Page 1

Issue 3 July 2014

Cash, costs and looking forward Cash is king and this quarter in.form looks at the cost of running a business and members share their tips on simple ways to save your hard-earned cash.

Legislation update

Are you cyber safe?

page 2

page 3

News from Westminster

The cost of compliance

page 6

page 7

With the economic news continuing to improve, a number of surveys and indicators point towards positive growth in the next year. Our own most recent research also shows that members expect 2014 to be a much better year. As the economy picks up, businesses begin to gain confidence and broaden their horizons. The Forum is committed to supporting growth and ensuring our members’ businesses are protected. In this issue we look at the cost of complying with the law as well as detailing new and proposed legislation; we reveal cyber threats to your business and highlight ways you can save time and money.

Having your say... Giving us your views means we can lobby effectively on your behalf and also helps us to develop the products and services your business needs. Enclosed is our quarterly ballot for members which this quarter is on the cost of doing business. Complete the survey and return it in the envelope provided or complete it online at www.fpb.org/referendum209 by 18th August.

Forum of PrivateBusiness

Cyber safe Page 3

Protect your business from cyber attack

Take care of the pennies Pages 4–5

Top money-saving tips from members

Remember we’re here to help and advise you whatever your business challenges. Call us on 0845 130 1722

Visit fpb.org


Legislation update 2014 has already seen some significant employment law changes. Here’s our summary of key changes on the horizon for the latter half of the year and early 2015. Changes to the National Minimum Wage (October 2014)

designed to allow parents to share care for the child in the first year.

The rates from October 2014 will be:

In essence both parents will be able to share parental leave and claim shared parental pay after the compulsory two week maternity leave period. Before taking a block of leave (he or she can make up to three requests to take leave), an employee will have to give eight weeks’ notice. The scheme will also provide each employee taking shared parental leave with 20 KIT style days. Further, provided that the employee has not taken more than 26 weeks shared parental leave, he/she will retain the right to return to the same job.

∞∞ 21 years and over – £6.50 per hour ∞∞ 18-20 years – £5.13 per hour ∞∞ 16-17 years – £3.79 per hour ∞∞ Apprentice rate – £2.73 per hour. Make sure you are paying what you should, particularly with the introduction of stiffer penalties of up to £20,000 and the threat of being publicly named and shamed.

Sickness absence management (Late 2014 – Spring 2015) Following a review of the sickness absence system the government has decided to:

∞∞ establish a health and work assessment and advisory service to make occupational health advice more readily available to employers and employees enabling them to manage sickness absence better; ∞∞ abolish record-keeping obligations for SSP to allow employers to keep records in a less prescriptive manner for a shorter period of time; and ∞∞ abolish the statutory sick pay (SSP) percentage threshold scheme (PTS) from the beginning of the 2014/15 tax year. The new Health and Work Service will include a statefunded assessment by occupational health professionals for employees who are absent due to sickness for four weeks or more. It will also provide advice and a case management facility for the employees with complex needs. The full national service begins in April 2015, with the service operating in limited areas from October 2014.

Shared parental leave (April 2015) Shared parental leave will be introduced in April 2015 and is

2

The Forum of Private Business

Flexible working (June 2014) The right to request flexible working has now been extended to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service. The application must be made formally and only one application may be made within a 12 month period. This request could be a change of hours, days of work or location and for any reason; study, hobbies, reduction of working week linked to retirement or a request to work from home. There is no longer a requirement to link the request to the care of another person, adult or child. This means that a request for flexible working for child care must be considered equally with a request for time off to go fishing or working from home, greatly increasing the range and number of requests that can be made. There is therefore considerable scope for employees to consider that their request may not have been dealt with fairly. These changes could have a considerable impact on your business and you should have a clearly defined written application process which is freely available to all staff. Don’t forget a summary of all key employment law changes for 2014 is on our website at www.fpb.org/regulations and our business advice team is on hand to give further information and advice on 0845 130 1722.


Make sure your business is cyber safe! The Heartbleed, Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker viruses have hit the headlines recently and highlighted the increasing threat that cyber fraud poses for the modern-day small business owner. Recent research suggests that cyber crime costs small businesses around £800 million every year with little chance of recovery, while telephone hacking can cost as much as £30,000 over just a two-day period, making it all the more important to ensure your businesses is protected. What’s more, failure to put adequate measures in place could see you facing fines of as much as £500,000 for cyber breach and data loss under UK and EU legislation such as the Data Protection Act. Other potential threats include loss of company devices, social media misuse and hacking. With 60% of small firms reporting a security issue last year, and major breaches costing a small firm on average between £65 and £115k it pays to protect your business. Some top tips to reduce the chances of the worst happening to your business include:

Carry out a risk assessment You need to assess the threat cyber crime poses. For example, if a number of your employees are on your computer network using the internet every day you may be at higher risk than if you just have one company computer that is very rarely used.

