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Business Management Posts

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 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 January 10, 2013 at 8:00am
Those in the Midlands service sector might well be starting the year with a smile. The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group’s last quarterly economic survey for 2012 issued last week showed the region’s service sector export sales had risen to 40 per cent, compared with 30 per cent in the previous quarter. This is quite an achievement when media reports elsewhere suggest that UK service sector activity as a whole fell for the first time in two years in December. It wasn’t such ....
Thursday December 6, 2012 at 9:00am
With many small business owners working flat out to keep their heads above water in the recession, I wasn’t surprised to read in a recent survey that only 24.4% of those questioned said they would close completely over the festive season and 32.7% will close their doors for just 2 days. Not wanting to miss out on potential sales, covering staff leave or simply taking the potentially quieter period between Christmas and New Year to take stock, do some important business planning for the yea....
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 October 25, 2012 at 2:28pm
Owners of small businesses are feeling the pinch as operating costs continue to rise, according to a survey last week from the Forum of Private Business. Out of the Forum members questioned, 95 per cent said their overall business costs had increased, with the main areas of concern being the costs of energy, transport, marketing and raw materials/stock. And in a challenging economic climate it’s proving difficult to pass those costs on to customers or get financial help from banks to help ....
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 13, 2012 at 9:00am
Although few would welcome recent reports of a stagnant economy, the resulting government incentives for small business investors could help entrepreneurship to thrive. Certainly the government continues to introduce some attractive proposals for SMEs. Just this week Chancellor George Osborne unveiled plans to launch a bank for small businesses, saying they would be able to gain access to 'multi-billion pounds' of funding. Investing in a ready-made business can be appealing for entrepreneurs who....
Thursday July 19, 2012 at 10:00am
So, the Olympics are just around the corner and whether you will be there or watching on television, it’s sure to be an exciting time. But is there anything Olympic performance can teach us about business performance? The first trait most successful athletes have is a passion for what they are doing. If you enjoy it, you will go a lot further than if you don’t! This applies to everyone in your business. Owners and employees alike should enjoy coming to work. It’s so obvious ....
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 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....
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 November 10, 2011 at 9:00am
I read recently that late payments to small businesses exceed £33 billion. And more often than not it's large businesses who are failing to pay up on time. Bacs (Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services) say that around 860,000 companies are experiencing late payments with each SME on average owed £39,000 and left waiting two months to get it. With bank lending at an all time low in my opinion there’s little hope of overdraft or loan facilities to fund this shortfall. ....
Wednesday November 9, 2011 at 5:16pm
Xero, the company that develops our online accounting software, is calling upon the UK Government to abandon proposals to simplify statutory reporting for the smallest businesses. Xero believe that there are other ways to address any reporting concerns that the UK’s smallest businesses – 60% of UK businesses registered at Companies House - may have, without requiring yet more legislation. And our response is ‘here, here’. This follows the Department for Business Innovati....
Thursday October 27, 2011 at 9:00am
When it comes to the success of any small business we are all reliant on the hard work and commitment of our staff. As a business owner myself I really appreciate how important my team is in delivering exceptional accountancy services and business advice to our clients. Reading through a newsletter recently from one of the accountancy trade bodies I came across this advice on motivating staff which I thought was worthwhile sharing. Understand your staff - Employees are motivated by what they get....
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 October 6, 2011 at 9:30am
Times are tough and they are likely to remain challenging for many businesses. So what do businesses have to do to ensure that they succeed in the economic environment of the next few years? There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this business planning question. Different businesses will have different requirements but here are a few tips observed in businesses that have succeeded in past tough times: Put your customer first  For the next few years, arguably more than ever,....
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....
Thursday September 1, 2011 at 9:00am
It may sound futuristic but in fact web based accounting, in the cloud, is now a reality for many small and medium sized businesses around the world. For many it allows them to delegate a non-core activity and reap the full benefits of outsourcing. Yet, I’ve been surprised how few local businesses in Birmingham have embraced the major advantages offered by ‘the cloud’. Over my twenty odd years in the accountancy profession I’ve been searching for a solution to an age old....
Thursday August 11, 2011 at 9:00am
That’s the beauty of outsourcing, the contracting out of a business activity, usually carried out in-house, to a specialist provider. Of course for many SMEs and family owned businesses it’s not just the tasks that they don’t like that can be outsourced, it’s non-core activities, those that add limited value or require specialist expertise. I recently wrote a blog (It’s time for accountants to offer more) about how the accounting profession needs to step up to the ....
