March 2020

tax tips & finance e-newsletter

In this issue

Budget 2020

Buy new equipment before 6 April?

Google my business

Project management - keeping on track

Budget 2020

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented the 2020 Budget against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.

Our Budget Summary provides an overview of the key announcements arising from the Chancellor’s speech. However, it also looks beyond the headlines and offers details on the less-publicised changes that are most likely to have an impact upon your business and your personal finances.

Additionally, throughout the Summary you will find informative comments to help you assess the effect that the proposed changes may have on you personally.

Our summary of the Chancellor’s 2020 Budget is now available here.

Buy new equipment before 6 April?

Your business year-end, not 5 April, is relevant for capital allowances purposes. If however you are running a business and making up accounts to 31 March or 5 April you should consider buying plant and machinery to take advantage of the £1 million Annual Investment Allowance (AIA).

The AIA provides a 100% tax write-off for equipment used in your business. This tax relief extends to fixtures and fittings within business premises such as electrical, water and heating systems.

AIA does not apply to motor cars but there is a special 100% tax relief if you buy a new car that emits no more than 50g CO2 per kilometre.

Google my business

Google My Business is a service provided by Google that literally puts your business on the map.

You’ve probably seen Google My Business before when searching for “restaurants, shops, petrol stations, etc. near me,” on your mobile phone. The listing will display the name of the business, its rating on Google Reviews, opening hours, address and contact details. Depending on the kind of business you run, you can list a menu or a list of services too. Customers then have the option to make bookings directly through your listing.

Despite being so helpful, a high percentage of UK small businesses don’t manage a search engine listing or map listing for their business. It’s easy to set up in a few clicks and track updates through the accompanying app. Or if you need more, Google can help you to create a fully mobile-optimised website in less than 30 minutes.

Recently, Google added a new functionality where you can add your branding as well as a cover photo and a selection of other photos that really show what your business is about. To target even more customers, you can add special offers to your listing.

Analytics on the tool help you monitor engagement, including clicks, calls, bookings and follows. You can review these performance metrics in your Business Profile page on Google.

Users can also control how their business appears on Google search and Google Maps.

If you run a service-based business such as an electrician or an accountant, you can even let customers know where you’re based.

It is important to keep your listing up to date. Customers can leave reviews and it always looks better if a business responds to any online reviews. It’s worth noting that you can’t remove customer reviews from your listing. However, if there is a particular review that is unhelpful, you can flag it to Google and request that it is removed.

These days most customers search online when they want to find a business (usually using their mobile phone). By listing your firm on Google My Business, you maximise the chances of new customers finding your firm.

Project management - keeping on track

How to keep a big project on track when you are managing conflicting priorities. 

At the beginning, managing a big project can be exciting and everyone wants to get involved. However, as time goes by, other priorities can prove distracting. Maintaining focus is key to successfully delivering any big project.

Involve your key stakeholders

Every project requires you to solve problems for one or more stakeholders. Sit down and discuss your project with colleagues who manage finance, operations, IT and sales. Ask them to feed into your project plan and share their ideas.

Once you’ve gathered their inputs, break the project down into a list of deliverables and set out the inputs that are required from each stakeholder in order to achieve your project goals. Identify the “must haves” and the “nice to haves”. Prioritise the “must haves” and set these out as the top priorities for your project.

Set realistic deadlines

Build in some extra time when you set your deadlines for each phase of the project. There will be delays, things will go wrong and you will have to rethink certain decisions if they prove too difficult to implement. Build in some contingencies so that your timelines allow for setbacks. If everything goes well, then you might even end up delivering your project ahead of schedule.

Ensure that you have regular weekly team meetings to discuss deliverables and deadlines - this will help you to stay on track. If someone is unable to meet a deadline, it shouldn’t affect the rest of the project, if you have built in sufficient contingencies.

Seek feedback

Start with your internal stakeholders – involve them in decision-making and ask them to share their views on various aspects of your project. Most projects can also benefit from some external feedback. It can be useful to seek feedback from your clients too. Maybe they worked on a similar project in their own organisation and they may be able to share some of their experiences, which could help you to avoid making some of the same mistakes.

Consider the bigger picture

Every once in a while it can be useful to take a step back and consider your project in the context of the wider business. Revisit your list of “must haves’ and “nice to haves” on a regular basis. Has anything changed or are you still working towards the same objective? Perhaps you may need to refine your project as certain parts of the firm may have evolved. Consider the purpose of your project and focus on your key deliverables and deadlines. If things change, update your project plan and keep moving forward from there.