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Features that makes shower wall panels worth every penny

It is evident that the bathroom is the smallest room in the house compared to other areas but goes through multiple changes and renovation annually than any separate place. Over the years homeowners have always had to spend a tremendous amount of money to make the bathroom look great, which eventually leads to buying expensive pieces of equipment and accessories for the bathroom. With the generation moving forward in many aspects so also, there is headway success in the invention of new types of equipment and devices for household use. Home appliances have been having a significant makeover, and its manufacturers were able to find the result to introduce it in the market. When it comes to shower and all its accessories, the average shower system have a swivelling nozzle aiming down on the user and typically sprays hot or cold water. However, people can find different types of shower style these days with all the adjustable screws and nuts to keep it in place. Many people want to maintain and have a great set of the shower that does not pose problems like the common ones available in the market. There is a vast difference between shower panels and shower system as wall panels brought more developments and upgrades to the accessories that were not available before.

If you are planning to get your bathroom renovated or remodelled, worry not, as the new brands of shower wall panels provide some of the best features that you have ever seen. Before getting into the details of the features that makes shower panels as cool and handy as they are, consider this, you want a makeover for your bathroom, or divine inspiration drove you to want to remodel your old toilet; however you have a busy household or just the one bathroom for daily use. In such given scenario and many others, it becomes a problem to start work or wait it out to finish the renovation process. The issue will get even harder in case of using materials like wallpaper, paints or tiles as it all requires careful steps to dry and install. When using wallpapers as it is paper or processed plastic paper, it is prone to soaking in case of paper and tearing off quickly in case of plastic sheets. Paints come in high volumes that claim to have a plastic coating to enable cleaning off dirt with water, but in many circumstances, the colors remain good through some months or nearly a year after which it begins to come off as flake or even worst begins to accumulate fungal mildew that spreads through the walls of the house. Tiles are the most common wall covering, but there are many flaws when using it. The first issue being costly, the installation process requires installers to get specific drills to make holes in case of putting dowels and pegs to hang particular objects, which leads to cracks on the surface as the material is fragile, and the grout increases collection of dust and dirt is eventually spreading all over the house.

The factors associated with wall panels are ideal for every homeowner as it provides convenient installation, cheap price ranges, lasts long, and easy to replace. Always opt for wall panels when you make plans to remodel your bathroom to give it a classier or vintage looks without having to waste time or spending a fortune in the process. The various feature and advantage will surely wake your interest in using the product.

1) Keeping labour cost down with easy and quick to fit facilities

The best benefit about using shower wall panels is that you can install it without having to hire additional hands, however, if you still need help, professional installers can assist at reasonable charges for the services. It is less time-consuming, and many companies provide customer helpline for clients to post their queries to get the most of the materials.

2) A long lasting product with low maintenance

Shower wall panels are the safest and sturdiest material that can withstand the daily wear and tear as opposed to tile, which is prone to breaking when something heavy falls on it. If you prefer the appearance of tiles do not worry as the wall panels are also available in tile designs. Due to the numerous varieties of wall panel designs available in the market, you can pick your choice of style, including tile fashion at a lower price with less labour and less time consumption.

3) No dangers of grouting or black spots on the wall

Wall panels for bathrooms, showers, rooms, and kitchen are 100% waterproof with no grouting, which means you need not worry about water sipping into the surface of the material, soaking it, leaving black spots or moulds, and spread all kinds of allergies and diseases risking the health of the household. Tiles, on the other hand, attracts and builds cavity due to the grout on its surface, which eventually leads to the foul smell, spreading of holes and stain the surface by fungal spots.

4) Ideal for covering any irregularities on imperfect walls

The more you read about the advantages of wall panel materials you will be beyond convinced that it is the right product for you. Of all the difficulties of renovating or remodelling any rooms in the house, the tiresome job of stripping and scraping off the old covering is the most difficult and time-consuming. The good news is that you do not have to worry about all such trivialities as you can straightaway fix the wallboards on top of the old covering without having to scrap it off. Even for surfaces like the tiles, the wall panels can stick appropriately without any problem. Other coatings include brick walls, plastered walls, plastic coverings, ceramic tiles, etc.

