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Why Its Important To Engage An Accountant ASAP When Starting A Business

accountant

Many business owners forget about using the services of professionals that could be beneficial to their business such as lawyers and accountants. Instead, they head into the business world at full speed without even a passing thought towards the possibilities that services like this offer. They do this for a few reasons. Arguably one of the major considerations is financial. Business owners can’t help but see an accountant as another paycheck or bill that they need to cover. As well as this, they rarely understand the important role an individual like this can fill in their company. You shouldn’t make the same mistake. Instead, you should learn how an accountant could benefit your company and put it in a stronger position. However, before we look at the benefits, it’s interesting to examine when you should hire an accountant.

Day One Or In Time For Delegation?

There are two options to consider when deciding on the right time to hire an accountant. You can hire from day one at the starting point of your company. This makes a lot of sense as there are many jobs in that first year that will be a lot easier with a trained accountant at your side.

For instance, you will be putting together your business plan, decided what funds and resources to invest where. An accountant can help you make the right choices here and advise you on how to use your capital in the most effective ways. With access to financial software, an accountant will also be able to help you understand projections about the future of your company. The benefit of getting a service like this early on is that you can avoid making mistakes with financial planning that need to be corrected by an accountant later on. Essentially, an early hire could save you more money in the long run.

An accountant can help you set up your finances the right way. For instance, you may want to think about using cloud-based software to manage your business accounts. Skilled accountants from top firms can set up this software at the beginning. So, as well as having experts monitoring and organizing your accounts, you’ll be able to check on them yourself.

You’ll find that legality and financial issues often collide in your company. As such, usually, accountants and lawyers work together to fulfill your business requirements. There are a number of different business models that you can choose for operations within your company. The legal structure can vary, and an accountant can look at all the options with you to find the most suitable possibility for your business.

Of course, the other option is to begin your business and then choose an accountant when you are ready to delegate. But, as we have shown, this decision is filled with pitfalls. You might find that by the time you’re ready to hand the accounts off to someone else, they are already in a terrible state and need fixing.

Role Of Accountants In Business

We have already mentioned a few of the roles an accountant can have in the early days of your company. They can be involved in everything from setting up accounting technology to choosing the right legal structure, but there are many more.

Understanding Finances

You might think that it’s quite easy to understand whether your company is doing well on the market. Generally speaking, if you’re making a profit, you might assume your company is stable. But, you could have a number of different outgoings, investments, loans and incomes to try and dissect. Understanding the accounts of a medium sized business can be complicated. That’s why you should use your accountant to help explain the situation to you. This way, you’ll understand your true position on the market.

Keeping Records

Keeping financial records in order is always going to be important for your business. On a basic level, keeping an accurate history of your finances will make things a lot easier if you decide to sell your company. It’s one of the first factors that potential buyers investigate. Financial records will also be a huge asset during the time of taxation or if you are audited by the government. An audit can be a daunting prospect for new business owners, but with an accountant, it can be relatively pain-free.

Although, if you hire an accountant there’s also the possibility that you are never audited in the first place. Various issues cause businesses to get audited. For instance, you might have excessive write-offs or mistakes on your tax returns. With an accountant on your team all year around, these errors should never come into play.

Specific Advice

There will be plenty of situations where an accountant could be a fantastic advisor. For instance, you might be deciding whether to buy equipment for your business second hand or brand new. An accountant will be able to walk you through the financial benefits and disadvantages of each choice so that you can make a final informed decision.

Saving Time

One of the main basic advantages of hiring an accountant is that you’ll have more time for other areas of your business. If you’re not delegating finances to an accountant, you could be spending several hours every day on the accounts. This will drag down the efficiency levels in your business model and let’s not forget, you could be making mistakes as well. Eventually, these mistakes will need to be corrected, and that means you’ll need to hire an accountant sooner or later.

Ahead Of The Curve

Finally, an accountant can help you get ahead of financial issues. From day one, you can think about the future of the company and look at financial estimates. Don’t forget, accountants have contacts in the industry that you won’t be able to use. They will be able to examine the financial market for you and use their resources to provide you real-time data so you can make adjustments to your business model. As such, accountants can do more than just keep your business finances in check. They can help your company grow into the future.

