10th August 2016
How to: remain compliant with regulations during periods of change
Each year, the UK government budget brings regulation and tax changes – some of which affect construction companies. With the recent result of the EU referendum signalling another period of uncertainty and rapid regulatory change, firms are faced with a struggle to remain compliant.
Non-compliance is a dangerous and potentially vastly expensive route to take, but given the ever-growing mountain of red tape and dense legalese construction companies face, it’s little surprise that many legislation changes go under the radar.
Here’s how to get to grips with ever-changing legislation and keep your construction software up to date.
#1 Stay tuned
If you don’t already, find several sources of construction industry news that you can trust to provide reliable and accurate information on legislative changes. These can be industry magazines, websites, or perhaps even friends or colleagues that you know keep up to date with the news.
For web-based sources, we recommend Building.co.uk, the Construction Index, and Construction News.co.uk. Even if you aren’t a member, the Federation of Master Builders is a good source of info on the biggest regulatory changes.
You should also keep an eye on certain government webpages including the Announcements page (use the Business & Enterprise and Housing policy area filters) and Publications page. Unfortunately, specific information relating to the construction industry is difficult to isolate.
#2 Speak to your software provider
If your software is free or your provider no longer supports it, it’s unlikely your software will be updated. This can be problematic in two ways: first, security vulnerabilities won’t be fixed, and second, your software’s inner workings won’t be updated to reflect legislation changes.
Typically, your software provider should update your construction accounting software to reflect shifting legislative needs. Ideally, they’ll also provide you with plenty of training and support to help you understand how to use these new features and remain compliant.
A recent example of this type of legislative change is the implementation of auto-enrolment pensions across the UK.
#3 Contingency plans
We don’t yet know which EU regulations the UK will ‘keep’ when the country eventually leaves the EU. Some builders may welcome scaling back European labour law or the EU’s environmental regulations, but some specialist builders will be concerned if the UK government uses Brexit to relax environmental requirements.
At this point in time, no-one in the industry knows what will happen when (or if!) the UK leaves the EU. Negotiations haven’t properly begun, and we don’t know where Theresa May’s government will stand on many of the contentious issues.
That leaves businesses with a significant degree of uncertainty. Can you count on the government to maintain status quo, or should you prepare for changes?
Ultimately, it’s in your interest to consider several outcomes and have plans in place to cope with these outcomes. Flexible construction companies will be best placed to make it through this pre-Brexit ‘limbo’ unscathed, ready to thrive once Brexit’s details are finalised.
To summarise, stay informed and keep in touch with your construction software provider. If you don’t think your provider is capable of making the updates required, switch. You shouldn’t have to rely on workarounds to meet new legislative requirements.
During the busiest time of year for your company, your construction accounting software will be working in overdrive. You might have a dozen staff using the system simultaneously, with hundreds of rows of data added to the system each day.