SME Agony Uncle: Bobby Kerr answers all your business and work related questions


Each week broadcaster, entrepreneur and agony uncle Bobby Kerr joins The Hard Shoulder to answer all your employment-related questions.

This week, Bobby joined Ivan from London and they kicked things off by discussing claiming expenses. 

One third of people never claim their expenses, thinking they are maybe insignificant in some cases or just not wanting to come across as cheap in other cases. Bobby says that everyone should be claiming back their expenses and there are even a number of apps out there to make it easier for people to track expenses and receipts. 

If you only need to claim expenses occasionally, you could also get a cash advance from your company instead. 

There are a number of different things people are entitled to claim back for from their employers and even get tax relief on, depending on the industry. These can include things like petrol if you drive for work, tools or uniforms.  

Now onto your questions... 

I run a plant hire business and employ 25 people. I received a letter yesterday that says I have been selected for a Revenue audit. What should I do? I'm very anxious and on edge about what this might entail. 

Bobby says this man is right to be anxious but it's not the end of the world. There is an article from The Independent by John Byrne, Tax Partner at Crowe Horwath that actually outlines the steps you should follow to successfully navigate a Revenue audit. Some of the tips include: 

  • Read the letter very clearly 
  • Make a note of the time and date stated in the letter
  • Sign the Revenue code of practice
  • Go to meet your accountant who will help get all of the documentation in order
  • Have a dry run of the audit with the accountant 
  • Prepare a disclosure if there is something amiss 

I work in retail and my employer's new clock in system now uses fingerprint recognition. Why should I have to have m finger print taken by my employer - I feel like a criminal. 

This is not a big deal, Bobby suggests. Fingerprint recognition and eye recognition are all the rage now but Bobby says he thinks maybe the employer in this case didn't fully explain this to the employees or why this method has been chosen as it's not great to have an employee feeling like a criminal. 

Is there anything you can do about working with someone who isn't bullying you per se but is constantly being unpleasant to you - always curt with answers, goes out of their way not to say hello or engage with me. I don't want to go to HR as it's not really bullying but it's just a drag.

Bobby says it sounds like this person has made an effort to get on with the individual in question and the traffic seems to only be one way. In this case, Bobby says this person has done everything they can but also to be careful. It might not be a typical case of bullying right now but Bobby says it sounds like it could be on the edge of becoming just that so the person should be vigilant. 

If it does progress to a bullying situation, this person would need to have some evidential notes so Bobby suggests quietly building that up just in case. 

You can listen back to all of Bobby’s employment advice from Tuesday’s The Hard Shoulder here:

If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to [email protected]

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