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Supporting quality in any language

By Carl Marshall Head of BTIS

Between 2010 and 2011 Brasshouse Translation and Interpreting Services (BTIS) has seen a 13 per cent increase in the range of languages translated and interpreted. Based in the heart of

cosmopolitan Birmingham, BTIS normally anticipates providing a range of approximately 50 languages per year. In the last year, the number of languages provided to clients has soared from 49 to 63.

There are two reasons for

this increase. Firstly, businesses are reaching out to new foreign markets, which has been reflected in BTIS’ European Business Support Section. Secondly, the demography of the West Midlands changes rapidly. As well as supporting the public sector with communities’ language needs, BTIS supports businesses, not least the food industry, to ensure that workers whose first language is not English, are enabled to make their full contribution to the local economy, to work safely, and to understand their rights and responsibilities in employment. As new languages appear in

the region, it is vital that any interpreting that takes place meets recognised professional standards. This is often difficult. Sometimes employers resort to using other employees, or friends and relatives speaking the same language which offers no guarantee to the linguistic skills and ability of the ‘interpreter’ in either the source or the target language. With over 450 language

specialists on its database offering nearly 100 languages, BTIS continues to support the West Midlands and its ever changing communities, with tried and tested language support.

he decision by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to tax salary sacrifices is yet another burden on SMEs and could make running such schemes significantly more expensive, especially for businesses that are compelled to register for VAT as a consequence of this change in policy, says chartered accountant Clement Keys. The overriding advantage of salary sacrifice schemes is their tax efficiency – they enable both employer and employee to save National Insurance Contributions, while the employee also pays a reduced amount of income tax because the sum sacrificed is no longer classed as part of their salary. However, from 1 January 2012 employers could have to account for VAT on the non-cash benefits they provide to their employees in lieu of salary.

‘This ruling is another example of unnecessary extra burdens’

Steven Simmonds, director of VAT services at Clement Keys, says HMRC has changed its stance on this issue following the European Court of Justice decision in a case involving pharmaceutical conglomerate AstraZeneca. As a consequence, a reduced salary accepted in return for a package of benefits may now be considered a supply for VAT purposes and employers may therefore need to account for VAT on the amount of the salary reduction or on the true value of the benefits provided.

Salary sacrifice tax issues T

“This ruling is another example of unnecessary

extra burdens that will make life more difficult for small business,” says Mr Simmonds. “In addition to adding extra expense, in some cases it will not be very environmentally friendly, since the Cycle to Work Scheme will be one of the key benefits affected.” Having to account for VAT on salary sacrifice could

also raise important issues for unregistered businesses, which could be required to register for VAT even if their general business activities are exempt or their turnover is below the registration threshold.

Steven Simmonds, Clement Keys

‘Funding rests on business plan’

New chairman of DFK UK & Ireland Suk Aulak, and the background Martin Sharp (executive director of DFK International), Mike Tovey (former president of DFK International), Scott Hazey (president of DFK International) and Mark Lamb (DFK vice-president for EMEA)

Suk Aulak to chair DFK

Suk Aulak, partner and head of office at Chantrey Vellacott DFK in Birmingham, has been appointed chairman of DFK UK & Ireland. The association, which was

founded 15 years ago, now has 17 member firms across 31 offices across the British Isles. Membership allows firms to

access expertise across the UK and Ireland and, through its umbrella organisation DFK International, has associate firms in more than 80 countries. DFK International, formed in 1962, will be celebrating


its 50th anniversary in Paris next year along with all member firms from DFK UK & Ireland. Mr Aulak was welcomed as chairman when the association held its largest ever conference and announced that member firms have hit the combined fee milestone of £75 million. Mark Lamb, who is DFK vice-

president for EMEA, said he was delighted to hand over his six-year reign as chair of DFK UK & Ireland to Mr Aulak. He said: “The association will be in good hands with Suk and I wish him all the best.”

Knowing the essentials for applying for business funding has never been more important, says Darren Barlow, partner at Haines Watts accountants, in Tamworth. He said: “For business owners, especially those starting out, access to finance is absolutely critical. Right now, it’s hard for businesses to obtain funding from banks. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for refinancing, for help to see you through temporary difficulties or to acquire another business.” Darren said it is important to put

together a comprehensive and robust business plan. He said: “The bank will go through it with a fine tooth comb. It must have serious financials such as cash flow projections, profit and loss outlook and balance sheet details. “Know your plan inside out. You

must be able to talk through every detail with your bank manager. “Even with the initial go ahead

from your bank, ultimate success will depend on a robust plan and numbers that stack up. “Bear in mind that the process is taking longer and the structure of the deal is going to be teased and tested. Indeed, the offer that comes back might be very different from the one you were looking for.”

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