Friday, 21 July 2017

Reducing Uncertainty in Construction Business

Uncertainty is an interesting concept, and one that is integral to construction companies North Wales. Every single project in construction and civil engineering is subject to uncertainty, whether it’s a simple matter of uncertainty in estimation (which of course can be problematic in more complex programmes) and it is a generally considered fact that even the most experienced construction project managers do indeed have some difficulty handling uncertainty in matters of construction and civil engineering.

Uncertainty is not insurmountable. Decision milestones can often help with anticipation of outcomes, and good risk management structures can prevent disasters and of course help ensure that all are on board, and all units of construction are making the desired product. However, decision milestones are not exactly a failsafe in order to make sure that a project has absolutely no uncertainty – especially in unforeseen site conditions, as well as the very real possibility of design errors and omissions complicating a project.

While indeed decision milestones do help, they are not a comprehensive removal of all uncertainty, especially when things go wrong.

It is all well and good being idealistic over a project, but the most seasoned of project managers and civil engineers in North Wales and beyond will likely be able to count on one hand the amount of projects which have gone exactly to plan. The beauty of this industry is that no two projects are the same, and a more comprehensive and robust model of reducing uncertainty is needed.

And how exactly can this be done? Starting early, integrating quickly and working together as a whole can work wonders. On projects of high complexity, it is not enough to only know the project cost. It has been very well documented as of late how the public sector is held to far greater standards of accountability with public sector money, and effort needs to be spent mitigating risk with certain top drivers which cause uncertainty in projects.

Clearer direction from owners, more active leadership, greater interaction behind design and build parties during the design and construction phases, as well as clearer definitions of deliverables between parties during the design process can truly work wonders on most projects, as well as adherence to BIM and construction and project management systems can work wonders for reducing uncertainty, as well as preventing overspending and projects running over allotted timeframes.

Employing Staff as a Sole Trader


Did you know that as a sole trader, you can employ members of staff? Very many sole traders across North Wales and beyond take the status a little too literally and take the term at face value, often working alone and ending up doomed to failure by being far too overburdened by public demand.

Any accountant in North Wales worth their salt will disagree with the notion that being a sole trader means that you have to go it alone – being a sole trader is actually characterised by the fact that you own the business and are responsible for it on your own. This of course can be quite a double edged sword with the fact that if anything does go wrong with the company, you personally are liable for it. As the saying goes – with great power comes great responsibility – and the services of a good accountant are absolutely paramount in all manner of pressing matters.

Don’t feel that as a sole trader you get it easy in other respects, either. It doesn’t matter whether you are a sole trader, a limited company, a gigantic corporation or even a partnership, if you employ people you have to obey the same criteria absolutely every other company in the country has to go by. You must pay a minimum amount of staff benefits – such as holiday pay, the national living wage and of course make contributions to an employee’s pension, as of 2017.

You need to enrol employees over the age of 22 into the workplace pension scheme, which will involve you making a contribution into your employee’s pension yourself. Keep in mind that if your employee earns over £10,000 per year, you will need to pay at least 1% of your employee’s qualifying earnings into the pot.

As of July 2017 the Living Wage stands at £8.45 an hour (Please keep in mind that the National Living Wage in London stands at £9.75 per hour) For employees under the age of 25, you will need to pay the National Minimum Wage. You’ll need to check that your brand new employee also meets the criteria for being legally allowed to work within the UK, as well as conduct other employment checks as the criteria demands, such as DBS checks.

As a sole trader, limited company, or any other employer, it also falls to you to register as an employer with HMRC up to 4 weeks before you take on your new employee and pay them. For many, this can be daunting, but the services of a good accountant in North Wales can help you get it right in an efficient manner.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

What do You Look for in An Oil and Gas Reserve Evaluation?

When your company is looking for suitors to attend oil and gas reserves and resources evaluations, a number of things come to mind in your potential mass, and it is all absolutely non-negotiable. However, it can be ranked.

