was

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

designed by Richard Hopkinson Architects of Tonbridge. Folkestone Harbour Arm integrates leisure time with a working harbour and a disused railway terminal and Strand House’s plans focussed on connecting people with the sea and the old town. The site combines sympathetic restoration with modern additions. The remaining finalists are: The Ashes Folly, Hadlow; Orchard Gate, East Malling; Peters Village, Wouldham; The Beacon, Folkestone; Samphire Hoe Education Centre, Dover; Margate Beach Houses; The Scenic Railway, Margate; Hazells Farm, Northfleet; Farrow Court, Ashford; Horsted Park (Phase 2), Chatham; Wallis Fields, Maidstone; Royal Wells Park Phases 1&2, Tunbridge Wells; Fairfield, Dartford; Yaldam Manor, Sevenoaks; Staff Housing – Benenden School; Nautical Mews, Margate; and Cut and Cover Tunnel, Maidstone. A further four projects have been shortlisted twice: Brompton-Westbrook Primary School in Gillingham, Herne Bay Sports Hub, Command of the Oceans in Chatham, and North Vat in Dungeness. Alex Hicken of DHA Planning, sponsors of the overall Project of the Year award,

said: “Kent is home to a wide range of innovative projects, as is demonstrated by these finalists. The range of design and construction innovation and the quality of projects spread across the county is something we should all be proud of.” The categories to be decided include Commercial, Industrial and Retail; Conservation; Environmental Performance; Infrastructure and Renewables; Public Buildings – Education and Community; and Residential – Minor and Major. The winners of the six categories will go forward to compete for the Project of the Year trophy. Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, said: “There is much to celebrate in Kent, as will be highlighted by the number of high quality entrants across the county. We look forward to the winners being announced in December.” DHA Planning, Kent County Council and Maxim are joined in delivering the awards by bdb design; Clague Architects; CTP Consulting Engineers; Kent Construction Focus Group; The Rochester Bridge Trust; Scape Procure, Quinn Estates and Penenden Heath Developments.


ECONOMY&US

The Economy & Us

Trust: its Enemies – and its Friends “Know thyself” “Nothing in excess” “Over-promise brings calamity” Three maxims engraved on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi – ancient site of the Oracle, an amphitheatre, and the precursor to our Olympic Games.

The no1 meaning of ‘trust’ in the Oxford English Dictionary is: “Firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something [eg]: relations have to be built on trust”. This year for the first time the OED lists a new expression: ‘post-truth’, as in ‘post-truth politics’. Self-evidently, Trust has to be built on realistic expectations. But Trust has enemies, starting with our own human nature. Officially, we’re supposed to be law-abiding and decent – yet we’re composed of potentially clashing neurosystems: reptile, mammal, homo sapiens. All part of how we’ve evolved, all of evolutionary survival value, yet not always in harmony. Freud described the Ego as a rider helpless to control a bolting horse, the Id; and Desmond Morris showed how apt we are, when in groups, to scream at each other like a troop of baboons! What’s new is that many citizens engage daily with intensely visceral electronic images and texts; and this post-truth ‘reality’ is feeding us an explosion of carefully crafted, gut-grabbing fake news. This enables social media such as Facebook to maximise advertising revenue by surrounding customers with a bespoke menu of such messages: the ‘Echo Chamber’. Such blatant content intimidates editors of the Press and broadcast media into treating it respectfully, as if it were at least valid opinion. This is the megaphone propelling loud-mouthed populists into power; and with stagnant living standards and youngsters’ bleak prospects, as in the 1930s it is very dangerous.

And Trust’s friends? As businesspeople, understanding that our livelihood depends on earning and retaining the trust of all those customers and suppliers who could easily choose some other counterparty to trade with, we are among Trust’s natural friends. Likewise, as businesspeople we appreciate that for our expectations to be fulfilled we need a realistic, evidence-based grasp of the most relevant facts: our multi-motived human nature, and the trends – technical, environmental and economic – that shape our options. And therefore trust needs moderation, the avoidance of excess – what Charles Handy has called the doctrine of enough: “The point about enough is that if you don’t know what ‘enough’ is, you don’t know what ‘more than enough’ is, so there never is enough. Only if you can say what enough is – of money, ambition, fame, whatever – are you free to do anything else”. Finally, we have to share these insights with peers, associates, staff, family and friends – and, of course with those who speak where many listen or who write, tweet or screen what many read. They need to understand that whipping up hostility is particularly dangerous in this flatlining post-truth world, seduced towards intolerant populism by false, unrealistic

promises. We have to support their innate common sense by telling them that deceiving voters into false trust is unacceptable. Not worth the fame, or extra ‘pay per clicks’.

Nick Rowell Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email: nick@tpbs.co.uk

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ASKTHEEXPERT

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BUSINESSNEWS

New programme to create future female football leaders launches in Kent

Following a jam-packed summer of sport, the legacy of a wonderful Olympic and Paralympic games in Rio is set to continue at the Kent FA and K Sports and Social Club in Ditton.

