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Campaigning!

We’re starting a fortnightly email campaign which will include newsletters, tips, stories and updates of what is happening here - don’t worry, we will only be sending you things which are relevant and helpful.  

On some occasions, we will also be working with other partners, to send you information that they have, which we think may be of use to you.

Here’s the team, who will be happy to assist you with any enquiries:

Femiholly

Femi Ogunshakin -MD & CEO              Holly Janaway – Finance Manager & Tax Assistant 

Ella  pip

Ella Bramall – Legal Executive                      Phillipa Hardcastle – Administrator

We hope that you will take the time to go through our emails, as we hope you’ll find them of use, and of interest to you.
We are learning so we welcome your feedback, feel free to send us any comments that you may have!

Keep a look out for our next email which is due to be sent out March 30th.

If you’re not a past or current client of ours, but would like adding to our mailing list then contact us on info@loftusstowe.com and we’ll happy add you to our campaigns!
Have you checked out our Linkedin page yet?

Do you know enough?

Everyone’s talking about auto-enrolment, pensions and staging dates. But do you know enough about how these thing are going to affect you and your business?

We’re starting to live for longer, which means there are an increase in the number of pensioners. Therefore the Pensions Acts 2007 and 2008, are making changes to introduce new employer duties for making pensions available for their employees.

Since 2012 this legislation has been implemented, and firstly focused on big companies who had over 250 employees. But now the dates for fewer employees are getting closer, and it’s going to have a significant impact on every employer in the UK – so you need to make sure you’re ready.

As an employer, it is your responsibility and  you have many duties including:

  • Providing a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme;
  • Registering the scheme with The Pension Regulator at your staging date;
  • Assess and notify all employees of their rights and whether they are ‘eligible jobholders’ or not;
  • Automatically enrol all eligible employees;
  • Pay pension contributions for all employees;
  • Keep records of all actions taken and documents issued
  • You cannot discourage membership to new or existing employees;
  • The Pensions Regulator will police and enforce this new legislation.

If you aren’t sure on when your staging date is, you can obtain it by  calling IFS Employee Benefits on 0808 100 1613 – you will need your PAYE reference number to hand.

So, what do you need to do? You need to plan ahead, so start now.

You might already have a workplace pension scheme that will qualify, or that could be upgraded to make it qualify, then you can use at your staging date. Or if you don’t have a pension scheme that will qualify, or if you don’t have one at all, you will need to arrange a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme through a pension provider.

As you can expect, if you are an employer who fail to comply, there are penalties which include a warning, a £400 fixed penalty and then an extra £500 per day after your staging date.

There’s a debate about whether pensions are good or bad, but research has proven that employers who offer Pensions, are seen as offering the best employee benefits. It’s seen as supporting and preparing your employees for their retirement and it can also help to assist in the recruitment and retention of high quality employees. By having a pension scheme, it makes your business stand out from the crowd – so it’s never too early to set one up!

If you need support or more information regarding auto-enrolment, then please contact us today on 01909 512 120.

Don’t forget to visit our Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/company/loftus-stowe-ltd and Twitter https://twitter.com/loftusstowe!

 

 

Did you see it?

This morning we were treated to a partial eclipse that hasn’t happened since 1992, and we aren’t due another one till 2026 – so it really was a treat!

For those who are unaware, this is when the sun is completely obscured by the moon.

Since 8:45 this morning we were able to watch the partial eclipse begin to happen, right from our office window!

Here’s a few pictures that we caught on our phones;

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Our window faces the rising sun in the mornings, therefore we knew we would get a good view, if the weather allowed. It was only for a short period of time that we got to snap a few pictures off our phones, as the English clouds soon overtook the sky.

Safe to say, we didn’t look for too long as we know that it can cause damage to the eyes. But how could we not be tempted to take a glance at such a rare view?

For more news and updates, visit our Twitter account https://twitter.com/loftusstowe

 

HMRC are looking for agent volunteers!

In springtime of 2015, HMRC will be testing out its new online service for tax agents – agent online self serve. HMRC are looking for volunteering businesses to test the pilot of the agent online self serve.

Agent online self serve known as AOSS is a service that businesses can use to check their clients PAYE liabilities, allowing businesses to check what their client owes and what’s been paid. In the current time, businesses are unable to check their clients PAYE, which means it is hard to know if an underpayment or overpayment notice is accurate.

