Water regulations play a significant role in keeping employees, customers and the general public safe on a business’ premises. The precedents set by these regulations need to be followed by every UK business with physical property, regardless of their size or the location of their main office.
As experts in the field, Total Water Solutions have provided this brief explanation of how businesses can keep themselves compliant with water regulations:
Fittings and contamination
Water-related fixtures and fittings, such as sinks and pipes, need to be watertight and fully serviced. This means that open leaks, exposed rust and blockages need to be fixed before the system is installed: this prevents water contamination, which can often lead to sickness and a lack of available fresh water.
These regulations apply to any property with a connection to the mains water supply, regardless of whether it’s the main water source or a backup to a private supply. Regular maintenance and fresh fittings will often be enough to keep water free from contamination.
Trade effluent discharges
Businesses that discharge water as a result of industrial or sanitary activities need consent from their water provider. Trade effluent covers a large amount of non-domestic chemicals including pool chlorine, cleaning fluids and oil: these chemicals aren’t treated equally and may have enforced limits to protect sewage pipes and water treatment facilities.
Trade effluent is counted as an additional cost on a business’ regular water bill, varying with the volume and type of discharged water. Without consent, it’s technically legal to create trade effluent but illegal to dispose of it.
Water supplies that span multiple floors or buildings should be fitted with multiple stop valves. At least one valve should cut off the entire supply to the premises, whereas the others should be placed in locations that allow partial shutoffs without interrupting the supply elsewhere. These valves should be accessible by the residents or users of the respective floors, either inside or outside of the premises’ walls.
Servicing valves are occasionally a legal requirement of appliances that draw water from the supply pipes, although some appliances (such as taps) will always be exempt. These valves must be both accessible and only shut off specific appliances, rather than the entire room or floor, to aid repairs and general maintenance.
All WC cisterns and tanks should connect to a WC warning pipe or warning device located in a visible, easily-accessible location. This can include warning pipes installed in the WC itself or into a connected flush pipe, as long as it can provide a sufficient pressure warning.
Damage and leak repairs
Underground leaks run the risk of water contamination, system damage, clean water shortages and damage to the surrounding land or properties. Leaks within the business’ property boundary are seen as the business’ responsibility under most circumstances.
Once discovered, either by the property owner or a third party, there is a compliance period of thirty days in which the responsible party must legally fix the leak: exceeding this period can lead to additional fees and an inability to claim leakage allowance. To ensure that leaks aren’t ignored, businesses should perform regular checks on their water pressure and volume, as well as checking their water bill against previous bills to find any unexpected usage increases.
If your house uses a meter, you might be able to claim leakage allowance from your water provider, but only if the leak wasn’t a result of your own actions (including workers or specialists you’ve hired). This allowance will cover the cost of the wasted water and, in some cases, the repair work.
Drinking water purity
Any business that provides drinking water to employees, residents or customers is required to keep it clean and wholesome, regardless of whether it’s consumed on the property or bottled and consumed elsewhere. The EU Drinking Water Directive dictates that drinking water must only contain necessary contaminants, such as small amounts of chlorine dioxide added as a Legionella management aid.
There are a variety of ways to purify contaminated drinking water, including filters and purification chemicals. However, traditional methods such as boiling can also be effective. Non-drinking water does not fall under these regulations and the business owner won’t be held responsible if an employee willingly consumes it.
Hot water storage
Businesses that store hot water (including drinking water) are legally required to be protected in the event of failure, with at least a ‘reasonable’ amount of safety measures present. This could include vents, pressure regulators, emergency drainage pipes or temperature-based emergency shutoffs.
The storage container or vessel itself must be constructed to withstand its own temperature and weight over a long period of time, as well as measures that prevent the water within from reaching 101˚C or above under any circumstances. If a business doesn’t meet these standards, it should design or purchase an alternative storage system immediately.
