Financial & Legal News

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Directors and Business Owners

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Most people are back at work after the Christmas break and many have returned with a clutch of new year’s resolutions. Popular choices include healthy eating, getting fitter or spending more time with your family. Or maybe you’ve focused on work and career.

If you’re a business owner or director, you may have some ideas about how to improve your profit margin. But there are other, equally important, issues to address to keep your business running successfully. Here are some ideas for your January action list.

1. Review – or Create – Employment Policies

Workplace policies are an important way to ensure the smooth administration of your business. For example, policies:

  • help employees to understand their responsibilities and duties;
  • explain employees’ rights such as maternity, paternity and adoption leave;
  • support fairness in the workplace by setting out grievance and disciplinary processes;
  • introduce new employees to your business; and
  • ensure compliance with regulations and laws that govern the business (like anti-bribery and corruption and health and safety laws).

The law changes regularly so it is important to keep policies up to date. If it’s been a while since you reviewed your workplace policies, or if you need advice on what policies to implement, get in touch with our Employment Team.

More reading: Workplace Policies

2. Recover Outstanding Debts

January is a good time to review your backlog of debts. Review what is outstanding and what steps are needed to recover payments. The longer you sit on them, the less chance you have of making a recovery.

We have plenty of information on our website about debt recovery and our debt recovery services. Read our article which contains links to other useful information here: Start January on a Positive Note: Deal with Those Debts.

If you need to contact someone, speak to someone in our Debt Recovery Team.

3. Ensure Your Business Complies with the New General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR) will come into force in the UK in May 2018. The way you, as a business, collect, store and use your data will be subject to additional scrutiny.

If you have not done so already, you should ensure your business is compliant with the GDPR as a matter of urgency. Compliance is a commercial necessity: non-compliance could mean a substantial fine, whatever the size of your business.

To help you understand the GDPR, we have produced a guidance note that explains what is meant by personal data and what the GDPR will entail for businesses: A Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for Businesses

Should you need assistance with implementing the regulation, contact our Corporate Commercial Team.

4. Prepare Shareholders'/Partnership/Limited Liability Partnership Agreements

If you are trading as a company, a traditional partnership or a limited liability partnership, a formal agreement setting out the rights and obligations of the shareholders, partners or members is essential. Such an agreement can minimise the risk of disputes arising – and can provide solutions if issues arise (such as how to deal with the exit of a director and any shares he or she might own).

If you do not have a shareholders’ / partnership / limited liability partnership agreement in place, or are concerned that your current agreement no longer reflects business needs, contact our Corporate Commercial Team.

More reading: Shareholders’ and Partnership Agreements

5. Sort Out that Disagreement with Fellow Shareholders or Partners

If a dispute has arisen between shareholders or partners, the sooner you seek specialist advice about your legal rights, the better chance there is of a swift resolution.  Contact our Commercial Litigation Team for advice. For more information about shareholder/partnership disputes, click here: Shareholders, directors and partnership disputes

6. Review Your Cyber Security Arrangements

Cyber attacks are increasing as hackers use ever more sophisticated methods to access computer systems. At the very least, a cyber attack can damage your business reputation and could be devastating.  Hackers can gain control of crucial, sensitive business information – like your contacts list. Or they could access your personal banking details to use your debit and credit cards.

The risks are wide. Just look at what happened to Morrisons. As reported by Susan Mayall here, a rogue employee was able to publish the personal data of thousands of Morrisons’ employees online. This was a criminal act for which the employee was convicted and imprisoned - but it left Morrisons with a court case and serious questions about whether its CyberSecurity was adequate.

If you have not done so already, take steps to protect your business from cyber attacks. In particular, you should:

  • include security measures in your day-to-day safe practice;
  • set up systems to manage your risks;
  • train employees on the risks;
  • protect your business from online cyber threats; and
  • ensure checks are carried out on those employees with responsibility for sensitive business data

More reading: Tips on protecting your business from cyber security breaches

7. Train Your Team On Social Media Use

Social media is a useful business tool and, if used properly, can enhance your reputation and help you win work. The reverse, of course, is also true. Thoughtless or reactive comments on Facebook or Twitter can create a storm of negative posts – and your business image could be left in tatters.

You do not need to ban your employees from social media usage. Rather – train them on how to use it properly. Ensure they understand your business brand and ethos and teach them to recognise when comments should remain personal (and not be posted).

Read more here: Tips for using social media in business.

8. Put In Place Succession Planning for Your Business

Whether you are a business owner or a director looking to retire in the next few years, have you thought about what happens when you leave the business? Who will take over from you? Do they have the right experience? How will it affect the business?

Our Corporate Commercial Team can work with you and your accountant to put in place a tailored succession plan.

Read more: Succession Planning for Businesses

9. Make a Will

Making a will is crucial for everybody with assets and dependants.  A valid will could give your family peace of mind about what will happen after you die. It will also avoid your estate being dealt with under the strict intestacy laws.

Speak to one of our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Team and they will advise you on the best arrangements for you.

Read more here.

10. Do Some Tax Planning

There are a range of options available for those wanting to minimise tax liability and maximise retirement income in relation to: Inheritance, Capital Gains, Income taxes. Speak to one of our Financial Services team who will advise you on the best approach for you.

Read more here.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Christopher Burke


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