If you want to volunteer to try out this service, HMRC are looking for UK-based agents who have between 20-200 employer clients, who hold Government Gateway administrator credentials on behalf of their firm.

Sometimes, we might suggest not to volunteer in HMRC pilots, yet this pilote seems a very useful new service, so we encourage any agent to take part!

If you would like to volunteer contact diane.ross@hmrc.gsi-gov.uk, or for more information visit https://taxagents.blog.gov.uk/2015/01/06/agent-online-self-serve-aoss-whats-new/

Federation of Small Businesses

We’re happy to announce to you all, that we’re now part of Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)!

The FSB is the UK’s largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting, the interests of the self-employed and small business owners. They recognise, value and reward the self employed and small business owners within the UK.

By being a member of the Federation of Small Businesses, it means that you get the support from them in things such as -

  • Tax investigation protection
  • Business legal protection insurance
  • Employment law advice
  • Health and Safety law support
  • Legal documents
  • Healthcare advice. And,
  • A free financial business health check.

Also, by being part of the FSB it means that they support you whilst you are growing. You can network with negotiate with Partnerships, which will help you to grow as a business.

So, if you’re a small business or self employed, it’s worth considering joining up. For more information see here http://www.fsb.org.uk/default.aspx 

Don’t forget that we also have a Twitter https://twitter.com/loftusstowe and LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/company/loftus-stowe-ltd!

The end of the P35!

HMRC are removing the requirement of the end of year check list when making a final RTI return for employers. They are making it similar for us!

This requirement to complete a P35 will be removed and will take effect from March 6th 2015 for the 2014/15 tax year and onwards. You now will no longer have to scramble to get the information from clients to complete the P35 by the new deadline of 19th April rather than 19th May.

Even though HMRC have confirmed that their final RTI returns from 6th March 2015, will not have to have a P35 submitted, its own Basic PAYE Tools software will not be updated until July 2015. Therefore, the information will still need to be completed on that. Also, the payroll software for 2014/15 will not be updated in time, so the information may still need to be completed.

So, assuming that your payroll software allows it, there’s no need to complete one!

If you need more information, see here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/real-time-information-improving-the-operation-of-pay-as-you-earn  

The key to success.

According to evidence, in the workplace, the more pleasant the working ‘climate’ is, the better results from the staff will be achieved.

Have you heard of the Circle of Influence? Focus on only things which are within our influence, such as our methods of communication, our behaviours and our attitudes.

Things we cannot influence, such as a situation, is something we have to accept and move on in the most positive way, by the areas which we can influence.

http://99u.com/articles/6066/worry-only-about-the-problems-in-your-circle-of-influence

By doing this, it’ll help you focus on positives more, and make a real difference.

There are eleven main traits of a great boss;

  • Clear Direction

By being a leader is means you should create and articulate a clear vision for the future. You should have a clear vision for your business, your team should know that vision, have SMART Targets on how to get to that vision and you have to effectively drive and plan to achieve that vision.

  • Role Model 

Be someone that they want to be. Be clear on your companies values and make sure that you live by them.

  • Challenging

Most members of staff enjoy being positively challenged in their job roles. Make sure that you set challenging but clear, achievable and realistic objectives for your team.

  • Agent for ‘Change’

If there is going to be a change in the workplace, you need to be honest and let your team know. Different team members will respond to the change at different paces. Support them and help them if they get stuck with whatever change has been made in the workplace.

  • Involving, engaging and enjoying

Involve your team by trusting them and let them make decisions on business goals. By doing this, the team will feel more committed to achieving those goals. Engage with them, have involvement with what they are doing and communicate with them. Enjoy! Enjoy spending time at work and find what your team enjoys, so you can bring some extra enjoyment into the workplace.

  • Recognising

Member of staff always want to feel like their work is being recognised. Make your team feel recognised and valued for their contribution and efforts towards the business, give them feedback and appreciation, acknowledge small things as well as big and it can be as easy as a ‘thank you’.

  • Coaching

You need to be able to coach your team efficiently to be a great leader. To do this ask them effective questions, listen to them and support them, raise their self-awareness, build up positive emotions with them, recognise their achievements and give them responsibility.

