In your personal life, having someone around that you can confide in and talk to during difficult times is incredibly important. You might have not thought about it before but this is similar in regards to businesses. When you’re undergoing testing times with your finances and business processes, having a support base, like your accountants, on hand to listen and advise can provide great peace of mind and some relief from some of your stresses. Read on to hear how, at Kirkwood Wilson, our accountants are always on hand to support you during the difficult times and the good.
How a certified accountant can support you in testing times
Over the past few months, the Covid-19 pandemic hit businesses in unimaginable ways. With many businesses being forced shut, with no cash flow, it has been a crucial period of time for accountants to support their clients.
Here at Kirkwood Wilson, Accountants in Ormskirk, we specialise in digital accounting and during the Covid pandemic, with many forced to work remotely, we have supported each and every one of our clients.
Here are our top reasons how certified accountants, specifically Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, can support you during testing times:
- Help you to understand governmental business support packages
- Bring you up-to-date with digital accounting software
- Advice on cash flow management
- Point you in the right direction for gaining finance
- Support you by having a general chat and listening to your worries.
1. Help you understand governmental business support packages
It has recently been announced that GDP tumbled 20.4% in April to June 2020, with the UK now in a recession. To limit the burden on the economy during Covid-19, the UK government put in place a number of business support measures, such as; the job retention scheme, deferral of VAT payments, and more.
During testing times like the Coronavirus pandemic, as a business owner or manager trying to keep on track with the schemes, managing workload, and trying to maintain business, is rather a handful. So here at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants in Ormskirk, we’ve been helping our clients every step of the way advising on financial steps to take.
2. Bringing you up-to-date with digital accounting software
If you didn’t already know, Kirkwood Wilson Accountants specialises in digital accounting. As digitising your business is now more important than ever, Kirkwood Wilson are on hand to help streamline your bookkeeping processes and get stuck right into the world of digital.
3. Advice on cash flow management
Keeping the cash ticking in has been one of the biggest worries for businesses over the past few months. As business survival is the top priority for most and ultimately cash flow being king, at Kirkwood Wilson, we’ve been supporting our clients as much as possible to feel more in-control of their finances. Whether that is cash flow forecasting or advice on possible finance options, we’ve been on hand to help with any worries!
4. Point you in the right direction for gaining finance
By applying for R&D tax credits, grants and other finance offerings, this could be crucial to survival. Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are up-to-date and always aware of best practice and ways you can claim back. We are more than happy to talk you through anything!
5. Support you by having a general chat and listen to your worries
Having accountants you can trust, and are there for you on a rainy day, can provide you with security and peace of mind. The team at Kirkwood Wilson are here to listen to any and every worry you might have and offer you advice to point you in the right direction.
Get in-touch today via our contact form or on 01704 546 000 if you require a local accountants in Ormskirk to help your business during these testing times.
Whether your business suffered catastrophic effects as a result of the economic and social changes wrought by COVID-19, or you are simply looking for a little reassurance and a nudge back onto the right path, there are some key areas that you can address to get your business – and yourself – back to some sense of normality. Here are some of the things we would recommend:
Before you can successfully get your business back on track, you need to make sure you have the energy and mindset to focus – that means making sure you’re at your best. The months of lockdown affected many people in different ways, but increased levels of anxiety were reported throughout as an extremely common experience.
Anxiety itself can be helpful; a low level of fear ensures that we take action to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Panic, however, has a detrimental effect; it causes us to lose focus, become immobilised and unable to make decisions, and results in poor judgement.
Some of the most effective steps you can take in looking after yourself and keeping your anxiety levels in check will not only ensure you are well-prepared to deal with your work life, but will make you feel much better all round:
- Self-reflection – Take some time each day to consider how the day has impacted you and to think about your responses to the events that occurred. Self-awareness can help us to recognise our fears and nip them in the bud so that we can refocus our energy
- Find the positive – Whilst we can’t control events, we can control how we choose to perceive them. Look for the good in situations and where your reaction to an event is automatically negative, take some time to work out whether there might be an opportunity there rather than a threat. If you have had a bad day, focus on one thing that you are grateful for
- Eat well – Healthy eating not only helps to build your immune system but will also give you more energy and help you to concentrate
- Take time out – It is down to you to find your own way to create a sense of calm and allow yourself the head space for clear judgement. Some great ways to give yourself downtime for reflection are:
– Exercise – Whether it is walking your dog, ten minutes of sit-ups, or an hour of cardio, this can be a great way to relieve stress and promote those feel-good hormones
– Contact with others – Try to make time to engage with those who make you smile or laugh, the people in your life who are supportive and have similar interests. Whether a quick message, a video call or a socially distanced coffee, a chat with someone you care about will give you a boost
– Relaxation – We each have our own preferences for powering down. Yours might be a long, hot bath, a cuppa in the garden or some meditation; whichever one allows you to exhale, make the time for it.
