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Making tough business decisions during lockdown

Anyone who’s been running a business for long enough will tell you that making tough decisions is often something that comes with the territory. But the recent coronavirus crisis has caused more worry and stress for many business owners than ever before.

As we start to resurface from lockdown and as our businesses start to return to some sort of normality, the ‘new normal’ as this is being commonly nicknamed, many people will face difficult decisions, perhaps ones that they have been putting off for years. Read our latest article discussing some of the difficult business decisions that may have to be considered during this unusual time and how Kirkwood Wilson can help you.

Time for a change?

As the Coronavirus pandemic has completely rewritten most of our standard everyday work lives, the enforced break from our day to day business lives will have caused many people to question whether there is opportunity to change the ways things are done.

Will we travel quite so much? Will we arrange meetings or connect remotely? Will we spend more time at home? Will more of our business be conducted online? Is our website up to standard? How many people do we need in our team? Is every member of the team contributing?

Many business owners during this time will find themselves accessing all aspects of their business and considering the potential for changing some of their processes, whether they like it or not.

Advice from Kirkwood Wilson

It can feel overwhelming to be faced with so many difficult decisions, particularly since many of these decisions are time sensitive and can make the difference between survival or failure.

For this reason, here at Kirkwood Wilson, we see our role with our clients as developing into an even more advisory service. With sophisticated software, we can help you look into the future, planning a number of ‘what if’ scenarios to ensure that you have considered all avenues.

We can help with the difficult decisions regarding staffing levels and offer advice in terms of ‘future proofing’ your business.

Perhaps most importantly, we can listen to what you want the future to look like and how you would like the business to work for you. If you would like a chat about this, we are offering a number of free time slots to provide more in-depth information and advice on whatever you feel you need guidance on.

To learn more about this service, get in touch with us today and learn more about how we can help you and help to guide you through these difficult times.

Financial Planning at Kirkwood Wilson

Why staying close to your accountant matters now more than ever

Having a supportive accountant on hand to listen to any of your worries goes a long way. Most importantly, since all of our lives have turned upside down in the last few months with the impact of Covid-19, knowing you have the support and guidance of your accountant on hand is really important. Read on to find out why we, at Kirkwood Accountants, believe having a personal relationship with your accountant is so important.

Importance of having a supportive, personal accountant

As ultimately, the job of a personal accountant is to ensure you have accurate financial statements and receive advice on methods to save money and increase revenue. Having a close relationship with your accountant will help relieve any financial worries or stresses you may have.

As businesses from a wide variety of industries have seen significant impacts to normal operations, accountants like us at Kirkwood Wilson have been able to work very closely with our clients during these unprecedented times.

With government schemes, like the furlough scheme, business rates relief and VAT payments deferral scheme, having a local, personal accountant that you have a close relationship with gives you that ease-of-mind that you’re doing everything by the book whilst getting the most return.

At Kirkwood Wilson, an accountants based in the North-West, we have maintained very close relationships with our clients during the past few months and look in immense detail at everything that has happened.

Reasons why you should stay close to your accountant

During the coronavirus pandemic, we made sure we kept in touch with our clients and we strongly believe that this close relationship benefited them in many ways:

  1. We had a firm pulse on government schemes and announcements, meaning we were able to advise accordingly and accurately
  2. We are always on hand to help people and businesses to make positive decisions
  3. We are always available to listen to any concerns and provide financial advice.

1. Firm pulse on government schemes and announcements

With an unprecedented array of government schemes and business announcements being introduced, it is difficult to know which scheme applies to your business and which does not. With the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption loan scheme both applying to different business types, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your circumstances.

Our team of accountants understand you and your businesses situation and can effectively do the hard work for you. By having a close/personal relationship with your accountant, we’ll always try and do as much as we can to support you during these uncertain times.

2. Support you to make positive decisions

Having a personal relationship with your accountant enables you both to work efficiently together and talk through the next steps your business needs to take. Choosing a local accountant, who gets to know your business and industry well, can be so much more than just managing your books.

3. Always on-hand to listen to any concerns

Finally, having a close relationship to your accountant will only become more and more important over the coming months. With talks about a second wave and other concerns, talking with your accountant can help provide you with ease of mind and come up with a plan and forecast for future action.

Personal accounting specialists – Kirkwood Wilson

At Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we aren’t just your local accountants, but are here to support you every step of the way through these unprecedented times.

If you fancy a chat or to understand more about how we forge close relationships with clients, contact us today.

Future-proofing your business with Kirkwood Wilson

Future-proofing your business with Kirkwood Wilson

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.

