Hard drive no space but little program and data?

I experienced that my 500GB had only 85GB left and getting less by the week but programs and data showed they only took 112GB. So where was the rest?

Did the entire disk clean up using system tools. Deleted all restore points. Limited restore point space to 80GB, deleted temp files and log files not needed. Savings were 2GB. So what was using the rest?

Searching on Google got me from numerous forums that this was/is a common problem but with solutions scarce.

Used a good free utility Windirstat tried to find out what was using the space. It only found 112GB as I knew was being used by the programs and data. I then changed the options in the utility to also show “unknown “files and hey presto there was the missing 323GB with a list of file types including a 16GB text file. Every program installed had files in the unknown space but none were accessible.  Just a huge blank block shown on the utilities graphical view and nothing one could do. No path just a list of files.

Went searching my folders again to see if I could find it. No luck. I then noted there was an icon with my computer name. In the past it showed as empty of folders. But when clicking on it this time a pop-up came up with an option to manage the space used. Clicked on that and a new pop-up showed named” Manage Windows Backup Space”. There it was. My missing 323GB. It had backed up weekly my data in a format only recognised by Windows. Considering it had done this for 2 years since installing Windows 7 Professional 64bit not surprising it took as much space.

As I back up my data on the cloud using Dropbox the backups were superfluous. I deleted them and recovered all the “unknown” space.

I also disabled the auto backup which is the default position when installing the OS.

So if your hard drive space is disappearing find the icon with computer name and delete the backups  done by Microsoft and disable automatic backup. There may be another way to access that pop-up using the control panel but I have not searched for that.

Richard Terhorst

21 May 2013

Gabelle Tax Analysis: HMRC taskforce is targeting private landlords

HMRC announced on 19 November the latest business sectors to be targeted by their task forces. This is the latest in a series of initiatives by HMRC, designed to clamp down on tax evasion and reduce the tax gap (the difference between the tax that ought to be paid and is paid).

In addition to targeting buy-to-let landlords in the South East (excluding London), other taskforces will be focusing on the alcohol industry in Scotland, the rag trade in the Midlands, North Wales and North-West England.

HMRC have estimated that the newly announced task forces should raise in excess of £17 million from these initiatives and they’re on course to collect £50 million in total from the 30 Task Forces announced since May 2011.

The taskforces are designed to operate ‘short, sharp’ bursts of activity and concentrate on specific trades in areas which are perceived as ‘high-risk’, and conduct announced and unannounced visits to businesses. There is a real risk that the businesses affected will face a full enquiry into their affairs and in the most serious cases HMRC may pass information to the criminal investigation teams to consider prosecution.

HMRC are not offering any additional beneficial terms for making a voluntary disclosure in relation to these initiatives. It is therefore essential that anyone who operates in these sectors and feels that they might be at risk should seek specialist advice to assess their options.

Noel Hankinson is a Tax Investigation Consultant at Gabelle LLP.

If interested for more information either contact me using the contact email form or phone 08450095360 – R Terhorst

Is the UK paying the price for staying out of the euro, or paying the price for staying in the sterling area?

If you are a journalist, the French are great. They provide the juiciest copy, which can transform the driest topics into cannon fodder for xenophobes, and realists alike.
This time the task of ramping up Anglo/Gallic prejudices has fall to the Governor of the Bank of France Christian Noyer.  Talking to the ‘FT’, he suggested that the City of London should be stripped of its position as the financial hub of euro trading. So that’s bonds, derivatives, equities – in fact just about everything. If it’s finance and involves the euro, then London holds the position that should belong to Paris.
Mr Noyer said: “We’re not against some business being done in London, but the bulk of the business should be under our control. That’s the consequence of the choice by the UK to remain outside the euro area.”
The funny thing is, however, that Mr Noyer might be right – or at least partially right.
He is wrong about stripping London of its pre-eminent position. It is not up to governments to decide which centres should be hubs. You can’t wake up one morning, and say let’s rid London of its status as a financial capital.
But the markets can decide to do this. And there are signs that this is happening, and this is the price the UK pays for not being in the euro. It has nothing to do with the wishes of politicians, just the reality of markets.

