Welcome to the Spring Edition of our newsletter – BeCOS Bookkeeping Matters.
Firstly, welcome to our new website! We’re really excited about it but please bare with us, we’re still working on it in places.In this edition we have hints and tips about household renovations from Chris at Technique.
We’ll be telling you “Things you need to know about autoenrollment”.
Don’t forget to tweet us your answers to the Guess Who section!
Can you guess who this is from the COS team? This photograph is either an employee or COS Member.
Tweet us your answers and we will tell you who the mystery person is in our next edition!
Answer to last guess who: It was Office and Digital Marketing Manager – Becky Garrattley!
Things you need to know about Auto-Enrolment
It’s important that all businesses are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to auto-enrolment. If it’s not set up and processed correctly your company could face costly fines and unhappy employees. To help, we’ve compiled a few things you need to know.
You must enrol all employees
Some of your employees might already have pension schemes in place. Some might prefer to find their own pensions. Whatever the reason, you could have employees who do not want to be automatically enrolled onto your scheme. No matter their opinion, as their employer, you must enrol them.
They can choose to opt out later if they so wish.
Don’t wait until your staging date to set up a scheme
You need to ensure you give yourself plenty of time to plan. There are so many steps involved that you can’t possibly do it all on one day.
If you leave it too late you’ll be faced with fines and that will just add pressure to you and be costly.
Check staff changes
Once you’ve set your scheme up, it’s not enough to just leave it until your staging date.
3 months before you’re due to start autoenrollment you must check if any of the following have changed:
- Staff Earnings
- Staff ages
If you’ve took on new staff you’ll need to take them into account too.
You can use a Duties Checker to help you put them into a scheme.
Every 3 years you must put everyone back into the scheme
Even if you have employees who don’t want to join the scheme you must re-enrol them (if they meet the criteria) every three years.
The best thing you can do to reduce the workload for this is to prepare and plan. Have everything ready for automatic re-enrolment and you’ll reduce the pressure on yourself.
Employees can still opt out as they have done before.
The process is ongoing
Be prepared to change your regular processes to include autoenrollment. This will involve consistently monitoring:
- Staff Ages
- Staff Earnings
- Requests to join or opt out
You’ll also need to keep accurate records.
If you’d like a free consultation about autoenrollment please email: email@example.com or call 0161 850 3355.
Charity Chit Chat
Sci-Fi Pantomime raises star amount for Cancer Research UK
From the 18th-21st February our fundraising group and their partners, The Music Group, put on a pantomime that won’t easily be forgotten.
The show began with smoke machines, music from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and in entered a mysterious robot. He then proceeded to hoover the floor whilst listening to The Ketchup Song and then the audience were laughing away.
From Darth Vader to Doctor Who we saw an array of science fiction characters make appearances in the show. One moment the audience were singing “Star Trekking across the Universe…” and the next they were dancing to the Time Warp.
After the final performance, they had an honourary guest speak to the audience: Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Institute – Richard Marais! Local CRUK fundraising Manager: Natasha Foxford, and the venue’s Minister Brian, also had kind words to say.
So how much did it raise?
The show raised a huge £2,500 profit of which £1,500 will be donated to Cancer Research UK. COS & Friends and The Music Group have donated £1,000 to the venue.
The venue was local Church: Ashton on Mersey United Reformed Church. They generously allow The Music Group to practice and use the church free of charge. Church members attend the shows, volunteer, star in them, and even cancel paid bookings so that the show can go ahead. They could not do the what they do without the support of the church. The Church also provides support to the local community and donates to a wide range of charities regularly.
We would like to thank everyone who supported the show! The next show will be 2018!
COS & Friends have an exciting sponsored dog walk in the making for September (details will be released soon). They’re also starting to plan the next Masquerade Ball for 2018. Exciting times to come! To find out more about COS & Friends and what they’re up to please visit our charity page.
Kitchen and Bathroom Renovation Tips. An interview with Chris Garrattley from Technique Property Maintenance Ltd
Chris is the Director of Technique and a talented kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom fitter. He has provided various services to COS staff and members.
Chris even recycled a kitchen from another house and installed it in Diane’s house and made it look brand new.
We asked him for his top tips for kitchen and bathroom renovations.
