Category Archives: Money

The London Presence payment process explained

Payment explained

When purchasing any of our services (apart from Holiday Cover) you can select whether to pay for 3 months or 12 months in advance. Once this period has passed, payments are required on a monthly basis. These payments can be made from the My Payments section of your account.

After the 3 or 12 month period, if you would like to set up a direct debit or would rather pay for a period in advance again, simply let us know and we shall arrange this.

Any questions? Get in touch via the comments section below.

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Our 6 Tips for Working from Home

your businessJust because Yahoo are putting an end to staff working from home doesn’t mean that the concept’s days are numbered. Recent research by Direct Line for Business found that up to eight million people in the UK are now running a business from home. So, for the benefit of those 8 million, here are our top tips for working from home.

Put some clothes on

It’s important to build a routine. Wake up, have a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, do some work. Lofing about in your pj’s equals one thing. Daytime TV.

Pick a good spot

Where you carry out your work is integral. It doesn’t need to be a big area or even a clean area but it does need to be an area where you’re not going to be distracted. And shut the door. This tells people “I’m working, leave me to it”.

Take a breather

Just because you’re cutting out the commute doesn’t mean that you have to cut out fresh air. A brief wander outside can do wonders.

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Or if you prefer, there’s the 7 military P’s. Every day set out a plan outlining what you want to achieve. Include some smaller, basic tasks for when procrastination rears its ugly head. Doing something is better than nothing.

Make yourself available

Unanswered Skype chats (and calls) will make people think you’re skiving. Respond as quickly as you can.

And stop

The two temptations of working from home are “never start” and “never stop”. For the latter, don’t forget your non-work life. Work specific hours and stop when your day is done. Easier typed than done.

What are your working from home tips? Let us know below.

Blue Collar ‘v’ White Collar in London

The current economic climate has left us with countless unemployed professionals from most sectors. The future also looks bleak for the thousands of graduates who were told from an early age that success and financial gain necessitated a degree. This ‘credit crunch’, generation face a hostile job market saturated with unemployed, highly skilled and experienced candidates. As sectors which once demanded degree educated suits sat in offices cut jobs and announce record losses.

As a consequence of the economic downturn, young people who would have previously felt a job in the trade sector was beneath them are considering more manual roles. Indeed, a study of London alone revealed that a 20% up-turn in people wanting to learn a trade.

People will always need a plumber, carpenter and mechanic. The previous professional classes are coming round to the idea that, without a job their degrees have less value and the roles they trained for have become economically unsustainable.

Several new websites have been created as platforms for people to articulate the personal and financial fulfilment that have got from starting the company formation process in areas such as mechanics, plumbing and carpentry. The users of these websites identify independence and financial control as two of the main virtues of working for you in the blue collar sector.

Obviously manual sectors are hard work, but as the economy continues on its descent, they may offer the only hard work that actually pays off.

Pound sinks to record low against the dollar

The pound has fallen to a new record low against the dollar today. Is this a sign of a lack of confidence from the UK business community in the Government’s latest measures to combat the recession? Or thanks, perhaps, to Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day? The first black U.S. president is ready to make history: from his landslide election victory he is riding a wave of public optimism that he will need to solve the worst economic crisis in 70 years.

The dollar grows and the sterling sinks… “Sterling tumbled to its lowest level against the dollar in seven-and-a-half years today,” reports the “as traders digested the implications of the government’s latest multibillion-pound lifeline to support the banking sector”.

The British pound has been weakening during the economic downturn: in the past 12 months the sterling has fallen and shows no signs of stopping. The question is still: is it time to change and accept the euro?

A new fraud hits the financial world

A new act of fraud hits the world of business and finance. It may seem unbelievable but Bernard Madoff has stolen $50 billion with the use of a complex system of hedge funds. This system imitates the Ponzi’s system and if manipulated it can be used to commit multiple fraudulent acts. However this illegal act is unfortunately not fool-proof.
Mr Madoff is an American citizen and 70 years of age – he is a famous trader and businessman but now he finds himself in a cell: he risks incarceration for 20 years and paying $5 million, though the victim’s losses far exceed his fines.
The breadth of this case encompasses banks from many countries including British firms. Here are some news cuttings from the British press:

Bloomberg reports the story and asks where all the money went. “Investigators are still trying to figure out where customers’ money went. Madoff, 70, told his sons last week he had as much as $300 million left, according to an SEC lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan. The agency is looking for additional money that may be recovered for victims, two people said. In a regulatory filing in January, Madoff’s firm listed $17 billion in assets under management”.