Create a business security and disaster recovery plan

Protect your business from viruses These present the biggest online threat to your business data. Not only are they designed to cause disruption, but they can also target personal data stored on your system (including that of your customers) and cause you to lose important data.

Stay alert for signs of fraud such as ‘phishing’ scams These try to get you to part with financial details and can mean your website traffic being diverted to a bogus site or orders being directed to a different server. Make sure you meet payment security requirements. If you take payments via your website or any other situation where the card holder is not present, you need to make sure you comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The Forum is all too aware of the increasing threat this poses to members and has recently teamed up with cyber protection experts Cyber AMI to create an affordable, comprehensive cyber risk management package to protect your business. This includes staff training, risk assessment tools and expert support. In addition members can also get the added peace of mind of comprehensive cyber legal cover for just £75 per year.

If data disaster did strike your business, you and your staff need to know how you would keep the business running.

Back up your business data A back-up is a copy of your data, usually kept on a data storage device which is then secured away from the original. It should be taken regularly and include customer details, employee information and bank details as it’s your responsibility under the Data Protection Act 1998 to safeguard this information.

For further information and advice on cyber security and protection call 0845 130 1722 or visit the MyFPB area at www.fpb.org.

www.fpb.org

3


Useful tips on cutting business costs Tracy Hoather, Sameday plc – Knutsford www.sameday.plc.uk “Whether you have one car or van in your company or several, vehicle checks are an important cost saving and maybe lifesaving task. Ensure that your tyres are inflated properly – under inflated tyres can add another 10–15% to your fuel bill – check your oil and water levels regularly, repair chips as soon as they happen – this will save you windscreen replacement costs. Keep your vehicle regularly serviced and maybe consider safe driving courses with a driving instructor to check on you and your drivers’ technique to ensure you or they have not picked up bad habits such as late and heavy braking. Purchase fuel wisely.”

Graham Steele, Reevu

Matt Roper, Buying Support Agency

www.reevu.com

www.buyingsupport.co.uk

“For us, shipping costs are a major cost and the companies are known to add in additional charges on top of their quotes. For this reason we always get three quotes, clarify exactly what is included and always cross reference quotations. We also switch supplier without hesitation, this is now known by the sales reps and so we are given their best price at the start of the negotiation process.”

“My biggest piece of advice for SME businesses seeking to reduce their overhead costs is to join a buying group. This is the only way to achieve a step change cost reduction as the collective buying power makes even the smallest of companies as attractive to suppliers as a large multi-national company. That’s why we set up BSA Buying Group for Forum members.”

Martin Mulholland, MD Safety Management www.mdsm.org.uk “Developing a health and safety management system is a great way to save money for your business. This helps avoid costly accidents and associated HSE costs, and can even help reduce instances of ill-health which can lead to absenteeism.”

4

The Forum of Private Business


Alastair Macmillan, White House Products Ltd www.whitehouseproductsltd.com “Substantial savings can be made in the cost of energy, the one with the quickest payback for us was putting our water heater on a timer, and the cost was paid back many times over. For those companies trading internationally use a currency broker rather than a bank when making payments in foreign currency – you will be amazed how much you will save.”

Matthew Crawford, After Noah

Mark Pearson, Accept Cards

www.afternoah.com

www.acceptcards.co.uk

“As with most retailers, shoplifting is a real issue. In the last year, we have invested in a modular CCTV system which is both very reasonably priced, easy to use, and a great preventative measure. We purchased a DVR and three cameras for around £500. They’re easy to install, record up to 16 cameras simultaneously and we’ve bought 1 a month in recent months to add to the system. The picture quality is great and the DVR is connected to our Wi-Fi, which means that I can watch the shop in real-time and review the recordings from any computer and also from my iPhone, via a free app. Couldn’t recommend

“One great way of saving money is to check that you’re not paying too much to process your credit and debit card transactions. It’s a good idea to look at a range of providers, not just the banks, and by reviewing this regularly you can ensure that you are not spending over the odds. It is easy to do and may save you hundreds or thousands of pounds which will go straight back into your cash flow.”

it highly enough.”

Tell us your #MSTips Above are just a few of some of the great money-saving ideas that can help cut your monthly business costs, but we’re sure that you all have plenty more suggestions and we’d like to hear from you. Throughout July we’d like you to tweet us @The_FPB with your cost cutting tips using the hashtag #MSTips We will look to include the best tips in a round-up in an upcoming edition of our e-newsletter in.form weekly and there will be a prize for the winning tip.