Bringing finance into the 21st Century – How COVID and collaboration are catalysing digital transformation
By Keith Phillips, CEO of TISATech
If just six or seven months ago someone had told you that in a matter of weeks people around the world would be locked down in their homes, trying to navigate modern work systems from a prehistoric laptop, bickering with family over who’s hogging the Wi-Fi, migrating online to manage all financial services digitally, all while washing their hands every five minutes in fear of a global pandemic… You’d think they had lost their mind. But this very quickly became the reality for huge swathes of the world and we’re about to go through that all over again as the UK government has asked that those who can work from home should.
Unsurprisingly, statistics show that lockdown restrictions introduced by the UK government in March, led to a sharp increase in people adopting digital services. Banks encouraged its customers to log onto online banking, as they limited (and eventually halted) services at branches. This forced many customers online as their primary means of managing personal finances for the first time.
If anyone had doubts before, the Covid-19 pandemic proved to us the importance of well-functioning, effective digital financial services platforms, for both financial institutions and the people using them.
But with this sudden mass online migration, it’s become clear that traditional banks have struggled to keep up with servicing clients virtually. Legacy banking systems have always stilted the digitisation of financial services, but the pandemic thrust this issue into the limelight. Fintech firms, which focus intently on digital and mobile services, knew it was only a matter of time before financial institutions’ reliance was to increase at an unprecedented rate.
For years, fintechs have been called upon by traditional players to find solutions to problems borne from those clunky legacy systems, like manual completion of account changes and money transfers. Now it is the demand for these services to be online coupled with the need for financial services firms to cut costs, since Covid-19 hit the economy.
Covid-19 has catalysed the urgent need to bring digital transformation to a wider pool of financial services businesses. Customers now have even higher expectations of larger institutions, demanding that they keep up with what the younger and more nimble challengers have to offer. Industry leaders realise that they must transform their businesses as soon as possible, by streamlining and digitising operations to compete and, ultimately, improve services for their customers.
The race for digital acceleration began far before the recent pandemic – in fact, following the 2008 financial crisis is likely more accurate. Since the credit crunch, there has been a wave of new fintech firms, full of young, bright techies looking to be the next big thing. Fintechs have marketed themselves hard at big conferences and expos or by hosting ‘hackathons’, trying to prove themselves as the fastest, most innovative or the most vital to the future of the industry.
However, even during this period where accelerating innovation in online financial services and legacy systems is crucial, the conditions brought about by the pandemic have not been conducive to this much-needed transformation.
The second issue, which again was clear far before the pandemic, is that fact that no matter how nimble or clever the fintechs’ solutions are, it is still hard to implement the solutions seamlessly, as the sector is highly fragmented with banks using extremely outdated systems populated with vast amounts of data.
With the significance of the pandemic becoming more and more clear, and the need for better digital products and services becoming more crucial to financial services firms and consumers by the day, the industry has finally come together to provide a solution.
The TISAtech project was launched last month by The Investing and Saving Alliance (TISA), a membership organisation in the UK with more than 200 leading financial institutions as members. TISA asked The Disruption House, a specialist benchmarking and data analytics business, to create a clearing house platform for the industry to help it more effectively integrate new financial technology. The project aims to enhance products and services while reducing friction and ultimately lowering costs which are passed on to the customers.
With nearly 4,000 fintechs from around the world participating, it will be the world’s largest marketplace dedicated to Open Finance, Savings, and Investment.
Not only will it provide a ‘matchmaking’ service between financial institutions an fintechs, it will also host a sandbox environment. Financial institutions can pose real problems with real data and the fintechs are given the space to race to the bottom – to find the most constructive, cost-effective solution.
Yes, there are other marketplaces, but they all seem to struggle to achieve a return on investment. There is a genuine need for the ‘Trivago’ of financial technology – a one stop shop, run by an independent body, which can do more than just matchmaking. It needs to go above and beyond to encompass the sandboxing, assessments, profiling of fintechs to separate the wheat from the chaff, and provide a space for true collaboration.
The pandemic has taught us that we are more effective if we work together. We need mass support and collaboration to find solutions to problems. Businesses and industries are no different. If fintechs and financial institutions can work together, there is a real chance that we can start to lessen the economic hit for many businesses and consumers by lowering costs and streamlining better services and products. And even if it is just making it that little bit easier to manage personal finances from home when fighting with your children for the Wi-Fi, we are making a difference.
