Archive | January 31, 2017

Company Car Or Company Car Allowance – Which Should I Choose

If you have the choice of a Company Car or Company Car Allowance, you should check out how much Company Car Tax (or Benefit In Kind Tax as it is also known) that you would pay if you accept a company vehicle, and then decide whether to go for the Company Car or cash. You could be better off taking the car allowance and leasing a car yourself, even though the allowance is taxable.

The Cash for Car scheme has become increasingly popular with both employers and employees in recent years. Employers save time and money in not having to source, maintain and administer a fleet, although they must always be aware of their Duty of Care and Health & Safety responsibilities. And as an employee, you have more freedom to choose the car you drive, and you could even be better off if you dont spend all of the company car allowance you receive. However, some employers do stipulate the type and age of vehicle that is acceptable, according to the job you are doing.

If you choose to accept a Company Car Allowance, its worth considering Car Leasing vs Buying. Car Leasing (also known as Contract Hire) is simply the hiring of a vehicle for an agreed period of time for a fixed monthly rental. Unlike Short Term Rental or daily rental, a car lease is usually for 2-5 years, after which you can simply hand the car back with no further commitment or, in some case, you may be able to purchase the vehicle if you wish. Car Leasing is a convenient, cost-effective and hassle-free way of financing a new vehicle, and there are many benefits of leasing a car. It enables easy budgeting of your motoring costs, and the fixed monthly payments can even include servicing and maintenance. Also, theres no need to worry about depreciation or disposing of the vehicle at the end of the contract.

Dont forget that if you choose the company car instead of the company car allowance, all your motoring costs (except private fuel) will be taken care of by your employer including insurance, road tax, servicing and repairs. If you choose the company car allowance, you will have to pay for these things yourself.

If you choose a company car allowance and lease a vehicle which you use in the course of your job, youre entitled to claim from your employer a mileage allowance for each business mile travelled. H.M. Revenue & Customs approves certain mileage rates that employees can claim for business travel, and the current rate is 40p per mile. Check the HMRC website for the latest information.

Part way between the company car and a company car allowance is something called Employee Car Ownership. This is where your employer gives you a car allowance, but the company organizes the finance deal and takes care of insurance and running costs. This may also be worth considering if your employer offers such a scheme.

Stop, Collaborate and Engage Small Business Communication Tools for Entrepreneurs to Navigate the Social Media Seas

Oldies but goodies…

The social media landscape has significantly changed the face of small business communication, but it does not mean previous technologies have been rendered useless. “Old” technologies, such as e-mail newsletters, instant messaging and message boards are still active and can still increase productivity (and sales!). Many entrepreneurs already have a strong understanding of these technologies and have probably used them in the past. Consider dusting off that old e-mail newsletter you belong to – you know, the one you haven’t read in 2 years – or do a quick search of what message boards are out there. You may be reminded of and surprised at how useful these seemingly out-of-date services can be.

Some you’ve probably heard of, but may not know the full power of…

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become the platform for business-focused social networking. By setting up a LinkedIn profile, users are able to post their work history and professional profiles for others to see. This tool presents opportunities for generating new business, reconnecting with old colleagues, and finding a job.

While many business users may have a LinkedIn profile, they may overlook the other small business communication tools LinkedIn provides. For example, LinkedIn Groups are a simple way to create an online forum where customers, prospects and industry insiders can exchange ideas. Similar to an e-mail newsletter, the Group allows invited LinkedIn users to interact with one another and for a company to communicate key messages. With some simple work on the front-end to get the group moving, an entrepreneur can then take a back-seat to let the patients run the asylum – while still maintaining his or her position as the group leader.

Wiki

A wiki (rhymes with tricky) is a website that allows users to edit the content that is posted on the page; the trick to wikis is ensuring the edits are accurate. Wikipedia, for example, is an editable online encyclopedia in which users can edit the content. The reason the information remains accurate is Wikipedia has designated individuals to monitor updates.

From a business perspective, a wiki is a great small business communication tool for companies with geographically distributed offices or teams. Users can post a document or other materials on an internal wiki and allow a group to review and edit the material in one place. Beyond the team collaboration, the wiki also helps with “version control,” a problem that occurs when some users do not have the most up-to-date version of a document. Microsoft’s SharePoint offers companies the ability to make internal wikis, as well as discussion boards.

Some small business communication tools you may not have heard of…

Yammer

Yammer is an enterprise microblogging service – think of it as Twitter for internal business communication. The service allows businesses to create their own internal communication channel and limit use to those who have a valid company e-mail address.