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Remote working…..keeping you connected

With the Government announcing its latest measures and encouraging us to work at home if possible, to help the delay phase of the UK’s response to COVID-19, we are now in uncharted territory in the workplace.

Whether you think the global response is an overreaction or not, what is likely to happen over the next few months is undoubtedly going to be unprecedented.

Companies are now facing employees having to work in isolation. As a precaution over the last week many employers have trialed working from home before the Government announcement.

 “We’re being forced into the world’s largest work-from-home experiment and, so far, it hasn’t been easy for a lot of organizations to implement,” says Saikat Chatterjee, Senior Director, Advisory at Gartnerhttps://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/with-coronavirus-in-mind-are-you-ready-for-remote-work/

Whether at home or in the office, employees are continually accessing data as part of their daily tasks.

Few organizations feel prepared for large-scale remote work, but you can take steps to make the experience productive.

The internet has enabled both companies and employees to maximize their potential through remote work. Even if your technology or infrastructure is inadequate, there is still plenty of time to implement a quick fix that will prepare your teams for working in isolation.

Communication:

It is important to ensure your team continues to communicate even when they are away from the office. Communication may become a struggle if companies do not have the appropriate technological infrastructure or culture in place to implement.

Leveraging mobile email apps, instant messaging platforms like Slack and internal social media platforms will ensure your team is still able to communicate in an efficient and effective manner. Ensuring that you have all the current personal details for staff is important, mobile numbers and ensuring staff have access to their emails is essential.

Task management systems like Trello, Monday.com and Clubhouse will also be valuable systems to utilise to ensure your teams stay on task.

More established tools like Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom can help you keep in touch with colleagues, customers, suppliers and stop your business from grinding to a halt.

Remote Access:

Some companies will still need to access programs or files from their work computers or servers. You can use Microsoft OneDrive to sync your files as part of Office365 or setup remote access to your normal PC from home. It was important to make sure these programs were up and running before isolation became widespread, however your external IT provider will be able to arrange in your absence.

Here are a couple of recommendations:

Good Chrome Remote Setup Free: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/chrome-remote-desktop/gbchcmhmhahfdphkhkmpfmihenigjmpp

Teamviewer: https://www.teamviewer.com/en/

Company Data:

If bookkeepers and sales teams genuinely can’t do their job without access to company data on servers or computer’s in the office, then there is little point in sending them off to work from home without access to those files.

Many accounting solutions are now cloud based making remote access easy, however, for those that are only accessible in the office such as Sage50, it is important that a remote access software is used or you make use of Sage Drive – see here.

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Utilising a data reporting tool like Cascade50 which uploads Sage50 data to the cloud for teams will also be of benefit. It will allow business owners to understand their cost base, cash position and profile of sales being achieved whilst in shutdown. Cascade50 can easily be setup without access to your site, using your external IT provider to install the connector alongside your Sage50 data. It takes around 5 minutes and you would be able to access all your data, insights and analytics within the hour.

Data protection is also an important factor when accessing data from home. GDPR has ensured that software vendors comply with keeping data secure, however, home computers may have to be properly secured and employees reminded about data security and protocols. This will need to be discussed with your IT provider.

Cloud-based productivity tools and other employee-facing technologies are increasingly prevalent in today’s workplaces so this shift should not be a culture shock and I predict that this will be the start of a significant change in the way people work. 

The sudden large-scale remote-working change across the UK will likely create opportunities for workplace efficiency improvement and cultural changes in how we work moving forward.

The real challenge is to ensure that the health and well being for staff is maintained as best as possible. Employers are required to protect the health, safety and welfare of all employees, including those who are working away from the office. Whilst working from home has historically been viewed as a luxury or perk – there is a real danger that staff become sedentary and this is not good for either mental or physical health and well being. So as well as the obvious risk of COVID-19, employers need to ensure home working is viable and encourage regular exercise (at home when in confinement) and be open about the challenges we will all face…….communication is vital.

End.

Cascade.bi becomes Cascade50.com

A fresh new look has arrived to data reporting for Sage50 from the team at Cascade50 – check out www.cascade50.com for more information.

Out of the box – sales overview dashboard

Priced at just £45/month in the UK for an unlimited number of users

Cascade50 provides vibrant, insightful and unique drill down dashboards for customers using the Sage 50Cloud Accounts platform. The service is available in the UK, Ireland, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Based in Norwich, UK, the team have used their extensive Sage 50 knowledge to transform their customers Sage 50 data into beautiful, insightful and crucially valuable business dashboards.

The product is designed to be used by the entire business, from the CEO, Sales Directors, Finance managers through to Operations and credit control. The product can add value across the business.

Check out www.cascade50.com for more information.

Sage50 dashboards by Cascade50

Cascade.bi

Sage 50 Business Intelligence platformAnnouncing the launch of Cascade.bi – which started life as a project in Mint Consult and was formally transferred to Complete Analytics Limited in 2015. Cascade.bi provides SMEs with beautiful Sage 50 reporting through its Business Intelligence platform, built by the in-house development team. Cascade.bi was officially launched in early 2017 using its own proprietary platform, which provides SMEs with instant access to their Sage 50 data. The platform has been created for the whole team within an SME and multi layer access can be customised to ensure the team have access to the appropriate dashboards for their role, with the ultimate aim of helping decision making within the business.

The Cacsade for Sage 50 platform is an easy to use, out of the box system with pre-defined graphs and analysis which do not need customised. The team are able to provide bespoke reporting for an additional fee.

For the first time the information from Sage 50 is available on the move, through your mobile device, iPad, tablet or smartphone as well as desktop.

