Do you need to handle Bacs payments?

Written by Mark on August 12th, 2014

Bacs software is a kind of payment and documentation software which automates the payment and claiming of direct debits and direct credits across the entire financial sector. Any organization receiving or paying direct debits or direct credits in the UK has to make sure that it has the capability to receive Bacs payments, in order to safely, securely and legally carry out these transactions. Bacs is a term often used to refer to the universal UK automated payments system. In actual fact, the phrase means the not-for-profit group, owned by 16 UK banks and building societies, which controls and regulates the payments systems.

Direct debit is used by approximately 75% of UK adults to pay phone bills or subscriptions, or to make donations to charity – and it’s far more common for each adult to hold multiple direct debits. Meanwhile, direct credit is used by companies to pay recurring wages or salaries, and by UK benefits offices to distribute the hundreds of different benefits involved in the UK system: housing benefit, job-seekers benefit, child benefit etc.

In actual fact, most households pay out multiple direct debits and many receive multiple direct credits. At the same time a company or charity of any size typically needs Bacs software in place to be able to make or receive Bacs payments. When the organization gets bigger, its accounts payable departments are generally flooded with multiple direct debit payments. This means that most companies above a medium size – and some small to medium enterprises – use automated Bacs payment software to make sure that their payments are protected, accurate and efficient.

Although some still work with manual processing, this can leave offices open to fraud or simple losses through inefficiency. When a company receives and makes payments globally, an additional layer of complication is added. A good automated payments solution will validate and verify bank account information at every phase of payment, and will have software accredited by the Bacs group in place. This accreditation is a labourious process which involves direct supervision and training. This means that if a properly accredited software provider is employed, direct debit and direct credit payments are guaranteed to be safer and more effectual.

Companies often take to automated payment solutions because of their combination of cutting costs with wonderfully increased productivity. Payments can be most effectively handled by a expert software solution – and if companies choose an accredited Bacs software solution provider, a huge weight is taken off the manager’s back.Â


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The coach hire London residents need

Written by John on August 4th, 2014

Historically known as a ‘green and pleasant land’, Britain is best seen from the road. And luxury coach hire is an absolutely way to explore the county in the old-fashioned way, taking in all the beautiful fields, valleys and hills that the UK is famous for.

The tradition of group charabanc trips lives in on the modern world in minibus hire. It was a memorable day when high-speed rail travel was invented and it transformed British industry and society for ever – but it also came dangerously close to eliminating the experiences which inspired the likes of Wordsworth and Coleridge Wandering through quaint market towns, almost-forgotten villages, and remote but beautiful landscapes is when you can see British regions at their best. Nowadays, some people even travel across this small country by plane, meaning that all they experience are the sterile luxury bars in airports, rather than choosing coach hire London to Swansea or Manchester to Edinburgh. This means that the lush green countryside, proud Pennines and gorgeous lakes Britain has to offer are now seen by fewer and fewer people.

For those choosing a holiday using coach hire London is an obvious starting point for a journey. Not only is the city within easy driving distance of the most spectacular parts of southern England, including Hampshire’s New Forest – ‘Jane Austen’s Country’ – the historic cities of Oxford and Winchester and the sandy beaches around Bournemouth and Kent – but minibus hire that gets you right into the countryside are often extremely appealing to city folks whodeserve to escape the grime, sweat and overcrowding for a week or two (or simply for a long weekend!)

These city people can enjoy fantastic trips with extend family or friends in amazing locations in England, Scotland and Wales. Whether they’re heading to a remote British resort or taking a whole holiday on tour, stopping off at boutique B&Bs and gastropubs on the way, minibus hire is an increasingly appealing way to plan a memorable group holiday. Luxury coach hire is the way to get the old fashioned experience of properly touring the countryside, without having to quarrel\fight\squabble over who has to drive, pull over to argue about the route or suffer minor breakdowns if the SstNav goes kaput! Plus, the views from the high seats in a coach are truly phenomenal.