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Education

Importance of Employment Contracts to Employers and Employees

people talking

In this modern world that we live in, everything needs to be done by the book. If not, then there can often be nasty repercussions, and when it comes to running a business, it’s best not to invite this willingly. In the public sector alone, around 31% of employees have some form of conflict that’s common in the workplace.

With that said, it’s good to do all you can legally and in the right manner. Most businesses and those in the position of hiring employees will have an employment contract in place. This article will discuss what an employment contract is and why it’s so important to have it in place.

There are also some helpful tips towards the end when creating an employment contract for the first time.

Employment Contracts

What is an employment contract?

Employment contracts are legal agreements between the employee and employer providing written acknowledgement of the terms between the two parties.

Depending on the type of employee the employer is hiring, this might affect the type of contract they provide. The employment contract will list the relevant information concerning the role and the various aspects of working for the employer.

You’d typically find the working hours, pay and terms of employment in general. Many employment agreement templates are available online for those who aren’t quite familiar with the structure and how to draft them up correctly.

Both parties are legally protected.

Any type of contract is good because it’s an agreement that’s legally binding. Whenever an employer wants to hire a person for their company, they want to ensure the person they’re hiring will benefit the company.

The same goes for the person looking for a job and wanting to join somewhere that does everything legally and legitimately. Both parties will be protected when this contract is drawn up, agreed upon, signed and dated. That way, both parties should have had the opportunity to dispute or negotiate anything within that first draft and be happy with the agreement.

Protecting both parties can help in keeping the relationship a trustworthy and respectful one. This contract can be seen as the foundation of any employee/employer relationship. Without that foundation, either party can find themselves running into some form of trouble as a result.

The contract can also assist either party in terminating the agreement should there be a reason to do so. For example,  maybe the employee wants to leave the job, or the employer uncovers a breach of the agreement.

Outlines everything expected from either party

An employment contract of any type is likely to be very detailed. It will contain everything that the employee needs to know before commencing their role within the company. For the employer, it’s a chance to detail everything that is needed to make the role valuable for the company.

Having communication is important, and the contract clearly outlines everything that’s expected from both parties. With 64% of businesses finding communication in their strategy, values and purpose as a key priority, there’s no doubt that this is essential.

There can often be somewhat of miscommunication or lack of in some businesses, and so to avoid this happening for yours, these contracts are beneficial. Having good communication in everything that’s done in a business will likely aid its success and growth.

From an employee’s perspective, it’s useful to know what the employer expects from them and everything they do for the business. It’s often detrimental to their own happiness and appreciation for the job.

Enforces accountability where necessary

If everything went as expected, then there would likely be very little that goes wrong. However, that’s wishful thinking when it comes to business and being part of a workforce.

Things won’t always go smoothly, and in the case of employment, not every employee or employer behaves appropriately. There may be times when workplace disputes occur, which may result in legal action from either party.

The employment contract is a written document that has been signed and dated. It, therefore, acts as proof of a mutual agreement and evidence that can be used if either party finds it necessary to do so.

It, therefore, enforces accountability to be taken should either party be found to have breached or broken their agreement with the other. For example, if you’re an employer, your employee may decide to take action against overtime that hasn’t been stipulated prior in the contract.

In the case of an employer, confidential data could have been stolen by an employee and used to damage the company’s reputation. Many cases have come up over the years relating to employment law.

Keeps confidentiality and maintains data security

data

For the average business, there is often a lot of confidential data that the company holds, whether concerning the company itself or their customers’ trust in storing.

An employment contract will ensure confidentiality is maintained when employees are accessing such data for work purposes.

Data security is one of the main concerns for businesses nowadays, especially as 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error. You really can’t be too careful!

In the contract, there will likely be more detail depending on what role the employee has and how much influence they may have regarding the company’s data. For example, some employees may have access to more data than others. It’s good to pay attention to this section of the contract for accuracy.

Keeping confidentiality and data security at the top of your list as a business will also strengthen the relationship and trust with your customers.

