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Business Advice Posts

Friday May 2, 2014 at 2:00pm
For many the fiscal year-end coincided with their company year-end meaning many business owners now face the challenge of drawing together all their financial information to hand over to their accountants so they can prepare statutory accounts. Not something business owners, in my experience, look forward to doing.Whilst it may be too late for your 2013/14 accounts there are some things you can do now to make the process less painful this time next year, put yourself in a better position to mana....
Thursday March 20, 2014 at 10:58am
A budget for business and for savers, at least that’s what the chancellor would have us believe, but did it provide the common sense approach I was asking for in last week’s blog (What can we expect from the Chancellor in next week’s budget?)? As predicted the Chancellor has made the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme permanent. I’ve been a fan of this scheme since it was introduced in April 2012. It enables start-up companies to get access to finance whilst also providin....
Wednesday March 12, 2014 at 10:00am
As the day for the UK budget announcement looms commentators and industry bodies have gone into overdrive as usual, speculating on what might be announced next Wednesday, 19th March 2014, and lobbying for their particular favourite measure. The British Chambers of Commerce are predicting that the UK economy will exceed its pre-recession peak by the summer, with manufacturing and services being the main drivers of this growth. They used their latest forecast report to call on the Chancellor to i....
Thursday September 5, 2013 at 4:14pm
As the news on the economy starts to look at least a little brighter and increases in optimism from some quarters of British industry you might be looking forward to increases in business yourself. All good, so now is a really good time to sit back slightly and make sure you are in control of the most important thing in your business – the cash. In our experience, born out by the research, insufficient capital and poor cash management are two of the most common reasons businesses go under....
Friday June 28, 2013 at 12:11pm
If you don’t know where you are going how do you know when you have arrived? Most of us have plans of some sort but action is needed if those plans are ever to be realised. Inaction may occur for quite subtle reasons. This may be because the plans and goals we think we should have do not fit with our own core values, in other words they are the wrong goals for us. It may be that we simply can’t figure out what we need to do to achieve the goal or plan. It may be that we are afraid to....
Thursday June 13, 2013 at 10:00am
In the UK today whilst life expectancy is on the increase it seems fewer people are saving for their retirement. To try and meet this challenge, the Pensions Act 2008 laid the foundations for a fundamental reform of workplace pensions requiring every employer to automatically enrol their workers into a qualifying pension scheme, if they are not already in one, and contribute to that pension. Under the scheme by 2017 all employers will have to offer a workplace pension or a NEST (National Employm....
Thursday June 6, 2013 at 3:54pm
With all businesses relying heavily on repeat business, recommendations and referrals having a good relationship with customers and clients is essential. As accountants we strive to develop great, long term relationships with our clients by following these principles – they might be useful in your business too. Honesty and openness - This is the number one guideline for successful customer relationships. Be clear and open with everything from a sales proposal through to the final contract ....
Thursday May 23, 2013 at 11:43am
In business, and in our day to day life, we make decisions all the time. So do our customers and potential customers. By understanding some of the science behind how decisions are made you can really increase your chances of getting the results you want. Here’s how. When making decisions, especially in business, you would expect people to use all available information, right? In fact the opposite turns out to be true. Because we have such busy overloaded lives we take short cuts and apply....
Thursday December 20, 2012 at 9:00am
The Government still doesn’t seem to be doing enough to deal with the burden of red tape on small businesses, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)  . Despite a number of announcements by Government this year about red tape reductions; the CBI remains concerned that SMEs are 'drowning under the weight of extra regulation'. Looking back over recent years, it does feel that regulation has grown to such an extent that it is stifling innovation and economic growth. Bu....
Thursday November 29, 2012 at 9:00am
Earlier this month saw a real focus on entrepreneurs as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced a number of initiatives for Global Entrepreneurship Week. Encouragingly BIS pledged its support for small business, announcing that two entrepreneurs will be given advisory roles in government, helping to advise on small business issues and to make sure the needs of entrepreneurs are properly considered by policy makers. In times of recession, start-up numbers tend to increa....
Thursday November 1, 2012 at 9:00am
I was pleased to read last week that the UK economy raced out of recession, growing 1% in the three months to September. The generally accepted definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of contraction, so the growth in the third quarter means the economy stopped being in recession in July. Although the Prime Minister is rumoured to have banned the words ‘green shoots’ and government has added caveats galore to the good news citing the ‘one off’ benefit of the ....
Thursday September 20, 2012 at 9:00am
Looking back over recent years, it does feel that regulation has grown to such an extent that it is stifling innovation and economic growth. It was good to hear last week that the government continues red tape reductions; this time targeting health and safety. And so only those businesses with a particular risk or a poor track record will face inspections in future. This has been met with concern from some quarters, fearing deterioration in employee safety, but there is certainly room for common....