5) Shower wall panels reduce energy cost by insulation

Each shower wall panel is 8mm thick, which keeps the heat from the radiator, save when it gets cold outside unlike the cold tiles.

Why Online Learning is going to become more and more important to businesses.

OK so online learning isn’t new the technology to be able to deliver lessons via a computer has been around for some time. However, there is a bigger shift going on and it is less around the tech, although that does play a part, and more around the needs of employees, business owners and how we choose to learn as people.

The Old Way

In the fairly recent mists of time training and learning was pretty much only delivered in the class room or training room at work. This went for almost everything even learning an instrument. Learning materials went from books, to books and tapes, videos, CDs, DVDs and eventually online lessons but much of the tech architecture was expensive and not something easily developed. This meant people had to pay a lot to learn anything and businesses had to pay trainers or software companies lots of money to get training material for their staff.


Part of the revolution has been because of YouTube. While there was and still isn’t any real barrier for content quality people were able to watch tutorials and even videos of lectures and the like. This has proved to be a huge resource and very helpful to a lot of people but it can be lacking in quality and due to adverts and the temptation to watch a video of people falling over that the algorithm suggests it is not always idea.

The New Way

As the demand for easily accessible online learning has grown so has the software options and the way other people can creatively use video channels like YouTube and Vimeo while keeping people on their site. Companies like www.perfectlyspoken.com use dedicated video learning platforms for deliver free online English lessons. It is this type of platform that is really pushing online learning into the future. People are now seeing they can not only watch lessons online as they have done for a while but they can chart their progress, complete lessons, complete courses and even gain qualifications with no human input apart from the creation of the original content…and this is a game changer.

Applications for Business

The potential for business is huge. Imagine a manager in an employee review meeting discussing how someone might need to improve their coding abilities, English skills or customer service skills. This is often a difficult moment, the choice about spending money on a trainer or asking the employee to go away and learn in their own time. Well with online learning said manager can do some research and simply set the staff member on a course towards learning what they need. Of course, they are not all free but most offer the chance to use it for multiple staff members for a single price.

More Benefits for Business

As well as the obvious benefits of low cost and easy learning opportunities for staff online learning also offers discretion. Sometimes staff feel awkward about getting training and online courses allow them to learn without anyone knowing. The change curve then becomes less of an issue the denial stage is reduced, the anger phase should be removed and the leap to engagement and acceptance will be a lot faster. Other benefits include people finishing a course and feeling inspired to move onto the next stage; thus leaving the manager with a member of staff who is driving their own learning!

Multi-Cultural Business

One very strong factor where online learning will become more and more important is language learning. As mentioned earlier on there are free online English courses but also the same will exist in other countries. As people become more global and move to different countries to work businesses will be able to take advantage of these and offer native language lessons to foreign staff. This kind of learning can help integrate people faster and improve productivity while also reducing any issue surrounding languages.


With all the benefits of the learning itself it is worth looking at the final huge reason online learning will be the future for so many businesses; Device flexibility! Not only can people learn in private and at their own pace, but they can do so on mobile phones, tablets, lap tops and in the work place on desktop PCs. This is great for busy lives and it allows people to learn faster not being constrained buy desk time. They can learn on the train, in bed, outside…the options are endless and that can only increase course completion and success.

What Should Business Owners Do?

In short, start researching and planning the use of online learning. Identify learning gaps and the needs of different staff groups and consider moving ahead with either paid for access or free trials to test the learning platforms.

Whether it be for language, business skills, HR, basic maths, or even sales skills there will be a course out there. If there isn’t, it will appear sooner rather than later. Any business ready for this will be able to bring cheap, accessible and quality training to their workforce and that can only be a good thing.

