Posts tagged ‘Email’

Let´s Fly!Welcome to 2012!  I hope you have all had a well earned rest and have recharged your batteries in anticipation of a successful year ahead.

Everyone knows that “to fail to plan, is to plan to fail” and you should have by now reflected on your performance of last year and be making formal written plans for what you need to achieve this year to take a significant step towards, if not achieve your personal and business goals.

Whilst reviewing some social media posts at the tail end of last year, I came across the following message from John Hall of Enstrata and felt compelled to share it with you.

Do you share these Twelve Business Resolutions?

Here is a list generated at a ‘coffee’ conversation on business resolutions for 2012.

Could these be useful to forming your own resolutions?

The list below is not a complete list, and, as you may note, a couple will not be widely shared.

I have recorded them here in a general form. All you need to do is choose any appropriate ones and make them specific to your circumstances. Then add any others of your own.

The resolutions were of the form  ‘By the end of 2012 I will have…’

1)     Improved financial management and control.

2)     Gained more customers and…

3)     Improved how we gain new customers (social media etc).

4)     Talked to more customers about what they think of my / our business.

5)     Improved Business resilience to shocks (e.g. illness, core knowledge disappearing).

6)     Attacked wasted time as well as wasted money.

7)     Understood Corporate Social Responsibility and be able to explain what my business is doing about it.

8)     Personally shared more problems with trusted peers who can help.

9)     Improved utilisation of technology.

10)   Invested more time in acknowledging employee’s contribution.

11)   Learned some management methods to make life easier

12)   Gained a better work life balance.

Action required

At the coffee morning, we all recognised that this is a bit of a wish list. The feeling was that unless you identified problem areas, and acknowledged you needed to do something, you would not actively set about changing the status quo.

Then someone said that the same things appear on their wish list year after year……

The conversation moved on to why many business resolutions and personal resolutions fail.

Telephone contact 0845 226 7673 or 01223 846351

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The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

If you found this post interesting/useful please share it with your social network and/or bookmark it.  Also, your comments are always valued and will help me to write new posts that are relevant to readers of this blog.

If you have a pension, then you are about to see a significant reduction in the amount of money you can put into it without paying tax.

From next April

The Government will slash the annual tax relief limit on pensions from £255,000 to £50,000. There will also be a reduction in the lifetime allowance on money that can be saved in a pension fund from £1.8 million to £1.5 million, which will come into effect from April 2012.

The Government hopes the changes will save it more than £4 billion a year, which it will use to tackle the budget deficit.


Experts have already warned that some people with long service in final salary pension schemes could suddenly face higher bills, particularly as the increase in accrued pension will now be multiplied by a factor of 16 instead of the current factor of 10.

However, the Government says that the changes would affect 100,000 pension savers a year, 80% of whom earned more than £100,000 a year, meaning that very few people earning less than that amount would actually have to pay any pension tax.

Utilising your allowance

Anyone with unused annual allowance from the last three tax years will be able to carry them forward if they are a member of a pension scheme during that period, meaning that if a pension contribution is more than £50,000 then they may not have to pay the annual allowance charge.

At George Hay, we can advise you on all aspects of pensions, including how the above changes might affect you.

For further information on whether you are getting the best from your pension, please contact us.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

If you do not currently offer your employees a company pension scheme then you need to take heed of a new scheme announced by the coalition Government.

All employers

From October 2012, all employers, no matter how small, will have to enrol staff in the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), unless they already offer a comparable pension scheme to their employees.


NEST is a scheme designed to give people more access to good quality pension savings, especially for those on low to middle incomes. The Government hopes that this will prompt people to start saving for their retirement, particularly with people now living longer with little or no savings.

Phased implementation

Each employer will be given a date from when the changes must be in place. The reform will be phased in over a four-year period to 2016, starting with larger firms and then working down through medium and then small and micro-employers. The size of an employer will be based on PAYE data.

A minimum contribution level will also be phased in gradually, with employers eventually contributing at least 3% of qualifying earnings by October 2017.


To be eligible for enrolment, staff must work in the UK, be at least 22 and under state pension age and not already be in a suitable pension scheme. They will have to earn at least £7,475 a year, which will be the threshold for paying income tax from April 2011.

Transferable and may be used by multiple-employers

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The advantage of NEST is that it can travel with a person from job to job, with more than one employer being able to contribute to a member’s retirement savings pot at the same time.

If you are an employer or considering employing someone, then George Hay can advise on a wide range of pension and tax issues to help ensure you are fully prepared for the changes.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

In the past few days, with the complete mayhem caused by HMRC’s PAYE coding fiasco , clients of ours have received some very strange calls apparently from HMRC asking for payroll references and other data that we know they already have on their records, so please be wary of all unsolicited emails and phonecalls purporting to be from the Tax Office.

Too good to be true

Of course, no one wants to pay more tax than they should, so being told you are due a refund will come as good news.

