20 per cent VAT 2012 budget 50% return accountancy accountancy fees accountancy services accountant accountant B accountants accounting for dividends accounting records accounting software accounts accounts software administration annuity annuity rates Autumn statement avoid inheritance tax avoidance of tax avoiding inheritance tax bank lending basic personal allowance BCC big picture book keeping Bribery Act British Chamber of Commerce BS7858 budget budget 2011 Budget 2012 budgeting business business accounts online business advice business cash management business confidence business continuity business continuity management business continuity plans business cost management business efficiency business exit business exit planning business finance business friendly business funding business goals business growth business investment business loan business management business owners business performance business plan business planning business record keeping business records business sale business success business succession planning business survival business tax planning business tips bwe based account cash flow Cash flow forecast cash is king cash management Cash-based accounting cashflow chancellor chartered accountant chartered accountant Birmingham chartered accountants chartered financial planner chartered financial planner Birmin child savings children’s savings choosing an accountant client entertaining Cloud accounting Company Tax returns compliance industry contractors IR35 corporartion tax Corporation tax credit control credit control procedure cyber attack cyber crime cyber insurance cyber security cyber threats data security data security. IT security debt collection debt recovery despite some of the bad press over recent years director’s loan account directors loan directors pensions Directors’ loan account dividends doubl Dragon’s Den dragons den Economic expansion EIS email security employee data security Enterprise Investment Scheme enterprise zones entrepreneur Entrepreneur’s relief entrepreneurs entrepreneurs relief ethical hacker Everyone needs to finance their retirement and exit planning finance finance management financial advisor financial difficulty financial forecasts financial freedom financial goals Financial management financial plan financial planner financial planning financial planning checklist financial planning tips financial wellbeing FSTE 100 FTSE100 fund manager gifts global markets growth growth finance HMRC HMRC enquiries HMRC enquiry HMRC IR35 guidance HMRC tax enquiries HMRC tax enquiry home loans how to manage time ICAEW IHT income tax income tax r income tax relief income tax return independent financial advisor information security information security management inheritance tax inheritance tax planning insolvency Institute of Chartered Accountants investing Investment investment advice investment diversity investment in marketing investment management investment options investment philosophy investment planning investment portfolio investment risk investment strategies investment volatility investments investors IR35 ISO 27001 ISO 27001 benchmark ISO 27001 consultants ISO22301 ISO27001 IT security Jimmy Carr jobs keeping the books key perfirmance indicators key performance indicators KPIs kpi's late payment penalties late payment penalty fines late payments legal tax strategy management information management meetings management standards managing data security marketing investment miscalculated tax motivating staff national lottery new years resolution online accountancy online accountancy software online accounting on-line accounting online accounting software online accounts online tax return online VAT return outsourced accountancy outsourcing outsourcing accounts overtrading owner managers Parker Management Consultants partnership agreements passwords Pay off mortgage PAYE paying a dividend Payroll penetration testing pension pension contribution pension contributions pension fund Pension funds pension investment pension investment strategy pension scheme pensions pensions forecast per personal allowance trap Personal financial plan personal financial planning personal guarantees personal pension personal pensions personal tax return plumbers tax safe plan pre pack administration private pension profitable business sale R & D tax credits R&D tax credits recession red tape reduce tax remote working report on economy research and development tax credits retirement retirement planning risk risk return safest passwords Saga sareholder protection cover security of websites Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme SEIS selecting an accountant Self assessment self assessment tax return self invested personal pension selling my business selling your company shareholder agreements shareholder protection SIPP SIPPS small business small business owners small business tax small businesses small firms SME SME business management SME marketing SME tax planning SMEs social media policy SSAS start up start-up stock market succession planning tax accountant tax affairs tax avoidance tax breaks tax charges tax code tax disclosure tax enquiries tax enquiry tax evasion tax investigation tax investigations tax liability tax man tax mitigation strategies Tax planning tax planning advice tax planning schemes tax reduction tax reform tax relief Tax return tax saving tax saving strategies tax savings tax strategies Tax tribunals taxation tax-break time management time management skills top rate of tax tough times UK Bribery Act UK economy VAT increase vat return VAT rise VAT submission web based acc website security when to pay a dividend work-life balance Xero Xero accountancy software Xero accountants xero accounting xero accounts Xero accounts service

General Posts

Thursday May 8, 2014 at 10:00am
The surprise announcement in April’s Budget was the significant change to pensions. Heralded as the most far reaching change in pensions for 90 years, the Chancellor announced that from 2015, pensioners will be able to take as much or as little from their pension as they want, removing the need to buy an annuity. Does this move really make pension saving more attractive? We think so. When a high rate tax payer can turn £10,000 into £16,667 simply by putting the money into a pen....
