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The Autumn Budget 2017: What Does It Mean For Me?

Philip Hammond officially announced the Autumn Budget 2017 on November 22nd, adding a final shake to what has been another eventful year for the United Kingdom.

 

True to form, the most recent Budget contained information pertinent to the entire population. However, the areas that stood out most for us were announcements around the National Living Wage and VAT threshold affecting SME owners.

 

Here, we take a closer look at the influence and consequences these developments could have on your company and the country itself.

 

National Living Wage

 

Many in the hospitality sector had been bracing themselves for announcements about wage increases in the Autumn Budget. Sure enough, Hammond declared that the National Living Wage will increase from £7.50 to £7.83 in April 2018, meaning independent hospitality businesses will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay employees.

 

The National Living Wage is tricky territory. Whilst it is undeniably a good thing that hospitality staff have the opportunity to earn more money, these wage increases do put added pressure on businesses operating on a limited budget.

 

These companies now need to plan for the wage hike with various Budget amendments – an area where Nabarro Poole can supply the best possible support. 

 

VAT threshold

 

Many of our clients teeter on the VAT threshold, and tipping over from one bracket to the next can have huge ramifications for your company. Whilst it can feel precarious sitting in such a position, the Autumn Budget offered some good (albeit temporary) news for small business owners: the VAT threshold will be frozen at £85,000 for the next two years.

 

The government will have future discussions on whether to change this figure as they look to encourage companies to grow, but in the meantime small business owners can relax in the knowledge that generating less than £85,000 worth of turnover will continue to keep their tax payments lower.

 

We’ll discuss VAT threshold in greater detail in another blog later down the line, but for now, we consider the freeze – which is cheerily accompanied by a suspension on alcohol duty rises – to be positive.  

 

Want to know more about the budget? Give Nabarro Poole a call…

 

The November address was packed with all kinds of information that is sure to affect different people in different ways. Along with the changes to the National Living Wage and VAT threshold, there were also noteworthy announcements regarding property (abolishing stamp duty for first-time-buyers), vehicles (fuel duty freeze) and travel (a new card offering rail discounts for people up to the age of 30).

 

Whilst these issues may be on your periphery right now, they could potentially impact the way you conduct business moving forwards. If you’re looking for clarification on what some of these decisions might mean for your company, all you need to do is pick up the phone and call us on 0161 998 4276 to arrange a free consultation.

23rs November 2017




How Will GDPR Affect Your Business?

 

You’ve probably heard a lot about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in recent months – and with good reason. This EU-led directive is set to totally transform the way in which companies conduct business, handing power to the people when it comes to personal information.

 

GDPR kicks into action on May 25th 2018, which means you have just over six months to prepare accordingly. No matter how small or large your company might be, compliance will be a legal obligation. Failure to do so can lead to huge fines – 4% of your revenue – enough to bring your business to its knees and taint your reputation.

 

Gaining an understanding of the ways in which GDPR will directly affect your business can ensure you’re ready for its arrival, and below is all the key information you need to be aware of:

 

Obtaining information

 

First of all, you’ll need to make sure you are sourcing contacts and clients in a way that is compliant with new data laws. In the past, you could merrily conduct huge email marketing campaigns and fire off promotional messages to anyone on your contact list. Now, you need to encourage them to opt-in, otherwise you risk breaking the law.

 

To obtain personal information from contacts, you must ensure they are happy to let you do so. Prospects must fill out a form agreeing their data can be passed over to you, and then confirm this in a second message. These agreement forms should be stored away safely as evidence in case you ever need them.

 

Storing information

 

GDPR means you can’t keep hold of personal data from old clients and not tell anybody. If you want to store this information, you must make the individual aware that you have it on record – and then ask them if they are happy to let you continue using it.

 

Most businesses have accounts spanning back several years, including the details of clients and customers that no longer work with them. Under the new law, you’ll need to have a clear picture of what data you have on whom, and be selective with what information you hold on to.

 

“Data minimisation” is looked upon favourably; with the regulation recommending you keep the data you actually need, rather than simply storing personal information for the sake of it. Data discovery tools can help you map out your data to make this process easier.

 

Using information

 

When processing information, it’s important to make sure you have a legitimate interest in doing so. For example, you would be within your rights to pass a debtor’s details on to a debt collection agency, but not to a third party for marketing purposes.

 

Choosing secure cloud solutions is also paramount, especially when it comes to using accounting software that stores reams of data on your business, customers and suppliers. Reputable platforms like Xero and QuickBooks will give you peace of mind that you’ve followed best practices when using data for accounting purposes.

 

We’ve only scratched the surface of this complex regulation, but hopefully this gives you an insight into how GDPR will affect your business, and how you can stay on the right side of the new laws.

 

Visit the GDPR Portal for more information, and be sure to take advantage of a professional accountant like Nabarro Poole to ensure you’re compliant. Not long to go now…

1st November 2017




Another Twist In The MTD Tale: Where Are We Now?

 

In our previous blog this year on Making Tax Digital (MTD), we compared it to a weapon, one that’s going to cut to the heart of our financial management skills. So it may not surprise you that, just as a top-secret programme goes through tweak after tweak, the whole scheme has changed once again.

 

HMRC announced new measures in July for what we can expect. To bring you up to speed, Nabarro Poole is here to walk you through the latest changes to MTD. Keep reading for an update on our digital tax system.

 

A staggering pace of adjustment

 

First – a quick reminder of where we’ve already been with MTD. Announced in George Osbourne’s last Spring Budget, this overhaul to UK tax practices was mooted for launch in April 2018. But Westminster has experienced plenty of turmoil since then; enough, presumably, for the plans to be shelved until 2019, the new start date.

 

On one hand, it’s frustrating, because we’ve been told repeatedly that this or that is the final semblance of MTD. However, there are more benefits than drawbacks. Expanded test time equates to an efficient, bug-proof network that HMRC will have thorough experience with by the time it’s rolled out.

 

It also means you can steadily prepare for digital submissions, wrapping your head around how they’ll impact business methodology. So, let’s examine what the proposed changes are...

 

What you need to know

 

Along with the delay, our government has made these announcements regarding MTD, which bear paying attention to. They are:

 

-       Partial adoption in the first year of activity. Business owners who earn over £85,000 will have to log their VAT records for those initial 12 months, but nothing more.

 

-       The rest of MTD comes into force from April 2020. After that, the same £85,000+ businesses will have to be up to speed on their digital Self Assessments, with regular quarterly updates.

 

-       Any company, freelancer or contractor earning less than £85,000 a year, and more than £10,000 per annum, can choose when to switch to MTD.

 

-       Early versions are being tested later this year. By April 2018, there’ll be a live beta programme that’s open for voluntary registration, giving you the chance to test for yourself. HMRC will continue to listen and learn from user feedback.

 

Overall, we’re in favour of the extra time these stipulations give us. The end result will be the same – it’ll just take a longer, more cautious journey to get there. After 2020, we can realistically expect MTD to be entrenched in the way we do things, whatever the hang-ups have been so far.

 

To stay aware of the moving demands of this tax system, it’s worth hiring Nabarro Poole for all of your modern accounting needs. We’re prepared for Making Tax Digital, and will ensure that your business has the tools and processes to follow suit. Want to know more? Give us a call on 0161 998 4276 to speak to a member of our team.

17th October 2017




5 Reasons To Outsource Your Accounting & Bookkeeping

 

When you tally up the amount of hours and manpower required to maintain a solid financial system, the figures can look daunting. Accounting and bookkeeping can seem like a tough, persistent challenge for any business, which is why so many choose to outsource these obligations.

 

From our perspective, outsourcing is the best means to create a money-making enterprise. Today, we’ve come up with five plus points that’ll convince you it’s the way forward:

 

1. There’s no need to hire someone in-house

 

Very few organisations have the capacity for a role that doesn’t need to be there. A dedicated accountant or bookkeeper is one more set of hands on your payroll. Even a part-time salary shaves several hundred pounds away from your profit each month. By outsourcing, it’s possible to negate that in-house requirement, leaving a qualified financial expert to do the same work for less.

 

2. All the focus rests on what you’re good at

 

A large share of our clients – especially those in the hospitality sector – are talented and reputable business owners. They’ve built brands up from nothing, holding tightly to the skills that inspired them in the first place. If much of your time is caught up in receipts, payments and record logs, then it’s easy to lose that single-mindedness, and thus the clarity of your vision. Accounting agencies promise to bear the burden, so you can return to the areas of business that you love.

 

3. Tapping into a well of real experience

 

It may take weeks or months to find a financial specialist who can prove themselves. Head to an agency instead, and benefit from a clear, immediate body of expertise, directed to fit the way you operate. Accounting/bookkeeping providers have a reputation to uphold; a single bad service review can undermine them. Therefore, the choice of financial aid is a more assured and decidedly safer option.  

 

4. Gain complementary software

 

Have you felt the digital quake of Cloud technology? Business owners can make much use of it, thanks to remote account access, intuitive displays of what you’re owed/bringing in, and digital record storage for receipts or transactions. At a basic level, modern financial software paints an image of your cashflow, as well as the expenses orbiting it. An outsourced financial team may be able to throw in a software package with their services – Nabarro Poole, for example, offers QuickBooks and Xero to our clientele.

 

5. There’s no chance of fraud

 

Every venture is at risk of an employee (or several) tinkering with their finances. Small or mid-sized businesses are especially vulnerable – as much as you might trust someone, the slightest margin of criminality should be avoided where possible. Again, outsourcing covers your bases, as the data is held and managed by a reputable team. Everything is completely transparent.

 

We hope to be the accounting and bookkeeping professionals you turn to when demands are calling for sound cash tracking, management and evidence collection. Discover our full range of services before you outsource to see where Nabarro Poole can address those financial woes...

3rd October 2017




Cash Flow Considerations when Expanding

When a business begins growing, the signs are often good. Expansion and success often go hand in hand, so when a company formally announces its decision to move forward with development plans, there’s a strong chance that it’s performing well.

Growing is great, no doubt – but it comes with its own set of risks you can’t ignore. Cash flow should always be taken into consideration regardless of the direction in which your business is headed, and particularly so when it comes to expansion. Here are a few things to remember as your business gets bigger, helping you to remain afloat.

Looking ahead

Expanding your company and maintaining a healthy cash flow at the same time involves looking far enough ahead into the future. First of all, you’ll need to guarantee you have around either sufficient reserves (money in the bank) OR a flexible lending relationship to cover overheads for the short term – as this will prop you up during the transition period. Your company will also need enough financial clout to tick over into the medium term, and not just for survival a few weeks from now.

Getting what you’re owed on time

As a small business, you might have a warm, familiar relationship with many of your customers. Client rapport is important, but you can’t afford to do them any financial favours during expansion.

You could be used to receiving payments a week or two after the initial due date, but you need to stamp this out before you engage in business growth plans. Late/unpaid invoices can create cash flow havoc, so set strict payment dates to make sure you get what you’re owed on the day you were promised it. Practically speaking, a direct debit option such as GoCardless or DueCourse is an ideal way to take control of this yourself and not rely on the client to pay. 

Determining what you need

This can be difficult to get right when you first begin to grow, but determining accurate stock levels is important when it comes to implementing steady, co-ordinated cash flow. Too much or too little stock can unsettle things, so you’ll need to deduce how much is the “right” amount as quickly as possible.

It’s also crucial to understand what you are planning to fund in the future. Equipment purchases can be financed in a flexible way to ensure you only borrow what you need. Fleet financing is also an opportunity to minimise the risk, albeit at a financial cost. 

Managing your payroll

When a company grows, there are usually personnel changes involved somewhere along the way. As your business blossoms, consider the realistic budget for recruitment and what implications hiring new staff will have for current employees. For example, does a fresh recruit mean an existing worker will receive a promotion and pay rise?