Forum membership is also a great money-saving decision and don’t forget that advice is always on hand via our business development team to help you make the most of your membership on

0845 130 1722. Visit fpb.org

5


News from our Westminster policy team Alexander Jackman Head of Policy

Small Business Bill The first bill dedicated to small businesses will be legislated on over the final year of the coalition government. The bill will contain a number of areas of improvement for businesses, with measures on late payment, procurement, setting in law rules around introducing red tape, and access to finance issues, the latter being the early signposting of businesses towards alternative sources of finance by the banks themselves. However, with some measures also included on zero hours contract exclusion clauses and minimum wage enforcement, it’s not going to be all plain sailing.

Late payment The government has set out the measures it intends to take forward to tackle late payment. They represent a step forward, if not a leap. Proposals steer clear of introducing a maximum payment term, recognising the variety of relationships that exist in the private sector. We are also pleased there are plans to reintroduce reporting requirements for larger companies, creating greater transparency and highlighting good and bad payment practice. Finally, strengthening the Mystery Shopper scheme (a whistle-blowing website for poor procurement practice), together with further measures on e-invoicing in the public sector, are excellent steps forward. Whilst overall the proposals are encouraging, we believe the government has ducked one crucial aspect of late payment; an ‘obligation’ under EU late payment legislation to put in place a mechanism that allows businesses to maintain their anonymity whilst challenging grossly unfair payment terms. The definition of ‘grossly

6

The Forum of Private Business

unfair’ is hard to pin down, but being able to challenge it would create legal precedents to help other companies. Meanwhile, we have been busy shaming those companies that continue to treat their suppliers poorly. Thanks to our members giving us information, we have exposed both Mars UK and Halfords for their poor payment practices. Keep the examples coming!

Labour woos small businesses July has seen the Labour Party seek to move beyond its ‘predators versus producers’ rhetoric and woo the business community. Announcements have come thick and fast, with discounts and freezes on business rates, more pledges on simplifying procurement and a greater devolution of money to the regions, something promised but not yet achieved by governments of all colours down the years. As we approach election year the Forum will round up where the parties stand towards the end of the year, to make sure our members have clarity on what their vote will bring for their business.

Upcoming influencing meetings The Forum’s policy team meets regularly with officials and ministers from across government to champion the views of our members. If you have any issues that we can raise on your behalf at future meetings please get in touch at publicaffairs@fpb.org.


Counting the cost of red tape

Businesses are losing opportunities worth

£38.8bn

as they try to keep up with regulations

With multiple business regulation changes in the last 12 months, we asked you in last quarter’s Referendum ballot for your views on red tape and the cost of complying with regularly-changing laws. Here’s what you told us… Despite government promises to reduce the amount of time and money businesses spend on regulation, the cost of complying rose by 4% (£0.9bn), with the smallest businesses being hit hardest.

£19.1bn

2014

Fewer than 9 employees

50+ employees

4%

£164

£24

£18.2bn

per employee

per employee

Most problematic law changes

2013

External costs rose twice as fast due to the implementation of Real Time Information

6% 56%

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations

46%

Tax changes

43% Flexible working

43%

Real Time Information

What help do businesses need?

40% 51% 60%

Want law changes only once every five years

Want more effective deregulation

Want better consistency and clarity

Read the full report and find out how we’re using your views to lobby on your behalf at www.fpb.org/referendum.

external costs

3% internal costs


Key dates & events to be aware of in the small business calendar

Lending figures GDP figures

18th July 15th August

Vote on Scottish independence Labour Party Conference

18th September 21st–24th September

Conservative Party Conference

28th September–1st October

Common Commencement Date

1st October

Liberal Democrat Party Conference

4th–8th October

EMPLOYMENT GUIDE 2015 Our Employment Guide is available exclusively as part of the Employer Xtra package and offers practical guidance on every aspect of employment, from recruitment to retirement. Together with complete support from our business advice helpline, subscribers can be confident that they are always on the right side of the law.

∞∞ More than 75 templates of contracts, procedures and letters in Microsoft Word, ready to customise for your own business.

The 350-page guide is written in plain English and contains:

∞∞ Handy look-up tables and flow charts to illustrate complicated procedures and help you do the right thing.

∞∞ Guidance on managing a whole range of employment issues, from creating a contract of employment to managing sickness absence, handling flexible working requests and dealing with discrimination.

8

The Forum of Private Business

The new edition will be available at the beginning of October. Make sure you don’t miss out by calling 0845 130 1722.

Visit fpb.org

Profile for Forum of Private Business

Forum of Private Business - Inform July 2014  

Cash, costs and looking forward. Cash is king and this quarter In.form looks at the cost of running a business and members share their tips...

Forum of Private Business - Inform July 2014  

Cash, costs and looking forward. Cash is king and this quarter In.form looks at the cost of running a business and members share their tips...