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PA and Secretary Fact Sheet – Small Claims

PA and Secretary Fact Sheet – Small Claims

Small Claims Fact Sheet


Small Claims Fact Sheet Objectives

  1. Introduction to Small Claims
  2. How to take Court Action
  3. What happens next in a Small Claims application?
  4. Does it cost money to take someone to Small Claims?
  5. Working out the interest on a Small Claims request
  6. You’ll have to go to court if…
  7. After the Hearing

1 Introduction – Small Claims

You can take court action against someone who owes you money and won’t pay. This is known as making a court claim. It can also be known as taking someone to a ‘small claims court’.  You usually have to pay a court fee, and you may not win your case or get your money back.

2 How to take Court Action

The government has tried to make the process as easy as possible. The easiest way to claim it be completing the form online

https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim-online

You can use this service to claim:

  • For a fixed sum under £100,000
  • Against no more than 2 people or organisations

Small Claims fact sheet for administrators

 

3 What happens next in a Small Claims application?

  • If they deny owing you money, you may have to go to court.
  • You can get the court to order them to pay if they admit owing the money or don’t respond.
  • If they still won’t pay, you’ll need to ask the court to take extra steps to collect the money – e.g. using bailiffs. This is called enforcing a judgment.

4 Does it cost money to take someone to Small Claims?

  • Yes! It costs money to go to submit a small claims application.
  • The fee is based on how much you are claiming + interest
  • Using the Money Claim Online is cheaper than sending in the form.
amount Sending the form to court centre Using Money Claim Online
Up to £300 £35 £25
£300.01 to £500 £50 £35
£500.01 to £1,000 £70 £60
£1,000.01 to £1,500 £80 £70
£1,500.01 to £3,000 £115 £105
£3,000.01 to £5,000 £205 £185
£5,000.01 to £10,000 £455 £410
£10,0
00.01 to £100,000
5% of the value of the claim 4.5% of the value of the claim
£100,000.01 to £200,000 5% of the value of the claim You can’t claim using Money Claim Online
More than £200 000 £10 000 You can’t claim using Money Claim Online

5 Working out your small claims interest

  • The interest you can charge if another business is late paying for goods or a service is ‘statutory interest’ – this is 8% plus the Bank of England base rate for business to business transactions.
  • You can’t claim statutory interest if there’s a different rate of interest in a contract.

After you have submitted your small claims

  • The person or business who owes you money must respond to your claim within 14 days of receiving it.
  • If you don’t get a response, you’ll have to ask the Court to order them to pay. You do this by continuing with the Money Claim Online form.

If you do get a response – YIPPEE!

  • Tell them you are withdrawing your claim and also tell the Money Claim Online help desk.

6 You’ll have to go to court if…

  • The person or business says they don’t owe you any money.
  • They disagree with the amount.
  • You can’t agree on how the money will be repaid.
  • The court will send you a questionnaire asking for more information on the case. Fill this in and return it to the court.

This will incur additional costs.

  • If your case is a small claim, under £10,000, it can be dealt with using written evidence, and not need a hearing.

If there is a hearing you can:

  • Represent yourself
  • Pay for a barrister or solicitor to represent you
  • Ask someone to speak on your behalf, like your partner or an advice worker – you must get the court’s permission

7 After the Hearing

  • You’ll receive a letter from the court, stating its decisions, and any actions you need to take.

Additional Resources

  • I highly recommend using your local Citizens Advice Bureau for additional advice and support.
What does your email signature say about you?

What does your email signature say about you?

I am a great believer in having an email signature on all my emails. I am also a great believer in keeping up with modern work techniques and changes that take place.  Which is why I started this blog giving PA Tips and Secretarial Support.

When I started school things changed every decade, then the age of computing arrived, and things changed every 18 months, and now, with the aid of social media, they seem to change every minute.  As a consequence; I attended a training course myself to find out what changes may be occurring over the next few months in our industry.

Who is looking at your email signature

What is an email signature for?

To my utter amazement, it seems to be with emails and email signatures. It is one of the strangest changes and I would never have thought about 12 months ago.  To be fair, even last week.  The standard convention has always been that when you send a business email, you add a signature.  The signature tells the recipient your name, your job title, and contact details.  Quite often there is a legal disclaimer.  The disclaimer will state that the information provided is for the recipient only and if misdirected, please delete the email.  Then, of course, there is the small advertisement about the company or a testimonial telling prospective customers or clients how good your business is.  As I said, this is the standard, but each company may be different and offer different guidelines.  My company abides by the above, and I have been pleased with this style of format.

