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Power in systems not in people

Why not register here for our second webinar on our journey to help you overcome your struggles with time, information and money by building a sound financial system quickly?

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Better information, in less time = more money

As we kick off our webinars we look at three of the most common struggles for all businesses; regardless of what stage they are at from start-up to high growth, being:

  1. Time – we never seem to have enough of this, though we all have the same amount in a working day
  2. Information – we either don’t have the correct information, have too much or maybe just don’t know what to do with it
  3. Money – we don’t have enough; or at least enough to solve the other two problems

Click here to access the recording of part 1 of 4 of our webinars.

Christmas 2018

Xero mistakes

We appreciate that some of these common mistakes may be more relevant to some than others.

With varying degrees of support provided by us to clients whereby some do their bookkeeping themselves and some we do it all for them; take from this document what you find useful and relevant.

Bank Feeds

In order to maximise the benefits of Xero; whether you maintain the bookkeeping or we do, is to ensure that the bank feed is working within the software.

With Open Banking now being here this should be easier than ever, but it might also mean some changes if you are already connected.

Click here for details of bank feeds affected by open banking.

Maintaining the bank

One of the most common mistakes we find are where clients add or delete transactions manually through the bank after a live bank feed has been setup.

It should be rare; if ever, where any manual intervention is needed when your bank has been connected correctly so if you suspect that some amendments are needed please get in touch with us first.

Wages

When posting any wages related payments; being payments to staff, HMRC, pension companies etc do not post these against the profit and loss account.  These should always be posted against balance sheet codes which will typically be labelled ‘P.A.Y.E., National Insurance and Net wages’.

Mileage

If the mileage route is being adopted rather than posting fuel be sure not to post both.  If you are posting mileage, we would recommend that you explore the various apps that could help with recording this; one of which you can access through our Company App and there is also MileIQ that we use internally.

Getting more out of Xero

Managing debts

  1. To better monitor the credit position of your customers we have a separate piece of software that plugs into Xero and will generate automated e-mails that will be sent to you when the credit rating of any of your customers change.
  2. The time taken and impact of people paying late can be catastrophic to clients so there is also a tool that automates; whilst still personalising, the chasing process to give you a much better chance of clients paying on time or even early.

 

Costs

  1. We all get sick of those cold calls offering to reduce our utility bills down but wouldn’t it be nice for this to automatically be monitored and you get the results, savings and potential courses of action directly without being hounded? We have a piece of software that allows for this to happen.

Cash flow

  1. Cash is often the main reason why most businesses struggle so why not take advantage of the wealth of information at your hands now that you are utilising Xero fully to more closely monitor and manage this. You can even build in scenarios to test the financial impact of certain actions to develop a proactive rather than a reactive approach with maximise options at your disposal.
  2. In terms of options and say; for example, access to financial resources where you cash flow might be stretched; we have the facility to plug in; alongside Xero, a function that can take your data to market to then present financial options before there are even needs to give you the best chance to smooth any cash flow concerns before they even arise.

Driving the business forward

  1. There is now; potentially more than ever, so much relevant, reliable and timely information right at your fingertips. We can draw out the key points which require action aside from those areas mentioned above.  This can come through in a neat but regular and concise news feed to you so that you have an overview at any point of time and are better positioned than ever to drive your business forward alongside us.
  2. Want more than this again? Why not start building and incorporating forecast, key performance indicators and even e-mail notifications being sent to you so that you never been more in control of where your business is, what you’re doing and where it is going.

 

As ever if you are unsure as to any of the above points or ever in doubt please do get in touch prior to making any entries then we can advise.

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September 2019 Mid Month Newsletter

MORE TIME, EXTRA AND BETTER INFORMATION = MORE MONEY

Would you like some more time in your day to day working and personal lives?

Would you like more tailored, valuable information that is provided on a timely basis which can then be acted upon?

Would you like to be able to achieve the first two things without it costing the earth and it certainly costing less than what it would give back in terms of financially and personally?

Why not book onto our first of four webinars below:

Click here

Freebies …
For all Xero client’s you should have earlier this month received an e-mail that offered you free access to:
Cost management software that would look on a regular basis to manage and reduce your costs; one client alone has already seen savings of nearly £1,500 identified.
Credit management software that manages and monitors the credit rating of your customers and e-mails you when this changes so you are better prepared for any financial difficulties you may face as a result of getting paid.
We are offering these two pieces of software free of charge up until the 31 October 2019 but you must opt in if you are interested so that we can plug them in accordingly and share them with you.

