Time running out for BACS switch

The 40,000 businesses that use the BACS payment system have just six weeks to change to the new internet-based version of the technology before the old platform is turned off.

It is estimated that as many as 35 per cent of companies currently using BACS have yet to transfer to the new BACSTEL-IP platform, which is designed to be more reliable, more secure and faster than the old system.

Those that do not switch will be forced to make payments by cash, a far less secure method, or by cheque. Alternatively, they could employ an external agency to deal with these transactions, although this is likely to be a more expensive option.

Further information about switching to BACSTEL-IP is available on the website www.bacstel-ip.com or by calling the customer information line on 0870 240 8138.

Could sell but not sure for how much

A quarter of small- and medium-sized business owners plan to sell up in the next three years but almost half of them have no idea how much their business is worth, according to a poll of 500 SME directors by Tenon, the accounting and advisory group.

NOP, which undertook the research on behalf of Tenon, found that in spite of the high level of interest in selling the business only 52 per cent of the companies it approached had an exit strategy.

Among companies with five to nine employees, 32 per cent said they hoped to sell but only 37 per cent had an idea what their business was worth. This is in contrast to companies with between 200 and 499 staff, of which only 12 per cent said they expected to sell and, of those, 80 per cent said they had a good idea of the financial worth of their business.

Ian Beswick, director of corporate finance at Tenon, said: “Most owner managers start to think about selling after five to 10 years of operation. But in reality the best time to sell depends on the value of the business at the time, as well as lifestyle considerations.”

Green improvement to the bottom line

Businesses can significantly reduce their operating costs as well as helping the environment by investing in sustainable development, according to a new guide by EEF, the manufacturing body.

External pressure from legislation, taxation and customer demands is forcing companies to provide sustainable development.

The EEF guide provides practical advice on how businesses can improve their performance in areas of waste, water and energy management with case studies showing what some companies have already achieved. It tries to explain small-step changes that business owners can make to their operations that also create a significant improvement in the bottom line.

Copies of the guide are available from the EEF website at www.eef.org.uk.

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