September 2018

Have you ever revisited why you first set up in business and assessed where you are today against this?

Have you ever considered where you on your business journey in the context of your retirement plans?

Well we’ve recently undertaken these two exercises as a firm and subsequently been on a bit of journey this year with the number of changes we’ve made; which to date have been:

1. We’ve given you access to documents anywhere in the world safely and securely through a personal client portal.
2. Reduce the fear of missing an important deadline by implementing a reminder system with regards to any filing deadlines as well as payment reminders.
3. Have improved the support and advice readily available to all clients having recruited a further three members of staff.
4. To ensure that levels of service don’t dip and are monitored on an ongoing basis we’ve introduced an internal service charter .
5. Provided an opportunity to access your financial information instantly and accurately at the touch of a button having chosen Xero and Sage Business Cloud Accounting as being packages that we would fully support and use to improve the lives of our clients.

Now we would like you to ask yourself these two questions that we started this newsletter with again and see how any of the above or what we cover below can help get you back on track.

And there is more to come …

 

FINANCIAL HEALTH CHECK

We all too often plan for the here and now or for perhaps the year ahead but what about the years ahead and the years when we’re not here and our children survive us?

We work alongside IFAs to do a financial health check on you and your business to not just make you tax efficient but also financially sound. After all, who went into business to save tax alone!

FINANCIAL HEALTH CHECK OF CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS
Did you know that we can offer a similar service for customers and suppliers before you engage with them?

 

LEGAL, MARKETING AND BRANDING HEALTH CHECK

Alright not so sexy as the first one but how legally sound is your business in the event of the unforeseen happening i.e. you are splitting up with wife or even your business partner, having a large contract challenged etc.

MARKETING AND BRANDING HEALTH CHECK

As a business we may from time to time struggle with both losing our identify from a branding perspective and getting enough work through the door. Let us arrange for a trusted third-party partner to sit down with you and help assess your business.

 

MONTHLY OFFER – Free accountancy software training

For all new clients that take on an accounting package through us in October will be provided with a free training session with us along with free set up.

August 2018

Two of the biggest barriers to growth for many businesses are:
1. Time
2. Cash flow

Time

We’re all struggling to make the most of what time we have; although we all have the same amount of time; it is just how we choose to spend it.

With the modern technology now around us; something that we as a firm are embracing, we can help you achieve more in less time.

We’ve looked back over previous years and learnt what clients want and need and how best this could be delivered more efficiently, hence the Back to the Future theme this month.

Well how would you like the following:
1. Less paperwork taking up all of the space in your office
2. Less time being needed to organise paperwork so you can spend more time earning money
3. More timely, up to date information to enable you to make better decisions sooner
4. Less hassle and concern when it comes to potentially losing smaller receipts and subsequently the tax and VAT thereon

We will be introducing some software next month which will be made available to all clients; FREE OF CHARGE, where you can benefit from all of this. This will be one of the first steps on that A to Z journey we touched upon last month.

Cash Flow

Would you like a FREE creditors services check via one of our trusted third party partners? Perhaps you’re just about to take on a brand new customer or are about to order something from a brand new supplier and want a little more info.

Perhaps, you’re already past this stage and have engaged with a company but now have growing concerns about them?

Well why not contact Jordan Heys at jordan.heys@cowgills.co.uk to take advantage of this service.

Let us help you spend your time wisely; ensuring that you receive just rewards for this.

 

More for less?  Too good to be true?

For those that haven’t seen the Back to the Future films in the second instalment Marty came across this book that basically told you future sporting results; ignore the reference to the year 2000 as this was an old film.

We cannot predict the future, but what we can do is help make our clients have a properous future and this is the reason why we are offering these free additional services.

By saving you time and offering you a service to save you time that; yes we do pay for, will mean you benefit in each of the ways mentioned above. We too will benefit as we can shift our focus from data entry to strategic support which will mean that we too can assist in adding to your bottom line more quickly with better results.

