Chartered Accountants and Professional Business Advisers

After the love has gone…

In the unseemly rush to the 25 May GDPR deadline it was very easy to get caught up in all the ‘love’ being shown by all those companies still wanting to be able to bombard you with messages post the cut-off date (and if you’re reading this we hope you ticked all the right boxes to allow us to stay in contact with you!).

Now that the frenzy has calmed down, I can’t help but wonder whether we’ve all got the balance right on GDPR. The idea behind it is great, but are the obligations too onerous and complicated for business owners? Has the response to the legislation been reasonable and proportionate? How many smaller businesses are seeking opt-ins unnecessarily? Conversely, how many larger companies are still contacting people unnecessarily on the basis that they were customers a long time ago? The regulator has been very deliberate in saying that it is there to help businesses and will only be seeking to punish persistent offenders rather than those trying to comply.

However, it’s still a good idea to take stock and double check you’ve adequately covered all the bases because it’s not too late to make changes to comply if you’ve missed something.

You’ll find a useful GDPR checklist on page 5 of this issue of Shipshape that looks at all the major areas affected, from running a data audit through to the right of individuals to ask an organisation what data it holds on them.

Talk Talk

GDPR will undoubtedly make it more challenging to contact certain people you want to interact with, so it’s more important than ever to build and maintain relationships with the people who are important to you. So it may be back to the good old methods of drumming up work. Meeting people and having real conversations through networking is great for that. Not everyone finds it easy, however, so on page 3, you’ll find the first in our series of features on networking, offering some practical tips and advice to help make it work for you. It might be easier than you think.

Taking care of business

It’s also important to maintain healthy dialogue and relationships with staff. At Shipleys, we try to make sure our staff have a good place to work and know that they’re part of the firm’s future. We run development programmes covering soft skills as well as the professional skills they need to develop their careers. We try to tailor this to each individual, but you can only do this with a strong HR team.

Consulting a professional HR resource (whether an internal or external one) can prove invaluable when dealing with the people you work with. Failing to engage employees in key business decisions can be potentially detrimental. On page 4 we offer guidance on six common HR pitfalls and how you can avoid them to help keep your relationships with employees running smoothly.

We are family

While inheritance tax planning is not the lightest Sunday lunch topic and pension planning can put quite a dampener on a romantic evening out, ensuring your finances are in order – and accessible – is something we all need to think about. It’s really important to talk about your plans to the people close to you, and ask them about theirs. On page 10 we identify four cornerstones of good forward planning for you to consider. It’s also important to think about your digital legacy as part of this.

Working for the man

If you think GDPR has been a nightmare, just wait for Making Tax Digital! It’s HMRC’s stated ambition to become “one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world, modernising the tax system to make it more effective, more efficient and easier for customers to comply”.

Leaving aside the use of the word ‘customer’, this has the potential to cause a lot of headaches and the deadline for complying, April 2019, is getting ever closer. Cloud accounting could be the answer, making it a lot easier to keep business records using modern software written for business people – not accountants. It could help you adapt to the new way of doing things. It’s an exciting area in which we have the expertise to help. To find out more visit http://bit.ly/2lZ59JW or get in touch with your usual contact at Shipleys.

Need more help? Please contact us at advice@shipleys.com or +44 (0)20 7312 0000