Top Tips for Business Travellers
Many of our Consultants travel extensively so we thought you might be interested in some top travel tips before your next business journey.
1) Pack the right things -- and leave the superfluous items at home.
When travelling, it’s always best to pack as light as possible. Bring one or two pairs of versatile shoes, and articles of clothing that can mix and match well. A pair of brightly coloured trousers might be a great statement piece, but if you’ll be at that conference for five days, they won’t be as useful as black slacks you can re-wear.
In the same vein, unless you need to have a specific type of soap or shampoo, it’s a safe bet to leave most of your toiletries behind. Not only do they add bulk and weight to your luggage, but it’s often redundant to bring amenities since hotels provide their own. Check ahead with your hotel to find out which items will be included and available upon request, and then decide what to bring.
If you do choose to bring your own accoutrements, don’t forget to check out the Hand Luggage Restrictions.
2) Instead of a suitcase, consider a carry-on bag.
Braving baggage claim can be a nightmare, especially when you’re exhausted and ready to get to your hotel room. In addition, many airlines charge extra to check a bag. Especially if you’re on a short trip, it’s just not worth it.
So keep it minimal by downsizing to a more compact bag. Most major retailers carry luggage specifically designed to pass airlines’ carry-on luggage size restrictions. Just bear in mind that different airlines do have slightly differing standards for luggage size, so make sure to confirm any limitations before you fly.
3) Get pre-approved and skip lines.
Many airlines offer you the chance to do it online – take the time and do just that – it saves considerable wear and tear on nerves in length queues
4) Be crystal clear on claimable expense guidelines.
Before you jet off for business travel, make sure you have a clear idea of what costs can be reclaimed – check with your accountant if not sure before splashing out on a cut price business suit
And don’t count on saving all your receipts in a folder or large envelope. Keeping digital records of your purchases will make your bookkeeper’s life infinitely easier. There are a multitude of mobile apps that will allow you to quickly scan and save digital copies of all your records. Lifehacker has a handy list of some of the best mobile scanning apps -- check it out before you fly out.
5) Go digital.
The age of printed MapQuest directions and physical Rolodexes is over. Not only are printed materials unsustainable, but they also take up valuable space and are generally annoying to carry around.
This is especially true at conferences or multi-stop trips, where the sheer volume of business cards, boarding passes, and notes you’ll accumulate begs to be organized digitally. It doesn’t matter if you’re scouting out a restaurant for a business dinner or taking quick notes -- this list of the apps every business person should have on their phone will make your business travel easier, every time.
6) Loyalty pays -- literally.
Frequenting the same airlines, hotel chains, and car rental companies will benefit you in the long run. You’ll be racking up points and miles no matter where you choose to spend your money, so why not accumulate them on one or two accounts and cash in? Rewards that you can look forward to by giving all your business to a single provider include free airline upgrades and a dedicated concierge lounge.
7) Make restaurant reservations ahead of time.
It can be hard to book last-minute tables for business lunches or dinners at popular spots, so make sure you reserve in advance. Having to explain to a client you’re courting that you won’t be able to eat until 10:30 p.m. because you forgot to make a reservation isn’t exactly professional. Even if you’re just wining and dining yourself, make a reservation -- or go hungry.
Thanks to @lesliezye for the great info
Deregistering for VAT
Trading just below the VAT threshold of £85K and thinking of deregistering? It’s very simple to do. But do think about the implications before you go ahead.
If you thought the age of apprenticeships was over, think again
Modern Apprenticeships are in the news quite a bit at the moment with the Scottish Government looking to fill the skills gap. Here's some information in case your business might think about an apprentice
The battle between cyber criminals and companies is constant and on-going
Business is now done mostly on personal computers, smartphones and tablets so we often take the advantages of this flexibility somewhat for granted. It is too easy to forget that each of these devices may represent a risk to the company and to its data.
Business mileage payments for electric and hybrid vehicles.