Thursday August 4, 2011 at 9:00am
As more compliance is forced on business owners and the systems we’re required to follow seem to get more, not less complicated I believe it’s time accountants did more for their clients. Most business owners do not want to be an involuntary tax collector for the Inland Revenue. But when it comes to quarterly accounting for VAT or operation of the PAYE system that is just what those of us in business are to HMRC. VAT and PAYE are such important sources of tax it is unfortunately unl....
Thursday June 23, 2011 at 9:00am
The Bribery Act 2010 comes into force on 1 July 2011. We provided some useful tips on the actions you might need to take in an earlier blog (The Bribery Act and your business) but with only a few weeks until the Act becomes law now is the time to carry out your risk assessment. You might think it doesn’t affect your business but if you are the kind of company that takes clients out to dinner or entertains them over a game of golf or at sporting events technically speaking you may be caugh....
Thursday June 16, 2011 at 10:00am
Here’s something you might not expect me to offer as an accountant – but in the spirit of wanting to help small and owner managed businesses I’m offering you my top tips to help you keep accountancy costs down. Tip 1 – Be organised Organise your books and keep clear records. When preparing a tax return or a set of accounts, if your business books and records are in a mess or items are missing it will take your accountant longer to carry out the work and time is money. ....
Thursday May 19, 2011 at 10:00am
To be effective at debt collection you need two simple ingredients - a sound credit control process and discipline in how this is implemented. Many companies have a policy, including for example offering 30 day terms for payment of invoices, but fail to act quickly when a customer doesn’t pay. Allowing late payments will disrupt your cash flow and could harm your company's chances of success. So don’t let it happen. To keep debtors flowing smoothly, we recommend you follow a standard....
Thursday May 5, 2011 at 10:00am
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has signalled its determination to make businesses improve their record keeping by launching its programme of inspections earlier than expected. HMRC will be seeking confirmation that businesses are maintaining ‘accurate and adequate’ business records covering the full range of taxes including VAT, PAYE, NIC and corporation tax. HMRC will expect to see that a business is keeping full and accurate records of its invoices, receipts, petty cash, general e....
Friday April 29, 2011 at 10:00am
Most businesses create a business plan at the start of each year which outlines where the business is today, what happened last year and where they want to be at the end of this year. But as we enter the 2nd quarter of 2011, how many business owners have reviewed the business plan and where necessary updated it. Every well managed business prepares monthly accounts, but what about a monthly or even quarterly update to the firm’s strategic plan? Reviewing and updating your plan ensures tha....
Thursday April 14, 2011 at 10:00am
Having built a business on your skills and knowledge in one particular field you now find you have to become an expert in customer service, employing staff and especially financial management. When it comes to the success of your business YOU can take control and focus on MONEY: making it in your business, managing how and when it’s used, getting more of it when you need it and, perhaps most importantly, how you can keep more of it personally. To do this you need to focus on only a handf....
Friday February 25, 2011 at 10:00am
It was great to read a positive report about the state of the retail market last week on the Retail Gazette website. Their report suggests that the UK retail sector has got off to a healthy start in 2011. Apparently year on year sales for January were up 9.1 per cent for the sector as a whole, with online retailers showing an increase of an impressive 49 per cent. So maybe the predicted impact of the increase in VAT to 20 per cent won’t hit as hard? These figures did set me thinking howev....
Thursday February 10, 2011 at 4:00pm
Although currently subject to delay it seems sure that sooner or later the Bribery Act will come into force. It will make it a criminal offence for someone to offer, ask for, or accept, an “inducement” that may be a reward for acting improperly. Organisations will be committing an offence if they fail to prevent bribery by someone associated with them. Consider the following scenarios: A supplier recently bought them lunch. A customer is organising a 3 day conference in a 5 star ....
Thursday February 10, 2011 at 10:00am
HMRC have just announced a consultation on their planned programme of checks of business records within the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. They attempt to justify the introduction of this programme by claiming that research by the OECD suggests (to HMRC that is) that poor business record keeping is responsible for a loss of tax in up to 2 million SME cases annually. The consultation exercise is limited to consideration of the best way to implement the programme – not whether i....
