Should I focus on profits or cashflow?

Turning a profit is at the heart of running any successful company. But should profits be the only financial focus if you’re looking to create a stable, long-term business?

Cashflow is the beating heart of your business.

Without an even and predictable flow of cash into the company, you can’t cover your overheads, you can’t pay your employees and you can’t run your day-to-day operations – let alone think about expanding and growing the business.

So, what’s needed is a healthy cashflow position AND a good focus on driving profits.

Keeping on top of the financial management of your business can be hard work, especially if you’re new to accounting and the technical terms that are used to talk about money.

But if you’re going to be in control of your financial destiny, it’s important to get your head around the important process of cashflow management. This is especially true in the current business landscape, where sales revenue may be less buoyant, cash can be tight and the market is going through a challenging time.

Let’s look at some of the key things to understand about your finances:

  • Profit is a by-product of a successful business

    – as the owner, you want to make profits, but profitability isn’t the only goal. A business can easily be profitable, but also be highly unstable in the longer term. What you want is stability and consistent revenues.

  • Cashflow is the blood that keeps your business alive

    – good revenues (income) serve to bring cash into the business. Without cash to cover your operating expenses, you have no means to keep the lights on in the business. So cash really is king!

  • Know your cost base and overheads

    – the flipside of your cashflow position is your costs. In an ideal world, you want more cash inflows than cash outflows, so it’s important to know your expenses and costs and to manage them carefully.

  • Be proactive about spend management and easing expenditure

    – if you can take action that reduces your spending, that is hugely positive for your cashflow position. Choose cheaper suppliers, negotiate better deals and bring that cost base down.

  • Drive more revenue, through increased sales and marketing activity

    – if you can increase your revenues, you also boost your cashflow. So it’s important to be proactive about running targeted sales and marketing campaigns to increase your sales.

  • Keep the cash flowing and the profits take care of themselves

    – if you achieve the ideal cashflow position, the company sits on solid financial foundations, the cash is there for investment and the business can grow. It’s that simple.

Talk to us about improving your cashflow management

Whether you’re new to running a business, or a seasoned owner who needs some financial support, we can give you the cashflow advice you need.

We’ll review your finances, delve down into your cashflow and will come up with key ways for you to increase your cash income and reduce your cash expenses. It only takes a few small changes to achieve a far better cashflow position for your business – helping you maintain positive cashflow AND generate meaningful profits.

Get in touch with us at Normans Ltd to talk through your cashflow concerns.

Getting ready for the extension of Making Tax Digital

.Are you ready for the extension to Making Tax Digital? If you’re VAT-registered, or submit a self-assessment income tax return, its time to start preparing.

Keeping the UK’s tax system running effectively, and up to date, with advances in technology is no easy task. The introduction of the Government’s ‘Making Tax Digital (MTD)’ initiative is intended to solve this problem, by moving most taxation over to a digital model.

Making Tax Digital for VAT began in April 2019.  It made it compulsory for VAT-registered companies that met the £85k turnover registration threshold to comply with the MTD rules. But the MTD initiative will soon be extended to cover ALL VAT-registered businesses. This will then be followed by all sole traders and property owners who submit a self-assessment income tax return.

So, what will this extension of MTD mean for you and your taxes? We’ve summarised the key impacts and what you need to do to stay compliant with the MTD guidelines.

What does the extension of Making Tax Digital mean for you?

The Making Tax Digital system is already up and running for many VAT-registered businesses. But the extension of the initiative over the next two years is likely to bring a lot more UK businesses and individuals within the scope of MTD – and that means you need to be ready.

We’ve aimed to answer some of the key questions for you below:

  • How does Making Tax Digital (MTD) work? In essence, MTD moves the recording of tax records and submission of tax returns away from paper and online returns, over to a digital model. Businesses and individual taxpayers will need to keep digital records of their finances. They will then submit quarterly returns in a digital format, direct to HMRC.
  • Who will be affected by the extension of MTD? The extension of the MTD initiative means that more businesses and individuals will now have to comply with the mandatory need for digital returns. According to the latest government briefing, this will mean:
    • From April 2022: MTD will become compulsory for ALL VAT-registered business, including those below the £85k turnover threshold.
    • From April 2023: MTD will become compulsory for all taxpayers who file income tax self-assessments returns for business or who have property income of more than £10,000 a year.
  • What do you need to do? If you fall into either (or both) of the two affected categories, it’s prudent to start planning for the MTD extension as soon as possible. This means that businesses and individuals must:
    • Keep digital records of their finances, along with all the relevant tax records
    • Use a relevant accounting software that can connect to HMRC’s digital portal
    • Submit a digital tax return on a quarterly basis, directly to the HMRC portal.