If you fancy a long trip, luxury coach hire can take you to such stunning sights as the Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ in the Pennines, the coastal road along the Atlantic at Ardnamurchan, Britain’s most westerly point, Britain’s most iconic Roman monument: Hadrian’s Wall. Or try out traditional cheeses in Cheshire, camp out on the ivory sands of South Wales’ Three Cliffs Bay, or hike through one of Britain’s 15 National Trails: with the of your air-conditioned and well-padded coach to see you on your way!

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London schoolwear supplier in growth for September

Written by Mark on July 28th, 2014

School clothes have always been a headache for London parents. With hundreds of different schools across the UK capital, including private schools with strict uniform codes, state secondaries with obscure or specific requirements, or primary schools requiring school uniforms for young children that get dirty in an instant, a good London schoolwear supplier is an invaluable asset to a hardworking parent.Â

Parents have to be extremely careful to make sure that children’s school clothes adhere stringently to all school regulations. Many London schools use school uniform as a way to accustom young children to the concepts of obeying rules, proper grooming and personal care. This means that infractions can result in letters home and even punishments for your child. Parents who send their children off at the beginning of term with easy to find uniform pieces that aren’t quite in line with school regulations usually find themselves making a second trip after all to secure the right items – and this second trip happens when a busy term has already started, visiting London schoolwear suppliers which may have run out of the correct items.Â

Selecting the right skirts, trousers, shirts, jumpers, blazers and ties for your child is another challenge. School clothes should be selected to allow maximum room for growth, while also fitting the child well. Tha is because, while children are easily embarrassed by clothes that don’t look “right” on them, uniforms can get extremely expensive if you don’t allow room for growth. To get the perfect balance, it’s a good idea to have a mediator. Take your children to a reputable supplier, who will have years of experience and can use that experience to pick out the perfect fit.Â

Many parents pick up other essential school items at the same time, as this makes a change from trying school clothes on when children get weary, and leaves you fully prepared for a new term. So purchases like sports bags, book bags, rucksacks, lunch boxes and stationery can be bought alongside clothes at the best London schoolwear suppliers. It’s also essential to know which activities each child is doing in the coming term, so that you can buy kit for Guides or Scouts, Cubs or Brownies, judo champions or beginner ballerinas!

Buying new school uniforms doesn’t have to be a hassle. Good prices can be found from reliable suppliers by doing a little research before going out on your round of the shops. With a small child, or multiple children, in tow, it’s best to know exactly where you’re headed ahead of time. And remember to stop off for a cake and a cup of tea!

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Reduce duplicate payments risk with software from Fiscal Technologies

Written by John on May 8th, 2014

As with every step forward and with the crossing of each new frontier, the constant expansion of business – and the constant development of accounting technology and multiplication of business models and strategies – presents firms with new challenges and new dangers. Your Accounts Payable department is now a hugely more complex beast than its predecessors of even a decade ago were: and it is laden with burdensome and serious new responsibilities. What’s more, any increase in the size of your AP department, let alone in its complexity, necessarily opens the door to an increased threat of errors: and they can add up. The new complexity and diversity of the ways in which AP  departments receive payments has created mind-boggling new tasks – and this means new dangers of things falling between the cracks. In a more complex, higher-stakes department, old dangers like fraud, duplicate payments and overpayment still loom large, but in new ways.

Rubbing out routine errors like duplicate payments, faulty procedures or just failures to get the most out of the programmes that you use requires proactive self-auditing. In order to really get to grips with the challenges of a modern and expanding organisation, you need an excellent Accounts Payable audit system. That’s where Fiscal Technologies’AP Forensics software package comes in. AP Forensics is an easy-to-use system which can give you an oversight of your whole AP operation from A to Z.Â

The technology choices that businesses make are now crucial to the success of your accounts payable audit operation. The recovery audit software that you use has to be absolutely top of the range – or else it is simply useless. Fiscal Technologies’ accounts payable audit software package AP Forensics falls firmly into the former category. One of AP Forensic’s greatest virtues is its simplicity. The system is designed to be as straightforward and intuitive for AP professionals as possible, so that information gleaned from your AP Forensics audit can be quickly converted into effective corrective action.Â

Accounts Payable Audit software isn’t the only important weapon in Fiscal Technologies’ armoury. Recovery audit software, designed to assist with recovery of money lost through overpayments or other errors which are detected after the transaction has been completed, is a vital tool: AP Forensics has the software solutions that are needed for effective recovery audits, as well as audits of your AP department’s procedures.