Keeping up with payroll obligations is essential when managing your cash flow, so don’t forget to consider staff-switching consequences as your company matures.

If your business is in a strong financial position and you believe the time is right to broaden your horizons, make sure you’ve taken cash flow into account before you make any big moves. There is a lot to think about it and support throughout the process is crucial. 

If you’d like some advice and assistance on cash flow management as your grow, Nabarro Poole can help. Give us a call on 0161 998 4276 today. 

 

12th September 2017




5 Must-Have Finance Apps & Software For SMEs

Building a brand from scratch isn’t easy. As a business owner, you’ll face all kinds of different issues that test your time management and patience. But luckily, modern marvels are well-placed to help your SME succeed. Nabarro Poole is familiar with many of them – and we’ve done our research to bring the best apps and software to your attention.

Finance control is the crux of a viable business plan. So get smart and switched on with these must-have tech additions for today’s entrepreneur…

1. Receipt Bank

Like many bookkeeping apps, Receipt Bank lets you store its titular expense evidence digitally, saving and transferring it on-the-move. But it goes further – for example, divvying up expenses for everyone on the payroll (including yourself), for a crystalline view of what they’ve accrued. The multi-user plan is just twice the price of a sole trader investment; when you scale up, therefore, Receipt Bank can still match your growing team for the same low cost.

2. Xero

It’s one of the best-known names in finance applications, so Xero has a lot to keep living up to. The brand has links to thousands of accounting/bookkeeping firms around the world. Such relationships yield great, impeccably up-to-date info, patches and user advice from over 1,700 support employees. In terms of functionality, Xero lets you see what each business contact has paid you, alongside daily, automated bank feeds.

3. SageOne

We’d say that SageOne has got the most typically professional app design – similar, in a way, to those used in online banking. The interface lays out trends in your cashflow, so you can spot where dips or rises crop up. They meld smoothly with your bank data: ply it with multiple accounts, if you like, and the influx will still be easy to read. The killer hook might be for ecommerce and retail businesses, as you can simulate the profit margin (in advance) on anything you’re selling. Balance sheets sum it all up, week by week.

4. Freshbooks

Jargon is a real sticking point for many SMEs. That’s understandable; after all, if you can’t read between the lines of a financial platform, its usefulness will slip away pretty quickly. Hence, Freshbooks is the perfect starting software for those new to the game. Foreign currencies, for example, are simplified, and converted automatically on your invoice statements. There are the typical late payment reminders too, of course, as well as photo-capture receipt tracking. But mainly, you’ll enjoy Freshbooks for the ‘intro level’ language and presentation.

5. Trello

Ok, so this isn’t a finance app, but process management is key in all areas of business and Trello is a great starting point for managing your jobs, your staff and your processes. It’s simple to use – just moving all of your post-it notes (yours and your staffs) on to the cloud and all in one place. Set up a ‘job’ – eg. month end – assign the tasks to either your staff or your external bookkeeper/accountant and you can stay in the loop from anywhere with internet access. I genuinely love this app and would love to tell you all about it.

Haven’t tried cloud computing yet, or worried about the governments ‘Making Tax Digital’? We highly recommend these apps – they’re a good fit next to an accountancy team, like Nabarro Poole. Call us today to learn more! 

14th August 2017




How To Harness Data From Your Bookkeeping Software

Bookkeeping software is better than it’s ever been. From QuickBooks to Kashflow to Xero, there are all kinds of advanced, user-friendly tools at the disposal of the average business owner, handing every SME the essential equipment they need to keep their accounts in check.

But access to these tools alone is not enough. You need to know how to harness data from your bookkeeping software in order to understand your financial situation. Is there opportunity for growth? Do you need to cut back on certain expenses? Is there an area where your business is lacking?

Follow these tips to interpret the data and get savvy with business finance:

Income analysis reports

Revenue is all well and good, but income analysis reports provide greater insight as to where the main sources of finance are coming from and why. These feedback forms detail income by source to provide you with a clear view of which revenue streams are yielding results and which are not.

Income analysis reports can also itemise revenue by region – to show you the areas where business is coming in from – and by stream analysis – which provides a picture of the products and services selling at their peak.

By tapping into income analysis reports, you can gain a clear picture of your earnings, and make an informed decision on how to focus your efforts going forward. It might be that you need to nurture a particular revenue stream, or call it a day and shift your resources to a more profitable area of the business.

Monthly profit and loss statements

A glance at your monthly profit and loss statements will reveal whether your business is in the black or the red in terms of revenue, but the data included can also help you make big decisions when it comes to altering your financial projections. Profit/loss statements offer the information you need to appropriately adjust your forecasting and ensure there’s nothing chipping away at your profit margins.

Misinformed projections can cause all kinds of problems in the future, so having an accurate idea of your company’s financial position early on is essential to keep the ship stable.

Cash flow and profit forecasts

Forecasting your profit is made easier and more reliable with monthly profit and loss statements to consult, but you’ll also need to take advantage of the data supplied by cash flow and profit forecast documents. Perusal of these statements allows you to determine what has happened to your business over the past few months/years, what needs to change in order to improve potential outcomes, and what kind of results you can expect to see in the short to medium-term future.

Get in touch with Nabarro Poole to learn how to use the data generated by your bookkeeping software to proactively enhance the fortunes of your business. To arrange your free initial consultation, get in touch by phone on 0161 998 4276 or send a message using our contact form

5th July 2017




Cash Flow Considerations when Expanding

When a business begins growing, the signs are often good. Expansion and success often go hand in hand, so when a company formally announces its decision to move forward with development plans, there’s a strong chance that it’s performing well.

Growing is great, no doubt – but it comes with its own set of risks you can’t ignore. Cash flow should always be taken into consideration regardless of the direction in which your business is headed, and particularly so when it comes to expansion. Here are a few things to remember as your business gets bigger, helping you to remain afloat.

Looking ahead

Expanding your company and maintaining a healthy cash flow at the same time involves looking far enough ahead into the future. First of all, you’ll need to guarantee you have around either sufficient reserves (money in the bank) OR a flexible lending relationship to cover overheads for the short term – as this will prop you up during the transition period. Your company will also need enough financial clout to tick over into the medium term, and not just for survival a few weeks from now.

Getting what you’re owed on time

As a small business, you might have a warm, familiar relationship with many of your customers. Client rapport is important, but you can’t afford to do them any financial favours during expansion.

You could be used to receiving payments a week or two after the initial due date, but you need to stamp this out before you engage in business growth plans. Late/unpaid invoices can create cash flow havoc, so set strict payment dates to make sure you get what you’re owed on the day you were promised it. Practically speaking, a direct debit option such as GoCardless or DueCourse is an ideal way to take control of this yourself and not rely on the client to pay. 

Determining what you need

This can be difficult to get right when you first begin to grow, but determining accurate stock levels is important when it comes to implementing steady, co-ordinated cash flow. Too much or too little stock can unsettle things, so you’ll need to deduce how much is the “right” amount as quickly as possible.

It’s also crucial to understand what you are planning to fund in the future. Equipment purchases can be financed in a flexible way to ensure you only borrow what you need. Fleet financing is also an opportunity to minimise the risk, albeit at a financial cost. 

Managing your payroll

When a company grows, there are usually personnel changes involved somewhere along the way. As your business blossoms, consider the realistic budget for recruitment and what implications hiring new staff will have for current employees. For example, does a fresh recruit mean an existing worker will receive a promotion and pay rise?

Keeping up with payroll obligations is essential when managing your cash flow, so don’t forget to consider staff-switching consequences as your company matures.

If your business is in a strong financial position and you believe the time is right to broaden your horizons, make sure you’ve taken cash flow into account before you make any big moves. There is a lot to think about it and support throughout the process is crucial. 

If you’d like some advice and assistance on cash flow management as your grow, Nabarro Poole can help. Give us a call on 0161 998 4276 today. 

21st June 2017




Common Bookkeeping Mistakes For SMEs

Rushed or slap-dash bookkeeping invariably leads to errors, and it’s all too easy for these mistakes to pile up and cause huge issues later down the line. But having a grasp of the classic slip-ups can help you stay out of trouble with your finances, especially with an accountancy team like Nabarro Poole by your side.

Listed here are the big red warning stickers for the most common bookkeeping faults made by SMEs. Ignore them at your peril…

Not classifying workers correctly

Every individual your organisation hires/contracts must be accounted for: employees, contractors, freelancers, apprentices and even temps. Most businesses know this, but it’s classifying workers in the correct way that trips them up. One element is knowing all the rules and regulations regarding staff classification, but more importantly, I feel, is the correct analysis in the P&L. Are these fixed costs or variable? Are the costs all for one project and if so, how profitable is it? Always think strategically and looking forward.  

Mismanaging petty cash

Whether it’s tied up in a bank account or sitting in a jar on the office desk, petty cash is one of the most poorly handled financial assets in many SMEs. Given how this money is often used for small expenses (like stationery, envelopes, sundries etc), a lot of it isn’t registered.

A couple of pounds here and there doesn’t seem worth marking down at the time, but these expenses soon add up. If money isn’t accounted for, no matter what the value, HMRC won’t be happy. ReceiptBank is the tool for small businesses to manage this better. No scraps of paper lying about and all VAT reclaimed where possible. 

Ignoring the paper trail

Evidence is critical when managing your business accounts. Whether it’s a physical paper trail or digital one, SMEs must ensure they have backup versions of all their financial documents.

Failure to create copies of records has landed hundreds of companies in hot water over the years. Sadly, auditors don’t accept technical failures as a valid excuse for files going missing.

Stubbornly sticking to old systems

An outdated bookkeeping system might feel as comfy as a good pair of jeans, but refusing to switch to advanced, modern accounting software can slow a company’s productivity to a crawl. Lots of SMEs are still stuck in the stone age when it comes to online accounting, and this actively affects their capability to grow, thrive and prosper.

Not keeping on top of things

Allocating an hour at the end of the month to bookkeeping just doesn’t work, but a lot of SMEs are very much stuck in the habit. In order to avoid mounting mix-ups and confusion, it’s crucial to log everything as it comes in. The bigger the pile of receipts begins to get, the uglier the prospect of bookkeeping becomes – which inevitably leads to further delays.

It’s all too easy for SMEs to let bookkeeping take a backseat. But the truth is that hurrying through finance tasks can bring a business down. Don’t let that happen to you. Call Nabarro Poole on 0161 998 4276 for a free consultation, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to manage your bookkeeping effectively

9th June 2017




The Importance Of Profit And Cash Flow Forecasting

Cash flow. The amount of attention you pay towards these two little words can make or break your business. As a business owner, you’ve probably been bludgeoned with warnings about what to do (and what not to do) since the moment you first opened the doors to your office.

But cash flow is different. It’s not just about saving your company now. It’s about saving it in the future. Very few business owners swerve the duty of checking profit forecasts – after all, you always need to check that there’s enough money coming in. However, an alarmingly low number dedicate quite as much time to cash flow forecasting.

Here, we demonstrate the importance of monitoring your cash flow as well as your profit.

Staying one step ahead

Proactivity is the key to survival in the world of business. Market trends can suddenly spike in different directions and demands can switch in finger-snap fashion. It’s a fickle world that’s full of surprises.

This is why it’s so crucial to attain cash flow projections of where the business is likely to be 12 – 60 months down the line. With this knowledge, you can restructure your budgets accordingly and remain financially prepared for any unexpected surprises.

Planning your cash flow from the beginning puts you in the driver’s seat. It’s your company and it’s you who’s in control.

It’s easy with the right tools (and the right support)

Monitoring and managing cash flow might sound like a complicated task, but there are so many terrific tools out there on the market now, creating financial forecasts has never been easier.