Get in touch today if of interest.

Client Portal Changes
As of 30 September 2019 the client portal that you currently have access to will no longer be available.

This was initially introduced to tick the relevant GDPR boxes but we now have access to better technology that ticks the same boxes and more than ever so this will instead be replaced by the following:
All invoices previously uploaded; both sales and purchases should now be uploaded via Receipt Bank as this will be managed and integrated directly with your year-end accounts.
Any other information you previously uploaded through the portal should be uploaded through Iris OpenSpace which is our compliance software portal as this integrates across all of our platforms including tax and accounting software. Likewise where we have previously shared information with you this will now be shared through this same software.
This change will not come in until the end of next month so should you have any queries or concerns then please contact your account manager to discuss these further.

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August 2019 Newsletter – Receipt Bank

For those of you already using Receipt Bank I’m sure you’ll agree that it is already amazing and for those of you not using it; why aren’t you? If you still have any doubts this should help and if you want just some of the testimonials we’ve received so far then here is just a selection:

“This has reduced manually data entry time by more than a third!”

“Our office has never looked tidier and more organised.”

“No longer are weekends taken up sorting paperwork.”

The new feature means that the software can now handle sales invoices as well as purchase invoices so why not take advantage of this feature where you are still raising sales invoices manually or outside of accounting software?

Freebies …

For all Xero client’s you should have earlier this month received an e-mail that offered you free access to:
Cost management software that would look on a regular basis to manage and reduce your costs; one client alone has already seen savings of nearly £1,500 identified.
Credit management software that manages and monitors the credit rating of your customers and e-mails you when this changes so you are better prepared for any financial difficulties you may face as a result of getting paid.
We are offering these two pieces of software free of charge up until the 31 October 2019 but you must opt in if you are interested so that we can plug them in accordingly and share them with you.

Get in touch today if of interest.

Client Portal Changes
As of 30 September 2019 the client portal that you currently have access to will no longer be available.

This was initially introduced to tick the relevant GDPR boxes but we now have access to better technology that ticks the same boxes and more than ever so this will instead be replaced by the following:
All invoices previously uploaded; both sales and purchases should now be uploaded via Receipt Bank as this will be managed and integrated directly with your year-end accounts.
Any other information you previously uploaded through the portal should be uploaded through Iris OpenSpace which is our compliance software portal as this integrates across all of our platforms including tax and accounting software. Likewise where we have previously shared information with you this will now be shared through this same software.
This change will not come in until the end of next month so should you have any queries or concerns then please contact your account manager to discuss these further.

July 2019

July 2019 Newsletter

A bit of a different one this month and we’re all sending this out early with the Summer holidays fast approaching I thought it more important to share a message my wife recently put out on social media which as a family is something we want everybody to be aware of.

****WARNING**** PLEASE PLEASE READ AND SHARE**** ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN WITH HOLIDAY SEASON APPROACHING

After a five year old boy drowned in Greece recently my heart goes out to this family at this awful time.

Graeme and I really want to raise awareness as this could have happened to us while holidaying in Dominican Republic in May this year. We’ve been in touch with the hotel, travel agents, local paper, national newspaper, local TV, national TV, Good Morning Britain but heard nothing back.

Holly slept walk out the room during the night while we were sleeping, around 2.30am. The locks on the doors are a fire safety lock, but are not suitable for kids. You lock it and to unlock you pull the handle down and the door opens. Holly is 4 years old and she managed to open it in her sleep. She’s never done anything like this before so it’s never been a concern. When she wakes for a wee she says mummy and I wake instantly.

I woke up to find Holly wasn’t in her bed, checked the spare bed, she wasn’t there, by this point I was panicking and looked at the door and it was open. I was absolutely frantic, my stomach just dropped, I’ve never felt anything like that, I screamed at my husband Holly wasn’t in her bed and the door was wide open. I ran down the corridor shouting her name. Thankfully the hotel have security on and they picked her up crying for mammy and daddy and she was lost. This was all in the space of around 5 minutes of her leaving the room.

It could of been a way worse outcome for us and we’ve been so lucky. If we were on a higher floor, she could have fallen down the stairs, of she took a different turn she could have drowned in the pool, if security hadn’t seen her she might have got lost, been taken and never seen again.