New venture is created After working for separate corporate companies in London for a number of years, Kevin Artlett and Tracey Westell have teamed up to form Pecunia (2016) Limited to bring their brand of credit control training and guidance to SMEs and emerging businesses in Kent and the South East who have a need to safeguard their cash flow. Both are active Committee members of the Kent Branch of The Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) and Kevin has also been teaching learners studying for the CICM professional qualifications for over 12 years. Their experience combined with having recently undertaken some work with insolvency practitioners has fuelled Kevin and Tracey’s belief that, in order to minimise the number of business failures through cash flow problems, there is a strong need for businesses to focus on ‘front end’ credit management procedures. Tracey said: “What we do is take away the worry firms may have about knowing who their customer really is, how to chase payment without losing the goodwill of the customer, building a relationship with the sales department and how they can minimise the risk of not being paid on time.This is undertaken by bespoke training and education sessions or even taking on the outsourcing of certain functions.

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The Eighth Wonder programme offers 14-20 year old women a unique opportunity to break into the world of football. Founded by former Kent FA and Gillingham FC Head of Marketing and Communications, Charlotte Richardson, the programme is set to create 50 future female leaders of football. The programme kick-started on Friday 28th October with a day full of development sessions and workshops to enhance skills and confidence, under the watchful eye of a host of experienced mentors from across Kent football. Following this one-off day of in-depth training and personal development, participants will be placed on a mentoring scheme, providing them with support and guidance to contribute to the volunteer workforce in Kent. A volunteering placement scheme across the county will see Eighth Wonder

participants provided with unique opportunities to obtain experience; whether as a coach, administrator, marketer, journalist or any other role within the game. Charlotte said: “Eighth Wonder is all about instilling self-belief and confidence in young women with ambitions to get involved in football. It’s common knowledge that a number of barriers exist for women in football and this opportunity seeks to provide young women with a truly unique head start on a journey that could take them anywhere.” The programme is one that Kent FA is supported by hosting the day at their headquarters in Ditton. Football Development Officer, Natalie Curtis, believes the programme can attract

a lot of interest following the successful growth of the women’s game nationally. She said: “Ever since London 2012 and the England Lionesses third place finish at the FIFA World Cup, momentum and growth has been vast for the women’s game. The Eighth Wonder programme identifies how great the contribution of women is and by enabling us with a way to match participants with clubs across the county, it has the potential to make sure Kent football stays ahead of the game.” The programme is also backed by Kent Sport. Tina Spry, Sports Participation Manager at Medway Sport, Medway Council added her support for the programme.

You can also learn more by visiting www.eighthwonderprogramme.co.uk, following @eighth_wonder8 on Twitter or by emailing eighthwonderprogramme8@gmail.com.

ifour celebrates ten years of creativity

Tunbridge Wells creative agency ifour celebrated ten years of design and digital creativity when it threw open its new office doors, before holding a celebration nearby. The 15-strong award-winning team, led by founder by Graeme Hall, was joined by longstanding clients, suppliers and friends from the local community at the party at Woods on the Pantiles. The agency, which was started with just two people and a shared desk in Tunbridge Wells, has since outgrown two other premises and gone on to win national, regional and local awards for its branding, print and website design, as well as their

approach to creativity and innovation. Creative director and founder Graeme Hall said: “Ten years in business is a major milestone and we wanted to celebrate it with many of the people who’ve joined us on the journey. It’s not been without its trials and tribulations, but today we’ve built a fantastic team that can compete with much bigger agencies in London and further afield.” ifour’s success has seen the team recently

returning from Canada after it secured a major brand strategy, positioning and website development project to add to its portfolio of work that includes Microsoft, NHS, BP, Chapel Down and Branson’s Pitch to Rich winners fourex. Former BBC Apprentice contestant Vincent Disneur from Union Street Technologies also joined the party, following a longstanding client relationship for a multitude of creative and digital projects.

No Excuses!

Sittingbourne Accountant and new KICC member, Stacey Foster of Fosters Accountants and Consultants Ltd advises that HMRC will not accept unreasonable excuses for late self-assessment returns. The deadline for filing your 2015/16 Self-Assessment return online is 31st January 2017 otherwise an automatic penalty of £100 will apply. The penalty applies even when there is no tax to pay or the tax is paid on time. Penalties are also applied where errors or omissions are made so it is highly recommended that help is sought from a suitably qualified accountant. Some of the worst excuses revealed by HMRC include hungry pets, having a cold, fall out with family members,

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or simply ‘not being a paperwork orientated person’!! You have to file a tax return if in the last tax year you: • Were self-employed; • Rented out a property; • Had savings or investment income of more than £2,500; • Received Dividends or was a Company Director; • Had income of £100k plus; • Had income from abroad or lived abroad and had UK income;

• Made profit on which you need to pay CGT on (such as a second home); • Claimed Child Benefit and your income (or your partner’s) was over £50k; • Had a P800 from HMRC. • Need to claim back money from HMRC (e.g. for work expenses). If you are not sure whether you need to file a return or if you need help getting your tax affairs up to date please contact us. www.fosters-accountants.co.uk


GETTINGSTARTED

Getting Started

Richard Stafford Stafford Perkins Chartered Surveyors www.staffordperkins.co.uk Start up date: 1 October 2016

Q1: Tell us a bit about your business? Stafford Perkins is a firm of Chartered Surveyors dealing with all aspects of commercial property. We have a strong core of managed property which we look after on behalf of individual investor clients, dealing with all aspects of management to ensure that our clients benefit to the maximum from their investments.

