woman in airport lounge

Overseas travel: what expenses are allowed?

Travelling abroad for work often presents more challenges than business travel within the UK, but expenses shouldn’t be one of them. As a general rule, you can claim for transport, subsistence and accommodation overseas just as you would at home, as long as you keep in mind HMRC’s ‘all or nothing rule’: to claim tax relief on business expenses they “must be incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of your duties”. Keep receipts Hold on to your receipts just as you would at home – not only will they demonstrate the amount that’s been paid, they can be […]

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A practical guide to your first overseas business trip

More than seven million business trips were taken by UK employees in 2016, the equivalent of thousands of travellers jetting off each day for work-related activities. For many companies, business travel is simply a regular, necessary occurrence, but for smaller or newly-established businesses, that first trip abroad is a landmark event – here’s what you need to know to get it right. Planning Planning as far in advance as possible gives you the best chance of both maximising your itinerary and saving on travel costs – and of course comfortably preparing what it is you need to do to meet […]

train travel expenses

13 tips for managing travel expenses

After payroll, travel is the second largest controllable expense for businesses according to statistics from Jupiter Research. But it doesn’t just come down to money spent on transport and accommodation: badly-managed expense reports, inaccurate data and time spent dealing with travel admin also drive up costs. But they can be reduced – here’s how. 1. Have a strong travel policy in place Many small businesses plan travel on an ad-hoc basis, dealing with trips as and when the need for them arises. But to effectively forecast travel costs you need to be clear on what can and cannot be claimed, […]

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Safeguarding staff overseas: How to make sure you are prepared for the unexpected

There is a world of opportunity out there and businesses are taking advantage of it. The most up-to-date travel figures show there was a 6% rise in international business trips in 2015 and a 30% increase in business travel expenses, according to the Office for National Statistics. And even with Brexit on the horizon, many British firms are embracing a ‘business without borders’ approach and exploring new markets. But what does this mean for your staff travelling overseas and how do you ensure you keep them safe and stay on the right side of the law when it comes to […]

great wall china

Doing business with China – what do you need to know?

It’s the second biggest economy in the world and continues to grow at a staggering rate. The number of middle-class consumers in China alone is predicted to more than treble to 480 million by 2030. UK-China trade is on the increase too having increased 2.5 times in the past 10 years and worth around £60bn annually. With these statistics, it’s unsurprising that in the wake of Brexit, many companies are turning their attention to the east and what it has to offer. But with huge cultural and structural differences to western countries, there is a lot to consider before making […]

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Opportunities in Asia: The mission to keep creative industries thriving after Brexit

UK creativity will thrive after Brexit – that’s the determined stance of those working in the sector. The industry, which includes film and television, theatre, video games and fashion, is worth £84bn to the British economy. Many of these areas have relied heavily on EU funding and the freedom to move between countries but in light of the EU Referendum, work is underway to ensure the creative sector doesn’t suffer. The creative sector is one of five being prioritised by the government in its Industrial Strategy Green Paper in a bid to address the risks to long-term growth as the […]

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What does an EU divorce mean for small businesses?

It’s the beginning of a new era. Article 50 has been triggered. After much anticipation, Theresa May has started the divorce proceedings from the EU. The process of negotiating that separation will now begin in earnest. But despite some fears the pound would receive a further blow and fall against currencies around the world, it has maintained a steady footing. So, what happens to British SMEs now as they try to ‘keep calm and carry on’? Professor Vikas S. Shah, a member of the UK Industrial Development Advisory Board and an entrepreneur with 20 years’ experience in business, said there […]

Are companies on the line if employees phone & drive?

This month there has been a clampdown on drivers using mobile phones at the wheel – with the number of penalty points now doubling to six, as well as a potential £200 fine and even disqualification. The issue of drivers using phones is widespread and it is hoped the changes will deter people from taking the risk. But what happens if your employee is caught using a phone at the wheel? According to Danny Clarke, operations director for employment law expert ELAS, companies need to be mindful of what guidance they give employees. “Do they allow staff to use Bluetooth […]

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Culture shock – why a country’s body language and customs mean the world in business

We’ve all done it. Visited a new country, not got up to speed on the cultural norms and then made a faux pas. But while a cultural misdemeanour gives you something to talk about with your friends, a lack of cultural awareness when visiting other countries, could cost you big in business.   Simon Taylor is a senior leadership consultant for Kaplan, with years of experience in international diplomacy having worked for the Ministry of Defence and as a lecturer at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy. Simon has many stories about navigating through the sensitivities of different countries. One such story […]

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7 things to consider when managing currency for business

The past year has been an interesting one for British SMEs. The EU referendum and the US election have taken their toll on currency markets creating fluctuations in the cost of overseas travel and expenses and buying and selling overseas. As of 15th February 2017, the pound is down 14% against the US dollar and 9% against the Euro compared with this time last year. For businesses, this means spending money overseas has become a lot more expensive. Business profits, cash flow and competitiveness can all be affected by exchange rate movements, meaning a keen eye on currency risk is […]

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Trump’s impact on currency markets, and when to buy dollars

It may seem like longer but it’s just over a year since Clinton and Trump first began to trade blows in the US Presidential Election primaries. And a lot has happened since then, in currency markets and world politics. Now that Trump is putting his first policies into place as 45th President of the United States, we take a look back at how the dollar has reacted to Trump’s journey to Presidency and how currency movements could affect you, your travel plans and your international payments in the coming year. Polling day anticipation In the run-up to election day the […]

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The right to disconnect: Is having ‘always-on’ employees good for business?

Picture this. You’re in a job interview and are questioned on your willingness to pick-up work emails outside of office hours. Eager to prove you’re a hard-worker, you say it isn’t a problem. One point in the bag, right? Wrong. In ‘burnout Britain’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that being ‘always-on’ is commendable, but could this attitude be frowned upon and even against the law in the UK in the future?   On 1st January, 2017, legislation came into effect in France dubbed ‘the Right to Disconnect’ which seeks to encourage a better work-life balance for workers. As a result, […]