The hotel were brilliant and the next day we complained as to how easy it was for a child to get out of the room, that’s just not right. We demanded a chain be fitted on the door, we got this fitted straight away. That easy.

All we want is for a chain to be fitted on EVERY hotel door so people have to option to use it. We understand the locks on the doors are for fire safety reasons but surely a chain lock on top can happen and save lives or even if the door handle was higher up on the door. We were told to put a chair in front of our door!! That’s even more of a fire risk and why should you do that just make it safe for children.

We really don’t want this to happen again.

Please share as far as you can as we want this picked up by the press and changes made as so far nobody is willing to take any permanent action and all parties contacted seem to be brushing it under the carpet.

June 2019

June 2019 Newsletter

So we covered accountability last month and have mentioned ways in month’s prior to earn more from what you already have but how can we measure this easily.

Yes we could take some cash out for a night out and know what we’ve come back with but rarely in the business world is it so straight forward when it comes to measuring and managing a businesses cash flow.

Even after putting in place the strategies previously discussed, how best do we measure the complexities around cash flow and build in the experiences we’ve had historically?

After all, as we all know by now; it is not what we have in cash form and what is in the bank that accurately reflects our cash flow position but instead we must also factor in what is also owed out and still owed in.

We; on top of this, have to try and work with uncertain timescales for money coming in before then planning money going out.

Not quite so straight forward then managing it from time to time is it?

Well we have a fantastic bit of software which our Xero customers will love which after our input and modelling builds on historical trends to project this moving forward so that it can be reported on a monthly basis how close or far away you are from projections and why. Plans can then be put in place to better manage issues or even avoid issues prior to them happening.

Interested? Well why not get in touch for a personal demonstration and we’ll walk you through this.

We’ve also just recently done a joint webinar with the software guys covering this subject that you might have seen mentioned across social media earlier this month but if you missed this let us know and we’ll send you a recording.

Are debtors the reason for your cash flow issues?

If so get in touch with us today and we may have just a separate tool for you to help and we’ll be covering this in more detail in future months.

If time is of the essence though e-mail us for a personal demo of this today.

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May 2019 Newsletter

Have you heard that one about the accountant that makes you accountable?

Unfortunately there is no joke but us accountants are hardly known for our sense of humour so you haven’t missed out on much.

Typically accountants and accountancy generally is about reporting what has been and we as a firm try to influence that the best we can alongside you during the course of the financial year.

However, we have recognised that this isn’t enough in all cases as what targets are you necessarily holding yourself accountable against and who are you reporting these to. I’m not just talking turnover and profit targets but what about sales targets, margins etc?

We will soon be launching our accountability programme as we recognise that typically clients will be after one of three broad types of support packages from us:

PACKAGE 1 – steady ME (this is all about compliance and doesn’t include any sort of accountability within it and for some may be more than adequate)

PACKAGE 2 – grow ME (this is more aimed at bringing a degree of accountability into your business that is not there already to overcome current difficulties and help you move forward such as by specifically focusing on cash flow and the management thereof)

PACKAGE 3 – WOW ME (this is aimed at bringing a strategic level of scrutiny into your business at a level which will do everything possible to achieve everything you are after such as looking at forecasting, access to finance tools, marketing expertise and so much more but would be tailored around your own needs and requirements)

We’ll be talking about these packages in a lot more detail over the coming months along with demonstrating the benefits of bringing these extra levels of accountability into your business.

If this is of interest to you then just get in touch and we’ll keep you up date leading up to its launch.

Some clients have already been involved in the pilot and have seen amazing results which you’ll hear about in due course.

START WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS USING RESPONSESUITE
The first person that is often going to hold you responsible; other than yourself, are your clients.

We have recently teamed up with the guys at responsesuite who have a fantastic tool to get feedback in such creative ways that we haven’t seen before and can even set this all up for you.

If you want to know more get in touch with us and as affiliates we can help you take things from there.

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April 2019 Newsletter

Happy new tax year everybody. I hope you celebrated it in style …

We thought we’d start the new tax year with some simple ways to improve your financial position overall:

Increasing sales
There are two simple ways of increasing sales:

1. Attract new customers

Naturally the first takes longer and can cost more but do you even know who your ideal customer is?

Once you do you can then focus on what they need and where they are to focus on how best you attract them.