This can involve going out and acquiring the investment property in the first instance to running the premises, replacing tenants, renewing leases and dealing with the day to day problems. We also have an Agency department dealing with the sale and letting of commercial properties across Ashford and Romney Marsh. We deal with all types of commercial property from brand new industrial warehouse developments to period High Street shops and purpose-built office buildings. We offer a professional department, providing Red Book Valuations and dealing with lease renewals and rent reviews. We can offer advice on local planning matters and make change of use planning applications where required, having expertise in the refurbishment of redundant agricultural buildings. Q2: What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? I have been working in Ashford since 1985, firstly for Geering & Colyer and Colyer Commercial and more recently with Taylor Riley Stafford and I feel that during this ‘apprenticeship period’

I have established a good rapport with a vast number of clients and have a reputation for ‘going that extra mile’ for all my clients be they large or small. Q3: What motivated you to set up the business? A unique set of circumstances provided the opportunity for me to set up on my own account, my thought process being that as I am still nearer to 50 than 60, now is the time to do it! Q4: What do you like most about working for a start-up? At the time of writing this article the company is not yet three weeks old, but I suppose the sense of total freedom and answering to nobody other than myself could be cited. However I see the start-up process as merely the beginning of a far longer journey. Q5: What has been your greatest business success to date? As I said in my previous answer, it is barely the end of week 3 and

I have yet to raise an invoice so it is probably early days; however it has been very encouraging and indeed humbling to have the backing of over 90% of my established clients at this point. Q6: What has been your lowest moment? I think BT Openreach are probably responsible for this! Q7: In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? No great ambitions to change the world; merely to continue providing a first class service for my company’s clients, but would hope that in five years’ time I have a number of staff on board assisting me in this goal. Q8: What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? I have always been a firm believer that if you have a sound idea and business plan then you are the best person to implement it rather than somebody else.

How the Insurance Act 2015 affects you and your business The Insurance Act 2015 came into force on 12 August 2016.

What does the new Act do? It applies to all commercial insurance contracts entered into, and variations to existing contracts agreed, on or after that date. Consumer insurance contracts will continue to be governed by the Consumer Insurance Act 2012.

What is my firm required to disclose under the new Insurance Act? The duty of disclosure is replaced with a requirement to make a “fair presentation of the risk”. This means that your business must disclose every material circumstance that it knows or ought to know, to reveal the material circumstances. This applies to disclosures for a new contract, renewals, and mid-term variations. What you “ought to know” will be assessed objectively and every material representation as to a matter of fact should be substantially correct, and every material representation as to a matter of expectation or belief must be made in good faith.

The onus is then put on the insurer to ask additional questions following presentation of the risk. What happens if something goes wrong? The remedies for non-disclosure under the Insurance Act 2015 are more proportionate and flexible than those under the previous framework – which allowed an insurer to avoid a policy, even if it would still have underwritten the policy had it had all the right information. Under the new Act, the insurer will only be able to avoid the policy if it can show that the breach of the duty of fair presentation was deliberate or reckless and, if not, the onus will be on the insurer to demonstrate what it would have done had it received a fair presentation of the risk.

Three key steps to compliance with the new duty of disclosure: • Review your information-gathering processes to ensure they are efficient. • Keep records showing you have made reasonable searches. • Identify everyone within your business responsible for arranging insurance cover, as well as the details of your senior management team – all relevant matters within their knowledge will need to be disclosed. If you require any further information on how either Act may affect you or your business please contact us or visit: www.westhill-insurance.co.uk

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

41


CHAMBEREVENTS

Chamber Events, Seminars & Workshops Muesli Mafia Breakfast Networking 7:30 am - 9:30 am £20.00 + VAT To provide an informal business 2 business networking breakfast in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere where local business people can get together, enjoy mutual fellowship, share their good news, views and discuss topics of mutual interest. Guests are from all types of B2B businesses. Meetings will be held at specially selected venues, on a bi-monthly basis, arriving at 7.30am with a 9.30am finish. A full English breakfast (or Muesli alternative) is provided. 1 December 2016 The Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells TN4 8BE

KCFG Breakfast

KMFG Site Visits

(Kent Construction Focus Group)

(Kent Manufacturing Focus Group)

6 December 2016 7:30 am - 9:30 am KCFG Member : £15.00 + VAT KCFG Non-member : £25.00 + VAT Guest Speaker Victoria Brambini from Scape Procure During this presentation Victoria will explore projects being undertaken in Kent and the current key challenges facing the public sector. Demonstrating how Scape Procure frameworks are managed nationally and delivered locally, with every framework partner and their regional teams focusing on local delivery through an extensive local supply chain. Village Urban Resort Maidstone, Forstal Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3AQ

8 December 2016 10:00am - 4:30pm FREE to attend We would like to invite you to join us for a site visit to BAE Systems to learn all about Lean tools & techniques, world class manufacturing, DFM Prototyping, supply chain management and integration, company culture and 3D Printing. Complimentary Tea / Coffee and Buffet lunch will be available. BAE Systems, Import/Export Dept MF15, Airport Works, Rochester, ME1 2XX

24 January 2017 8.00am - 10.00am Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford, TN24 0LH

Coty Manufacturing Ltd 13 March 2017 9.00am - 12.00pm Tea / Coffee will be served on arrival. This event is limited to 16 places so please book in advance. Coty Manufacturing Ltd, Bradfield Road, Ashford, TN25 4AQ These events are open to manufacturers only

Networking Coffee Hour

Networking Afternoon Tea

Member : £7.00 + VAT Non-member : £8.50 + VAT NEW to Kent Invicta Chamber; an opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight its products/services and how these can help other businesses. You will make new contacts and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas, and experiences with like-minded business people. Join us for Tea / Coffee and breakfast pastries.