The describes this as the worst fraud in history. “Madoff is himself regulated by the FSA, along with his two sons, his brother Peter and six other registered individuals, though his eponymous London-based offshoot. However, Stephen Raven, chief executive of London-based Madoff Securities International, said the firm was “not in any way part of” the New York company caught up in the alleged scam”.

The reports reports the list of the victims, a list that keeps increasing: Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Santander, the Spanish group that owns Britain’s Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley…

Vat reduced to 15% to push our economy

As you know the VAT rate has been reduced from 17.5% to 15%. The Change of Rate Order is valid from 1st December 2008 to 31st December 2009. The Chancellor announced this decision in the Pre-Budget Report on 24th November 2008 to cut the prices of any sales and services in an attempt to push the economy.

The proposal of cutting Value Added Tax comes from the European Commission to help the worldwide financial situation and promote the Internal Market (production and use of energy-saving materials and energy-efficient appliances and equipment) and UK government accepted a challenge that should positively impact all of us.

Services relating to many sectors (including housing construction, renovation, repair, maintenance, cultural heritage and historical monuments) will see their rates reduced. Only standard-rated sales are affected, so there are no changes to sales that are zero-rated or reduced-rated for VAT, similarly, there are no changes to the VAT exemptions. The 15% rate will remain until 31st December 2009, and from 1st January 2010 it will revert to 17.5%. Genuine commercial transactions should not be affected. All the details are in the written statement to be made by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on 25th November 2008.

So enjoy the reduction and think positively and don’t forget to update the prices of your products and services.

How to save money – Lesson 2

Today the Bank of England has said (again) that next year the UK will have to prepare for a recession. The experts have predicted that inflation could fall to 1% in 2010. All the while unemployment soars above 1.8m.
It’s time to save money for the ominous future, because every penny saved is a penny earned. And you can easily save money with a bit of control over your food, at home, going out and finance.

Last week we touched on food, now here are our suggestions to save money at home:

• Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
• Fit energy-saving light bulbs: they’re kind to the environment and they save you money in the long run.
• Take a shower, not a bath: it uses a lot less water and therefore saves on heating.
• Hanging out the washing is free: don’t use the energy-thirsty tumble dryer.
• Turn down the thermostat on your central heating by just one degree when you leave the flat.
• Check always your gas and electricity bills.
• Gently heat rooms you don’t use.
• Ensure that you don’t have leaky windows and doors.
• Fit loft insulation: some councils offer grants.
• Don’t leave electrical equipment, such as TVs and stereos, on standby: it wastes electricity.

Your new tax code for 2008-2009

Over the coming weeks the HM Revenue & Customs will be sending new tax codes to all UK employees.
After personal allowances there are 2 income rate bands:
– 20% up to £36,000 annual gross income
– 40% over £36,000 annual gross income

Form more information you can visit the HMRC website.

Not sure what ‘personal allowance’ means or how to calculate your taxable income? Here’s an example to help you: say your salary is £50,000 before tax. You pay no tax on your personal allowance (for the 2008-2009 tax year, the standard personal allowance for under 65-year-olds is set at £6,035). That leaves £43,965. You would pay 20% on the next £36,000, which would come to £7200 tax. That leaves a remaining £7965 on which you would be paying 40% tax, making the total tax deducted £10,386 and your NET salary £39,614.

What happens if you are not registered with the Inland Revenue? You get a temporary insurance number which is used to establish your tax level. So, before getting your NI number you may well pay too much tax but you can apply for a rebate from the IRS, providing you attach your P60 and payslip of April last tax year and include the reference number of your company and your temporary NI number.

So what happens if you are a resident in another country and you work here? Or if you work abroad but live here? Answers are coming… Keeping checking your daily blog on London Presence for more business advice.