Tamworth Jelly Free Co-working Event

The next Tamworth Jelly will take place on Wednesday 28th February 2018 between 10am and 1pm.

 

All local business people, freelancers and home workers and very welcome to attend for the whole session or just for half an hour. Free tea and coffee will be available and you are welcome to bring your own food. We are also within walking distance to all local amenities in the town centre.

Jelly is a concept that was formed whilst a group of freelancers were eating jelly beans, wondering how they could bring people together to enjoy some company, share ideas, perhaps a bit of collaboration, all whilst working on their own business.  Sometimes working alone can take it’s toll and it is great to have a free opportunity to mix things up a bit.

There are several pay and display car parks dotted around if you cannot find any free parking opportunities.

Can Payroll software really save you so much time?

Are you up to date with all things Payroll?

All employers are required by law to keep records of pay, tax and National Insurance contributions, no matter how large or small the company is. Failure to keep accurate records could result in penalty charges. Workplace pension law has changed and now all businesses should be helping their workers save for retirement.  In April 2018, the minimum pension contributions will be increasing across the board in order to ensure that workers are saving more money in time for their retirement.

Who would use Payroll software?

In a small business environment the task of paying employees is often undertaken by the business owner or is allocated to somebody else within the business such as an Office Manager or Administrator who may have limited or no experience of how to calculate tax and National Insurance Contributions. As a business grows the likelihood of a fully functioning payroll department or full-time payroll role increases.

What are the benefits to using Payroll software?

  • Save time and reduce errors with automatic calculation of PAYE, NIC and statutory payments
  • Keep up to date with legislative compliance
  • It gives complete control over paying your employees and submitting information to HMRC
  • It provides easily accessible and up to date information
  • It gives the ability to analyse information and make informed decisions about staff costs.

So, if payroll software can deliver on all the above benefits, it seems very clear that there will be less worries, more reassurance that legislation is being adhered to, no need to double/triple check entries and more time as a consequence.

Sage 50 Payroll gives you the confidence that you’re paying the right person, the right amount of money at the right time – automatically working out payment and deductions, including tax, National Insurance, pensions and sick pay.

Maximity are holding a FREE Payroll seminar on Friday 26th January 2018 in Tamworth, Staffordshire to keep you up to date with all of the changes occurring that affect payroll and answer any questions that you might have.  To book your free place please click here.

 

Scared of Excel? Have to use it anyway? Read on…

Spreadsheets?  Excel?  Eeeeek!

I sit here typing this blog as someone who previously said to all who mentioned the dreaded ‘Excel’ word that I was allergic to Excel and that numbers make me break out in a rash.  For anyone who experiences allergies, like me, you can understand that this is a pretty strong statement and I had no interest in changing my opinion.

Then, I started building a business as a virtual assistant (VA).  I love technology and so I offered out my services on many platforms.  While there was plenty of

work to do with digital marketing, CRM updates, presentations and Word files, there were also plenty of requests for help with Excel spreadsheets…ARGH!  I would take on the easiest tasks possible and fumble my way through, googling and YouTubing when I got stuck, but generally I passed on that work to other VAs.  I soon realised that many people use and need help with Excel files and unless I wanted to continue losing money or worrying that my work wasn’t up to scratch, I was going to have to do something about it.

Thankfully, I had been networking with Tracy Pound, the owner of Maximity, for some time and I knew that they helped people with Excel training.  Prior to approaching Tracy about training I had even signed up to a cheap online Excel course (don’t tell her) but then I quickly realised that online learning wasn’t for me.  I had no accountability and no personal contact so I’m not sure if I got past the first lesson!

 

I signed up to an Introduction to Excel course and it completely changed my attitude.  Imagine my surprise when Tracy told me that she hates maths too.  Say what?  I told her that I prefer logic.  Tracy agreed and told me that this is exactly how Excel works, on logic!  Sage does the maths for you, you just have to learn how to ask the right logical questions.  I completed the practical half-day course, under the tuition of Sue Green and have willingly used Excel ever since.  I still need help at times and I’m no expert but that’s the way we start with all things, isn’t it?

The funny thing is that since then I have joined the team at Maximity!  Apparently you can be forgiven for having a passion for technology with Excel as the exception (trust me, they’re working on it!)  However, I like to think that I represent the people that don’t like certain aspects of technology but still have to use it and needed the right approach to change my attitude and begin to learn, rather than avoid.

