New Year Business Resolutions: Advice from Geldards LLP
New Year Resolutions – Advice from Jeff Pearson, chief executive, Geldards LLP
Why not make some New Year Resolutions for your business, making changes that will deliver permanent benefits? Here are six suggestions for the New Year to get you started:
ONE – Carry out a Tax Health Check
It could help you find ways to minimise your tax bill. The review should cover the tax affairs of your business, both individually and, if it forms part of a group, in the context of the entire group. If you are an owner-manager, you should also review your own tax affairs to make sure the gains you make are structured in the most tax efficient way.
TWO – Resolve Disputes and Move On
Unresolved business disputes can weigh a business down, wasting time, damaging relationships and reputations and causing stress and financial loss. Resolving disputes early makes good commercial sense, as out-of-court settlements can save time, money and relationships, allowing your business to go back to focusing on what it does best.
THREE – Review your Family-Friend Policies
The legislation on employee rights is constantly changing and growing in complexity – like the recent changes on paternity leave. Whilst checking that you still comply, you could also review your retirement policy in light of the recent abolition of the default retirement age.
FOUR – Protect your IP Rights
If intellectual property rights (IPR) are crucial to your business, it pays to fully protect them. This doesn’t just mean registering your IPR, using IPR symbols and entering into non-disclosure agreements when possible, but also policing your IPR and taking prompt action against infringers. A rigorous system of IPR protection can maximise the value of your business and deter infringers or at least help to detect infringement earlier so you can take effective action.
FIVE – Review your Standard Terms of Business
We know poring over the small print can be boring, but if a dispute ends up in the courts, sometimes an entire case can turn on the small print in a contract. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to review your contracting procedures to make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure your Standard Terms of Business are incorporated into your contracts effectively and that your business doesn’t inadvertently agree to the other party’s terms instead.
SIX – Put Anti-Bribery Policies in Place
Following an Anti-Bribery Policy will give your business a defence against the new corporate offence of ‘failing to prevent bribery’. This will protect your business from liability if third parties, such as agents, commit bribery offences while working for your business.
Closer to home…
It’s not just about looking after the business though – this is a good time to do something of lasting value for you and your family:
Start by making a Will…
Besides planning how to minimise the inheritance tax payable on your death, making a will means your family won’t have to struggle with the inflexible intestacy rules which apply if you don’t leave a will. That’s the kind of peace of mind you can’t put a value on.
The benefits of making a Lasting Power of Attorney…
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) empowers another person – usually a family member – to manage your affairs if you are no longer able to manage them yourself, perhaps because of a physical or mental illness or dementia. While you can still do that without an LPA, it involves applying for a court order which is both more costly and tortuous. Again, it’s peace of mind.
Consider making a Declaration of Trust over your family home…
This is particularly relevant if you own a property with your partner but are not married to them. A recent case showed that, in certain circumstances, the courts are willing to divide ownership unequally. If you and your partner want certainty as to the proportions in which you own your home, you should both execute a declaration of trust. If you’ve already got one in place, you should review it to check that it still reflects your wishes.
We wish you all the best for 2012 and, if you need a hand with those New Year Resolutions, we’re happy to help.
For more information contact Geldards: email@example.com