With the number of electric cars in the UK now exceeding 155K and interestingly over 5K vans, business use and how to work out mileage reimbursements now can present a considerable problem.
Employing Children, Save Tax and keep them busy this summer
I’m bored - the eternal summer cry from the kids
Here’s the answer - employ them and save on tax at the same time
Paying salaries to your children is a good way to reduce your taxable profits but how should you do it legally?
Company Vehicles - choose wisely
Choosing the right vehicle(s) and the right finance options for your business is an important decision and a costly one if got wrong.
What can you and should you be claiming for business expenses
Just what can you and should you be claiming for business expenses. This is one of the most frequent questions that an accountant is asked.
How to access £9 billion public sector spending with SDP
The Supplier Development Programme supports businesses competing for the £9 billion annual spend of the Scottish public sector.
A new business can struggle to get the pricing right - we offer some simple tips
This is something, as Accountants, we come across time and time again. It’s often the reason for early business failure and it’s completely avoidable. Here are some simple tips.
Find out if your suppliers are still performing as well as you want them to
We found this good article courtesy of bluqube who offer accountancy software and thought you might find it interesting.
5 ways businesses will benefit from a Brexit VAT health check
When the UK leaves the EU, the cross-border VAT environment for businesses will change.
Performing a VAT health check now will highlight practical measures that businesses can take to ease the transition and minimise risk
Business Loans Scotland provides gap funding to businesses that are looking to grow but need external finance to make it happen.
Does your business need funding to grow? Are you struggling to secure finance from the traditional lenders? Business Loans Scotland may be able to help.
Facebook makes it easy to compete in the marketing stakes
We came across this article on The Drum and thought it really insightful as to how small business can easily compete with large corporates on Social Media. There is a raft of tools available now to help small business create compelling ads for little or no cost and reach ‘000’s for much less than the tiniest ad in the local press. Read on…
When Referrals go wrong
When a client refers you on for business, that’s great isn’t it? Well maybe, but read on for some potential pitfalls and how to solve them
7 ideas on how to cover self employed illness and inability to work
With all the recent furore over the “White Van Man” NI contributions rising then scrapped in the Spring Budget, we thought we’d have a look at what happens when a self employed business owner falls ill and can’t work.
Auto enrolment does not cover the self employed or sole trader.
It's a risky strategy NOT to plan ahead for retirement when self employed. But many self employed are already struggling to keep heads above water without finding extra funds for pensions
Information from HMRC on Making Tax Digital for business
Businesses should not have to wait until the end of the tax year or even longer before knowing how much tax they should pay.
From April 2018, businesses, including everyone who is self-employed and those letting out property, will update HMRC at least quarterly
VAT Explained Part 3 - International VAT
Did you know that VAT is recoverable in more than 40 countries around the world?
For companies who have employees that travel to any of those countries, there is a percentage of tax in many expense types that can be reclaimed when business travellers return to their home country.
VAT Explained Part 2 - Fuel and Mileage
There are four ways to reclaim VAT paid on fuel for business trips:
VAT Explained Part 1 - Taxes made clear
VAT was introduced to the UK over 40 years ago on the 1st of April 1973. It was supposed to be straightforward and simple. Yet many years later, some of the rules can still leave you scratching your head – and they’re changing all the time
Business Rates - do not be caught out and check it now
The 2017 Business Rates revaluation is under way. This happens about every 5 years normally and should have been in 2015 but was postponed till 2017.
When HMRC audit a business they look at the entire travel and expenses process
Most people assume HMRC inspectors are only interested in completed expense claims and associated receipts – but they’re not. When the time comes to audit your business, HMRC will be looking at your entire travel and expense
Intellectual Property - protect your ideas and innovations before someone else steals it.
When a business starts up often the last thing on the entrepreneurs mind is Intellectual Property.
