Ava Blog

How to resolve a user not receiving a reset password email

Wednesday Wednesday, October 26, 2016 by Administrator

The problem: a user has forgotten their password.


They have correctly clicked on the "Forgotten your Password?" button.


They have put in their correct user name and not received a "Reset password email"


Here are a the few very easy steps to help you resolve this: support article.




Starting and running a temp staff recruitment agency

Friday Friday, October 21, 2016 by Administrator

Starting and running a temp staff recruitment agency or any other company for that matter!


Life is much easier these days and that can dramatically reduce your costs. There is only about twice as much paper work as a few years ago. Importanty this is at least four times easier to complete and many times less expensive.... We have Tim Berners-Lee and his interweb (love the name) to thank (again)! Where would we be without him? The 20th Century is probably the answer. The good news is that the paperwork is all there for you to download and read entirely for free and complete with only nominal costs.

To save yourself several hundred pounds all you need is an hour or two an evening for a reasonable number days. This should see you being able to start and, or stay well legal and know much more than your potential competitors down the road. Some of this took me years to get to know. The main reason for this was I had an accountant who was supposed to be a friend: as a friend this meant I would happily give him IT advice for free and save him hundreds of pounds (may be more) and he would charge me his standard rates for his services and keep this (the following) knowledge to himself.


There are some legal requirements that companies need to undertake:


Not least when you start to “incorporate” or set up your company and you need choose a name. Choosing a name is often quite challenging: it should not be similar to a major competitor. There are the legal reasons given in the documents below and there are the search engine reasons (how people find your web site). They both pull in the same direction. Google will allways suggest more popular results and if your name is too similar then searches for your comapny will be swamped. The link to the guidance document from Companies House is at the bottom of the page.

The government also wants to know if you are (possibly or likely to be) involved in money laundering activities so from a few months ago the law changed. So you should also know about ensuring that the movers and shakers register as part of your company. People with significant control or PSC to give them their official acronym need to be listed. The links to the documents from Companies House follow.


Useful links: the whys and wherefores of Registering individuals and company details.


Check the availabilty of a company name for free at the governement Companies House web site

Check Domain name availability for free and register it in seconds for a few pounds a year



Companies house guidance for limited companies, partnerships and other company types

Incorporation and Names guidance July 2016 pdf

Incorporation and names web page

Confirmation statement

Guidance: Life of a company pdf

Life of a company: annual-requirements web page

Late Filing Penalties pdf

Sir Tim_Berners-Lee: Inventor of the internet





Over a million pounds allegedly conned out of jobseekers recruitment scam

Friday Friday, October 21, 2016 by Administrator

Over a million pounds allegedly conned out of jobseekers recruitment scam....


In a BBC program due to be screened this evening (Friday 21st Oct: Inside out) by Guy Lynn and Aurelia Allen BBC News:

It is alleged that in a scam going on since at least 2012 probably in excess of one million pounds in "accreditation" fees for non-existent jobs. Moreover, victims went on to apparently innocently recruit other victims. May examples of these events have been reported to "Safer Job" this year

Mr Phillips is alleged to have been carrying out the scam since at least 2012 but denies any knowledge of these allegations….




BBC news web site ‘Hundreds’ of jobseekers victims of 'recruitment scam'

Inside out Programme web site

Safe Advice for Employment and Recruitment




Holiday pay, what should it include

Friday Friday, October 14, 2016 by Administrator

Holiday pay, temp staff, zero hours contracts and pay calculations, employment law


In simple terms the Working Time Directive (WTD) stipulates that employees working unspecified hours (zero hours contracts amongst them) e.g. Agency Workers: should receive payments for holidays in proportion to and in addition to their earnings. This law originated with an EU court ruling which stated that for Health and Safety reasons, holiday pay must be paid on or for days when work did not take place i.e. days off.

British Gas decided this calculation did not include personal commission. The net result is: one of their then employees (of about a thousand who would receive extra payments) has taken them to court.

One of the questions is that: with Brexit do I need to bother with EU legislation? The simple answer is yes, the more complex answer is yes because the government approach to Brexit is to enshrine all EU legislation in UK law at the point of exit. So if it's law now: it will be post Brexit.

Cutting to the chase: On the 8th of October 2016 EAT (Employment Appeal Tribunal) decided that it was reasonable for an earlier Employment Tribunal (In November 2014) to insert wording into the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) to the effect that commission and other similar payments are to be included in holiday pay.

Financially it’s fair to assume it’s worthwhile for British Gas to further appeal, with a 1000 plus other employees feeling hard done by. They have signified they intend to do this. Furthermore there is quite a backlog of appeals, so this will run and run.

