Making Tax Digital – are you ready?

Making Tax Digital – are you ready?

  Making Tax Digital or MTD is one of the furthest reaching HMRC initiatives of the past 20 years, which makes it all the more surprising that a recent British Chamber of Commerce survey discovered that nearly a quarter of British businesses surveyed had no knowledge of the impending arrival of MTD whilst a further 66% had only heard the phrase with no idea of its implications for their organisation. What is Making Tax Digital? An initiative designed to make the entire UK tax system more efficient (and HMRC claim, easier for taxpayer). In the first phase, all VAT registered businesses above the £85,000 threshold will be required to keep digital records and to submit their VAT returns using compatible software. In the second phase, income tax and corporation tax will also be make digital. HMRC says that the new digital system will: Create more accurate tax records and reduce the scope for errors, miscalculations and deliberate fraud Allow automation for businesses, accountants and HMRC, saving time at every stage in the taxation system Reduce the burden of taxation on small businesses by given them the opportunity to record and file tax returns online   Making Tax Digital timeline April 2019 – first phase, the new MTD regime for VAT reporting, will be implemented April 2020 – second phase of MTD relating to income tax for self employed person and those receiving an income from property is expected to roll out, along with an MTD plan for corporation tax. Take action today to make MTD a pleasure not a pain Key points to understand are: maintaining digital records must...
Go Cardless – How to get paid on time, every time!

Go Cardless – How to get paid on time, every time!

How to get paid on time, every time Small businesses are open to a wide range of risks. One of the biggest is cashflow. Getting the money you’re owed when you need it can make or break an SME.  Which is why any solution that gives a business the chance to get paid faster has to be good news. Go Cardless – an online direct debit management system – gives a business owner more options, at less cost, than ever before. Before Go Cardless entered the market place setting up direct debit facilities for small businesses was time consuming and costly. Controlling cashflow – keeping your business on track So how does Go Cardless help? The first, and most crucial feature that benefits business owners is the ability to reduce bad debt. Getting paid on time, every time doesn’t just help with cashflow, it also assists the organisation in other ways too: Improved cashflow. Frees up your business to do what it was set up to do. No more credit control. No time spent chasing up bad debts or dealing with the endless excuses of those who don’t want to pay. Swift set up. Crucial to being able to run your business effectively is the ability to manage payments by importing your existing customers into the Go Cardless system. With its simply plug and play features, Go Cardless immediately allows you to start taking payments. Transparency. Go Cardless charges are very clear and minimal. You don’t get any nasty surprises, unlike traditional banks which can impose unexpected charges without warning. Speed of payment. Go Cardless doesn’t hang on to your money. With its...
Top tips for selling your business

Top tips for selling your business

Someone told me never get into a business venture unless you know how you are going to get out of it! For most entrepreneurs defining their exit strategy early on, is a critical part of achieving business success. Strategies will differ, but for all there will come a point where they want to exit the company. This normally means passing the business on to a successor, winding it up or selling your business. For many business owners, real value is only achieved when they sell their business. For entrepreneurs, this is their reward for the hard work and dedication put in to building a successful business.  Selling your business – here are our tips on preparing: Timing of the sale Think about when you want to exit the business. You may plan to retire at, say, 60, so work backwards to set yourself a timeline from now to that exit point. Once you have a time line in mind consider carefully the industry you are in. Think about what trends will impact the industry both positively and negatively between now and your exit point. The big influences will be the financial climate and state of the overall economy. It is well known that mergers and acquisitions activity dips in times of recession. Also consider whether a potential buyer would want to keep you on as an employee or a consultant for a period of time. This is becoming more and more common as buyers know that by retaining you the odds of a successful integration are improved. Consider the timescales for the sale itself. Even with motivated buyers and sellers and good legal teams,...
Post Brexit Guide for Small Businesses

Post Brexit Guide for Small Businesses

  No matter what their politics, small business owners will need to confront the reality of Brexit. During the campaigning small businesses were often mooted as potential big gainers by the leave campaign as the bureaucracy and red tape from Brussels was lifted. Time will tell how this plays out but the reality is the shock and adjustment to a post Brexit era is a big deal for small business owners. There have been no legal changes since the vote so it should be business as usual. Small business must continue to abide by the same rules and tax principles that applied pre the election. However, rules aside, the more immediate implications for SMEs are the market trends and their impact on trading performance. A local business leader who is a net importer of goods has already raised concerns that their cost of sales has increased by 10% overnight; for this business, as for many others, the impacts of Brexit are material and in some cases far reaching. Market Uncertainty Perhaps the biggest factor facing small business is uncertainty and the impact that this will have on people’s buying decisions. Will consumers, investors and other businesses put on hold decisions until they have a clearer picture of what Brexit means for them? Undoubtedly this will happen, but it is the timing, duration and severity of the changes that will determine how far demand swings. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), has already called for clarity from the government on issues such as the single market and free movement of people. They are pushing hard to maintain access to the...
Building Your Financial Strategy

Building Your Financial Strategy

Your Companies Financial Strategy Defining and driving your companies financial strategy is an essential part of business success. Business owners need a sound financial strategy to help their businesses achieve their vision and goals, without a strategy the chances of success are dramatically reduced. There are several features that a good financial strategy should incorporate: Make Sure It is achievable The financial strategy needs to stretch the organisation but also needs to ensure that the goals can be delivered. The important thing is not to be too bullish otherwise it will lose credibility, if people don’t believe in it then the strategy becomes a marginal consideration at best. To make sure that your strategy is stretching but achievable socialise the draft amongst senior members of the business and ask for feedback and potentially seek independent advice from a commercial accountant or part time finance director who can give an impartial view. Have a working document If you ask many business owners whether they have a financial strategy in place many will say ‘yes; but in reality most strategies are set up with the best intentions but then confined to a filing cabinet. For the strategy to be successful it needs to be embedded in the business review process and treated and as a live working document which is referred to and refined over time by the senior team. Know where you are now, where you have been and where you want to get to There is no point in establishing a financial strategy without the ability to monitor how you are performing against the strategy. You need a means...
Creating Brilliant Companies

Creating Brilliant Companies

We have had the privilege of working with a range of companies who have been remarkably successful and, as such, we are often asked about what common factors and management traits are evident in these organisations. There are countless books and theories which discuss these topics, some good some bad. The reality is that with such diverse industries and markets it is really hard to pin point common factors. Often when you talk to successful business owners they laugh off their achievements and put it down to hard work or luck, but from what I have seen you can boil it down to certain criteria that always seem to be present. I have defined the criteria below, they are in no particular order but will give you a sense of what we come across: Keeping in touch with the latest Innovation. Innovation is fundamental and is about more than just bringing new and improved products and services to market. It’s about finding new ways to increase the efficiency of your business and, most importantly, improve its profitability. Vision and Charismatic Leadership – Good leadership is always present in successful businesses. Leaders know what they want to achieve and can energise a team towards those goals. They care, they care about their brand, their customers and importantly their people. Sound Financial Management – Your financial management responsibilities affect all aspects of your business, therefore this area is integral to successful businesses. Great businesses have a clear financial strategy which is supported by a dashboard that shows all their financial KPIs in one place, for each KPI it will show where...

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