22 February 2017 Member : Non-member :

10:30 am - 12:00 pm 26 January 2017 23 February 2017 Holiday Inn Rochester-Chatham, Maidstone Road, Chatham, ME5 9SF 12 January 2017 9 February 2017 Campanile Hotel Dartford, 1 Clipper Boulevard West, Crossways Business Park, Dartford, DA2 6QN

42

BAE Systems

KMFG Information Meeting

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm £10.00 + VAT £150.00 + VAT

An opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight its products/services and how these can help other businesses. You will make new contacts and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas, and experiences with like-minded business people. Join us for Afternoon Tea with sandwiches, cakes and Tea / Coffee. Smith’s Court Hotel, 21-27 Eastern Esplanade, Cliftonville, Margate, CT9 2HL


CHAMBEREVENTS

Annual Networking Christmas Luncheon

Join us for the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Christmas Luncheon. The event will take place at the elegant Chilston Park. This will be an excellent opportunity for you to entertain both clients, staff and partners, as well as network with existing members, in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Seating arrangements are informal, so if you have any special seating requirements, please contact us. (Tables of 10 can also be booked).

15th December 2016 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm Member : Non-member :

After hours club The After Hours Club is a popular and highly successful ‘casual’ networking event. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to fellow business people. This event is open to Members and nonmembers. Come and join us for an evening of networking.

£29.50 + VAT £34.50 + VAT

Chilston Park Hotel Sandway, Lenham Kent ME17 2BE

6:00pm to 7:30pm

International Events Letters of Credit Demystified

Import Procedures

Agents and Distributors

24 January 2017 8:30am - 12:30pm Member: £75.00 + VAT Non-member: £90.00 + VAT Working with documentary credits, drafts and bills. Registration at 8am; a Light Breakfast will be served. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford, Kent TN24 0LH

16 February 2017 8:30am - 12:30pm Member: £75.00 + VAT Non-member: £90.00 + VAT An introduction to requirements for importing in to the UK. Registration at 8am; a Light Breakfast will be served. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford, Kent TN24 0LH

23 March 2017 8:30am - 12:30pm Member: £75.00 + VAT Non-member: £90.00 + VAT Appointing and working with agents and distributors overseas. Registration at 8am; a Light Breakfast will be served. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford, Kent TN24 0LH

January Networking Breakfast Seminar 25 January 2017 7:30 am - 9:00 am Member : £10.00 + VAT Non-member : £15.00 + VAT Join us this January for a networking breakfast with a difference as CICM in association with Pecunia will be presenting. Please book early as places are limited. The seminar will cover: • How and why credit and cash flow management are vital for your business • A career in credit management might be just what you are looking for if you like to work at the heart of business operations, enjoy talking to people and can influence their behaviour and negotiate solutions to problems • Details of the CICM Diploma courses coming to Kent in 2017

• Your opportunity to meet credit professionals from Kent • An explanation of the new CICM Trailblazer Apprenticeship Scheme This event is being sponsored by Chartered Institute of Credit Management in association with Pecunia. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH

To book either visit www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events or email events@kentinvictachamber.co.uk or call 01233 503838

6 December 2016 Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre, Brunel Way, Dartford, DA1 5GA 6 December 2016 7 February 2017 The Conningbrook, Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, Kent, TN24 9QR 13 December 2016 11 January 2017 8 February 2017 Hythe Imperial Hotel, Prince's Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE 14 December 2016 Royal Wells Hotel, 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8BE 15 December 2016 Best Western Coniston Hotel & Restaurant, 70 London Road, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 1NT 24 January 2017 28 February 2017 Maidstone Mercure Great Danes Hotel, Ashford Rd, Maidstone ME17 1RE 16 February 2017 The Burlington Hotel, Castlewood Hotels, 3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone, CT20 2HB

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

43


Claire Maugham, director of policy and communications at Smart Energy GB, explains what the rollout of smart meters means for small businesses in Great Britain and why you should be asking your supplier for one.

Getting a grip on your energy If I asked what your business’s monthly energy bill was the chances are you’d reply, “I have no idea.”

