Home Business & Industry SME Expert Preempts 5 Key Events Your Business Should Look Out for in 2024

SME Expert Preempts 5 Key Events Your Business Should Look Out for in 2024

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As the festive lights fade and the reality of routine kicks back in for many business owners, now’s a good time to think about what 2024 will bring.

Having a sense of what’s coming up can help you plan and mitigate against any significant disruption.

Business bank accounts expert Kyle Eaten has given his thoughts below on what all SME owners need to know about 2024 so far:

Tax return deadline

Making sure your business gets off on the right foot in 2024 starts with making sure you don’t have to pay a fine for filing a late self-assessment tax return or forgetting to pay your tax bill.

Ensure you have filed your online tax return by 31st January, 2024.

Remember, you also need to pay your tax bill (and any payment on account that might be due) by the same date.”

General election 

“We don’t yet know when the general election will be. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is working on the assumption that it will be “in the second half of this year”, but whenever it happens, the outcome could bring about all sorts of potential change.

“That might mean there’s some stability for the first half of 2024 in the faces we see running things, but I wouldn’t bet on there being no changes otherwise. For a start, we’re going to get another budget.”

Spring budget

The government has now set the date for the spring budget. We can expect chancellor Jeremy Hunt to deliver it to the House of Commons on 6th March, 2024.

You only have to look back at the autumn statement to see how things can change for SMEs. In November, Hunt announced:

  • A continued relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with the discount on business rates extended through 2024/25
  • A simplification of taxes paid by the self-employed. Class 2 National Insurance would be abolished and Class 4 National Insurance would be cut from 9% to 8% for those earning profits between £12,570 and £50,270
  • Tax deduction for investment in equipment would be made permanent, meaning businesses can continue claiming tax relief worth up to 25p for every £1 spent on investments
  • An increase to the minimum wage, rising to £11.44 for those over the age of 21 from April 2024

It’s difficult to know for certain what the chancellor will announce in March, but with the general election coming up, it’s difficult to not imagine a scenario where more tax cuts are announced at the very least.

Inflation easing ahead of the next Bank of England announcement

The inflation rate in the UK is currently 4%, down from a high of 11.1% in October 2022.

On 1st February, 2024 the Bank of England’s first monetary policy meeting announcement will be made. This is the date to remember, as it’s when their next interest rate decision will be announced.

High inflation impacts everyone, and SMEs aren’t immune to its effects. With both inflation and the cost of living at record highs for a while now, SMEs have had to change their approach to almost every aspect of their business.

Whether you’ve had to increase the cost that a customer pays, needed to dip into personal savings, or even had to stop paying yourself a salary, the knock-on effect of the last couple of years continues to be felt. If inflation continues on the downward trend we’ve been seeing recently, we can hope that 2024 will see costs come down and ease the ongoing pressures SMEs continue to face.

Start as you green to go on

Green initiatives and climate technology are helping businesses be more sustainable. To share success stories while highlighting some of the exciting and inspiring business initiatives in this space, look out for the UK Green Business Awards, taking place on 12th June, 2024.

Another positive upshot of climate technology is the demonstrable growth in the sector. HSBC Innovation Banking shared findings recently showing that in 2023, electric mobility and electric vehicle (EV) batteries were in the top funded UK climate tech startup segments, raising $2.2B and $1.2B, respectively.

And in August last year, the UK government launched the UK Business Climate Hub, a “one-stop shop to help businesses save money and go green.”

To achieve this, the hub allows British businesses access to advice and support to reduce their energy bills and cut carbon emissions. Among other benefits, it provides small businesses with advice on everything from paying less for EVs to getting a low-carbon heat pump to generating green energy and selling it back to the grid to make money.

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