 

If this sounds like you, or someone in your team, then do give us a call.  We’ll be happy to help.  We also have our Introduction to Excel course running on Wednesday 10th January in Tamworth, so if you are struggling and are making plans to address your training needs for 2018 then get in touch or book on using this link!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ms-excel-introduction-tickets-30917478009

Tracy to speak at Orange and Blue Action event on Jan 5th

Our very own Tracy Pound is delighted to have been invited to be a guest speaker at Orange and Blue Action event in January 2018.  Take a look at the details below and get yourselves booked on!  It is geared around personal and business development and so it looks to be the perfect event to kick start your year.  What are you aiming for in 2018?

Here is your personal invitation!

Orange and Blue Action goes live on January 5th and I would love you to join me at the launch event. Orange and Blue Action is the culmination of 12 months soul searching, brainstorming, conversations, collaborations, listening, learning and laughing combined with a few late nights and one or two sleepless ones as well.

So what’s it all about?
In collaboration with successful business woman and coach Jane Weaver and “Mr Motivator” himself, entrepreneur and coach Chris Williams our mission is to help people take ownership of their lives, believe they can achieve and take the necessary action to succeed, both personally and professionally.

Our services cover three critical areas of business and personal development, namely;
Assessments > to improve recruitment, performance and succession planning.
Coaching > to improve mindset, attitude and belief.
Training > to develop productive and motivated leaders, managers and people.

We combine modern day benchmarking and profiling systems with time proven blended learning techniques and well founded coaching to give clients the very best learning experience that guarantees results.

Take a look at http://orangeandblueaction.com/

Come and join us at our launch event on January 5th

Guest Speakers

Tony Nutley
Founder & CEO of the UK College of Personal Development
Business Excellence Awards 2017- Best NLP Training & Coaching in UK
Global 100 Excellence Award
ACQ Global Award “UK Gamechanger of the Year 2017”

Tracy Pound
Founder & MD of Maximity Training
Appointed to Board of Directors Comp TIA 2015
Voted Woman of the Year by PCR 2016
Voted in Top 50 Women in Technology 2014/2015

 

Introducing
The Orange and Blue “Coaching Consortium”

Announcing
The Orange and Blue Leaders Master Mind Group

The Orange and Blue Personal Leadership Workshop

The Orange and Blue “Women in Leadership” Campaign

 

You’ll be just about ready for your first event of the year anyway so why not make it this one?

Friday January 5th
Aston Wood Golf Club
Blake Street
Sutton Coldfield
B74 4EU

12.00-3.30pm
Lunch and refreshments provided

RSVP no later than January 3rd to
success@orangeandblueaction.com
This is a free event however you need to book your seat to secure your place.
Entry will not be permitted if you have not booked a seat.

Tracy Pound presents to the British Computer Society on Data Management in Business

On 17th October 2017, Tracy visited the Data Management Specialist Group of the British Computer Society to deliver an in-depth presentation on how data management should be central to to every successful business.

Every business has data of some sort data and Tracy shows us here why they should value it and consider it’s management, governance, quality and integration.

Her focus was around communication between IT specialists and businesses, education on risk and risk mitigation, understanding pain points, demonstrating value, understanding of consequences and developing trust between the IT specialist and their clients.

So, people are not utilising the data that they have effectively when they could be. Why? Tracy may have the answers here in this full recording so set some time aside!

Staffordshire Online Fraud Conference 2017

From the hidden world of the Dark Web to the simplest social engineering phone scams, this conference will shine a light on the fastest growing form of crime.

We’ll explore the nature of online fraud and the threat it poses to the public and private sectors.

What are the risks?

What are the tricks?

And what are the solutions?

You can’t afford to miss it

Who should attend?

  • Managing Directors and senior managers from SME’s
  • Public sector managers
  • Voluntary and charitable sector managers

Event sponsored by the Staffordshire Police & Crime Commissioners Office

How to Hack-Proof Your Home from Cybercrime

 

Did you know that even our homes and businesses are vulnerable to cybercrime?  Find out here how to take the basic steps to hack-proof your home.  It may sound very far-fetched, but with the continued progress in technology in our homes it is starting to sound like normal practice to control your heating via your phone and even unlock your front door. Homes and businesses across the nation are starting to contain more smart sensors, thermostats, security equipment, even baby monitors and getting them online via wi-fi. These gadgets are known as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and they are ever on the rise across the world.