Most small businesses could tell you how much the lease costs for the shop or store they operate from, and how much they spend on employees’ salaries. When it comes to energy however, many do not have the accurate information they need to understand exactly how much it is costing them to keep the lights on and stay trading, despite the fact that energy bills form such a significant chunk of the average small firm’s total expenses. Indeed for small retailers and suppliers, the cost of energy is one of the biggest concerns when operating a business, with Citizens Advice reporting that nearly half (46%) of small business owners cite mains electricity as their most significant worry. But while energy costs are seen as an issue, engagement among small businesses remains low. The CMA’s landmark investigation into the energy industry found that nearly half (45%) of microbusinesses were still on the default electricity tariff that their provider had set them up on. Energy bills are daunting for small businesses. Searching around for the best deal armed with estimated bills can prove complex and confusing. But there is now a significant development that means small businesses can finally take control of their energy use.

The government has said that energy suppliers must offer small businesses, (with fewer than ten full time employees) along with every household in Great Britain, a smart meter by 2020. Smart meters will mean an end to this system of estimated billing, which is a symptom of an analogue energy network. Instead of relying on estimates or manual meter readings, smart meters will communicate usage data to your energy supplier directly and digitally. This means your supplier will have more accurate, up to date information and therefore you will get more accurate bills. There will no longer be any need to worry about meter readings (which will be consigned to history) and no need to worry that you’re paying too much. And the fear of a bill will be greatly reduced as you can see how much you are spending in pounds and pence. The result for small businesses will be less confusion and fewer questions when the bill comes through the letterbox. The overall benefits small businesses can expect to realise as a result of the rollout of smart meters are about £1.44bn. Smart Energy GB is the national campaign for the smart meter rollout. It is our job to communicate with small businesses and householders, across the country about smart meters, helping them to understand how smart meters can benefit them. If you would like more information about smart meters go to smartenergygb.org.

Energy Doctor prescribes smart meters for small businesses Small businesses can get their energy health in check with the help of a smart meter.

This is the message from Dr. Paul Swift, an energy consultant from the Carbon Trust. Many small businesses struggle to keep track of how much they spend on energy, and which equipment or activities are causing unnecessary waste. Dr. Paul has created an energy health checklist to help microbusinesses get on the road to energy health. (See below) Dr. Paul Swift has helped businesses around the world save energy. He said: “When you have the right information and you pay attention to it, it’s simple to find ways to take control of your energy use. Many microbusinesses feel they can’t make energy efficiencies, because they think they have to invest lots of money into new equipment to make a dent. “But with the help of a smart meter, it’s easy to identify what is using the most energy, at what times, and take action - big or small - to cut down. Every penny saved on energy is a penny saved on the bottom line.”

The Energy Doctor’s energy health checklist for microbusinesses

1. How much are you spending? • Speak to your supplier about getting a smart meter 2. What’s using the most energy? • Identify the energy hogs – a smart meter and plug-in watt meters will help 3. Have you got your timings right? • Switch high wattage items on later, or turn them off earlier. Use plug in timers so you don’t forget 4. Do you need new equipment? • Decide how long you’re prepared to wait for new kit to pay for itself. Check the Carbon Trust’s Green Business Directory of accredited suppliers and look into specialist energy efficiency financing 5. Are your staff on board? • Focus on the changes that save the most. And don’t preach 6. Can you stop heat (and money) from escaping? • Check for drafts. Insulate lofts and walls and add foam strips and brush fixings to doors and windows


Why switching to a smart meter makes sense

Smart meters are going to transform the way that businesses buy and use their gas and electricity – and anyone in any doubt should ask the team at London law firm SW19Lawyers LLP about the benefits they have seen since making the move to the new technology. SW19Lawyers LLP provides advice on employment and commercial law issues to both individuals and a wide range of businesses. The firm became part of the national rollout of smart meters when they had theirs installed, and the decision has proved itself a great success.

Belinda Eriksson, a founding partner of SW19Lawyers LLP, said the move was simple to make. She said: “Changing over was very easy. Our energy supplier arranged an appointment to replace their previous meter with a smart meter. We can log into our account to access accurate consumption data to aid in cutting usage where possible.”

There are many advantages to having smart meters, not least the way they provide domestic consumers and business owners with accurate bills. No nasty surprises! The accuracy of smart meters helps you see what you are spending on gas and electricity in pounds and pence, in near real time, allowing greater control over usage. You can work out which appliances are guzzling the most energy. With accurate readings and bills, there is no longer the confusion of estimated bills which make it difficult to work out usage properly. Belinda said: “SW19Lawyers LLP receives accurate bills without estimations or having to provide readings. The firm has saved 18% to date on our bills in 2016 compared to last year. “ Such savings are easy to make with a smart meter. Many small businesses across the country who have made the switch to smart meters are also finding the potential cost savings an added bonus to claiming their meters. By being able to monitor how, where and when

their energy usage is at its most, they are able to adjust their working methods and save money. As users are better informed, there is also a huge knock-on benefit for the environment because a greater awareness of energy usage tends to encourage more efficient energy use. As smart meters mean no more estimated bills, you only pay for the gas and electricity that you actually use. Through better understanding of accurate usage, savings are easy to make while also benefiting the environment. Between now and 2020, many small businesses across England, Scotland and Wales will be able to claim their smart meter from their energy supplier. Indeed, more than 4 million smart meters have already been installed in GB homes and businesses. Increasing numbers of people are agreeing that the move makes sense and smart meters are rapidly replacing the traditional meters that most of us still have in our homes and businesses in an upgrade that is unprecedented in its scale as it rolls out nationwide.

