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Tax Relief for Pension Contributions

Contributions to an exempt approved scheme are allowable as an expense in assessing an employee’s liability to tax under Schedule E. This is only an income tax relief and does not apply to the Universal Social Charge (USC) and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI). The following are the applicable pension plans:

  • Occupational pension plans
  • Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs)
  • Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs)
  • certain overseas plans
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Effective multi-tasking

In today’s fast-paced business world, here are some tips to help you to be more effective at multi tasking.

Over the past 10 years or so businesses have become leaner by reducing employee numbers, focusing on efficiency and increasing the demands on their staff. An increased workload forces us to multitask, which may be effective for a short period of time, but over the long term, can cause stress.

Multitasking is not about “piling on the work” to the point of exhaustion. It’s about training the brain to channel energy in an efficient and effective manner so you can accomplish more in less time. One of the keys to learning how to multitask effectively is actually to slow down, in order to accomplish more.

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Tax Relief on Nursing Home Expenses

You may claim income tax relief on nursing home expenses paid by you. You can claim this relief at your highest rate of tax if the nursing home provides 24-hour on-site nursing care.

Nursing Homes Support (Fair Deal) Scheme

The Health Service Executive (HSE) can provide you with assistance for the cost of your nursing home care. The HSE will review your income and assets to calculate the amount you should pay towards the cost of your care. You can claim health expenses relief on the amount you pay yourself.

The HSE pay the balance of the costs of the nursing home. You cannot claim health expenses relief on this amount.

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Delivering Customer Value

Understanding what your customers really value can help you to market your products and services more effectively.

Customer value is the perception of what a product or service is worth to the customer. Customers don’t buy features – they buy benefits. Your customers will buy your product or service because of the benefits that they get. If you take the time to understand what your customers value and what they are willing to pay for, you will be able to market your business more effectively. You may also be able to win new customers from your competitors.

Most businesses make the mistake of thinking about value purely in terms of money. They create special offers to promote their products and services, but all they are doing is cutting their profit margin in a race to the bottom. Sure, there is a place in most markets for a lowest priced competitor but this doesn’t work for everyone. Take the airline industry – there isn’t room for more than a handful of low cost airlines and that is why many of them are in financial difficulty – their costs have gone up, but there is downward pressure on pricing.

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CONNECTING YOUR HR SYSTEMS WITH THE REST OF THE BUSINESS

CONNECTING YOUR HR SYSTEMS WITH THE REST OF THE BUSINESS

 Integration of systems and the sharing of data is key to running a successful business, no matter how big or small the company. HR is no exception, and HR systems should connect to others for both reporting and triggering actions. A useful suite of standard reports configured by HR software should include:

  • HeadcountHR
  • Employee turnover & stability
  • Departmental salaries & payroll
  • Absence costs by department
  • Objectives met and outstanding – individually and within department
  • Training needs met and outstanding – individually and within department

 

Such reports are only as good as the quality of the information within them. All too often, reporting in a business is full of errors, due to a failure to cleanse and update data on a regular basis. Once the integrity is questioned, it is very difficult to get confidence restored in the system.

Training is also important. Make sure that everyone who needs to know how to use the systems in your business receives adequate training. For example, Finance should be trained on how to run reports from the HR system in order to run cost and budget reports, which are affected by HR data such as headcount etc.

After reporting, your business should also consider triggered actions. Actions which are automatically triggered could include appraisal dates, probation review, sickness absence reports, etc. Triggered actions can help to reduce the admin workload for HR and are useful in helping busy managers ensure that work gets completed as it should.

 

TIPS FOR BUYING OUT A COMPETITOR

TIPS FOR BUYING OUT A COMPETITOR.

As the economy begins to recover, many businesses are finding themselves in a rather enviable position: large cash reserves in the bank and weaker competitors just waiting to be snapped up (for a bargain price!). So you know you want to expand by acquiring another firm, but where to start? comp

Analyse Your Business

Start with a good old-fashioned SWOT analysis. Get a flip chart and a marker and, with your management team, write up the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your business. Now identify the gaps; if for example, a weakness is that you have only 3 large clients, you could fill that gap by buying a competitor who has a further 4 large clients, thereby giving you 7 large clients. Repeat this process for the other areas.

Search for a Business

Now that you have your criteria from SWOT analysis, make sure you know how to look for a business. Don’t just go to one source; really check multiple (and reliable) sources to find the business that is right for you. Talk to your team and establish a list of competitors who are considered to have a good client base, good products or services, a good reputation etc. Get the right team of advisors in place (accountants, lawyers, etc.) and draw up a plan.

Value the Business Properly

Your accountant can help you with this, but you should read up and understand the basic financial techniques to value a business; it’s cash flow and other assets. Know how to prepare a basic business plan in order to make projections into the future. You should conduct research in order to understand how the business is getting its customers. Know how it delivers goods and services. You should try to gain an understanding of the cash flow and think about how you can maintain this flow before thinking about increased profitability.

Structure and Finance

Your advisors should be able to give you a basic understanding of how the business valuation and related cash flow tie together. Make sure you examine a number of possible ways to put a transaction together in order to overcome different risks. Your legal team and accountant should provide guidance on the best way to structure the deal and finance it in order to complete the acquisition.

