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Cost of business

So we're heavy into GDPR things at the moment, but I've had to deal with the Office for National Statistics this week on behalf of clients.

They have a small family partnership, not big, <£100k sales. Yet the ONS want information from them about trade. Ok, many businesses get data requests, maybe once in a blue moon. Rarely anyway.

But ONS want monthly sales figures from this particular business. Ok, annoying but ok.

And they want the sales data within six days of month end. The 6th fell on a Saturday this month. So I arrive at the office Monday morning, to an email from them basically threatening prosecution for failure to notify on the sixth. "Notice is given under Section 1 of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947. Your response is legally required and is now overdue".

Now I know I know, the online form takes 10 minutes to do. Well, you have to log in first. So a couple minutes to find passwords and so on. But the sales figures have to be prepared. So, Monday was a bank holiday (New years day). So that gave them four days to complete the book-keeping for December. But the book-keeper doesn't go in to do the books until later in the month.

So the ONS expects the client to pay extra for the book-keeper to come in earlier in the month to prepare the sales reports in order to send to the ONS by the sixth. But the paperwork isn't ready for the book-keeper until relevant info has come in from Paypal Ebay, supplier invoices, etc. So the book-keeper now has to come in twice a month - once early on to do the sales for the ONS and then again later in the month when all the purchase invoices have been received. So additional costs to the partnership.

Add to this the AE pensions. Both the admin and the actual cost. 1% doesn't sound a lot. But it adds up.

So the cost of running a business has dramatically gone up in the past few years.

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