The top cloud bookkeeping software has integrated tools that can generate accurate and dependable projections in a couple of clicks and this will suffice for many small business owners. For businesses with real growth ambitions, a more robust forecast will be necessary. It needs to be flexible. It needs to be specific and detailed in terms of income streams and associated costs.

These systems also provide a real-time view of your finances, ensuring you can confidently keep track of all your income and expenditure in an effective, accurate manner.

Room for growth

Cash flow forecasting offers you a true indication of your company’s prospects, effectively telling you whether your company should remain the same size or grow. It allows you to make well-timed decisions that won’t leave you in financial hot water.

Even the most successful business owners will tell you that making the decision to expand always comes with risk. However, cash flow forecasting grants you a closer look at the odds. When you know where your business is headed, ensuring changes to structure and size are much less of gamble.

We have helped many business owners gain that insight in to what’s coming up and have helped secure funding for expansion. Get in touch today to book an initial consultation completely free of charge.  

26th May 2017




Making Tax Digital - decent idea - typical HMRC integration

MTD – it sounds like a weapon, doesn’t it? And, in a sense, it is: Making Tax Digital is HMRC’s ploy to simplify our financial declarations and make them less of a knotty, time-consuming issue. It was announced in the 2015 Spring Budget, leaving a glut of questions on the lips of business owners across the country.

It’s been postponed (not surprising) and may look different when it is finally ready, but lets look at the changes we’re facing.

What does MTD involve?

Paperwork is nobody’s friend, not in the age of high-speed, accessible internet. The government realises that sending paper tax assessments via post is hardly the quickest or most accurate method to give HMRC the information it needs.

Hence, MTD is erasing paperwork altogether – in its stead, you’ll have to use the HMRC portal or third-party software to complete your income, expenditure, and tax liabilities, ready for direct submission.

This will allow for a constant, holistic flow of data, as well as removing the thankless task of sending the same documentation over and over again. HMRC can retain it all, confident there’s far less risk for errors or late reports.

On top of that, the financial tax year will be broken up into quarterly payment deadlines, as opposed to a single annual figure. While this has been a controversial move by the government, it will, ultimately, make self-assessments more fluid, closer to the evolving state of your earnings.

Is anyone exempt from MTD?

Only businesses bringing in less than £10,000 a year will remain untouched by Making Tax Digital. For the rest of us, the upgrade comes in increments that depend on your yearly income.

Any company over the VAT threshold (£85,000 turnover) must jump to MTD by April 2018. More leeway has been granted to businesses that fall between this figure and the £10,000 minimum – for them, the cut-off point is 2019, timed to start in April.

So what do I need to do in preparation?

If you’re a startup or small business earning less than £85,000, then you have plenty of time to make the switch. Yet, in any case, it pays to go digital sooner rather than later – it will save you time and avoid headaches further down the line.

The first thing you’ll need to do is hunt for a quality, HMRC-approved software provider. We recommend Kashflow, which has already been given the governmental thumbs-up. Also, consider that MTD is a legal necessity: that means you can list this investment as an expense, and factor it into your tax return.

The second push should be towards an accountant that can make the shake-up totally painless. Nabarro Poole, as it happens, are already well-versed in cloud accounting, meaning you can stay one step ahead of the MTD initiatives with our support. We work with several tools, and can analyse the best way to present your earnings in a real-time, online format.

Making Tax Digital is coming, and we want you to benefit from getting ahead of the curve before the April deadlines. Curious to learn more? Contact us today for advice you can count on!

11th May 2017




Make Hay While The Sun Shines: Accounting Tips For Hospitality

We’re wading into spring and summer with a smile on our face. As the hospitality trade picks up across the UK, your business is going to be in its prime, and (we hope) looking to turn a great profit. So, how can you can increase the likelihood of that? Are there methods of strengthening your accounting practices to make hay while the sun shines?

Of course there are – your finances can only get better with more foresight and control. Read on to gain a sunny outlook over your money matters this season…

 

Set up a business savings account

Hospitality businesses always have to prepare for unforeseen costs. You might be collecting VAT, for instance, which will have to be paid to HMRC periodically over the year. If you only have a single business account, there’s an inherent danger: that of confusing tax liabilities with profit.

This means you could accidentally spend the funds you owe, leaving you in tricky waters when a deadline arises. We urge you to set up another account that’s solely meant for your rainy day or VAT cash pile.

 

Make changes before things get busy

If you’re successful at the hospitality trade, then you’ve already got an idea of what customers really like to eat, drink, and take advantage of in your facilities. What beers do people enjoy, and which consistently undersell? Is there a renovation that’s due for your lounge or outdoor area, one that’s always popular with your clientele?

Use the incoming flux of guests to motivate your investments. Make the right decisions, and you’ll reap the rewards over summer, generating a great return that justifies your expenditure.

 

Negotiate discounts wherever you can

Local suppliers are fiercely competitive. They realise the importance of trusted, long-lasting relationships. If you’re upping orders of wine, snacks and raw ingredients, try suggesting the possibility of a discount on your purchase. 

Even 5% or 10% can mean valuable savings on your outgoings. The vendor gets the security of an immediate, large-scale order, while you benefit from a lower price. Arguably, the buyer/vendor connection thrives on leeway and recognising why you’re good for each other. They’ll be open to sweetening the deal if you’re buying en masse.

 

Automate your finances

It’s much easier to manage your finances if you have an accurate, real-time view of your finances. So if you’re not already using cloud accounting software, consider making the switch before summer.

Not only will it save you time on mundane tasks, it will also make managing your cash flow easier. Some of our recommended bookkeeping tools can integrate with your EPOS system, a godsend when you’re trying to keep track of income and expenditure!

Whether you’re running a bar, restaurant or seasonal catering team, there’s little reason to take cash from your own pocket, especially when interest is peaking. Nabarro Poole is your accountancy firm of choice for controlling expenditure. We’re built for hospitality clients – contact us today for more information, and stay on fire for the spring and summer boom! 

26th April 2017




New Tax Year, New You? 5 Best Practices To Adopt Right Now

With a muted pop, the new tax year is in motion. Every April, we’re subject to a line of self-enquiry: am I doing this right? What mistakes did I fall into last time? Are there any new techniques for getting my tax under control?

Take it from us – there’s a big ‘Yes’ to that last question. It’s also easy to make a few general adjustments, tweaking your bookkeeping practices for the next 12 months. Without further ado, let’s explore five best practices you can adopt this April…

1. List all the relevant deadlines

HMRC lands you with various deadline commitments, depending on your business model. Until tax goes totally digital, they’re a crucial mark in the sand, and carry penalties if you miss them. The Self Assessment deadline, for example, is the 31st January. Check what you’re applicable for and hang the dates above your desk, so you never forget them. Ring the office and we can send you calendar invites for your specific deadlines throughout the year!  

2. Register for online submissions ahead of time

Some people don’t know this, but there’s a waiting period (up to 10 working days, according to the HMRC website) for receiving your digital tax code. Not a problem, of course, if you’re already registered or you do so in good time, but anyone else could get a hearty shock. Do yourself a favour and apply for an online tax code now.

3. Save a day a month for organising

Fat, stacked records and folders are going to become intimidating if you don’t organise them properly. Set a month-by-month record of the income and expenses you’ve accrued. Colour coding, laminate poly pockets or other sorting methods are your best friend in this regard. Furthermore, set aside time every month for a filing session. Stronger routines lead to stronger finances!

4. Switch to digital tax software

Nowadays, there’s always a cool online solution to your troubles. Tax is no different, as dozens of software packages exist to make your life a whole lot easier. They’ll scan receipts and send them to a Cloud database, release invoices automatically, and tot up your projected liabilities over the year. Kashflow, Xero and QuickBooks are just some of the best bookkeeping tools on the market.

5. Hire a chartered accountancy team

It’s a no-brainer for many business owners, but there are some who doubt the intrinsic power of an accountant at your heel. Take note – services like Nabarro Poole are backed by decades of experience, and specialise in certain industries and business models. We, for instance, focus on SMEs, particularly those in the catering and hospitality sector, so we can deliver sound advice when working with companies in this field.

From now until next April, and much further ahead, step up your bookkeeping and accountancy skills with these simple tips and tricks. Looking to switch accountant, or work with one for the first time? Call Nabarro Poole for a free consultation outlining what we can offer you this tax year. 

18th April 2017




3 Incoming Changes For Hospitality Businesses This April

Every Spring Budget draws its fair share of outcry, but this year’s proposals left a big footprint on the hospitality sector. Chancellor Phillip Hammond set out a list of changes to government support and taxation for bars, restaurants, hotel chains and catering companies that are sure to shake up the industry.

Anyone heading a hospitality business should prepare for these financial twists. Some are large, and some are small, but all of them can impact your livelihood. Here are three taking effect in the new tax year…

1. A higher minimum wage 

The current NLW (National Living Wage) is locked at a minimum of £7.20 p/hr for those over 21. The government has long advocated a £9 standard by 2020, and it seems to be committed to higher basic pay.

With the 2017 Spring Budget, another salvo has been fired towards this goal – NLW will rise to £7.50 over the next 12 months. That’s great news for employees, but it may put a strain on business owners who are mindful of other costs they need to cover…

2. New business rate relief schemes

In recent memory, business rates have been a thorn in the side of countless hospitality businesses throughout the country. One might describe them as ‘astronomical’, and (fortunately) the government has listened to these qualms. It’s offering a £1,000 discount to the rates of pubs with less than a £100,000 rateable value.

Going further, small businesses will only have to pay £50 extra a month when they cross into a new, revenue-based rate threshold. Hospitality ventures can also apply for some of a £300m annual fund overseen by their local council. Over £24m will be saved nationwide. These are somewhat thin safety nets, but they’re better than the previous clutch of aids and relief schemes.

3. Targeted tax hikes on drinks and sugar 

Every penny matters when patrons are sizing up their establishment. For the first time in five years, beer and cider tax is creeping up to match inflation, growing to 3.9%. In real terms, this means an additional 2p for a pint sold in the UK.

This leaves business owners with a choice: put prices up, or accept lower profit margins. And bear in mind, too, that sugary drinks are being penalised: from 2018, those with at least five grams of sugar per 100ml will be taxed at 18p a litre. For concoctions with eight grams, it will rise to 24p.

With so much to think about for the future of your business, the new tax year is as good a period as any to bring on chartered, specialised accountants like Nabarro Poole. We already advise dozens of hospitality brands on their cash flow, expenses, corporation tax and self-assessment returns. Before the Budget burns a hole in your wallet, why not contact us today, and see how we can make your money stretch further?

 

4th of April 2017




Marketing On The Menu

As competition in the food and drink industry grows stronger than ever, it’s never been more important for chefs, restaurateurs, business owners and marketing managers to crystallise their brand and promote it effectively.

However, all too many pour thousands of pounds into agencies that deliver very little in return, or neglect their marketing altogether. On the 28th March, Marketing On The Menu will tackle these issues head on.

Marketing On The Menu brings together Making You Content, BizWizUK, Webantic and Bloomin' Creative to challenge the status quo and present cost-effective ways for decision makers in the food & drink sector to stand out from the competition.

Covering social media, copywriting, PR, apps and web design, it’s designed to offer actionable insights into marketing for businesses at every stage of development.

Sponsored by Nabarro Poole and The Cake Nest, the event will include refreshments and goodie bags for guests.

Register HERE

DATE AND TIME

LOCATION

Headmaster’s Office

Great John Street Hotel 

Manchester 

M3 4FD 

United Kingdom

14th March 2017




Spring Budget

Our Reaction To The Spring Budget

This week, Phillip Hammond delivered his first Budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer, setting the tone for the economy as we begin to navigate the financial fallout of Brexit.