The back ground:

Mr Lock was employed by British Gas as a salesman.  His remuneration package included a basic salary plus commission which was based on the number and type of contracts he persuaded customers to enter into; in other words it was results-based commission and did not depend on how much work was done.  He took a number of days’ holiday to which he was entitled.  However, the remuneration paid to him during holidays consisted only of basic salary. He did not receive a proportionate payment of any commission which had been earned during the working time that generated the associate paid leave.




My computer is slow, can I improve it for free?

Monday Monday, October 10, 2016 by Administrator

Does your computer seem slow (especially on the internet)? Are you connected to the internet using Wi-Fi? The following (non tech stuff) may help you improve your interweb (love that description) experience dramatically.

It's really easy, all about traffic and sitting in a queue.

So a brief word of explanation, no tech stuff.

When you get your brand new Wi-Fi router it will have the “factory default” settings. In other words all routers as supplied new have the same password and other (traffic) settings. This may cause a problems.

Wi-Fi just like your radio has channels: Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, Local radio, Independent local radio etc. Imagine what would happen if all the channels were squeezed into one? It’s the same as a motorway road with four or five lanes but all the vehicles using just one of the lanes. If you are there too, you would be stuck in a queue: horrendous traffic. Just move to a free lane and suddenly your journey is transformed.

Moving to another lane: The same happens with your Wi-Fi, they are all supplied by the manufacturer on the same channel just like a lane in our analogy. You can move to a better channel (lane).

But just like traffic: better look first! “Well I don’t know how to” is probably your response! You can do this almost as simply as turning the wheel in your car to change motorway lanes. Just go to get your android phone and go to Google Play store and type in Wi-Fi Analyser (it’s a free app). Once you download it and run it then you get a display of your local traffic.


 wifi car queue


So what does this display mean? Well it’s a display of traffic against lanes (channels). Probably there are a couple of channels that are a lot clearer than the one you are on.

So what do you do now? Note a clear channel or the ones with the smallest amount of traffic, then phone your broadband supplier and ask them how you move Wi-Fi channels on your router (it only takes a couple of clicks with their help). Now we all know that kids understand these things so a good time to double check what the rush hour is like is when they are home from school: there may be some new traffic at that time of day…so check your channel is still free in early evening rush hours as well.


Oh and while you are at it.. change your default password please!


Happy (and faster) browsing.

Starting and running an Agency, some of the things you should know. Pt 2

Friday Friday, October 7, 2016 by Administrator

Starting and running an Agency, some of the things you should know. Pt 2


One of the most important things is not to spend money you don’t need to! When you do spend money only spend wisely on the things you do need or that make you provide a bettter procuct to your customer from the off. In this part we will look at web sites and finance costs.


Web sites


In this day and age you do need a web site. 

Customers are vital and some (like councils) may not even consider you without a web site.

There are a few do’s and don’ts about having a web site.

  • The first don’t is go to a company and ask them to get a “domain” or “URL” for you. This can prove expensive and it is simplicity itself. By doing it yourself you own it directly and also you have control over it if you fall out with your web designer.
  • Choosing a company and web name. Ideally it should reflect your business so “something” Care or Nursing if you are a care or nursing agency.
  • Don’t choose a name that is similar to a major player. As you probably already know if you do a typo in a Google search, it will offer you “popular” alternatives, so people may never get to your web site if they are just searching.
  • Do choose .co.uk over com, once again Google is the reason why. Google will offer Dot UK sites over international (DOT COM) ones if you are searching in the DOT UK. So put your thinking cap on.
  • Do check that the name is available: it’s easy: just go to Easily.co.uk any type in your choice of names.
  • Whist you are at it, search for the names you have thought up. Your site name will cost you about £10 for two years if it’s a dot co dot UK one. Once is yours, you automatically have priority to renew it so no need to go for 10 years!

If you become a customer we will help you with making your site secure at the lowest cost and we will provide the help for free.


Finance costs.


Beware hidden finance costs. These can come in many forms so before entering into an agreement for factoring or other loans ask about the following when you hear the “Headline rate”.

Not all financiers are as duplicitous as the following example, but they do occur.