Never the less, it has come to my attention that large organisations have started to remove surnames from people’s email signatures to have a generic email address.  When I have called organisations and the person on the other end of the phone has given me an email address that is generic I am told that they will receive the email or that their first name is sufficient, and the message will reach them.  It is not something I have given much thought to in the past.

However, it has been brought to my attention that the reason for this is that many staff (especially ladies) have found that during their working day they have given out their name, their email, and works telephone number.  All useful forms of communication for a client or customer to contact them.  This is where it gets interesting.  Some of those people have then been stalked out of the office by the clients or customers.  The client or customer has been able to locate them from the minimal amount of detail they obtained from the regular communication they had during a working relationship and then taken it one step further.

Facebook is an excellent tool for communication, as is Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.  However, we know there are risks associated with our personal data on these sites.  For example, I have never put my birthday on social media or any reference to the day or month. I don’t put my address or house number, including photos of my home that could identify where I live.  I have even found that I moderate my Facebook posts and opinions when using the various social media platforms.  A form of self-restriction.

It only takes a few minutes for someone to find out those details, and you could have lost your identity or find that you are the proud owner of a new credit card that owes circa £10,000 worth of debt.  It has never really occurred to me to extend some of that security to the emails I send, and the details people can glean from that.

In Conclusion, what will my email signature look like

As I said at the beginning, I had never thought about an email signature in this contex.  It is fascinating when you spend a few minutes thinking about how vulnerable we have, and are becoming, digitally.  So, the big question.  Will I change?  My email address only uses my first name, so there is no change there.  What about my signature?  You know, I think I may get the ladies in my office to change there’s.  As the owner of a business and advising about PA Tips and Secretarial Support, I have put myself forward as the face of my company. I don’t feel I can then hide behind a title.  I will, however, take a little more care about what I put in my emails and the amount of details people could glean from them.

 

You may also be interested in the following posts about PA Tips and Secretarial Support

Contact Details, Email Signatures

Contact Details Email signature

What does a PA Do?

What does a PA Do?

What does a PA Do? and indeed, what is a PA. A PA is Personal Assistant to the manager, department or CEO. They provide administrative support and take care of their boss so that they can

What does a PA do? is a question that has a long winded answer as they do everything in an office.

What does a PA do?

Perform their jobs with ease and confidence. A Personal Assistant could also be called an Executive Assistant or even a Virtual PA or Virtual EA.  In this article, I will use the term PA to cover all of above.

Being a Personal Assistant (PA) is like being a fine artist. You have to have the ability to see an end product using the raw materials you have available to you. Anticipate the likes and needs of those you are looking after, without them knowing or understanding what they like or dislike. A PA has to be meticulous about their time management, planning and organisational skills and then make these tasks look smooth and effortless. Any PA unable to master these three skills will inevitably find the role as a Personal Assistant difficult. A PA should have their finger on the proverbial button of any activity their boss is undertaking at any time. Not only that, a PA has to anticipate what the boss requires today tomorrow and next month.

So What does a PA do to make sure they are on the ball?

A PAs mantra or go to question should always be “What is the next question” their boss is going to ask.  Ensure they can answer that question and then the next question their boss will ask. The standard Who, What, Where, When, Why and How questions should be applied to any and all tasks a PA undertakes.  Once a PA has mastered this tool they will start to see and show improvements in their PA ability and demonstrate how capable and competent they are in their role.

All PAs need to demonstrate consistency in their workload and be as enthusiastic on Monday morning at 9 am as they are on Friday at 5 pm.  They need to be effective and efficient in all the tasks that they undertake and become proactive instead of reactive. It is recommended that a PA schedules at least 60% of their working day. This will leave 40% of their day to be reactive. We, therefore, advise each PA to plan tasks in advance. Taking note of business deadlines and the expectation is essential. A PA will also have to remember their boss has deadlines that could rely on work they have to do.

PAs Personal Recommendations

We would also recommend that every PA take a few minutes at the end of the day to note at least five successes they have had that day. It is true to say that everyone will have a bad day at work at some point. Noting down any success they have will help any PA remember how good they are. How well they perform their job and organising their boss.

In conclusion, What does a PA Do?

When the role of a PA is performed correctly, it is a work of art. The position is seamless, timeless and a thing of beauty. Their boss will never know the amount of work, effort and organisational skills the PA will put into their role. All of this, to ensure that the boss has a perfect working environment so they can perform at their peak.

