More than a third of SMEs do not have a qualified person in charge of finances, research by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has found.
The study of more than 500 small and medium-sized business owners shows that 36% of firms lack qualified financial staff.
The potential for unqualified staff making miscalculations, being late with invoices and accruing fines could result in businesses losing an average of £1,277.
The losses include averages of:
- £508 due to miscalculations
- £399 because of unissued invoices
- £257 due to bounced payments.
Many SMEs do not have dedicated financial staff and instead share financial responsibilities with other roles, with finance and accountancy tasks in particular often being shared between unqualified staff.
The research also found that:
- 60% of small business owners manage their finances on a day-to-day basis
- 26% have one or more staff members dedicated to finance and accounts
- 61% of people managing their business’s finances have other company roles.
Mark Farrar, chief executive of the AAT, said:
“What’s worrying is that many business owners think that finance and accounting for their business isn’t complex enough to need a qualification, and that whoever looks after it can just learn on the job. The fact that businesses are losing money through accounting mistakes shows that this isn’t the case. Small businesses are often fragile, especially in their first few years, and every pound matters.”
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Almost a fifth of people plan to leave money to charity when they die, according to research by the AA.
Of the 1,500 people surveyed, 18% intend to use part of their estate to make charitable donations. It suggests a gender gap between the amount of men and women planning to give to charity: 22% of women said they would give part of their estate to charity, compared to 14% of men.
There is also a gap between the number of men and women who have not written a will. 36% of women are yet to write one, compared to 26% of men.
Of those who haven’t yet written a will:
- 51% said they hadn’t gotten around to it
- 28% want their estate passed to their children or surviving partner
- 12% don’t think the value of their estate justifies making a will
- 5% think it’s too expensive.
Mark Huggins, director of AA Life Insurance said:
“Many people give money to charity when they can. But remember that when you die, your donations will only go to charities you support if you specify it in a will. That goes for what you want to leave to friends and family too.”
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Giving assets to charity can make a huge difference to your inheritance tax (IHT) bill. Leaving 10% or more of the net value of your estate to charity will reduce the rate of IHT on some assets from 40% to 36%.
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A new fund designed to boost the productivity of small businesses has been launched by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).
Local ‘anchor’ organisations will be able to bid for a share of the £1.5 million fund to support their local economies. Anchor organisations are bodies that have strong local connections and are therefore well placed to take a lead role in boosting output, such as universities, chambers of commerce and local enterprise networks.
Organisations must invest either cash or in-kind contributions to the project, while the government will contribute a maximum £200,000.
UKCES is looking for bids from regions where productivity levels are below the national average. Proposals must include innovative suggestions about how the institution can work with small businesses to develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills.
The closing date for bids is 30 April 2015.
Earnings, international competitiveness and economic growth are being affected by poor productivity levels that are nearly 20% lower than the average advanced economy.
A recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Small Business Group called on the government to increase support for local economies in order to improve small business productivity.
Julie Kenny, commissioner at UKCES, said:
“Britain is falling behind the rest of the world in terms of productivity, meaning we are working more but producing less.
“This competitive fund has been designed to work with anchor institutions – those who can reach a wide number of small firms in their region and deliver insightful programmes. We are looking for innovative ideas that can be tested and trialled with small businesses, to develop these essential skills that will help them to prosper and increase productivity in their local community.”
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