In terms of the free creditors service again this should mean that you maintain a positive cash flow position and the guys who we are working alongside can then assist before it too late hopefully; not just with yourself but with any of these third parties also.

In short, by all working together we can all prosper and move forward.

 

AN EVENT TO HELP YOU WITH THAT A-Z LIST

Yes this was on last month’s newsletter but the event is now fast approaching so we thought it worthwhile repeating it this month.

What is Customer Experience and how do you apply it to the local small and medium-sized business?

Join the original CXY pair, Kate and Kennedy for a half-day interactive workshop to see how you can grow your business through real-world Customer Experience.

By the end of this truly innovative session you’ll ‘get’ what CX is, you’ll see how your customer experience is the only reason why your customers choose you over your competition and you’ll have a roadmap of where to get to work on delivering world class customer experience on a local level.

– Build your brand reputation
– Get your customers to do your marketing for you
– Win more customers
– Keep more customers
– Have more fun doing what you do

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

You probably want to know their credentials…
Kate Cooper-Fay has more than a decade’s experience delivering strategy to FTSE 100s which are focused around growing companies and their markets through customer experience.
Kennedy uses his unique understanding of human behaviour and more than a decade of experience giving talks and presentations for global corporations in his uniquely engaging style.
It’s this recipe of Kate’s corporate experience and Kennedy’s practical “no bullshit” approach that make CXY workshops so impactful.

Regular price: £297 – special for this first run just £97 (plus transaction fees)

MONTHLY OFFER – Want to reduce your stationery costs down?

There are two ways to view costs:

1. How can these be reduced?
2. How can you get more from existing costs?

We have a client that is willing to do a free stationery audit for you so why not do both in September?

Call Moira at Laser-ex on 0191 267 4981 to take advantage of this offer or e-mail her at Moira.Sawyer@laser-ex.co.uk.

July 2018

Don’t we all like an easy life in terms of being able to get as much as possible, in one place, in as little time as possible. I’m not saying we all love Amazon though just before I get any backlash here.

Now although we’re not looking to compete with Amazon, I see no reason why us as; as a firm, cannot learn from their successes in order to BE FIRST, BE DIFFERENT and BE BETTER. We’ve already been first with the monthly newsletters by sending this out early before everybody goes on holidays.

We’ve been gradually building up to this over previous months; and there is still plenty more to come, but we are now branding ourselves as being #notyourordinaryaccountant.

So, you might ask what does this mean for you? Well, wouldn’t you like the expertise of one of the biggest accountancy firms in the world without the associated cost but still with the personal touch? One that has a wealth management department but can also advise and provide assistance around other areas such as pension, branding, marketing, IT etc?

Now we can do all of this and are making it known and would ask that you do the same. We can even help get you back bedroom get decorated if necessary.

Your next question might be that’s a lot to do in your existing offices and why do it? Well, we are in the same offices but have now developed and carefully selected a group of partners to work alongside us who; unlike employees within departments of other firms that can potentially take home their pay every month regardless of performance, our partners must earn their keep and take their work as personally as we do as a firm.

How the heck does this then come back to Amazon? Well, being in business, developing it and growing it is a bit like trying to know the A-Z of everything and then trying to incorporate this on a very long journey.

Let us help you do this in ways you could never imagine but in a coordinated and joined up approach to assist you more than ever achieve those lifetime goals that will help you retire when you want with the amount of money you want.

Talking of saving time and journeys …

 

Going far?  Well have this recorded nice and easily with Tripcatcher

Whilst some of you will be jetting off on your Summer holidays very soon we’re sadly focusing on how far you might be travelling during the working day and the time and hassle involved in recording mileage.

Well, there are now several apps out there at the minute and the one we’re suggesting you take a look at this month is Tripcatcher where from £1.49 per month you can:

1. Log all of your mileage at the click of a button
2. Have this recorded in format that is deemed to be HMRC compliant
3. Link this into some of the main accounting software on the market at the minute.

