You might be mistaken into thinking that as a small business, you are able to manage your own accounting and bookkeeping. However, as with any business, whether small or a start-up, the aim is always to grow. By enlisting an accountant, you can focus on the growth of your business whilst they handle all the paperwork. Read on to find out more about why your small business needs an accountant.
What do we mean by small business?
Of the 5.5million registered businesses in the UK, over 99% of them are classified as a small to medium-sized business. These small businesses and start-ups cover a whole range of useful and luxury goods, or services and experiences. However, small businesses have a number of defining characteristics that help to identify them as a small business.
To be legally identified as a small business, your organisation must consist of less than 50 employees, with a turnover of less than £10,000,000 annually. A micro business is a little bit smaller than that, with less than 10 employees and a turnover of less than £2,000,000 annually.
What a small business accountant can do for your business
In the UK, company accounts must be submitted to Companies House every single year, regardless of whether your company has been active or dormant in the last 12 months. Your accounts must be registered with Companies House within 9 months of the last Accounting Reference Date, also known as the ARD. This is usually the anniversary of the last calendar day of the month your company was registered. So, for example, if your business was registered with Companies House in January, your accounts must be filed with Companies House in the following September.
If you run a small business, or you are self-employed, an accountant can bring considerable advantages. We’ve listed a few of the top ones below.
An accountant helps you handle growth
As a small business, your aim is likely to be that you want to grow your business sustainably. By hiring an accountant, they will be on hand to help you handle these growth transitions, such as hiring new employees or moving to new locations. Your small business accountant will be on hand to look after the finer details of your businesses growth, such as payroll, employee tax management, property taxes, utilities and so much more. This frees up a considerable amount of your time to run your business.
To improve your cash flows
The old saying goes, “cash is king” and in business, this couldn’t be any more true. Cash is the fuel that will keep your business running and without proper control of your cash flow, you cannot make the critical business decisions necessary to keep your business running.
Having a good small business on hand will help you to ensure that you have good credit control and cash management policies. For example, say your business offers services or goods on a 30-day payment term. By hiring an accountant, they can work to keep your business on top of your finances and ensure that you have good credit control with your customers paying on time.
Reduce your workload
Understandably, you will want to focus your time on the day to day running of your business rather than spending your precious time and resources on bookkeeping and compliance. This is where an accountant comes in handy.
Let’s say, for example, that you run an Amazon business dealing in technology. Business is booming and you need to ramp up your resources to keep up with demand. This is where an accountant that specialises in accounting for Amazon sellers will come in handy. They can handle all of the day to day running of your business bookkeeping whilst keeping up to date with tax and company compliance.
They provide valuable business advice
When you choose the correct accountant, they will also be able to serve as a valuable resource for business advice. Carrying with them a wealth of knowledge and experience from dealing with companies and clients from all walks of life, an accountant will be well versed in most of the problems and challenges you may encounter in your business.
As a result, they are a brilliant resource for sound boarding ideas off and providing valuable business advice. For example, imagine you have a small food takeout business that is booming in popularity. So much so, that you consider opening a new location in another town. Your accountant will be on hand to help advise you on the potential challenges and pitfalls you may face as a business owner looking to expand, to help eliminate some of that risk.
They help you to process payroll
Businesses with employees need to operate payroll effectively and in-line with proper payroll regulations to ensure that employees are treated fairly and legally. By not complying with payroll regulations, your business could face huge fines and backdated tax bills that may ultimately lead to the collapse of your business.
By hiring an accountant to handle payroll for you, your business will not fall foul of payroll regulations, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.
To help measure your businesses performance
Oftentimes, business performance is neglected by small business owners, as is setting timely and measurable business objectives. It has been suggested that approximately 90% of startups fail because they fail to keep on top of their objectives and measure these against their performance. However, an accountant will help you to understand your business’s performance that will enable you to effectively plan your business growth moving forward.
They keep you up to date with tax and compliance regulations
By hiring a business accountant, they will help you stay up to date with the very latest in tax legislation and other regulations. In doing so, your accountant will help you from falling foul of legislation that may affect your business and cash flow should you encounter large fines and tax bills.
As an example, perhaps you are struggling to keep on top of your accounts and taxes, with HMRC stepping in due to large unpaid corporation tax bills. In this instance, your business will most likely incur large fines and backdated tax bills. However, by having a small business accountant in place, you can avoid this issue altogether as they file your company accounts annually and calculate your tax bills.