Don’ts for a Smooth Moving Day

Do you know, in the UK, people move to a new house on average 5 times before they turn 30, and 3 more times later in their life, making a total of 8 moves! And each moving time is as stressful as the other. There is so much to pack, clean, paperwork, handling, and then set up again.

Since moving house requires all your attention, you cannot avoid stress altogether. In fact, all these planning is a positive stress as it would help you in successful moving to a new place of comfort. But there are certain things that can really spoil the moving day and force you to have an anti-stress medicine.

The following are the absolute No-Nos for the big day. You can thank us later.

  • Don’t pack clothes and stuff which can be donated or thrown away

It is true that you won’t be picking up stuff on your own and carrying it to the new place; you have other people and a pickup van to do this for you. But that does not mean you should pack everything. There is no good in packing the stuff which you are no longer going to use like old clothes or a half-broken Chester. This will only increase a load of packing, moving, may inflict additional moving cost and then this stuff will occupy unnecessary space at your new place.

If you can, just donate the items prior to your moving day. You can ask your friends to have somethings like furniture, that won’t go with your new home décor. Also consider renting a London self storage to keep your valuables if you’re not ready to throw them out yet.

  • Don’t do last minute packing, if you are doing it on your own

Last minute packing is a bad idea. It wastes everyone’s time. And with unexpected unforeseen things happening like your children’s resistance or pet’s interference, the whole moving day will just get ruined. Take at least a month to sort things out (if you got this much time margin) and pack everything prior to a day of moving. And what if you may need somethings on the day of moving? This leads to our next point, in this list of “don’ts”.

  • Don’t forget to pack a separate bag of essentials

Everything must be packed prior to the day of moving but it is not 100% feasible. You may have to use, for example, toothbrushes, documents, some stationery. Well, of course, you do need some things on the same day and even after moving into the new place. That is why it is recommended to pack a separate carry-on bag for essential items for the whole family.

  • Don’t miss minute details from telling your movers

You may have forgotten that you have a narrow lane at the front of your doorstep and you went to hire a big yellow van and man services. This seems like a problem unless you share this with the company’s customer representative. They may come prepared with the alternate methods like bringing a trolley to carry your stuff up till the van. Think of all such minute information which you should share with professional movers and with your friends who are helping you on your moving day.

  • Don’t forget to treat your movers

This is one thing you should do out of courtesy. Treat your professional as well as friends’ movers with a little treat of snacks and refreshment drinks as a thank you for their help and giving them some relief from all the laborious work.

  • Don’t pack carelessly

Packing carelessly by overloading boxes, not labelling boxes for fragile items, leaving any sharp-edged stuff popping out of a box, can lead to the major cause of stress on this important day. Make sure you cover the basic requirements of packing. You can check online for some packing hacks to organize everything neatly.

  • Don’t let your pets stressed out

Pets get stressed out too due to all moving and packing going on in the place. They may interrupt you while packing the boxes or they run around confusedly, making movers getting tripped over them. Understand their emotions and try to calm them. you can assign a duty to a family member who should just keep the pets entertained all the time. You can also drop your pets at your relatives or you can opt for a daycare service for your pets.

Make a list of things-to-do handy before, during and after moving house. Refer to it at every instance. This moving-out and moving-in won’t be that tough.

Happy moving!

Future-proof your business and finance education

Close up young woman with calculator counting making notes at home, hand is writes in a notebook. Savings, finances, concept.

The stunning pace of change in technology is well documented, and it should come as no surprise that it’s disrupting the finance and business management sectors along with all the others.

For students and midstream career professionals looking to upgrade their skills, this presents a challenge. Many senior and management-level roles require formal educational credentials. However, the time, effort and financial investment is significant, and there are some questions being raised about how relevant and useful these credentials are now, and will be over the lifetime of a career.

The gap between employer expectations, which tend toward the traditional, and modern-day sensibilities and developing trends is significant. How can you reconcile the need for formal educational credentials with the potential lack of relevancy of your investment?

