The Two Minute Guide to Export Changes: Is Your Business Ready?

Export paperwork

Most people will associate the 1st May 2016 as that magical occurrence: a bank holiday Sunday (though also remember, washing your face in the dew on the 1st keeps you looking bonny for another year!), however, for the exporting community it’s notable for very different reasons; The largest change to UK and European Customs procedures in the last 20 years is due to take place on 1st May 2016, with the introduction of the Union Customs Code (UCC). Happy Bank Holiday!

 If you are one of the companies who are involved in buying or selling goods internationally, these changes will affect the way you do business. So here’s a handy, an in-a-nutshell, overview of the changes.

So, what’s the gist of these changes?

The new legal framework is intended to simplify and standardise customs rules and procedures and facilitate more efficient customs transactions. The key to this will be electronic communication, and the use of centralised IT systems, and transactions will be paperless for both businesses and customs authorities.

Is there anything to worry about?

Some changes will be helpful but there are some that may have a significant impact on the cash flow and profitability of your business.

There are four main changes from 1 May 2016, and these are:

1. You may be required to provide a financial guarantee

Any UK company operating a customs-authorised duty relief or suspension regime (such as customs warehousing or inward processing), will need to provide a financial guarantee to cover the annual amount of potential duty that could be due.

This is a new requirement so will introduce additional costs for the guarantee provision, as well as any potential restriction on working capital in providing security to the guarantor (typically a bank).

 

2. But you may be able to obtain guarantee waivers

Guarantee waivers will be introduced, but only for those businesses that fulfil the criteria for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO).  This is a supply chain security accreditation, approved by Customs for companies that demonstrate that their internal processes fully support customs compliance.

It can take six months or more to obtain AEO authorisation, so this should be considered as soon as possible.

 

3. The basis of customs valuation is changing

The basis of customs valuation will also change, with the removal of the current provision that allows an importer to attest to the value of an earlier sale in a chain of sales leading to import. Instead, customs valuation will be based on the final sale before import.

 

4. You may now incur a duty liability in respect of royalty payments

Until May 1st 2016, Customs duty only applies to royalty payments only where they relate to imported goods, and are payable as a condition of sale of those goods. From May 1st, these restrictions will be removed, so that many more royalty payments will be subject to customs duty.

Any agreements which give rise to the payment of a royalty should be reviewed to determine whether reconstruction might be necessary to avoid exposure to a future duty cost.

 

Anything else changing? 

Other changes will impact the Customs declaration processes involving BTIs and BTOs, as well as the Customs transit process, so it’s important that you review your processes as soon as possible.

Remember, the changes take effect on May 1st 2016- time is running out!

We specialise in training options which support businesses developing their Export and International Trade processes so if you’re confused by these changes or stuck on how to prepare for them, give us a call!

Golf Industry CPD Courses

Golf Ball

St Andrews Management Centre are here to help you tee off your CPD with a range of flexible Leadership and Management programmes targeted at the Golf industry.

Aimed at those in managerial roles within the Golf and Green keeping industries these courses enable you to build upon skills, gain knowledge, and develop the competence and confidence to lead effectively.

The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) SVQs in Management that we offer allow you to practically apply the skills you gain to your role within the Golf or Green keeping sector.

If you are interested in an ILM course then why not talk to us about the ILM SVQ levels 3, 4 or 5?

ILM SVQ3 in Management at SCQF Level 7

ILM SVQ4 in Management at SCQF Level 9

ILM SVQ5 in Management at SCQF Level 11

We also deliver PDAs from the Scottish Qualifications Authority in work based assessors and verifiers qualifications.

Contact us today for an informal chat on how we can help your CPD stay on course and out of the rough!

8 Ways to Show Your Team the (HR friendly) Love.

In the spirit of the St Valentine’s Day that’s just been we decided to compile a list of eight practical ways that as a manager you can show your team you love them.

Whilst it might not quite be the love-hearts and flowers that you give to that someone special, these tips will hopefully give your team the warm and fuzzies (or at the very least make them feel part of a valued, cared for team).

1. Self- Evaluation.

This is a chance to get the whole team together and ask yourselves how you’re doing. It gives a chance for the group to reflect on strengths and address weaknesses. A good self -evaluation meeting is democratic and allows all involved to have a voice. It’s also a good opportunity to get your team up to speed with what’s happening in the rest of the company and contextualise team goals into those of the wider organisation. At STAMC we hold our formal self-evaluation meetings quarterly which gives us good indications as to how we’re getting on throughout the year, but choose a frequency which works for the needs of your team and your organisation.

