2017: A year of more uncertainty

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It’s been another roller coaster year for the business community, with Brexit continuing to dominate the agenda and a General Election that added to the overall feeling of uncertainty.

But yet again business people have proved to be a resilient bunch, coping with whatever is thrown at them and getting on with the job.

In our look back at 2017 here are just a few of the issues and developments that we’ve reported to you in our monthly newsletter. As always our aim was to deliver news that you can use.

In February we told the story of Hilary Cookson and how her vision has created a very special place to wine, dine and shop in the heart of the Ribble Valley.

She can trace the history of her business in Whalley back 60 years and her involvement stretches almost four decades.

Today three businesses under one roof attract tens of thousands of visitors a year to the picturesque village – making it a marvellous lifestyle destination and boosting the local economy.

We also brought news of leading structural engineering specialist TRP Consulting and its appointment to work on the creation of a new hotel at Doncaster Racecourse – home of the world’s oldest ‘classic’ horse race.

WNJ client TRP Consulting, which is based in Manchester, specialises in providing civil, structural and environmental engineering consultancy services.

Its structural engineers have a strong track record of delivery on large complex building works and have widespread expertise in the leisure and hospitality sector.

In April we reported on how the new £400 million Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund had been welcomed as a potential new driver of growth that will unlock commercial potential across the region.

In the first four weeks after its launch more than 530 small and medium sized businesses had contacted fund managers about the options available. The first of those businesses had secured cash.

March’s newsletter featured a long-established family-owned printing company fashioning a role for itself servicing businesses across the North West and beyond.

Top Print, based in Penketh, Warrington, has been established for more than 30 years delivering copy, print and design services to companies and organisations in a wide range of sectors.

We also asked the question “Are SMEs ready for the digital tax challenge? A report by the UK200Group, which represents independent accountancy and law firms, revealed that 65 per cent of its members’ small business clients do not currently use dedicated software to manage their accounts.

In May we examined a new report that revealed late payments were standing in the way of growth and job creation in SMEs across the country.

It revealed that the issue left small and medium sized enterprises a staggering £266bn out of pocket last year.

June saw pension spot checks hit the North West Inspection teams visited dozens of businesses to check that qualifying staff are being given the workplace pensions they are entitled to. And it promised similar exercises across the country.

In August we reported that an organisation dedicated to development and growth in Lancashire was extending its business support surgeries from next month because they have proved so popular.

The Business Clinic had been holding its fortnightly ‘peerworking’ sessions on Friday mornings.  Now, to meet the demand, it was adding a Wednesday morning session.

The question we posed in September was ‘how ready are you for GDPR?’

Nearly half of at small and medium sized business owners have not heard of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, according to a report this month. And less than one in ten UK SME bosses were said to understand new GDPR rules that come into force in May.

Productivity was the topic in October. We revealed how the average small business currently spends a massive120 days a year on administration such as paperwork, accounting and recruiting.

And that accounts for more than five per cent of the total manpower for the average SME, according to cloud accounting software expert Sage.

If productivity was increased by the same amount an extra £33.9bn could be added to Britain’s GDP every year, its report revealed.

Last month’s newsletter revealed how new figures showed  that HM Revenue and Customs is disputing more self-assessment forms than ever before – and collecting a rising amount of cash from personal tax investigations.

According to the new figures, reported in The Times newspaper, the amount of money netted from personal tax investigations rose from £856m to £1.4bn last year – an increase of 64 per cent.

I adopt a proactive approach working with owner managers to assist them achieve their business plans and medium to long term objectives. By close involvement with my clients I play a strategic planning role and act as a key advisor in corporate assignments involving acquisitions, disposals, mergers and restructuring of businesses. Business development, Corporate finance and restructuring, Acquisitions, Disposals, Mergers, Retirement planning, Preparing businesses for sale, Strategic and Succession planning.