Here at SEE Ahead we like to trawl the internet, subscribe to newsletters and keep abreast of all the latest business news that affects our sector. Anything we find of interest we post here.
Small-business cybersecurity guide
A cybersecurity guide for small businesses has been published by the National Cyber Security Centre. The guide provides hints and tips about how to prevent a cybersecurity attack and covers backing up data, malware protection, protecting mobile devices, using passwords to protect data, and ways to avoid phishing attacks.
GDPR helpline for small and micro businesses
On 1 November 2017, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will launch a telephone helpline for small and micro businesses, to help them prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The helpline will complement the ICO’s other GDPR preparation resources, including a series of ‘myth busting’ blog posts and a range of free-to-access online guidance. The GDPR will replace the Data Protection Act in May 2018.
Support for innovative start ups and small firms
Early-stage start ups and small and medium-sized firms can apply for specialist funding, coaching and business support to develop and commercialise innovative ideas as part of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. In particular, the SME Instrument will help eligible enterprises test their ideas, develop and execute a business plan or commercialise an innovative new product or service. Funding is available to support innovative ideas from most sectors, including the green economy, smart cities and social inclusivity. The deadline for applications is 7 November 2017.
Workplace pension duties for start ups now in force
Since 1 October 2017, all new business start ups have a legal obligation to provide a workplace pension as soon as they employ a member of staff. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has launched an online suite of information and tools to help start ups comply with their auto-enrolment duties. Darren Ryder, Director of Automatic Enrolment, said: “Providing a workplace pension is now the business norm and staff expect to be saving into a pension as part and parcel of their employment.”
ICO clarifies forthcoming data protection changes
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a new online resource to help organisations prepare for and comply with forthcoming changes to data protection law in the UK. The resource clarifies the differences between the Data Protection Bill and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and their key provisions. In particular, the ICO has warned organisations that the Data Protection Bill has not been introduced just to bring the GDPR into UK law, and that the Bill will introduce further provisions that do not fall within the scope of EU law.
Consultation on Annual Return for charities
The Charity Commission for England and Wales has opened a consultation on reforms to the Annual Return and the introduction of a new Update Charity Details (UCD) service. The reformed Annual Return and UCD service will go live in January 2018. The new service will enable charities to notify the Commission of changes to essential information, such as the charity’s contact details, throughout the year. The consultation will close on 24 November 2017.
HMRC introduces 2-Step Verification for business taxpayers
Since 1 September 2017, all business taxpayers are now required by HMRC to use its 2-Step Verification (2SV) service to access their online tax accounts. 2SV provides an extra layer of security when logging in to HMRC’s online services by requiring users to enter an automated code that HMRC has sent to their mobile phone or landline. The Association of Accounting Technicians is encouraging all firms to identify any online HMRC tax accounts they hold, as well as how employees who need access to their accounts will receive the 2SV code.
Charities lack access to accountancy support
A report by the Charity Finance Group has revealed a widening gap between the number of charities that need financial and accountancy support and the number of providers able to deliver it. Demand for charity support has gone up significantly between 2013 and 2017, while the number of accountancy and support service providers has fallen. According to the report, most support providers are small organisations that have faced funding cuts and, as a result, lack the necessary resources to help charities keep up-to-date with legislative changes in areas such as tax.
HMRC forum to answer small firms’ tax queries
HMRC has launched its online tax forum for small business owners and the self-employed following a pilot which took place in March 2017. The Small Business Online Forum will help small firms access support to answer their tax questions. It will also provide advice about registering with HMRC, business expenses, hiring employees, exporting, completing tax returns and tax credits. The forum will be complemented by a web chat service which will provide direct tax support to individual business owners.
DCMS announces new Data Protection Bill
DCMS has published a statement of intent to strengthen UK data protection law through a new Data Protection Bill. The new legislation will give individuals greater control over their personal data, including a new right to require social media platforms to delete information they posted in their childhood. The legislation will bring the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK law, and repeal the Data Protection Act 1998. This will help prepare for Brexit by ensuring that data protection standards are aligned after the UK leaves the EU. The bill will be introduced in Parliament later this year. More information