burning money

Extreme Outsourcing – PeoplePerHour

For better or worse, I get to see the accounts of about 100 SME's in detail on a regular basis, usually all the way down to a transactional level. Unlike publicly listed company reports, where detail gets cumulated away, you get to see the finer details of what money gets spent on. In the "outrageous, but uncontrollable" category are: business rates, which, certainly in London, have reached ridiculous levels (as a percentage of rent). Employers National Insurance, now at 13.8%, which is Read more [...]
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Multinationals and UK Tax – Part 4: AMAZON

You can read the intro to this series here, as well as blogs on Starbucks and Google. Amazon was the third multinational company to have their UK Corporation tax liabilities questioned last year, predominantly in articles in the Guardian. Amazon is a US conglomerate, employs 15,000 people in the UK, has a number of warehouses here, and of course, sell to UK customers in huge numbers on a daily basis (somewhere between £2.3 billion and £3.2 billion in 2011. However, the UK subsidiary recorded Read more [...]
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Multinationals and UK Tax – Part 3: STARBUCKS

You can read the intro to this series here, and read about Google here. Starbucks has became the poster child for multinational tax "avoidance" in the UK, after a Reuters article in October 2012. But bizarrely, of the companies publicised that I looked at, they seem to be doing the least dubious by some distance. Since Starbucks' UK subsidiary opened in the UK in 1998, the company has opened over 750 coffee shops, recorded over £3 billion in sales*, and incurred £8.6 million in Corporation Read more [...]
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Multinationals and UK Tax – Part 2: Google Inc

Read the intro to this series on Multinationals and the accusations of tax avoidance here. What inspired me to write these articles was a question from a hairdresser I know, actually. With VAT, employment taxes, Corporation tax and personal taxes outweighing her take home profit by a factor of three to one, she asked whether, if she formed a Japanese company that bought her salon, she would be able to pay "no tax", since she'd heard that's what Starbucks do. I told her unfortunately, the VAT, Read more [...]
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Multinationals and Tax in the UK – Part 1

The past 6 months or so, it’s been hard to get through a week, in the media or socially, without someone bringing up multinational companies who “pay no tax” (I probably move in more boring social circles than you). Most publicity has been aimed at Google, Amazon and Starbucks, although other tech-based multinational companies like Apple, eBay, PayPal and Facebook gained mentions. One key thing to note is that the statement that they “pay no tax” is not true: those companies pay VAT, Read more [...]
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Van Hoog

Book Review: Blood & Retribution – Nick Van Hoogstraten

Nicholas van Hoogstraten is a self-made British businessman and real estate magnate. In addition to being known for his real estate and business empire, Van Hoogstraten is known for his controversial life story: in 1968, he was convicted and sent to prison for paying a gang to attack a business associate. In 2002, he was sentenced to 10 years for the manslaughter of a business rival; the verdict was overturned on appeal and he was subsequently released, but in 2005 he was ordered to pay the victim's Read more [...]
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Smartphone OS Market Mirroring Standard Mature Market

Most markets, as they mature, tend towards a makeup like this: • Market leader, with 40%-50% market share. • Strong but somewhat differentiated competitor, with 30-40%. • A cost or quality-based differentiated competitor, with 10-30%. • A number of niche or struggling competitors with low single digit market share. The most visible example is something like the Cola market, but the sportswear market with Nike and Adidas has a similar platform. The smartphone operating system market Read more [...]
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Permission Marketing: the New Interruption Marketing

The dominance of "interruption marketing" has been on a downward trend due the changes in mediums that we use to access information and entertainment. Interruption marketing is fundamentally the term for marketing that interrupts what you're doing (TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, telesales, direct mail) in order to advertise to you. Less revenue is coming from TV and newspaper ads, as people access information and entertainment via Internet, subscription video services (Lovefilm, Netflix) and Read more [...]
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Philip-Green

Business Book Review: Top Man – Philip Green

"Top Man" is the biography of UK retail tycoon, Sir Philip Green. Green is best known for the rapid nature of his rise to billionaire status, his ownership of a UK high street retail empire, and for his attempts at buying Marks & Spencer. The book is a very well researched and well-written biography, with the standard history of Green's childhood and youth background, and his experience as a rag trader in London. Green was one of a limited number of genuine retail entrepreneurs in the 60s and Read more [...]
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Tax Bill

HMRC’s Appalling Letters Hall of Fame

The letter in the featured image hit the news yesterday.  It was received by Florence Coke, owner of Mama Flo’s cafe in Gorton. It will get a bit of media as people laugh it off as some sort of numerical mistake made by a either a bureaucrat or a computer in an overworked system. "No harm done" right?  She couldn't pay a billion pounds anyway, so it was never going to do any real harm. Wrong. Here's what's wrong with that letter and how it arrives in someone like Flo's mail. If HMRC's Read more [...]
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