 

HASSLE, HASSLE, HASSLE

Everybody hates being hassled and one of the main reasons why people often don’t move accountants is because of the ‘hassle’ of doing so.

Well, for those people that you know that would love to switch to us but the hassle of doing so is the barrier then tell them we guarantee to take the hassle away and can have everything transferred across to us so that we can handle things within 1 working day with minimal effort from them.

If we can’t, we’ll give them a month’s-worth of support free of charge.

 

MONTHLY OFFER – Want a free trial of some accountancy software?

We’ve managed to get some free trial packages for accountancy software up until the end of August and we will even set this up free of charge for you.

This free trial will only last 30 days after taking advantage of the offer but why not give it a try if you’re still using manual books and records.

We can potentially automate most of this for you along with bookkeeping moving forward.

Quote ‘notyourordinaryaccountant’ if you want to take advantage of this and this will just be one further way to make your life a little easier.

June 2018

Whether we like it or not the world around us is changing so we all either embrace it or risk being left behind. However, that does not mean that we have to compromise excessively in order to move with the times.

With change though we always need to look to try and see what opportunities these changes might bring and how the associated difficulties that come also may be overcome.

Yes your booking information might only be accessible online with regards to holidays you are taking or even insurance policies. Whilst this is a big change in many cases it does allow you to access this information anywhere in the world and is actually in most instances more secure than any historical method previously adopted.

Yes the documentation of your financial records might also now be moving to the digital age but this will enable you to take pictures on your phone and upload them into a piece of software at the touch of a few buttons. Access your company performance again in an instant and anywhere in the world. Just think of the time this will save and also the space. Your loft and spare rooms might become accessible again.

With change does come challenge but it also comes with opportunity. With us a firm we are embracing this but will not move away from the face to face contact that our reputation is built upon.

All businesses will similarly have to adapt otherwise competition will leave you behind.

Let us help you move forward to ensure that we are all here for years to come.

 

BREAKING NEWS – Making tax digital

Yes you guessed it, the deadline has moved again. Unfortunately this is only for non VAT-registered businesses and this is being put down to the extra resources that HMRC are dedicating to Brexit.

However, we may also have come across a loophole for delaying this for businesses that have voluntarily VAT-registered who trade below the VAT registration threshold.

 

FREE TRAINING COURSES THROUGH NBSL

NBSL are currently offering fully funded training across a massive range of subjects to help you grow your business; improve your customer service; develop new processes; reinforce health and safety procedures – in fact, to improve staff skills in any aspect of your business.

All they need to get your business registered is some basic information about the business and the training you’d like to do – it should take less than ten minutes.

 

MONTHLY OFFER – Laser printer users

If you currently use a laser printer and are after any replacement ink cartridges then contact the guys below for a little surprise they have for you:

M2BS Ltd T/a Laser-Ex
Telephone 0191 267 4981
Fax 0191 229 0795
Web www.laser-ex.co.uk

May 2018

Now to start with we should clarify that the software we use; not accounting software but in-house data management software, is called AccountancyManager and yes there is no space between this so it isn’t a typo.

Right now for the important stuff in terms of why we have introduced this and how it will benefit you:

1. With GDPR now being here, how we hold and transfer data is under scrutiny more than ever and must be done securely and in accordance with ICO guidance. The introduction of this software makes us compliant and provides you with greater confidence that the probability of somebody accessing your information other than yourself is minimised no matter how good the hacker.

2. You know all of those times when you wondered what your filing deadlines were? Well now you have your personalised portal where you can access these at the click of a button.

3. You know all of those times you needed to put your hands on your tax return or accounts? Well now you can again access these at a click of a button.

4. We will be more proactive than ever through this software in requesting and reminding you of the need to bring your accounts because all of the deadlines have been uploaded into the system.

5. This software will allow us to introduce personalised automation with regards to requesting books and records from you and providing you with payment instructions and updated letters of engagement for example. This will mean that we can then spend more time more productively on the things that really matter to you.