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....
Tuesday February 11, 2014 at 10:00am
I stopped following the mainstream news media about 2 years ago. I simply felt that I was wasting my time on issues that have no impact on my life, increasing my anxiety levels and crucially, taking up precious time. I now use that time to read books and articles about things that directly affect my life and the work that I do for clients. When I came across an article by Rolf Dobelli on this very subject I felt vindicated. The general argument is as follows: We are so well informed but we know....
Thursday December 19, 2013 at 10:00am
Ever felt out of control of your business? It can happen to any business owner, at any time. Business owners often complain to me that they are simply too busy to be able to step back and see the bigger picture, or feel the business is running them rather than the other way around. Planning is the key to breaking free from this position and by understanding the conscious and subconscious you can wrestle back the control. Present thinking on the mind tells us that most of what we do, feel and th....
Thursday December 12, 2013 at 10:00am
Following our recent office move from Acocks Green in Birmingham to modern offices in Solihull we are taking advantage of our new premises to invite business owners, executives and our existing clients to brief financial planning seminars. In these events we will share with you ideas to help make more of your hard earned personal finances. I’ve written before about the importance of adequate estate planning, if you want to preserve wealth for your family. The focus of our first seminar at....
Thursday November 21, 2013 at 10:00am
I do a lot of professional development, normally around technical financial matters but one recent talk really got me thinking. I have written many blogs on how life is not a dress rehearsal; we only have around 70 or 80 years if we are the lucky ones. Precious time is passing us by. Ask yourself how well you score in the following areas of your life and decide which parts of your life you may like to work on first. The idea is you score yourself from 1 to 5 on each of these life goals: Fina....
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 July 12, 2012 at 8:00am
Accountants have been all over the popular media over the last few weeks what with Jimmy Carr and headlines, like Rihanna sues former accountancy firm for 'defrauding her out of millions of dollars by charging jacked up fees'. Now I don’t claim to know anything about the music industry, or that particular case but I do know that in the UK we have some pretty strict rules and regulations for Chartered Accountants which means the kind of negligence and ‘jacked up fees’ claimed in....
Thursday May 24, 2012 at 9:00am
Were you as incensed as I was a few weeks ago when reading the headlines that ‘Hague Tells Bosses to Work harder’? At the time I thought, you idiot, I’m not sure most business owners feel they can work any harder. I don’t know any who are sitting back and resting on their laurels.  Having had some time to calm down and reflect, and trying to give Hague the benefit of the doubt I wonder whether what he was trying to get at is the need to work smarter. Clichéd ....
Thursday March 22, 2012 at 1:17pm
It was great to be invited into the BBC WM studio this morning to comment on the 2012 budget. As I said to presenter Phil Upton I think it was a pretty good budget for business, for employment and for the economy. Although they didn't get much airtime in the budget coverage I think things like the the tax simplification for small firms, the £20 billion National Loan Guarantee Scheme, the tax breaks for UK video games companies, of which there are a lot here in the Midlands, are a....
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 February 17, 2012 at 9:00am
Being in business is about facing challenges. You may have devised a growth strategy and know where you hope to be in, say, three years' time. But even the best strategy has two shadows looming over it: a struggling economy and the government. Broadly speaking, you can do little about the state of the economy. At best, you should remain positive and continue looking for opportunities. The shadow the government casts is a different matter. Government policies or inaction can hold you back. What y....
Friday February 3, 2012 at 11:52am
If you come into money from an inheritance, bonus or even a lottery win, your thoughts may immediately turn to paying off your mortgage. Although we live in a society where debt is commonplace and accepted, many people want to pay off their home loans at the earliest opportunity. After all, a home without a mortgage is financially secure. But think twice. Instead of clearing or reducing your mortgage, consider your future. In particular, think about your pension provision. Inadequate pension ....
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 1, 2011 at 12:02pm
Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement on Tuesday with a mixed reception. The statement coupled with the latest forecasts for the UK economy from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) although containing few surprises has been generally welcomes by business leaders and most business owners. Cutting through all the detail the following highlights form the relevant points for businesses:Economy OBR 2011 economic forecast revised down to 0.9% from 1.7% 2012 forecast revised ....
