Spotting Scammers: Protecting your Business from Fraudulent Activity

Spotting Scammers: Protecting your Business from Fraudulent Activity

Scams and fraudulent activity are notoriously hard to spot – that is, after all, why they work so well. Scammers are malicious, quick to adapt and are always coming up with new ways to pose as trusted organisations, concealing their real agenda from their victims. Here at Your Finance Team, we have recently seen growing numbers of our clients contacting us to help determine whether communications they have received are legitimate or fraudulent. Worryingly, many of these have turned out to be the latter. Despite every effort from the government and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), vast numbers of scammers are still at large and can pose a real risk to you and your business if you are not aware of the red flags to look out for. Tips for Spotting a Scam 1. Offers and Threats Usually, scam communications will use either an offer or a threat to encourage engagement. For example, the latest HMRC scam plays on the economic struggles caused by the COVID 19 pandemic – it offers tax rebates to individuals and businesses to aid them during these difficult times. This email or text comes with a clickable link that then requires you to input your personal details to receive your rebate. Any communication that is offering or threatening something unexpected is likely to be fraudulent, and any interaction should be avoided. 2. Personal Details One overarching rule for spotting a scam is the attempted data collection of personal details. Legitimate organisations, like the HMRC, will never ask for your personal information or the details of your business via email or text, something that...
How to be Most Effective When Working from Home

How to be Most Effective When Working from Home

Working from home is a position in which many of us have unexpectedly found ourselves in. Some of us have relocated to dining room tables; others are holed-up in spare bedrooms, laptops balanced on piles of books; some are juggling meetings and childcare all at once. Quiet, calm offices with tidy desks are a distant memory and, for now, it looks like they may stay that way for some time! Here at Your Finance Team, we know how difficult working from home can be and have therefore set out a few simple steps to help you maximise your working from home effectiveness as we navigate this final part (hopefully!) of the pandemic.  Routine is Key Setting and maintaining a routine that works for you is key to maximising your effectiveness when working from home. Things like waking up at the same time each day, dressing in work-appropriate attire, leaving time for coffee and breakfast before sitting down to work will ensure that you are in the right mindset to be productive and will set you up for a successful day.  Workspace To begin with, working in your home can feel quite alien. You’re bringing all the stresses of our working life into your safe space, which is why it’s a good idea to designate just a small area of your home to work. Try picking a space that is away from rooms you would usually relax in (living rooms, bedrooms) and one that is free from as many distractions as possible. Doing this allows you to maintain some semblance of work-life balance and will enable you to work effectively...
Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Finance Director

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Finance Director

As your business grows, so will the need for effective financial management. You may already have hired a bookkeeper to keep the basics in check, but as your business continues to prosper, you may feel that you need a more substantial service. This next step could be the hiring of a Virtual Finance Director – someone who will manage your finances with the knowledge, expertise and experience you would expect from a loyal, full-time member of staff, in your offices or remotely, but for a fraction of the price. We’ve rounded up a plethora of benefits that could come from hiring a Virtual Finance Director if you are considering this as your next step: 1. All-Seeing, All-Knowing The primary role of a Virtual Finance Director is to oversee all financial activity with an objective, unbiased eye. This means having someone on your team who can actively monitor your finances and report back to you with clear, detailed information that will help to inform positive business decisions. Having access to a consistent, real-time overview of your financial situation at all times via a Virtual Finance Director can help you to understand your business and move forwards in the most profitable way. And you won’t have to break the bank to do it. 2. Affordable Access to Experience and Expertise Choosing to hire a Virtual Finance Director means that you’ll be working with a fully qualified accountant with years of valuable experience in senior financial leadership. While hiring someone full-time with a similar status can be expensive, going Virtual means that you’ll only have to pay for the time you need...
Importance of Setting Goals and Objectives for 2021

Importance of Setting Goals and Objectives for 2021

Fun fact: those who set goals and objectives are far more likely to succeed than those who don’t. Don’t believe us? Check this out… A group of researchers at the Harvard Business School conducted a study into the benefits of goal setting and found that those who set business goals were ten times more likely to succeed than those who did not, while those who wrote goals down were three times more likely to succeed than them! Setting goals and objectives for your business as early on in the year as possible will make for smooth travelling along your self-made roadmap to success – here’s why: Provides Clear Business Direction Setting out business goals and objectives as early as possible ensures that a clear endpoint is in sight, giving the whole team something concrete to work towards. Without clear goals and objectives, you run the risk of waning motivation or focus within your team, leading to a potentially detrimental decrease in both efficiency and productivity. Easier Progress Tracking By developing a set of business goals and objectives, the movement towards these can be tracked and progress easily analysed. Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives (a cliché, we know, but relevant all the same!), for example, means that objectives are detailed and remain easily attainable, without seeming overly daunting or far-off. And don’t forget, these goals do not have to be set in stone. Setting them early means that they can be adapted frequently to address strengths and weaknesses, meaning your business continues progress positively. Easier Communication with Team Members By involving the whole team in objective development,...
How Cashflow Forecasting Can Contribute to a Positive 2021

How Cashflow Forecasting Can Contribute to a Positive 2021

While a global pandemic may have made the last six months challenging to navigate for the majority of business owners, now is the time to be looking forward to next year and thinking of ways to increase the likelihood of a positive 2021. One of the best tools to organise and plan your approach to next year is a cashflow forecast. A cashflow forecast does not have to be overly complicated. In its simplest form, it is a record of money in and money out of your business. Build the forecast in a way that you understand it, and remember that you will need to update it frequently; if it is overly complicated then updating it will be cumbersome, so keep it simple. We’ve rounded up a few of the benefits a cashflow forecast can have on your business along with some practical tips on putting the forecast in place. Anticipate Changes to Cashflow Cashflow forecasting allows for the anticipation of any shortages or surpluses that may come your way. A great way to do this is by mapping out how much money will potentially leave your business and when, for up to three years in the future.  Identifying these potential changes early on means that any business decisions you make will have taken this into consideration, as well as allowing you to plan how any future surpluses can be reinvested back into your business. See the Impact of Potential Future Scenarios on Your Business Cashflow forecasting allows you to see the impact of hypothetical future scenarios on your business. More Covid implications, for example, can be predicted, and...
How to Practice Mindfulness in the Workplace

How to Practice Mindfulness in the Workplace

Through the COVID crisis, Your Finance Team have concentrated on supporting clients with advice on their company finances and making sure they understand the government support available. However, more than ever, we have seen how COVID has created real anxiety amongst business owners due to uncertainty and the rapidly changing economic environment. All of this takes its toll, and we are very aware of the human impact of the virus. To help you, we have provided some tips for wellbeing in the workplace. Did you know there are 70 million sick days a year in the UK due to mental health issues? Mindfulness in the workplace is a hot topic.  It’s about more than just being ‘nice’ or speaking politely to people.  It is about embracing an approach to working with others that benefit them and you.  COVID-19 has had more businesses than even looking into how they can protect their staff members mental health and their own! But how do you practice mindfulness in the workplace? What is mindfulness? Being mindful is something that can be used in all parts of life, not just at work.  It is about being present and in control of your actions and behaviours.  Scientists say we spend as much as 47% of our time with our mind’s wandering or not focused on what we are doing.  Take driving to and from work – can you remember every moment of it? While that’s okay for some routine tasks we don’t need to think about, the lack of mindfulness can be a sign of being unhappy and also impact productivity.  We often let our...

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