Looking forward to your future

Our passion as a team is to help your business to succeed as well as providing peace of mind on all compliance matters, and all built on strong client relationships and providing outstanding service.

A study undertaken by the Centre for Economics and Business Research study found that SMEs, on average, spend around a million pounds a year on their business operations. Those with more than 50 staff spend an average of £3m every year on goods and services; micro businesses, i.e. those with fewer than nine employees, spend an average of £225,379.

The study was able to drill down into the figures, discovering that the average SME spends 24% of its budget on hiring new staff, 20% paying suppliers, and 19% on technology. The good news is that older businesses tend to spend less on expenditure. However, overall, it shows the importance of managing cash flow at all levels of business.

Here’s our breakdown of these, and other expenditures that make up the majority of an SME’s costs:

Staffing

Don’t forget that staff expenditure doesn’t end with how much you pay them. You will also take into account any benefits, bonuses and commission, tax, insurance, as well as the HR costs involved, including pension contributions, the cost of recruiting and training new staff, training courses etc. You also need to factor in the cost of any consultants whose expert advice will help you do a better job of running your company, e.g. trainers, HR specialists, management consultants etc.

You also need to take into account the fact that there will be times when your staff are faced with productivity problems, which could be anything from being delayed in meetings, stuck in traffic, sickness, power cuts or breaks in broadband to disasters such as fire or flooding for which a rigorous disaster recovery plan needs to be in place.  

Suppliers

If you are a retailer or manufacturer, you will have the cost of buying in stock and raw materials which also have costs associated with delivery and storage.

Overheads and operating expenses

Having the right technology is vital for the smooth running of your business and provision must be made for upgrading it on a regular basis. Your computer systems may appear to be working, but older ones will probably be slower (wasting valuable staff productivity time) and less secure. In 2017, the average cost of a security breach to a medium-sized organisation was over £3k, so it is well worth the investment to keep your cybersecurity up to date.

All businesses incur the expense of running the organisation – office rental, utilities, office equipment, and any company vehicles.

Late payments and long payment times

SMEs can really struggle and sometimes go out of business altogether because of late payments, whether it’s because of long payment conditions – sometimes 90 days or more – or the inefficiency or poor ethics of your debtors. Late payments cost SMEs a whopping £2bn a year in terms of chasing them and paying interest on overdrafts and loans to keep the company going in the interim.

If you run a small or medium business and need help managing your company’s expenses, financial planning and business advice, please talk to us! Call us on 01992 444466 or click here to contact us to find out more.

 

The Ambition conferences are a hugely important business and community initiative for two reasons. Firstly, it’s an incredible resource designed to help Hertfordshire entrepreneurs and small businesses develop their sales and marketing skills in order grow their businesses. Secondly, 100% of our ticket sales go to two amazing local charities.

I have been involved in all four Ambition conferences and am a huge advocate. The conference is organised on a voluntary basis by local SMEs who believe that if we work together and support each other, we can all benefit from the business opportunities in Hertfordshire, with a consequently positive knock-on effect on the local economy.  (more…)

HMRC allows certain gifts to be made in recognition of long service, subject to some conditions. To qualify, the gift: (more…)

Keeping accounts up to date and accurate is a vital part of running a small company, but, when it’s not part of the core business, owners tend to find it difficult in terms of motivation and execution.
That’s why accounting software packages are so popular. They make it easier for you to keep your accounts in good order, and will also help your accountant do your books at the end of the financial year quickly and more efficiently.
In no particular order, here are some of the many accounting packages on the market. (more…)

It’s always good to get an insight into someone else’s working day, that’s why we like to focus on different members of staff for our ’A Day in the Life feature’. This time, one of our Directors Keith Grover describes a typical working day.

The alarm goes off at the usual time of 6.00am. I’m up straightaway or else I’m struggling! I go downstairs for a shower, breakfast, stroke the cat and read the Bible. Before I leave, I check my emails. I live in St Albans and drive to work, so leave the house at 7.00am, popping into a local newsagent to buy a copy of The Times newspaper en-route. I arrive in the office at 7.30am. (more…)

Starting your own business is exciting, risky, hard work and scary (especially if you’re giving up a full-time job in order to launch your own company), but at the same time it can be tremendously fulfilling as well as profitable.

According to the latest figures, the number of UK start-ups is booming – in 2016 there were a record-breaking 657,790 new businesses. In East Hertfordshire alone there were nearly 4,500 new businesses, which is terrific news for the local economy.

If you have a really good business idea and are determined to help break start-up records in 2018, there are a number of organisations you can turn to for support, mentoring and training to enhance your chances of becoming a success. We’ve taken a look at some of their advice:

(more…)

In this tax blog, we will discuss the newly introduced (from 6th April 2017 onwards) residence nil rate band and what this will mean for our clients.

What is the Nil Rate Band?

The nil rate band, also known as the inheritance tax threshold, is the amount up to which an estate has no IHT to pay. Each person’s estate can benefit from the nil rate band.

Everyone has their own nil rate band. This means that their estate and taxable gifts are exempt from IHT up to a certain threshold – currently £325,000. Any part of the estate up to the threshold is chargeable to IHT at a rate of 0%. Any part of the estate that exceeds the nil rate band threshold is chargeable to IHT on death at 40%. (more…)

For an SME, a merger can make very good business sense. The combined strength of two companies can provide rewards in terms of economies of scale, market share, a wider reach and improved productivity. A merger could help you get into different markets, allowing both companies to expand into different areas without the need to start from scratch and build up a client base.

However, although mergers and acquisitions can ultimately be good for business, they pose a lot of challenges that you will need to consider if you want to get it right. It could be quite beneficial to seek objective and practical advice from an expert.  (more…)

It’s always interesting to get a little snapshot of other people’s lives which is why, from time to time, we like to feature some of our team in our Day in the Life Of… feature. If you’ve ever wondered what someone who works in the Payroll department gets up to on a daily basis, now’s your chance! We asked our Payroll Manager Jane Dunn to take us through her typical day at work.

6:45 Woken by alarm. Up for breakfast, calling to my daughter Bridie on the way to ensure she is awake and getting ready for 6th Form. I always ensure I have breakfast – I function better that way – then back upstairs to shower and get dressed, shouting a time check to Bridie as I pass her room! (more…)

If you are self-employed or run your own business, you are liable for submitting tax returns. Making sure you’re tax complaint is essential as the fines for not doing so could be hefty.

A recent global analysis undertaken by PwC concluded that the UK has the second most effective tax system of the G20 countries. Whilst this sounds like good news, when compared with all countries, we’re a lot further down the list at number 23. Researchers concluded that Qatar has the simplest system which required a medium-sized company to spend only four hours on completing their tax return. In the UK, the average is 110 hours! (more…)