Find a small business accountant
You can see why it is so important to find a small business accountant to help you grow your business, whilst also managing your accounts and ensuring that you keep up to date with the latest tax legislation and compliance.
When you are looking for a business accountant, it is important to not just consider the cost to your business. You need to also consider the service they are providing and how good their customer service is. It is vital that you feel comfortable enough to be able to have frank business discussions with your small business accountants about the future of your business and they must understand the nature of your business to help you operate effectively.
Consider all of these factors when looking for your first small business accountant and watch your business flourish with their support.
During the past year, the percentage of retail sold through ecommerce platforms like Etsy rose from less than 20% to well over 35%. In the course of a single year that’s a phenomenal change, and it’s thanks to the entrepreneurial, open-minded makers and crafters who were able to take up that challenge and move their goods online during the toughest of conditions that we have been able to continue to send beautiful gifts and treat one another even in the hardest of times.
However, along with the creative side of doing business online comes an aspect that some of us are less keen on – accounting. It will do you no favours to simply stick your head in the sand when it comes to bookkeeping, so we take a look at the importance of bookkeeping for Etsy sellers, what support is available, and what you can expect from an Etsy accountant.
Why is bookkeeping for Etsy sellers so important?
Bookkeeping for any business, large or small, ecommerce or face-to-face, is important because it allows you to keep track of day-to-day financial transactions like sales and purchases. However, what sets apart the kind of business done over ecommerce platforms like Etsy is the speed at which these processes take place; goods are bought and shipped in a matter of hours in many cases, with purchases then immediately made to maintain stock levels. Below are just some of the reasons why bookkeeping is so important for Etsy sellers:
Keep track of income and outgoings
In order to understand what money you are making and spending and to keep a control on that expenditure day-to-day, you need to ensure that you are keeping track of those movements. Software such as Xero is designed specifically with bookkeeping for Etsy sellers and other ecommerce platforms in mind; it integrates directly with ecommerce stores so that the tracking of finances is smooth and automated, and you can access that information at any time and from anywhere via an app.
Manage cash flow
As a small business, cash flow is equally as important as – if not more important than – profit. Whilst one of the key reasons for being in business is profitability in the long-term, if your cash-flow doesn’t enable you to pay your suppliers or workers, you won’t stay in business very long. Bookkeeping allows you to keep control over your cash flow, make sure that you are receiving money when you expect to, purchase stock only as you need it and pay your suppliers at a time that gives you the best chance of success.
Analyse successes and capitalise on them
Bookkeeping, for Etsy sellers just like all other small businesses, helps to inform you of what is going right and where you could improve. If you track when you sell goods, how much profit you make and from which product lines into which market areas, you can start to track what works for your business and what you should do more of. If you choose to work with a management accountant, Etsy, combined with the information from your cloud accountancy package, will provide them with all the data they need to be able to analyse which areas to invest in, expand on and promote, as well as enable you to forward plan for the future.
If you are looking for an Etsy accountant who can support you in growing and managing your business, Kirkwood-Wilson Accountants are experienced in bookkeeping for Etsy sellers; we are Xero Gold Partners and can support you in the set-up and installation of a cloud accountancy tool as well as providing you with accountancy services to fit your needs longer term.
If you want to feel like you are in control of your business but with the support of an experienced Etsy accountant, get in touch with us for a chat about your business on 01704 546 000 or email [email protected].
Setting up your own online business is exciting! Finding out what works for your customers and watching your turnover grow over time, not to mention the many benefits in terms of managing your own time and making your own decisions, can be exhilarating. However, the idea that we have to suddenly become experts in every area of business – from marketing and sales to accounting and employment law – can be daunting.
The most effective way to run a business is to try to understand the basic requirements of every area of your business, match those with your own abilities, and outsource the bits that don’t fit with your skills, your time or your passion. The great thing about ecommerce accounting services is that, done properly, you can choose exactly which areas of your finances you want to outsource and keep the rest for yourself. We take a look at some of the benefits of using an experienced ecommerce accountant and how we could help your business grow.
How do you start your own ecommerce business?
Before we get down to the benefits of using an experienced ecommerce accountant, we thought we better start with the basics. How exactly do you start your own ecommerce business?
Firstly you need a product or a service. Once you have this, there are plenty of tools online to help you get set up to start selling across a range of platforms, including Amazon, Etsy and Ebay.
One of the most important things to consider when setting up your own ecommerce business, is to get everything you need in place from the start. We are seeing more and more ecommerce business men and women who are supplementing their full time job with income from their ‘side-hustle’. With this comes the potential for nasty tax bills in the future, especially if you’re already close to the higher-rate tax threshold in your ‘normal’ job.