You need to selectively pursue an educational track that meets both needs with a programme that prepares you for the future of business and finance while satisfying employers or clients and providing you with the formal credentials that will open doors in your career. While work experience and self-study are valuable, the network-building effects, specialised knowledge and formal credentials of an education aren’t to be missed.

When you start your search for a business leadership, administration or finance degree, there are a number of considerations. Foremost among them must be the programme’s relevancy to current needs and value for future needs, including the changing nature of work. Ask how the programme that you’re considering will make you more competitive in today’s and tomorrow’s employment market.

The educational institute and degree programme could be a known and respected quantity to employers, adding credibility and quality to your CV. It might have a high bar to entry and be known for its standards of academic excellence. It may expose you to an extended network of professionals who might be valuable as resources and supporters throughout your career.

Review the programme structure and course notes, sessions or syllabus to get a sense of what will be covered during the course. Look for content that speaks to current and emerging trends. Is the educational institution teaching content that was relevant ten years ago? Does it both incorporate the use of, and speak to, current technology and trends? Does it include projects or practical work that will expand your skillset, portfolio and preparedness to contribute to problem-solving in the workplace upon commencement? Does it emphasise capabilities and attributes such as rapid learning and creative problem-solving over rote memorisation or manual procedures?

The London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) offers a wide range of programmes that not only look to the future in their content but also in their flexible delivery. Study remotely, in bite-size pieces around your career, or in intensive bursts as suits your schedule and needs.

A forward-looking certificate or degree programme focuses on helping you gain the skills, experience and connections that will help you succeed as the business and finance sector changes around you, rather than emphasising outdated technologies or skills. It’s that combination of transferrable, actionable principles and hard skills that will help you future-proof your career.

Legalities your startup needs to take into consideration

Business People Having a Meeting in the Board Room

Thinking of launching a startup? As well as having an innovative idea, a strategic plan and the willpower to turn your aspirations into reality, you need to take a whole host of legal issues into consideration when establishing your company. From employment law to your business structure, read on to find out about the legalities you need to be thinking about.

  1. Complying with employment law

If you are planning to hire employees, then being compliant with employment law is imperative. Fall foul of the relevant legislation and you could face lengthy and costly tribunals, with the average tribunal costing a business £8,500. This is without even mentioning the potential upheaval and effort of replacing unhappy staff and the damage to your reputation that this could cause.

Employment law is very complex, however, and there are many different rights that employees are entitled to, like privacy and protection from unfair dismissal. You should consider consulting a lawyer when it comes to tasks like drawing up employment contracts, though much of the onus will be on you to ensure that your startup is compliant with employment laws. For instance, issues like holiday entitlement and health and safety are very much in your domain. To help safeguard your small business, you should make sure you keep up to date with and fully understand the latest legislation surrounding employment.

  1. Protecting your intellectual property

Safeguarding your intellectual property (IP) is a crucial legal consideration in the early stages of your startup. There are a number of different IP rights that you may need to protect, depending on what type of business you are running. Most startups usually need to apply for copyright and trademark rights, with the former ensuring others cannot copy your works of authorship, like business plans, and the latter typically used to ensure others cannot use your business logo. Some startups will also need to apply for patents to protect inventions, and register design rights for any products they have invented.

In order to register your IP, you will first need to conduct a search to ensure that something very similar or identical has not already been registered by somebody else. When this has been cleared, you’ll need to apply to the Intellectual Property Office to register your own IP. This process can be time consuming and difficult, so it is worth enlisting a company to help register a patent, copyright, a design or a trademark on your behalf. This can cut your administration time and enable you to streamline your workflow.

  1. Deciding on a legal structure

 You also need to think long and hard about what type of legal structure you want your business to employ. Unless you want to raise substantial funds on the stock exchange within a set period, it is inadvisable to start as a public limited company. You therefore have a four way choice between being a sole trader, a partnership, a limited company or a limited liability partnership (LLP). What is right for you depends on what type of business you are, and each have their own advantages and drawbacks.

