How to free up extra Christmas cash for your business

Too few small businesses keep unnecessary costs to an absolute minimum. Here are six ideas that might pay for a Christmas bonus.

Too few small businesses keep unnecessary costs to an absolute minimum. Here are six ideas that might pay for a Christmas bonus.

Claim tax breaks

Many small firms do not realise they can claim valuable tax breaks. Consider tax credits for research and development (R&D): you can set anything you spend on eligible R&D against your corporation-tax bill, plus another 130% of the spending. This doesn’t have to mean conducting breakthrough research – the criteria are broad. You may qualify if you have taken a risk by attempting to “resolve scientific or technological uncertainties”. That might mean creating new products, but it could just mean changing what you currently do.

Bear down on bills

Too few small businesses shop around. It’s not just a case of finding the cheapest energy and broadband packages: the small-business price-comparison site smallbusiness.co.uk can help you bag cheap deals on items from card-payment machines to public-liability insurance. 

Cut national insurance costs

Small businesses with a total employers’ national insurance liability of less than £100,000 over the course of the financial year can claim the Employment Allowance when making electronic filings to HMRC. There is the potential to reduce your total national insurance bill by up to £4,000 a year. You can also claim the Employment Allowance for the last four tax years if you have previously overlooked doing so.

Consider outsourcing

Outsourcing contracts don’t have to be the preserve of large businesses buying in large volumes of support services. The cost of recruiting staff is rising and small businesses often don’t have enough of some kinds of work to justify full-time roles. In which case, hiring specialist support as you need it can make sense. While you’ll know what’s core to your company – and therefore needs to be kept in-house – support services such as bookkeeping, digital marketing and payroll administration are often better delivered by an outside expert. 

Move to the cloud 

Renewing computing equipment is expensive: software goes out of date quickly and data-storage space fills up fast. With cloud computing, you rent space on a cloud provider’s network and can subscribe to software you need when you need it – as a service – and tap as much data storage as you require. Over time, the savings can be huge.

Grab a grant

There are hundreds of grants available from public sector bodies, charities and private companies. These range from the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s support for local economies to Innovate UK’s awards for new product development. And the devolved nations all offer cash too. The government’s Business Finance and Support web pages are a good place to start.

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