You can experience a free 14 day trial at www.cascade.bi

Oxford BioDynamics Limited

Oxford BioDynamics (OBD) is a health-care service company with a proprietary biomarker discovery platform.

Read more →

Chronos Therapeutics Limited

Chronos Therapeutics is focused on drug development through discovery and repositioning FDA/EMA approved drugs Read more →

5 Myths about Automatic Enrolment

Auto Enrolment has already begun for large businesses, and is just around the corner for small businesses. With not much time left, it appears that many business owners are worried and confused with what lies around the corner. In the article as well as our specialist edge (See above) articles we aim to take the stress of the unknown away.

The first common myth is that if you outsource your payroll then you do not need to worry about Auto Enrolment. This however is not true, as an employer you are legally responsible for making sure that you are compliant with Auto Enrolment. Information on what you need to do to prepare for Auto Enrolment can be found on our sister website at www.mintmis.com/auto-enrolment/. The pension’s regulator recommends that you allow yourself and your company from 12 to 18 months in order to prepare and implement the requirements of Auto Enrolment.

A second myth is that if you ask your payroll team to work extra hours, then you will have no need for change in your systems. With compliance a mandatory requirement of Auto Enrolment the new pension’s arrangements will have to be introduced into your system or indeed a new system. With new processes, you will likely find that the administration burden of additional record keeping and data submissions to the pension’s regulator may be a step too far for your current team, with all the new and added pressures. To help you save time and money you could look to payroll software that automatically complies to the Auto Enrolment legislation, for a closer look at such software see our sister website http://www.mintmis.com/sage-50-payroll/.

The third myth is that because it is believed that many people will opt out, that you do not need to have everything set up in time for your staging date. Scottish Widows recently conducted a survey that contradicts the original belief that as many as 30% of workers could opt out of Auto Enrolment. They found that only around 8% of people will be looking to opt out of the scheme. You are also as an employer, required by law to automatically enrol any eligible worker (Aged above 22 to 74, earning above £9,440 and working within the UK).

The Fourth myth of Auto Enrolment is that if you already have a pension scheme within your workplace, mean you don’t need to worry about Auto Enrolment as you can offer your employees this scheme. Auto Enrolment is part of the Workplace Pension Reform. If you are an employer within the UK then you are by law obligated to address your current scheme and compare it to the requirements of Auto Enrolment and make any changes that may be required to make sure that you’re scheme complies with the new laws. You will have new legal duties and conditions that you may find your existing scheme does not meet. You will also need to make sure you asses all of your employees eligibility for Auto Enrolment and not just those who are in your current scheme, as all eligible workers must be enrolled, and it is their decision if they choose to stay within the scheme or not.

The final myth is that you don’t need to start Auto Enrolment too early as you can use the 12 weeks postponement to gain extra time. Auto Enrolment will take you time to plan and prepare for, which is why we advise you do this well before you start your staging. Once you have made all necessary arrangements however, Auto Enrolment is manageable once you get to grips with it. Postponing Auto Enrolment will not necessarily make things easier for you and your payroll team to manage. There are certain rules that need to be followed and these could cause problems and more work, such as the obligatory letter you need to send your employees if you do choose to postpone, telling them you have postponed, and then once you begin to stage you must reassess your employees.

Don’t be held back and confused by mere rumours that you may hear. Putting off your responsibilities now will only mean hassle in the long run. There is no need to panic about Auto Enrolment; we have many useful resources on our sister website www.mintmis.com and in our up and coming newsletters including our Specialist Edge segments by David Perry from Alan Boswell Group. We also sell fully compliant software with the Auto Enrolment Legislation which can be found at http://www.mintmis.com/sage-50-payroll/.

Two new interns joint Mint Consult

We are excited to welcome Jade Aldworth and Neil Kelly to the growing team of developers at Mint Consult.

The appointments made through the UEA and part-funded by the Norfolk and Suffolk LEP allows the company to help local graduates obtain and develop skills whilst also opening up their career prospects.

The appointments of Jade Aldworth and Neil Kelly add to the strength of the Mint Consult team. Both have relevant degrees obtained from the University in the past 3 years. Mint has previously worked with the UEA to identify talent and in 2014 successfully recruited Josh Rayman following a 12 week internship with the company.

Mark Donaldson, CEO of Mint Consult said; “The UEA scheme has proven very successful for connecting industry with recent graduates, and we are delighted to be able to offer young people the opportunity to gain relevant work experience and ultimately enter employment”.

Not forgetting RTI

We now know that automatic enrolment is soon to be the next big thing for payroll, but that doesn’t mean RTI (Real Time Information) should take a back seat.

RTI is as important as ever, and we’re still here to help you with any queries you may have. We still have many online resources on our website about RTI including what RTI is and how what steps you as a new business need to take in order to prepare for RTI.

Common questions we received last month were around month end and the employer payment summary (EPS). To help you understand whether you need to submit an EPS and if so, how to do it correctly.

To remind yourself what RTI is by watching our video here www.youtube.com

If you’d like more information on RTI please visit our sister companies website at www.mintmis.com or contact us on 01603 516350 or email us on support@mintmis.com

New appointment to support rapid growth

We are delighted to report that Josh Rayman joins as a full time developer following successfully completing a 12 week internship with the company, organised through the University of East Anglia.

Josh brings with him experience of web development, graphic design and software development.

Internship through UEA

We are delighted to report that Mint has appointed Josh Rayman in August 2014 as a software developer.  He joins following successfully completing his degree at the UEA and has specific interests in web design, software development and graphic design.

We welcome Josh to the team for the next 12 weeks.

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