What to Know Before You Expand Across Borders
By Sean King, Director of International Tax at McGuire Sponsel
The American retail giant, Target Corporation, has a market cap of $64 billion and access to seemingly limitless resources and advisors. So, when the company engaged in its first global expansion, how could anything possibly go wrong?
Less than two years after opening its first Canadian store in 2013, Target shut down all133 Canadian locations and terminated more than 17,000 Canadian employees.
Expansion of an operation to another country can create unique challenges that may impact the financial viability of the entire enterprise. If Target Corporation can colossally fail in its expansion to Canada, how might Mom ‘N’ Pop LLC fare when expanding into Switzerland, Singapore, or Australia?
Successful global expansion requires an understanding of multilayered taxes, regulatory hurdles, employment laws, and cultural nuances. Fortunately, with the right guidance, global expansion can be both possible and profitable for businesses of any size.
Any company with global ambitions must first consider whether the company’s expansion outside of the U.S. will give rise to a taxable presence in the local country. In the cross-border context, a “permanent establishment” can be created in a local country when the enterprise reaches a certain level of activity, which is problematic because it exposes the U.S. multinational to taxation in the foreign country.
Foreign entity incorporation
To avoid permanent establishment risk, many U.S. multinationals choose to operate overseas through a formal corporate subsidiary, which reduces the company’s foreign income tax exposure, though it may result in an additional level of foreign income tax on the subsidiary’s earnings. In most jurisdictions, multinationals can operate their business in the foreign country as a branch, a pass through (e.g., partnership,) or a corporation.
As a branch, the U.S. multinational does not create a subsidiary in the foreign country. It holds assets, employees, and bank accounts under its own name. With a pass through, the U.S. multinational creates a separate entity in the foreign country that is treated as a partnership under the tax law of the foreign country but not necessarily as a partnership under U.S. tax law.
U.S. multinationals can also create corporate subsidiaries in the foreign country treated as corporations under the tax law of both the foreign country and the U.S., with possibly two levels of income taxation in the foreign country plus U.S. income taxation of earnings repatriated to the U.S. as dividends.
Under U.S. entity classification rules, certain types of entities can “check the box” to elect their classification to be taxed as a corporation with two levels of tax, a partnership with pass-through taxation, or even be disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The check the box election allows U.S. multinationals to engage in more effective global tax planning.
Toll charges, transfer pricing and treaties
When establishing a foreign corporate subsidiary, the U.S. multinational will likely need to transfer certain assets to the new entity to make it fully operational. However, in many cases, the U.S. multinational cannot perform the transfer without recognizing taxable income. In the international context, the IRS imposes certain outbound “toll charges” on the transfer of appreciated property to a foreign entity, which are usually provided for in IRC Section 367 and subject to various exceptions and nuances.
Instead, the U.S. multinational may prefer to license intellectual property to the foreign subsidiary for a fee rather than transfer the property outright. However, licensing requires the company and foreign subsidiary to adhere to transfer pricing rules, as dictated by IRC Section 482. The U.S. multinational and the foreign subsidiary must interact in an arms-length manner regarding pricing and economic terms. Furthermore, any such arrangement may attract withholding taxes when royalties are paid across a border.
Are you GILTI?
Certain U.S. multinationals opt to focus on deferring the income recognition at the U.S. level. In doing so, they simply leave overseas profits overseas and delay repatriating any of the earnings to the U.S.
Despite the general merits of this form of planning, U.S. multinationals will be subject to certain IRS anti-deferral mechanisms, commonly known as “Subpart F” and GILTI. Essentially, U.S. shareholders of certain foreign corporations are forced to recognize their pro rata share of certain types of income generated by these foreign entities at the time the income is earned instead of waiting until the foreign entity formally repatriates the income to the U.S.
The end goal
Essentially, all effective international tax planning boils down to treasury management. Effective and early tax planning can properly allow a company to better achieve its initial goal: profitability.
If global expansion is on the horizon for your company, consult a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.