While no-one expected any major announcements in this year’s Budget, there were a few twists and turns along the way. What were they, and how might they affect you and your business? Nabarro Poole investigates:

 Changes to National Insurance

Historically, self-employed people pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance, the latter of comprises a percentage of their profits. This is more closely aligned to what employees pay (Class 1), but is lower in reflection of the fact that the self-employed have less rights to things like maternity pay.

Hammond’s changes are going to land the self-employed with an extra 60p payment every week, skewing the re-balancing act that National Insurance classifications traditionally performed. If this is so, the government seriously needs to consider improving rights for the self-employed.

 Reduction of the dividend allowance

In April 2016, the government brought in the dividend allowance, ensuring that Directors could benefit from £5,000 tax-free when withdrawing profits as dividends. This was seen as an appeasement for the introduction of the new dividend tax rate that was brought in at the same time.

However, this week, the Chancellor announced that the allowance will be more than halved in April 2018. Tax relief will be slashed to just £2,000, reducing the appeal of incorporation for freelancers, contractors and small businesses.

 Confirmation of the National Living Wage

Over the past few years, there’s been a shift from the minimum wage to the National Living Wage as the standard for low-income workers. In April 2016, this was set at £7.20 per hour for employees aged 25+, a substantial increase from £6.70.

On the 1st April, the National Living Wage will rise to £7.50 per hour. While this is a big win for employees, it’s a huge jump for small businesses, especially those in hospitality that rely on low skilled workers.

Raising the minimum wage by nearly a pound per worker in less than two years will have a significant impact on small businesses. That said, the benefit of paying staff more is obvious: happier, more motivated workers who are likely to stay longer.

 Relief on business rates

It wasn’t all bad news though, and the hospitality industry did get a nod from the Chancellor. 90% of pubs will benefit from a £1000 discount on their business rates, in an effort to plug the stream of closures across the UK.

That said, many more businesses are losing their tax relief and facing increased rates over the coming years. With this in mind, the government is granting discretionary powers to local authorities to support businesses in need of financial help. Watch this space.

These are just some of the key takeaways from the Spring Budget affecting small businesses and the self-employed. Concerned about the changes to tax and self-employment? Contact our Manchester accountants on 0161 998 4276 for a free consultation.

9th March 2017




Kidscan - Our Charity of the Year 2017

We are raising money for Kidscan Cancer Research in 2017 and would love your help to break our record and raise over £1,500. In order to do this, we are taking part in many events throughout the year. 

March 9th - FireWalk at Salford Quays - wait, what?! 

May 28th - Great Manchester Run (10k) - that's a bit more reasonable

July 30th - Salford Triathlon (swim, bike, run ---------- drink beer)

September 12th - our 3rd Annual Golf Day (new teams always welcome)

We will hopefully add some more events as the year progresses. If you would like more information about Kidscan, see here http://kidscan.org.uk/ 

If you can donate some money to this great cause, please do so through our JustGiving page here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Tyler-Lappage-for-Nabarro-Poole-Ltd

28th February 2017




Why You Should Integrate Your EPoS And Accounting System

Handling the finer points of your finance is no mean feat. Increasingly, hospitality ventures are turning to digital solutions to stay in control of their cash flow. Over the years, you can benefit from amazing accounting and bookkeeping software, which – when fused with an intelligent EPoS system – removes almost any surprise from the state of your real-time income.

Many businesses already have one or both of these aids in their possession, yet they may not be totally interlinked. So let Nabarro Poole hit home the benefits of integration for you with a brief guide to why it matters…

Logging transactions as soon as they occur

The main drive behind combining your bookkeeping software with EPoS rests in the exact, instantaneous log of any transaction that’s been made. As soon as a customer parts with their cash, the software – whether it’s Xero, Kashflow or QuickBooks – is updated with the received amount. The date, time, cashier and customer ID (if they’re a returning buyer) are also stored for future reference.

This works the other way too with your outgoings, or when receipts have been authorised. Basically, there’s very little chance that any discrepancies will arise in your accounting. Automation erases the possibility of human error; alongside this is the distinct advantage of seeing your accounts evolve day-to-day, instead of waiting for a semi-regular bookkeeping check to ascertain how well you’re doing.

Spotting patterns and preferences

Often, hospitality is a seasonal enterprise. Cafes, bars, restaurants and hotel chains can experience spurts and slumps over various periods. Your means of adapting to them rely on a clear, up-to-date view of what customers are responding to.

With EPoS and account system integration, you’ll have a better perspective of these trends, and what deals and offers are hitting the mark. It’s one way to avoid sinking resources and energy into a campaign that isn’t going anywhere. If one strategy is failing where another succeeds, you have a basis on which to enact change.

Recording extraneous stock

Another factor that’ll harm your economic viability is damaged or out-of-date stock. Employees may be cavalier in recording what’s gone to waste, leaving some unqualified gaps in your financial review. You must strive to log and assess the value of the items you’ve had to throw away, lest they impact your overall business projections.

Since EPoS already provides a report on stock information, deductions (once again) transfer automatically to your accounting tool of choice. You’ll also know how many items are left over from your initial order, and how much that investment has been devalued as a result.

Sounds sensible, doesn’t it? Without the complementary force of an accounting and EPoS system to draw on, you’ll be left in a precarious position. So don’t let the fast-paced aspects of your business run from your grip: integrate your systems for a holistic view of your finances.

To bring your accounts under control, get in touch with Nabarro Poole today.

15th February 2017




The Best Cloud Bookkeeping Software On The Market

Accounting has experienced huge changes in the last 10-15 years. SMEs and their equivalent organisations now have a wealth of online, flexible bookkeeping solutions to tackle their business woes. Cloud-based accounts software, with its remote connectivity and data backups, can take the pain out of giving your income, outgoings and payroll obligations a clear shape.

We can rely on many of these financial aids to keep things ticking over. In fact, there’s so many that’s it hard to know where to begin. Fortunately for you, we’ve narrowed down three of the best, weighing their benefits for your decision to swiftly follow:

QuickBooks

For an incredibly simple and intuitive tool, look no further than QuickBooks. It downloads bank transactions automatically, and lets you photograph receipts on your phone, eliminating the need for any paper documentation. Freelancers and small companies can receive tax estimates, a layout of multiple account transactions, and auto-tracked mileage costs from the off.

It’s probably the easiest-to-use piece of software on this list. You can upgrade to more complex abilities, such as managing stock and national currencies, but these add-ons aren’t free, and you have to think carefully before you invest in them. Start-up ventures could make do with the basic QuickBooks advantages, though, so that might be all you require.

KashFlow

Beloved by SMEs everywhere, KashFlow has an appealing layout, shunting categories like ‘customers’ and ‘purchases’ et al in a leftward sidebar. Automated invoicing comes to the fore with the option to deliver a template to several clients at once. All of your existing bank data will be transferred, and quotes are created instantly at the click of a button.

On the downside, financial reports, when requested, are somewhat knotty to read. Also, there is no official KashFlow app, meaning you can’t manage your accounts on-the-go. Office-based businesspeople shouldn’t have a problem in this regard, but if you tend to travel a lot, we suggest an alternative.

Xero

“Beautiful accounting software” is the Xero motto, and it’s more than an empty platitude. With a bright, colourful display, the UI is incredibly endearing, supporting over 500 Xero applications. This is the brand’s point of pride: giving unlimited users control of specialised tools like Cashbook and Ledger bolt-ons. You can customise such a platform’s functionality exactly how you want.

Despite these premium advantages, Xero is a touch more complex than the previous two contenders. The sheer amount of extras can seem daunting to the uninitiated. There’s slight slowdown time when entering invoices, but that’s balanced by automated VAT treatment, ridding the chance of a faulty self-assessment. More established entrepreneurs could take on Xero and find they’re confident enough to fly with it.

Ideally, you’re a tad closer to making your mind up, now that this triad of bookkeeping champions has been laid at your feet. QuickBooks, KashFlow and Xero all fall into the Nabarro Poole service package – just choose the one you like, and we’ll throw it in with our long-term accounts provisions. For more advice on software to savour, call us today, or see what else we can offer your business…

3rd February 2017




January Cash Flow tips

While the first strains of the New Year are a time of recalibration for many people, those in the catering business tend to suffer from tightened guts and wallets. The gluttonous qualities of Christmas are now a fast-fading memory, turning January into an uphill battle for restaurateurs, bar owners and café maestros to bag a healthy profit margin.

However, now is not the time to hang your head in defeat. There are several ways to brighten your cash flow projections for the next month or so, taking the initiative when it’s needed most…

Get creative with your offers

Simply rolling out those standard ‘beer and a burger’ deals, or a discount lunch menu, is not going to suffice in the financial wasteland of January. Some inventive food and drink packages are essential to picking up consumer interest.

These could take any number of forms, based on the nature of your venture. A coffee hub, for instance, could dip into a ‘free refill’ clause on standard, non-premier drinks to get people out of the cold. Restaurants might want to go for a temporary showcase theme, such as ‘Seafood Saturdays’, with 20-30% knocked off popular fish-centric dishes.

Promote locally-sourced ingredients

A basic rule of consumer loyalty is getting them to pay more for, technically speaking, the same amount of food they can get anywhere else. Gargantuan portion sizes aren’t really what customers will be looking for; they’ll vastly prefer a healthy, locally-sourced meal to one riddled with fat and crass artisanship.

Use this month as a chance to push your ties to nearby culinary providers. New Year’s resolutions often taken the approach of clean living and a greater awareness of what we consume. Anyone absorbing the context of meat from a local, well-intentioned farm will feel like they’re supporting the wider community.

Trim unnecessary stock orders

Business owners with a good sense of what their clientele love about their brand can make some drastic, cost-saving measures to their stocklist. Ascertain what’ll bring people through the door – your biggest sellers, in other words – and delay requests for beers, wines and foodstuffs that are prone to gathering dust on the counter.

We’d also advise diversifying your pool of vendors. If one delivery is late, you can expect another two or three to stay on schedule, relieving the stress of monitoring a catch-all provider. Come February, resume your full orders as they were.

Rejig your entertainment

It’s a given that many bars and restaurants will have some kind of ‘act’ booked on a regular basis. Whilst they’re a wonderful accompaniment to a night on the town, hiring a local musician or performer can take a few hundred pounds out of your budget for what, in all honesty, is an expensive superfluity.

Instead, consider how the customers themselves can be the star of the show. A charismatic pub quiz, with a £3-4 entry fee, could ramp up your drinks sales and get punters to stay for hours on end. Cafes can organise live poetry readings or amateur comedy stages to diversify their appeal, without paying big bucks for an established name. In most cases, all you need is a willing host, and a microphone.

As long as your marketing efforts and waste management skills are top-notch, these changes will bring the best out of your venture for January’s sparse, hard-to-please consumer relationship. Alongside them, bring on an accountancy service like Nabarro Poole to get you through this month and beyond, streamlining your finances so every investment counts as it should. 

16th January 2017




5 Ways Directors Can Minimise Their Income Tax

Tax, like death, is inevitable. But for the self-employed, the prospect of waving goodbye to your hard-won earnings can be a difficult pill to swallow. As a director of a limited company, you have obligations to fork out a good chunk of your earnings every tax period. And since the January 31st deadline is coming up, we think you might like to minimise what you owe.

These are entirely legal (and eminently doable) suggestions for reducing your tax burden. Savvy directors will likely make use of them already, but just in case you’ve been left in the dark, we’re bringing them to light…

1. Dividend payments

Aside from a basic wage, directors can withdraw their earnings as dividends: income that’s specially labelled for tax relief. In the UK, dividends are tax-free for up to £5,000 over the financial year. Beyond that, they’re taxed at 7.5% for people on a standard income bracket, raising to 32.5% and 38.1% for higher earners.

