Friday, 28 April 2017

Read all about it?


Hi there, and welcome back to Write Away, the blog for freelancers, small businesses, start-ups and anyone interested in working for themselves.
 
This time I wanted to draw your attention to a great business publication that I have come across recently called “BQ” which stands for Business Quarter. The magazine is full of inspiring stories from entrepreneurs who are running successful and growing businesses, and share their experiences, highs and lows, and tips for how they got to where they are today.
 


The latest edition (pictured above) contains fascinating articles about microbrewery business Brewdog and a great interview with a former contestant on BBC televisions “The Apprentice”.

 The magazine has an excellent sister website, the link is shown below, which has some regional content to it as well, and you can sign up to free e:mail newsletters if you so desire.

The website also features a host of content that is very sector specific, so if you are operating in the construction sector or business services or the creative sector, there will be something of relevance here for you.

In my experience there are only a limited number of good publications aimed at Small Businesses (and that is only my opinion, if you know of some, please add them to the comments below this post), and this is certainly one of the better ones.
 



I hope you find this resource useful, until next time……..

 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Accounting - A Taxing Issue? (Part 2)


Welcome back to Write Away, the blog for small businesses, freelancers, and anyone with a desire to move from paid employment to becoming your own boss.

In my last post, I tackled the issue of appointing an accountant to help you in your small business, and how you might go about this, bearing in mind different businesses have different requirements from their accountant.

This time, I want to look at what you can expect to receive from your accountant, for the hard earned money you will be paying them.

 

First and foremost, you need to confident that you are complying with current legislation regarding VAT and Taxation and this is the kind of expertise you need from an accountant. This may be in the form of completing your company tax & VAT returns and submitting an annual return, but aside from these mundane requirements, there is so much more important information that an accountant can provide, that you may not have considered.

In business, information can be king, and sometimes it can be easy to carry on doing what you’ve always done, whereas the right information may lead you to ask questions, and the answers may lead to a change of course that results in better sales, more customers, higher profits, improved margins, in other words, any number of good things!

You should be considering information on your cash flow position, the state of your debtors (those who owe you money!), and information on the profitability of your customers and products (I’ll deal with these in more detail in a future article), also a detailed of sales by customer and region or by product will help you spot trends – both good and bad!

Without wishing to muddy the water too much, accountants also specialise, with some focussing very much on compliance and tax work (often referred to as Chartered Accountants), and others on provision of management information (often referred to as Management Accountants).

Once you have decided what you require, it is certainly worth checking out that the accountant you are speaking is able to demonstrate their expertise in the area, consider asking for client references and follow them up, as you need to be confident they are the right fit for you.

 

I hope you’ve found this post useful, and if it causes you to seek more information, or even just ask more questions of your accountant, then it will have been worthwhile!

 

Thanks for reading, until next time…..

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Accounting - A Taxing Issue? (Part 1)


Hi there, it’s great to be back after some time away, thanks for finding your way to Write Away – the blog for small businesses, freelancers, and anyone with a healthy desire to cut loose from paid employment and work for themselves.
 
In this post we deal with engaging and using an accountant for your small business.

A lot of small business owners start their business armed with a specific set of skills, knowledge or experience. One of self-employments biggest challenges is how to plug a gap in that knowledge in areas you may have never needed to understand or be involved in.

For a large proportion of small business owners and freelancers, the financial management of the business, specifically matters relating to tax and accounting would probably be the area most likely to induce a cold sweat! Unless you are an accountant by trade, why would you need this knowledge anyway!

So now you’re up and running, you need an accountant, right?

Well, yes is the short answer, but you need to ask yourself what your specific needs are, because that’s what any accountant you contact will ask you.

Some business owners only use an accountant once a year, to help calculate their tax liability, others use their accountant as a trusted advisor and involve them in key business decisions.

Often, as small businesses start to grow, tasks such as bookkeeping, which didn’t use to be a big job, grow, and a business owner’s time should be spent building their business rather than raising and posting invoices into their accounting software.

There is no right or wrong answer, but key, regardless of how much or little you plan to use them, is finding an accountant who will take time to understand your business, your needs, and make themselves available when you need them.

There are a lot of accountants out there, some are specialists in regulatory and tax areas, others focus on management accounting and providing business owners with analysis of key financial management areas such as cash flow and overdue debts.

Links to finding an accountant from the main professional bodies are below, next time we will look at useful information you might look to your accountant to provide, to help you manage your small businesses finances.


 

Until next time…..