How can I best utilise the space in my kitchen?
There are a variety of gadgets and tricks that can create not only the illusion of space, but also enable the space to adapt to different situations. For Instance:
- Integrated Appliances hidden behind doors
- Under cabinet lighting to create different moods
- Plugs that “pop up” out of your work surface
- Instant hot water taps (no need for a kettle anymore)
- Filtered cold water taps (no need for filtered water jugs)
- Carousel units for your cupboards
- Under cabinet bins
- Integrated spice racks
There’s a huge amount of choice, and the possibilities are endless. You first need to start by planning what exactly you want from your kitchen. Ask yourself what you’re going to be using it for? For instance: do you need it to double as a dining room?
I want a bathroom that’s low maintenance. Any advice?
Many clients ask me this and it is possible. There’s a range of innovations out there and they’re coming up with new ideas every day. Here are some examples:
- Plastic/Composite ceiling products: They don’t need painting, they are mould and mildew resistant, easy wipe, and stain resistant. This is a “no brainer” product for most clients and so I fit these regularly.
- LED Lighting: they are both cheaper to run and better quality than normal lights.
- Shower Screens instead of shower curtains: Shower curtains harbour mould and bacteria. Most people don’t realise that the “pink stuff” that gathers on them is bacteria. Shower screen are far easier to clean.
- Vanity Sinks: Having a vanity sink means you can hide away all your products so that you can have a clutter-free side. Often sides with lots of products on take more cleaning. It also means that you can hide things away when you’re having guests around.
I think it’s also important to mention that having an extractor fan is not enough to stop mould growing. The best thing you can do is open the window and put the extractor fan on when you’re having a shower.
I want to re-do my bathroom floor, what product should I use?
- Avoid carpet. I don’t see many bathrooms with carpets in nowadays, other than old ones. Carpets are a breeding ground for bacteria and you’d have to constantly clean it. If you’re cleaning your bathroom and you get bleach on your carpet, you’ve ruined it.
- Tile is quite a popular option. Tile is practical to clean and it looks very smart. However, it can become slippy; and it’s cold and hard on your feet. You can get underfloor heating but you’d need to think about how much you are willing to spend on your floor.
- Laminate tends to be my recommendation for most clients. Laminate flooring products have changed dramatically over the years. You can now have a 100% waterproof laminate floor for your bathroom. It not only looks lovely, but it’s not as cold and hard underfoot as tile.
What’s your advice when choosing a fitter?
Always go off recommendations. You can go and look at the job so you know what the quality is like.
A good fitter can make a cheap kitchen look very expensive.
Does your company just offer fitting or can you provide other services?
We can provide a range of services so the best thing to do is tell us what you need and we can go from there. If there are any services we can’t provide we have a wide selection of trusted partners. We work closely with plasterers, plumbers, painters, bricklayers etc. If your job requires more than we can provide we will contact them and create a quote from there.
If you’re looking at renovating your home and would like more information you can contact Chris on: 07930 375 316 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more details and to book click on the dates.
Understanding Accruals and Prepayments and how to apply them in practice – Thursday 6th April 2017
COS Members’ Meeting for Bookkeepers and Accountants – Saturday 22nd April 2017
Sage 50 Report Writer (Designer) – Tuesday 2nd May 2017
Xero Introduction Training Course – Monday 15th May 2017
COS Members’ Meeting for Bookkeepers and Accountants – Saturday 20th May 2017
Xero Intermediate Training Course – Tuesday 23rd May 2017
COS Members’ Meeting for Bookkeepers and Accountants – Saturday 17th June 2017
Meet Harry, an 8-year-old Jack Russell rescue dog who’s owned by bookkeeper Ann Tinkley.
Not much is known of his early life but it’s suspected he might be a cross breed as he’s quite stocky.
Days out on the beach, long walks in forests, swimming, and chasing balloons.
Anyone who fusses and feeds him, tummy tickles, sticks, treats, and balls.
Skills and qualifications:
- Altrincham Dog Obedience – PASSED
- The “Doggy House” Altrincham – EXPELLED
- Rixton Dog Agility – PASSED
- Walkease Doggy Day Care – CURRENT (and he thinks he’s top dog)
- Extracting food from humans