Fiscal Technologies’ decade of experience in the AP field points to the fact that if your staff are not adequately motivated; or if they are not suitably prepared for the fast pace of technological and organisational change, then even the most well-meaning management strategies for improving AP will leave your team feeling shell-shocked rather than empowered. AP Forensics is the software package that you need that can deliver the clear information and hard facts that AP teams require to navigate their way confidently through the changing AP environment.

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Document processing and storage efficiency

Written by Sandra on March 7th, 2014

A document management system allows you to store all of your business documents, physical and electronic, on the same network. Physical documents are converted to electronic ones using a set of document processing technologies, which can take a number of different forms. (Invoice processing just applies these technologies to your accounts department.) The resulting files may be Word documents, if you have more complex software such as optical character recognition, or they may be JPEGs, TIFFs and PDFs if they are straightforward scans.

The advantages of document processing are immense. Companies can literally become paperless, since everything can be uploaded and saved centrally, allowing anyone with permission to access it as they require it. However, it’s not a panacea, and used unwisely there are certain problems. One of the reasons you’ll want to research using such a system is because it is more environmentally friendly, since it doesn’t waste paper. Another is that documents can be found and shared efficiently.

However, there are knock-on effects to other parts of your business. Your IT infrastructure will need to be up-to-date and future-proofed to prevent issues. A common problem to anticipate is storage space.Â

Document processing turns physical papers into electronic files. The software involved does this in a range of ways and with a variety of results. Some outputs (file types) are more useful than others. So, for example, a simple scan programme might give you a TIFF or PDF. These file-types can be optimised – or they can contain a huge amount of unnecessary information. Where files are larger than they need to be (and they can run to many tens of megabytes) your storage space will fill up rapidly. Sooner or later you will have to do something about it to keep your system working. That might be adding more storage (which is reasonably cheap but can come with the complications of restructuring), moving to the cloud (with data protection issues) or carrying out a complex de-dup.

The solution is to think long-term when you are moving to a paperless system. Document processing technology should be chosen on your future needs, not just current ones or simple price level. Otherwise, your document management system will become overloaded and you will end up paying more for emergency storage. Invoice processing, too, could become over-complicated, with customer and supplier goodwill suffering as a result. Since this is something you probably wanted to address and streamline with invoice processing, it’s as well to ensure it doesn’t become a problem further down the line when the new system has been implemented.

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Shop for sale in London -€“ to invest or to rent?

Written by Mark on March 19th, 2013

Commercial property London is subject to change at a second’s notice. Evolving demographic trends, new economic figures, the ups-and-downs of the retail sector: in order to secure a bargain you have to be prepared to put in the time and keep up with what’s happening. The choice of whether to plan for shops to rent in north London or go all-in and look for a shop for sale in London will depend very much on what relative costs are doing at any point in time, as well as the long-term prospects and, of course, your own financial status.

As things currently stand, there is heavy downward pressure on retail rents across London. There are a number of reasons for this, but chief amongst them are continuing economic anxieties, and limited confidence in the Eurozone, as well as the competition represented by the ever-growing online market. A number of high-profile bankruptcies – very recent and more broadly since the beginning of the Credit Crunch – have underscored the fragility of the high street. 2012 was not a good year, with Blockbuster, HMV and Jessops (to name just three) vanishing from the scene.

Why might this be good news? Well, it’s a brave firm that looks to set up in this climate, for starters. But those businesses which do establish in a recession are generally leaner and tougher than the ones which start in good years. Plus, rents are lower at the moment than at any period in the recent past. Empty shops mean decreasing rents, and many surveyors say the trend may continue longer still. This is in contrast to the industrial and office sector, where demand is gradually picking up.