Pressing the pause button on life

Pressing the pause button on life

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.

digital tax for individuals

6 benefits of hiring an accounting firm for your business

As part of having your own business, it is expected that you manage the accounts to balance the books. While this is something that many business owners take on as part of their ownership duties, as your business grows, it can be somewhat difficult to stay on top of as the accounts can often become exponentially complex. There are many reasons why you should hire an accounting firm for your business, which will not only save you money but save you hours and hours of wasted time trying to understand those difficult numbers. When wondering ‘why hire an accounting firm’, you should see it as an healthy investment and something that will benefit you in the long run.

1. They save valuable time

As a business owner, or a manager of a business, your role will often consist of a variety of different tasks that will take up a lot of your time. It is often due to this that it becomes hard to have control over all aspects of the business. The business account is one of the most important areas of a business and ultimately determines whether the company is in a loss or a gain.
By hiring an accounting firm for your business, you can put your trust into someone else to take care of this crucial aspect of the business, ultimately meaning that you will save a lot of time and worry.

2. They are the tax experts

Tax returns may seem straightforward but, as many of us can relate to, they often are much more complicated.
There are a variety of ways that you can reduce your tax bill, as well as submit your tax returns, and as a business owner, it is unlikely you have the time or the expertise to utilise such methods. This is where a qualified accountant can be your knight in shining armour.
Accountants are experts in all aspects of taxation and they know the best way to slash your tax bill and free up additional funds for you to reinvest as you see fit. By hiring an accountant, you will manage things in a much-controlled manner.

3. Efficient in terms of cost savings

As part of the role of an accountant, they are in charge of managing the finances for a business and will often notice where money is being unnecessarily spent. It is fairly common for businesses to just accept expenses as part of their monthly outgoings and won’t review whether what they are paying for is necessary.
This is where your accountant would notice this outgoing and flag it to ensure you aren’t overpaying for resources or services.

4. Offer financial advice

Accountants are knowledgeable about all aspects of business, meaning that they are able to offer advice about everything from financial acquisitions to day-to-day business operation. As they will see your financial statements and numbers on a daily basis, they will know the best recommendations to make based on the financial situation of your business.
They can offer advice and tips on cost-cutting and help surge your growth and offer long-term benefit advice.

5. Can rescue you from accounting issues

It takes years to qualify as an accountant, which says something about the complexity of the job. It isn’t something that any of us could start doing on a whim and be a huge success at as we don’t have the extensive knowledge that accountants have.
It is often when people who don’t have the knowledge attempt to do such accounting tasks that mistakes happen. An accounting mistake can be extremely problematic as they could end up costing you thousands of pounds in revenue and might even be the end of your business. This makes it even more important to hire an accountant that you can trust with the finances of your business.

6. Knowledgeable on the software

Not all of us are wizards when it comes to technology; quite frankly a lot of us struggle when it comes to dealing with innovative software and this is what makes accountants even better!
Accountants know all aspects of software, especially the parts that are confusing and hard to understand. Especially with the surge of popularity for digital accounting, accountants can help you reap the advantages of new financial technology.

Why hire accounting firm like Kirkwood Wilson?

Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are proud to say that we are a local accounting firm who are on-hand to support our clients through every aspect of their business. We are here to help, whether you are looking for business advice or assistance with some financial queries.
As experts in digital accounting, and digital accounting software like Xero, we are here to facilitate your every need regarding your business finances. So if you’re wondering “why hire an accountant for your business”, we say hire Kirkwood Wilson and see how we can benefit your business.

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What to consider when choosing your accountants

It is important to bear in mind that choosing an accountant that is right for your business is not always an easy process; after all, as you will be handing over your finances to this accountancy firm, it is essential you choose a company you can trust. Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we thought we would help you with this process and advise on some things to consider when you are choosing an accountant.

Ask around

A famous adage that never goes out of fashion: ‘word of mouth’. This still stands as one of the most popular forms of referral in various industries. Many people rely on word of mouth recommendations as it is thought to be one of the most trustworthy sources of information, so ask your business connections.
If your business contacts are happy with their accountancy firm, they are likely to place you in the right direction. Some people find it easier to follow recommendations from people they know, so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open and see if any of your contacts can recommend any accountancy firms.

Do some detective work

No matter how many glowing recommendations you receive about certain accountancy firms, when you are choosing an accountant, you should be doing some detective work of your own. Hop onto Google and find their website. You want to look at the accounting services that a firm offers and see if it is suitable for you and your business needs.

For example, if your business operates through digital accounting software, you won’t want to pick a firm that hasn’t branched out into this service yet, as you will just end up back at square one.

