spring statement

Spring Statement 2022

The Chancellor recently unveiled his Spring Statement. With a background of increasing wage, fuel and raw material costs and rising inflation, it was hoped the Chancellor would bring some respite for small businesses and sole traders.

Thankfully there is some small respite coming for small business owners and sole traders. Before you get too excited, the 1.25% National Insurance increase and the new Health and Social Care Levy still kick in from April 2022.

However, the Chancellor announced 3 measures that will directly help small businesses and your lower-paid employees right now:

  • Employment allowance will increase by £1000 to £5000 per year from April 2022. For businesses with employees, this will help to offset some of the extra Employer NI costs coming in from April 2022.
  • From July 2022 the National Insurance Primary Threshold will increase to be in line with the income tax personal allowance, i.e. from £9880 to £12570. This means anyone earning less than about £35,000 will pay less National Insurance during the year.
  • A 5p per litre cut in fuel duty for 12 months starting 6 pm 23rd March. This is a saving of approx £100 per year for the average car driver, £200 for the average van driver and £1500 for the average haulier.

Other announcements of merit included:

  • A planned reduction in the lower rate of income tax to 19% from April 2024. However, 2 years is a long time in politics!
  • VAT on the installation of energy-saving materials, e.g. solar panels, to be cut from 5% to 0% (not applicable to Northern Ireland).
  • The qualifying expenditure for R&D tax credits will now include data, pure maths and cloud computing costs.

The Chancellor hinted that we can expect more tax simplification and reform, particularly to tax reliefs and allowances in the Autumn Budget. .

The Do’s and Don’ts of pricing in a recession

No matter how big or successful your company is, maintaining business throughout a recession is hard. With fluctuating demands, losses in sales and competitive price drops, the whole experience can feel like a rollercoaster ride. So how do you survive the economic chaos?

To help guide you through, we’ve created a comprehensive list of pricing do’s and don’ts. These tips can help you find long-term solutions to your turbulent, but hopefully temporary, problems and ensure you not only survive the recession but develop strategies to help you thrive long after.

The Do’s

Do promote your value

Unforeseen circumstances can quickly change the landscape of the economy. However, these external factors shouldn’t directly impact the value of your products or services. Therefore, we believe the best way to navigate a recession and stand out from your competitors is to focus on communicating the intrinsic value of your products and services. Through effective marketing, you can remind your clientele of your unwavering commitment to high-quality service and customer satisfaction regardless of the economic landscape.

Not to mention that it will take you a lot longer to do all your finances than a professional anyway. Why would you waste your time when you could be doing what you do best and what you actually enjoy?

Do control your costs and address inefficiencies

Controlling your prices during a recession is incredibly important. Why? Because the decisions you make during times of crisis strongly reflect your company standards and values. Make the wrong call, and it can irreparably damage your reputation and relationships with customers, which in turn will harm your sales long after the recession is over.

Instead of altering your prices to increase your profit margins or sales, focus on streamlining your companies’ processes. Address any inefficiencies, create long-term solutions and invest in your team’s development.

Do create valuable bundles

Dramatic price cuts aren’t as effective as you may think – not to mention, they’re almost always unsustainable. Instead, you want to find solutions that will accommodate your customer’s current needs without compromising the value of your products or services.

Creating valuable bundles and packages is one solution that is both reliable and sustainable. By offering a range of bundles (from low to high value), you’re able to attract a variety of customers and cater for their varying needs. As a result, you’re able to drive up sales, preserve the value of your products and services, and accommodate your cost-conscious customers throughout these difficult times.

Do keep looking ahead

Every business owner, CEO and partner knows that for a business to succeed, you must constantly be looking ahead – innovating and improving upon your current position. (Even amidst a recession, you must focus on long-term solutions.) Therefore, it’s vitally important to focus on your research and development strategies. Assess your customer’s wants and needs – ask them how you can improve and really listen. You can then use this information to improve upon and create products/services that incentivise customers to start (or continue) investing in your business.

The Don’ts

Don’t rapidly reduce your prices

There are several reasons why rapidly reducing your prices is an ineffective and ultimately damaging tactic during an economic downturn. However, we believe the most significant reasons are:

  1. You can destroy your long-term value. If you lock in a long-term price drop, you’re signaling to customers that the value of your products and services are significantly lower than your standard price point.
  2. Discounts won’t resolve your demand issues. If your products or services aren’t currently in demand, lowering your prices won’t change a thing. For example, there was little to no demand for theatre tickets at the height of the pandemic. However, since restrictions have eased, sales have returned to normal, and box offices have successfully maintained their original prices.