2. Expense claims

Things like transport, overnight accommodation and job-specific equipment are eligible for tax relief, providing you can evidence that these outgoings were business related. Additionally, certain factors, like the mileage you’ve accrued whilst driving to client meetings, contribute to the finalised relief bracket.

3. Pensions

By setting up a pension scheme, you’re not only working towards financial freedom in the future; you can also generate significant tax savings to protect your earnings now. 

Also, if you're thinking of drawing down a pension, the first 25% of your pension pot is tax-free when you take it out in one go. It doesn’t use up any of your Personal Allowance; furthermore, if you choose to pay yourself in regular bursts (say, £2,000 a month from a £50,000 pot) then the same figure – 25% - can’t be touched by the taxman.

NOTE: we work alongside some fantastic Independent Financial Advisors and can recommend one if you'd like. 

4. Gift aids

Over the course of the year, it’s likely that you’ve donated at least a token of your earnings to charitable causes. Perhaps you sponsored a friend’s run, or maybe you have an ongoing direct debit to your charity of choice. However small or significant your contributions, be sure to factor these into your Self Assessment, so you can gain the tax relief you’re entitled to.

5. Split shareholding

As a last gambit for financial gains, consider halving your shares with a partner or close friend, and taking half of their shares in another business for reciprocation. You’ll both benefit from the kinder tax margins if your dividend payments are, otherwise, fairly high.

These are the biggest hitters for your income tax reduction. As a director, you should retain as much of your earnings, within legal grounds, as you can. Nabarro Poole works closely with our clients to ensure they don’t miss a tax saving opportunity when filing their Self Assessment. So if you’re yet to submit your tax return, or planning for the next financial year, contact us to see what you may be able to save.

5th January 2017




How Hospitality Businesses Can Harness FinTech

The upending realities of the 21st century seemingly have no precedent, at least in terms of the speed that our lives and businesses are changing. Money, for example, has almost always been swapped from hand to hand across history. Yet now we’re in a period where finance is predominantly digital, and companies have sprung up worldwide to revolutionise the payment industry.

The term for this is ‘FinTech’, referring to those who are disrupting our financial institutions with new technology. Hospitality is one area that’s set to benefit from it, and here’s why:

Levelling the playing field

In less than a decade, FinTech has burst onto the scene and changed the economy as we know it. This multi-billion-pound industry comprises of savvy, prescient start-up firms that aim to simplify issues of funding, borrowing, investing and handling business accounts.

FinTech companies are taking the power away from banks, insurers and investment conglomerates by appealing directly to individuals and businesses who want to manage their funds more efficiently.

Now, ventures don’t have to rely on old, out-dated systems, or the shadow of expensive bank fees over their shoulder. Business owners and their staff can reap the benefits, especially in hospitality, where transparency is so very crucial to your success…

What it can do for you

It would be frankly impossible to run through every permutation of FinTech in this article. But let’s give you a portion of what’s out there, and its relative merits for your hotel, restaurant, bar or catering organisation.

Perhaps the most popular solutions on the market are those that take care of your bookkeeping and payroll system. They allow you to automate regular activity in your account – like wages and repeat purchases - saving you time and removing human error from the equation.

However, this is just the beginning. Apps like Orderella allow customers to order and pay for drinks before they reach the bar. Plates enables customers to split the bill, saving staff the time of taking individual payments one by one.

And it’s not just your business that benefits; your employees can take advantage of FinTech too. Apps like HelloWallet collect credit, bank and savings accounts into a digital package, promoting your employees’ financial ‘wellness’. You can offer it to them as an exclusive perk with your business. Or you might want to adopt Gratuu, an app that distributes tips fairly, giving staff and your customers the security of knowing funds have gone to the right place.

FinTech is certainly perforating what we used to accept as the norm in finance. It’s quite a thrill to see so many start-ups making leaps and bounds in this sphere. As a business owner in food and drink, you should grab the FinTech train as it builds a head of steam.

Nabarro Poole can implement and advise on three of the soundest leading platforms – Kashflow, Xero and Quickbooks – for your hospitality business, so contact us to learn more about the solutions available to you.

16th December 2016




Autumn Statement 2016: Key Takeaways For SMEs

All eyes were focused on Westminster yesterday, as business owners waited with baited breath to learn what announcements the government would make in the Autumn Statement 2016. It’s been a turbulent few months since the Budget, with the Brexit vote, new government and events overseas putting the UK economy through its paces.

And yet, the Autumn Statement wasn’t as dramatic as some expected it might be. In fact, it seems to be almost business as usual for SMEs. Almost… but there are still a few key takeaways to address:

National Living Wage goes up

Employers should expect labour costs to increase in 2017, as the government reinforces its commitment to the National Living Wage. This will rise from £7.20ph to £7.50ph in April, increasing the costs of a full time worker previously on the Minimum Wage by £1,400 every year. This is likely to hit businesses in the hospitality sector hardest, who rely on low skilled workers to keep their operations ticking over.

Digital infrastructure investments

As technology becomes increasingly integral to organisations of every size and sector, it’s reassuring to see that the government is taking the UK’s digital infrastructure seriously. The Chancellor announced his ambition for Britain to become a world leader in 5G, with a £1bn investment focused on the speed, security and reliability of digital networks.

Research and development investments

The government also showed a clear commitment to innovation, which is why the Autumn Statement included a pledge to pour an additional £2bn into research and development projects. Businesses can claim significant tax relief on their R&D plans, so it’s great to see the Chancellor backing private investment into innovation.

Growing scrutiny on taxation

That said, the government isn’t taking its foot off the pedal in the drive to lower the UK tax gap. This year’s Autumn Statement alluded to greater scrutiny over tax planning schemes, with the introduction of penalties for tax avoiders and agents who facilitate these initiatives. As such, high net worth individuals should take extra care to stay on the right side of their dealings with HMRC.

 Rural Rate Relief reaches 100%

 Rural business owners have long campaigned for fairer treatment to support independent businesses. So it will rightly be seen as a victory that the government is doubling Rural Rate Relief to 100%. This will result in savings of up to £2900 for rural businesses, although no such support has been pledged for high streets in general.

Overall, the Autumn Statement took a soft approach to UK business owners, with a mixed picture of initiatives that will be coming into effect over the course of 2017 and beyond. We’ll have to wait until January 2017 to learn more about the Making Tax Digital initiative, so watch this space for announcements in the New Year…

Struggling to get your head around taxation? For friendly advice from a team of Manchester accountants, give us a call on 0161 998 4276 today.  

24th November 2016




Make the Most out of Linked-In

As part of our value-added, pro-active service, we feel it's important for our clients to have an understanding of all key areas of running your business. That is not to say that you shouldn't out-source work (we are strong supporters of the e-myth principles) but you should still understand the basics. With a view to this, we have asked our clients and friends to offer help on some of these subjects. Article 1 has been written by Ann Davies from BizWiz and we think it's great:

If you are looking to craft your personal brand, then LinkedIn is the best and most professional platform to use. Whether you are on the lookout for a new job or just want to polish up your profile, Ann Davies, expert LinkedIn trainer at Bizwizuk gives you her 10-point checklist:

  1. Get a nice friendly-looking profile picture.
  2. Write a concise professional headline for a great impact.
  3. Write a full summary.
  4. Include a full list of your professional experience.
  5. Include a full list of skills, endorsements and recommendations.
  6. Get involved in a select few groups relevant to your expertise and industry.
  7. Complete your education background.
  8. Add any projects that are relevant.
  9. Add any publications or written works.
  10. Now you’ve got an All-Star profile, don’t be incognito, start to push out content that your fellow connections will be interested in reading.

Ann offers bespoke one to one and group training sessions for those who want to use LinkedIn to build business relationships and generate more business opportunities.

You can contact Ann directly on 0161 826 7181 or by email ann@bizwizuk.co.uk or via LinkedIn to discuss ways she can help you.  Alternatively, give me a ring and I would be more than happy to introduce you!

15th November 2016




Managing Zero Hour Contracts In Hospitality

Few issues have been as button-pushing in recent memory, or as divisive, as zero-hour contracts. On one half of the scale, they can be a godsend for people with young children or other commitments; on the other, they’ve been demonised for potentially eschewing some basic, legal working rights.

In the hospitality sector, they’re certainly a valuable asset, but you don’t want to be accused of meddling with statutory obligations. If you’ve ever been in doubt of what a zero-hour contract should entail, let us clarify them for you, and how to manage the associated problems…

Not quite an employee

As opposed to a traditional full-time or part-time contract, the zero-hour variety does not grant your workers all the perks their colleagues might enjoy. In fact, ‘worker’ is a legally defined term, carving out a difference between them and a regular member of staff.

The government still demands that you pay zero-hour hires the national minimum wage (£5.55 for anyone aged 18-20; rate depends on age). You must also comply with rest break requirements – on shift, daily and weekly - which also change depending on their shift schedule. Finally, you’ll need to grant sick pay if they earn £112 a week on average for at least two months, as well as holiday pay.

However, the difference in status can be marked in other ways. Zero-hour workers, for instance, can be laid off without notice. Meanwhile, as the name suggests, you aren’t bound to provide a minimum number of hours in shifts, making these contracts a popular choice for employers in hospitality.

Negotiating the rules

Despite the minimal obligations surrounding zero-hour workers, it pays to go above and beyond as an employer. Because these employees can turn down your request for performing a shift, or leave without notice, treating them well is essential if you want to secure loyalty and ultimately the smooth-running of your business.

Start by explaining in no uncertain terms what their contract means – they can be dismissed at any time and without appeal. It’s also a good idea to outline your policy in regards to accepting or requesting shifts, as well as sick, holiday, maternity and redundancy pay.

You should resist the temptation to give your full-time employees preference over the zero-hour team members. Acknowledge their requests, opinions and feelings, and make them feel valued during their time at work. Failing to do so could leave you short-staffed for a big event or peak season, as workers won’t look forward to coming in, and might refuse the offer of a day’s pay.

As zero-hour contracts become more prevalent in the modern workplace, you can’t let conditions fall by the wayside. Everyone should be treated as they deserve – the pressures of making a solid turnover are far easier with all hands, comfortably, on deck.

Nabarro Poole has an ocean of experience dealing with payroll considerations for zero-hour staff. We specialise in supporting the hospitality sector, so glance over our services, or call us on 0161 998 4276 for quality financial advice.  

7th November 2016




4 Fuss-Free Ways To Automate Your Finances

As a business owner, many things can tie you in knots, but finances shouldn’t be one of them. It takes enough effort to steer the ship without spending hours poring over your cash flow and accounts. If the weight of these responsibilities is dragging you down, it might be time to start automating your finances.

How can this be achieved? To remove the burden of mundane tasks, here are some of our favourite ways in which SMEs can streamline their finances…

1. Scheduled invoices

Creating, sending and chasing invoices is the bane of most enterprises. Invoicing software, like Kashflow, can take the pain out of this procedure. It can issue repeat invoices for regular clients, send prompts for overdue payments and recognise when funds reach your account to prevent accidental reminders, saving you the hassle of doing this all yourself.

2. Recurring purchases

On the flipside, if you purchase a lot of goods from suppliers, you probably resent the arduous process of repeating the same orders over and over again. It’ll benefit both parties if you’re able to automate your payment schedule to the same date every month. This can also be set up as a repeat order in Kashflow, so that you don’t have to create a new record every time you make a purchase.

3. Storing receipts

Automating your expenditure is all very well for recurring purchases, but what about those one-off outgoings? Keeping track of your finances can be tricky when you rely on a pile of receipts to reconcile with your bank accounts. Thankfully, a handful of apps have sprung up in recent years to digitalise those precious receipts.