Thursday November 17, 2011 at 9:00am
A recent report in the Telegraph quotes a survey from our trade body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), which suggests despite a number of Government measures to reduce the regulatory burden on business, companies feel the UK is now less “business friendly” than a year ago. In this year’s survey 44 percent of all companies said the UK is “business friendly”, down from 50 percent last year. It looks like the Governments plans for ....
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 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 July 28, 2011 at 9:00am
Just like buses not a lot new seems to happen and then all the innovations seem to come along at once. You might be interested in some of the new things that have come across my desk that we have either adopted or are looking more closely at: Online accounting software: Nothing so special about that you may be thinking, however Xero Accounts seems to have taken a big slice of market share for two reasons. Firstly it is web based and fast, secondly it downloads company bank statements automatic....
Thursday March 24, 2011 at 12:06pm
So claimed Chancellor George Osborne on Radio 4 this morning, and actually he might just be right. The measures introduced to help businesses and especially small business are to be welcomed. These include the surprise increase in the Entrepreneurs Relief lifetime allowance from £5 million to £10 million. This relief was already generous in the current economic climate as it allowed entrepreneurs to pay capital gains tax at a rate of only 10% on the first £5 million of qualifyi....
Thursday March 17, 2011 at 10:00am
There’s nothing worse than having to wait to feel any tax saving benefits. Few business owners perhaps realise that the timing of their company’s year-end and its pension contributions can affect when the benefit of any tax saving is felt. Pension contributions and company year-end statistics from Companies House show that the most popular company year-end is 31st March. And with that date fast approaching now is the time companies should be considering company pension contributions....
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....
Wednesday January 12, 2011 at 1:35pm
Small business owners across the UK could be advised to seek the help of a specialist tax accountancy service following a recent alert from the government. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published an "urgent" reminder that important changes to Corporation Tax are due to be enforced in April this year. As such, all company tax returns sent in from April 2011 must be filed online in a specified data format known as XBRL or iXBRL. The changes will also mean that Corporation Tax paym....
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....
Thursday December 23, 2010 at 10:00am
In a survey of 5,000 entrepreneurs conducted by serviced office provider Regus, 79 per cent of UK business owners said that their interests are neglected by government. Some 72 per cent of British businesses say that banks should be forced to lend more to entrepreneurial ventures and small businesses, stressing that access to credit is an issue for entrepreneurs. Additionally, 87 per cent feel that government venture capital funds should be available to support entrepreneurs and their business i....
Thursday December 16, 2010 at 11:57am
Whilst the Christmas period is a time for reflection, the New Year is all about looking ahead and making plans. The break between Christmas and New Year is an ideal time to take a bit of a financial stock-check and consider whether your finances are in order for the year ahead. Here are the Parker Financial Advisors tips for preparing for 2011. 1. Review your investments Now is a great time to review how your old investments, saving accounts and pensions are performing. Should you be consolida....
Thursday December 9, 2010 at 4:45pm
If you have registered to file your tax return online, then you only have until January 31st 2011 to do so. Missed deadlines will result in a £100 fine, so it’s worth making sure you file on time. Here are our top tops for taking in the dreaded tax return: Preparation is everything: Before you start filling in your tax return, you need to get all your records together and make sure that they’re in order. If you’re doing it yourself, it will make your life easier, and if....
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....
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....
Friday October 15, 2010 at 5:39pm
Thinking of selling up? There are 3 critical steps to take to make sure you maximise the value of your business.1. Prepare the numbers Get your business in sound financial order. Any potential buyer will want to see accurate financial information, including management information and KPIs. They will want to feel you have a handle on your business and that doesn’t just mean looking at the past, it means showing them future potential. Many buyers look for investments where they can make impr....
Monday October 4, 2010 at 2:39pm
A recent survey from pension provider Aviva suggests that every adult needs to save an average of £10,300 per year to secure a comfortable retirement. I’ve got to admit I’m not in favour of these blanket claims. I know as a country we have a massive pensions shortfall (£318bn by all accounts) but headline rates are very unlikely to inspire anyone to review their savings and retirement plans. Our approach to financial planning and retirement planning in particular is to ta....
Tuesday September 28, 2010 at 12:15pm
We all know that running a business is not easy, only those who have never had to suffer the burden of responsibility to employees, family and the bank, would think business owners reap easy rewards. With the potential rewards come personal financial risk, stress and a very steep learning curve. The reality is that we pay a high price to be in business and sometimes it gets the better of us. When talking to clients in financial difficulty, the feeling of despair and failure is not uncommon. I qu....