If your startup is low budget and you are not planning to employ anyone then your best bet may be to launch your venture as a sole trader (you can still have employees in this structure). The advantages of being a sole trader are that there is little red tape and minimal set up costs. However, the law will see the business and its owner as the same entity, so any business debt can be met from your own wealth if the startup fails. In addition, you could end up paying hefty tax figures if your business starts to grow significantly, as profits are taxed as income; you will pay 40% tax as soon as you earn above £41,865 and 45% above £150,000. Another option is to become a partnership, a structure that is often used when two individuals want to launch a venture together. In this structure, you’ll again be responsible for any debt incurred by the business, and profit will again be taxed as income.

If you really want to make your venture sound credible, it could be worth incorporating as a limited company at the Companies House. This will also make it simpler to borrow money, and as a limited company is a separate legal entity from its directors, the business—not you—will take on any debts if it goes under. The tax regime is also more favourable to limited companies than to a sole trader, as company directors are taxed as employees, just like others who work for the business. Finally, you could incorporate as an LLP. This is almost a hybrid of limited liability companies and partnerships, and must have at least two ‘designated members’. Just like a limited company, a LLP model limits the liability of members, but profit will also be taxed as income.

While there a quite a few hoops to jump through, ensuring you comply with these legalities will help increase the chances of the success of your venture.

Are You Preparing for Global Growth?

With the British Chambers of Commerce raising the GDP forecast for 2018 from 1.1% to 1.4%, things are looking positive for many SMEs. A poll of 500 SMEs from Wesleyan Bank shows that 65% anticipate achieving growth of up to 40% over the next two years with only 11% stating they were concerned about the potential impact of Brexit.

In fact, many businesses are reportedly looking overseas markets to fuel growth. Separate research from CitySprint (referenced here) reports that 1.3 million UK SMES plan to fuel growth with overseas business over the next year, that represents one quarter of SMEs with overseas growth on their agenda. Are you preparing for global growth?


The fact more elements of trade transactions are moving online provides a huge opportunity for businesses to save on the costs of overseas sales, whether you plan to sell directly to overseas customers from a website or not. As we move aspects of trading online, many tasks become quicker, cheaper and easier to perform. A 2017 ICC Banking Commission report estimated that eliminating paper from trade transactions could reduce the cost of trading compliance by 30 per cent, along with benefits such as faster processing. Are you ready to take advantage? Is your company set up for digital trading and do you have the skills in your midst to handle it? Do you have the technology in place to make trading overseas easier? If you’d like to sell direct to customers overseas but don’t have a website, could you test the market by selling on worldwide platforms such as Etsy, Amazon and eBay first?

Market Research

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to target next. Putting a strategy in place for export rollout is fundamental for success and it does take research and planning. You’ll find some great tools on the government website www.great.gov.uk including tools for creating an exporter profile, searching out suitable online marketplaces and tips for ensuring you’re ready to meet the demand and expectations of overseas trading. You can also explore markets and build relationships with potential customers by attending trade shows and you may be able to access government grants in able to do this. For smaller businesses it can seem like a big leap to start trading outside of your home country, but having the market research, costing and business plans in place to help you take that leap will give you more confidence and a far better chance of success.

Funding Success

As your business grows, it’s likely you may need new talent, premises, materials, and maybe even equipment in order to help meet demand and successfully secure contracts. Unfortunately, business loans can still be hard to come by in the UK, even with a solid business and exporting model in place. SMEs are increasingly looking to alternative finance to bridge the gap and ensure they don’t miss out on taking their goods and services into the global marketplace.

According to UK Finance, the number of SMEs using invoice finance services to fuel export goals is increasing. If you’ve not considered this financing method before, it can be a useful tool for maintaining consistent cash flow or advancing much needed investment funds. So, how does it work? Invoice discounting firms advance you an agreed percentage based on upcoming invoices, releasing the funds to you before your client pays so that you are able to use the money when you need it. Providing you have a healthy sales ledger, you can use your current sales to help you reach new markets.