In some cases, it may seem too good to be true – and that’s because it is.

If you receive a telephone call or an email from someone at HM Revenue & Customs  (HMRC) informing you of a tax refund then the person on the other end of the line is not the taxman but a criminal “phishing” for your bank account details.

HMRC has reported an alarming increase in the number of people being targeted in this way, with a record 83,000 phishing attempts reported in one month alone.

Written Correspondence

In some cases, letters are sent out purporting to be from external companies acting on behalf of HMRC and beginning with a sentence such as “we have reviewed your tax return and our calculations of your last year’s accounts show a tax refund of XXXX is due”. The letter will give a specific figure which the victim is supposedly due.

Phishing  and identity fraud

The thieves ask for bank details in order to pay in the non-existent refund. However, they then use this information to try to take money from the victim’s account.

Victims not only risk having their accounts emptied, but their details could also be sold on to other criminal gangs who may target them further.

Tax office communication policy

HMRC does not contact customers who are due a tax refund by telephone or email. It always writes to them directly, without using any external companies.


Anyone who receives a telephone call from someone offering them a tax refund should not give out any information to the caller but report it to the police immediately. Likewise, they should not reply to emails but forward them on to HMRC at

If you have already responded to a telephone call, email or letter and think you may have been the victim of a scam then you should contact your bank or card issuer as soon as possible.

HMRC Update – September 2010

An email from “HMRC Online Services –’ is being issued, stating the recipient has one new alert message and should log in to their Online Account to read it.  The link in the email directs you to a fraudulent website where personal data is requested.  If you receive this notification, please forward it to

Friendly, approachable, reliable professionals

At George Hay, we are experienced in all areas of taxation and can advise you on whether a genuine tax refund is due. If you are in any doubt about any communications you have received regarding a refund, please speak to us.

Disclaimer: This article is for general guidance only.  All taxation planning should only be undertaken after appropriate professional advice.  George Hay Chartered Accountants are registered to carry on audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

j0433925There are statistics everywhere confirming that building business with current clients is far cheaper than acquiring new clients. I know this first hand being one who invests an inordinate amount of time networking both online and in ‘the real world’.  Here at George Hay we are regularly agonising over how to best spend our marketing budget, but at the end of the day the cheapest and the best business is that done via a qualified referral.  Also, although winning new business is exhilarating, doing business with clients who like you and appreciate what you do for them is very satisfying.

So what do I do to try and maintain client loyalty and hopefully enthuse them to tell their business associates about my good work?

Stay in touch
First and formost, I have found that clients like to be communicated with and want to “belong” to our organisation.  When clients feel that they are ‘out on a limb’ they are more likely to listen to gossip, be more receptive to your competitors or simply undervalue what you are doing.

Keeping in touch could be as simple as sending a regular newsletter or  involving them in your social media circles.  Of course, your top twenty clients (you do know who they are don’t you?) need more personal and regular attention, but that does not necessarily mean expensive wining and dining.  A simple ‘phone call to find out how things are going is all that it required.

Tell your client as soon as you can if an issue does arise and make sure it is clear how you will be dealing with it.

j0433028If my top clients prepare management information (which of course I encourage) or minutes of board meetings I ask to receive a copy by email so that next time we speak I have a subject matter to discuss that makes them feel good – their business!  This keeps the service personal and hopefully tailored to their needs.  Newsletters, blogs and emails are great ways to communicate messages but they are unlikely to be 100% relevant to your entire client base.  Also in a service environment, clients are buying personalities and a perception of knowledge, not something generated by your marketing team.


Remember if clients don’t know what you are doing, they wont want to pay for it.

So keep your clients informed.

You could also use this regular communication to survey clients opinions, if they are valued clients they will be honest with you and help you to appraise your operation, just as you help them with their business, but be warned if you have not made regular contact they may question your motives.

Take responsibility
If an issue does raise it’s ugly head or a mistake happens, correct it at the highest level.  Clients appreciate it when a manager/partner who can and will take action calls, rather than a junior person or an administrator.  Don’t forget an apology is what they are looking for, so make sure you eat humble pie whilst trying to convince them that the problem wont happen again! 

Never try and assign or delegate blame.  As a business person you are responsible for making sure your team are working to look after your clients.  Don’t let one department or staff member criticise another; it is unprofessional and clients will not be reassured.   Remember you have to work with these people, there are enough challenges in business dealing with external factors with out allowing conflict with in the organisation.  If there is a problem, everyone in the business needs to work together to resolve it and implement procedures to prevent it from recurring.

One of the biggest bug-bears of most people in business, I believe, is service professionals that over promise and under deliver, particularly in the early stages of a business relationship when they are trying hard to please or trying to win your business.  This is a major faux pas that most of us, if we are honest, have fallen foul of, so keep clients expectations manageable – and the easiest way to do this? – COMMUNICATE!

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.