Just as with self care, whilst some level of concern about the future of your business is both healthy and helpful, panic is not. Now is not the time for knee-jerk reactions; dramatic changes in direction, for some businesses, have been both necessary and fruitful – but decisions should be taken objectively and with a clear mind.
We have found ourselves launched very suddenly into a low-touch economy, where person-to-person engagement has been minimised, payments are contactless, purchases are delivered to our doorstep and video calls have become the norm.
These changes are widely considered to have been inevitable – COVID 19 has simply accelerated them greatly. There are some things you can do, with this in mind, to ensure the future of your business:
- Look at your customers’ needs – What are your customers struggling with? What are their challenges? If you can find that out – through listening to them, asking them questions or engaging on social media – you can adjust your offering to gain some competitive advantage. It doesn’t necessarily mean a product change, it might be as simple as taking card payments rather than cash; being able to support them with finance or staged payments to spread their financial outlay; or supporting them with advice on your specific area of knowledge or expertise through an online chat platform.
- Consider your long-term objectives – Does your strategy still work in light of COVID 19? Review what you set out to achieve within the next 6-12 months. If your marketplace has changed so dramatically that you need to steer in a new direction, look at your options and set some alternative strategic goals and break these down into tactics and then bite-sized actions. If your long-term goals are achievable but not within the time frame you set, then review your plans for the coming year; perhaps hold off on larger investments, or look at reducing overhead costs in line with a more realistic projection. If you are lucky enough to be in a position of opportunity, then now is the time to get ahead; experienced and highly skilled personnel have become available as a result of the unfortunate staff cuts some businesses have had to make – you might scoop up someone who can take your business to the next level.
- Give yourself a break – The past 6 months have been extremely challenging. Whether you have been at the heart of sudden demand for your service or whether your business levels nosedived, the pressure will have taken its toll. Both you and your team deserve some collective recognition for what you have achieved together, as well as some down time.
COVID-19 has created very sudden and unforeseen challenges; some of those leading to opportunity, some leading to the collapse of both businesses and peoples’ lives. Most of us have spent the time somewhere in between, trying to make the best of things and waiting for the economic and social landscape to improve.
As things stand, this may be as normal as we get for a while, so if you are looking for financial support or business advice, we can help with that. Ease a little of your load and talk to us – you never know, it might be one more step back to normality for you and your business.
Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we’re a ‘glass half-full’ bunch. We focus on the positives, regardless of what life might throw at us or our clients, we always search for every positive where we can. However, since the outbreak of Covid-19, there’s no denying that we’re living in unprecedented times. Factor in Britain’s departure from the EU and the future for many UK businesses is looking a little scary.
The importance of planning
Now, more than ever, it’s imperative to plan for the future of your business. We’re not suggesting that we get out a crystal ball – no one can know exactly what’s around the corner – but what we can do is plan for most eventualities.
There are 2 main considerations for this:
- Business continuation
- Cash flow.
By now, with the nudge-along from Covid-19, a lot of businesses have taken a large part of their operations into the cloud, which we’re very proud to say we’ve helped many clients get stuck into the digital world. This means that for a lot of businesses, say hypothetically if a total lockdown were imposed again, some of these businesses could continue as normal (or as much as possible) throughout this next period. Apps and digital accounting software have enabled so many people to be unleashed from the power of paper – hurrah!
The importance of cash flow management
The other important consideration is cash flow. It’s one of the things that we, as accountants, live for (and go on and on about – a lot).
Think of cash flow as a lovely plant. Get it right and your business will flourish. Get it wrong and your once lovely plant will wither and die – how dramatic! Your business grows, you grow. You’re happy, we’re happy!
In the most basic sense, you need to make sure that you have more money coming in that you have going out. This is the crucial point of cash flow management. Understanding how your cash flow is doing can help prevent issues like buying in too much stock, general overspends, and long payment terms. By getting on top of your outgoings means you will naturally have more money available should the worst happen.
Here are some of the positives of staying on top of your cash flow:
- You will be able to make informed decisions about your business
- There will be funds available if you encounter any unexpected glitches (like say, a pandemic!)
- You will naturally feel more in control of your finances, which in turn will make you happier and more positive
- You will be able to spot any issues in cash flow, i.e. when you might have cash in abundance or when cash might be a bit tight.