  • The Headline rate may be “3%” per month on total monthly turnover. Sounds reasonable? So let’s do some easy sums: Say your wages bill is £1000 per week or in very round terms £4,000 a month. So the interest is 3*4000 divided by 100 or £120 per month. Now say your T&Cs say strictly 14 days (it’s pretty usual and you may actually be in the pound seat if you are supplying good staff your customers want). Then actually if you get your invoices out at the beginning of the week and you pay at the end, you may only need a loan for 10 days to cover the cash flow.  This meant that you actually need a loan of one and a half weeks turnover before the invoice payments are in the bank. So £1500 will cover it. So you are paying £120 for a £1,500 loan or 120 divide by 1,500 times 100 for on my calculator 8%! Not so reasonable.
  • There may also be an “arrangement fee” to charge you for giving them 8%. This can be between 1% and 10% and is to cover the costs for “arranging” the loan
  • Survey or Audit charges might be £400 to £1000 pounds to cove the bank checking your financial history (usually a few quid to them), assets and balance sheet. Because these change may be a quarterly to yearly charge.
  • Take on fee (if you currently have unpaid invoices), a straight 2% (really about 6% for the same reason as the Headline rate is understated.
  • CHAPS (clearing house automated payment system) fees is very good for the chaps loaning you the money can be £20 to £30 per transaction, actual costs fractions of a penny in computing power.
  • Trust accounting charge: an amount levied (typically 0.2%) every time an invoice is paid into your account (did we mention this is all computerised? Real cost a fraction of a penny.
  • Charge per Invoice schedule, this is to release funds on the same day that they are paid in: usually 1%. I think we mentioned this is all computerised.

In case you think the last three are all charges for the same service by other names with only slight differences, we would agree.




Earlier article Starting and running an Agency, some of the things you should know

Check your choosen domain name is available here: Easily.co.uk




How to attach customer documents to employee confirmation emails and vici versa

Monday Monday, October 3, 2016 by Administrator

How do I attach customer documents to employee confirmation emails?


One of the major ways the Ava temp staffing agency web system can save very significant amounts of time for your consultants is to send entirely automatic emails, smart apps and text messages on the consultants behalf to both employee temp workers and customers. This is done entirely in the background as part of the standard employee allocation process.


This will substantially improve productivity and eliminate otherwise unprofitable and needlessly repetitive tasks.


You can attach documents to the confirmation emails sent to employees and to customers.

This is the same as attaching identity or training documents concerning employee to the fully automatic booking confirmation sent to the customer.


There are four simple steps


If it does not already exist: Create the information info items in the Customer, company or department section in the drag and drop info designer.


If it is not already visible, add this heading or item to an existing or new tab on the Customer, company or department drag and drop record card layout designer.


Upload the appropriate documents or their images in the appropriate Customer or department record cards.


Add the entry as an attachment on the email content designer.





HMRC Making Tax digital

Monday Monday, September 26, 2016 by Administrator

It is no secret that HMRC are introducing computerised submission of returns for individuals and for companies.



It’s actually the third time HMRC have attempted to do this. However a couple of years ago this particular effort was initiated by the then Chancellor George Osbourne and so from the top down it got greater priority. There are a number of advantages for HMRC in having all this computerised: They do not have the large expense of processing paper forms and to turn them into data with inevitable errors and omissions. The data is immediately in a form where they can analyse it and find the rogues.

There is at least one disadvantage: they are presenting the top UK hacking target, even above private royal photos.


HMRC have produced a cartoon illustration of the process as they see it:

It concerns an imaginary accountant Alfred and an imaginary Florist sole trader Flo. They use imaginary software COG and LION. Each has a digital identity registered with HMRC.

Many Agencies in the temporary staffing industry start off as one or two employees operating as sole traders marketing their skills under sole trader status which has a number of tax advantages for them. Often they group together to become a small agency. Often small agencies grow because they have the friendly employment environment arising from knowing their industry first hand. At some point someone takes first responsibility for the book keeping process. Sometime they may then feel it is cheaper or more efficient to employ an accountant or third party book keeping service. This is their story in an overview.

Accountant Alfred is preparing for Making Tax Digital (MTD).

He knows we’ll need to subscribe his agency, accountants, to HMRC's agent services to handle tax for clients who have subscribed to Making Tax Digital For Buisness (MTBFB). He uses imaginary business software called COG.


Florist Flo is growing her business

A friend recommends using imaginary LION software to manage her accounts. It will save her time with bookkeeping and chasing invoices. She can even use it to send here tax return to HMRC.