So don’t fall into the trap of lowering your prices – they are not the problem.

Don’t rapidly increase your prices

If you’re experiencing a sudden surge in sales – fantastic! Be grateful, not greedy. Rapidly increasing your prices when your products/services are in high demand implies that you are taking advantage of your customers and their needs. Not only will this alienate your customers and damage your reputation, but it can also lead to legal implications. So, whenever you are increasing your prices, make sure you do so ethically and sustainably.

Don’t get into a pricing war

If a competitor reduces their prices, don’t immediately assume you have to do the same. Competitive pricing will only damage your value (and your profit margins). Now, that isn’t to say you can’t develop a cheaper product or service that’s of equal value to your competitor’s offering – but you should only cheapen your services if you have adjusted their intrinsic value.

Remember, customers will respect your pricing so long as the services or products you provide are of a high standard.

Don’t focus on quality over quantity

Guiding your business through a recession is no mean feat. It takes a lot of courage to maintain your prices and values. However, this perseverance will help to preserve your reputation and uphold your high standards. So, instead of taking a reactive approach, focus on being proactive! Find long-term solutions, provide non-monetary discounts and drive sales based upon the quality of your products and services.

How accountants can make you look good

When you as a business owner think of an accountant, you think of taxes, financial reporting, or loan applications. While this is all correct, it is just the beginning!

Accountants may be the frontrunners when it comes to your finances, but we can offer so much more than that. One of our most valuable offerings is making you look good!

Here are some ways that accountants can help you with your image:

1) They help you look professional 

Accountants can help you manage your accounts, budget smartly, and fix your cash flow, all of which are the foundations of a successful business. They can also help you to automate your business and work more efficiently.

For example, automating your invoicing system so you no longer need to chase unpaid invoices or reconcile payments manually. Not only does this save you a lot of time and free you up to focus on other areas of your business, but it also makes you look professional to your clients as they can see that you’re on top of your processes.

2) They help you remain competitive

One of the most common mistakes that business owners make is that they become too chargeable. I.e., they are not charging enough for their services. While this may bring in more business initially, in the long term, it will start choking your business growth.

By pricing correctly, you can let go of the clients who are not paying enough or who don’t align with the direction of your business. Once you start pricing what you’re worth, you’ll soon see that you will attract the right types of clients – the ones who support your growth and overall goal.

3) They help you look & feel confident

With an accountant by your side, you will be able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. You will be making smarter business decisions such as increasing your capacity by outsourcing working rather than hiring a full-time employee, and you will have the figures you need at your fingertips. Figures that will give you, your clients, and any other third-party peace of mind.

4) They help to reassure your clients

If your business grows suddenly and takes on more clients, some of your existing clients may be worried that you can’t handle this growth, or they worry that they will become less important to you. To reassure your clients that you’re growing sustainably, an accountant can help you forecast the future and outline your business strategy. They can help you make necessary changes now so that you’re prepared for any growing pains.

Invest in your image 

A good impression of your brand is incredibly important, so invest in an accountant to make sure that you give off a positive one. From helping your business run smarter, to outlining the future for your business, an accountant can help you to reassure yourself and your clients that you will sustain value and growth for the foreseeable future.


Minimum Wage Update 2022

With costs going up across the board it is unsurprising that the national living wage is also being increased. However, for businesses, particularly small ones, this could have a dramatic effect on wage bills going forward.

From April 1st 2022, the minimum wage will be increasing from £8.91PH to £9.50PH. This is a 6.6% increase on salaries. There are also increases in the lower age brackets, please follow this link to find out full details – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/minimum-wage-rates-for-2022 

We encourage you as a business to sit down and review what you are paying your staff, particularly if you have people close to the new minimum or if you are wanting to attract new team members. Keep in mind that £9.50PH is now an entry level salary and if you are wanting to attract high quality candidates you may want to pay them more than this. It is also sensible to look at what your competitors are offering in terms of salary. A good place to start is the supermarkets who are currently hiring at £11 PH.

Work out a plan of if and how you need to increase your team’s wages and then implement the changes by the 1st of April.