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8 changes that could affect your business’s money this summer

4-minute read

Sam Bromley

29 July 2022

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There have been a number of recent money changes that could affect how small business owners manage their money.

And with the cost of living increasing, it’s important to stay on top of these updates to help you plan and budget effectively.

1. The National Insurance threshold has increased

When the government announced a National Insurance hike last year, the cost of living crisis hadn’t completely hit (although small businesses were already experiencing supply shortages and rising costs).

The 1.25 percentage point increase eventually happened in April 2022, amid high energy prices and a record jump in inflation.

The government subsequently decided to increase National Insurance thresholds to let people earn more before paying tax. Here are the changes for the self-employed:

  • Class 4 ‘lower profits limit’ (the threshold at which you start paying) has been annualised at £11,908 (it was £9,880 from 6 April-5 July and is £12,570 from 6 July)
  • Class 2 contributions are set at nil for people earning between £6,725 and £11,908

You pay National Insurance as part of your annual Self Assessment. Your return for 2022-23 will be due in January 2024.

For employers, make sure that you’re claiming the Employment Allowance, which reduces your Class 1 National Insurance liability by up to £5,000 (up from £4,000 last year).

2. When will inflation slow down?

The current inflation rate is 9.4 per cent. This has been driven by increasing fuel and food prices, as consumers struggle with the cost of living crisis.

Inflation means that it costs small businesses more to buy materials and stock. You may be faced with deciding whether to pass increases onto consumers.

When it comes to contractors and freelancers, you might be looking at ways to increase your rates, so you make enough to cover your business costs and day-to-day living.

The Bank of England has increased interest rates to 1.25 per cent to tackle inflation. It says it can’t predict “exactly how high” inflation will go, but it isn’t likely to hit the high levels that people experienced in the past.

Read our SME Insights Report to find out how small businesses feel about their current challenges.

These three steps may help small businesses:

Audit your prices. A fresh break even analysis could help you work out whether price increases can lead to better profit margins. But don’t take this decision lightly, as customers and clients may be used to current prices.

Audit your costs. Similarly, take a new look at your expenses to see if you can reduce them. Can you cut any inefficiencies? Lean manufacturing principles may help you find ‘waste’ in your current processes.

Come up with new plans and forecasts. Your plans may need to adapt to a changing world. Take a look at your business plan to see whether there’s anything that needs updating. You can also create a new cash flow forecast and update your budget.

3. What are the leadership hopefuls promising?

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are battling to become the next leader of the Conservatives – and by extension, prime minister.

But what are they promising to do for your money? Here’s what we know so far.

4. At retirement age? Get free pension guidance

You might have pensions from old jobs or be paying into a personal pension that’s suitable for the self-employed.

If you’re 55 or over and want to access or transfer a pension, providers now need to tell you about free pension guidance from Pension Wise.

This is to stop you from making a bad financial decision.

As Pension Wise can only offer guidance, not advice, they can’t recommend what to do. But they will discuss the options available.

You don’t have to wait until you’re 55 to speak to Pension Wise. You can book a free appointment if you’re:

  • 50 or over
  • have a personal or workplace pension
  • unclear about your options

You can also get in touch with Pension Wise if you have any general questions about pensions.

5. Got old paper banknotes? Spend them now

If you have any old £20 and £50 paper banknotes at home or still circulating in your business, you should think about spending them.

They won’t be legal tender after 30 September, so if you don’t use them, you’ll have to exchange them with the Bank of England.

In June, the Bank of England said that £8.2 billion in old £50 notes and £6.3 billion in £20 notes were still in circulation.

6. The Recovery Loan Scheme has been extended

Following suggestions that a permanent Recovery Loan Scheme replacement might be needed, the government announced in July that they are extending it by two years.

The details are:

  • up to £2 million is available for each business
  • the minimum funding is £1,000 for asset and invoice finance and £25,001 for term loans and overdrafts
  • the total amount offered is up to the lender, who will do credit and fraud checks
  • the annual interest rate, upfront and other fees can’t be more than 14.99 per cent

The government guarantees 70 per cent of the finance to the lender.

But the borrower is 100 per cent liable and lenders may now ask for a personal guarantee, meaning you could lose your home if you don’t repay.

7. Banks warned over small business repayments

With the cost of living hitting small businesses hard, the FCA has told banks that they should treat small business customers fairly when it comes to recovering debt.

The FCA looked at the collection practices of 11 banks. They detail these main problems:

  • banks agreeing unsustainable payment plans with customers (essentially establishing repayments that customers can’t afford based on what they’ve told the bank)
  • staff not being trained to support customers effectively and make fair decisions
  • a lack of clear policies that identify and support vulnerable customers
  • a lack of quality assurance and testing for processes, meaning it’s more difficult to be fair to customers and easier for problems to be undetected

The FCA has given feedback to individual banks, but it wants to see action from the sector as a whole.

8. More businesses are able to save money with Help to Grow

If you have one employee (who isn’t an owner), you could save up to £5,000 on the cost of new software through Help to Grow: Digital.

The government expanded the scheme’s eligibility after complaints that it didn’t reach enough businesses (you previously had to have five employees).

You can get a discount on these types of software:

  • customer relationship management
  • digital accounting
  • ecommerce

How have you been staying on top of your money this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photograph 1: marvent/stock.adobe.com

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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