Good cash flow management will help you future-proof your business, making it crucial for helping you to nurture your business.
How WE can help YOU
At Kirkwood Wilson, we help our clients take back control of their business. We don’t just work for you, we work with you and help you thrive. We are providing cash flow forecasts more and more, enabling business owners to put the right plans in place for them (taking away all guessing and not just what they can afford today).
We want to help businesses better manage their cash flow – do you need help? We want to help people grow, raise their ambitions and realise their potential. It’s what we do, it’s what we’re good at, and it’s what we’re passionate about.
Don’t look at where you’ve been, look at where you’re going, and we’ll help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, business owners have worked harder on their businesses than ever before. Whether that involves hard work to keep up with demand, or hard work trying to keep afloat, everyone has definitely worked to their limit. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all been thrown into unprecedented circumstances, meaning that we have had to adjust our processes and business procedures like never before.
The new normal
And now that ‘normality’ is slowly returning, here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are speaking to more and more people who are feeling burnt out with the stress of the last few months. We have been advising people to slow down and take stock.
As we have all been through very unusual circumstances in recent months, it is important to slow down our thought processes, limit our stress levels, and pause for a moment. As many of us know, some of our best ‘light bulb’ moments often happen when on a walk or in the shower, usually when you are away from your desk or laptop and having a moment of rest.
Whether you’ve been busier than ever before or your business has been so quiet that you may have thought about closing down, now is the time to hit pause and take a look at everything that has happened, what could happen again, and ways in which we, your accountants, can help.
Kirkwood Wilson are here to help
We are proud to say that we have helped so many clients to get their business fully set up in the cloud, with Xero, ReceiptBank for bookkeeping, stock systems, appointment software, invoice chasing software, virtual meeting software – you name it, we’ve done.
We recommend to our customers that by building up your bank of business apps, the easier it is to stay on top of all your accounting requirements. All of these types of apps and software help with the day to day running of your business online, sometimes eliminating the need for any extra staff, sometimes even eliminating the need for a business premises. What a saving that would be!
The biggest addition to our own ‘app stack’ is Futrli, which helps to manage cash flow which in turn helps you to better manage your business and do what you love.
In these new ‘different’ times, automation of so many simple tasks is one of the main priorities for many business owners. Without doubt, these are difficult times, for many different reasons. We recognise this, and we are here to help.
If you would like help putting together your own digital support please just get in touch with us today. We can help and advise on the best software and apps available. Call the team today on 01704 546000.
Many of our clients await the details of the furlough extension and on Friday we received an update from the Chancellor. Please find below the government updates, it is important to note that from August onward the government scheme will slowly be tapered.
June and July
- The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500, plus the employer National Insurance and the minimum pension contributions. This is very similar to the scheme since it commenced, however from 1 July the scheme has enhanced flexibility
- The flexibility of the scheme from 1 July onward allows employers to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time, with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility has come in one month earlier than planned as it aims to get people back into work.
- You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as your business needs, with no minimum time that you can furlough staff for.
- Any working hours arrangement that you agree with your employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. We will need you to keep a track of these hours and arrangement as this information is needed for the furlough claim
- Do not worry if your employees cannot return to work or you have no work for them as you can continue to claim as you have in prior months.
- The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500.
- But, employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed.
- The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work
- Employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500.
- The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work
- Employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500.
It is also important to note the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.
We will continue to support you during this crisis, and we will calculate all of the claims for you over the period of time. Whether this means your employees remain fully or partially furloughed we will handle this for you. We just wanted you to be aware of the scheme changes over the coming months as the employers contribution towards wages commences in August and increases gradually until the scheme is expected to cease in October 2020.
Late last week we were informed that the government are making changes to the furlough scheme one month earlier than originally planned.
From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the furlough grant for their normal hours not worked.
We feel this new flexibility of the scheme can significantly benefit our clients as we have had many clients furlough employees and some that have been reluctant to do so as their business cannot run without them employees.
Are you one of those businesses that have struggled to pay your staffs wages but have not yet furloughed any of your employees because of the strict criteria that ‘your employee cannot conduct ANY work if on furlough’? If so, please do get in touch!
The scheme flexibility from 1 July, allows your staff members to work per your agreed shift pattern and the remaining hours not worked would be subsidised via the furlough scheme. This means that you would only pay out the hours you can afford for your staff to work, rather than running your business into the ground.
The government have launched this flexible scheme to support businesses and to protect the UK economy and we therefore advise where possible to use this scheme if your operations have been severely affected by the coronavirus crisis.
There are key dates to be aware of as the scheme closes to new entrants from 30 June. This means the latest date your employee can first become furloughed is 10 June.
