Blog & News

Latest News from Your Finance Team

We spend a lot of time offering our clients practical advice on how they can grow their businesses – please see some of our articles below and feel free to share.

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... read more

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... read more

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... read more

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,... read more

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... read more

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... read more

Your Finance Team Achieves Xero Gold Partner

But what does this really mean and is it important? Xero is an incredibly fast growing cloud-based accounting software that Your Finance Team (YFT) have been using for the past 5 years and consistently grown their expertise and client base alongside its own growth and popularity. Xero allows companies to keep control of their finances in the most efficient way possible giving access to live data anytime, anywhere. We are really pleased to have been awarded Gold Partner Status by Xero due to our extensive knowledge of the system and the number of Xero clients that we now support. YFT can get any business setup on Xero swiftly and efficiently, simplifying and adding value to your business. Our gold status also means that we have loads of experience of installing the brilliant range of Xero add-on software apps.  These apps are all aimed at making our clients lives easier: Our favourite apps include: Receipt Bank – a receipt scanning app Chaser – a credit control and invoice chasing tool Pleo – to process and manage expenses GoCardless – enables business to take direct debits simply and easily. Syft – produces some great management accounts so our clients can see and track their performance in real time. The staff at YFT are all Xero qualified and as Xero Gold Partners we can: Get you setup on Xero and provide training for your team Assist in the migration of data from your existing accounting software – Quickbooks, Sage or an excel spreadsheet. Show you how to use the functions in Xero to understand how your business is performing Advise on the... read more

Can You Buy an Electric Car Through Your Company?

Should You Buy an Electric Car Through Your Company? A company car is one which is purchased and owned by a company but made available for private use by an employee. Successive governments have increased the personal tax costs of company cars which has meant that having a company car is often seen as expensive and not particularly attractive to the employee. Personal tax on a company car is calculated based on the Co2 emissions and the list price of the car: essentially, the higher the price and the more Co2 emissions, the more you pay in tax. A more attractive alternative is now a possibility, and if electric cars appeal to you then you could make decent tax savings by purchasing an all-electric car through your company. What’s Changed? A zero-emissions vehicle used to attract a benefit in kind rate of 16% which meant that, for example, a £35,000 car would have a taxable value of £5,600. A basic rate taxpayer would be liable for tax at 20% on this value. From April 2020, the government dropped the benefit in kind rate to zero for all electric cars. This means no personal tax charge for the car! The 0% will remain for tax year ending April 2021 and then increase from April 2021 to 1% then to 2% from April 2022. This means a basic rate taxpayer with a £35,000 car would pay tax of £70 for 2021/22 and £140 for 2022/23. Despite these increases, it is still a significantly lower tax rate than any other types of company car. Buy or Lease? There are also decent corporation... read more

How to be Brilliant at Video Presenting

Here at Your Finance Team we have been making a lot of video calls over the last few months.  It got us thinking about how to be the best you can in the current ‘new normal’ and that even though this Corona-crisis will end it will have changed the way we work, forever. We found this Blog from one of our clients The Speakers Coach with some great tips. Find out more... read more

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... read more

We are a member firm of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants and a certified Xero advisor

cima-accountant-kent xero-accountant-kent

We are a member firm of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants and a certified Xero advisor

cima-accountant-surrey XERO Silver Partner FSB Member