Creates a trustful working relationship

A successful company is often down to the happiness and productivity of its workforce. Companies with a highly engaged workforce are seen to have around 21% more profit as a result.

As mentioned above, with a contract in place, there’s this trust and reliance created between the two parties.

You must do everything possible to cement this relationship from the beginning. Your employees are an integral part of the business, and if you’re not willing to put a legal contract in place or one that isn’t detailed enough, that’s not a good start to the working relationship.

The creation of the contract should be open for discussion. Even though the employee has accepted the job and the employer has offered it to the employee, there can still be some room for negotiation if either party isn’t happy with the agreement.

Tips for creating an employment contract

So now that you know the importance of employment contracts, it’s imperative to include every detail. With that said, here are a few top tips when creating one.

Remember the basics

Some basics are essential to include, and these will be the key information regarding the role itself. Usually, this will be the job title, the department and the head of that department or manager for the employee.

There will also be the location of the business included here, so don’t forget that!

Pay and benefits package

It’s not all about the money, but it’s important for your employment contract to include details and pay.  Remember, the detail here may change depending on the type of employee you’re hiring and whether or not they’ll also be incorporated into the benefits package that a company provides.

There may also be levels of benefits that are available depending on the role.

Annual leave, sick pay and parental leave

There are certain entitlements that an employee is allowed to have regarding matters of annual leave, sick pay and parental leave. In this section of the contract, you can outline the individual benefits that the employee has when it comes to taking time off.

Employment type and duration

For your employees, not all of them might be working full-time, and there might be some who are on fixed-term contracts and others on temporary.

The employment contract will mention the type of employment and duration, as well as any mention of overtime.

Policies and terminations

Most businesses will have privacy policies relating to the internet and use of data, as well as termination procedures should either party want to terminate the contract. Notice periods will also be mentioned here.

An employment contract is a must-have and having one, and it’ll protect both parties. Not only that, but it’ll be useful should either party need to refer back to it.

Editor’s note: A shout-out to Natalie Redman for her contribution – thanks.

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How To Know If Your Factory Or Workplace Needs A Ventilation Solution

factory

You’d be hard pushed to find anyone on Earth who isn’t aware of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ventilation in the factory or workplace is the concern of all workers who value their health and wellbeing. So unless you work in the great outdoors, you should concern yourself with how fresh the air is in your work environment.

Who hasn’t taken fresh air for granted? Pre-pandemic, ventilation and air quality indoors didn’t get the same attention that it’s getting now. What’s changed? The real experiences of catching airborne COVID-19 via small droplets and particles. Today business owners realise to keep their staff safe at work, the factory or office must have an effective ventilation system.

Had to step up and take ownership of righting the wrong with ineffective ventilation systems in the workplace. However, there are steps you can take to make the air indoors cleaner and purer, too. Furthermore, there are plenty of good reasons you want to improve indoor air quality in your factory by improving ventilation. Here are 6 reasons why factories must be well ventilated.

Studies also confirm good air quality can improve productivity and vice versa, i.e. air pollution can stifle both the quality of work and how much of it is done. Remote working is now preferred by workers the world over, so to get them back to the workplace for some if not all the work week will require your business to prove you’re taking their health and wellbeing seriously with great air quality.

Health and Safety

Governments require businesses to look after workers health and safety in the workplace, so it is a must-do for every organisation. There’s no escaping climate change and how we pollute the air with industry. When in confined spaces, the quality of air has a bigger impact on our health and productivity. Therefore ventilation systems are needed to remove hazardous pollutants and fumes, including:

  • Chemicals
  • Fuel-burning
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Moisture

There are many negative side effects of poor air quality, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin rashes
  • Headaches
  • Coughing, sneezing
  • Sinuses
  • Dizziness

Plus, where there is a high mold, employees prone to asthma attacks and respiratory infections will suffer and take more sick days.

While there’s the investment to improve the ventilation system, the upside is not only fewer sick days and higher productivity, businesses will likely see an improvement in energy use.