Organising an ecommerce accountant from the very start can not only help you avoid expensive tax bills, but they can also help you with business advice including cash flow management, setting budgets and giving you the tools you need to help your business grow.
The benefits of using an experienced ecommerce accountant
Now we understand the importance of having that accountancy support right from the start, let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of having an experienced ecommerce accountant in place for your business.
Keep control of your finances
We’re not suggesting you hand over your accounts (and therefore your financial control) to someone else. Quite the opposite, in fact. We believe that all business owners should feel completely in control of their finances, whether you are running a multi-million pound manufacturing business or a sole trader ecommerce business selling handmade goods from your kitchen.
One of the great advantages of employing ecommerce accounting services which are designed specifically for businesses like yours is that, when used properly, you have access to, and total control over, your own business’ finances.
Have full visibility of your business’ finances
One of the fantastic changes that accountancy has seen over the past decade is the development of excellent cloud accountancy packages which can be fully integrated with your ecommerce store and provide you with the tools you need to run your business and your finances seamlessly.
We recommend that you choose a package like Xero, which provides an app so that you can manage your finances on the move, as well as giving you a solution that will track sales, costs and inventory so that you can take care of all your key financial aspects in one place. You can then choose how much intervention and support you want from your ecommerce accounting service provider, and that’s where ecommerce accountants like Kirkwood-Wilson come into our own; our expertise in digital accounting combined with experience in supporting small business owners of ecommerce sites means that we understand just how much flexibility you need.
Create your own financial support package
It may be that you’re looking for ecommerce accounting services that will support you from the outset, assisting with setting up your cloud-based accounting software and helping you to integrate it with your ecommerce platform to ensure that the data is correct and the outputs are providing you with the right level of support.
We did exactly this for our client Mad Fashion, who moved from manual tracking of stock, sales and costs to Xero, which fully integrated with their existing ecommerce site to take the pain out of their financial tracking. You can read more about how we supported them as a Xero Gold partner in their case study.
However, you don’t need to go all-in; Kirkwood-Wilson Accountants offer ecommerce accounting services that are completely tailored to your needs. Not only are we a Xero Gold partner and therefore well placed to help you set up digital accounting, but we also offer a range of basic accounting packages that can be adjusted to fit your needs and the needs of your business.
Choose ecommerce accounting services you can trust
If you are looking for an ecommerce accountant, we will work with you to understand the level of support that your business requires and make sure that you receive just the right amount of back-up and advice to give you the best chance of growth – without breaking the bank.
To find out more about our ecommerce accounting services, get in touch for a free consultation on 01704 546 000 or email [email protected].
This March sees twelve months since the pandemic took a grip of the UK. Over the last twelve months, thanks to three lockdowns, tier systems, and life-saving rules and regulations, the UK economy has taken a battering. Fortunately, the government has stepped in time and time again with lifelines for workers and small businesses. The latest action is the ‘Help to Grow’ scheme which aims to help small businesses learn new skills, reach new customers, and boost profits.
A bleak economic situation
Three lockdowns over the last twelve months has taken its toll on small businesses throughout the UK. Hairdressers have been shut for the better half of twelve months and the hospitality industry has suffered greatly, with pubs in the North West having been closed since the end of September.
The situation is, quite frankly, taking its toll on the economy, but thanks to the government, the situation is not as bleak as it possibly could have been. A generous furlough scheme has seen employees be able to claim 80% of their salary while their workplaces are closed and self employed business owners have been able to claim grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
However, the government needs small business to bounce back – and fast! With Boris Johnson recently announcing the roadmap out of lockdown and brighter days on the horizon, small businesses need all the help they can get in order to be ready to reopen. Enter the Help to Grow scheme.
What is Help to Grow?
Help to Grow is a programme funded by the government that aims to help small and medium sized businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers, and boost profits. The twelve week programme which will start this June will be delivered by business schools who have all the knowledge required to support small business leaders to develop their strategic skills.
Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, the Help to Grow programme will combine a practical curriculum, with 1:1 support from a business mentor, peer-learning sessions, and an alumni network.
How much does Help to Grow cost?
If you think Help to Grow will be a great way for your business to increase productivity, improve performance, and cut costs, you can simply register online to sign up. The scheme is subsidised by 90% by the government, so Help to Grow costs only £750 to attend.
Who can attend Help to Grow sessions?
Help to Grow has been designed with business leaders in mind, therefore participants should be a decision maker or member of the senior management team within the business. For example, you could send your Chief Executive or Finance Director.