Our clients that have previously made a claim through the furlough scheme will remain entitled to the reclaim from HMRC. This information is only crucial to the employers that have not yet furloughed any employees but do expect this crisis to continue to negatively impact the business operations.
We will be creating a separate blog based on the changes to the scheme as from August to October 2020, but for now please do get in touch if you feel the above applies to you and your business.
Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we do not want any clients to suffer financially any more than they already have, and this scheme could just be that extra support you need to get through these challenging months ahead.
Choosing an accountant that uses Xero will open your business up to countless bookkeeping opportunities, from allowing you to access valuable pieces of information within a click of a few buttons to enabling employees to preview performance measures. Read on to find out more about Xero Accounting.
How to use Xero Accounting
Finding an accountant who uses Xero doesn’t have to be difficult. If you require an accountant with experience of using Xero accounting systems in your industry, then look no further than Kirkwood Wilson Accountants. We’ve got Xero gold partner status, are highly skilled in Xero accounting, and all things digital accounting related.
So how will Xero accounting work for your business? Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we’ve compiled the following list of examples for how to use a Xero accounting system:
- Log into Xero to view real-time information on cash flow.
- Make informed decisions on improving the efficiency of your business
- Xero accounting will help you get one step ahead with Making Tax Digital (MTD).
- Say goodbye to missing sheets of paper, with Xero accounting system you can store information in one simple place.
- Add in customisable quotes for each task or transaction so you can easily identify transactions.
- Effectively manage clients, including invoicing, reporting and keeping contact details.
Benefits of choosing an accountants with Xero bookkeeping
If you’re a small business owner, you might be thinking that a good way to save money is by completing your own accounting yourself. This can include late nights invoicing and getting to grips with tax returns. In some situations, rookie errors can occur.
Choosing an accountant with a strong knowledge of Xero is the surest path to effectively integrating
a Xero digital accounting system into your business. They can explain the necessary steps needed to streamline your bookkeeping.
Here are just some of the benefits of choosing a Xero gold partner, like Kirkwood Wilson:
- Limit the chances of any ‘rookie’ errors, Xero accounting system helps digitise your accounts and invoice digitally.
- Your accountants will help you to set up your Xero accounting system and talk you through the necessary processes.
- Your accountants will help you to ensure you never miss a tax return deadline.
- Your accountants will provide you with useful information about how to streamline your invoicing payments, helping with cash flow.
Get a Xero accounting system from Kirkwood Wilson Accountants
At Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we’re dedicated to helping businesses streamline their accounts and a Xero accounting system is perfect for the job. With a click of a few buttons, businesses can access their digital bookkeeping activities and gain valuable insights on cash flow quickly and easily.
Whether on the way to a business meeting or out of the office on leave, employees can access the Xero accounting system from anywhere with an internet connection.
So if you’re on the lookout for a digital bookkeeping system and an accountant who can advise on a Xero accounting, Kirkwood Wilson Accountants can show you how Xero accounting can work for your business!
Why not speak to one of our expert Xero accounting system accountants today by calling us on 01704 546 000?
I sit at my desk as I write this blog, my computer on one side of me, my printer on the other side. The window slightly ajar, I can hear the song of the birds in the trees. My phone buzzes and yep, it’s a client getting in touch as they do each quarter to find out the dreaded VAT bill.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a normal day for me. I guess to some degree it is. I mean, the content of the day in many ways remains the same as it did 8 weeks ago. I still speak with Caroline more than I do the majority of my family members, the staff still groan when I make a cheesy joke mid-conversation, and I still use Xero like it’s going out of fashion.
The difference is I do it all from home.
COVID-19 has arrived in the country like some sort of bullet train and we’ve all had to adjust to this ‘new normal’ whether we like it or not.
At Kirkwood Wilson, we actually began working from home before the lockdown was announced. Dan and I spent time ensuring that we had enough WiFi dongles that everyone could get set up at home. We even had a trial day where we each tested the systems we’d be using at home so we could be certain it would be very much business as usual.
And that’s exactly what it is for us: business as usual. Yes, the scenery is different but we work as efficiently as we ever have.
Questions about Benefits-in-Kind have now been replaced with queries about the various Coronavirus help schemes introduce by HMRC. VAT returns are in the majority filed and our focus is very much on completing the furlough claims for March and April for our clients. Year-end accounts have, for the last week or so at the very least, taken a sensible back seat whilst we concentrate on transferring payroll schemes from our old systems to the new Xero Payroll software.
