Member Since: 23rd Aug 2015
8th Jun 2020
My wife and I built a visitor attraction and ran it for 18 years. I agree that FAM visits are an essential part of such businesses, for two reasons. First, at the lower end of the scale, personal knowledge of other attractions enables staff to make recommendations to customers who often ask for comments and ideas about other places to go when they are staying in an area. We had an excellent relationship with other local attractions and fed each other business all the time. This is why reciprocal FAM visits are often arranged with free entrance, and free tickets are given to hotels, B&Bs, camp sites, etc. - not what happened here. The second reason is industrial espionage motivated by the hope that one will be able to pinch good ideas, which seems to fit your client's case. If it's a genuine FAM visit in paid time with some sort of outcome for the business, and the expenses were all necessary for the FAM visit, then it ought to be allowable. Purchases in the shop for personal use, or refreshments beyond the scope of a normal subsistence allowance, ought not to be claimed in my opinion.
19th Mar 2020
As I have written elsewhere I am a director of one very long-established business (over 150 years old) and I am a substantial shareholder in another which my wife and I started 27 years ago.
Both are faced with the possibility of failure, out of the blue. Both will fight tooth and nail to survive. The MDs of both businesses have been trying to find out exactly how the government's emergency measures will operate, by making direct contact with their local authorities and their MPs.
The answer is that nobody knows. These measures are being developed on the hoof. They are being made up as we go along. The devil is in the detail but no details have been published.
It beggars belief that there was (so far as I can see) no national disaster planning for the outbreak of a deadly virus. God knows we have had enough warnings (SARS, MERS, Ebola, Marburg - and the grand-daddy of them all in 1918). There was even the prescient movie, Contagion, in 2011. I reckon the producer, screenwriters and director of that move knew and still know more about how to manage something like this than the government does. It seems to me that there is no Plan that has been taken out of the filing cabinet and implemented. No disaster plan of any kind whatsoever.
So the only honest answer to the OP's question is - 'Dunno'.
What an absolute disgrace that a developed economy like ours has no plan for a foreseeable disaster like this.
PS: If details have been published by the time you read this please note that at the time I pressed "Post" there were no details.
13th Mar 2020
I am in a slightly similar position. In my case I am semi-retired, still a director of one company, and a 50% shareholder in another, both of which deal with the public and may have to close. One has substantial liquid assets, the other has had a bad winter and doesn't. In addition I have residential tenants whose jobs and income may be in jeopardy.I don't want any of this to fail so my aim is to keep everything going, somehow.
My approach to the situation currently falls under the following headings:
1. Forget profits and even the balance sheet. Prepare a cash flow forecast very carefully and watch it like a hawk. Cash is the only thing that matters at a time like this.
2. Do not run out of cash before you take drastic action like making people redundant. If you run out of cash you loose control of the situation. The message I am getting is that if things are truly going pear-shaped redundancy may be the best for both parties because it draws a line under the employer's liabilities and entitles the employee to benefits - and (probably, soon) a mortgage or rent holiday.
3. Be very open and honest with employees, suppliers, your landlord if there is one, and customers. Keep them informed. If they are good people they will appreciate your honesty and do their best to help, most of them, and they will come back when this is over. I would have included the bank in that list in days gone by, but not now. If you have a bank "manager" who is (a) human, and (b) not completely without discretion in their decision-making perhaps include them in the loop. But in the light of what has happened in recent years I wouldn't trust the average bank one bit. And it might even transpire that your bank goes bust before you do.
3. Following on from that, do not keep all your cash in one bank.
4. Duck and dive and do everything you can to keep open even if only nominally. Is there one product line you could keep open, even with just one operative, even if it's just yourself? The Bank of England will create money (the USA Fed sort of printed 3 trillion dollars yesterday) and lend it to the government so that they can help businesses weather the storm but my best guess is that there won't be any help for businesses that have actually closed. Much more likely that help will be available for those that are still afloat, even if only nominally.
I'd appreciate being told whether this makes sense or not.
23rd Jan 2020
Thanks. I too have been experimenting on an old machine. Building up courage to finally end my Microsoft habit but have not yet been able to decide how to choose new hardware.
23rd Jan 2020
May I ask what hardware you chose when you started running on Linux?
BTW I agree Mint is the most sensible choice at the moment.
14th Nov 2019
Thanks again for the helpful replies.
"My" candidate was going to stand in a Conservative seat and therefore the Brexit Party refuses to put his nomination forward. He has decided not to stand as an indpendent so I shall not be asked to do anything after all.
In any event it was becoming apparent that all contributions, whether to the Party or for individual candidates, must be credited to the Brexit Party Ltd., and all campaign expenses will be paid by that company, so there might not have been anything for me to do anyway apart from scrutinise whatever information might have been made available to me so that I could reassure the candidate that he was complying with the rules regarding election donations and expenses.
8th Nov 2019
Thanks for the replies (well most of them anyway).
I was asked to be the constituency agent but I declined the invitation. The candidate is acting as his own agent. I am just doing the accounts.
Even though I am an unpaid volunteer I have written a terms of engagement letter for the candidate to sign which I am confident will protect me provided I record everything according to generally accepted principles. I am setting him up with a dedicated bank account and an Imprest petty cash system, I have told him to use debit card for the bank account only, no credit cards and no deferred payments for anything. The account will be kept in a dropbox folder and I will make him acknowledge he has seen and approved it once a week. I'm doing all I can to make it all transparent and above-board.
I just wondered if there are any special features of election accounts which someone may have picked up from experience rather than the guidance.
12th Sep 2019
'Generally I'd avoid free software because, well, it's free for a reason.'
I take the opposite view. I started exploring free (aka open) software many years ago with Irfanview, an image processing system, which has been a wonderful choice. I now look at the open software options when sourcing any new system. I even use it for safety-critical jobs: our motor yacht has OpenCPN as its navigation system and we trust our lives to it. The current version is absolutely as good and solid as Raymarine, Garmin, Furuno, any of the big names. Support if needed (rarely) is readily available via the forum.
I still pay for some software. Every choice is made on its own merits. I would never choose open on principle, but sometimes it's the best choice.
6th Sep 2019
Thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to reply. Looks like we will be keeping the paper for now.
22nd Aug 2019
There seem to be two problems. The first is expense claims which are not prima facie tax evasion. But if expenses which are not genuine business expenses are being treated as costs which reduce corporation tax and/or they are not subject to income tax in your boss's hands, then these payments do constitute tax evasion. Then there's unequivocal tax evasion, and if I have understood the question correctly the car falls squarely within that category.
Assuming everyone agrees up to this point it seems to me you can't just do nothing. You really don't have that option. You aren't in quite such a bad position as the folks at Patisserie Valerie who have been arrested (and charged? I'm a bit behind with that case) because it doesn't sound as though this fraud is going to bring the company down, but you can't do nothing. So I agree with the others who have advised you to take advice from your professional body, and document everything that happens using email accounts and data storage to which neither your employer nor anyone else has access.
Good luck. I was always blessed with honest bosses when I worked for other people. A very great blessing.