Setting up a digital accounting system for your finances

Getting your accounting system ready for MTD will help to iron out many of the potential pitfalls. For businesses that are operating in the digital domain, the whole process of submitting your VAT and self-assessment income tax returns becomes far easier to action.

If you’re using a cloud accounting platform, such as Xero, Quickbooks or Sage, then you’re already primed and ready for MTD. If not, now’s the perfect time to switch from a paper-based system, or a desktop accounting set-up, over to the multiple benefits of cloud accounting.

At Normans Ltd  we will help you with the planning that’s needed for MTD compliance. We will make sure your digital accounting system is fit for purpose and ready to submit returns.

If you want to discuss how this affects you and your business, call Rob on 01922 456105.

 

Choosing the right apps for your business

Software technology has evolved massively in the past decade.  Cloud-based apps are now fundamental to many processes in your business. To ensure you’re getting the best from the available tech, it’s important to choose the right apps and to create the ideal ‘app stack’ for your business.

But how do you know if the latest ‘must-have app’ is really going to be an asset or just an additional software cost? The Xero app store is a good place to start so that your apps integrate with your accounting system.

Building the perfect app stack.

Before you dive headfirst into the Xero app store, do your homework and give yourself some firm foundations on which to base your app purchase decisions.

  • Decide on the main aims of your software systems.

    Look at the specific aims of the business and tie each app into the various operations within your business model.

  • Make sure your apps integrate with Xero.

    Xero’s open API (application programming interface) allows all the apps in the app store to connect directly with Xero. This means that data and financial information can flow seamlessly between your apps and Xero, helping you keep all your management information up to date.

  • Look for opportunities to automate manual processes.

    If there’s a low-level manual process in your business, try to find a way for your apps to automate this. For example, a credit control app, like Chaser, will send out automatic payment reminders to your customers if their invoice becomes overdue. And a bookkeeping app, like Receipt Bank, will snap photos of your receipts and automatically digitise and code the contents.

  • Research the app market in depth.

    Look at online reviews, talk to your industry network and find out which apps your peers trust and would recommend. Where possible, try out free trials and demos, so you have had some hands-on experience of the apps in your shortlist. The more user time you have, the easier your purchasing decisions will be.

  • Look for an excellent user interface (UI).

    If you and your team are going to be using an app every day, it needs to be easy to use, with a small learning curve. Choose apps that have a great UI and offer a quality user experience. The sooner you can get up and running with your solution, the more value this app will add for the business.

  • Partner with apps who offer excellent customer support.

    The functionality and ease-of-use of your apps are obviously important considerations when you’re looking to buy. But don’t underestimate the importance of solid, helpful and personalised customer support. Look for apps with phone support, good customer service ratings and a happy and satisfied user base. Check app forums to get the lowdown on this.

Talk to us about your app requirements.

Our job as your bookkeeping, accounts and payroll service isn’t just to deal with your numbers. We can also help you choose the apps that can deliver the most effective and productive business performance.

If you’re looking to create your perfect app stack, We’ll help you navigate the Xero app store and create a perfectly connected and integrated Xero system.

 

What is the Recovery Loan Scheme?

It’s been a tough time financially for many UK businesses over the past year. So, as we gradually begin to ease out of the pandemic, you may identify a need for extra funding to get your business operations back off the ground and on the road to recovery.

The new Recovery Loan Scheme replaces the now closed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBIL). It offers eligible UK businesses a way to borrow up to £10 million in extra funding. If you’re looking to stabilise and grow your company, this may be a lifeline.