Sadly, charities are not able to register for Help to Grow. However, there are other initiatives available for businesses such as these.
Who can attend Help to Grow sessions?
Suitable for UK businesses from any sector that have been operating for more than one year, Help to Grow can help your small business in a number of different ways.
- Improve business performance
With key modules covering financial management, innovation, and digital adoption, by the end of the programme participants will develop a tailored business growth plan to lead their business to its full potential. This in turn should help your small business improve its performance, increasing profitability!
- Help you save time
Help to Grow will advise you on all things digital, including digital accounting software which can help you save time in the day to day running of your business. More time saved means more time to grow your business and profits – which can only be a good thing!
- Cut costs
With staff costs, rent and business insurance rates, one thing is certain: running a small business is costly. The Help to Grow scheme will help advise you on areas where costs can be cut, giving you the opportunity to grow in other ways, perhaps by expanding your team or putting money into developing new products.
Find out more about Help to Grow
Find out more about the Help to Grow scheme, including whether your small business is eligible and how to register by visiting the Help to Grow campaign page on the government website.
Please note, this article is applicable to self-employed people only. If you trade through a Limited company you cannot claim this grant. However, you may know people for whom this may be relevant. Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we want to keep you fully updated on all coronavirus support schemes.
The UK Government has extended the support available under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for self-employed people affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). A third grant will cover the period from 1 November 2020 to 29 January 2021. If you’re eligible, you’ll be able to claim the third grant at any time from 4 December 2020 to 29 January 2021.
The rules on who is eligible to claim are different to those for the previous SEISS grants. However, you still need to have submitted a Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019 showing self-employment income in order to claim (unless one of the existing exceptions applies).
This article informs you all about claiming the third grant. A fourth grant will also be available from February 2021 to April 2021. We’ll tell you more about that nearer the time, including how much it will be and the rules for claiming.
How much is the third grant?
The third grant will be based on 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single taxable instalment capped at £7,500.
Am I eligible to claim?
To make a claim for the third grant, you must meet a number of conditions, and make an honest assessment about whether you reasonably believe your trading profits will be significantly reduced due to coronavirus.
As previously, the third grant will also be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance and must also be reported on 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment tax returns.
As before, to make a claim for the third grant, you must:
- Be self-employed or a member of a partnership. You cannot claim the grant if you trade through a limited company or a trust
- Have traded in both the tax years 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020.
- Either be currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand, or have been previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus
- Declare that you intend to continue to trade, or restart trading, and reasonably believe that the impact on your business will cause a significant reduction in trading profits
- Only claim if the reduction in profits is caused by reduced business activity, capacity or demand, or inability to trade due to coronavirus. Reduction in profits due to increased costs (such as having to buy masks) does not make a business eligible for the third SEISS grant.
When deciding whether the reduction is significant, you’ll need to consider your wider business circumstances.
HMRC expects you to make an honest assessment about whether you reasonably believe that your trading profits will be significantly reduced compared to what you would otherwise expect to achieve during this period.
Your business must have been impacted on or after 1 November 2020, and you must keep evidence that shows how your business has been impacted by coronavirus, resulting in reduced activity, capacity or demand, or a temporary inability to trade.
How do I claim?
If you’re eligible for the third grant, you can claim on GOV.UK at any time from 4 December 2020 to 29 January 2021, by searching ‘Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension’.
Making a claim online is easy using your Government Gateway account. You can do it on a smartphone and it only takes five minutes. If you’re unable to claim online, or feel you would like more support, you can call the HMRC helpline on 0800 024 1222. It may take longer to complete your claim over the phone.
You don’t need to work out your grant, HMRC will do that for you. Once you’ve submitted your claim (confirming that you meet the eligibility criteria) HMRC will use the information in your previous tax returns to calculate the grant you’re entitled to. They will then pay the money directly into your bank account within six working days.
As always, if you need any help at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and contact our Tax Department on 01704 546000, and we will help wherever we can. Please be aware though that you must make this claim yourself, we are unable to do this for you.
Introduced in April 2020, there is a new requirement for UK residents to report and pay capital gains tax (CGT) on disposals of UK residential properties. This is a new requirement for UK residents as non-residents have had an obligation to pay this since 2015. In our latest article, the team at Kirkwood Wilson provide some guidance on reporting disposals to HMRC, specifically through their online system.