Experience, of course, is paramount and should be the first thing anyone looks at as they view their suitors. As is respectability and prominence within the field in which they work. Usage of the newest and the most accurate methods of obtaining the value of the resource of course is rather important too, though experience trumps all when it comes to efficiency with the work which is tasked. Look into a businesses portfolio.

Understand their efforts for the oil and gas industry as it stands today. Look for accurate, live representations of this company’s work in the present day industry.

The ability to manage deterministic and probabilistic methods of ascertaining oil and gas resource value comes with the thorough understanding of varying reserve levels and their equivalence in both systems, as well as experience of management of reserves throughout the company’s history as well as in the present day is absolutely crucial for any independent oil and gas reserves evaluation company, no matter what part of the world they operate within.

Furthermore, it is prudent to select an oil and gas reserves evaluation company which has a proven track record of both usual and unusual reserves such as deepwater drilling.


From oil and has reserve resource classification to petroleum economics, your firms hopes and dreams absolutely cannot rest in the hands of nobodies which are looking to prove themselves. 

Recently, the Mexican Government trusted UK-based ERC Equipoise – a veteran company which is filled to the brim with world-renowned experts within the fields of resource classification, petroleum economics, deterministic oil and gas reserves, statistics, probability and uncertainty, as well as reserve estimation. Such foresight can be emulated by your firm, for fantastic results later on. 

HMRC Are Aggressively Pursuing More Businesses

It has emerged that HMRC have shut down a staggering 12% more businesses in 2016 than in 2015, which correlates with their trend of ramping up investigations into unpaid tax, which has resulted in far more small businesses seeking expert help in the form of chartered accountants in North Wales and further across the field.

When it comes to perusing small businesses and issuing wind up orders, HMRC have never filed as many as they did in 2016 – a total of 3,906 in the calendar year of 2016. Should your business receive a winding up order, the business will be forced to close and will have its assets liquidated to pay outstanding tax bills. The increase was somewhat expected by accountants across North Wales and beyond – following a vast amount of sustained pressure from all around for the HMRC to pursue and clamp down upon those perceived to not be paying their way.

The importance of getting it right first time has never been so high. For a small business in particular, it’s absolutely vital, as unlike gigantic companies, your average “ma and pop” high street independent business can struggle to meet cash flow issues, and find that traditional loans and overdrafts are closed to them because of their status. Without this cushion, a small business can often become unstuck very quickly, even if it is going through a period of relative security.

The assistance of a chartered accountant in North Wales can help smaller businesses approach banks and other lenders with services such as due diligence and bank negotiations, and can often be the factor that allows a bank or other lending provider to assist with cash flow challenges around major tax deadlines and due dates for VAT, or corporation tax bills.


It’s absolutely vital that a small business doesn’t stick its head in the sand when it comes to paying tax.

A good accountant is there to get it right, and there to help a small business allocate funds in order to do so, but any business experiencing difficulty should work with the HMRC to prevent arrears from becoming far too much to bear.

Furthermore, proactive steps are needed to make sure that funding is available when needed, so don't neglect your dues!  

Monday, 12 June 2017

Carbon Neutrality – Why It’s Important For Your Business to Address It


You might have heard on the news as of late about quite a row going on about climate change. It’s never been more imperative that the planet is looked after, and it’s really not hard at all to see why. Temperatures are breaking records all around the world, and while it doesn’t sound all that terrible, it feels shocking to think that the planet is getting warmer and warmer and the average temperature of the earth has skyrocketed at a rate which is higher than ever before throughout the 21st Century.

There’s more greenhouse gases than ever in the Earth’s atmosphere, and Earth Overshoot Day – a day which was devised to be the marker of when the average usage of resources throughout a single year outstrips what the Earth can actually replenish in a year – is getting sooner and sooner. In 2016, it stood at August the 8th. In effect, if you’re paid at the end of the month, you’ve gone overdrawn just past the 15th of every month.

Terrible? Yes.