Friday September 24, 2010 at 12:05pm
A recent survey from asset-based lender Venture Finance and Accountancy magazine found that 60% of accountants believe that a further increase in SME insolvencies is still to come. The economy is only showing tentative growth, and lots of smaller businesses are still struggling to keep their head above water. Most small businesses are currently focused on stabilising performance rather than growth and if they’ve built up debt in the depth of recession they may struggle to find a way o....
Thursday September 16, 2010 at 10:00am
I see the sales figures and profit and loss reports of enough SMEs to know that we can all benefit from free sales and marketing tips. How about these ideas from some of the best in the business? Gate crash – when Stelios started Easy Jet his promotional tactic was to turn up at competitor event and give out his business cards.  Act like a customer – entrepreneur and erstwhile Dragon’s Den panellist Doug Richard is reputed to have got his ideas for improving the customer....
Monday September 13, 2010 at 4:32pm
In January VAT shoots up to 20 per cent. Now is a good time to decide how to present that increase to customers. Whether you add it into your price or factor it into your costs, make sure you are up front. Transparency wins customers’ trust and with that more business. If you are selling to the public or charities, housing associations or health care providers who can’t claim VAT back – now is the time to think about pre-VAT rise promotions, encouraging people to buy now and sa....
Wednesday September 8, 2010 at 9:53pm
Well it is a fair question that most of us would like to say yes to, but when put on the spot we find we stumble and don’t have all the answers. Some of the more common questions asked by the Dragons are: “how can you convince me there is a market for your product”, “what sales have you made this year so far”, “what is your forecast profit this year and next”, “who would buy this product” and “how much profit do you make on each sale&rd....
Thursday September 2, 2010 at 3:41pm
It’s an unfortunately fact of life but you or your business could face a tax enquiry at any point, often through no fault of you or your accountant. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have the power to start an enquiry at any time, and they don’t have to give any specific reason for doing so! For the tax payer or business owner there’s worry and confusion. “What’s the tax man looking for?” “What have I done wrong?” “What will they find and will I ....
Thursday August 26, 2010 at 1:29pm
Business owners are showing less confidence according to the recent Business Confidence Monitor Survey from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Around one fifth (19%) of firms said they were less confident about the future due mainly to the tax rises announced in the emergency Budget and promised public spending cuts. Having come through recession, business owners now face a challenge to survive the recovery. Uncertainty is a key factor resulting in a cautious ap....
Friday August 20, 2010 at 9:47am
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced its Corporation Tax roadshow is visiting Birmingham this autumn. From April 2011, Company Tax returns (for accounting periods ending after 31 March 2010) must be filed online in a data format called iXBRL, and the events are an opportunity for businesses to find out more about the software available to support this major change. The "Corporation Tax Online" events are free and open to all. The Birmingham event will be held on 3rd November 2....
Wednesday August 11, 2010 at 2:04pm
With a ‘choppy’ economic recovery predicted by the governor of the Bank of England and the media talking up a double dip recession in response to the recent drop in house prices business owners would be forgiven for throwing their arms up in despair and ‘giving in’. This morning Mervyn King lowered the Bank’s economic growth forecast and warned inflation will stay higher than previously predicted. He doesn’t seem too confident that the banks will help-out busi....
Tuesday July 27, 2010 at 12:41pm
Cash - you can never have too much, but you can often have too little.  Staying on top of cash flow is critical for every business.  These 10 tips will help you boost cash flow. Invoice as soon as possible. It’s far better, from a cash flow point of view, to bill throughout the month than stick rigidly to one billing day, often at the end of the month. Give it focus. Cash flow is the most important element of your business. Don’t delegate the task and ignore progress. Let ....
Wednesday July 14, 2010 at 11:28am
As accountants working with entrepreneurs and the owners of family businesses we come across all sorts of businessmen and women. Many run excellent businesses and build a legacy they are able to leave to their families alongside sufficient wealth for themselves to allow them to live a prosperous life in retirement. We’ve noticed however that those who succeed when it comes to exit planning take a very proactive and positive approach to business and strategic planning. Those who are less su....
Tuesday June 29, 2010 at 11:27am
Recent research from Coutts amongst some of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs highlighted that business owners are under-prepared when it comes to business exit. 46% of pre-exit entrepreneurs surveyed believed it would take less than a year to sell; the reality is it will take up to two years of planning before a sale completes. Business owners admit to being naive when it comes to understanding fully the process of selling their business. Getting good advice from the right advisors is essen....
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