Current Hot Topics for SMEs

When you run or own an SME you can often find your time caught up in day to day operations, but it’s important to keep abreast of current issues. Carol Flockhart, Business Support and IT Partner, highlights some current issues.

1. Having an up to date business plan

This isn’t something new, but it should not be under-estimated. A strategic plan is vital for you to grow and develop. If you missed our recent webinar on business plans, catch it again on our YouTube channel.

2. Maximise tax reliefs

The main rate of corporation tax reduced to 21% from April 2014, which is good news. You also need to make sure you are maximising use of tax reliefs available, such as research and development (R & D) relief. Even if you do not think you operate in an R & D field, it may apply to you.

3. Bank hedging products mis-selling

This has been widely reported in the press. If you have a hedging product that you think may have been mis-sold and your bank has not been in touch, it is worth pursuing to see if you have a case for redress.

4. Minimum wage compliance

Make sure you don’t inadvertently fall foul of the legislation. From February 2014 the government introduced higher fines for non compliance.

5. Employee share options

Do you have a benefit package in place for your staff? All businesses want to retain key staff. You may want to consider looking at share incentives as part of what you offer.

6. Windows XP end of life

Windows XP reached its end of life in April 2014, which means that Microsoft will no longer support computers running Windows XP. Now might be the time to upgrade your computers.

7. Pensions auto-enrolment

Over the next few years all employers, regardless of size, will need to enrol eligible employees into a qualifying pension scheme. Employers will need to make contributions to the pension scheme of at least 1% initially rising to 3% by October 2018. It is important that you plan early for this change.

If you would like to discuss any of the matters raised in this article, please contact Carol Flockhart at carol.flockhart@chiene.co.uk.