So rather than gathering dust in the office, your receipts can be scanned and stored in the cloud, ready for your accountant or bookkeeper to use. No more searching for scraps of paper when your tax return deadlines roll around!

4. End of year obligations 

As the tax year comes to a close, business owners have to think pro-actively about their paperwork, digital or otherwise. Ideally, your records should be kept up to date throughout the year, otherwise it takes even more time to compile an accurate snapshot of your earnings and losses over the financial term.

Again, KashFlow steps into the breach. Financial reports are built at the touch of a button, scanning your records for a proper breakdown of your revenue and expenditure. Since important data is tracked through the tax year, you’ll know that nothing has escaped your attention, and that the final picture is a fair reflection of your situation.

SMEs and startups can’t afford to lose any time on tasks that can be performed better if they’re automated. By adapting your financial capabilities in this way, you’ll save on stress, manpower and the potential for oversights.

Nabarro Poole offer KashFlow, Quickbooks and Xero software as part and parcel of our accountancy services. For more information about streamlining your finances, get in touch with us today.

24th October 2016




Top Tips for...tipping (Tipping and Service Charges)

Looking after customers is important, but caring for staff has the same, central seeds of success within it. Waiting bars and tables can be fast-paced, demanding work, and it’s no wonder that tips are seen as a healthy antidote to the challenges of hospitality.

To attract and retain talent and customers, your tipping protocol should be a resplendent reflection of you as a business. But how do you reward staff openly and honestly, whilst protecting your profits and preventing headaches down the line? Follow this advice for good tipping and service charge practices:

Make all of the divisions apparent

Not all tips are lumped into the same category. There is a difference, for example, between a ‘mandatory’ charge and a ‘discretionary’ one. We’ll get into this later, but you can divert any questions from customers and staff by publicising your tipping policy on your menu, or somewhere easily discoverable.

You may, for instance, have to shave off 5-10% of the tip to cover administration fees. Create a clear policy that leaves no-one in any doubt about where the money goes, breaking deductions down using a pie chart, infographic or simple list of percentages. Always include this in employee contracts, so they’re aware of what to expect.

Know your obligations

We’ve just alluded to this, but it’s incredibly vital to grasp – tips come in various shapes, with subtle complexities that define how you manage them.

A mandatory charge is calculated as part of the entire bill, no ifs or buts. This contributes to the employee’s full, monthly wage packet and is therefore subject to both NI and income tax contributions.

However, optional tips – which should clearly be described as such – can avoid NI payments if they’re cash-based and given straight to the employee by the customer. You’ll still need to pay income tax though. So if you go down this route, keep track of what each employee gets on the side; ignoring this could result in a fine.

Form a Tronc

Automatic service charges are relatively easy to maintain, since they are incorporated into the bill and subsequently added to the payroll. Discretionary tipping is a little more difficult to keep track of. Usually, a Tronc fund is set up in-house, run by a Troncmaster who presides over the collected tip fund.

This pool of money is linked to its own PAYE scheme; run effectively, it allows you and your staff to retain more of your hard-earned income. It can distribute tips evenly, or based on records of what each employee has brought in – this is another policy you’ll have to mull over, but it’s worth putting some thought into.

With a careful and empathetic approach to tipping etiquette, your restaurant will be a beacon of good treatment for staff, customers and competitors. Employees will be more motivated than ever to help your business get to where it should be, and you won’t have to worry about incurring fines or losing customers and staff who feel they’ve been swindled.

Nabarro Poole can help you get your head around tipping and service charges. Contact us to find out how we’ll do it; the only thing we expect is a moment of your time…

10th October 2016




Free Buffet! Plus impact on employment law after Brexit

We are pleased to host an informative Q and A about the impact that leaving the EU will have on employment law, contracts and the like. 

Date: 12th October 2016

Time: 14:00 - 17:30

Includes: FREE FOOD

Places: Limited

Ring us on 0161 998 4276 or e-mail tyler@nabarropoole.com to reserve your place. 

28/09/2016




Tax is moving Digital - whether you're ready or not!

The internet has revolutionised so many aspects of business in the last 20 years - it’s hardly a surprise that the way tax works is changing too. Since the second half of 2015, HMRC has been insistent on a digital makeover of the tax submission system, promising that issues associated with paper evidence are being eliminated forever.

Our banking, shopping, and entertainment habits have ridden the waves of an online switchover, and we want to prepare you for the Making Tax Digital initiative. Read on to get your business in the know for what’s ahead…

A firm finish line

Making Tax Digital is designed to help the 5 million small businesses that contribute to HMRC. Its main goal is to eradicate heel-dragging for annual financial concerns by 2020. Over the next 4 years, digital tax accounts will offer greater flexibility in reporting, giving us the freedom to submit an assessment whenever we like, day or night, at a time that suits us.

Each account will be updated in real time, offering an up-to-date view of liabilities and allowances. This also eliminates the need to resubmit basic information like addresses, payroll IDs and registration information, as details will follow the taxpayer onto every assessment period.

An online HMRC portal means the government can leap across associated third party records with your permission. So data about your incomings and outgoings, for example, can be sourced without needing to print out reams of bank statements. It’s all about making things simpler, easier, and less prone to mistakes.

How this affects you

As we speak, the move to online evidence collection is underway, with proposals for quarterly tax returns to pave the way towards regular reporting. Although the process makes plenty of sense – we’re entirely for smooth communication between you and the taxman – it will likely result in changes to the pattern of your accounting.

You may already have a digital tax account, which will function similarly to your Government Gateway profile. In essence, the switch will allow you to prepare tax returns for a time that’s convenient for you, rather than working to a strict schedule set by HMRC. It’ll be an easier burden to bear, making payments more manageable and reducing admin in the long run.

As a result of real time reporting, you’ll also be able to see what you owe before the official tax year ends. Small and medium businesses across the country will experience all of this gradually, as new systems are proposed, tested and verified, with a tentative ‘live’ date for submission software pencilled in for April 2018.

To ensure that you’re one step ahead of the Making Tax Digital initiative, it’s essential to partner with an accountancy firm that has the right experience to support this momentous transition. Our services speak for themselves, backed by an e-savvy team of specialised accountants that put us ahead of the pack in Greater Manchester and beyond.

We’re well aware of what the government is asking for through every stage of the switchover. So if you’re looking for a smart, malleable route to accurate tax submission, we recommend giving Nabarro Poole a call on 0161 998 4276, or emailing us to arrange a free consultation on adapting to the new tax regime. 

26th September 2016




3rd Annual Charity Golf Day - An Above Par Day (sorry)

We were pleased to host our 3rd Annual Charity Golf Day this week. We are very proud to announce that we have raised £870 for Beechwood Cancer Care www.beechwoodcancercare.org.uk. This is a fantastic local charity and we are happy to help them in this small way.

We would like to thank a number of organisations starting with Northenden Golf Club (www.northendengolfclub.com) for their continued support of our event. We look forward to holding many future events there. We had some very generous donations from Paul (The Alternative Board), Gary (BUA Structural Engineering Ltd), Bing (Care Today Childrens Services) and Nicola (All The Little Details Ltd.).

We had 7 teams of 4 this year, which was just the right amount on the day as the heavens opened up 15 minutes after the last group came in. We are always looking to expand the day, so please keep us in mind for next year if you fancy a really fun, informal day out in the sunshine (hopefully) and a chance to meet lots of like-minded people.

We will be posting all the photos on our Twitter feed, so please take a look when you get a chance. We will be expanding the format next year to include some food in the evening and would love for any of our clients or contacts to join us, have loads of fun AND raise some money for charity.

Until next year,

Tyler ‘Tiger’ Lappage

16th September 2016




Pleasure To Serve: Building A Happy Hospitality Workforce

The catering industry – with bars, cafes and restaurants at its centre – can be a very demanding environment, especially since it’s predicted to hold 3.31 million jobs in the UK by 2020. For many start-up companies, the sector is incredibly attractive, both for its collaborative opportunities and the chance it allows for customers to genuinely appreciate what you do.

Catering teams, however, can be placed under extraordinary pressure. Working long hours, on-call for any of the surprises that good service can throw up, can take its toll on morale and team spirits. It’s essential to remind your workforce that they’re more than rushing pairs of feet, and here’s how you do it…

Break down divisions

A typical eatery, say, has a hierarchy built into it, one that may get more entrenched as the business expands. There’s the restaurant owner, of course, who manages things from afar; then the head chef and bar manager, and (right on the frontlines) waiters and hosts seeing to the orders of your clientele. Everyone has their role, but it’s not healthy to have each job completely segregated.

For instance, it’s a fairly big gesture for someone in a higher position to help clear glasses and plates at closing time. Getting a waiter to make drinks occasionally, too, can foster a sense of mutual assistance, rubbing out the lines between one job’s importance over another.

Destressing the pressure cooker  

When orders are flying thick and fast, it’s a struggle to catch your breath in the maelstrom of requests. Hospitality teams are constantly on the lookout for any means of giving their guests a better experience; unfortunately, it’s easy to forget that a staff member’s physical and mental wellbeing is an equally hot priority.

Simple communal activities, such as pre-work yoga or a shut-in coffee session once Friday’s crowd has ebbed away, bring a sense of calm to busy shifts. Encouraging exercise, work socials and festive celebrations also reinforces what people can look forward to between bouts of frenzied service.

Solid reward systems

Appreciation is hard to come by, even though (most of the time) it doesn’t cost a thing. Business owners like to proselytise about targets and team goals, but they can forget that, without actual recognition of these efforts, it all sounds a bit empty.

Therefore, it’s wise to be mindful of who is performing above and beyond their average capacity, and to thank them for it. Just the odd comment will do, sticking in the head of your staff member until they hit the same notes again, anticipating your approval. You might want to set up small prizes for weekly, monthly or quarterly targets, encouraging workers to put as much effort in as they can, and enjoy doing so.

The hospitality industry prides itself on an awareness of people above all else. By following some of these ideas for staff satisfaction, you’ll command a workforce that performs at its best without even thinking about it. All that’s left is to manage your accounts safely, with minimum cause for concern as business starts to ramp up.

Nabarro Poole is the ideal accounting partner for SMEs to thrive with – we can monitor and advise on any financial issue you’re faced with, as well as preparing you for the future. Our services include budgeting, tax planning and credit allowances, so contact us to learn more about smart money management and the scope we can accommodate.   

14th September 2016




Workplace Pension - Nothing To Be Afraid Of

As auto enrolment barrels into view for most small and medium-sized businesses, many employers are waking up to the sweeping obligations that will soon come into effect. Although companies with larger payrolls have been adapting to the government’s automatic pension enrolment since 2012, the vast majority of smaller companies will need to have a system in place from early 2017, which means you have to be aware of the changes rounding off the UK’s pension legislation. If you’re unsure about what this means for your business, join us for a breakdown of what’s expected of you in the transition... 

Retiring the old system

Financial security is becoming an increasingly hot topic as we live and work longer. As such, the government has made it mandatory for employers to offer any full or part-time workers a pension pot, funded by contributions from the company and the employee. (Starting at 1% of qualifying earnings, but increasing as years pass)

Anyone over the age of 22 with a UK work permit and a salary of over £10,000 per annum must be automatically enrolled by their employer. Staff can opt out of the scheme at any point after being enrolled. Employers MUST have a pension scheme in place and enrol their employees. It’s not enough to say “I don’t need a scheme because none of my employees will want to take part”. You will be penalised if you don’t have a scheme. I can’t be clearer than that.

Timeframes have been fairly kind, letting smaller business owners get to grips with the practicalities of it all. However, the end is nigh – by April next year, every company with even a single employee under its care will have to do the same, or face strict financial penalties.