They are gadgets designed to make our lives easier and more convenient, such as switching alarm systems on and off from another location or turning up the heating on a chilly day from your phone. The question is, are these methods secure from somebody else’s control? The unfortunate answer is no. There are a whole manner of ways for criminals to intercept personal information, bank details, take control of the technology that is designed for your security e.g. door locks and alarms. It is no secret that whilst technology development is accelerating onwards, so is crime adapting to new opportunities and challenges to wreak havoc and feed their funds.

How does cybercrime affect me?

It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? What happened to good old keys in locks or actually standing in front of the thermostat like the good old days? Whilst there are arguments for and against the developments in technology, there is no escaping the fact that it is happening and the number of people and businesses that embrace it are increasing. Also, the idea of criminals seeking to hack into these systems is very real. According to an article in The Sunday Times last week, in October 2016, a large cyber-attack took many prominent sites offline for a day, including giants like Twitter and Netflix. This attack was launched from a network of thousands of connected devices, which you would think were PCs but this was not the case. The gadgets used were smart fridges (yes, there are even smart fridges), TVs, smoke alarms and other smart gadgets that had been sold with little or no security in them.

You could be forgiven for thinking that this would not affect the rest of us when such big giants like Twitter and Netflix are being targeted. However, domestic homes and smaller businesses with less security measures are quite open to cybercrime in comparison, and for cyber criminals there is much to be gained. The increase in voice-controlled artificial intelligence (AI) is widespread, thanks to the many devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. It has recently been discovered that criminals can even use ultrasonic voice commands to smart speakers, named a ‘dolphin attack’ as it is inaudible to the human ear. These voice commands could be used to open a front door, turn off an alarm system…you can see how this would be of benefit to a criminal! Smart speakers have already been known to order products that the owner didn’t ask for following hearing the information on television.

What can we do about it?

Okay, so not everyone will be opening their front door with a magical Harry Potter spell and a swish and flick, but there are so many other ways that criminals are smartening up to that it is important to make sure you’re ahead of the game. Here are a few tips to help you:

  •  Use the built-in voice training options with your smart speakers so that they should hopefully only respond to your voice and nobody else’s.
  • A huge tip for all other devices that use wi-fi is to change your wi-fi passcode. Routers come with set passwords that look quite complex but they are actually much easier for criminals to decode as they have a set link to the brand and type of device. Always change the password for your router to one of your own, but of course make sure that this one will be hard to crack too, no passwords with your favourite football team or your address/date of birth for example!
  • Create a guest network, which involves using a second wi-fi hotspot, either a wireless extender or some modern routers can do this. Connect your devices to this second network, which keeps them further from criminal reach as they are not directly connected to the primary network.
  • Use a password manager, such as LastPass to securely generate and store your passwords across devices.

In summary, our homes and businesses are starting to fill up with smart technology, some more than others. Criminals are also evolving with the times and taking these new opportunities to access and control our data. Whilst the bigger attacks will be reported in the news, these are not the only cases occurring and it is important that people exercise the most basic but effective layers of defence available to them.

If you are concerned about vulnerability to attack for your business then give us a call on 01827 31 22 78 to see if we can help you, or email christina@maximity.co.uk.

Credit goes to Matthew Bingham of The Sunday Times for the information in this blog.

Sage updates to Version 24! What’s new?

On Friday 22nd September we launched our new partnership with Sage and celebrated this with an event at our offices

We had Ian and Nick from Sage Head Office come down to show us who Sage are, where they are heading and how they now compare to other services out there.

There are many exciting new developments occurring and it is clear how they are passionate about the consumer’s opinions and needs and are responding effectively to make a difference.

An interesting and important detail to note is with regards to the changes to the HMRC Gateway next April.  The only version of Sage that will allow you to automatically upload your VAT returns will be Version 24.  Of course, returns can be uploaded manually when using older versions.  It just all depends on the method that would make life easier when the time comes next April.  Speak to us if you need further clarification and help with this.

Other changes include:

  • Go-Cardless Direct Debits
  • New Bank Feeds Rules
  • Function to hide inactive nominal records
  • Excluding DD suppliers from the suggested payments screen
  • Compliance changes with SagePay Protocol and HMRC Gateway

We are more than happy to discuss all of your needs and queries regarding upgrading your Sage software and training.  If you’d like more information then please email christina@maximity.co.uk or give us a call on 01827 31 22 78.

