Monday, 3 October 2016

Stoptober - not our usual subject

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Now we know we are a direct debit company, and as such we tend to be about people's money and how to collect it efficiently and on time. But October is upon us, and it has now become synonymous with Stoptober, or stopping smoking if you prefer. It is an NHS campaign that has really started to get some traction. For more details go to

So we thought we would look into what happens when you give up smoking. According to there are some very surprising benefits of stopping smoking.

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1. Apparently, within 20 minutes your heart rate will begin to drop to a normal level.

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2. 2 hours after your last cigarette, your blood pressure and heart rate drop to almost normal levels. Your blood circulation improves, which will mean your extremities feel a bit warmer.  The nicotine withdrawals start though, giving you intense cravings, anxiety, tension or frustration. You may also start to feel a bit drowsy and your appetite could increase.

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3. 12 hours after that final puff your carbon monoxide levels will decrease and your oxygen levels will increase.

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4. We get a bit more real here - smokers have a 70% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease. The good news is that just 24 hours after quitting your risk start to decrease. You are still at a higher risk, but the recovery has started.

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5. Ask any ex-smoker about how they can smell and taste so much better after giving up. The really great news is after just 48 the nerve endings you have been damaging will start to regrow and your taste and smell senses start to return.

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6. 3 days after you quit the nicotine is now out of your body. This is the danger zone. Your body will start to crave nicotine. You need to push through this stage, you will probably get some of the symptoms we mentioned above...

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7. 3 weeks after you will start to get your breath back. That's thank to the increased oxygen and circulation. For most smokers the most challenging part is over, you can start to enjoy life.

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8. 4 weeks after your ex-smokers journey your cilia will start to repair themsleves. This means you will be better at fighting off infections and clear your lungs of that nasty mucus.

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9. After 9 months your withdrawal symptoms will probably have gone away altogether - pat yourself on the back.

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10. 1 year is the time to really start celebrating. You have halved your risk of heart disease.

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11. 5 years after you put the cigarettes away, you have decreased your risk of having a stroke.

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12. When you list out the list of cancers associated with smoking, it really is quite frightening

Oral Cancer
Throat Cancer
Esophageal Cancer
Lung Cancer
Kidney Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer

Of course, Lung Cancer is the most associated disease due to it causing 90% of all Lung Cancer deaths worldwide. After ten years of not smoking, you will have decreased your risk by half.

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13. It may take a while, but it will be worth it. 15 years after qutting your risk of heart disease will be the same as a non smoker.

If cigarettes were invented today they would be made illegal, but they weren't so we have to make a decision to stop smoking. The great news is that if you stop today you may well have managed to avoid some of the horrible health side effects. Good luck

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Brexit - 2 months on, the good and the bad

2 months on from that Friday morning where we all woke up to the news that Britain had voted out, we thought we would have a look and see how things are going.

It didn't matter which side of the argument you were, most didn't see it coming.

Some were devastated...

Others were over the moon...

Regardless of your pre-brexit opinion, the fact remains that the UK voted to leave. After the initial shock, most were left asking "what now?" or "what does that mean?". Nobody knew the answers. The immediate response was the pound plummeting against the dollar. But the FTSE after an initial free fall bounced back.

Since then we have had warnings of financial meltdowns, using words like armageddon, tsunami and apocalypse. We have yet to see any of those things happen, but the pound has remained very weak against the dollar. The FTSE however, has performed very well. Experts are saying the pound has bottomed out, gained some footing and may start to creep back up again.

As we came closer to the referendum date, we had Obama telling us he would stick us in the naughty corner and then at the back of the queue if we voted out. Since then we have had both Presidential candidates step well away from that and talk about the 'special relationship' and making it stronger.

The economy as a whole was expected to freefall, but the opposite has happened. With a new Prime Minister, optimism has returned. Retail sales were up 1.4% in July, which was much higher than expected. The IMF believe the UK will grow faster than Germany, France and Italy this year and next year. House prices, that were said to drop 18%, but they have stayed buoyant and are expected to do the same next year. One of the most pessimistic on house prices, Countrywide, have predicted only a 1% drop.