What you must do

As the deadline approaches, you will receive a letter from The Pensions Regulator, if you haven’t already. Directors are required to provide a primary means of contact, and ascertain who qualifies for auto enrolment in their workforce. This does not need to be the owner/director (YOU) of the business, but as the burden of responsibility falls on your shoulders, you should appoint someone that you trust.

Any employees who fall outside of the criteria can opt into your pension scheme if they wish. In this event, you’ll be required to match contributions for those with a salary of £5,824 or more, just like you will for workers eligible for automatic enrolment.

There are countless pension schemes to choose from, but they must meet certain criteria to comply with incoming legislation. Already got a workplace pension? Set aside some time to review this before your staging date, to ensure it’s appropriate. We are working with a few different pension providers, so can recommend the right scheme for your business.

Making auto enrolment simple

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by these imminent changes, but your accountant should be able to guide you through the steps you need to take before 2017. There doesn’t have to be any calamity surrounding the process – plan in advance, talk to eligible workers about what they want to do, and set up the scheme well before your deadline, and you won’t need to worry about The Pension Regulator’s scrutiny.

If your accountant isn’t fully prepared for the changeover, or if you don’t fancy setting all of this up yourself, get in touch with us for expert advice and support from a team of chartered accountants . We help countless SMEs stay ahead of legislation, and we’re happy to discuss auto enrolment further, as well as how to make the switch.   

 

 

 

 

      

 

30th August 2016




Success in the Hospitality Industry - Cash Management

In the fluctuant hospitality sector, it’s essential to make hay while the sun shines. Bars, restaurants, hotels and B&Bs can reap the rewards during peak seasons such as summer and Christmas, but many owners face problems in quieter spells when cash flow becomes an issue.

To ride the ebb and flow of the industry, careful cash management is imperative; in Manchester more than anywhere else, poor financial decisions can quickly lead to the demise of less cost-savvy businesses.

Want to master your finances? We’ve got some helpful cash flow tips for the sector:

A holistic view

One of the primary reasons why hospitality businesses fall into financial difficulty is because they haven’t got a sound grasp of their incomings and outgoings. Being able to see your cash flow clearly in front of you makes it much easier to foresee difficulties over weeks, months and years.

Online bookkeeping software, such as Kashflow, makes cash management virtually effortless, by displaying key data in a visual and easy-to-understand manner. By integrating your figures and information into the software, you can accurately forecast your cash flow, and plan for HMRC deadlines that require sizeable lump payments.

Upfront or monthly?

Your approach to suppliers can have a significant impact on your finances, so think about whether upfront or monthly payments are best suited to your business. For instance, paying in full for a delivery might be a good idea when your finances are healthy, so that you don’t have to increase monthly outgoings or accrue unnecessary interest.

However, sometimes spreading the cost can be preferable, especially for a startup company without savings behind it. After all, you might not have the funds to pay for a £5,000 appliance upfront, whereas breaking the cost down into monthly payments over two years will make the cost barely noticeable on a month-by-month basis.

Well-timed promotions

There will always be months where you struggle to make ends meet; having a holistic view of when you anticipate these difficult times to arise will allow you to stay one step ahead.

Planning offers, such as generous January discounts to protect your profit margins at the start of the year, will ensure you’re always covering expenses and keeping a steady stream of income flowing into the business.

Enlist expert support

Of course, staying in control of your cash flow when you’ve got a boutique hotel or a busy café to run can be tricky, which is why it makes sense to partner with an accountancy firm that specialises in hospitality.

Whether you’re a startup or an established business, Nabarro Poole can help you combat cash management problems, putting the microscope on any issues you have, how to overcome shortfalls, and what processes to put in place to avoid them from arising again.

Sound like a step in the right direction? Follow these tips to tackle cash flow headaches once and for all, and contact our Manchester accountants to arrange a free initial meeting with our friendly professionals.

 

16/08/2016




Top 5 expenses not claimed

Going limited is, by and large, a fantastic decision. Unless you register your business as a limited company, you won’t be able to savour the benefits of many tax breaks built to help you succeed. Expense claims are part of the picture, and it’s a good idea to know what they are so you get the absolute most from a limited status.

There a couple of well-known expenses that SMEs can enjoy lenience with, and perhaps some more obscure points that elude many people. Let us right the balance, and detail the top five viable claims you can make…

1. Broadband

As long as you primarily use your broadband connection for business, i.e. not for streaming the latest episode of Game of Thrones, you can deduct internet bills from taxation. Just make sure you’re paying it under the company account, and that you figure out how much (on average) you might use a connection for work or personal purposes. The final percentage is what you’re accurately entitled to.

2.  Stationery

Any purchases with a short-term lifespan that are genuinely useful for the business count as ‘non-capital allowances’. The rules surrounding expenses for stationery, printer cartridges and envelopes are looser than for capital expenses such as cars and PCs, meaning every receipt counts towards lowering your tax bill.

3. Uniform

You have to be certain that a uniform is vital to whatever job you and your staff carry out, and be able to prove it. Hi-vis jackets, medical uniforms, safety shoes and protective goggles all fall within this bracket. Similarly, work attire inscribed with your company logo may be allowable as an expense, especially in environments like retail.

4. Food & drink

Amazingly enough, HMRC will take pity on allowable food and drink costs incurred when you’re travelling on business-related matters, away from your standard place of work. Be sure to keep those receipts when grabbing some crisps on a train carriage, or taking a client out for a quick bite – as long as the costs are moderate, you may be able to claim some tax relief back.

5. Training

If you can prove that a training programme is entirely for the betterment of your workforce, and not couched in a secret agenda, then the government will allow tax exemptions to be made. It’s best, therefore, to only claim for staff training that relates wholly to the specificities of your business. Otherwise, results may be less tangible, and harder to support.

No-one wants to be left behind in a trail of missed opportunity; expenses are a huge part of why going limited can take your business much further than you might imagine. By staying educated and alert for whatever claims you can muster, you’ll breathe easier when HMRC deadlines rock around, knowing you’ve only paid what you owe.

Partnering with a team of accountants will ensure that your expenses are whip-tight, proofed against the taxman’s scrutiny. Call Nabarro Poole on 0161 998 4276 and see how we can assist your SME on every level. 

11/08/2016




How Will Leaving the EU affect My Business?

We have had a large number of our clients and contacts get in touch with us over the last month or so to try to understand what changes to expect after Britain leaves the EU. These have come from micro-businesses up to larger business that export their products worldwide. Of course, we do not know the specific effect that Brexit will have, but can set out some general guidance for dealing with uncertainty.

  1. Prepare for every possibility. You should have a forecast/budget for your business that covers the next 3 years. 1st year in detail and then further years using more estimates. You should have this for your business regardless of Brexit and regardless of the size of your business, by the way.  In light of the future uncertainty; update this to reflect the best case scenario and the worst case scenario going forward. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
  2. Put contingency plans in place.  Does your worst case scenario show a cash flow issue arising in the future? If so, speak to your accountant/bank manager/alternative finance provider now. Do not underestimate the time it takes to put finance in place and don’t worry about appearing vulnerable to the bank. They will be assured that you are thinking about the future and preparing for it.
  3. Remember the O in the SWOT analysis framework. In case you need a refresher, SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Again, this should be something that you do fairly regularly to assess your business, but even more important in times of uncertainty. The threats that arise are often easier to spot, but the opportunities are just as important. Threat - Will your exports to the EU be restricted? Opportunity - Can you export to Canada or India once the new trade agreements or in place?

As business owners, we are always living with a degree of uncertainty. The techniques above should be a part of your business plan from inception through to maturity, but it is often a large event like leaving the EU that brings the importance of these techniques back in to focus. The last bit of advice would be to focus on the things that you can control and try not to be overwhelmed by the things outside your control. 

22/07/16




What to Expect From Your Accountant

Expectations differ greatly from person to person, making it difficult to determine what is and isn’t on the table when dealing with an accountant. To save you time, money and frustration as a business owner, it’s a good idea to define your expectations, and ensure that your accountant isn’t dragging their heels (see previous article).

Whether you’re still managing your books single-handedly or your patience is wearing thin with your current accountant, let’s take a look at what to expect from an accountant when managing your finances.

Timely accounts and returns

As your business grows, so will your tax burden, which makes a prompt, reliable service from your accountant crucial when keeping up with tax returns and management accounts.

You should expect nothing less than a timely service for these important documents; we deliver VAT returns within two weeks of the period end, for example, allowing 3 weeks before payment is required.

Expert advice as standard

Whilst Google is a well of information for business owners, it’s vital to receive a definitive, up-to-date answer when seeking guidance on issues such as tax, pensions and current guidelines. 

Your accountant should be your go-to person for advice and information, just a phone call away to answer any queries you may have. Although it’s important not to abuse their time and expertise, you should feel comfortable calling them up with a quick question, or booking the occasional meeting.

A flexible agreement

The vast majority of business owners have ambitions to grow, so your accountancy agreement shouldn’t be overly restrictive. It’s natural, for example, that your business will take on more members of staff. So whilst rapid growth may require a review of your agreement, a single new hire shouldn’t affect the price of your payroll services.

Make sure that you’re crystal clear on what’s included in your agreement, such as meetings, returns and even software, to avoid unexpected fees or rate increases later down the line as your business grows.

Forward thinking

What many businesses don’t realise is that accountants can help you achieve this business growth. Insights into what the numbers mean when dealing with your management accounts, for instance, can help you develop a plan for the future.

This should be par the course of your accountant’s service, looking ahead with your business and aligning to your objectives, to help you fulfil your financial goals and grow together. They should also be able to advise on how incoming changes, such as auto-enrolment, will affect your business.

The most important expectation of all when dealing with you accountant is peace of mind. If you feel even a little uneasy about the quality or reliability of your accountancy service, or you’re struggling to keep up with your own finances, it may be time to partner with a financial professional you can depend on.

Discover why Nabarro Poole is trusted by business owners throughout Greater Manchester and beyond. To discuss your needs and arrange your free consultation, contact us today.

05/07/2016




Cloud Accounting can transform your business

We would like to thank everyone that attended our seminar last week on using Cloud Accounting Solutions in your business.

After some great feed-back from the first seminar, we tweaked the format to incorporate some networking time and it was really interesting to hear about new projects and plans – there are some really great business ideas amongst you and some great opportunities for streamlining the bookeeping process. 

We looked at expanding the cloud solutions beyond the Kashflow bookeeping software by using Receipt Bank for logging expenses, Peak for logging business mileage and using your accountant (that's us!) to bring it all together in to valuable management information.

We demonstrated how much time can be saved and how good quality information can be obtained as a by-product of clever data capture. This information is then used to assess how profitable a particular order/project/job has been and to influence future business plans.

Undoubtedly using a system like KashFlow saves time and stress. However, we have shown how it can also help businesses to produce more sales, be more competitive and present a more professional image as well!

Please don’t forget that KashFlow is designed so that output such as sales invoices can be produced to look just as you would like them to look. This is easy to achieve yourself, but we have Charlene who is an expert and would love to help you!

Here at Nabarro Poole we would like to thank all those who made it to the seminar and to invite any and all KashFlow users and potential users, to come along to our next one. 

13/06/2016




5 Signs That Your Accountant Is Dragging Their Heels

5 Signs That Your Accountant Is Dragging Their Heels

Your accountant should be a trusted extension of your team, organising your finances, advising on financial matters and helping you keep up with the latest developments that affect your business. If you’re running an SME, or thinking about taking your organisation to the next level, you’ll need a rigorous accountant to help you get there.

However, not all accountants have the same high standards. If you notice any of the following issues, it could be a sign that your accountant is dragging their heels:

They avoid face time

Meetings are useful for a number of reasons. They strengthen personal relationships, ensure you’re both on the same page, and focus time and attention on the matter at hand. If your accountant is unwilling to see you face-to-face, it’s a sign that they don’t value your business as much as they should.

