Happy New Year to all clients and friends of Drummond Laurie. I hope that 2019 is a happy, healthy and prosperous one for everyone.
In many ways, the events which we are living through at the moment are unprecedented. Leaving the European Union is proving to be a much more complex and divisive matter than most of us in the UK could ever have contemplated. Our political leaders on the whole are using the issue to attempt to score points for their own party at the expense of the greater good of the country. We can only hope that common sense and a realisation that they are elected to serve us, the people, will kick in very soon and see a sensible and workable outcome arrived at. At the same time, we are seeing a fast tide of globalisation coming towards us and a world where we can do business with people on the other side of the world as easily as with our next door neighbours. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government don’t appear to believe that in a shrinking world and with more migration than ever before, their policy of turning Scotland into the highest taxed region of the UK will have a detrimental long-term impact on our ability to attract highly skilled workers to come to our country.
As 29th March 2019 fast approaches the practical issues of leaving the EU are now firmly in the sights of many businesses. For example, any business which exports or imports goods and services to and from the EU will require guidance on the VAT implications very soon in the event of a no deal Brexit. At the very same time, of course, we are also faced with the implementation of Making Tax Digital which will initially impact any VAT registered business. Once again, guidance should be sought to ensure compliance with yet more HMRC red tape. To complete the hat-trick of Q2 challenges of course, we will also see the final increase [for now] in the Pension Auto-enrolment contribution levels. This will affect employers and employees alike and we should ensure that everyone is prepared for the impact on both Profit & Loss accounts and on payslips come April of this year.
Looking beyond the self inflicted challenges of Brexit, what else should businesses be focusing on as we enter a New Year? As always, you should be planning ahead, setting out your goals and aspirations for the year ahead and seeking to avoid surprises as far as possible. Consider what are the greatest risks to your plan and look to take mitigating action now, wherever possible. For those businesses in growth mode, consider what are the things most likely to constrain your growth and attempt to be proactive in ensuring that these do not happen. In general, there are four areas of constraint; people, space, systems and cash. Assess your own business and ensure that your growth plans for the coming year are not going to be hampered by not adequately planning for any one of these factors far enough in advance.
As always, our team at Drummond Laurie stand ready to provide advice and guidance on all of the above and the many more challenges which will lie ahead of us in the coming year. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss these at any time.