Where does this leave you? If you are looking for shops to let in north London, there may never be as good a time as now. If your business is viable and waiting to start – or expand – then you can pick up a bargain and hit the ground running. If you’re a landlord looking for a shop for sale in London to add to your portfolio, then this presents a rather different dynamic, with lower yields than you might otherwise enjoy. The key thing is to remember that the commercial property London market is not homogeneous; the headline figures you read in the papers mask a vast difference between sectors and in different areas. Choose carefully, plan well and act decisively – and you won’t regret it.

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Powerpoint presentations: what’s the trick?

Written by Sandra on March 14th, 2013

Powerpoint design is something that anyone can do – and people with little or no training often do make Powerpoint presentations for all manner of reasons. In the best cases these are for internal use. However, when someone without any real talent or experience is creating a slide show for use in your sales presentations, you have a problem: you are trusting the future of a product or service to a very weak link in the chain.

The catch is that Powerpoint is so simple to use that it’s very much a victim of its own accessibility – or, more accurately, your sales pitches are the victim. Everyone has been to a terrible presentation where Powerpoint is used in such a way that it not only adds nothing – it detracts from the overall impact. In the worst cases, you will have a speaker delivering a monotone address from the front, with exactly the same words appearing overhead on a slide show. Contrary to popular opinion, this does not make boring material any more memorable. It just serves to send people to sleep.

Powerpoint is a remarkably powerful tool, if used properly. It needs to be integrated with your talk from the start, not added at the end as an afterthought (because that’s exactly what it will seem to be to your audience). Similarly, you shouldn’t repeat the content of your talk word-for-word on the slides. Although there’s some scope for drawing out facts and figures you want people to retain, the slides should complement, not duplicate your spoken presentation. One other point to remember is to keep your slides brief. Long sentences that distract the audience are unhelpful; pithy information is what you want. Keep it sparse – both the content and the number of slides. Down overload people. Use the slides to do something you can’t do with the spoken word, such as display a graph or chart that illustrates a key point.

Powerpoint design is critical to successful sales presentations, but comparatively few businesses understand the role that convincing Powerpoint presentations play in securing a bid. So important is it that there are companies dedicated to creating successful, integrated pitches, making the most of Powerpoint through years of experience. They can also offer training in how to use the best techniques, releasing your slide shows from the mediocrity that so many suffer from – to the detriment of the audience’s attention and your business.

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External louvres: what they achieve for your organisation

Written by John on March 5th, 2013

In its simplest form the brise soleil is little more than a textured wall, and yet in some of its better-known incarnations this architectural device is stunning and detailed in its execution. The Milwaukee Art Museum is world-famous for its folding, automatic wing-style brise soleil. However, in other cases they just take the form of a concrete surface – horizontal or vertical – with spaces in. The idea is that these will let through some but not all of the sunlight that hits them. The exact amount will rely on a number of factors, including the climate, latitude, direction the building is facing and the time of day and year. Variations on this theme include glass louvres and other forms of external louvres. Although they may seem very different, the same principles are employed, and for the same ends.

Effectively, the purpose of all these devices is to limit the amount of sunlight coming through them at key points, whilst still making the most of it at other times. Take a large, modern office building, for example, which may have a broad south-facing window. In the winter this will be a asset to the building (so long as it is properly insulated) since it will let in large amounts of sunlight – thereby cutting down on artificial lighting and heating and their associated expenses. Passive, natural heat and light are typically more comfortable than central heating and electric lights. However, in the summer such a large window would present a significant problem. Without adequate shading, the amount of heat and light it lets in would make the office space hotter than was comfortable (or, in some jurisdictions, legal). The purpose of the brise soleil and external louvres are to vary the incoming sunlight at different times of the day and year. Low-angle morning/evening and winter light is encouraged; hotter, high-angle midday and summer sun is blocked.