Keeping your finger on the Digital Pulse might save your business '000's
With Cyber Crime costing SME's over £18 billion, it pays to keep up to date
Business Awards bring success so just do it
Business Awards are without a doubt a great way to increase your business profile. Read on for 5 Top Tips on how to make your entry a winner
Working from home. How do you calculate a tax claim for heating and lighting?
Do you work from home and use the same rooms for personal use as well? Here’s how to work out a tax claim for heating and lighting.
Regain control of business costs
Shrewd owners minimise their spending when starting their business. It makes it easier to turn a profit and limits losses should the business fail. In the early days, they continue to control costs in all areas. But, gradually, things can change ....
Persons with Significant Control changes - does this affect you and if so, what you should be doing
From April 2016, UK companies and Limited Liability Partnerships are required to keep a register of Persons with significant control (PSC).
10 Practical Tips for small business to reduce the tax bill
It’s never a wrong time to review your company set up and ongoing strategy. Here are 10 Top Tips to help you possibly reduce your tax and accountants bill.
When is a hobby actually a business? What you think and what the taxman thinks might be quite different. Read on...
You might think that selling second-hand items and crafts online is a hobby, but the taxman will class you as a business if it can prove you are doing “anything in the nature of trade”.
Keeping an eye on employee expenses can vastly improve the company bottom line
Business owners know they need to maintain a mobile workforce. But at the same time, “out of sight” needn’t mean “out of mind” as a new generation of payments services are using data to enable employers to keep tabs on those on the road.
RTI and Micro Businesses. You can now be fined for late submissions
HMRC has updated its guidance on what happens when employers fail to report their business’s payroll information on time. Here’s what you need to know:
Seven ways the cloud can help you manage your business
If you’re a start-up, making use of the cloud can be a no brainer, but for more established businesses, the advantages of heading off-site may be harder to quantify.
Owing Property personally or through a limited company: what is best?
The majority of investors have tended to own their property portfolio in personal names because it’s beneficial for them to do so when it comes to selling the property.
Funding for your Business R&D. There is funding out there for businesses to help with R&D
There is funding out there for businesses to help with R&D. Below are some of the government run opportunities and this link will give you much more information.
What to do if your biggest customer goes bust
What to do if your biggest customer goes bust - For a small company, landing a big-name customer is cause for celebration – but no firm is too big to fail. Here are ten essential steps to help you survive if your main client shuts down.
CIS returns must be submitted online from April 2016, sub- contractor verifications to be done online from April 2017 and there are also changes to those who can be paid gross
2016 Employment Law Updates
A useful snapshot of the latest employment updates. The changes to National Living Wage are undoubtedly having an impact on many small businesses.
No Dodges for Contractors
There aren’t any ‘dodges’ for Contractors with the new Finance Bill legislation.
Setting up your contractor company - Limited, Umbrella or PAYE?
This is the first in our series of articles to help Contractors get started and run an efficient company.
Setting up your contractor company - Limited, Umbrella or PAYE?
Setting up your Company
Travel and Subsistence Legislation Update
The long awaited travel and subsistence legislation has finally been published in full in the Finance Bill 2016.
Bereavement Pay and Leave
It’s always a difficult time when someone passes away and as a good employer, you want to do the ‘right thing’. But there is still the smooth running of your business to consider, especially for smaller companies.
Illegal Workers could cost you £20K each
With the summer months just around the corner, many small businesses may well be looking to augment staff with temporary employees and there is a good chance they may come from overseas. But how robust are your pre-employment checks to ensure you don’t employ and illegal immigrant? And how can you avoid being accused of racism at the same time.
Trading Losses not always a disaster
If you are coming to the end of your business financial year and it looks like you have made a loss, there are options that you and your accountant should look at to minimise the impact
Pensions and Tax Year End
If you are thinking about making a pension contribution before the end of the tax year read on to find out about current limits
Zero Hour Contracts avoid getting caught out
The hospitality industry is one of the most prolific users of Zero Hour Contracts. But not all employers are using them correctly.