Think local

When you are choosing an accountant, you want to think about locational factors.
Picture this: you’re sitting at your desk and suddenly you have a huge accounting issue and don’t know how to fix it. What do you do? Pick up the phone and try to solve it?
This kind of example is exactly why having a local accountant comes in very useful. You can just quickly pop round the corner and have your problem solved with a click of your fingers. By choosing an accountancy firm that is local to you, for example an accountants in Lancashire, you can rest assured that your needs will always be met and any worries will be eased immediately.
Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are happy to say that we strive as local accountants in Lancashire. Many of our clients are situated close to us and always comment on the assurance that they get knowing that their accountants are a mere few miles away.

The relationship with your accountant

As with any encounter or partnership in life, when choosing your accountants, you want to feel comfortable with them. When you make the decision to commit to an accounting firm, it is a decision that should not be taken lightly. You should be sure that you feel comfortable with the firm and feel at ease that your finances will be handled in the best possible way.
This is why it is important to ensure, when choosing your accountants, that you pick a firm that sets you at ease and stands out from the crowd. Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are proud to say that we work hard to ensure that each relationship we have with our clients is a deep and meaningful one. We want our clients to feel comfortable picking up the phone at any time and just giving us a call. After all, their commitment to us is what makes us strong.

To learn more about Kirkwood Wilson and the services that we offer, just get in touch with us today and see how we can help you.

Why is Xero better than its competitors?

Getting personal with your accountants

When it comes to choosing an accountant, finding a firm that can offer a personal touch is very important. Your accountants will be diving into all of the ins and outs of your finances and building a trustworthy relationship is an absolute must. Here at Kirkwood-Wilson Accountants we are so proud of the bespoke, personal service we offer to our clients. Read on to understand the importance of a client-accountant relationship and how to get the absolute most out of it.

Importance of client-accountant relationships

When choosing an accountant, finding a firm that will put their clients first has to be the top of your priority list. Accountants are there to guide you through the toughest financial decisions, whilst offering in-depth and relevant financial advice, so finding one you not only trust, but can build a good working relationship with is essential.

Accountants aren’t just for the end of the tax year. They can also offer financial advice for your business, making them a year round trusted advisor. For that reason, you will also want to ensure that you will have easy access to the experts within the accountancy firm.

Here at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we offer all the services you would expect from an accountancy firm but we also design and tailor our services around your unique requirements. Our team of friendly and approachable accountants will gladly go the extra mile, offering a personal touch, whilst ensuring that you receive a high quality accounting service. Something that all of our clients find invaluable.

How to get the most out of your relationship with your accountant

If you have been calling your accountancy firm only once a year, it’s time to make a change. Start checking-in once a month to really get the most out of your relationship with your accountants. By being proactive, instead of reactive, you can nip any accountancy errors in the bud, whilst keeping up to date with the changing financial landscape, laws, and regulations.

By switching to an accountants who offers a more personalised approach and leave you feeling like a valued customer, you will benefit in the following ways:

  • You will feel assured that your accounts are in the best hands, cared for by experts who truly understand your business goals
  • You will have your own unique package based on your business needs, giving you exactly what it is you require from your accountancy firm. This means that no time or money is wasted on services you do not necessarily require
  • You will feel supported in your business and financial goals and will not spend months dreading the end of the financial year.

Choosing an accountant

When it comes to choosing an accountant, finding one that treats you as a valued customer and not just a number is indispensable.

Kirkwood Wilson Accountants put together bespoke packages that allow you to receive the support you need regarding specific aspects of your business at a time when you need them. Providing that personal service is something we are truly passionate about and is the main reason why we have seen such growth across our business over the last twenty years.

Switch accountants today

If you are thinking of switching accountants, don’t leave it until the end of the financial year, start looking now. Kirkwood-Wilson Accounts offer a range of services including:

As a family owned business, we understand the unique challenges you will face and have the knowledge and expertise to support you in overcoming them. We also offer advice on commercial finance options that allow businesses of all sizes to achieve their investment goals by supporting your business’s growth and helping you maintain a healthy cash flow.

Switch accountants today and start benefiting from dynamic, effective, and client-focused accounting that you can trust. With Kirkwood Wilson, you know you are choosing an accountant that you can not only trust, but will be there to support you throughout the lifespan of your business.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme update

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update

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.

August

  • 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.

September

  • 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.

October

  • 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.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Improved flexibility

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.

Digital accounting with Kirkwood Wilson

Digital bookkeeping made easy with Xero accounting

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?