But it doesn’t seem very likely that Paris will take over from London, however, not as long as France insists on anti-market friendly policies. A recent survey from the Conference Board in the US recently forecast that
France will be the worst performing economy in the world over the next ten years or so.  The report may or may not prove to be right, but even if there is only a miniscule of truth in the report, it is hard to see Paris taking over from London in anything. See: Is France really set to be the worst performing economy in the world over the next ten years? 
Moving away from France and the UK, there is the issue of tax avoidance. We hear about the evils of Amazon, Google, Starbucks and co avoiding tax, but the truth is that they are multinationals, and an advantage of being a multinational is that you can channel profits into countries where tax rates are lower. There is only one possible solution and that is to have some kind of minimum worldwide corporation tax rate (either that or have no corporation tax, at all).  Getting international agreement for such as idea is probably impossible, but a reasonable half-way measure might be an EU-wide corporation tax. Alas, the UK’s influence in the EU is such that it is unlikely to get such an idea through, even if it wanted to. This is another disadvantage of the UK’s EU cynicism.
On the other hand, a new series on ‘Sky News’ is set to expose the way the UK’s economy’s woes are focused on certain regions. As Ed Conway, the presenter of the TV series, said in the ‘Telegraph’: “It transpires that London and the South East of England never experienced a double-dip recession at all, they simply did not shrink through 2011 and 2012. The economic contraction that led to the national ‘double dip’ happened exclusively in the North, the Midlands, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.” See: Prosperity across the South is hiding a recession in much of Britain

 

Here is the irony. While some may lament the disadvantages of not being in the euro, the UK suffers from its own single currency.

 

Truth is that the success enjoyed by the City has pushed up the value of the pound so much that regions outside the South East struggle to compete.

So should London and the South East have their own currency, let’s call it the Boris? Maybe an independent Catalonia needs its own currency too.

You may think this is a daft idea. You may be right.

 

It is probably the case that if indebted European countries left the Eurozone, their economies would, after an initial shock, enjoy a strong economic recovery.

 

But if you accept that the idea of London having its own currency is daft, this would suggest you believe the euro must survive, at any cost.

To see the online version of this article, and to comment click here 

source: ©2012 Investment and Business News

Dividends – Some pitfalls

Many directors of SME companies take both a salary and dividend from the company with salaries set at a tax effective level. This is accepted to HMRC and should not give cause for concern.  The salary itself should be treated in the normal way via the payroll system and normally is.

However with dividends it’s a different story. And here problems start to arise. Not only from a compliance perspective but also because of tax issues arising. Read more of this post

SME’s and Cash flows

It’s tough being a SME especially when it comes to cash. Banks are restricting their lending especially to SME’s and when they do lend charge interest rates well above that extended to the large corporates. The average interest rates for loans less than £1 Million are double that for loans above £20 Million (N Blake Economic Advisor Ernst & Young).

Corporates further put pressure on their SME suppliers by paying suppliers on average 34 days after term dates (range 30 to 90 days). In the UK late payment is endemic despite an EU directive for all companies to pay within 30 days and a public sector commitment to pay invoices within 10 days. Ask any SME owner dealing with Government (Inst. of Credit Management).

Yet the SME sector is significant as proven by some statistics:

  • SME’s comprise 59.1% of private sector employment
  • 48.6% of private sector turnover
  • Turnover in the SME sector is £3.2 Trillion!
  • They employ 22.5 Million people

(Dept. for Business Innovation & Skills)

Yet their experience of the economic climate is vastly different then for the corporates. The increasing delay in both international and domestic payments (British Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey) combined with the lack of access to funding is playing havoc with cash flows.

So what can be done? Many strategies can be adopted but one which is neglected in that 90% of invoices are still submitted on paper is e-invoicing. Aside from cost savings it will ensure early arrival at customers. The use of direct debit systems is increasingly being adopted with SME‘s lagging as perceived to be difficult to set up. Using DD will be especially useful to SME’s selling B2B. A scheme which uses this is the SEPA B2B Scheme and is used for lending decisions as well as it ties in well with the increasingly tightly integrated physical supply chains.

Enlightened corporates such as Tesco, B&Q and M&S have introduced supply chain finance to ensure that not only suppliers are paid more quickly but also enables these suppliers to borrow at a lower rate of interest. The key to this model is the visibility of the supply chain finance which enables banks to make decisions on real-time information as opposed to the traditional historic based balance sheet lending. This model will work less well when the customer base is themselves SME’s.

Relying on paper based invoices and traditional accounting processes leaves the SME with little bargaining power. By adopting both sales and supplier invoice e-invoicing with direct debit payments mechanism this will ensure terms are adhered too and payment will be sooner and being visible and transparent to banks easier to fund at better rates.

With the economic outlook remaining poor SME’s will need to look at alternatives to managing cash flow from the traditional methods.

(Additional sources AIA July/August 2012)

Warning signs of a business in trouble

Below are the signs that a company is in trouble. Some of these should be an indicator to the directors but some will be apparent to companies extending credit as well. If any are pertinent to your company you should seek advice from turnaround specialists.