Thursday September 6, 2012 at 9:00am
A recent study of small business owners suggests many have not yet prepared for the changes to PAYE in 2013 requiring Real Time Information (RTI) reporting, with 36% of small businesses unaware. So what is RTI? HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is essentially introducing a new way of reporting PAYE, so that employers and pension providers will need to tell them about payments at the time they are made as part of their payroll process instead of once at Year End. Most employers will be legally requ....
Thursday June 14, 2012 at 10:00am
Going into business with an ex-colleague, friend or relative may seem like a great idea, and very often is. You’ve only to look at the Steve Jobs / Steve Wozniak Apple partnership to see that. But business can be fraught with difficulties, look at the battles in Facebook between Mark Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins which still rumble on today. Although no one likes to think about it when they first start-up any business partnership will have its difficulties. Some will be minor di....
Thursday May 10, 2012 at 9:00am
The media loves a bad news story. You could practically hear the cries of delight as they reported the news. It was all doom and gloom, concentrating on the Government’s failure to lift us out of the economic slump. Typical media stuff. And while we can’t pretend the outlook’s completely positive, perhaps it’s not as bad as some in the media make out. Two new surveys show confidence from UK businesses. Optimism among smaller manufacturers rose for the first time since th....
Thursday May 3, 2012 at 9:00am
Credit agency Graydon and the Forum of Private Business (FPB) published the findings of research into the impact of late payment on small business owners. Such was the severity of the report that it was discussed by a House of Commons summit attended by some of the leading lights of the UK’s financial world. They included the business department, the Labour Party, the Institute of Credit Management, Lloyds, and the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants. The research revealed:&nbs....
Thursday March 1, 2012 at 9:00am
You probably don’t need an accountant to tell you time equals money. But I’m going to anyway because too many business people don’t actually translate this into positive action and manage their time effectively. If you had £10,000 in your hand, you wouldn’t let the kids play with it or stick it in the coat pocket with a hole at the bottom. Yet we often treat our time with the same carelessness and squander this valuable resource. Learning how to manage time is cruci....
Thursday February 23, 2012 at 9:00am
The problem with the future is it hasn’t happened yet. For business this means planning ahead is dependent on speculation. Of course, that speculation is based upon facts and figures, but how do you interpret them? In reality, we often depend upon other people’s interpretations and predictions, but only this week we’ve found cause to be wary of putting too much faith in the media. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) recently released a report o....
Friday January 13, 2012 at 1:21pm
With Christmas out of the way and as we rapidly approach the end of the tax year it’s a good time for every small business owner to take a look at their financial management and accounting practices. Small business owners often make seemingly simple accounting mistakes which at their most extreme could mean the difference between a good and bad fiscal year. Here are three common financial mistakes we encounter and how to avoid them. Not discussing costs and payment terms in advance. Coun....
Thursday January 12, 2012 at 9:00am
Amidst all the doom and gloom of 2011 I was encouraged to read that according to recent research 470,000 new businesses were created last year an increase of 18 per cent on figures for 2010. Even taking account of the high number of insolvencies there was still a net gain of 455,000 new limited companies. It’s not unsurprising as in previous recessions when large numbers of people have been made redundant many have elected to set up their own business, often offering their skills and exper....
Thursday December 8, 2011 at 10:00am
I was reading the results of a survey recently which looked at how equipped entrepreneurs are to succeed in business. The results were somewhat surprising. Fail to plan and you can plan to fail! In this survey 16 per cent of entrepreneurs didn’t have a written business plan. Now, I’m no advocate for the kind of business plan you might learn how to write in business school. But I am in favour of a set of measurable goals and detailed strategy outlining how the goals will be achieved....
Thursday October 13, 2011 at 9:30am
Cash is king. How many times have you heard that? Too many perhaps, without a full explanation of what it really means. When business advisors and accountants talk about ‘cash’ being king they are really warning against the dangers of overtrading – in other words celebrating the success you’re having in selling without paying adequate attention to the overall financial health of your business. You’d think that sales growth was a good thing – but if you expan....
Thursday September 22, 2011 at 9:30am
With reduced economic growth meaning potentially less buying activity from existing customers now is certainly not the time to cut marketing investment, indeed it is probably time to increase marketing spend in order to replace potentially falling sales. However, for many, effective marketing can be elusive unless you go back to first principles. Proper marketing will enable you to identify your target customer, enable you to provide services that the customers want and enable you to retain tho....
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