There are good reasons to employ older workers

employees employment Jan 30, 2023

It has been calculated that there are around 300,000 fewer people in the workforce than there were before the pandemic.

At the same time as employers complain about recruitment difficulties, research carried out in the autumn of 2022 by CMI (Chartered Management Institute) found that there was considerable reluctance to consider taking on older workers.

In a survey of more than 1,000 managers working in UK businesses just four out of 10 (42%) were open "to a large extent" to hiring people aged between 50 and 64 while just 18% of managers said they were open to a large extent to hiring people aged over 65.

Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI, said the findings pointed to cultural and leadership failings in businesses of all sizes.

Yet there are many benefits to employing older workers.

Older workers are likely to be more settled as well as having better problem-solving, productivity and output, and smarter decision-making skills.

They are usually able and willing to learn new...

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This is not the time to be worrying about imposter syndrome

Uncategorized Dec 05, 2022

Imposter syndrome is when a person doubts their skills, talents and accomplishments despite external evidence and lives in fear of being exposed as a fraud.

It affects both high achieving men and women, particularly in business and while we would not suggest that it is anything other than a very real condition, in the current circumstances we would argue that it is not a good time to be trying to assess it.

Why?

Because there are so many headwinds besetting businesses from supply chain issues and shortages, to escalating energy bills and the difficulty of recruiting sufficient staff that conditions are anything but “normal”.

All this in a context where various sectors of the workforce are taking strike action.

Consequently, many businesses are struggling and it would be understandable if their CEOs and senior management were to doubt themselves.

However, many of these factors are outside of their control and it would be foolish to blame themselves for the current...

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How can business sustainability help with recruitment?

The Harvard Business School definition of business sustainability is twofold.

It says there are two things that should be measured for business sustainability. They are the effect a business has on the environment, and the effect a business has on society, with the goal of sustainable practice being to have a positive impact on at least one of those areas.

At the moment businesses are reporting difficulty in recruiting suitable candidates so anything that can help to increase applications is important.

This is where sustainability comes in.

Adobe recently surveyed its US workforce and found that almost a third of people said they would only work for an employer that prioritised sustainability.

About a third of employees thought it would boost productivity rates (35 percent), position their company as a leader (31 percent), and open more opportunities for innovation (37 percent).

Forty-three percent thought it would improve workplace culture.

Albeit this is just a snapshot of...

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Can your business weather the current economic storms?

insolvency restructure Oct 31, 2022

Should you restructure your business when it is not insolvent?

According to an article in the online publication The CFO restructuring should be viewed as a positive.

It suggests: “Companies where the underlying business is sound should look to navigate through the restructuring environment to mitigate against unsustainable debt burdens which have been brought about by the incredibly challenging economic headwinds...”

At the moment the economic situation is changing rapidly, thanks to the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, rising interest and borrowing rates and increases in the costs of raw materials.

In the last week alone, one piece of research carried out by ACP Altenburg Advisory has revealed that interest rates over the next nine months are expected to cost businesses an extra £13.6bn annually in loan interest payments.

Investors have reportedly pulled a record £27.9bn from UK funds in the last month and according to the Insolvency Service insolvencies...

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Will the UK mini budget kick start the stagnating business economy?

Against a backdrop of soaring company insolvencies, up by 72% in the last year according to the Insolvency Service, and plummeting business confidence the new UK Chancellor unveiled a package of measures to try to deal with the current cycle of stagnation and rising costs.

The focus, said Kwasi Kwarteng, would be on growth and the measures included reversing the rise in National Insurance payments, freezing corporation tax and cutting stamp duty.

The limit on bankers' bonuses was scrapped and there will possibly be 38 new investment zones in England.

This hugely expensive package is generally called trickle down economics, whereby the hope is that with more disposable income, investors and businesses will pass on the gains to those lower down the economy.

However, it is not a new idea and dates back to at least 1972, when a similar package ushered in several years of boom and bust.

Will it work this time?

Who can tell.

Certainly the stock markets and investors were not impressed and...