We have never been busier nor needed more by our clients, but I truly believe we’ve excelled in challenging circumstances. The staff have pulled together in ways I don’t think any of us could have imagined. We have an incredible team at KW and each one brings something unique to our incredibly cohesive unit. Twice weekly meetings on Zoom now start our Monday and Thursday mornings in the best way possible.
Microsoft Teams has meant that we can still keep our juniors’ knowledge expanding on a daily basis and allows us to connect with our clients to get year-end meetings boxed off and accounts out of the door. Clients remain informed of tax liabilities well in advance of their deadlines.
Clients will be missing the sound of Ash or Jo’s friendly voices as they would usually pick up the phone and pass you over to one of the staff should you have a query for us. We’re now contactable by mobile phone and I for one can vouch that my phone’s been taking a beating with phone calls the last few weeks.
What that’s meant though is for the client, everything appears seamlessly integrated with our former methods of working. The client experience, in our opinion remains as high, if not higher than ever and we really do believe this period is laying the foundations for the practise to move forward in the best shape possible.
The ‘new normal’? More than likely not forever. I for one think this will usher in a new way of working for everyone, and one in which adaptability becomes the new buzzword.
First of all, and most importantly, we sincerely hope that you are keeping in good health and managing to cope day to day with the restrictions currently in place. This pandemic certainly brings home the fact that health is the most important factor in our lives!
I thought that it would be useful to update everyone on how we at KW are coping with the crisis.
I am truly grateful that we made the important decision to move all of our operations onto ‘the cloud’ some time ago. As a result of this, we were simply able to leave the office and work from home with a very minimal amount of disruption.
We are managing to keep everyone working and have not had to furlough any of our team and, as long as our clients keep the work flowing in, then we will be able to continue with this approach. We have regular Zoom meetings with the entire team so we all know exactly where we are up to and what’s happening with you, our clients.
Here’s an update on each team:
All of the accounts team are managing to keep on top of all of their bookkeeping, VAT and year end workload. Fortunately, 90% of our accounts clients use cloud-based software so we can carry on as normal. In other cases, there is always an innovative solution to retrieving data electronically!
All of the team are accessible on their mobiles and we have spent the last two weeks reassuring our clients, helping them plan their cashflow and advising regarding the various grants and schemes available.
Whilst we appreciate that, for many clients , the monthly bookkeeping load will reduce, we still have to prepare and submit VAT returns and year end accounts.
We intend to press on with this work so that we keep as many clients as possible up to date with the statutory duties.
Payroll has undoubtedly been our busiest department and we would like to thank our clients for being patient whilst we have been answering the hundreds of emails requiring specific advice.
We are currently completing the payroll year ends and then we will be starting the April month ends and coping with the two short weeks for the Easter break!
Please let us have your payroll information as soon as you possibly can (this might be relatively easy if all of your team are furloughed!).
We have just started the new tax year and Ange, Julie and Kirsty are raring to go! Please let us have your tax return information as soon as possible so that we can look at your payments on account and help you with the self employed grant claim, where appropriate.
For some clients, the thought of having to pay for the tax work might deter them from providing the information. We are always happy to accommodate a payment plan to suit your needs and please talk to us about this if it is a concern.
Ad hoc work
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you simply need some advice or someone to talk to about your finances. We are here to help and we definitely won’t be raising any extra fee notes where clients need to chat.
We are all in this together and the more clients that we can help to survive this crisis, the better we will feel in the long run.
Updates are going up on our Facebook page, so please ‘like’ and follow us to keep up to date.
Finally, we would like to wish you a happy Easter and all of our best wishes in these difficult times.
Caroline and Dan
The Small Business Grant Funding can now be claimed for online, please use your local councils website to access the relevant portal.
The below link will help you find which local authority you come under if you are unsure:-
The details required to make the claim are as follows:
- Company Name
- Company Number
- Address of Premises
- Business Rates Account Number *
- Property Reference Number *
- Property Description *
*Can be found on your rates demand letter
Business Bank Account Details
You will also need to know the rateable value of the property, if you do not have a rates demand letter available, please use the link below to obtain this information:-
The small business rates grant is £10,000 for businesses with little or no business rates.
The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme is also now open for applications which provides business in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant up to £25,000 per property.
Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 may be eligible for a grant of £10,000.
Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 may be eligible for a grant of £25,000.
Please ensure you are claiming for the correct grant.
We have received feedback from clients who have made their claim that the processing time for these claims are 7 days. Once the claim has been approved the amount will be within the business bank account within 7 days of your local authority approving the claim.
We are unaware whether these timings will alter due to the level of applicants, therefore we advise you to apply ASAP. This should help you obtain the business grant within the next week or two to support your cashflow needs.