Minimum Wage - the clock is ticking
The Living Wage along with Auto Enrolment, are the legislation changes that are really making a financial impact on employers this year. Yet amazingly there are still business owners that are not preparing for the changes or don’t know anything about them.
Mandatory online filing of CIS returns and verifications
Over 85% of contractors and their authorised agents are already sending their CIS returns online, but from April 2016 everyone will have to use the online service. HMRC will no longer be accepting any paper forms from that date.
10 Worst Tax Deadline Excuses
The ten worst excuses for missing the 31 January Self Assessment deadline for 2013 to 14 according to HMRC.
(We loved these - especially going to Italy for 5 years!)
Apprentices – young 'uns for hire
You be giving thought to taking on an apprentice. Government continue to push apprenticeships and there are a myriad of support mechanisms in your local area to help you. But here is an overview to help you get started.
Annual Investment Allowance - plan ahead
Annual investment allowance (AIA) is a relief that can be claimed on the cost of plant and machinery. Up to 100% of the costs can be claimed to help reduce the potential tax liability for that business
R&D Tax Credits still alive and paying out
The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement made no changes at all with regard to R&D Tax Credits. Some had speculated that the relief might be reduced significantly
Tips, Gratuities and Tax
Here’s a very interesting point about tips and how to handle them. The way the tips are treated will depend on who receives them and who distributes them.
Christmas Gifts and Staff
If you decide to give your employees a cash bonus, this will be treated as taxable income and subject to tax and national insurance the same as other earnings.
Tax: a Sign of Success?
Remember you can only build wealth from ‘after tax’ income. A big payment to HMRC is not failure to hide the money; it’s a clear indicator of success....
The Scottish rate of Income Tax will come into effect from 6 April 2016.
On 2 December 2015, HMRC will start to contact customers living in Scotland where records show that this is their main address, to inform them they have been identified as being a Scottish taxpayer.
What you need to know.........
A Guide to Cloud Accounting
Cloud Accounting is clearly the way to go now for small businesses with the growth of good connectivity. Indeed, we would recommend new start businesses look at Cloud Accounting right from the start.
Book-keeping basics..... NOT top secret
Few people start a business so they can do paperwork. Spending time adding up receipts or pushing invoices around a desk is nobody’s idea of fun – unless you’re a book-keeper or accountant.
Auto Enrolment at a glance
If you simply need to familiarise yourself with automatic enrolment here is a brief outline
What is automatic enrolment?
In an effort to encourage more people to save for their retirement, the Government has introduced new rules which require employers, and most employees, to save into a pension scheme.
How to improve your company credit rating
If you are applying for funding from any sources – see our article on Funding Sources – it's vitally important that your credit rating is as good as possible and here are our tips to help.
Sources of Funding
In a recent article we talked about improving cashflow and feedback has been positive. But what if you need a cash injection into your business – for a variety of reasons? Gone are the days when it was a straightforward trip to the Bank Manager. Indeed SMEs are still finding it difficult to get the necessary finance to grow or support their businesses.
13 sure fire tips to improve your cashflow
It's a much overused cliché but cash really is king when you are running a small business. It does not matter how much money is coming into the business in the future if you don't have enough to keep you going. You have your own suppliers to pay, staff who expect wages every month, rent to pay and so on. Here are 13 sure fire ways to improve your cashflow:
What do you think is the important component of a client relationship? Is it:
- Regular communication?
- Sharing the same values?
- Having a strong personal connection?
We think these are all very important but we believe that the top component is TRUST.....
Choosing the right accountant - 7 Top Tips
Choosing the right accountant when starting in business, or indeed, when you realise it’s time to move on can be a daunting task....
7 Top Tax Breaks for Small Business
Many small businesses are failing to take advantage of the tax breaks that could provide enormous financial benefit to their business. In fact, a recent report suggests that a third are still unaware of the breaks available to apply for...