Another alternative is to seek investment funding. If you’d like some extra support in taking your product to new markets, you could consider looking for an angel investor with significant export experience. This way, you could benefit from the voice of experience in guiding your next steps and developing your export plan along with accessing additional funds to put them into action. You may also gain access to useful contacts and suppliers. However, you’ll need to be willing to accept criticism and listen to others in order for such a relationship to work, which can be tricky when you’ve grown your business alone up to this point.

If you’ve been bracing yourself for the impact of Brexit and are now daring to dream that the coming months could actually present more outside trade opportunities for your business, don’t waste time in taking your next steps. Where will your goods and services go next?

Making a Case for Automated Data Governance

Ben Douglass, Global Marketing Director of data management automation company ZAP, discusses why a sound automated data governance process is at the heart of corporate best practice, customer trust and ultimately, compliance.

Data is the lifeblood of enterprise level businesses. Every organisation generates vast amounts of data relating to their processes and clients, but too few have built an efficient way of managing that data so that it remains accurate, consistent and secure. Enter automated data governance.

Today, a vast number of enterprises have their data tied up in disparate systems which require manual management procedures. From spreadsheets and content management systems through to databases and data warehouses – how can you manage your data to ensure it’s not

only compliant, but also so it’s an accessible asset that can support you in making business decisions?

Without Automated Data Governance in place, organisations run a number of risks when it comes to managing, handling and storing their data. In our experience, there are three key signs that your manual data governance process is falling short of what’s needed:

#1 Slow time to insight

Unmanageable data landscapes are all too common. In many businesses, data governance technology equals Excel spreadsheets, Sharepoint, Wikis and Word files which outline a framework or policies, business rules and assets, all designed to manage and enable the use of data.

The problem… with all this information sitting in different pockets among different departments, insights are held in silos and are difficult for the right people to access at the right time.

Metadata, for example, is data about data. It can guide data scientists to the information they need quickly and efficiently. Manual management of metadata can be an extremely lengthy process and can result in error. Further down the line, this manual process slows down time to insight, as the data scientists take longer to find the data they require due to poor metadata standards.

With automated data management, the manual labour and chance of error is removed from the process, meaning data scientists can quickly access the information they need.

#2 Poor data quality

With businesses now seeing the benefits of leveraging their data to gain insight and build confidence in business decisions, data quality has become evermore important. If data is used for calculations and decision making, it needs to be right.

Manual error detection for data governance would involve spreadsheets and other data sources being routinely scanned for errors, omissions, faulty formulas and any other issues that might compromise data integrity. Automated data governance, however, would allow you to detect and resolve errors that managed to evade manual detection – reducing the chances of operational or strategic errors. 

#3 Access control 

To ensure the integrity of their data, enterprises must enforce access controls for all critical data sources. This includes spreadsheets, databases, data warehouses and other business systems.

In businesses where there is a lack of governance procedure, business data could be passed into BI tools and could, therefore, be accessible to everyone. This creates the risk that someone might publish data that is intended to be secure, or that a user may access sensitive data that they shouldn’t have access to.

Data governance is in place to establish who has access to what level of data, what permissions should be in place, and what changes have been made to the data and by whom.

Automated data governance ensures the integrity of data by:

  • Protecting from unauthorised data access and breaches
  • Supporting regulatory compliance
  • Protecting data from tampering

Automating data governance for insight

With enterprises leaning toward more global business models and becoming more complex, it’s essential that there are automated controls in place which will aid the discovery, management, error-checking and monitoring of any data which is used to support the day-to-day business runnings and strategic decision making.

A sound data governance policy and automated data governance delivers that solution, enabling enterprises to be confident that the data they are acting on daily is complete, accurate, and secure.

Finance concerns when starting a new career

Change is difficult for many people, and fear of the unknown is often worse than any likely outcomes in your future. However, starting a new career can be rocky territory when it comes to financial security.

Launching your career or pivoting to a different specialisation or sector is inherently risky. The job might not be a good fit for your skills or personality. The employer might not be trustworthy or clear about their expectations. There might be problems with working with existing staff members, or misunderstandings regarding benefits, terms or compensation.