To find out how you can get a smart meter from your energy supplier, please visit smartenergyGB.org/smallbusinesses

“Between now and 2020, many small businesses across England, Scotland and Wales will be able to claim their smart meter from their energy supplier.”


NEWMEMBERS

Welcome to new members 360 Photo Team Maidstone 07973 705477 360phototeam.co.uk Google “Step-inside� Business Tours

Chad Mackenzie Thanet 07947 096158 www.supabizfromhome.com Utility Warehouse

Envika Consultancy Ltd Dartford 0333 011 7707 www.envikaconsultancy.com IT Business Analysis, Petro Physical, Software Development, IT Resources

A J Wenham Associates Limited Tunbridge Wells 01892 532593 www.ajwenham.associates Accounting, Bookkeeping & Payroll Services

Channel Facilities Managment Ltd Dover 01304 747010 www.channelfm.co.uk Facilities Management, Cleaning, Security, Janitorial Supplies, Grounds Maintenance, Online Software

Fab Fascias and Windows Ltd Maidstone 01622 618777 www.fabfasciasandwindows.co.uk Double glazing, fascias, guttering and roofing installations

Age UK Thanet Ltd Thanet 01843 223881 www.ageuk.org.uk/thanet Day Centre for Retired Arriva Kent & Surrey Ltd Maidstone 01622 697000 www.arrivabus.co.uk Passenger Transport Ash Contracting Ltd Tonbridge 01732 872600 www.ashltd.biz Construction Company Ashford Surface Repairs Ashford 07740 854424 Cosmetic Surface Repairs Aspinal of London Ltd Dartford 01322 387651 www.aspinaloflondon.com Retail Barth-Haas UK Limited Maidstone 01892 833415 Hop Merchants, Manufacturer

Chemex Thanet 07484 713925 www.chemexuk.com Cleaning & Hygiene Product Supplies ConceptuallySorted Ltd Medway 01622 371091 www.conceptuallysorted.com Software Services & Consultancy Cloud Bookkeeping Medway 01634 305992 www.cloudbookkeeping.co.uk/medway Book Keeping Dakota Blue Consulting Ashford 07419 195613 www.dakotablueconsulting.com HR/Business Consulting Dandelion Social Swale 07980 877276 www.dandelionsocial.com Marketing, Social Media

Browns Brasserie and Bar Gravesham 01322 422880 www.browns-restaurants.co.uk Brasserie & Bar

Eden Property Consultants Maidstone 01622 862070 www.edenpropertyconsultants.co.uk Property Specialists

Caduceus Training and Operations Canterbury 07712 672265 www.ctaoltd.co.uk First Aid Training & Medical Training

Enaflo Interiors Limited Tonbridge 01892 246412 www.enaflointeriors.co.uk Interior Specialists

48

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

First Vehicle Management Ltd Canterbury 01227 731096 www.firstvehiclemanagement.co.uk Vehicle Leasing Flip Global Limited Maidstone 07736 103233 www.flipglobal.co.uk Corporate Life Coach Flourish Design Shepway 01303 764252 flourish.agency Marketing, Design & Branding Fosters Accountants & Consultants Ltd Medway 01795 485026 www.fosters-accountants.co.uk Accountants & Business Consultants GoFindThem Thanet 01843 808045 www.gofindthem.co.uk People Tracing Hen & Duckhurst Professional Services Maidstone 01580 891307 Professional Service

Ibi's Kitchen Medway 01622 370120 www.ibiskitchen.co.uk Caterers Inspired Technology Services Ltd Canterbury 01227 271120 www.inspiredtech.co.uk IT Reseller Instro Precision Ltd Thanet 01843 604455 instro.com Civilian, Military, Surveillance Support James Hallam Ltd Ashford 01233 225528 www.jameshallam.co.uk Insurance Broker & Risk Management Jamie Weller Financial Services Limited Medway 01634 232937 www.jamieweller.co.uk Wealth Management & Financial Services JNB Consultancy Maidstone 07759 285453 www.jamesbargeron.com Leader & Performance Training/Coaching JSB Therapies Maidstone 07443 424605 www.jsbtherapies.co.uk Massage Therapy for Corporate & Private Clients

Ian Ludlow Swale 07723 383472 www.ianludlow.com Elderly Care Consultant

Juicy Media Dover 07841 342925 www.juicy-media.com Print, Graphic Design & Promotional Items

Ideal 4 U Insurance Dover 01304 364899 www.ideal4uinsurance.co.uk General Business Insurance

Kent Wildlife Trust Maidstone 01622 662012 www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk Wildlife Trust


NEWMEMBERS

KC Global Procurement Services LLP Crawley 07909 537229 www.kcglobalprocurement.com Oil and Gas Procurement Services Lancaster Jaguar Land Rover Sevenoaks Sevenoaks 01732 456300 www.lanacaster.sevenoaks.jaguar.co.uk Sales & Service of Jaguars, Land Rovers & Range Rovers Lasting Memories Medway 01634 361117 www.lastingmemoriescelebrant.co.uk Celebrant Learay Canterbury 01795 535353 www.learay.co.uk Brand Merchandising Agency Lecente Gravesham 01474 327770 www.lecente.com Nail Art Brand Lite Consulting Limited Thanet 01227 206495 www.liteconsulting.co.uk HR Software, Consultancy Procurement A&G Lifelight Studio Bromley 07871 739670 www.lifelightstudio.com Lighting Consultancy Lovelock Virtual PA Services Swale 07922 197614 www.lovelockvirtualpa.co.uk Virtual PA, Bookeeping, Phone Cover & Admin