The PA is indeed the unsung hero of any organisation. It is time for all PAs to stand up and be proud of the jobs that they do. The tasks they undertake and show what a strong, determined woman can do. For more information about becoming a PA or attending a training course click here.

The PA Tips on this post are those that are highly recommended to become an effective PA. It is also vitally important that a PA keeps on track of all new technology, new ways of working and are open to any PA Tips they can glean from colleagues and even their boss.

 

What is a Virtual Assistant?

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual Assistant can work anywhere anytimeHaving run a successful Virtual Assistant business for nearly ten years, I am frequently asked What is a Virtual Assistant. I suppose the term is not familiar to everybody and it can sound like quite a strange concept. The question is then followed with “Why would I use a Virtual Assistant?” Let us look at the idea of the Virtual Assistant and the reasons why people and businesses choose to employ one.

I would describe a Virtual Assistant (VA) as. Someone who works for a small business or organisation but not directly employed by them.  They are accountable for the work they do on their behalf.  They are, in effect, a subcontractor who provides secretarial and/or administrative support.

The duties of a VA can include scheduling activities such as meetings, organising travel, social media, customer service, email campaigns, book-keeping and much more. A VA can work from their office (they might, for example, rent office space in a shared building), from their home office, or from the offices of their clients.  They can also do a combination of any of these.

The definition of a Virtual Assistant on the Wikipedia website is as follows:

“A Virtual Assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is an entrepreneur who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients from a home office…. They usually work for other small businesses, brokers and consultancy groups.  Reports state that there are as few as 5,000-8,000 or as many as 25,000 Virtual Assistants worldwide; the profession is growing in centralised economies with “fly-in, fly-out” (FIFO) staffing practices.” www.wikipedia.org.

There is currently a debate in the industry about the title of a Virtual Assistant and whether ‘we’ as an industry should change it. The general feeling is that the title ‘Assistant’, (to those who aren’t familiar with the industry), doesn’t give an accurate impression of the variety of roles a VA can fulfil.

I believe there are four types of Virtual Assistants:

  1. Virtual Assistant (VA). A VA is someone who can assist their client with some secretarial and administrative tasks, usually on a short-term project basis. Equally, they may undertake individual jobs over a period; for example, creating a database of business cards.
  2. Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA). A VPA is someone who works in close collaboration with a small business owner, providing secretarial and administrative support.  The VPA will be there long-term.  The relationship is similar to that of employer and employee. Nevertheless, the VPA will only visit the client once or twice a week, and despite the longevity of the relationship, is self-employed.
  3. Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA). A VEA is someone who works in close collaboration with a small business owner to provide secretarial and administrative support. A VEA could be part of the business development strategy for the company.  The VEA is an important part of the business, becoming one of the planners and authorising partners.
  4. Personal Assistant. A PA is someone who works for one person in one organisation.  However, in the VA world, many VAs call themselves PAs as many employers/clients understand this term better.

What is a Virtual Assistant

In conclusion, the answer to What is a Virtual Assistant is that the role has many different nuances. However, the role is primarily an administrative role that helps people and businesses undertake the numerous administrative activities.  It is very similar to that of an Executive PA.

This is an extract from my book entitled Becoming a Virtual Assistant and avoid the Mistakes I made. In this book, you will discover many PA tips on starting your own business or discover some PA tips and Secretarial Support if you are in full-time employment that will help you understand your boss and their reason and reactions on many of the tasks they undertake.

I-want-to-be-a-virtual-assistant and What is a Virtual Assistant anyway.

What is a Virtual Assistant and How to Become a Virtual Assistant

 

 

 

 

Contact Details Email signature

Contact Details Email signature

Contact Details Email Signatures

Businesses work hard to get contact details from existing clients and new possible clients. Just take a look at your local supermarkets and insurance companies.  They all want your contact details.

Businesses also work hard to keep a client happy, loyal and hopefully become an advocate for the services or products. There is just as much hard work and time invested in finding a new client. This all has a cost to the business because:

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Credit Control

Credit Control

Credit control gives the impression that it is a dark art surrounded in mystery. People think it’s a hard task to undertake; they feel that the person on the other end of the telephone is going to be rude to them or they could ask questions that they simply don’t have the answers. However; the biggest fear appears to be the fact that; we can become very uncomfortable asking people for money. If a business has provided a product or service they are entitled to receive full recompense for that product or service.

Credit Control doesn’t have to become a difficult endeavour, once you have momentum, you will become exceptional at credit control. Below are some suggestions on how to tackle credit control.

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