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MW Interim Finance
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Managing Change Effectively
Managing Change Effectively

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2016/17 Tax Coding Notices

"Tax does not have to be taxing" so says HMRC, but my mantra would be "be afraid very afraid" when it comes to reviewing the P2 2016/17 coding notices currently being distributed. With all the new changes to tax free interest and dividends be sure to check any adjustments to your code for these. The assumptions HMRC use are based on the 2014/15 self assessment returns and may be substantially incorrect for the coming year. Even more issues are foreseen with 2015/16 self assessment returns, where potentially increased dividends are paid out  before 5th April 2016 before the £5k allowance takes effect.
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MW Interim Finance announces the launch of an improved and responsive website for all mobile devices, www.mwinterimfinance.co.uk , and continues the provision of an independent finance director dedicated to implementing business transformation.

MW Interim Finance delivers independent interim financial and business partnering support to SMEs and larger corporates, either on a full-time project or part-time basis, working with directors and owners to deliver operational and strategic objectives.

For further information or a confidential discussion about your specific requirements, please contact Martin Walby FCMA CGMA on + 44 (0) 7876 566875 or email 
martin.walby@mwinterimfinance.co.uk
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Has your business lost its “One Direction”?

It can happen at any time in business, just as in a boy band, where a key member of your Board or senior management team decides to leave suddenly disrupting the growth, momentum and stability of the business. Larger companies can look from within to promote however SME businesses may find they have a significant gap in resource. Initially the reaction is to either survive for a period whilst diverting other resource to backfill or use their auditors or other professional advisors to provide support. Using temporary cover is also another option however they usually need to be managed and are on short notice with the risk that they may also move to another role.

The use of an independent career interim, that tends to operate at Board level, is a solution that can provide the necessary resource to a business and also take on the recruitment of a permanent alternative. They provide the functional responsibilities to ensure the minimum of disruption the direction and momentum of the company and will contribute objectively. Commercially focused interims can perform a number of activities including forensic review of the business, the development and implementation of strategic and operational initiatives, assist in restructuring or identifying change requirements in business processes, controls and systems.

Their dedicated focus is to deliver results with objectivity, accountability, flexibility and are immediately productive and efficient. Unlike consultants or temporary staff, where costs tend to drop to the “bottom line”, interims focus on the delivery of benefits to your business. The outlay on the cost of an interim should be matched by a multiple of benefits over time.
MW Interim Finance can assist you in compiling or reviewing your business / risk plan in key commercial areas of your business, in addition to providing an independent CFO/FD resource on an interim basis. For further information or a confidential discussion about your specific requirements, please contact Martin Walby FCMA CGMA on + 44 (0) 7876 566875 or email martin.walby@mwinterimfinance.co.uk
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UK Budget 2015 – kitchens, vans and Eton mess

The Chancellor delivered the final coalition Budget speech before the election in May with a few surprises, some omissions and both sides of the House of Commons commenting on personal aspects of the leaders and parties they represent. Milibands two kitchens and two fridges being controlled by an app, the colour of vans, white or labour pink as they cross the Severn bridge and Cameron’s Eton scribes of the party manifesto. The speech however was dominated by statistics on growth, inflation, deficits and borrowing and politically charged.

In terms of business there appears to be an effort to ensure stability and progress to support the economic recovery and the initial reaction of markets seemed to concur as the FTSE rose by over 100 points on the day. Major announcements related to diverted profits tax, an increase in the bank levy, assistance to charities, reductions in petroleum revenue tax, regional stimulation, infrastructure projects, boosting science and technology investment and changes in employers national insurance for younger workers and apprentices. Interestingly however a number of key issues were recognised but deferred until after the election including, business rates and changes to annual investments allowances. In addition public sector expenditure was almost ignored and of course no talk of the cuts in benefits and tax credits implemented already plus other tax rises, something Ed Milliband was keen to expound in his response to the Chancellors speech.