All Priory Clients are entered into our brand new annual Prize Draw. A welcome gift for you just at the time of year when you might need it most.
Buy to Let - Profit or Loss?
George Osborne wiped nearly 11pc off the gross returns from buy-to-let properties, leaving many landlords facing the prospect of an annual loss, when he slashed higher-rate relief on mortgages in the Budget.
Crackdown on Contract Workers
Contract workers and freelancers who set up companies to cut tax bills could be forced to justify their tax arrangements to their employers, thanks to a proposed new crackdown.
5 Top Tips when growing your business
Summer for many means holidays and time off to relax with family and friends. It’s also a time to ‘clear the head’ and start thinking about the business for the coming months.
Increase prices, increase profits - understand the effect of raising and lowering prices on profitability
How did you decide on your current pricing? Did you conduct market research to understand what prospects would pay? Or did you compare yourself to your competitors and base your price on that? Or was it a random shot in the dark? These are the ways most people do it, and they are all wrong. Because the price you set for your products and services is more important than you think.
Top Tips for Business Owners on holiday
If you plan to switch off completely – that means not even thinking about your business, then read no further and have a fabulous holiday. But did you know that 75% of business owners still beaver away during vacation time.
Top 20 New Start Tips
Click here to get our Top Twenty Tips for New Start Businesses today
Home workers and getting the tax returns right
If you work from home you are entitled to include part of the running costs of your home in your accounts, which will save you some tax. This is of course, good but how do you calculate the right amounts. There are two potential methods for calculating this.
7 Top Questions to ask BEFORE you recruit a consultant
Top Questions to ask Consultancy or Coaching business before starting work with them
10 Top Reasons to Work from Home
Working from home is incredibly convenient. If you’re starting your business, it’s also the place you have already. It’s easy to start your business at home. Of course you need some space and there may be distractions, but there are lots of good reasons for working from home.
Are you a Landlord?
HMRC have now clarified that the Let Property Campaign is not coming to an end and will remain in place until further notice. The campaign allows landlords with undeclared rental income an opportunity to come forward with minimal penalties and set their record right.
Digital Services and the New VAT Rules
A good rule intended to clamp down on the internet giants such as Amazon has consequences for SMEs that were possibly not anticipated.
HMRC taking it anyway
Accelerated payments were introduced by the Government in the Finance Act 2014.
Priory Accounting is growing
We're now in Fife and Edinburgh and welcome our newest associate, George Lewis.
George is based at our new branch office in West Granton, Edinburgh and brings over 26 years of experience as an Accountant. 2015 certainly looks to be an exciting year for Priory Accounting but you can be sure that the one thing we won’t be losing sight of is the fact that almost 100% of our clients are still delighted with our services.
Renovating for Profit
Relief from capital gains tax on selling of the main residence has attracted a lot of HMRC attention in recent years
Late Payment Penalties
As the Self Assessment deadline has now passed; HMRC will begin to start issuing penalty notices to those clients who did not meet the legal requirement to file their returns on time
“I don’t want distracted from my work and knowing Roddy and team are there covering my back allows me to get on with the work”
Some of our favourite clients work in the Creative Industries sector. Their feedback shows that what they value most is reliability when it comes to professional services.
Keep the Receipts
Our simple top tips to help you manage all those very important scraps of paper - especially when you're busy.
Don't be Last Minute.Com
Don’t leave it till the last minute to get your tax returns done.
If you are going to be due a payment to HMRC it makes sense to prepare your returns in good time so you can budget and manage your cash flow.
Top Tips when claiming VAT back
If you find all the different VAT rates to consider a maze Roddy is here to guide you through.
Much has already been done to improve the administration of IR35 and there is more to do on many of the areas identified for improvement.
Minimum Wage Shame
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has recently named 70 offenders who have failed to pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
Company Car changes
It has recently been announced that HMRC has started an online trial that will allow company car drivers to alter their company car details online. This is a very good idea in principle but without the correct framework it could be fraught with trouble