The above is just really the tip of the iceberg with the following changes still to come, over and beyond this software, later this year; some as early as next month hopefully:

1. Further staff being recruited to be able to provide you with more support than ever and maintain what we set out to offer from the outset.

2. A significantly expanded service offering including:

a) A specialised accounting software package offering that will be making tax digital compliant and will help you better manage your finances internally.

b) A one-stop shop offering that will allow you to access so much more than just accounting services from us so that we can arrange marketing support, branding supporting, independent financial advisors and so much more.

c) Training courses that will cover not only accountancy packages but also start-up packages, grow your business packages and a lot more that you or anybody you know can access.

d) Training manuals that will replicate what we offer through the courses but be something that you can take away and go through at your own pace.

e) Some other exciting; accountancy-related, services that you’ll have to wait to hear more about as these are still being worked on but have had positive feedback about so far.

3. Further tie-ins with third parties to get discounts that we can pass across to you as clients as part of the benefit of being a client of ours.

4. More free events being planned outside our area of expertise; alongside third-parties, that you can attend.

We’re also not finished there with some further exciting technological changes being introduced and soon offered to clients to make your life easier so watch this space.

 

SPECIAL OFFER – Sage Business Cloud Accounting

We thoughts we’d carry this one forward from our mid month newsletter.

Interested in an accountancy package, accessible through the cloud, that is easy to use, has e-mail, telephone and web chat support and is only a monthly rolling contract that could be cancelled at any time?

Well why not try Sage Business Cloud Accounting? It is £22 plus VAT directly through Sage or £15 plus VAT through us.

I know who I would get it through.

 

AFTER SOME FREE HR ASSISTANCE?

Last few spots remaining on our free HR event on Tuesday 19 June 2018 at Newcastle Racecourse from 9.30 to 12.30 so book your place today if you’re interested.

 

 

Mid Month May 2018

As the warmer weather and lighter nights seem to finally be here we’ve been very busy behind the scenes here trying to improve the customer experience of our clients whilst also tackling the fun issue of GDPR.

To start with, you’ll be wondering why this month’s newsletter has arrived early and that; in short, is mainly due to GDPR.

We have had to implement a series of changes in order to become compliant by 25 May 2018 and also have some exciting other changes that are not due to this so thought we’d give you a quick heads up.

So, here is a list of the key changes we are bringing in this month:

1. We have added to our accounting team so would like to introduce Lisa Lockhart who started with us on Tuesday of this week who some of you will soon be hearing from. With our emphasis on client service and us continuing to grow we want to maintain this level of service and are even in the process of recruiting at least one further accounting member of staff by July 2018.

2. All clients will shortly be receiving an invite via e-mail to access their ‘client portal’ which will allow us to communicate with one another through the cloud. This portal will be personalised to you and have within it your own filing deadlines that you can refer to and somewhere where you can safely access and upload documents wherever you are in the world (subject to internet connection of course). It will also have several other features which we’ll explain in more detail in our end of month newsletter. Current guidance we are receiving suggests that this will be the safest means by which we can exchange confidential information with you from 25 May 2018 without exception. We will be walking you through using this step by step in a separate e-mail prior to it’s introduction though as we’ll also be having to update all of letters of engagement and money laundering documentation. This will also be done through this software. Unfortunately the ICO has been very late in the guidance around GDPR issued hence everybody is tackling this issue so close to the deadline and your mailbox will be filling with several e-mails around GDPR; thankfully not so many from us.

3. We have become Gold Partners of the Sage Business Cloud Accounting Package so we can offer discounts on this that mean you could pay almost a third less than going directly through Sage.

4. We have changed our company bank account across to Natwest. You might be thinking how does this benefit me as a client? Well we will be working a lot more closely alongside them to bring you details of free upcoming events that they will be running which you can attend whether you are a client or not, can give you access to grant funding portal through them and so much more.

Now this is actually only the very start so there are a lot more exciting changes still to come this year so watch out for your usual end of month newsletter where we’ll tell you a little more about your personalised portal and also what other exciting changes lie ahead.