Some glass louvres are equipped with photovoltaic systems to generate power as well as limit unwanted light and heat. In other cases, external louvres are automated so that their angle can be customised for the exact circumstances and weather conditions; the one-size-fits-all approach is useful up to a point, but can often be improved. But even a basic brise soleil can make a huge difference, cutting down the need for heating and air conditioning, and therefore improving energy bills in the process.

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Coach hire London -€“ for an easy journey

Written by Sandra on December 26th, 2012

With diesel prices set to go up even further, travelling independently is growing ever more costly. Unfortunately, public transport is suffering from a lack of investment at the same time, meaning that for many people there is no decent alternative to filling up the car and driving themselves. There are many ways around these trends, such as lift-sharing and home-working. For group excursions, minibus hire or coach hire london are ways of spreading the costs between a number of people, whilst still taking a single vehicle – something that has several advantages. Luxury coach hire is another option, since the money saved in the economies of scale enables better vehicles to be rented.

Clubbing together in such a way has a range of benefits. Not least are the advantages for the environment: instead of a dozen or two dozen individuals or families travelling separately, they can all go together after meeting at a local rendezvous point. That means a fraction of the carbon emissions and other pollutants associated with driving. There are financial savings to be made, too. Although a single large vehicle like a bus or coach is more expensive to run, it moves many people. The larger the vehicle the more proportionately inexpensive it tends to be, as the unit cost falls. Minibus hire or coach hire London can therefore be a significantly more cost-effective way of organising corporate travel than many of the alternatives – including driving separately or taking public transport, which is often just as problematic.

A further benefit is the logistical side of things: there’s no need to think about getting everyone to the same place at the same time. Instead, the provided driver (or drivers, for long journeys) will take everyone – meaning that there’s not necessarily a designated driver in your group, so everyone can relax and enjoy the trip. This is particularly welcome in the case of excursions to the continent, where luxury coach travel really comes into its own. coach hire london offering this as an option will have some outstanding vehicles, packed with all the mod cons and entertainment you would usually expect from a flight. Even in the case of minibus hire, it is often far more convenient to have everyone go together. That means no one gets lost, and if you are following an itinerary there will be no waiting around if one or other car breaks down or takes an unexpected detour.

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Bacs software helps businesses keep on top of their accounts

Written by Sandra on November 14th, 2012

bacs, if the term is unfamiliar, stands for Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services. If these words still sound like gobbledegook, bacs payments basically allow people with bank accounts to make and receive payments and transfers very quickly, and without paperwork. Nowadays bacs software allows employers to get money to their employees’ bank accounts almost instantly, with the longest delay rarely lasting more than three days. Altogether, this payment method is fast, effective and safe: workers no longer need to worry so much about spending their last pennies and having nothing in reserve, as long as they are certain of when pay day will be. Obviously, this behaviour is not very responsible and probably wouldn’t be recommended by any financial adviser. However, in our current climate where pay is often low, jobs are scarce and budgets are stretched, it is often very hard to make one’s pay packet last over a month. Freelance workers and the self-employed might also recognise the scenario of spending one’s last pennies but feeling assured that more work will be just around the corner: there are times when we just have to keep our hopes and motivations high and not get down about the prospect of continued instability.

Large employers are increasingly in favour of employing temporary or freelance staff: they have no responsibilities when it comes to freelancers; they need not issue sick pay, or indeed holiday pay. But these big businesses aren’t necessarily the evil profiteers that movements such as Occupy make them out to be. The economic crisis has hit even the largest companies hard and it is better that they continue recruiting freelancers and temporary staff than they make permanent job cuts and only keep their fixed staff on. Also, bacs payments allow the big employers to be loyal and fair to their employees: they are often well aware that some of their staff members, particularly the young, can barely afford their rent, let alone the kit and clothes that would allow them to fit in with their superiors.

So, as long as the employee has provided finance with all the correct banking details, the employer need not let them down or leave them in difficulty – bacs payments are fast and secure. It may sound like scaremongering but many under 25s will identify with this situation. For this ill-fated age group, the bacs system is reassuring. And for employers, bacs software allows them to keep on top of their accounts.

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