Now this all seems very obvious and I agree but the most common error we find here is that clients look to attract those customers who they invoice the most to. However, do you know what they cost you in terms of time and directly attributable cost. Do you even measure whether they regularly pay within the credit terms agreed?

Alongside Xero and other software we can help you here so that you focus your efforts in the correct areas moving forward.

2. Earn more from existing customers

Have you ever heard the term ‘never leave anything on the table?’

Clients don’t know what they don’t know; or in short, do clients know everything that you do. If not, tell them! Do contacts of your clients know what you do?

The easiest people to attract to your business for additional services or who can promote your work to other people are those that know and trust you already.

It is also the quickest and cheapest way so why do people always tend to focus more on attracting new customers rather than building relationships with existing one’s?

Again, building on Xero and other pieces of software we have here we can help you do this.

Reducing costs/making more from your costs
Yes you can reduce costs and then that earns you more money; or so you thought it did.

We’ve all had that experience of going with a cheaper supplier which in turn cost us more money in the long run and whilst I’m not discounting that cost isn’t important, we need to consider the bigger picture and those costs not quantifiable. For example, what figure do you put on that stationery supplier who got you something at the drop of a hat because nobody had ordered in something that was needed the following day? What figure do you put on that supplier who is always at the end of the phone and goes that extra mile when an issue arises?

Look at the long-term costs not just the short-term one’s.

You might then be thinking what do I mean by making more of your costs. Well let’s take your mobile phone as an example; does anybody know all of the features that it has? I certainly don’t and I would even go so far as to say that might consider switching phone to one that has a bright new shiny feature whilst being ignorant to the fact that my current one might already have that feature.

Take your time to build and maintain relationships with businesses that you already work with as the benefit and overall value that you subsequently then receive will actually mean you maximise the return on your costs.

Reducing the costs of financing/recognising opportunity costs
Finally the costs of financing and opportunity costs are so often neglected as people focus on the first two items.

Let’s start with the dreaded word of ‘debt’ or more specifically ‘leasing’ and consider if you’ve just had that shiver down your spine.

Not many people like debt nor do many people like the idea of having something which they don’t own as I used to be like this.

However, let’s consider two scenario’s:
1. You need some new machinery but simply cannot afford to buy it outright. You can either wait until you do have the money or you could lend the money or even lease the equipment.

You need to balance this off against the ‘opportunity cost’ of perhaps losing that customer if you don’t have that machinery.

2. In this second scenario let’s assume you can afford to buy this equipment outright to service this customer or you can finance it or even lease it and never own it.

If you buy it outright that is a lot of money to pay up-front which might mean the opportunity cost is that you cannot then recruit that new member of staff. That new member of staff might; and should I’d hope, generate more money than the cost of financing.

You then think do I own the asset through a finance agreement or do I lease it and again consider the figures but also consider what is the end market like for this should you then have to sell it on at the end of the agreement if you took ownership.

We have the software here that can identify cash-flow issues before they become issues and even plan for what opportunities exist in advance of such issues happening.

Summary

I don’t deny lot’s of simple tips here but we often struggle with the time to take a step back and evaluate things to make the best decision.

With ourselves and alongside technology we can help you to make the right decisions first time to ultimately put more money back into your business and subsequently your pocket.

For more information contact us today.

October 2018

March 2019 Newsletter

As with Brexit; nothing has really changed since the latest budget announcements, so we thought we’d maintain the image we used last month as well given that the Government continues to be our main point of focus this month.

We’re also going to keep it short and snappy this month; like our comment on Brexit.

Making tax digital
First let’s focus on MTD and the step by step guidance HMRC has not long since released; weeks before it comes in:

http://www.gov.uk/guidance/sign-up-for-making-tax-digital-for-vat

For those of you where we do your VAT returns and where MTD applies we’ll be working with you here to finalise everything if it hasn’t been already.

Digitalisation
You might not have noticed but we’ve recently upgraded the Receipt Bank package that we give to all clients free of charge.

Any queries reference this please let us know.

End of tax year
Whilst throughout the course of the current tax year we do your tax planning on ongoing basis and we finalise arrangements prior to 5 April 2019; we do however appreciate that some things such as investments are outside of our control hence we have created a checklist

If you would like a copy just let us know if we haven’t mentioned this to you already.

Brexit
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Watch this space.