2. Embrace the Personal Development Review throughout the year.

In addition to the whole team self-evaluation it is important to give your staff individual personal development reviews. Most large organisations have P.D.R provision built into their HR policy but even if you’re a small firm then it’s still worth taking the time to sit down with each of your employees.  But it’s even more worthwhile taking this one step further and making time to follow this formal chat up with smaller, less formal conversations throughout the year. It will help keep you and your employee on track, provide opportunity to reassess development needs and give feedback.

3. Stick to your side of the bargain.

Self-evaluation days and P.D.Rs have the power to leave those involved feeling excited and enthused about their work and where they’re going next.  However, this is utterly undermined if promises and plans made are left unfulfilled.  Yes, P.D.Rs and Self-Evaluations are often a chance for you to outline to employees the direction you want them to go in but you need to meet them half-way. If you don’t live up to promises then you will gain a reputation for not putting your money where your mouth is and leave your staff feeling frustrated and unsupported.

 

4. Provide Training (well, we would say that wouldn’t we?)

Good training will enable your team to do their job more effectively and confidently. It will open the door to new directions and challenges and will demonstrate to your team that you value their development.

Don’t just shove them on a training course for the sake of ticking the training box though; you want volunteers not conscripts. Talk to your staff (see points 1&2) and identify the areas they need to develop. If appropriate opt for training which will actively make them apply their learning (such as an SVQ) so that the benefits of training are immediately fed back into their roles.

5. Celebrate success, unite in failure.

Successes are times to come together as a team and celebrate. It doesn’t need to be a big deal (though if they’ve landed a big deal or completed a complex project, then maybe it should) even sitting down all together for a cup of tea works, but come together as a team and reflect on the glory.

Same applies for failures. In fact, it’s probably even more important in the trying times. Acknowledge hard work that, in this instance, has not been awarded by success, don’t get sucked into the spiral of the blame game and take the time as a team to figure out where you go from here. Strong teams are the ones which can handle the bad times as well as the good.

6. Stop micro-managing. Stop it now.

Micro managing is not an effective use of your time and is demoralising and stifling for your team.

Consider your own development that got you to this managerial position; most likely you gained this role by being challenged, stretched and given autonomy over tasks. You will have learnt from your failures as well as your successes and you will have done this because you were given the space to grow without a manager breathing down your neck.

Your job as manager is to oversee but not overbear; Set the standards, the deadlines and organise the occasional catch up to keep appraised of progress but then step back and let your team get on with it. If you don’t trust your team to do this then it’s probably time to consider some training, for both your team and yourself.

7. Flexibility.

A recent article in Business Insider magazine (Balance of Power Shifts from Recruiter to Candidate, Jan/Feb 2016 issue) cites a report by Hays recruitment which puts flexible working at the top of job candidate’s lists of workplace benefits.  62% place it in the top spot. The report highlights the disconnect between employees and employers; only 11% of employers agree that offering a good work life balance is important when attracting candidates.

Let me offer you an anecdotal example: I have a family member who began to find herself wide awake at 6am. With work not starting till 8:30 and the commute taking only 5 minutes that left her with nearly 2½ hours to kill before starting her working day.  At first, a leisurely cup of tea appealed but after a while she began to get a bit frustrated that she had all this time at the start of her day that she couldn’t really use for anything. She spoke to her manager and they agreed to trial her starting work at 7 and finishing at 3. This has been a great success. Instead of faffing about the house for 2hrs in the morning she gets up and heads straight to work.  At the end of the day she still has some time in the afternoon to get out walking or cycling, get her hair cut, or get to the shops.

If you are in the position that you can facilitate flexible working, it will not be detrimental to your business and your staff are wanting it then it’s worth considering. Better to have the right staff working the hours that work for them in your organisation than in someone else’s.

8. Say thank you often.

Remember your mum telling you to mind your manners and say thank you?  Well the same applies for the workplace.  If someone does something for you, turns out a good piece of work, or is just an all-round good-egg then a thank you doesn’t go amiss.

Our Living Wage Plaque has Arrived!