Energy Efficiency

Good ventilation will eliminate hot and cold spots in the building. By increasing the airflow and maintaining an even temperature throughout the building, temperature and humidity – i.e. the moisture in the air are controlled. It may seem counterproductive to use energy to run a ventilation system; however, it can use less energy when it’s optimised for your environment.

Plus, you could say there’s a trade-off when you use energy to maintain air quality and flow versus not doing so and using time and resources to replace workers on sick leave and damaged goods.

Protect Your Inventory

High-quality ventilation is also good for your assets and inventory. With low humidity and dust, your physical assets, raw materials and inventory ready for distribution are protected.

Moisture can get in anywhere, and when it does, it compromises the quality of materials and products. Avoid the unnecessary need for replacements and associated costs with a ventilation system fit for purpose in your workplace.

There will be a need for managing worker habits so they don’t interfere with the optimum settings for good air circulation. Plus, you don’t want HVAC equipment working longer and harder than it has to, so you will need to educate staff on its use.

What may also assist you is knowing how to read fan curves so your engineer designs an energy-efficient ventilation system with the right fans for optimum air quality in your factory or workplace without wasting energy.

Summary

There is no escaping our activities are degrading air quality, and with the threat of pandemics like COVID-19, there is a sense of urgency to ensure our workplaces are safe and healthy for work.

Ventilation systems control temperature, humidity, and air motion. A good ventilation system combined with HVAC equipment is not a luxury item. Instead, it’s essential to the continuation of business-as-usual. Read our next article on often you need to deep clean your work environment.

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General

Benefits of Team Building Activities at Work

teamwork

Off-site team building events are recognised in my businesses as pivotal to keeping staff focused, productive, and happy in the workplace. Also, the change of routine encourages employees to unwind and learn more about their work peers. You may not want to know this statistic, but on average, all workers spend over 13 years of their life working. This fact may depress some of you while it may have the opposite effect and motivate you, and this is due to the different personalities we spend a lot of time with, in the workplace.

A day out of the office with management and colleagues can be fun and provide other benefits. Team building activities for work have been proven to encourage better communication and lift productivity.

Here’s another interesting opinion, did you know experts say there are only five types of people from which 16 personalities are construed? The ‘five-factor’ model gives you insight into your staff’s personality types and their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they can perform in teams. It’s worth researching into the basic personality types of your staff before witnessing how they get on together during a group event.

Regular Team Building Exercises Benefits

Get to know the different personalities in your office

Employees are not robots, and they react in their own way to change and how they interact with their colleagues and management.

How a team member deals with challenges and the new environment will reveal more of their personality. Using an offsite location for team building will encourage more openness and present the leaders from the followers among your staff.

Increasing productivity and motivation

The camaraderie among workmates increasing productivity as well as foster individual performance. Self-confidence and feeling at ease in the company of other people will lift overall company output, and future proof the business as a strong competitor.

Improving communication

Working in a team means everyone has to deal with personal and opinion differences. And that is the reason why effective communication is critical. Not every worker has a friendly or outgoing personality, and this is something that needs to be acknowledged. Some people are shy and timid, while others are naturally extroverted.

A team-building activity is one of the best solutions to break these barriers and gaps in communication. Team building involves games and other recreational activities forcing everyone to connect on a deeper level. It is one of the simplest ways to get everyone talking and conveniently align their precepts according to the values of the company.

As such, when staff return to work, there will be less reluctance to share their opinions openly in communication and transparency speeds up the identification of issues that need resolving, thus improving overall productivity.

Reinforcing a positive work culture

We all need to know how we perform outside our comfort zone, yet most personalities shy away from putting ourselves to the test. When the team day out is ‘work’ there’s no way out, with attendance compulsory, so we look for commonality, familiarity and find our group culture. Plus there’s time to work on the goals and visions of a company with the whole team altogether. On returning to the workplace the renewed energy among the workers, even the more introverted personality types who are expressing their emotions more freely, is proof these days offsite are good for business.

There’s little doubt that happy and satisfied staff is the foundation of every successful business and investing in regular company-wide team building is a low-risk strategy for apositive work culture.

Summary

Start the new year with an offsite activity or event, so your workers can come together, share their holiday experiences and reignite their focus on their job and how your business will meet its targets.

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