News in brief: tax, marketing, red tape, banking, HR

News in brief
News in brief

Tax system simplified for SMEs

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has unveiled a package of recommendations aimed at making the tax system simpler and easier to use for small companies.

These incorporated micro-businesses, employing less than ten people, currently face the same tax system as large companies with hundreds of employees and turnovers of many millions. The OTS believes this is disproportionate and makes recommendations to start overhauling the system to make it work better for small businesses.

OTS Chair Angela Knight said: “A company with a few staff should not face the same burdens as a multinational.

The Office for Tax Simplification wants to cut the work and the worry for Britain’s 1.3 million incorporated micro-business owners. Britain’s micro-businesses are spending too much of their time and money sorting out their tax or paying someone to do it for them.”

Business owners have a shaky grasp of marketing

Around 67% of marketers believe that their senior leadership teams see brand as merely a communications concept, failing to fully embed brand values throughout their organisations and relationship with customers.

CIM’s Brand Experience study of professional marketers, supported by Brandworkz, reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) think their senior leadership teams have a high impact on the delivery of their brand promise through customer experience, yet only half (52%) believe these same teams have a strong understanding of their role in doing so.

Positively, two-thirds (65%) of marketers believe that their senior leadership teams regard brand as a high priority for the entire company, yet the report indicates that this often fails to cascade down an organisation. Additionally, more than a third (36%) feel that leaders within their organisation do not understand what brand means for the areas they lead, and 39% don't think the key business functions, including leadership, speak with a unified voice with regards to a brand vision.

One-in Two-out rule updated to further cut red tape

Comprehensive measures that will help to cut a further £10bn of red tape were unveiled at the BCC annual conference by Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

A One-in, Two-out rule was introduced by the previous administration, which was the first in recent history to reduce the overall burden of regulation on business. The move to One-in, Three-out for new government legislation raises the bar and will help drive delivery of the £10 billion target.

The UK already has the lowest burden of regulation in the G7, according to the World Economic Forum. Businesses from across the country have been responding to the Cutting Red Tape review programme to identify further areas in need of reform.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Whenever we need to introduce new rules, we will consider their impact and make savings elsewhere. Through the Enterprise Bill, we are extending the scope of our deregulation target to cover the actions of regulators, going further than ever before to tackle troublesome red tape.”

SMEs losing out with not-so-savvy banking

SMEs lost over £1bn last year by leaving more cash in business current accounts that are paying worse interest rates than 12 months ago.

Analysis of cash deposits and interest rates by cash management platform Flagstone shows that SMEs were paid about £24mn in interest from the five largest banks when they would have received over £1bn in the best instant access account from Aldermore (1.1% AER). In the highest paying notice account from Cambridge and Counties Bank (1.8% AER, 120 days’ notice) they would have received £1.7bn.

Santander currently pays 0.25% interest in its business current account, while Barclays, HSBC, RBS (including NatWest) and Lloyds all pay 0%. These banks account for 96% of SME business current account customers.

Significant portion of workers feel unappreciated

Around a quarter of people in the UK are unhappy at work (23%) and more than a third (36%) do not feel appreciated.

These figures come from research by NGA Human Resources, which also found that over a quarter of all employees (28%) are actively looking for a new job.

Many of those questioned (37%) said more regular praise is key in making them feel more appreciated at work, demonstrating that a simple "Thank you" can go a long way in improving staff morale. Despite this, the majority of companies (67%) don't have a visible and formal employee appreciation scheme in place, according to those questioned.

Currently, the most common ways for employers to show their appreciation of staff include regular praise (41%) and financial rewards / bonuses (23%). However, whether they feel appreciated or not, two-thirds (65%) of employees want more financial recognition for their achievements.