Mazars LLP Surrey 020 8661 1826 www.mazars.co.uk Business Advisory Services MI Security Ltd Swale 01795 228181 www.misecurity.co.uk Electronic Fire & Security Installer OSG Architecture Ltd Ashford 01233 812148 www.osgarchitecture.com Architecture Old Dairy Brewery Ashford 01580 763867 www.olddairybrewery.com Brewing Paws, Claws and More Shepway 07407 198268 www.pawsclawsandmorekent.com Pet Services Pecunia Ashford 01233 502412 Training & Consultancy specialising in credit control Pestbusters East Kent Thanet 01843 639413 www.pestbusterseastkent.com Pest Control POWER to Live More Shepway 01303 263858 www.powertolivemore.com Helping people who work from home to improve their productivity Premier Display Systems Ltd Canterbury 01227 710104 www.premier-framework.com Exhibition Stands & Printers Graphics

Royal British Legion Industries Ltd Maidstone 01622 795913 www.rbli.co.uk Employment Solutions, Military Resettlement/Care S.T. Abbott Limited Canterbury 01227 471206 www.abbottconstruction.co.uk Construction SA-K9 & Security Ltd Tonbridge 0800 002 9274 www.sa-k9.co.uk Static Guards, Dog Handlers, Mobile Patrols, Key Holding, Event Teams, Close Protection Sevenoaks Sameday Sevenoaks 01474 850903 www.expresscouriernetwork.co.uk Sameday Delivery South East Facilities Management Canterbury 01227 710834 www.sefmltd.co.uk Cleaning and Maintenance Services Sprinks Construction Ltd Shepway 01303 266235 www.sprinksconstruction.co.uk Construction Company Stafford Perkins Chartered Surveyors Ashford 07770 827428 www.staffordperkins.co.uk Chartered Surveyors Sterling Yacht Management Ltd Maidstone 01622 371088 Operational, Financial, Technical & Safety Management of Super Yachts

Martin Knapp Dartford 01322 800056 www.edwardbondwm.co.uk Financial Protection

Purple Rhino Contract Cleaning Ltd Ashford 0800 157 7484 www.purple-rhino.co.uk Exterior Building Cleaning

Sterling PA Swale 07541 348595 www.sterlingpa.com PA, Business Support, Virtual PA or Real PA

Martin Insurance Service Ltd Medway 01634 407103 www.martininsurance.co.uk Insurance Broker

Quex Barn Thanet 01843 846103 www.quexbarn.com Restaurant/ Events Venue

TDLC Ltd Medway 01634 712999 www.tdlc.co.uk Training in the financial skills sector

Three Musketeers (Kent) Ltd Ashford 01233 636359 www.the3musketeers.biz Childrens & Corporate Entertainment Tutor Doctor Sevenoaks Sevenoaks 01959 561164 www.tutordoctor.co.uk/sevenoaks Tutor Doctor Franchise for Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells & surrounding areas University of Kent - Chatham Medway 01634 888950 www.kent.ac.uk/hospitality Education V.E. White & Co Medway 01634 739195 www.vewhitesolicitors.co.uk Solicitors Vision Reruitment Solutions Ltd Medway 01634 684687 www.visionrs.co.uk Recruitment Vodafone UK Limited Newbury 07469 414230 www.vodafone.co.uk/business Mobile, Fixed Line, Broadband, IOT Cloud & Hosting, Unified Comms, Security & Device Managment Waterloo Air Products Plc Maidstone 01622 717861 waterloo.co.uk Design and Manufacture of ventilation products ie. Grilles, Louvres, Diffusers, VAC/CAV Dampers Westhill Insurance Services Ltd Bexley 020 8308 0888 www.westhill-insurance.co.uk General Insurance Broker Wozair Limited Medway 01634 790353 www.wozair.com Manufacturer of bespoke hvac equipment Zehnder Group Lenham Ltd Maidstone 01622 852924 www.zehnder.co.uk Building Products Manufacturer

December 2016 - January 2017 ThinkingBUSINESS

49


LASTWORD

INBRIEF

The Last Word Name:

James Wilford

Company: Your Music School Canterbury, YMS Travel, Theatre Trips Kent Job title: Managing Director

Centre expands

One of the most exciting new ventures in Kent is currently gathering momentum with the opening of its new 3G pitch.

