Namely: the Budget; the continuation of flexible working; the increase in employer contributions to the furlough scheme; the conclusion of the government’s successful ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ offer; and, in more positive, personal news, the brand new systems and processes that Danbro are introducing as we spring forward into Autumn 2020.
AUTUMN BUDGET OR AUTUMN STATEMENT?With last year’s General Election leading to the postponement of Sajid Javid’s Budget, his successor, Rishi Sunak, supplanted his Spring Statement with a Spring Budget of his own back in March. This was followed up with an annual Summer Statement. Inevitably, both focused heavily on combatting Coronavirus.
Whilst Mr Sunak is keen to outline officially his plans for the UK’s economic recovery, it remains unclear whether he’ll be delivering the customary Budget this autumn. Or if, for the second year in succession, it will be delayed until the New Year. In the very least, we expect the Chancellor to conduct something of a public spending review to provide much needed guidance to businesses as we move on from furlough and gain a stronger understanding of the post-COVID landscape.
Either way, we’ll bring you this autumn’s business or accountancy-related announcements, first.
THE LATEST INNOVATIONS TO HELP OUR CLIENTSThere’s no reason why the ‘new normal’, can’t be an improved, more efficient alternative to what we’ve been used to previously.
We’re passionate about innovation. That’s why, already this year, we’ve accelerated our use of digital accounting software and video technology. What’s more, we recently unveiled a series of new features looking ahead to an exciting decade full of opportunity.
So, what business and accountancy changes are happening this autumn?
Firstly, having worked successfully from home throughout the lockdown period, many of our Accounting team will continue to work remotely moving forward. This is either on a part-time or full-time basis. Our Jubilee House home remains the focal point of our business. However, we cannot simply ignore the opportunities and practical advancements that remote working has presented.
For instance, the ability to plan ahead and properly prepare for phone conversations with you, our clients, has, in our view, brought about higher quality communication. We’re able to give you more time and more information to better respond to your enquiries.
BRAND NEW BOOKING SERVICE FOR CALLSOf course, we appreciate that seeing a friendly face can make all the difference when it comes to discussing your accounts. So, our capacity to conduct video conferencing has led to increased availability, accessibility, and connectivity. That’s why, we’ve launched a brand new booking service for video and telephone calls.
Therefore, you’re now able to check your Personal Accountant’s diary and arrange a phone call or a video call for a time that suits you. Access to this exclusive system will be available to all Accounting clients in the footer of our email communications. You have the functionality to choose how long you’d like the call to last, as well as what information you want to discuss with your Accountant directly. Once your appointment has been created, you’ll receive a calendar invitation by way of confirmation, as well text reminders sent, securely, straight to your smartphone. What’s more, if you select a video call, you’ll get the log in credentials for your Zoom meeting.
NEW LIVE CHAT FUNCTIONALITYWe’re really excited about this initiative and the extra dimension it will add to our service level. But we also appreciate that many requests are more urgent. Some circumstances mean that booking an appointment is not practical. Fortunately, with our new ‘Live Chat’ facility, we’re always available to respond quickly and efficiently when you need us most. This additional function means that there’s a specialist on hand to help you with whatever enquiry you may have.
INCREASED CJRS CONTRIBUTIONS FOR BUSINESSESThe Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been closed to all new entrants for over two months now. And, since the beginning of August, employers have been required to pay pension contributions and Employer’s National Insurance Contributions (Er NICs) themselves. For many, this has meant the end of their participation in the scheme.
Furthermore, from September 1st, the government are now subsidising 70% of an employee’s gross pay (for any hours unworked – up to a maximum of £2,187.50). This means, it’s down to you, as the employer, to contribute the other 10% (- 30%) of your furloughed workers’ pay. That’s on top of the usual pension and Er NI contributions.
The government’s contribution will reduce by a further 10% again next month (October 2020). This will take it down to 60% – capped at £1,875 for any hours the furloughed employee has not worked. The CJRS will be closed completely in November 2020.
If there are any changes or developments to anything stipulated above we will, of course, let you know. And, as we’ve alluded to previously, keep in mind that participation in the CJRS is voluntary. Employers do not have to make any furlough payments. The costs can be significant and employees have no legal entitlement to them.
‘EAT OUT TO HELP OUT’ SCHEME ENDS… FOR MOSTBank Holiday Monday (August 31st) was the final day of the government’s successful ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme’. Over 80,000 bars and restaurants signed up to the scheme, which offered customers 50% off meals (up to a maximum of £10 per person) on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August.
In the first three weeks alone, the scheme was used more than 64 million times. This led to widespread praise from diners and restaurant owners alike. So much so, that some bar and restaurant chains have opted to continue the scheme in September – funding it themselves! Read more, here.
FLEXIBLE WORKING IS HERE TO STAYIf you work in a shared office, or if your tasks can be completed on a laptop or personal computer, the chances are you’ll have experienced remote working – at least for a short period – during the last few months. Like most things, there are both pros and cons to working from home, or away from the office. Many miss colleagues or resent the greater reliance on technology to stay connected. While others are relishing more peace and quiet, and the cutting of their commute.
Whether you like it or not, for many of us, flexible and remote working is here to stay. Employers in towns and cities across the UK are embracing flexible working on a scale we’ve never seen before. Here’s tech entrepreneur, Jo Wimble-Groves, on how her company operates flexible working, and the positive impact it can have for both employee and employer.
To find out more about the advantages of flexible working, check out our blog. And, if you need help or advice with anything related to business or accountancy this autumn, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.
Sam Wright is Danbro’s Marketing Manager. He produces regular content and feature articles on our digital and non-digital channels – and social platforms – for the Danbro Group and its subsidiaries, as well as having responsibility for the Company’s internal and external communications.
His background is in Journalism and Creative Writing, having previously contributed to publications such as The Daily Post, The Lancashire Evening Post, and The Blackpool Gazette.
He is a keen swimmer and avid Manchester United fan (but don’t hold that against him), and he lives in Lancashire with his wife, Sarah.