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How is your self confidence?

We have been talking for several weeks about mental health and how important it can be to business owners especially given the current perfect storm of financial pressures they are facing.

While over-confidence can be dangerous, so too can another condition, known as imposter syndrome.

Originally thought to affect mainly high-achieving professional women, psychiatrists now believe it is more widespread and can affect up to 30% of business decision makers.

Imposter syndrome is characterised by a feeling of being a phony in some area of your life, despite any success that you have achieved in that area.

It can be undermining liked as it is to a fear that someday the person affected will be found out and exposed as a fraud.

There are several characteristics from the perfectionist, the expert, the natural genius to the super person and they all lead to an inability to be realistic about the sufferer’s achievements, competence and skills.

It leads to constant anxiety and a lack of...

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Directors be warned!

A business no longer has to be in formal insolvency before the Insolvency Service can investigate directors’ abusing their powers over Covid loans.

Since December 2021 the service has been given powers to crack down on company directors who dissolve their firms to avoid making repayments on government backed loans.

These powers are retrospective to allow conduct that took place before the law comes into force to be investigated.

So far the service has banned three individuals from acting as company directors, for dissolving their companies to avoid paying back Covid support loans.

Directors can be banned for up to 15 years under the new powers.

Last year, before the new powers were granted the service successfully petitioned the Courts to wind up five limited companies that have been involved in abusing government loans, introduced to help businesses during the pandemic.

Directors should be aware of their legal obligations to run their businesses according to the various laws...

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Shareholder pay-outs, investment and the balance sheet

cash flow Jul 22, 2022

The Balance Sheet shows the company’s assets and liabilities and how much money the business owes to suppliers at any one point in time as well as how much money it has in the bank.

Central to this is the cashflow, which needs to be well-managed.

Given the current uncertainties over inflation, interest rate rises and the ongoing and well publicised Ukraine war, supply chain and recruitment issues it is more crucial than ever that businesses scrutinise the relationship between their debts and their equity.

A decade of cheap borrowing has, according to The Economist, resulted in a massive “borrowing binge”, where according to statistics compiled by Bloomberg average business indebtedness has risen to more than three times earnings.

At the same time, according to The Economist “The share of operating cashflows reinvested by American firms in new capital expenditure and research and development has declined over the past decade to 27%, from over 40% in...

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Tough trading conditions are no excuse for fraudulent behaviour

According to the law firm Pincent Masons more than a third of UK company directors disqualified in April and May 2022 had abused the Government’s coronavirus loan or job support schemes.

37 directors were banned by the Insolvency Service for fraudulent claims in the two-month period and 140 had been banned for abuse of Covid schemes in the year to March.

Now the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors is warning that ongoing tough trading conditions are creating the “ideal environment for fraudulent activity”.

And Financial Reporting Council (FRC) chief executive Sir Jon Thompson has warned of the “devastating impact fraud can have, including bringing entire companies to their knees” and called on directors to review and strengthen their internal controls to prevent financial losses.

During the Pandemic K2 Partners published a Board Briefing to help directors to understand their duties and liabilities and at the time we made the point that it...

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Keep your valued employees by giving them a stake in the business

employees employment Jul 04, 2022

The numbers of employee-owned businesses have more than doubled in a year, according to the Employee Ownership Association (EOA).

There are now more than 1,000 Employee Owned businesses in the UK, it says, compared with 500 in 2020.

As trading conditions become increasingly difficult thanks to a combination of factors, including the war in Ukraine, post-Covid supply chain disruption and the difficulty in recruiting skilled people, employers have turned to EOTs (Employee Owned Trusts) as a way of both spreading the risks in business and in keeping and rewarding staff for loyalty during the pandemic.

There are also tax benefits from turning a business into an EOT.

But there are a number of things to consider in structuring and formalising an EOT and it is important to understand exactly what a business is getting into.

The questions, according to accountants Price Bailey include:

  • What is the commercial purpose of an EOT?
  • Is it suitable for my business?
  • Who will be the controlling...
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