The UK economy is facing higher unemployment and weak growth, raising the stakes for any job changes across the board. You may choose to leave traditional employment due to a lack of opportunity or a different vision for the future, and start up your own company or set off as an independent freelancer.

Self-employment, whether you’re launching a new venture with an eye toward growth, or simply working independently, comes with its own set of risks and rewards. On the one hand, long-term compensation for business owners offers dramatically better earnings than any other employed role in an established company. As owner-founder, you benefit from the gains that your business makes, and your own hard work directly contributes to your success.

On the other hand, working independently means that you carry all the responsibility and risk. You have to consider how you will pay for benefits, insurance, taxes and all other overhead costs. You don’t get paid if you can’t collect from clients; no one guarantees your salary. However, you do have much greater control over the terms, schedule, location and nature of your work. That freedom and flexibility is worth something, and opens up new opportunities such as relocating to less expensive areas and cutting costs.

As an independent freelancer or contractor, working with an umbrella company can help to resolve many of these finance concerns. You still have to go out and win contracts, but you can arrange protection against client non-payment and have professional assistance with paperwork, insurance and legal documentation, taxes and other administrative tasks that are necessary but eat up your time and energy.

The finance concerns of starting a new career can be mitigated by saving up and preparing well before making a change so that you have a financial buffer should things not go well. Researching the change ahead of time, networking with others who have made similar changes, and having a contingency plan can also help. Some professionals have a side gig or balance traditional employment with freelancing in order to give themselves extra security against a downturn or unexpected barrier in either realm.

Don’t let fear hold you back from starting a new career. Strengthen your financial position, research, and use relationships and specialists to help mitigate risk and help you succeed.

Important Tax Tips for Charities

Charities have to deal with tax in a range of ways: claiming Gift Aid, handling VAT, paying tax on commercial income and managing PAYE and expenses. Taking care of all your obligations can be a highly complex business and often needs professional advice and assistance. To help, we have provided some useful tips that look at the main areas of taxation that charities need to deal with.

Managing Gift Aid

Gift Aid, whereby tax can be reclaimed on donations, is a vital source of funding for charities and can increase income by a very generous 25%. However, claiming Gift Aid can be quite complex. There are some forms of donation that do not qualify for Gift Aid, such as those from limited companies or made through Payroll Giving, and there are special rules for other forms of donation, like sponsored challenges, church collections or charity auctions. It is important, therefore, to seek advice about Gift Aid before you start to ask for it.

There are other important things to consider, too. You need to make sure that your Gift Aid forms comply with HMRC guidance and that every donor who is listed has completed a declaration. The declarations need to be kept safe, too, as you may be required to pay back any Gift Aid if they cannot be found.

Charities can now claim Gift Aid on some donations without the need for a declaration. The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) is for cash or contactless card donations up to a maximum of £20. Again, there are special rules which apply and there is a maximum claim of £2,000 in a tax year.

Handling VAT

VAT can be complicated for most organisations, but even more so for charities. Depending upon the nature and size of your income, you may not be able to register for VAT which means you will not be able to claim back the VAT you pay. If you are registered, there are complexities around which activities you can and cannot charge VAT for. This status of being partially exempt can make handling VAT a challenge.

You will need to ensure that your different sources of income are applying the correct VAT treatment as some are subject to VAT whilst others are not. For example, if someone donates a piece of furniture, you do not need to charge VAT if you sell it on as a second-hand item.  However, if you upcycle it by turning it into something else, then it is liable for VAT.

There are other conditions regarding VAT that you should also seek advice about as you don’t want to make errors that can turn out to be costly.

Guidance on trading

Charities are allowed to trade in order to pursue their charitable aims, however, there are some restrictions when this is done to generate funds. Most importantly, they cannot engage in commercial trading that puts their assets at ‘significant risk’. When there is a significant risk, a charity must create a trading subsidiary through which to undertake their commercial operations. This way, if the trading subsidiary fails as a commercial venture, the assets of the charity are secure, provided it does not owe any money to the subsidiary or has given guarantees for any borrowing.

