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Blog: Recap on our latest webinar. Navigating the future: next steps for SMEs

Yesterday, we hosted our first live webinar of 2021. Find out what we covered and how to access the recording on demand below.

Topic and agenda

During the session, our experts covered an array of topics, from the latest happenings at HMRC, to funding options for innovative SMEs, to business advice.


Tax and accounting update

In this section, Head of Tax and Accounts Jo Surley gave us a rundown of some of the key changes business owners need to be mindful of when it comes to planning their finances. In particular focusing on:

  • Making Tax Digital 
    MTD continues to move forwards with more businesses being required to register from April 2022
  • Social Care Levy
    The 1.25% increase will be payable by most so make provisions to cover that increase in costs in your forecasts
  • Corporation Tax increases
    Increasing to 25%
  • Capital Gains Tax reform
    If this does happen there’ll be less return on the sale of a business so consider whether a sale is in your future and what this change could mean

Funding options

The funding landscape remains particularly complicated when you consider how things like grants, tax reliefs and investors incentives work together. Our advice here is to speak to a professional services company or trusted advisor with knowledge and experience of funding, and tax, to make sure you’re choosing the right option for you.

The key points here include:

  • Of c150,000 companies in the UK with active patents only around 2,000 are claiming Patent Box relief, with big players like Google and Amazon using it to their advantage for big savings
  • Patents are easier than some people think to get so speak to a patent attorney if you have something that you could get one on
  • It is possible to utilise grants, R&D tax relief, investors and Patent Box in one company but you have to be very careful to look at the wording of grant applications and seek advice before agreeing or applying for any of these – wrong decisions can be expensive
  • Innovate UK have many grant funding opportunities open to businesses, some designed to advance the Industrial Strategy and the Grand Challenges, others for different ideas
  • Networks are an important source of advice when it comes to funding, incentives and investment, so join trade bodies, organisations, and any other networks you can

While advice obviously needs to be specific to the business in question, our team covered a few places that business owners struggling to move forwards could focus on, including:

  • Cash in the bank
    Businesses fail because they run out of money. Focus on building and retaining strong cash reserves as a priority
  • Planning
    Business owners must take regular time out of the day to day to focus on business planning, reviewing and forecasting. Doing this will allow for the sight of problems early, mean small pivots are possible more quickly
  • Understanding your value chain
    If you know every step of creating a product or delivering a service and how much it costs at each point, you’ll be unlikely to make rash decisions and will be able to transform processes and efficiencies more quickly

If you’d like to view the webinar in full, you can do so by filling in this form for free access now.

Watch the webinar

Further reading

See what IR35 rule changes look like in practice and get some tips on what you should do if you work with contractors regularly.

Are you ready for IR35?

So when you’ve done all the usual things – invested in marketing and advertising, offered discounts, maximised your network opportunities…what else can you do?

Here are a few ways you can look at customer attraction and retention differently, along with some tips you could try when the old ways are no longer working.

Attracting new customers and keeping your existing ones happy

Five options for innovation-active businesses looking to fund ideas and growth

Funding options for innovative SMEs

Navigating the world of innovation funding can be complicated so we’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently along with comprehensive answers to help you understand more about Innovate UK, Smart Grants, and how we can support your next application.

About Smart Grants and how we can support you

When the marketplace and economy remain so uncertain, how do you keep your business and your focus on track and ready for the next challenge?

How to grow, sell or stabilise your business

If you’re not claiming, we provide a no-cost or obligation discovery meeting where they can identify the scope of your opportunity. If you’re already claiming, we offer a no-cost benchmarking meeting where you can understand both risks and opportunities with your current claim.