The Bank of England have been more cautious, Mark Carney gave a really great speech directly after the referendum telling us that every possible measure would be taken to keep the economy on a sound footing. Since then, we saw an interest cut to a record 0.25%. The BoE also said they would make available £100billion of cheap money available for banks to lend. Tey also said they would buy £60billion of government debt and £10billion of corporate bonds. A rate cut is good for borrowers, but bad for savers. Satander immediately cut the rate of their 123 account by half, from 3% to 1.5%, and other banks such as RBS are going to start charging major financial institutions to hold their cash...

On the whole though Britain has done what it always does, it has just gone on with it. As the very popular keep calm series shows, we haven't panicked we have just said right, let's get on with our lives and keep the economy and our country going. When we know what we can expect from Brexit, we'll deal with that too...

Friday, 5 August 2016

Today is the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics. There has been a lot of talk about being able to top the London Olympics, but we feel sure the games will be brilliant.

So we are celebrating. We are launching our Olympic Campaign today. If you sign up via our webpage  today, then you will save £450. As the Olympics go on the saving will reduce, so be as quick as Usain Bolt and go over to our website and start not only saving money but making life easier too with our Direct Debit Facility Management Service.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Should I give up? Or should I just keep chasing payments?

A group of small business owners have got together to try and highlight the plight of many businesses around the UK. Whilst they have made a humorous parody of Adele's Chasing Pavements, the subject is really serious.

We have been talking about late payments for far too long now. Government shows us a glimmer of hope, but it doesn't change the situation. Latest research now shows that of the 5.4 million SME's in the UK, they spend around 10% of their working day chasing non payment.

The problem gets even worse in the London area, poor old SME's spending 11 hours per month chasing late payments, when they could spend those 11 hours earning more money...

Xero, the accounting software people, run a website called, they have been out and about asking more than 1000 British businesses about the problem of late payments.

Some of the stats shown on their website show the problem to be an epidemic. More than half of UK business owners worry about unpaid invoices. The biggest issue being Cash Flow, the old saying cash is king has never been truer.

Xero also show that the HR and  IT & Telecoms industry get hit the worst, whilst the legal industry is hit the least - shocking I know...

Eazipay signed up as a Prompt Payer last year, through the Prompt Payment Code - perhaps your company should too?

There are a few other things you can do to get paid on time, we have a few tips here

Here is the Adele parody for you to watch:

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Brexit - what is article 50?

You may have read in the news that last week we, as a Nation, voted to leave the European Union?

The long and short of the result is that we have given the Government a steer to say we want to leave the EU, and you should jump on a plane and issue Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. It is all over the news, and pretty much the top subject on Facebook too...

So, what is article 50?

It is a five-point plan devised by the EU should any country choose to leave the EU. It is a 2-year plan.

The 5 points are:

1. A member state may withdraw from the EU “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”
2. It must notify the European Council of this plan, after which it will negotiate and conclude an agreement on the terms of withdrawal
3. The treaties formally governing the member state no longer remain applicable to the exiting nation from the date of entry into force or the withdrawal agreement or two years after notification
4. The leaving country’s European Council representative does not participate in any meetings or discussions concerning its exit process
5. Should a country which has exited the EU decide it wants to rejoin, procedures from Article 49 are consulted

The process of article 50 is very much an unknown, as thus far, the EU has only ever signed new countries up. So, there is not only confusion and concern here in the UK. Upon hearing the news of the result, David Cameron announced his resignation. There are all sorts of theories and conspiracy theories going around, but essentially he said that this is better done by someone else. There is absolutely no mechanism to force anyone to enact article 50, so essentially this could drag on and on, leaving us all in a very uncertain state.

The other interesting this about this whole situation is Scotland. Scotland was not alone in voting to remain in the EU, as Northern Ireland, voted to remain too, as did London, Cambridge, Oxford and many other cities. Nicola Sturgeon has already said this is not acceptable and she will do everything in her power to stop Scotland leaving the EU. To make it all worse, we have many saying we shouldn't accept the result of the referendum... and Labour has decided to absolutely collapse as well.

All in all it is a bit of a mess. However, rather than running around panicking and blaming everyone else, we need to get some calm into our thinking and find a sensible, suitable way forward. So, after the Conservative party have elected their new leader, or our new PM rather, we will then have to see if and when they trot off to Brussels to enact Article 50... We will also see what this vote means for the European project as a whole.

Britain isn't the only thing to exit this week though. We exited our home for the last few years and now have some beautiful new purpose built offices just outside Ely. The picture here was taken on moving day.

