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With fears still looming over the cyber-attacks that started on Friday it would appear that they are slowing with few reports of new attacks in Asia and Europe.

Many firms have employed experts over the weekend in attempt to prevent new infections however Microsoft have warned that these attacks should serve as a wake-up call.

A total of 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries were affected, with the attacks preventing access to a computer or its data. The WannaCry ransomware has demanded money to release the data and if no payment is made within seven days it threatens to delete the files.

It also demands £230 ($300) to restore access to the data however, the ransomware warning said that the price will double after three days but organisations are being advised to not pay any ransoms.

It has been said that the US delivery company FedEx has been affected along with 61 of the UK’s NHS organisations. Renault had to halt production in France had to be halted and Russia’s interior ministry also reported 1,000 of its computers infected, according to the BBC.

So What Really is WannaCry?

It is the programme used in the global cyber attacked, known now as WannaCry, ransomware or Wanna Decryptor. It was spread through phishing emails and on systems without up-to-date security patches.

The attack could infect more systems, according to experts from the National Cyber Security Centre. However, the National Crime Agency (NCA) along with investigators from around the globe are trying to find those responsible for the attacks.

Top Tips for Avoiding Infections

  1. Make sure that you keep your software up to date to ensure any bug fixes are made to your computer.
  2. Be wary of emails with attachments where you are unsure of the original source.
  3. Avoid dodgy websites and downloads so that your computer is at lower risk of infection.
  4. Back up any of your important files so that you always have a spare copy.

Business in Hastings got in touch with digital experts, McPhersons Chartered Accountants to learn more about digital tax and the impact this could have on you and your business. 

What is ‘Making Tax Digital’?

In 2015, HMRC issued a paper, ‘Making Tax Digital’, which proposes that by 2020 they will have moved to a fully digital tax system. This is not just about software, it signals the end of the traditional tax return.

By 2018 businesses, the self-employed and landlords will need to use software or apps to keep business records and to provide financial information to HMRC on a quarterly basis.

Digital accounts will give small businesses greater certainty and control over their tax position. Those who pay more than one type of tax (corporation tax, VAT, PAYE) will be able to take a single view of their total liabilities across all taxes. There will also be the option to pay tax as you go to help manage your cashflow.

Will it apply to everyone? 
  • The gross turnover or property income threshold of £10,000 is currently being discussed and it is likely that only the smallest unincorporated businesses may be exempt. It will not apply to employees or pensioners unless they have additional income of £10,000 through property or through self-employment
  • Deferring may be possible by one year for gross turnover or income of over £10,000 but below a threshold to be determined.
  • A very small minority who genuinely cannot use digital tools will not have to comply. More details on this are promised.
How do I convert my business to digital? 

Digital record keeping will normally mean using a ‘cloud’ or an online accounting package which records income and expenditure as near to real time as possible. McPhersons will be supporting their clients with this transition with software such as Quickbooks Online, live bank feeds and apps such as Receipt Bank as well as assisting with the transition to cloud accounting.

For some clients this will be a huge change. There will be no more handing over a bag of receipts at the end of the year! Even the use of spreadsheets to record transactions will be superseded by cloud accounting. For those who do their own accounts and tax returns, the more involved system could result in them paying more tax than they need to.

What third party information will be included in my digital tax account?

HMRC already has access to third party information and this will be used more effectively and in real time – i.e. not just looking back historically but looking at live data. For example, collating information from employers, pension providers, banks and building societies. Going forward it may also include income from dividends, peer to peer lending and property and savings income.

How will making tax digital work?

HMRC is currently building its own system alongside software providers like Quickbooks, Xero and Sage. Businesses will need to ensure the software they choose is compatible with HMRC.

McPhersons already offer their clients access to licensed software with all these packages with Quickbooks being the preferred choice for many of their clients. Accountants are going to have a key role in helping their clients make the transition and McPhersons have already gone through the move from desktop to cloud with many of their clients.

How can McPhersons help me convert from desktop to the cloud?

McPhersons are cloud accounting specialists and are trained in a variety of cloud accounting software. If you are not yet on the cloud, they will advise the best solution for your business.

What are the benefits of digital accounting?

There are ways to get the most out of on-line/digital accounting and these include:

  1. Utilising ‘bank feeds’ which can automate much of the bookkeeping work – automatically posting entries to avoid you keying them in.
  2. Expense tracking – taking photos of your expenses and sending these direct to your accounts software which then posts it.
  3. Automated invoicing.
  4. Digital payslips for payroll.
  5. Always having up to date information to enable business and tax planning.
What will it cost my business to convert?