Bank 

  • The overdraft is always at the limit.
  • The bank always wants more information.
  • The bank has returned cheques.
  • The bank has refused to increase the overdraft or wants its facility reduced.
  • The bank refuses to provide a term or EFG loan.
  • The bank wants to introduce investigating accountants for an independent business review. Note, the banks uses the big six so fees, which are paid by the company, are huge with amounts of £6,000+ the norm.
  • The bank asks for increased security.
  • The bank wants personal guarantees or increase them.
  • The bank wants a charge on personal property.
  • The covenant with the bank is often contravened. Read more of this post

HMRC arrest five plumbers for suspected tax fraud

Date:

‘These arrests are just the start,’ said a senior HMRC official as the department announced the arrest of five plumbers in London, Hampshire, Surrey, Middlesex and the West Midlands.

Earlier this month HMRC said more than 600 civil investigations targeting people in the plumbing industry would be under way by the time the Plumbers Tax Safe Plan disclosure opportunity closes on 31 August.

‘People should not underestimate the amount of data that HMRC is holding,’ said Gary Ashford, who represents the CIOT on HMRC’s Compliance Reform Forum.

‘What we are now seeing is HMRC starting to use that information. The net is tightening on those who break the law.’
Read more of this post

GETTING YOUR BUSINESS READY FOR A SALE – THE PRACTICALITIES

In order to maximise the value of your business and the ease in selling the business needs to be prepared to look attractive to any potential purchaser.

The purpose of this note is not to give guidelines as to valuation, selling methods but to address the practicalities which will influence a buyer once he starts looking at the business and to ensure any due diligence will go smoothly without the need for renegotiating the price.

Accounts

Bring the accounts up to date as to year-ends as well as the monthly management accounts.

  1. Ensure there are no outstanding entries or other information that should be included
  2. Have the accountant tidy up the ledger so that all unresolved items have been finalised
  3. Ensure all supporting documentation supports the ledger entries, are logically filed and cross referenced.
  4. Have a note of all expenditures which are not fully business related and which require an adjustment to the accounts. These typically are;
    • Excessive directors salaries
    • Family members employed but not active in the firm
    • Two cars per director
    • Computers and equipment for private use at home
    • Staff and material used for private purposes
  5. Have a set of accounts prepared with the adjusted figures per 5. The valuation should be based on this 2nd set of figures as the true value.
  6. Have a full asset list with all assets clearly identifiable, when purchased, purchase value, depreciation and current book value. If possible have current market value included
  7. Have all accounting processes documented.
  8. Have all accounting policies documented

Debtors Ledger

Have an current aged debtors listing

  1. Write of all bad debts.
  2. Ensure you have a credit control policy documented
  3. Have all debt collection activity documented, especially any subject to legal follow up.
  4. Have all debtors correspondence filed and cross referenced, not forgetting E-Mails.
  5. List poor payers
  6. Have all terms give fully documented and on the accounting system, especially special arrangements

Creditors Ledger

Have a current aged creditors ledger

  1. List all items under dispute with full motivation
  2. Ensure all terms obtained are documented and entered onto the creditors ledger
  3. List any special terms negotiated and whether applicable to any buyer.

Loans

All loans should be centralised with full documentation for each loan

  1. Prepare a schedule of loans taken, due and payments required each month
  2. If there is an overdraft facility have the limit and conditions documented

Financial

Have a budget ready which reconciles to the forecasts prepared in the Sale Memorandum

  1. Have a full motivation ready for the entries especially where changes from historic performances are made.
  2. Prepare a valuation with motivation – this is for internal use only for negotiation preparation

Tax

Have all tax up to date. This includes corporation tax, PAYE, NIC and VAT

  1. Resolve any outstanding tax issues or fully document those that cannot be resolved as yet
  2. List all tax dates applicable to the company.
  3. Have a note on file of the directors tax position and whether this requires input from company data or has a knock on effect on the companies tax position

Legal

Have all legal documentation centralised. These should comprise as a minimum;

    • Premises lease
    • Shareholders agreements
    • Insurance agreements
    • Equipment/asset rentals
    • Asset leases
  1. Any litigation currently under way or contemplated should be fully documented
  2. Check if premise leases are transferable to new owners.