Pandemic risks eclipse treasury priorities as businesses diversify investments to mitigate impact
The Covid-19 pandemic has shunted aside existing challenges to sit atop treasurers’ priority lists, according to “The resilient treasury: Optimising strategy in the face of covid-19”, a survey run by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by Deutsche Bank.
The results show that treasurers are looking to diversify their investments in a bid to mitigate the pandemic impacts, including heightened liquidity, foreign-exchange and interest-rate risk. As many as 55% plan to increase investments in long-term instruments, with 48% increasing investments in bank deposits, another 48% in local investment products, and 47% in money-market funds.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically altered business plans in 2020. It has placed a certain level of strain on treasury processes, but the challenge it presents has been managed by traditional treasury skills. It is clear that pandemic risk will be on the treasury checklist for years to come, but it is one of many risks the department faces and will continue to manage,” says Melanie Noronha, the EIU editor of the report.
Despite Covid-19 looming large, other challenges wait in the wings. Notably, the replacement of the London Interbank Offered Rate was identified by 38% of respondents as the main challenge of their function.
Technology, meanwhile, continues to be a pressing issue, with treasury teams becoming increasingly reliant on IT solutions. Here, data quality is rising up the list of concerns. Already highlighted as very or somewhat concerning in 2019 by 69% of respondents, the figure rose to 78% in 2020. Acquiring the necessary skill sets to realise the full benefits of this data and technology is also a continuing priority – with some progress registered from last year. In 2020, 30% of respondents say they have all the skills they need to manage technological change, up from 22% in 2018.
“Treasury’s focus on technology is not only helping teams operate more efficiently in a remote-working environment, it has long played – and continues to play – a key role in realising their long-term priorities,” notes Ole Matthiessen, Head of Cash Management, Corporate Bank, Deutsche Bank. The survey shows that
Release 1 | 2 managing relationships with banks and suppliers (highlighted by 32% of respondents) and collaborating with other functions of the business (also 32%) remain top of the agenda – and seamless digital systems will help give treasurers the bandwidth and insight to be more effective partners for both internal and external stakeholders.
Based on a global survey of 300 treasury executives, conducted between April and May, the survey explores stakeholders’ attitudes among corporate treasurers towards the drivers of strategic change in the treasury function – from the pandemic through to regulation and technology – and their priorities for the next five years.
Hatton Gardens 5 top tips for investing in Diamonds
By Ben Stinson, Head of eCommerce at Diamonds Factory Investing in diamonds can be extremely rewarding, but only if you...
AI reduces procurement fraud, error and abuse
By Hans Bonde, Senior Industry Consultant, SAS In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on financial crime in...
Bringing finance into the 21st Century – How COVID and collaboration are catalysing digital transformation
By Keith Phillips, CEO of TISATech If just six or seven months ago someone had told you that in a...
Why hybrid working will shift the economy, not ruin it
By Pete Braithwaite, COO at B2B self-service portal KIT Online, Today explained that despite the major drive to get people...
What to Know Before You Expand Across Borders
By Sean King, Director of International Tax at McGuire Sponsel The American retail giant, Target Corporation, has a market cap...
81% of Business Managers in the Manufacturing Industry Agree that a Modern IT infrastructure Accelerates Innovation, Creativity, and Productivity
83% of business decision makers are convinced that slow running networks and applications are inhibiting these three success factors 78%...
From fundamentals to digital evolution: Deutsche Bank and ACT release comprehensive guide for treasurers
The Association for Corporate Treasurers (ACT), in partnership with Deutsche Bank, has today announced the release of “The Group Treasurer:...
Sectigo Selected by Baidu to Provide SSL Services for All-New Baidu Trust SSL Certificates
Sectigo, a leading provider of automated digital identity management and web security solutions, announced that Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU), a leading Chinese search...
Stella McCartney Transforms Financial Consolidation And Lease Accounting With Board
Board revamps financial analysis, consolidation and reporting for luxury lifestyle brand’s IFRS 16 compliance Board International, the leading provider of...
Satisfaction with Credit Card Issuers in Canada Remains Flat Amid COVID-19, J.D. Power Finds
Tangerine Bank Ranks Highest in Overall Credit Card Customer Satisfaction for Second Consecutive Year With 73% of credit card customers...