Make your commute work for your business

Here are seven ways to make your commute work for your business.

Write a to do list

A long commute in the morning can be tiring – a morale-sapping grind for business owners. However, with the right attitude, it is possible to turn that train or bus journey into an opportunity for productivity. Get organised first thing in the morning, and prioritise the things you need to get done that day. By the time you reach the office, you’ll already be ready to start your first task.

Check your emails

A lot of time can be wasted at the outset of a business day going through your inbox, clearing out the emails you’ve received since the day before. Do this on your mobile on your way to work and save yourself time later. You’ll also get a head start on any urgent correspondence.

Make calls

If you’ve got calls to make and it’s not too early in the morning, there’s no reason you can’t start during the commute. Take the opportunity to check in with your team, follow up with clients and chase new prospects.

Consider your goals

Separate from the day’s to-do list, take some time in the morning to consider your broader goals for your business and yourself. Are things moving in the right direction, could you be doing something differently? The morning is a very good time to consider these questions before you get too busy.


Whether it’s something light to empty your mind before getting stuck into the work day or an article specific to your industry, the commute is an excellent chance to catch up on your reading list.

Learn a new language

Whether it’s to foster better a foreign business relationship or just for personal reasons, learning a language is an excellent way to be productive on the way to work. Moreover, learning a language has never been easier thanks to apps like Duolingo.


If you live close enough to your business, why not leave the car at home and either cycle, run or walk? Getting the blood pumping in the morning is likely to make you more productive throughout the day, and will save you time in the evening if that’s when you usually squeeze in your exercise.

READ MORE: How to speak to your customers. 

Main image from Shutterstock. 

This post was originally published here - on

Paying wages to employees – a guide

If you employ people you need to pay them properly. Here’s how to avoid disputes and penalties under the Payment of Wages Act 1991. 

You need to know:

  • How to pay salaries
  • What type of payslips you need to issue
  • What taxes you should deduct
  • What payment processes you need to have in place
  • How to avoid disputes

Paying wages

Employees must be paid by one or a number of methods set out in the Act. The main methods are:

  • Cheque
  • Cash
  • Electronic transfer
  • Money order

You should always be aware of the national minimum wage. This applies to all employees, except close relatives and apprentices. You can check minimum wage entitlements  online.


All employees are entitled to payslips showing the gross amount of wages payable, and the nature and amount of any deductions, including all taxes and voluntary contributions, for example health insurance contributions. Just because you make an electronic payment doesn’t mean you are exempt from providing a payslip.

You should ensure that reasonable steps are taken to keep the pay statement confidential. If the payment is made by credit transfer, the statement should be given to the employee as soon as possible afterwards.


As an employer, you are responsible for deducting the right amount of income tax, PRSI, PAYE and universal social charge (USC) from wages and submitting these to the Revenue. You must also pay Employer’s PRSI contributions. Detailed information on the taxes you need to deduct from your employees’ wages and how to do it is available on the Revenue website.

Deductions must be required or authorised by law, for example, PRSI or PAYE deductions, be under a valid oral or written term of the contract, or have the employee’s prior written consent.

A deduction from wages will be lawful if:

  • The employee commits an act such as breaking equipment, or is suspended without pay
  • The employer provides goods or services to the employee which is necessary for employment.

If the wages paid on any occasion are less than the total due (after legal deductions) or no wages are paid, then the amount will be treated as a deduction made by the employer and, consequently, this will be subject to the rules for a valid deduction.
More information about employees’ rights with regard to pay is available on this online resource.

minimum wage

Payroll systems

It makes sense to invest in a payroll system to help you pay your employees. It will generate payslips and also keep track of all the payments and deductions you make.

There are plenty of payroll systems on the market designed for start-ups and small businesses, some of which offer free trials for an initial period

Avoid disputes

If you regularly pay your employees late or fail to pay them at all, they can enforce their legal right to be paid under the terms of their employment letter. If late payment of wages is persistent, employees can take up a trade dispute case with the Rights Commissioner.

Employees are entitled to take up a case with the Rights Commissioner within six months of a complaint being made, and up to a year in exceptional circumstances.

Find out more about the Rights Commissioner online.

And finally

Understand your obligations for employee payment. Ensure you don’t regularly pay your employees late, or not at all.

Check if you are compliant. Are you conforming with the law?

Review existing structures. You can save yourself time and effort by investing in a new payroll system, for example.



This post was originally published here - on

The one minute interview – Mark Fielding, ISME

‘The cost of doing business in Ireland needs to change.’

What are the main issues facing small businesses in Ireland? 

The number one issue would be economic uncertainty as a result of the (domestic) political situation, but also the global situation, for example, Brexit, and all that goes with it.

Number two would be that the cost of doing business in Ireland is increasing even though our ‘inflation’ is at minus point one. Right across the board we’re seeing increases in prices which are nowhere near actual inflation/deflation.

Number three is not being paid on time. We have prompt payments legislation in Ireland which is a joke. Businesses in Ireland are supposed to be paid in 30 days but large firms can contract out chasing invoices, which means that smaller businesses are on the back foot, dealing with 60, 90, 120-day waits and sometimes longer. This has an adverse effect on their relationship with their customers and with their creditors, and it’s also having a negative impact on their relationship with their bank. 

The fourth one would be access to finance. SMEs need good finance at good rates. We’re still paying way over the odds when we compare ourselves with our comparators across Europe. Our interest rates are way too high, and it’s affecting our competitiveness.

The fifth thing would probably be red tape.

Mark Fielding is one of Ireland’s leading authorities on the SME sector. He has worked in Europe in a broad range of sectors from Biotech to property and has been involved in the start of more than 300 companies. He was also a senior partner in an accounting and management consulting firm specialising in SMEs. He is currently the CEO of ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, Ireland’s only representative organisation for SMEs that is independent. It currently has over 10,200 members.

You can find out more about ISME at
This post was originally published here - on