Company secretarial

  1. Ensure all company secretarial data is accurate and up to date.
  2. Check share certificates are issued and correct
  3. List all shareholders with their holdings and loan accounts if any
  4. Have directors board minutes filed and available
  5. Ensure all board decisions are documented have been acted upon or are in progress

HR

Check all employees have a valid employment contract

  1. Have job descriptions for each employee
  2. Prepare an organigram showing reporting lines and position
  3. List all employees with years service, age and pay as well as qualification/experience
  4. List critical employees – that is employees critical to the on-going operations
  5. Prepare a confidential report on each of the critical employee
  6. Ensure all compliance issues have been addressed or are in progress, especially those pertaining to the sale of the company
  7. Have all policies and other employee manuals up to date and fully compliant

Health & safety

Bring all H&S documentation up to date

  1. Ensure policies are documented
  2. Where required ensure all safety certificates are up to date and current

Stock

Take a stock take and identify obsolete and slow moving stock

  1. Dispose of all obsolete stock and sell of slow moving
  2. Tidy up stock rooms/areas with locality and item bins clearly marked
  3. Ensure stock records are up to date and accurate
  4. If computerised check link into the accounts are correct and have been updated
  5. Have stock records available for inspection

Operations

Manufacturing

  1. Factory should be tidied up
  2. All lights and plugs should be working and be safe and neat.
  3. All machinery should be clean and fully operational with appropriate certificates
  4. All machinery manuals should be centralised for easy access and use
  5. All machinery and adjacent areas should be clearly marked and signed
  6. All safety issues should be addressed
  7. The environment should give an impression of light, ease of work and cleanliness
  8. All manufacturing processes should be documented

Retail

  1. All redundant stock to be removed
  2. Review the merchandising of the outlet and improve where possible
  3. Declutter the area and ensure clean.

Services

  1. Tidy up work areas removing unnecessary equipment/documents to store rooms
  2. All machinery to be fully functional
  3. Try and have staff keep desks/work tops reasonably tidy and clean.

Policies and processes

Have these documented and up to date.

  1. If having special registrations – e.g ISO 9001, then ensure documentation and certificates are up to date.

General

List suppliers and reliability/quality

  1. Any IP issues
  2. Have a copy of the market and sales plan ready for review
  3. Have a clear idea at all times what is being sold – e.g. company including debtors/creditors?.

What re-organisation is required with shareholders leaving

Have some notes on what any buyer will have to think about if a deal is consummated and the shareholders leave. Typical are;

  1. 2nd tier staff that could take over
  2. Personalities of clients
  3. Personal contacts with clients and suppliers and the effect
  4. Retention of skills/knowledge
  5. Premise lease
  6. Loans – transfers

To find out more, call us on 0845 009 5360 or email us at richard@rhtbusiness.com

ADHD and the Business Owner: Is It a Gift?

ADHD and the Business Owner: Is It a Gift?

By JAY GOLTZ
Thinking Entrepreneur

Is it the gift that keeps on giving? Or the gift that keeps on taking?

That is the question I was asking myself after a recent conversation with a woman named Nancy Snell. She approached me and introduced herself after I participated in a panel discussion in New York. She said she coaches businesspeople who have ADHD, the shorthand for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The condition is frequently mentioned in reference to kids, but people don’t necessarily outgrow it when they become adults. My first thought was, Who sent you? Is this is an intervention?

It has been recognized that many successful people have ADHD. In many cases, it is a critical ingredient to their success. A lesser known fact is that it can also be a cause of stress, self-loathing, embarrassment, and lack of productivity. Like many things, ADHD takes many forms. It can be mild to crippling. It can be a great source of energy, or a great source of grief. I asked Ms. Snell what questions business owners should ask themselves to determine whether they have some form of ADHD. Here are her five questions:

1. Do you struggle with day-to-day planning, project management, and follow-up?
2. Do you lack the systems, discipline and focus to manage your workload?
3. Do you procrastinate too much and fail to accomplish things that need to get done?
4. Do you feel you’re not as effective and productive as you would like to be?
5. Are you easily distracted?

Interesting. While I would say that I can relate (to some degree) to all five of those issues, I have concluded that Ms. Snell was not sent on a mission to save me. I was, however, intrigued that someone could make a living being an ADHD coach. I wanted to know more, for two reasons. I realized that if I could improve on any of the five issues, it could be very helpful. I was also intrigued to learn that ADHD is a serious problem in business — that she has clients who are really in pain. I asked her to give me examples and to give us a primer on how she coaches people for better performance. Here are her examples:

1. A vice president of an advertising agency who was having a hard time focusing. The stress from being chronically late to meetings, from procrastinating and from constantly having to make excuses was getting to him. He didn’t like his job but couldn’t get organized to look around. Ms. Snell helped him put systems in place and identify habits that were counter-productive. She found he frequently forgot to return phone calls because he called his voicemail from his car where he couldn’t write down a message. She worked with him to find a different approach. My reaction? Part of me thinks a grown man shouldn’t need to be told how to take phone messages, but another part of me understands that we all do things that we know aren’t smart, including me. According to Ms. Snell, he applied what he learned to every aspect of his working life and has greatly reduced his stress. He also found a better job.