A sluggish service

You have enough to think about without chasing your accountant to make sure they’ve filed your returns in time. Peace of mind is essential when dealing with your accountant, and a prompt service will indicate you have nothing to worry about.

At Nabarro Poole, for example, we give personal tax returns to clients within 4-8 weeks of the tax year’s cessation, and quarterly VAT returns within 2 weeks of the period’s end, leaving you plenty of time to review your accounts.

Your invoices are in disarray

Tracking payments throughout the financial year can be a pain, which is why many businesses enlist their accountant for this service. However, if you’re still waiting on payments several months outstanding, it’s a warning sign that your accountant may be dragging their heels when issuing and chasing your invoices.

They’re unclear about legislation

Limited companies simply must keep up with the latest legislation where tax and pensions are concerned. Roping in expert advice is vital for getting everything in order and leaving no stone unturned. So if you find that you’re resorting to Google instead of getting a clear answer from your accountant, they won’t be pulling their weight as a financial professional.

They’re not meeting expectations

Every business owner has their own unique needs and expectations, so if you’re feeling unsatisfied with your accountant, go with your gut. Whether they’re failing to deliver services outlined in your agreement or they are impossible to get hold of when you need advice, don’t settle for second best with this key partner for your business.

Having a reliable accountant at your disposal really does make the difference for a business owner, especially startups and SMEs. Severing ties with your accountant may be a difficult decision to make in the short term, but the value and support offered by a trustworthy professional can have a significant impact on your business and its financial success.

If your accountant is showing signs of sub-par service, give us a call on 0161 998 4276 to discuss switching to Nabarro Poole today. We’d be happy to advise on your situation! 

07/06/2016




Future Proof your Bookeeping

The Importance of Bookkeeping Software To Your Business

 

Bookeeping can make or break a business; a simple, effective and reliable process for managing your accounts is essential if you don;t want headaches with HMRC later down the line. Whilst the majority of business owners have switched on to the benefits of bookkeeping software, some are yet to leave the days of spreadsheets and paper returns behind.

Sound familiar? If you’re yet to discover the transformative powers of bookkeeping software for your business, let us explain what makes cloud-based accounting so much better than manual methods.

Access on any device

Bookkeeping can feel like a chore when you have to set aside time in your office or at your desktop to go through your accounts in bulk. By migrating your processes to an online, cloud-based platform, your team can access your accounts on any device, at any time. So if you need to send a quote on site or invoice a client on the go, you only need internet access to do so.

Time-saving features

Bookkeeping is notoriously time-consuming when you don’t have the right tools to streamline the process. Converting a quote into an invoice, sending reminders, and logging payments can all eat into your working day.

With sophisticated bookkeeping software, you can automate many of these processes, such as reminder emails for overdue invoices, so that you can focus on the task at hand without having money on your mind all the time.

Ease of communication

Hauling your documents into your accountant’s office every 12 months can flag up a number of issues that, if spotted earlier, could have been resolved before they became a problem. However, it’s difficult to share and collaborate on manual systems such as spreadsheets.

Bookkeeping software can drastically improve communication between you and your accountant, by allowing them to access your books whenever you have an issue or require assistance. In doing so, they can offer closer support and guidance throughout the year, to keep your books in check.

Safeguard your accounts

After dedicating so much time and effort to organising your accounts, imagine how devastating it would be if your systems went down or your files were misplaced. Spreadsheets and papers are incredibly insecure, leaving your business vulnerable to disaster in the event of an incident or accident.

On the other hand, bookkeeping software harnesses secure cloud storage, mitigating the risk of lost or stolen data, to give you peace of mind that your accounts are protected.

Bookkeeping software has transformed the way we manage our accounts in recent years, reducing the burden on small- and medium-sized business owners, whilst adding a new level of security into the mix.

Thinking of switching to bookkeeping software, or unhappy with your current solution? Nabarro Poole is a trusted provider of KashFlow, award-winning bookkeeping software for small businesses.

For more information, book your free place on our KashFlow seminar [LINK] in June, or contact 0161 998 4276 to speak with a member of our team.

16/05/2016




VAT is affecting my cash flow!

Q: I run a business where my customers are given credit and are sometimes slow to pay, my suppliers on the other hand are offering me less time to pay and some offer no credit. This is often a strain on my cash flow and I am struggling to make my VAT payments each quarter. What are my options?

A: If you are using standard VAT accounting, you pay VAT on any invoices issued, even if they have not been paid and reclaim any VAT on invoices received, even if you have not paid. This can be a strain on cash flow, particularly as you have said, when customers are slower to pay than you are.

You may be able to change to a cash accounting scheme whereby you pay the VAT to HMRC once you have been paid. However, you cannot reclaim any VAT until you have paid the supplier.

To be eligible to use the cash accounting scheme, there are some conditions. The main one being that your turnover must not exceed £1.35million.

If you think you would benefit from this cash accounting scheme, there are no forms to fill in, you simply start from the first day of your next VAT period. You can also change back to standard VAT accounting at any point if you prefer but will have to pay VAT over on any outstanding invoices.

Take care when changing between VAT schemes to ensure you don’t miss anything or count anything twice.

Another option to help plan your cash flow could be the annual accounting scheme. This means you would only submit one VAT return at the end of the year.

During the year you would make 9 equal monthly instalments towards any liability. The remaining balance is due when the VAT return is submitted or if you have overpaid a repayment will be made. As the payments are equal, this allows you to manage your cash flow more easily.

For any specific advice about which scheme suits you, please give us a ring to arrange a free chat. 

29/04/2016




Is Going Limited Still Worth It?

Examining the Dividend Tax

Incorporation has long been considered a smart move for small businesses, contractors and freelancers looking to become more tax efficient. However, as the government clamps down on tax avoidance, changes to the dividend tax from April 2016 have huge implications for business owners across the UK.

With this in mind, is incorporating your business still worth it? Whether you’re a sole trader weighing up the pros and cons of going limited, or a company owner wondering whether the grass is greener on the other side, let’s take a look at the implications of the new dividend tax.

The current Dividend Tax – aka. the good old days

Dividends are paid out to limited company shareholders, from the profits made by the company after tax. Company owners must declare their income, including dividends, in their annual self-assessment.

Currently, dividends up to the value of £31,785 are subject to a basic 10% tax rate, whilst those in the higher bracket (up to £150,000) are subject to 32.5% tax. However, a 10% tax credit means that those in the lower bracket pay no tax on their dividends, whilst the second tier effectively pay 25%.

The New Dividend Tax – aka. more money available for floating duck islands

From April 2016, this tax credit will be removed, and replaced with an allowance of £5,000. The new dividend tax rate will be 7.5% for basic rate payers, and will remain at 32.5% for the higher tier. Whilst this system doesn’t impact dividends in ISAs and pensions, it does mean a huge increase in taxable income for most company stakeholders.

Nevertheless, compare this against sole trader taxation, and most company owners will still save approximately 4% in tax versus being a sole trader. Furthermore, savvy business owners will often split shares with their spouse or another family member, to enhance their tax efficiency.

Other Benefits of Incorporation

However, finances aren’t the only thing to consider when incorporating your business. As the owner of a limited company, you relinquish personal liability, meaning that your assets and finances are protected if something goes wrong. For businesses where an element of risk is involved, this security can be invaluable. For some businesses, succession planning for the future may be the deciding factor. Shares in a Ltd. company are more easily sold/transferred to potential buyers.

Whilst changes to dividend taxation may seem like a blow to limited company stakeholders at first, compared to the liabilities of a sole trader the advantages are still very much in favour of incorporation. As a result, you shouldn’t rule out the option of going limited as April approaches; the monetary and non-financial benefits make incorporation a smart move for many businesses.

1 April 2016




Strike While the Iron is Hot

Strike While the Iron is Hot (Prepare for your Year End before your Year End!)

Welcome to Marchs newsletter that finds us with the tax year-end fast approaching. The subject of the newsletter speaks for itself, but can be considered in many ways, for example - If you have an opportunity for a new client, let them know you are enthusiastic and ready to start helping them straight away. Send them the agreement/contract and any other paperwork that you need and get the ball rolling. They need your help now - they might not still need it in one months time. Another example would be if you can see an internal situation developing in your organisation, speak to the relevant parties and start the processes to alleviate the problem OR to benefit from the opportunity. 

The third example is where we can help - the tax rules are always changing. We have to spend a significant amount of time keeping up to date with these changes as accountants. Not all (most, to be fair) of these changes are negative and there are always opportunities for tax savings or at least minimising tax liabilities with every change that HMRC makes. The issue that we have as accountants is matching these tax opportunities(or threats) with the clients affected and making any changes or plans before its too late. Hint: if your year end has already passed or if the tax year end has passed - its too late!

We try to arrange pre-year end chats with all of our clients in a hope to pick up on these issues, but the clients need to do their part as well - if your business is changing in any way eg. more staff, new office, early retirement, bad debt.... Dont delay! Pick up the phone and speak to your accountant (hopefully thats us) and let them know what is happening ASAP. Even if we cant help prevent larger tax bills, we will know someone who has been through it before or someone who is an expert in that field. If we don't know what's happening, we definitely cant help.

March 2016




Top Bookkeeping Tips for Small Business Owners

Was the January tax deadline a rude awakening for your business? Organising your accounts may be yet another burden for a small business owner, but staying on top of bookkeeping is crucial if you want to minimise your tax bill and avoid the scrutiny of HMRC.

To help you get to grips with your finances, we’ve got some expert tips on bookkeeping for freelancers, contractors and small business owners:

Keep your receipts

One of the biggest mistakes that small business owners – particularly startups – make with their accounts is forgetting to make a record of expenses. To keep your tax bill as low as possible, it’s vital to save receipts. From coffees with your clients to stationery and business services, store your receipts in a safe place – ideally in chronological order!

Log your expenses

Keeping your receipts is one thing; remembering what they refer to is quite another. To save you stress and minimise your accountant bill at the end of the financial year, it’s crucial to keep a record of what you’ve spent and when.

There are several ways to do this, from detailed Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, to apps that you can instantly update on the move. Find a way that works for you, to make sense of those receipts when going through your accounts.

Use invoicing software

If your business deals with invoices on a regular basis, monitoring money coming in can be just as challenging. Invoicing software is a smart solution for businesses or freelancers with several clients, giving you a clear view of outstanding invoices to prevent cash flow problems and late payments. The best thing about invoice software? With a free version such as Wave or Invoiceable, you won’t have to pay a thing.

Set up a business account

To make managing your finances easier, it’s important to set up a business account that will separate your personal expenses from business ones. Even if you’re a one man (or woman!) band, make establishing a business bank account a priority. Look closely at transaction fees and standing charges when comparing providers, to ensure you choose a bank account that’s right for your business.

Ask an accountant

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but don’t wait until it’s too late to get bookkeeping advice from an expert. By enlisting the support of an accountant, you can ensure that you’re managing your accounts well from day one. As well as saving you time on self assessments, your accountant may be able to find legitimate ways to reduce your tax bill, so you pay not a penny more than you owe.

Take control of your finances to boost the profitability of your business, and avoid stressful situations when the taxman comes knocking. With these tips and the support of a qualified accountant, you can stay on top of your bookkeeping all year round.

Want to whip your books into shape? Get in touch to speak to our friendly Manchester accountants!

January 2016




Worthwhile and Easy to Understand

Thank you for this morning, it was great to see you. I felt the session was incredibly worthwhile - it was easy to understand and I know I can contact you should I have any other queries.

Fiona - Brookes Resourcing Ltd.

10th January 2017