James Wilford is the owner and founder of YMS Group of companies comprising of Your Music School, Theatre Trips Kent and YMS Travel. The music school has 35 specialist teachers, a team of support staff and a regular 1000 pupils visiting weekly for their tuition. Theatre Trips Kent formed in 2011 and combines top value theatre tickets and days out with coach travel included with various pick up across Kent. YMS Travel is the transportation side of the YMS Group, James operates 22 buses and coaches for private hire. Q What was your first job and what was the pay packet? A Saturday boy at County Music (Sharon Music, at the time) £15 per day, £1.67 per hour age 14, 11th January 1990 Q What do you always carry with you to work? A My mobile is always with me and never turned off! Oh, and chocolate(!) Q What is the biggest challenge facing your business? A Hours in a day! I could achieve so much more if I had more time. Q If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? A The subjects of business rates and the London Low Emission Zone are two things that restrict my business opportunities massively. Both need reforming or scrapping! Q What can you see from your office window? A The wonders of the Wincheap Estate, RightGuard Security and Mission Training to be exact. Q If you could do another job what would it be? A If I retrained for a new career it would be Psychology, people fascinate me. Q As a business person, what are your three main qualities? A Honesty to all, staff, customers and other people in business. Maintaining High Standards. Being available and approachable to everyone. Q What was your biggest mistake in business? A I have been very lucky with finding great people to work for YMS Group and have made very few mistakes in selecting people, however, I guess my biggest mistake in early years in business was trusting people too much and being taken advantage of before I developed stronger skills in leadership. I was only 19 when I started YMS from my savings as a child. Q What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? A Take as little from the business as you can and reinvest as much as possible in the early years. That’s the key to how my three businesses have been launched and established financial security. Q Who do you most admire in business? A Probably Peter Jones from Dragons Den, but basically anyone who manages to operate a successful business whilst controlling a good work/life/family balance.

50

ThinkingBUSINESS December 2016 - January 2017

K Sports Cobdown will become one of the most modern and well-constructed sports facilities in the SouthEast, besides a first-class banquet and conferencing facility with a trendy sports bar and restaurant. For many years, the Cobdown sports ground was recognised as having excellent facilities that catered for a variety of sports but was in need of a new strategic focus.

At the beginning of 2016 new owners purchased the facility and quickly set about developing this new strategy and an investment plan which will see Cobdown transformed. K Sports Cobdown aims to combine elite and community sport provision with a strong emphasis on education and vocational achievement particularly for young people.

No more needles: new device is launched Bedfont® Scientific, Kent, launched their new GastroCH4ECK™ Gastrolyzer® at the United European Gastroenterology Week 2016 Bedfont® Scientific has specialised in the design and manufacture of exhaled breath and gas monitoring instruments since 1976. The GastroCH4ECK™ Gastrolyzer® helps to detect gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS, SIBO and sugar intolerances such as lactose intolerance. This is done by measuring the amount of hydrogen and methane in a patient’s breath, which is produced by the breakdown of food in the gut. Jason Smith, General Manager at Bedfont Scientific, said: “The GastroCH4ECK™ Gastrolyzer® is simple to use for both patient and doctor. It is completely non-invasive, making it the preferred method for patients who do not wish to provide a blood sample but also gives an instant reading, compared to having to wait up to two weeks for the blood sample to be tested, meaning the patient suffers less.”

Accolade for entrepreneur

More than 100 entrepreneurs have been announced as finalists in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, in association with NatWest. Among them is Nicola Coppen from Diligence (PM) Services Ltd (known as ‘Diligence’), who has been announced as a shortlisted entrepreneur within the Micro Business Entrepreneur of the Year category for 2016.

Nicola started Diligence in April 2014, with the first contract being for the provision of Infrastructure Project Management for Thames Water – an early milestone for the company - and in April 2016, she decided the time was right to begin expansion for the company into a larger consultancy. Diligence is a people-led

consultancy, providing proven Project Managers, incorporating the need to encourage local employment and develop Project Managers of the future. Nicola’s aspiration is to provide Project Management to the various Construction and Infrastructure projects in the South East and London.

MHA MacIntyre Hudson benefits from Baker Tilly International’s success

Top twenty accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson, which has offices in Maidstone Canterbury and Folkestone, is delighted that Baker Tilly International has been named the winner of the prestigious Network of the Year Award at the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB) Awards 2016. MHA MacIntyre Hudson joined the Baker Tilly International Network in October 2014 and has benefited from its membership by collaborating on an increasing number of international and multi-jurisdictional assignments. The annual IAB Awards celebrate excellence in the accounting profession and bring together some of the most prominent people in the industry.

The IAB Network of the Year is awarded to networks that have demonstrated the execution of profitable growth strategies during the past 12 months and have excelled in a number of key strategic and operational areas. They are also recognised by the industry as a reputable brand that consistently delivers high quality professional services. James Gransby, Partner at the Maidstone office said:

“We are delighted that the Baker Tilly International Network has been recognised by the IAB for its successful growth and development, as well as its excellence in a number of key strategic and operational areas. We are receiving a diverse range of international opportunities into our Kent offices via the network and look forward to this continuing in the future.”


Hauling Construction

Forward

Kent's leading independent provider of construction logistics Our 50 strong fleet hauls a wide range of building materials from Bags to Blocks, Shoring Equipment to Sand, and all types of construction and demolition waste.

Ardula Limited, Woodfalls, Gravelly Ways, Laddingford, Maidstone ME18 6DA

T: 01622 873300 www.ardula.co.uk

Thinking Business - December 2016  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Business Magazine, Latest National Business News, Local Business Issues, Accountancy and Financial Manageme...

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