Thursday January 13, 2011 at 12:11pm
The success of your business in 2011 may very well depend upon your ability to set and achieve the right business goals during the year. But to be really successful you need to do more than simply set goals. You must also be able to create goals that are both achievable and inspiring, and that the people who work for and with you will be proud to adopt as their own. Here are our suggestions for setting effective goals in 2011. Set your personal goals first When you want to take your business i....
Thursday January 6, 2011 at 5:06pm
I know as human beings we’re not always keen on change. It’s time consuming, sometimes costly and it’s a leap into the unknown. But carrying on with the same old advisors just because you’ve always used them may not be a sound business decision and with the end of the tax year only a few months away now is a great time to consider who you want as your advisors next year. Here are my suggested questions for anyone who’s made a New Year’s resolution to change th....
Thursday December 30, 2010 at 12:16pm
Running a business can be a treacherous business at times. It’s always important to do as much forward planning as possible and consider all the worst case scenarios and decide what actions you will take. Some business owners ignore the exposure that their business assets face should the worst happen. Assets like key pieces of machinery, the business property and even personal loans made to the company by a shareholder or director are all exposed to the full business risk. Should the busin....
Friday November 26, 2010 at 9:33am
When many owner managers come to extricate themselves from their business – either by passing it on to a member of the family or deciding to sell – they suddenly realise how indispensible they are and how difficult it is to let go. In the most profitable businesses we see, the entrepreneur has released him or herself from the business by systemising each part of the business and allocating responsibilities to other people within the organisation. This process of gradually delegating....
Friday November 19, 2010 at 9:17am
In business it’s always useful to hear how other businesses are getting along. One really great aspect of my job as an accountant is learning about a client’s business and gathering their tips for success. Here are just a few of the recent ideas I’ve picked up from working with owner managed and family run businesses in the West Midlands: Keep overheads light and eliminate unnecessary expenditure;  Set realistic and achievable budgets and measure how you are doing o....
Friday November 5, 2010 at 2:56pm
Whilst cash for the investor might ‘Seriously Damage your Wealth’ in business cash is king and keeping close management of the cash in your business will protect you from disaster. At Parker Chartered Accountants we put our heads together to come up with this list of tips for any business owner needing to gain greater financial control. Try them – they work! Raise invoices promptly and clearly state your terms of payment. Typical terms would be payment within 30 days.  C....
Tuesday October 26, 2010 at 5:27pm
A recent survey of small businesses by simplybusiness.co.uk has found that many suffer from inadequate financial management and an absence of basic business planning skills which leads to uninformed decision making. Apparently 29% of the SME owners admitted to failing to keep adequate checks on the company finances because of other pressures on their time. The survey suggests than SMEs review their detailed balance sheet and profit and loss forecasts only every 18 weeks on average – that&r....
Friday October 22, 2010 at 11:00am
When Italian economist Vilfred Pareto observed that 80% of Italy’s income went to 20% of the population he probably never realised he was on the verge of a discovery that is the core to understanding the strength or otherwise of many businesses today. Pareto discovered that this 80/20 rule applied to all manner of things, for example 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas, and today 80% of the world’s personal wealth is held by the richest 20% of people. It&rsquo....
Tuesday September 21, 2010 at 4:50pm
If you are in a business partnership now would be a good time to consider whether you fancy running your business with your partner’s wife or husband. Strange thought? Maybe.  But that’s what would happen if your business partner died and their spouse inherited their share of the business.Image this happens and they want you to buy them out but you can’t raise the funds? Chances are neither of you are going to be very happy with the situation. They will have lost a spouse ....
Thursday September 9, 2010 at 9:24pm
No doubt you have realised that times are tough at the moment. Customers are scarcer and they want to spend less or want more product or service for less money. The banks aren’t lending at the suggestion that you can easily borrow elsewhere if they say no. Their balance sheets are undercapitalised and lending targets have certainly shrunk regardless of what they say in public. In such an environment it makes sense to move away from the seat of the pants approach to decision making. Gone a....
Parker Chartered Accountants and Financial Advisors is the trading name for Parker Business Development Ltd (Registered No. 4116664), Parker Tax and Trust Ltd (Registered No. 06950353) and Parker Financial Planning LLP (Registered No. OC347027). Parker Financial Planning LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. All companies are registered in England and Wales – registered office contact details here