Are you about to select a digitally based solution for your organisation?
For making the best choice, make sure you have done your homework before talking to any of the potential suppliers.
Packaged solutions are perceived as the most cost effective solutions – but very few people appreciate the pros and cons of bespoke v’s package solutions. Simple, bespoke solutions are often better and more efficient. Too many buy complex Accounting Packages that then limit their subsequent digital progress.
List aspects of the solution that you consider are absolutely essential. – Some parts of the solution will be “Must Haves…”, others are “Nice to Haves…” make sure you have really thought through what you need from the solution, and what can wait till next time if budgets prohibit their use this time. What information do you need to hold, what processes and reporting outputs are needed?
What types of changes need to made and how are these undertaken? eg. VAT rate is 20% at present, how is this changed to a new and different value when this need arises?
Don’t forget Security. Who will use the system, how is access managed and restricted? Is this suitable for your needs? Data Protection and Data Integrity issues? Backups and Service Continuity?
Review Suppliers and their ability to support your needs, initially and in future. What will be the impact on your business if they cease trading or become unable to support you for the time you expect to utilise their solution?
What happens next? Your business needs and the market will not stand still. Good Business Planning will indicate some of your more predictable future needs, new inventions and legislation changes will happen too. How flexible is your proposed purchase? You will not want to change it too often so consider your needs to be able to adapt in future.
Failure to consider the specific digital handling requirements – Leads to project overruns, waste, inappropriate purchasing decisions, disruption and sometimes even worse business and service failures.
Each of these listed aspects of choosing and buying are big subjects in their own right. Make sure you or a member of staff has sufficient skill to make the decisions effectively on your behalf. In some cases you may feel adequate coaching and training will meet your needs. For the much bigger purchases, if your team are not experts in this aspect, consider hiring an independant expert to assess any or all of the proposed solutions for you. This will ensure that you are well informed to make appropriate assessments of the risks and benefits of each solution, helping your decision making and overall management.
From 6th April 2014 employers are able to claim Employment Allowance. This Allowance reduces the NIC Class 1 payable by employers by up to £2000 per year. The aim of this allowance is to make it easier and less of a financial burden on small businesses to employ staff.
Not all businesses can claim the Employment Allowance however. Employers that cannot claim this allowance are those that:
- employ someone for personal, household or domestic work, such as a nanny, au pair, chauffeur, gardener, care support worker
- already claim the allowance through a connected company or charity
- are a public authority, this includes; local, district, town and parish councils
- carry out functions either wholly or mainly of a public nature (unless you have charitable status), for example:
- NHS services
- General Practitioner services
- the managing of housing stock owned by or for a local council
- providing a meals on wheels service for a local council
- refuse collection for a local council
- prison services
- collecting debt for a government department
The allowance can be claimed through your payroll software by automatically reducing the Employer NICs payable up to £2000. HRMC will automatically carry the claim forward for succeeding tax years.
Further information is available from the Government website at Employment Allowance.