Our new address is Sydney House, Unit 62, Lancaster Way Business Park, Ely, Cambs. CB6 3NW
our telephone number has stayed the same.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

EU Referendum - what to do

The referendum is finally here... It has been the longest most painful political campaign in living memory. I'm not sure either side has showered themselves in glory, which has only led to mass confusion. Firm Brexiters have said we should go, it will all be OK. Firm remainers have said if we leave armageddon will happen.

You have all been bombarded with arguments and spurious facts over the last few months. David Cameron and George Osborne have tried to frighten us silly with talks of making us suffer if we vote to leave. Boris and Nigel Farrage have said the UK will sink in Immigration if we don't. I'll leave you to decipher all of the arguments.

But what will happen if we do vote Brexit? David Cameron would attend an emergency meeting of the European Council and tell his European chums that we have voted to leave the EU. Apparently this triggers negotiations under article 50 of the Eu Treaties, this has to be concluded within 2 years. Some say the UK economy will plummet, some say it will be fine, whatever your opinion there will be a lot of uncertainty, which usually spells bad news. It may well trigger a host of different countries to follow suit. Almost certainly David Cameron would resign as PM, sparking a leadership battle.

What if we stay? It will depend on how close it is. If, as the polls suggest, it will be very close, the David Cameron may well not survive, leading to a leadership contest. Given how Boris has been during this campaign, he may not find many friends to support him. So, we would have a period of uncertainty, and we have already said what happens when that comes along. We would also have to try and get back into the EU club proper, and hope they will all forgive the UK upstarts.

So the long and short of the vote tomorrow is we are heading for a period of uncertainty, it just depends how long it will be really...

Make sure you vote though, as all the political soothsayers are saying it will come down to which side gets their vote out...

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Another Queen's speech - more of the same?

The Queen arrives for the State Opening of Parliament in 2013

Yesterday her Majesty delivered her 61st speech at the opening of Parliament. She has delivered every single speech since her ascension to the throne except 1959 and 1963. In those 2 years, she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. The Lord Chancellor delivered the speech in her absence.

So what is the Queen's speech and why does it matter? It is actually one of the highlights of the Parliamentary year when she officially opens Parliament. There is a lot of pageantry and ceremony, but the long and short of it, the Queen announces a list of laws the government hope will be passed in the next year. 

The State Opening of Parliament can be traced all the way back to 16th Century, although the current ceremony dates back to 1852 when the Palace of Westminster re-opened after the fire of 1834. It is important to say that the speech isn't written by the Queen, it is written by Ministers and tends to last around 10 minutes. 

So yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II delivered the speech. There were quite a few things we already knew about. She spoke about:

Digital Economy Bill

Every household will have a right to fast broadband, with a minimum speed of 10Mbps. Houses in the more remote areas will have to contribute to the cost of supplying the fast broadband. A commitment to cutting the cost of building new mobile masts. There is talk of consumers having the right to compensation if they have a broadband outage. There will be a law requiring companies to get permission before sending promotional spam emails and all websites with pornographic content will have to obtain age verification.

Modern Transport Bill

At last, driverless cars could be making their way to our streets. This could change the way we all live our lives, and it is great to see the UK be innovative and encouraging this technology. There were also some updates to the ATOL financial protection for holidays.

Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill

We have heard a lot about this in the past, and it seems to be constantly changing. Successive governments have promised local communities more say in neighbourhood planning, let's hope this government finally delivers it. They plan to make changes to pre-commencement planning conditions, compulsory purchase orders, and compensation framework to make it all fairer and slicker. 

Local Growth and Job Bill

This is for England only, as all the other parts of the United Kingdom have these powers delegated.

Local Authorities will be able to keep 100% of business rates, which in itself has pros and cons. On top of that, there will be new powers devolved to local authorities and the ability to levy business rate supplements to fund infrastructure projects. All a bit worrying this one...

There were a lot of other bills in the speech, like:

Better Markets Bill

Bus Services Bill

NHS Overseas Visitors Charging Bill

Pensions Bill

Children and Social Work Bill

Education for All Bill

Higher Education and Research Bill

Prison and Courts Reform Bill

National Citizen Service Bill

Lifetime Savings Bill

Small Charitable Donations Bill

Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill

Criminal Finances Bill

Cultural Property Bill

Wales Bill

Intellectual Property Bill

Draft Law of Property Bill