The cost to businesses of introducing digital accounting as well as the continuing costs of maintaining digital records and submitting quarterly updates are concerning.

Free software has been promised by HMRC but seems yet to materialise. However, McPhersons can offer a fixed fee and an affordable monthly payment solution that fits your business model whether you are a sole trader, partnership or limited company. This would cover all the work that is required.

There is a view that reporting online could lead to mistakes and fines.

HMRC is attempting to reassure people that they can report online with confidence and are also being more lenient when mistakes are made. The consultation proposes a graduated model with each non-deliberate failure to submit information on time attracting penalty points. Only once the points reach a set level would a penalty be charged.

They are also willing to share more information with software developers about the triggers of tax investigations. Developers can then adapt their software to warn taxpayers to make amendments before final submission of information.

Tax is a complex issue and most businesses will retain their accountant to ensure they are not paying more tax than they have to.

How will I pay my tax going forward?

You will be able to view your current tax position at any time and can choose whether to pay in a single payment or pay as you go. Voluntary Pay As You Go will apply to those unincorporated businesses, sole traders and landlords, in respect of their Income Tax/National Insurance Contributions/Capital Gain Tax, from 1 April 2018, to VAT from April 2019 and to incorporated businesses, in respect of their corporation tax affairs, from 2020.

Contact McPhersons on 01424 730000 or info@mcphersons.co.uk and we will get you fully prepared for the important changes ahead.

 

 

If you’re thinking about setting up or moving your business to St. Leonards on Sea, Hastings or Eastbourne and are looking for the minimum of hassle in set up and want ongoing management then check out this video to see why having your business in these locations will not only provide a prime location it will also provide you with a great work/life balance.

If you want to know more then visit their site here.

Business support service Locate East Sussex is backing a competition to celebrate the unique creative offering along the East Sussex coast.

The 2016 Coastal Culture Trail Film Competition has been launched to promote the East Sussex coast’s unique contemporary art journey and its wide appeal throughout the country. The winning film maker will receive £1,000 to cover costs and will also get a year’s membership of Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill and Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.

The Coastal Culture Trail is the brainchild of the three venues which are located along a beautiful 20-mile stretch of coastline in East Sussex and is supported by Locate East Sussex, which promotes the county as a great place to live and work.

Philip Johnson, Director of Locate East Sussex, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Coastal Culture Trail to support this fantastic competition. In East Sussex, we are very proud of the Jerwood Gallery, Towner Art Gallery and De La Warr Pavilion which attract audiences of all ages from across East Sussex, the south east and well beyond with their broad range of events and exhibitions.”

Jessica Courtney Bennett, of Coastal Culture Trail, said: “We are delighted to be working with Locate East Sussex to showcase the universal appeal of East Sussex through our new competition. We want all budding directors to get involved and have a go at getting our vision onto the big screen.”

Designed to challenge perceptions and increase awareness of the arts and culture offering in the area, the trail also aims to highlight other points of interest, like the natural beauty of the South Downs, historic attractions, and local food and drink, encouraging visitors to discover their own Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings.

The search is now on for a film maker to create a short one-minute promotional film for the Coastal Culture Trail. Individuals or small groups can enter.

The deadline for initial story board submissions is Sunday, July 31.

For more details, visit www.coastalculturetrail.com/film or on twitter using the hashtag #MyTrail

The project has been funded as part of the Driving Devonshire Forward (DDF) initiative by the Coastal Communities Fund. DDF is managed by Eastbourne Borough Council and Eastbourne Homes Limited.

Hastings based web design agency, The Rye Agency, has teamed up to work with a national magazine and Apple. Mixmag are the world’s largest dance and electronic music magazine, established in the UK in 1982. They approached The Rye Agency to design and develop a new website and integration with Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, and Google AMP.

The Rye Agency, in Robertson Street in Hastings, was one of the first agencies outside the States to have access to the Apple News platform.

Working closely with Mixmag and Apple’s offices in London and California they produced a bespoke integration between the Mixmag’s website and Apple News. Mixmag’s website is powered by software called CraftCMS (Content management System) for which The Rye Agency are seen as one of Europe’s leading experts.

Mixmag’s Apple News integration was referenced on stage at the 2016 Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Although The Rye Agency manages large websites for well known brands like Mixmag; Mary Portas Pilot Love Ashford; Rocksound; and North London Cares, they spend the majority of their time and resources working with local companies making affordable websites to help boost Hastings’ digital economy.

