Black Country

Chamber Blog

Not long left ISA FBAre people missing out by not switching their ISA? We swap our car and home insurance every year, and even our current accounts can be switched within 7 days – so why does the 5th April (End of the tax year for permitted ISA subscriptions) not make it in to our diaries?

It’s possibly a perception that there are 100 forms or a list of hoops that must be jumped through before your ISA could be considered for transfer from one provider from another. That’s a myth!

You would hope by now that everyone understands the dangers lurking within email, yet 1 in 10 individuals will still fall foul of a phishing attack.

More than 90% of hacking attacks follow a phishing or spear-phishing email and increasingly it is employees being targeted – they are the weak link in your security.

Unfortunately, a lot of organisations and the people that work for them believe it will never happen to them. All your employees have had the induction training, warning them about cyber-criminals and you send them regular updates reminding them what to look out for.

Since the introduction of the new Sentencing Guidelines we have seen huge increases in fines issued for breaches of Health and Safety. We've also seen much higher sentences imposed on individuals who are generally the directors of those businesses fined.

In 2015/16, out of the 46 prosecutions, 34 of those were found guilty and 12 were given prison sentences, with the longest prison sentence imposed being two years.

PPC campaigns can be one of the fastest and most effective ways to attract potential converting consumers. With PPC engines such as Google AdWords, the ad will appear in the sponsored section on search results pages in return for paying a fee.

PPC has its risks though and incorrectly managed PPC campaigns can result in large sums being paid for low numbers of customers. But, with experience and experimentation, it is possible to learn how to run a profitable PPC campaign.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have changed their advisory fuel rates for company cars with effect from 1 March 2017. The rates are intended to give guidance to employers about what is an acceptable fuel allowance to reimburse employees for use of fuel, without creating a tax or NIC problem, when on business in their company car.

Where an employer reimburses fuel to an employee using their company car on business, HMRC accepts there is no taxable or NICable benefit as long as the rate paid per mile is no higher than the relevant advisory rate. If, however, the actual cost of the fuel used is in excess of the advisory rate a higher allowance can be paid as long as the employer has detailed records to justify the higher payment.

The Europe-wide General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’) comes into force on 25 May 2018. It brings with it many changes such as larger fines for personal data breaches.

This post sets out the consequences of a breach on or after that date, and what organisations should be doing now to minimise the risk of one occurring.

Local search engine optimisation (SEO) has always been important but it is now becoming critical. Consumers are more responsive to ads and information that is proximity targeted, as they search for products and services that are local to their home or close by when making searches on a mobile device.

We have some top tips for getting started with local SEO and a few examples of those tips in use.

Paul Cadman, one of the region’s top manufacturers, was recently interviewed on some of the issues impacting upon manufacturing and on local businesses.

All businesses need to focus on SEO, even if they are driving traffic to their business’s website through PPC campaigns. The problem with PPC campaigns is that they will not create a long lasting benefit for a website, in terms of search engine ranking.

When you PPC campaign stops, so does the traffic to your website and this is why it is essential to blend PPC campaigns with SEO. PPC is fairly straightforward but SEO isn’t and this leads some businesses into making mistakes that negatively affect their ranking.

Vehicle tax on newly registered vehicles is changing from 1st April 2017.

The current structure is based on CO2 bands and was introduced in 2001 when average UK new car emissions were 178 g/km. The new rules are being introduced to reflect changes in emissions technology in newer cars and were first announced by former chancellor George Osborne two years ago.

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