Geoff requests authorisation from Flo so that he can represent her for Making Tax Digital for Business Income Tax Self-Assessment (MTDfB-ITSA)


  • Alfred wants to subscribe to HMRC agent services using COG.
  • MTD 1
  • Alfred needs to complete security checks.
  • MTD 2
  • Alfred’s software needs permission for this new interaction.
  • MTD 3
  • Alfred's subscription to agent services is complete.
  • MTD 4
  • Flo’s self-assessment Tax Return is due soon.
  • MTD 5
  • Flo subscribes to MTFB-ITSA. (MTB self assesment)
  • MTD 6
  • Flo needs to complete a security check.
  • MTD 7
  • Flo’s software needs permission to interact with HMRC.
  • MTD 8
  • Flo’s subscription to MTD is not complete.
  • MTD 9
  • Flo sends her first MTD update.
  • MTD 10
  • Alfred adds Flo’s UTR and postcode into COG.
  • MTD 11
  • COG displays the matching client from HMRC’S database.
  • MTD 12
  • COG sends Alfred’s authorisation request to HMRC.
  • MTD 13
  • LION notifies Flo and she approves Alfred’s request.
  • MTD 14
  • Alfred gets access to Flo’s data.
  • MTD 15
  • Alfred submits Flo’s tax update.
  • MTD 16

Watch this space....




Starting and running an Agency, some of the things you should know.

Monday Monday, August 22, 2016 by Administrator

Starting and running an Agency, some of the things you should know.


Starting an agency is not as difficult as you may think. Most people starting agencies, start them as limited companies. The reason is that this limits their personal liability in future. Should things go badly wrong (we hope this does not happen to you): it protects their assets, possibly their home, probably everything else they have built up over the years. It also allows them to put “Company Director” on their passport which is kind of cool. It may also (negatively) affect their car insurance costs: which is not so cool.

So here are some of the do’s and don’ts. It’s not an exclusive list and it should not stop you getting valuable advice elsewhere.

When you register your new company, do it directly on the Companies House website. The link is at the bottom of this page. This page has lots of good links to everything the Government requires you to do.

Your company will probably start life as a Private limited company. There are two types of company: Public and Private. Private means it will initially be small (worth less than a few million) and its shares will not be traded on the stock market. Public limited companies are big and you can buy shares in them.

There are unscrupulous organisations out there which will charge you a fee for what is freely available via the links on this page. So don’t spend what you don’t have to, spend a few minutes reading the links (and their links) and it will probably save you a few hundred pounds.

There are also Accountants out there who will happily charge you for full accounts when limited or abbreviated accounts are all you need and maybe you do not even need an accountant! At least till you have a turnover of more than six and a half million pounds  and have more  than 50 employees on average. There are other considerations on why you may be exempt from having an audit (and not to complicate things file what is known as abbreviated accounts). The link is at the bottom of the page.

One thing accountants are a bit reticent about is that there is no "legal" qualification to be an accountant. Many accountants are members of trade bodies but this is as relevant to them doing you books (as a private limited company or sole trader) as a loyalty card at your local supermarket. Provided your accounts are accurate and readable you are as entitled to do them yourself or have a friend do them for you. 

Do ask people who you know who are experienced in these things.

Do file your accounts with Companies House in advance of deadlines. The reason for this is that if your company is only a few years old then there is little public data for customers who look up these things to go on. They will expect your company to be small, may have made a loss in the first few years, fulfilled its legal obligations to meet the legal (and frankly minimal) accounting requirements placed upon it by the accepted framework of running an (eventually) successful company. So at this point your published credibility rating is determined by these filing and most importantly them being on time.

Do leverage any friends you have to come and work for you or maybe even invest in your company.

Do use your standing in your profession to talk to people you know or have worked for who are likely to need your services. It’s far easier to do this when you are working for them rather than when you are not.

Good luck


Links that will help you set up a company with minimum costs


You will notice that all these pages are on "Gov.uk" it's secure, it's direct from the horses mouth and it's free.

Companies House
Overview forming a private limited company
Accounting exemptions for private limited Companies
What you need to do running a company with Companies House: registration and filing (not HMRC requirements of VAT, PAYE or RTI) 
Business and self employed: running a limited company
Register for Self assesment


Sage Software users hit by “internal data breach” is Sage accounting properly?

Monday Monday, August 15, 2016 by Administrator

Is Sage accounting properly?


Sage said today on their web site:


“We believe there has been some unauthorised access using an internal login to the data of a small number of our UK customers so we are working closely with the authorities to investigate the situation.”

This is a very vague statement and gives no real indication of the size of the breach. Should you be concerned? How economically are Sage accounting for the truth?

So when is a “small number of users” really a small number? Is ;less than ten small? Probably we all agree yes, Less than a hundred? May be, more than a hundred?  I suspect most people would think that more than a hundred probably isn’t “small” and several hundred not small. Now if each of these (reportedly 280) customer accounts that have been compromised contains details of 50 – 500 employees, let’s guess 200? Then the actual number of bank account details may be in the region of 280 (company accounts) for 200 each employees.


Is possibly in excess of  half a million bank details, dates of birth, addresses, NI numbers etc. a small number?




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