Living Wage Plaque

We were really pleased to receive our Living Wage Employer plaque through the post this morning. It’s now sitting happily on our wall smiling down at us. I’m also very much enjoying drinking coffee out of my Living Wage branded mug- as the only person in the office who didn’t have their own personal mug I was pretty quick off the mark to shotgun it!

Living Wage mug
My new mug

In order to become an accredited Living Wage Employer we’ve committed to paying all our employees at least the current Living Wage of £8.25 per hour (U.K wide rate, £9.40 for those London-based).  These rates are calculated independently from government by the Living Wage Foundation though has cross-party support. Increases are calculated annually and implemented during the first week in November, Living Wage Week.  These increases are based on the cost of living so if the cost of living increases then so too does the Living Wage. Rates are the same for all employees over 18 regardless of age.

In addition to direct employees of STAMC receiving the Living Wage, all contractors also need to receive these rates.

For us, being a Living Wage employer is part of striving to be the best employer we can be; we want our growth and successes to be our employees and contractors growth and successes. This accreditation is part of that aspiration.

If you think that the Living Wage is something that your firm should adopt then you can find out more information, including how to get accredited, here. Fairly paid employees and a shiny plaque- win!

Kicking off our blog with some Burns.

Poetry book

Welcome to the inaugural post of the new St Andrews Management Centre blog!

I thought we’d embrace the writing-the-first-post strangeness by covering the standard who, why, what blog housekeeping with, in honour of Burns night, a hint of the Bard himself.

Who are we?

We are St Andrews Management Centre and we deliver training to individuals and teams from a wide range of industries and businesses.  We train those individuals in management & leadership skills, workplace assessment and verification, the management of change, project management, export management, international trade & customs compliance, finance and budgeting and customer service skills.

Our team is made up of individuals who each have a skill set and experience in different areas. We listen to Rick’s tales in the office and drink more coffee than is good for us.

Why?

Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord
Wha struts, an stares, an a that?
Tho hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a that.
For a that, an a that,
His ribband, star, an a that,
The man o independent mind,
He looks an laughs at a that.

Extract from A Mans A Man for A That, Robert Burns

Rabbie Burns very inconsiderately (IMO) didn’t write a poem on management and leadership skills. Which is a kicker because if he had it would have played nicely into our launching of the new website and blog on his birthday. Luckily, one of the joys of Burns that is often cited on this date each year is the ease in which his words can be applied to a contemporary setting: hands up who hasn’t had a manager who struts, an stares, an a that?. The man (or woman) of independent mind may look on and laugh but if you can recognise this character you will know how truly awful it is being managed by a birkie ca’d a lord. If you’ve ever been managed by someone who didn’t have a clue, or who had the wrong clue then you will do you’re utmost to avoid falling into the same behaviours and traps that got them.

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea’e us,
An ev’n devotion!

Extract To a Louse, Robert Burns

Whilst I wouldn’t go so far to term this blog as a Pow’r this extract brings me nicely on to the why of this blog. It also fulfils my determination to squeeze a Burns reference into the first blog post. We’re off to a good start.

Management and leadership are two terms that on face value seem quite straight forward. Then you scratch the surface, delve down and get snarled up in a mess of theories, practice and advice. There are a lot of concepts and techniques out there that can help you become a better leader and manager, but first you need to find them, learn them and then act on them. Whilst we won’t claim that this blog will manage all three we can at least provide you with some ideas to point you in the right direction and make you think about how you can be a better manager. Honest self-reflection and listening to the feedback from colleagues is probably the closest you can get to seeing oursels as ithers see us. We hope that you will find some of the ideas presented in this blog interesting, inspiring and worthy of reflection.

What Now?

Firstly, we’ll cover terms, concepts and practise that you may come across when exploring management.
We’ll look at industry specific ideas and issues and are hoping to have some lovely guest writers to give you a change of pace from our ramblings.
Management and leadership thought is continuously evolving in order to address the changing needs of the workplace and individuals. With this blog we want to create a place where some of the conversation around this evolution can take place. We’d like to hear from you! Do you agree/disagree with what we’re saying? Do you have experience with a particular topic covered? Let us know in the comments section below each post or write to us at enquiries@stamc.co.uk
We look forward to getting to know you, assuming you haven’t been put off by our tenuous links to Rab’s poetry!