More information on the CGT 30-day reporting period
As of the 6th April 2020, HMRC introduced new rules regarding the reporting of CGT, Capital Gains Tax. These new rules were regarding the disposals of UK residential property and required both UK and non-UK residents to comply. As of the 6th April 2020, any gains of residential properties should be reported within 30 days.
As part of these new rules, individuals are required to register for their own Government Gateway account and set up an online account.
UK residents are now required to report gains on UK residential property, only in circumstances where tax is due. This can include:
A deemed disposal
A gift of a residential property
Or a disposal of a principal private residence that does not qualify for full relief.
It is important to note that the requirements for non-residents are wider and apply even where no tax is due.
On 19 August 2020, HMRC upgraded the system to allow gains on second and subsequent disposals to be reported online.
Previously the system could only be used for the first disposal in any tax year and subsequent disposals had to be reported on a paper return.
The system now also allows capacitors (those holding power of attorney) and personal representatives to report gains.
HMRC and CGT 30-day reporting
As stated by HMRC, due to coronavirus (Covid-19), they did not issue late penalties to any transactions completed between 6 April and 30 June 2020, provided the gain was reported and any tax due paid by 31 July 2020. Anyone who completes the sale of a property from 1 July 2020 onwards has 30 calendar days to report and pay the tax due.
Transactions completed from 1 July 2020 will receive a late filing penalty if they are not reported within 30 calendar days. Interest will be charged if the tax remains unpaid after 30 days for all transactions from 6 April 2020.
Kirkwood Wilson and financial advice
So, to sum up, any gains of residential properties since 6.4.20 should be reported within 30 days.
Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are happy to help with any financial worries or concerns. If the announcement of the 30-day CGT reporting has confused you or is something you require some support with, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
In May 2020 the UK government launched a roadmap and campaign advocating that office workers should return to the office. Yet we are now being advised to work from home ‘if we can’. Guidance for returning to work is now rather conflicting.
Here at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we believe that having a ‘return to workplace’ plan (for whenever reason it is needed – of course) is important. As remote working is the new normal, we’ve detailed some ideas about how to make your return to workplace plan inclusive for all.
Return to the workplace
As of 22 September, the government made a U-turn with its statement regarding returning to the office. Michael Gove made a statement that if it is possible to work from home, people should. This could leave you understandably confused about the right steps to take for your employees. The question is whether you should continue with your return to work plan or put it on hold.
At Kirkwood Wilson accountants in Ormskirk, we’re here to provide peace of mind during these worrying times and have some guidance for completing your return to workplace plan. Additionally, if you’re worried about the state your business is travelling in, we are always here to offer a friendly face and a helping hand with your business worries.
What your return to workplace plan should involve
As the health and safety risks from Covid-19 are primarily concerned with person-to-person contact in the office, there are a lot of considerations for employers regarding the virus entering the building and spreading to staff members.
At Kirkwood Wilson, we recommend that your return to workplace plan should involve the following:
- Risk assessments
- Consider your employees’ wants and needs
- Continuously update policies and practice.
Return to workplace plan – risk assessments
Risk assessments, risk assessments, risk assessments. The words on everyone’s lips when the UK gradually started lifting restrictions. You must consider health and safety measures aiming to mitigate risks and also reduce uncertainty amongst employees. Once the risk assessment has been completed, you must share it with members of your team to familiarise themselves with the measures you have put in place.
We recommend the following when carrying out your risk assessment and assigning preventative measures:
- Cleaning protocols – Table cleaning procedures should be put in place, as well as consideration about the main touchpoint areas within the office.
- Social distancing procedures – You could have markers on the floor detailing how the workforce travels around the office.
- Hand sanitiser, hygiene stations – Hygiene and washing hands regularly are some of the most important things to stop the virus from spreading.
- Protect your bubble – Minimise non-workers from entering the office environment.
Return to workplace plan – Consider your employees’ wants and needs
As many employees were told to shield due to health reasons when we first went into lockdown, as an employer it is important to consider your employees’ worries. If you have been continuing to work from home throughout the pandemic, it might be worthwhile including more flexible working.
We recommend considering the following:
- Keep a record of your staff work patterns for 21 days
- Consider how many people should be in the workplace at any given time
- Adjust working hours and break times.
Return to workplace plan – Continuously update policies
When government guidelines change, it is important to familiarise yourself with new rules. As new measures are introduced for businesses and day-to-day life regularly, at times it can be overwhelming.
Here at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we’re here for you if you need professional business advice or a helping hand planning your finances.
If you’re interested in hearing more about our services, simply get in touch today and the team will be more than happy to help. Call us on 01704 546000 or contact us.
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.