The key points of the Recovery Loan scheme

The Recovery Loans are available as either term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance or asset finance. The scheme will provide cash-strapped UK businesses with the liquidity to get their business plans back on track. This can help you buy new equipment, hire new staff or invest more cash into the growth and expansion of the business.

Is your business eligible to apply for a loan?

  • Who is eligible?

The most important condition for the loan is that your business must be a UK trading company.                              Your  company must also be able to show that the business:

    • is viable or would be viable were it not for the pandemic.
    • has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
    • is not in collective insolvency proceedings.  (Further details on this condition will be provided by the Government in due course.)

 

  • Who is NOT eligible?

Certain organisations are not eligible for the scheme, including non-UK trading companies, and UK-based banks, building societies, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers), public-sector bodies and state-funded primary and secondary schools.

  • What can I borrow?

    If you meet the above criteria, your UK company is then eligible to apply for a Recovery Loan from one of the approved lenders who have signed up to the scheme. Your options include:

    • Term loans or overdraft. – You can borrow between £25,001 and £10 million per business in the form of a term loan or overdraft.
    • Invoice finance or asset finance. – You can borrow between £1,000 and £10 million per business in the form of invoice finance or asset finance.
  • How do I apply for a loan?

    The Recovery Loan Scheme launches on 6 April 2021.  It will be open for loan applications until 31 December 2021. Details on the lenders providing the loan scheme are still sketchy, but it’s likely to be the same banks, lenders and business finance providers that offered the now defunct CBIL scheme.

NOTE: It’s worth noting that you CAN apply for the Recovery Loan Scheme, even if your business has already applied for a CBIL or Bounce Back Loan.

Talk to us about applying for a Recovery Loan

An injection of cash into your business may well be the boost that your company needs when it comes to securing your recovery in the post-Covid and post-Brexit landscape.

At Normans Ltd,  we will help you prepare all the numbers and reporting that’s required for your Recovery Loan application. We will also help put together a robust plan and strategy for how to use this extra loan cash, once the funds are made available to you.

Christmas Greetings & Office Closure Dates

Rob and the team at Normans hope this email finds you safe and well.

As we approach the festive season we would like to advise you that our offices will close at

5pm on Wednesday 23rd December

and will reopen at

9am on Monday 4th January 2021.

At the end of this Challenging year we would also like to take this opportunity to Thank you

for your custom and support throughout 2020.

We wish you all the very best for Christmas

and every success in 2021.

Rishi Sunak’s Announcements – 24th September 2020

Yesterday Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the new support schemes, which are part of his Winter economic plan to support and sustain jobs, the self-employed and businesses.

Support for the employed

As previously announced the current job retention / furlough scheme ends on 31st October.

It is replaced by the new Job Support scheme from the 1st November for a period of six months. This scheme is designed to support jobs and businesses that are sustainable in the longer term.

Under the new scheme the salaries of employees working fewer hours due to lower demand on services or products are supported.

  • Employers will pay staff for the hours worked. This must be at least a third of their contracted or regular worked hours.
  • The government and employer will each cover one third of lost pay
  • This gives the employee an approximate salary of 77% of their usual pay.
  • The grant is capped at £697.92 a month.

This scheme is open to all small and medium sized businesses across the UK, regardless of whether they used the furlough scheme. It may also be applicable for larger businesses who have seen a drop in turnover during the crisis.

Support for businesses

Adjustments have been made to payment terms for the Bounce Back loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption loans  as follows:-

  • An extension to the time for loans to be repaid to a maximum of 10 years.
  • A payment holiday can be taken which will not affect credit rating.
  • Or you can choose to switch to interest only payments for a period, again this will not affect credit rating.

The closing date for all business loan applications is extended until the 31st December this year.  A new loan scheme will be launched in January with details to be announced in due course.

VAT

To date approximately £30bn of Vat has been deferred to March 2021.  Businesses now have the option to clear this deferral over 11 equal instalments, starting March 2021, interest free.

Self-Assessment liabilities that are due 31 January 2021 can also be split into payments over a 12-month period.

The lower rates of tax at 5%, across Hospitality and Tourism sector will remain until 31 March 2021, instead of ending in January.

The above measures have all been designed to support businesses with their cash flow as they continue to manage their finances through the crisis.