For the general populous the news on pensions was expected with flexibility on annuities for both new and existing pensioners, but with a further restriction on the lifetime allowance to £1m. Good news though for most taxpayers with the introduction of an allowance on savings interest, for basic rate taxpayers at £1,000 and those on higher rate at £500. Another piece of good news on form filling as the annual HMRC tax return is to be abolished and replaced with a “digital tax accounts”, however the robustness of data collection systems and accuracy of the information will be challenging for HMRC. Personal allowances are set to rise but only by £200 in 2016/17 and another £200 the following year, together with small increases in the higher rate tax threshold. There is more flexibility with existing ISA products but a new Help to Buy ISA is being introduced for first time house buyers, whereby for every £100 saved an additional amount of £25 will be funded by the government. Minor tinkering with duties, including the freezing of petrol duty again, which is in fact not a saving as the current duty still has to be paid. Cutting duty would reflect a true saving as in the reductions in beer, cider and whisky cited in the budget speech.

All the above and more would, in past years, have been debated ad nauseam however with an election in a few weeks it is policy rhetoric that will be the focus of all parties trying to engage the electorate. Apart from the general populous we wait and see what the young and silver voters make of the political marketers efforts.
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What a start to 2015………

The Tesco fiasco continues with Morrison’s also making changes at the top. Stock market jitters driven by low priced oil, a possible Greek Eurozone tragedy and unfortunate extremist activity across the world. The UK has at least benefitted in the last few months with lower inflation, cheaper fuel and supermarkets dropping prices, (after a period of overpricing to increase margins). The latest news on growth for the next two years is promising and the Bank of England base interest rate may not be raised until early 2016, bad news for savers and house prices but good news for mortgages. 

Election fever again will take over the first half of the year with possibly four or maybe five parties in the running for a coalition, and the uncertainty on who will be governing the UK politically will no doubt be cited as a reason for business to “hold station” on implementation of change. Opportunities may however be lost by procrastination.

Businesses, SME’s and larger corporates should periodically review their business plan models and update annual budgets as there are opportunities to re-assess their competitive position. Reviewing strategy and operational effectiveness, and enabling changes internally and through investment, can provide step changes in growth. Inaction or not adapting to competition in a timely manner could reverse a growth trend.

If there are internal resource constraints for strategic or operational review and senior management are focused on the “day to day”, there is an opportunity for utilizing an independent financial resource on an interim basis to assist in review and implement changes to positively transform your business.

For further information or a confidential discussion about your specific requirements, please contact Martin Walby FCMA CGMA on + 44 (0) 7876 566875 or email martin.walby@mwinterimfinance.co.uk
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UK Budget March 2014 - Makers, Doers, Savers or just Make Do and Save

The Chancellor stated that the recent budget was for "the makers, the doers and the savers". The thrust was to stimulate business, reward those in work and allowing those who have saved into pensions to access their funds more flexibly, and if you have any surplus money, save into enhanced ISA’s. However, what about the rest of the country, those not nearing retirement, the unemployed, the younger population, and the families “just getting by” with more years ahead of low wages and real declines in purchasing power. It appears that this pre-election carrot dangling was to win over the growing amount of baby boomer silver haired voters, those with surplus savings and not those who are having their retirement age pushed up and up.

The choices – be lucky that you can retire shortly after April 2015 and blow your whole pension pot and gamble your money at Bingo whilst supping a pint or, make do with the continued austerity and save into a pension where the chances of retirement seem ever further away.
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“Out of Africa” and the comparison with successful businesses
 
Having recently returned from a safari in Kenya I was struck by the similarities of the life of animals in the Masai Mara and successful businesses. Survival of the fittest, working as a team, stalking your prey, adapting strategies and sharing in the spoils are traits of many of the animals and most especially lions, and this philosophy can be applied to businesses of all sizes.
 
As a business you should know your competition, understand what makes the business unique, identify your target market and how to leverage your current and potential new customers. Having a clear mission statement and objectives and working as a team, from the Board and cross functionally throughout the organisation, will bring rewards. Increased sales, optimised costs, improved cash flow and potentially rewarding shareholders and staff, that can be further enhanced by developing a corporate culture and incentivising where appropriate.
 
In the slowly recovering UK and global economy is your business ready to survive?
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