business advice


Compete or Collaborate?

Posted on February 11th, by Helen in business advice. Comments Off

How often do you attend a networking meeting and see a number of your competitors?
If you get the sinking feeling then maybe you need to think again. Last night I found myself in a packed room with at least three other accountants. Joining in a brief conversation with one, I learnt that this accountant is taking on audit work. That’s great because I have never had any desire to carry out audits for companies. Now I know who to turn to when I need an auditor.
Another of my competitors, again a qualified accountant spoke for a minute on his practice’s strengths and mentioned inheritance tax planning. Again – this is not an area that I wish to cover.

Every business has its niche and area of expertise. I am a management accountant and finance director with a focus on profitability, cash … Read More »


Interim or final dividend?

Posted on December 9th, by Helen in business advice, Finance, Profit. Comments Off

Does it matter whether the dividend is final or interim if the tax treatment is the same? Dividends are used by many business owners as a tax-efficient way to extract profit from a company. So it is important to understand the procedure for paying them.

The Companies Act 2006

It isn’t HMRC that makes the distinction between the two dividend types, but company law. The Companies Act 2006 says “The company may by ordinary resolution declare dividends, and the directors may decide to pay interim dividends”

So one group of people, the directors,may pay interim dividends, but shareholder approval must be obtained before a final dividend is paid.

So why is HMRC interested?

HMRC doesn’t particularly care which type of dividend is
paid. It is interested in whether the payment is really a dividend or whether
it was salary a bonus or a loan payment. As … Read More »


We have no payroll, we have no employees!

Posted on October 18th, by Helen in business advice, News, Payroll. Comments Off

If you have employees then by now you should be filing on-line payroll returns every time you pay your employees. From 6 April 2013 employers started reporting payroll information to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in real time. You may see this referred to as Real Time Information – or RTI. This means that employers (or their accountant or bookkeeper) have to:

send details to HMRC every time they run the payroll and pay an employee, at the time they pay them
use payroll software to send this information electronically as part of their routine payroll process

But we don’t have any employees!

Really? Are you sure?

Think very carefully about all of the people you make payments to. Are you really sure that they are self-employed?

Now that I have planted a seed a doubt in your mind take a look at the Employment Status … Read More »



Budgets – What was your New Year’s Resolution?

Posted on January 14th, by admin in business advice, Business Budgeting, News. Comments Off

We often view the New Year as a clean start – an opportunity to improve on the previous year. Perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to become more efficient in 2013? Recently I helped an organisation to draw up their budgets for 2013 and it revealed a few interesting problems.

The first request for information drew a disappointing response – a couple of minor items and some estimates that gave the impression they were based on last year plus a bit for inflation. Further prompting generated a little more discussion, a few new items and not much else.

Two things became clear.

That the budget was seen as something finance people prepare and nothing that anyone else should have to worry about.
Although there was a target profit level, there were no plans as to how this would be achieved.

My concern was that either … Read More »