Remote working: how to get your business ready

In a crisis, the ability for your staff to work remotely could, quite literally, be a lifesaver.

But how do you set up your team to become remote workers? And what are the key considerations to think about when working remotely in the cloud?

Key considerations of remote working

61% of global companies currently have some sort of remote working policy for their staff, according to a 2019 survey. But for remote working to be effective, your business needs to put some serious thought into the infrastructure, security and culture around home-working.

  • Use the right cloud-based software tools and IT hardware.   To make remote working effective, ensure you have the right hardware and software to keep your team connected and working productively. So, laptops, tablets and a speedy internet connection are vital.
  • Be highly conscious of online security.  You’re likely to have sensitive customer and business data on your network, so it’s absolutely critical to use a secure connection. This may mean using a VPN (virtual private network) and two-step encryption.
  • Track your time and manage workflow online. When your team is remote you can’t keep track of their workflow in person. Instead, use time-tracking tools and online workflow management systems to monitor time spent and the progress of projects.
  • Ensure there’s real-time communication and messaging.  A key element that remote workers miss is face-to-face interaction with their colleagues. So, it’s important to have video and online messaging tools to promote good communication within the team.
  • Give clear guidance and retraining for staff. The motivation levels needed to stay efficient as a remote worker are very different to those of traditional office-based staff. Training is needed to help your people acclimatise and get used to self-managing their workload.

Covid – 19 Update

Image result for government covid

Following a series of calls and emails received from concerned customers regarding Covid -19, we want to outline our strategy in response to the virus.

Continuation of Service:

Whilst we have to react to the situation as it unfolds, as a cloud-based business, Normans is well placed to continue to deliver our services with minimal disruption. We have already introduced home working inline with the government request to minimise social contact. At present all our staff are unaffected by the virus and working on your accounts as usual.  Our office landline number is being managed so at present there is absolutely no difficulty in contacting us.

We will keep you updated over the coming weeks if things change.

Customer Support:

The Government have announced a number of measures to support businesses through this situation. These include:

  • For businesses with fewer than 250 employees.  The cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full.

 

  • A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement

 

  • Introduced a new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank. This will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41 million to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million. The government will cover up to 80% of any losses with no fees.

If you need help or support with any of the points above then please feel free to call us on 01922 456 105. Our Managing Director Rob Burnell will help you wherever possible.

National Minimum Wage Increase

In April legislation comes in to increase the National Living Wage (NMW).

Here is a breakdown of the new salary rates that apply from April 2020 onwards.

  • The National Living Wage for ages 25 and above – up 6.2% to £8.72
  • The National Minimum Wage for 21 to 24-year-olds – up 6.5% to £8.20
  • 18 to 20-year-olds – up 4.9% to £6.45
  • Under-18s – up 4.6% to £4.55
  • Apprentices – up 6.4% to £4.15

If Normans Bookkeeping and Payroll Ltd process your payrolls, do not worry, we will make any salary amendments necessary.

 

 

 

Set the right growth goals for your business this year

CONTENT

If you’re going to grow your company in the right way, pinning down your goals and having a clear vision for the business from the outset is vital.

You may want to increase profits and create an income that supports your lifestyle, or you are looking to increase market share and aim for hypergrowth. You may even be aiming to increase the overall value of the company to get the best return when exiting the business.

So, how do you define the goal that’s right for you?

Driving your performance over time

Your financial model will drive the way you generate value, so it’s important to make your business strategy fit the goals and type of growth you want to attain.

To set your finances up in the optimum way, you must:

  • Know what you want to achieve with the business – decide if you’re aiming for lifestyle, hypergrowth or return on investment and make this your key business goal.
  • Align your personal goals with the business – so your finances can be set-up to deliver the cash you need, with the best return and the most effective tax liability.
  • Track and measure your performance – allowing you to see how you’re progressing against your goal, and provide a scorecard to drive your ongoing business strategy.

Talk to us about about goal-setting

If you’re looking to grow your business, we’ll help you talk through your core vision, define the most effective goals and set up your finances to achieve these aims.

Get in touch with us at Normans Bookkeeping & Payroll Ltd to talk through your business goals.