 

ENSURING YOUR STRATEGY WORKS AT ALL LEVELS IN YOUR FIRM

ENSURING YOUR STRATEGY WORKS AT ALL LEVELS IN YOUR FIRM

High-level strategy gives direction to the management team of a business. However, such high level plans can often prove to be of little use to other workers within the organisation. Aspects of the strategy must be distilled down to actions and plans which will drive the various areas of the business towards the common goals outlined in the overall strategy.

strategy

It is often said that a strategy doesn’t fail in its formulation but in its implementation. The key to implementing a strategy successfully is communication.

Many leadership teams, in their excitement and enthusiasm to turn their strategy into reality, fail to take the necessary steps to ensure that it can be delivered effectively by the various departments in the firm. Taking the time and energy to translate your strategic vision into operational success, demands that you focus on the following:

Communication – Your strategic intent and agenda should form the basis of all your communication with the business. When you make and communicate a decision, for example, you should clearly state how it will help move the strategy of the business forward.

Resources – Resources should be allocated on the basis of their ability to deliver the agreed strategy, and not simply reflect historic trends and decisions.

Alignment – The goals of the business must align with the objectives of the departments and people within the firm. Tiny differences of opinion in the boardroom can become huge divisions across the organisation, rapidly reducing your chances of successful implementation.

People – Your best and most appropriate people should be leading the delivery of your key strategic objectives. Not only does this increase the firm’s chances of success, but it also sends a signal to the business about what management considers to be important.

Accountability – The individual performances, and the collective performance of the team, should be directly based on implementing the strategy.

Measurement – Your KPIs should mirror the strategy, as should your associated rewards and bonuses. If you are serious about your strategy you will define appropriate ways to track its delivery and effectively report on progress.

 

2018 Personal Income Tax Return

You should register for self-assessment if you are self-employed, receive income from non-PAYE sources such as rental income, investment income, maintenance payments etc. or you profited from share options or share incentives. You are not required to register for self-assessment if:

  • You only have PAYE income or
  • Your taxable non-PAYE income does not exceed €5,000 and your gross non-PAYE income does not exceed €30,000.

If you are required to file a personal income tax return, now is the time to prepare all the information to submit your 2018 Tax Return. Your 2018 Personal Income Tax Return must be submitted to the Inspector of Taxes by 31st October 2019. This return is a statement of all your income and capital gains for the year ended 31st December 2018.

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COMMUNICATION & PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT.

COMMUNICATION & PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT.

Good communication is key in any business and no more so than when it comes to performance management in a firm. Issues relating to staff members and the performance of their duties arise often when running a business (or a department for that matter). Whether it is timekeeping and attendance issues or failing to complete a task, such issues should be resolved as soon as possible. Good communication skills are key if issues are to be resolved quickly and effectively.

Talk to the person

The first step in resolving almost any employee issue is ostensibly the simplest: talk to the person. It’s remarkable how reluctant many business owners and managers are to initiate  such a conversation.
It’s important to communicate honestly, openly and clearly with your employees. Whether it is performance or conduct that is not up to scratch, it’s also a good idea to have such conversations early, rather than letting things fester.
Plan for a successful conversation
Before initiating the above conversation with your problem employee, you should plan it out and write down a few bullet points such as:

  • What behaviours are giving cause for concern?communication
  • Do I have specific examples I can quote?
  • What are the observed or potential consequences of those behaviours?
  • What improvements in behaviour would make me feel confident that the employee has understood my concerns and knows what results I am looking for?
  • How shall I respond if the employee becomes emotional, angry or defensive?
  • How will I monitor their future behaviour?
  • When shall we meet again to discuss whether the improvements have actually taken place?
  • What shall I do if they are not forthcoming?

The answers to these questions will give you a robust framework for the discussion.

STRATEGIC ALLIANCES

STRATEGIC ALLIANCES.

Alliances

 In the current economic climate, businesses must look at new ways to win customers. As such, many firms are now looking at strategic alliances which allow them to access new segments of the market.

If properly executed, a strategic alliance can be good for business and good for the consumer. A strategic alliance is similar to a joint venture, in that everyone remains an individual entity but comes together for a single purpose or period of time to create something that could not otherwise be created.

There are challenges that business owners and managers must consider before entering into a strategic alliance with another business. For instance, evaluating each partner’s value and capabilities is mandatory before agreeing to an alliance. The who, what, where, when and why questions all need clarification, with failsafe measures which must be agreed and documented before commencing the strategic alliance.

Here are some considerations for any business considering a strategic alliance:

Agreeing to the Terms

It is necessary to identify the areas of interest that are yours and to also identify the areas of interest that are relevant to the other partners. Strategic interests must be similar, and products or services comparable. The figures must add up – each partner must have enough economic benefit for each to remain committed. There must be an operational agreement in place, and it is advisable to engage the services of a lawyer in order to draft this and other terms.

Assessing Contributions

What do you or each partner bring to the alliance? What is each person’s purpose and goals? Does each partner have something unique to offer which adds value to the business relationship?

Defining and Measuring Progress

Who is going to define or handle sales? What target market will be pursued and when? How will the revenue be generated and distributed? What will occur if the measurements aren’t met? A reporting structure should be agreed and put in place. Regular meetings (perhaps monthly or bi-weekly) should be scheduled and all key stakeholders should attend.

In summary, creating a strategic alliance is not something to be taken lightly.