 

SPECIAL OFFER – Sage Business Cloud Accounting

For our second month of special offers we again thought we couldn’t let you miss this opportunity so will even be repeating this on our end of month newsletter:

Interested in an accountancy package, accessible through the cloud, that is easy to use, with e-mail, telephone and web chat support that is only on a monthly rolling contract that could be cancelled at any time?

Well why not try Sage Business Cloud Accounting? It is £22 plus VAT directly through Sage or £15 plus VAT through us. I know where I would be getting this from.

 

REGISTER FOR OUR FREE HR EVENT

We’re just currently finalising the arrangements for this but we only have very limited places so if you would like to pop along to hear about some of the most common HR pitfalls and get some advice around contracts of employment contact us today.

The event is currently pencilled in for Tuesday 19 June 2018 from 9.30 to 12.30 so why not get yourself and even benefit from a bit of networking with fellow business owners.

April 2018

Following the end of another tax year we now have the opportunity to look back and to look forward in terms of what we have achieved in the past and what we hope to achieve in the future.

With the new tax year now being upon us it also means some significant changes coming into play that include:

1. GDPR coming ever closer
2. Employment costs rising
3. Further changes with regards to the tax allowances

We’re going to leave GDPR to the experts but will be looking to share some valuable information and links on this in due course and on the tax allowances front, apart from the annual movements in personal allowances then a further reduction in the dividend allowance from £5,000 to £2,000, there isn’t a great deal more to shout about.

Instead we are going to focus this month on employment costs given the time of year and want to summarize this into three key areas that we suggest you explore more:

1. Wages will increase from 6 April due to the usual annual increases around minimum wages, apprentice rate of pay etc. For more information click here.

2. We’re now well into the auto-enrolment period for most and with a new tax year comes new rates of deductions and paperwork needing to be issued. For more detailed guidance click here.

3. Consolidating both of these points; and factoring in GDPR, how compliant would you consider your contracts of employment to be for your staff? With GDPR alone this is worthy of consideration. Avensure are our company HR support and should you wish to discuss this further with them then please contact us.

 

SPECIAL OFFER

For the first month we’ll kick this one off and start with the FIRST THREE businesses that want to set up a limited company during the month of May, we will complete the set up process with Companies House, the registration for all taxes together with provision of paperwork for the bank FREE of charge.

 

AFTER SOME FREE HR ASSISTANCE

We’ve barely scratched the service above with regards to HR but we will shortly be bringing in our own third party HR experts that look after us as a firm to run a free workshop.

Dates are yet to be confirmed but we are looking at around either May or June and we will be restricting numbers to probably 10 so if this is of interest then please get in touch now to reserve your place.

In addition to this event, our payroll clients benefit from free HR support with this same company that we work alongside so if you would like to benefit from this please get in touch.

 

A FINAL MENTION

Yes he has made it onto another newsletter.

We’re very proud to say that Andy completed the London Marathon last week in exceptionally difficult circumstances and has even declared that he has ‘unfinished business’ meaning that a return to the same event next year is potentially on the cards.

I think it is also fair to say we don’t think any other staff here will be looking to join him.

NBSL Grant may be available longer

NBSL have recently announced that the current grant being offered to businesses of up to 40% of expenditure totalling not more than £3,400 may soon be made available beyond the initial deadline of early in 2013.  Watch this space …

Winter Health Check

You might be thinking of a winter health check on your car but what about a winter health check on your accounts.  You still have over four months of the 2012/13 tax year remaining to take action and reduce your tax bill for January 2014 so forget about 2014 Christmas catalogues soon to be advertised on the TV, think about your 2014 tax payable.

 

Also, before putting winter tyres on your car check the fine print as some are only meant to be used in temperatures below 7 degrees thus if you have an accident and the temperature is great than this your insurance is void.  Graeme Tennick & Co Chartered Certified Accountants adding extra value to our clients again.