With only a few weeks to go until the 2014 Awards close, our helpline (0207 215 6880) and inbox have been inundated with questions about the entry process. Although we’re more than happy to answer your queries individually, we thought it might be useful to post the answers to those questions we’re asked most often.
It’s really important that you read the guidance notes for the Award category you want to enter as these contain the main information you need to know before starting your form. They also offer advice and clarity on what information we want you to provide in specific questions.
I hope these FAQs are helpful but, if you haven’t found the answer you’re looking for, do get in touch with us before it’s too late…
Q. How do you define a 'dip' in sales? Does this relate to overall turnover or international sales figures?
A. International Trade category – it relates to overseas earnings where export earnings are lower than the preceding year. Drops in total sales figures will make your case not as strong as it could be.
Q. Can you explain where dips in trading figures rule you out of entering?
A. For the International Trade category, there cannot be any dips in overseas earnings - this will rule you out of entering as you would not have met the overseas growth criteria. Across all categories, if there is a dip in UK sales or the total turnover this will not rule you out of entering but you will be at a disadvantage in comparison to other entrants who have no dips in sales.
Q. What happens if my financial year end changes during the period of my submission?
A. You should contact the Queen’s Awards Office for advice before completing your entry – we cannot generalise as individual situations can be very different. Please note, however, that the financial year end date of the final year of your entry must fall on or between 1 October 2012 and 30 September 2013.
Q. What is an eligible export earning?
A. An eligible export earning in Queen’s Awards terms is one where the entrant unit is invoicing a non-resident of the UK (be it an individual or a company) for the products/services that the entrant unit is selling to them and which the overseas customer is paying them for. The products/services must have been exported and the customer invoiced but the customer need not necessarily have paid for them yet. If the overseas customer employees a buying agent in the UK, then the entrant can include their sales to the UK buying agent as an export earning. However, this will not be the case if it is an Export House/Agent.
Q. Is business transacted in the UK for overseas customers counted as overseas earnings?
A. Yes, it is the domicile of the customer, rather than the place where the service is performed that is the deciding factor.
Q. What constitutes a net export in terms of the figures we ask for?
A. Please refer to Q 18.1 in the International Trade category guidance notes.
Q. If products of entrant company X are exported by UK companies Y & Z, can these export earnings be included in X’s figures?
A. The exports must be from company X and must show on X's accounts - exports should not be from company Y or Z, even if they are X’s products. X needs to be doing the marketing activity, delivering the goods/service, invoicing the overseas company and receiving the payment i.e. the contract must be between X & the overseas company. If X are selling to Y & Z, that would be considered a domestic sale, the figures for which are to be included in the total sales figures on the entry but not as exports.
If you are an Export Agent/Merchant please refer to Q7.6, Q16 and Q17 in the International Trade guidance notes. If you are an export unit see Q7.7, Q16 and Q17 in the same notes. For indirect exports see Q17 in these notes.
Q. How is the judges' scoring weighted across the various parts of the forms?
A. All the information we ask for plays a part in the assessment process. Each category assessor will initially look at the information in the entry form and ensure that it meets the criteria. Detail is important so make sure you consider the word counts and use them effectively.
Q. I've submitted my entry but didn't receive an e-mail with a QA reference.
A. In the unlikely event that you have not received your confirmation e-mail, please check your spam/junk folders. If it is not there, please contact us promptly.
Q. What assurance can you give that the information (particularly financial details) we provide on the entry form will remain confidential? Can you sign a non-disclosure agreement?
A. Information provided by entrants will not be shared with any party other than those involved in the assessment process. Financial information must be supplied so that the assessors can evaluate the economic strengths of entries. There is a statement "All information will be treated in confidence" on the welcome page of the QA website (ie after you have logged in) & there is the same assurance on the first page of the pdf entry forms. The Queen’s Awards Office does not issue non-disclosure agreements nor does it enter into any tripartite agreements.