But, there’s so many things which can be done.

One is the implementation of LED Lighting throughout the world. More and more companies are jumping on board with LED Lighting, even the fact that they do not produce harmful c02 which directly contributes to greenhouse gases. Whether it is a retail company, a housebuilder, even a council or even a government, it’s truly never been easier (or cheaper) to start with LED Lighting, whether you wish to retrofit your existing system or start again entirely.

Plus, for the first time ever, LED Lighting is cheaper than traditional halogen bulbs and so customisable, you don’t have to worry about the lighting around you being too stark to feel comfortable in. There are a series of LED Rope Lights and LED Strip Lights which can save you money, save the environment, and also jazz up your home or office significantly. Whether you’re a large or a small business, it’s never made more sense to go to LED Lighting – Climate change is not a distant or a far away problem any longer. It will affect your grandchildren. It will also affect your children – and at the rate things are going, it will also affect you.


Make the change today, and invest in LED to get a superior lighting solution, as well as save money, and the planet. All at the same time!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Shareholders: Don’t Fall into the Dividends Trap

Very many owner directors of small companies across England and Wales are taking measures to reduce the companies’ overall tax and NIC costs by taking advantage of dividends to pay themselves a far lesser salary, which is typically around about enough to maintain their current state benefit entitlements and take any balance of remuneration from HMRC in the form of tax efficient benefits and dividends.

It has been established that HMRC themselves have noticed quite a lot of claims throughout 2016 and 2017 compared to earlier years and has commented that it would like very much to “understand” the rise of the dividend claims, and this has made quite a few good, future thinking accountants in North Wales pensive, and companies nervous. Of course, it should be stated that claiming dividends is not an illegal form of getting relief for yourself as an individual, or even assisting your business, but it should be noted that this form of obtaining relief looks very much on borrowed time.

Dividends at present are valid, useful ways of obtaining relief, as they are not a cost to the company. With this considered, dividends also don’t reduce the amount of profit which is readily available for distribution as a dividend – which can then become available to distribute to Shareholders.

The present rules on dividends is that no tax should be paid on the first £5000 of dividends received from all sources on a universal basis. The first part of basic rate brand incurs a 7.5% tax rate. Higher rate taxation is calculated at 32.5%, and 38.1% tax is payable on any dividends which form part of the additional rate band.


With the way the country could go at the General Election, there is a very real chance that the £5000 tax free allowance will be reduced to £2000, which makes very many of the dividend changes unviable.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Time Domain Seismic Imaging and Depth Conversion


Depth Conversion is a robust, but iterative process which can offer a good amount of uncertainty when it comes to working out what is below. If you’re using VelPAK or Kingdom IHS in order to determine your depth, then there is help with the form of Velit, a Depth Conversion Software plugin which is designed to offer vast libraries which can take into account most scenarios regarding depth conversion.

Velit is impressive indeed, and can offer a range of different scenarios regardless of the status of your potential asset. Whether it is marine or land based, and in a variety of different situations. Velit is also designed to be extremely user friendly and despite the fact that it’s a rather powerful tool with an expansive collection of libraries and methods, offers a far superior workflow which even straight out of the box is a major plus to running a vanilla version of Petrel or IHS Kingdom.

Using Velit can enable you to get a more accurate depth conversion, which permits the production of depth and thickness maps which depict subsurface layers – based on time domain seismic imaging. Robust and efficient, Velit allows for rapid scanning and determination of time migration velocity, the program itself running your data through repeated migrations in order to ascertain the most likely scenario, or by velocity continuation if you prefer. Time migration is considered best practise for seismic imaging in areas which mild lateral velocity variations.

Velit is a tool which is absolutely crucial for better depth conversions, and a much more simplified workflow for tasks such as hydrocarbon exploration which permits the volumetric evaluation of gas or oil. Furthermore, Velit allows depth conversion to be carried out as part of its interrogation of well data, with the option to allow seismic imaging to be carried out in addition, for extra peace of mind.