Tracy Pound to present at Continuum’s Navigate 2017

Maximity Limited, CompTIA Director Tracy Pound to Present at Continuum’s Navigate 2017

Tracy Pound, Managing Director of Maximity Limited Presenting “CompTIA Industry Outlook” At Continuum’s Navigate 2017 conference, October 2-5 in Las Vegas

Staffordshire, England, UK – 12th September  Tracy Pound, Managing Director at Maximity, has been confirmed as a presenter at Navigate 2017Continuum’s fourth annual user conference, taking place October 2-5 at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Tracy is presenting the session “CompTIA Industry Outlook” at Navigate 2017 on 4th October 2017 at 14:30.

“We’re glad to have Tracy on board as a speaker at Navigate 2017,” said Michael George, CEO at Continuum. “Our partners derive tremendous value from our sessions which provide insight into best practices, industry trends, and the personal experiences of their peers. The program of presentations has helped Navigate become an unprecedented event, going beyond Continuum as a company and continuing to set new standards in driving profitability and growth for the managed service industry.”

Navigate 2017 by Continuum is the only user conference that empowers partners with the tools and insights they need to define their path to success in the IT space and, ultimately, take their businesses to the next level. The event will feature 39 breakout and training sessions across four tracks, several prominent keynote speakers and three certification offerings. The partner-driven conference agenda will offer attendees a unique experience, placing an emphasis on education and business success by offering MSPs the opportunity to network, learn industry best practices and gain product insight.

“I am very excited to be presenting at Navigate 2017. It’s a real honour to be invited to attend and deliver CompTIA’s Industry Outlook,talking about trends that are affecting the industry.” Said Tracy Pound, Managing Director of Maximity Limited, and member of the Board of Directors at CompTIA.

Tracy is the Founder and MD of Maximity Limited, formed in 2000 to help companies really get to grips with tech.  She has over 32 years experience in the industry starting out as a programmer before moving into consultancy, training and project management roles. Tracy spent 8 years in the Automotive industry and has successfully deployed large scale IT infrastructures – including hardware, software and services – into many differing industries. These include the Financial Services, Construction and Services sectors, and general manufacturing with projects ranging from £10k to in excess of £1.4M. She is a CompTIA Premier Member, member of the Education Faculty, works with the UK Executive Council and is proud to be on the Board of Directors of this $60 million turnover not for profit trade association. Tracy was honoured with PCR’s IT Woman of the Year in the UK in 2016, voted CompTIA member of the Year 2016 and is passionate about encouraging greater diversity and equality in tech.

To learn more about Navigate 2017, visit: www.continuum.net/navigate. And, for the latest updates, follow #nav17 on Twitter.

###

About Tracy Pound, Maximity Ltd:

Maximity provides professional, innovative, friendly and cost effective IT solutions, focusing on total client satisfaction through the delivery of our first class training and consultancy services. Maximity is committed to working in partnership with both clients and suppliers to add value in an environment of mutual respect and professionalism.Maximity is dedicated to life long learning and self development in support of achieving a healthy work / life balance.

Maximity Limited

Business Development Manager Contact:

Christina Peak

Maximity Limited

+44 (0)1827 312278

christina@maximity.co.uk

About Continuum

Continuum empowers managed IT service providers to reshape how they deliver IT services with an intelligent IT management platform that provides a transformative business model, continuous intelligence, a highly skilled on-demand IT workforce and dedicated partner success team. Continuum’s vertically integrated service delivery model combines an unmatched SaaS-based technology suite with a world-class NOC and Help Desk, allowing them to not only remotely monitor, manage, secure, and backup their clients’ IT environments 24/7 from a single pane of glass, but scale rapidly and profitably. Continuum employs more than 1,400 professionals worldwide and monitors more than 1 million endpoints for its 5,800 partners, including MSPs servicing more than 60,000 SMB customers and web hosting providers protecting more than 250,000 servers with Continuum’s R1Soft product line.

For more information, visit https://www.continuum.net/ or https://www.r1soft.com/ and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @FollowContinuum.

Continuum Press Contact:

Rebecca Ferrick

March Communications
+1-617-960-9857

continuum@marchcomms.com

 

Maximity & Sage Partnership Launch

Maximity and Sage are presenting a FREE Seminar

9:30am Registration

10:00am Welcome and introduction

10:10am We are very excited that Ian Pick and Nick Dent from Sage will be joining us to officially launch our Sage business partnership. They will be showcasing some of the exciting new features being introduced and talk about the advantages of working with Sage software.

11:10am  Break

11:30am Tracy Pound and Sue Green from Maximity will explain how we help clients get the most from their investment in Sage, showing you what is possible and how you can manage anything from project work to stock, to financials, to manufacturing, to payroll.

12:00am  Lunch