2. A chief executive of a 70-person hedge fund who was bothered that he was constantly getting distracted in meetings — even meetings that he was running. Ms. Snell found that these “distractions” were often, in fact, very important ideas or revelations that could be valuable but needed to be managed. She developed a system where he would have two pads of paper with him at every meeting: one for meeting notes and one for everything else that came to mind. This simple solution allowed him to be more focused and productive without worrying about what he might miss.

3. A chief executive of a $25 million company who felt challenged in his abilities to execute consistently and to communicate productively. The company was in financial distress, he knew that he was the problem, and the stress was taking a toll. One issue Ms. Snell observed was that he was constantly checking e-mails. He tried to commit to checking them only at specific times every day but found that discipline impossible to maintain. She suggested that he commit to checking his e-mail everyday before leaving the office, a solution that was both specific and flexible. It worked, and with the help of some other planning devices he became more effective and his stress declined.

There is obviously far more to each story than I can include in these short examples. To me, the point is this: When most people think of ADHD, they think of school-age boys jumping on sofas. For adults, the reality is that ADHD is about having more ideas than you can process or manage. Having a lot of ideas is the gift; having them distract you from what needs to get done causes stress. The opportunity is to manage the ADHD so that it is an asset instead of a liability. Whether you hire someone to help with this process or make some adjustments on your own, I think it is a topic that has been largely ignored. But then again, I wasn’t paying that much attention.

Jay Goltz owns five small businesses in Chicago.

 

Finance Bill 2011 at a glance

Posted by AccountingWEB.co.uk in Tax on Fri, 10/12/2010 – 13:26

As part of its new approach to tax policy making, the government published 500+ pages of draft clauses and accompanying explanations on 9 December 2010 for measures that will be included in the Finance Bill 2011.

The Finance Bill 2011 will also legislate the annual changes in rates and duties that were announced previously. With the exception of the Capital Gains Tax threshold for individuals in 2011-12, which has yet to be set (and statutory maternity pay rates that we’re still trying to find), the key tax allowances and rates are set out in our 2011-12 tax tables.
This article details a comprehensive list of published measures, with links to those that are of most relevance to AccountingWEB.co.uk members. Further details are available from the HMRC and Treasury websites.
Key topics
  • Restricting pensions tax relief (HMRC guidance) – the Finance Bill will enact arestriction on pensions tax relief for individuals by reducing the annual allowance from 2011 to £255,000 and the lifetime allowance from 2012 to £1.5m. Further details can be found on the Treasury website.
  • Pensions annuitisation (Treasury PDF 485kb) – the rules requiring members of registered pensions schemes to secure an income by age 75 will be repealed. Further detail is set out in the responses to the consultation document published today. The government intends to publish draft legislation covering this element by February.
  • Retirement savings programme (Treasury PDF 130kb) – legislation will be introduced to deal with unintended tax consequences which arise due to the interaction of Pensions Act 2008 and tax legislation.
  • Disguised remuneration – in a written ministerial statement on 6 December Exchequer Secretary David Gauke explained the government’s plans to crack down on trusts and other third-party employee reward arrangements designed to avoid or defer income tax or NICs. These will include Employee Benefit Trusts and Employer Financed Retirement Benefit Schemes (EFRBS).
  • Group mismatches – groups will not be able to use loans or derivative contracts to generate profits or losses purely as a result of accounting asymmetries.
  • Derecognition of Corporation Tax loan relationships – avoidance of Corporation Tax will not be possible for loan relationships and derivative contracts not fully recognised for accounting purposes. This was confirmed in the written ministerial statement on 6 December 2010.
  • Functional currency switch schemes – rules tightened to counter avoidance involving changes in the functional currency of an investment company. Investment companies will be able to elect for a functional currency for tax purposes other than that in the accounts.
  • VAT supply splitting – printed matter connected to services provided, but sourced from different suppliers will no longer be zero-rated.
  • Financial securities for PAYE – proposals put forward for consultation to let HMRC take a security from employers for PAYE and NICs that is seriously at risk.
  • Data-gathering powers – bulk information gathering powers planned to enable HMRC to carry out cross-industry analyses.

 

 

 

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