Setting up a subsidiary trading arm can have tax benefits. It can, for example, make Gift Aid donations to the parent charity and in doing so, lower or even negate any of its own profits which would be liable for tax. At the same time, accounting becomes easier when the trading and main charity’s finances are kept distinct of each other.

Administering payroll and expenses

Managing payroll can be both complex and time-consuming and often the easiest solution is to outsource it to an accountancy company with charity experience. However, even if you do, there are still a number of things you need to consider.

Firstly, you need to ensure that any payments given to employees which have not been processed through payroll are not liable for tax. In addition, if you have personnel who are hired as self-employed contractors but actually work for you more or less full-time, their employment status, as far as HMRC is concerned, may be that of an employee. If this is the case, you will be required to collect tax and National Insurance contributions. It is always best to check with HMRC about the status of your self-employed workers.

With regards to paying expenses, there are differences in how these are handled for employees and volunteers. Some employee expenses are liable for tax whereas volunteers are entitled to tax-free reimbursements of their out of pocket expenses, including the costs for travel between their home and the charity as well as for postage and telephone calls.

Summing up

As you can see from this article, dealing with tax is anything but straightforward for charities. In every area, there are various special rules and exemptions which need to be taken into account and if these are not handled correctly, they can cause problems with HMRC and impact upon your finances.

Hopefully, the information provided here will give you a better understanding of how to manage your tax responsibilities, however, if you need more advice from a company that understands the legal and accounting framework for charities, get in touch or visit our charity services page.

Elements to consider when organising an important corporate event

The events that your organisation holds can be a ‘make or break’ factor in its corporate success. Seminars, meetings, team-building weekends, corporate retreats and fashion shows are just some of the most popular corporate events, and every aspect of yours needs to be just right if you are to make the right impression on everyone who attends.

However, a successful corporate event that does much to cultivate new business does not happen by accident. It occurs as a consequence of savvy and well-considered planning. With this end in mind, here are just a few of the factors that you should think about when organising an event.

Why are you holding this event at all?

You should not be organising a corporate event simply because it ‘feels like it’s time we had another one’. If there is any vagueness about your event’s purpose, you will only attract a small number of stragglers, instead of the members of your core audience who will be instrumental in determining whether the event is a worthwhile use of your time and funds.

Every aspect of your event planning – from the choice of venue and caterers, right through to any entertainment and activities – should dovetail with a purpose stated clearly from the start.

Who are you aiming the event at?

Attempting to make your event appealing to as broad an audience as possible can be counter-productive, not least because it will force you to assemble a programme of activities on the day that does not even adequately cover any single attendee’s specific needs.

Yes, it is gratifying to be able to attract a long list of guests for your event. But you need to formulate a clear vision as to who the audience is for your event, and what value they – and you – will gain from it. This will enable you to tailor the event to even the most niche expectations.

Which venue ticks all of the practical and emotional boxes?

It is understandable that you will probably wish to select a venue that catches the eye, excites the senses and fires the imaginations of your attendees. After all, your choice of venue will say something – however unwittingly – about your brand and its values.

It’s therefore no surprise that so many organisations are enticed by the notion of hiring a chateau for corporate event days – and nor does your search for the ideal corporate events venue have to come down to a ‘head vs heart’ decision.

Our very own Château Bouffémont in France, for example, exudes all of the refinement and elegance that you would expect from a noble stone-built residence.

With its stunning crystal chandeliers and opulent decor on the inside and spectacular manicured French gardens on the outside, this chateau in the Montmorency Forest consistently captures hearts. However, it is also excellently equipped for corporate event days and is even well-connected, being situated just 30 kilometres from central Paris and 20 minutes from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Careful consideration, research and planning are vital if you are to derive the maximum value from your firm’s next corporate event. That’s why you may also be interested in consulting the Taylor Lynn Corporation’s advice on what else your firm needs to think about when organising a corporate event.

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