“2016 has seen a seismic shift in how the web works and what people are expecting from it. Platforms like Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, and Google AMP are taking people away from traditional websites – and new devices like smart TVs and wearables are changing how we interact with the web at a fundamental level. The rise of these new technologies is rapidly changing how people use the Internet,” said David Roder, Director and Founder of The Rye Agency.

“As a town we’re starting to see real improvements – with the re-opening of the pier, new businesses opening up, and world-class spaces like the Source Park. We need to make sure our town is growing in the digital space too if we’re going to be able to compete in today’s economy.”

To help grow the local digital economy, The Rye Agency is holding a free workshop for local businesses to share expertise which business owners can use to improve how they use the web. The event will be hosted at The Creative Media Centre, Robertson Street, Hastings on Tuesday the19th July 2016. Entry is free but places are limited. Businesses interested should reserve their place by contacting David Roder at The Rye Agency.

For further Information contact David Roder, David.roder@rye.agency  01424 559 689 / 07974 941393

The Let’s Do Business Eastbourne Expo will be taking place on Thursday 30th June at the Winter Garden.

Here is what will be happening throughout the day.let's-do-business-hastings

10.00 – Doors open

10.30 – Sussex Business Bureaus Speed Networking – Booking will be required in advance

12.30 – The Digital Garage from Google FREE workshop – Tell your story online

13.30 – The Digital Garage from Google FREE workshop – Reach new customers online

14.30 – Guest speaker Declan Curry formerly of the BBC

16.00 – Exhibition closes

Pre-Registration for Eastbourne is now open, to save you time on the day please register here.  Upon arrival at the Exhibition make your way to the Pre-Registraion visitors desk, where a name bag and visitor guide will be available to you.

The University of Brighton, Hastings Campus are inviting people to go and see their final year undergraduate projects and learn about them from their creators.

Students from their BSc (hons) courses –  Digital Games Production, Internet Computing, and Computer Systems with Networking will be demonstrating their projects on themes including Augmented Reality, Data Visualization, Serious Games, Human Computer Interaction, Web Development, and more.

The event will be taking place on Tuesday 24 May at the Hastings Campus between 13.00-17.00.

For more information contact Jon Nicholson here

Hastings design consultancy Wave have received a highly commended award from the Geographical Association for a site they have designed.

The print and web design company were asked to ‘make a dewave2finitive site that had up-to-date information, could be viewed on any device and has social media as part of its DNA.’

The Wave team came up with The Discovering Galapagos website.  Discovering Galapagos is a bilingual multimedia education resource from the Galapagos Conservation trust and the Royal Geographical Society.  The website designed is an expansive and engaging resource for anyone interested in this unique environment.

Longer refund rights have come into effect under the Consumer Rights Act including new protection for people who buy digital content.

Any consumer who buys a faulty product is entitled to a full refund for up to 30 days after the purchase and this includes second-hand goods when bought through a retailer.

Customers buying digital content such as ebooks or online films and music will not be able to get a refund but can get a replacement if the downloads do not work.

Downloads can sometimes infect a device with a virus and if this happens then the provider would be liable to pay compensation for getting it removed.

In many shops, retailers do offer a refund to consumers who have changed their mind about a particular item but there is no statutory right to a refund.

The Consumer Rights Act says that products must be of good quality to match the value of the product and also be fit for purpose and meet the expectations of the consumer.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a situation every homeowner dreads: finding yourself locked out of your home or car, or worse – returning to find someone has tried to gain entry. Help is a phone call away as the newly formed Hastings locksmith company Bowie Lock & Security is a professional service based on experience in locksmithing and security installations since 1973. Offering far more than just home entry, this firm can provide a full residential service including security surveys, new lock fitting, door entry systems, alarms and CCTV amongst others. The company also offers a full range of commercial services including grilles, gates and window bars, fire alarms, master key systems and security lighting.

Hastings web design firm FAT promotions helped the company by designing and creating the new website. The Managing Director Stuart Bowie said: “they came up with a clear plan and schedule so we knew from the outset what to expect and when, then worked closely with us throughout the process and making changes as we went was never a problem.”

The most important thing for the site was to be 100% mobile and tablet friendly so as to ensure Google’s latest regulations were met and the site could benefit from better listings. “We put ourselves in the mindset of the end customer,” says FAT promotions’ Managing Director Fiona Allman-Treen. “If we find ourselves locked out the first thing we do is look to search results on our mobile, so we ensured the design kept all the critical elements at the top of the screen and easy to tap to call directly.”