The world is going digital, are you on board…

A few months ago, I received what appeared to be a random electronically generated mailshot from the Inland Revenue. Given what we do for a living I am naturally suspicious of most communications proposing to be from these guys, but this one was different. The mailshot was to prepare me for next year’s payroll year end and was a warning that P60s, which we normally order in advance, would no longer be available to order. I have been working with lots of clients for a while now enabling them to be able to send electronic wages slips. If you send your wage slips by email, then year end P60s can also be sent by email.

If you have applied for the bounce back loan in recent months, chances are that you signed the documents digitally using something like DocuSign. These days, paper is very much becoming like my cheque book…somewhat redundant. In fact, writing this made me look at my chequebook (I had to find it first) and the first cheque I wrote was 5 years ago. I still have half of the cheques available in the book. Everything I do with my bank is online.

In fact, I am going through the process of changing banks and everything they have asked me to do has been electronic in some form or other. This is not COVID-19 related, this has been happening anyway. COVID-19 has just fast tracked the process. Such a comprehensive process but no longer carried out in person. Changing banks is another strategic decision I have made. The new bank has pretty much been in contact throughout lockdown. The outgoing bank have not made a single phone call to us highlighting that we made the right decision.

The PayPal thing is yet another sign of the weird, joined-up digital world in which we now live. Again, a dodgy email reminded me that I have not logged into my PayPal account for some time. I just do not use it anymore and I wondered out of curiosity really if there had been any activity on it. I failed at the password hurdle – it has been that long since I logged in that I had forgotten the password. So, after an email or two and a secure password created using my online password manager, I now have a very secure password that I will never forget again. Once logged in however, I was slightly unnerved that PayPal had my up to date credit card details stored as a preferred payment option. This was not just an expired card; this was a card I had reported lost a few months ago in first lockdown so the card company sent me out a new card with new everything on it. How did PayPal get hold of this information? We have always been told that if we have any subscriptions on a card, that we should now update these as they will not be paid. Not it would appear in the case of PayPal however.

Companies House have also jumped on the bandwagon. They have now announced that they are no longer sending out paper reminders. Unless you want reminding, and subscribe to the email service, they are not going to remind you to file anything. The letter even points out that it is the directors’ responsibility to file company’s information on time, so I guess woe betide you if you forget.

I have been wondering why my daughters trampoline club relies on me paying them manually, when they should be collecting the money by direct debit and low and behold, during lockdown, they have implemented a system so that they can control this.

And this is my point, now more than ever, is the time to look at your business processes with a view to automating them. Making strategic decisions about your business to help you streamline processes or automate systems should be high up on your agenda.

This is where we at String fit in. We are your strategic IT partner. We put our money where our mouths are and invest in our own technology so that our team can be ready to help you invest in yours.

Steve Pickering

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