  • Autonomy 

Your team need to have the knowledge to know what they are free to make decisions on. Make sure it is clear what each member of staff can make decisions on and what they can’t. Allow your team to do their job without you checking on them regularly – put your trust into them.

  • Team Development

Being a great leader should mean that you encourage your team to grow personally, and increase their self-esteem to ensure that they become more productive at work. Why not set specific performance goals for each member of staff? Ensure you hold team events, focus on having a one to one with your staff and make sure they know how their goals align to the business.

  • Positivity

Be positive and focus on the future! Use the language that your team use, and consider the way that your team see things, not just the way that you see things. Always consider what is in it for your staff, to make them want to do it.

  • And, Communication.

To communicate well you should be brief. This means responding in the shortest most understandable way, as shorter sentences are easier to understand. Be clear by keeping it simple and not using over-long words, and be direct. Be direct by speaking actively not passively.

There are four main Social Styles developed by Merrill and Reid, these are Analytic, Driver, Expressive and Amiable. For more information on these visit http://changingminds.org/explanations/preferences/social_styles.htm

So, now you have had seen this, consider what you are going to commit to change to become a better leader?

“Popularity is temporary. Respect is timeless.” - Ken Blanchard

 

Afraid to Retire

  • 13% of  UK employees fear they can’t afford to retire.
  • State pension age for women set to be increased to 65 by 2018, and 66 for both men and women by 2020
  • State pension age may increase to 69 by mid 2040′s if not before.

However, despite the worrying picture these findings present, many are facing uncertain future without appropriate steps to improve their situation.

There may be awareness but no  adequate link to action.

 

cipd.co.uk/employeeoutlook

http://www.whatinvestment.co.uk/financial-news/pensions/1674963/people-fear-never-retiring.thtml

 

 

QUOTE OF THE MONTH- Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement- W. Clement Stone

Did You Know..

Do you know when employers don’t need to make reasonable adjustments?

As an employer, you have the legal requirement, to make reasonable adjustments to to meet workplace criteria, so that any disabled workers are not put at a disadvantage.

However, it may be a case that you have a disabled worker, who is not well enough to come to work and they may not return, yet they have not told you.

You should start to consider making reasonable adjustments, only once an employee has indicated to you, that they may be fit to return to work.

Until that employee lets you know, that they are getting near to being able to return to work, you don’;t have to make adjustments for them.

It is good to ask a disabled employee, about adjustments that they may need, and discuss them before you implement them in your workplace. - Legal Manager.

We want to thank our regular readers of our blogs, and for visiting our website to see our updates, as we welcome the new month in.

Don’t forget, to follow us on Twitter - https://twitter.com/loftusstowe

Also, have you seen our Linkedin Page? https://www.linkedin.com/company/loftus-stowe-ltd

 

 

Did You Know…

There’s such a thing as pre-employment screening? It can save your company money. According to The Independent, 75% of employers, employ the wrong person for a job, which ends up costing the economy £12 billion a year.

90% of application fraud is unsuccessful when a proper screening is in place (Cooper Lomaz: Expose, 2013). Pre-employment checks can cut down the reduction in applicants by 10-15%.

If you employ someone who is not right for the role, then this can end up being extremely costing to your company. So, it’s not a case of can you afford to have pre-employment checks, it’s a question of, can you afford to not do them?

Pre-employment screening ensures that you get the right employee for the job you are advertising. Using up to date industry standard search systems and datasets to offer a wide range of screening options. This can be bespoke, role specific screening packages, to ensure that they can meet requirements of any client.

HR Departments now have more pressure and a huge range of complex tasks, therefore by outsourcing your employee screening, you will be able to free up time, and you will be assured you are getting the necessary information required from them.

You will be able to get a flavour of who they are, and what their activity is like, as did you know, it is said that 69% of employers have rejected candidates due to their social media activity?

Can you afford to have your reputation tainted, staff morale affected or productivity levels put at risk?

Employment checks should be seen as an ongoing process of good risk management. It makes sense to re-screen employees who are in specific roles, or employees being considered for a promotion.

There are different levels of employment screening available, and they can tailor screening packages for your company, so you get a service best suited to you.

For information on pre-screening service, feel free to contact us for further information on 01909 512 120.

Femi Ogunshakin Managing Director
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