Financial Year in Review
It is nearly the end of the current financial year. We thought we would take the opportunity to briefly look back on some of the ways we helped our clients respond to changes over the last 12 months. Obviously there have been a lot of changes to contend with for businesses in the last year including the end of the transition period following the UK’s exit from the European Union. As expected, this resulted in a lot of queries relating to the treatment of personal data and how EU law will apply going forward in a number of areas.
But before we get onto that let us go back to March last year. We saw a number of changes in our laws, in particular those relating to insolvency, and a variety of funding options emerged which quickly became overwhelming as businesses scrambled to move their staff to home working where possible and put in place a business continuity plan. Alpaca was quick off the mark to deliver a series of online sessions to help businesses understand legal changes and funding options– thank you to those that joined those sessions. We hope you found them useful. They seem a very long time ago now that we are a year on.
As the months progressed, we saw a number of clients move their products and services online. Alpaca quickly began helping businesses update their legal documents to work with an online offering of their products and services. The option to move online has been a lifeline for some businesses. However, this presents its own risks and challenges. One key area is personal data. We have had many conversations with businesses about what data they will be collecting, where it will be stored and how it will be kept secure.
But conversations around personal data did not stop there. As we approached the end of the transition period the concern for some businesses was the potential disruption this would have on data transfers from the EU. The issue of data transfers was not fully resolved in the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement. It was agreed that there would be a ‘bridge period’ of up to 6 months in which data could still be transferred freely from the EU to the UK. It is expected that before the end of this period the EU will pass an adequacy decision (currently submitted in draft form and waiting approval) which will allow businesses in the EU to transfer personal data to the UK without the need for additional provisions such as standard contractual clauses or binding corporate rules.
Most recently we have had the budget from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Many expected tax hikes to pay for the expenditure of the last year. We anticipated an increase to Capital Gains Tax. This did not materialise which is good if you are thinking about selling your business. We have had a few conversations with businesses around the possibility of selling their shares to an employee ownership trust which many owners are starting to consider for succession planning. It also means you do not pay any Capital Gains Tax on a share disposal which meets the criteria. An interesting option eh?
Needless to say, there have been a lot of changes in the last year (too many to list here). If you want to keep up to date on the issues which are getting our attention check out our linkedin page (the fact you are reading this means you probably have already). We routinely post updates on our linkedin account which we hope you will find interesting. We would love it if you contributed to our discussions as we believe everyone benefits when different professionals come together and share ideas.
We hope the next 12 months are not as turbulent as the last. But whatever happens we will be on hand to offer support to businesses as and when needed. If we cannot provide exactly what a business needs, we will know someone who will be able to.
We would like to thank the clients that we have worked with over the last 12 months and trusted us to provide them with the help they need. Thank you!!!
The Alpaca Team