A progressive, South West based accountancy practice

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Our biggest news of the year!

On 4th September, we are sponsoring a seminar in Plymouth that uses a case study to show how one small business got an extra £2.3 million to keep and spend in any way they wanted, and how other businesses can get broadly similar results.

The speaker is Steve Pipe – a Chartered Accountant who, according to LinkedIn, is one of the 3 top speakers in the UK and the most highly rated accountant in the world. We have worked with Steve for just over 12 months, and are really excited, as this is the first time he has presented this in Plymouth. (You can see the 340+ recommendations for him on his LinkedIn profile here:

www.linkedin.com/in/stevepipe

More tax saved

New client came in on Wednesday, worried about her tax affairs and whether she had completed her last two returns correctly. By Friday evening, we had identified over £3,000 of tax refunds for her, which covered our fees 3.5x over.

Our new systemised approach is really paying dividends

Well done to Emily (and the relevant clients). This month’s VAT returns have all been filed with 12 days to spare – a record! For those of you with June quarter ends, you know what to do!

Using our systematic ‘Accounts Finalisation’ approach, we have identified a saving of over £2,900 that could be enjoyed by a client next year …

… and another client has benefitted by a tax saving of £4,703 from claiming additional capital allowances, identified by using the same checklist.

Improving cash flow

By ensuring that a client received their payments without deduction under the CIS scheme we have helped to improve their Cashflow by £5,000 per month (Not to mention the £10,000 per month cash flow advantage of the VAT scheme recommendations that we made recently!)

More cash in your pocket

We are helping our clients improve their cash flow by introducing them to a highly efficient, low cost Direct debit provider. If your cashflow needs improving, get in touch and we can run through the nine ways to put more cash in YOUR pocket.

Reducing Tax

Three quick successes to report from last week …

  • By amending the way in which a client valued their investments within their company accounts we secured a corporation tax saving of £1,500
  • By ensuring that a client was remunerated in the most efficient manner we saved him over £2,000 in National Insurance
  • By identifying an alternative method of remuneration for a client, we offered them potential tax savings in excess of £7,000

Avoiding that “Monday feeling”

Mondays happen on a regular basis. For most people, Monday is the day we get back after a couple of days off.

Problem is, other people have also had time off, and some of them will have remembered something over the weekend they want you to do. And their first opportunity to ask you is…

…Monday morning.

Here a few tips to help you set up your week for success.

  1. Expect and plan for the unexpected.

You WILL get interrupted. So leave some time for those interruptions. I can remember an instance where we had a potential client walk in off the street with his accounts under his arm. We had capacity for someone to see him, so my boss at the time took the meeting, and we ended up with a client who is still with the firm, over 25 years later!

If you can get in early, use that time to clear one important task before the interruptions begin. If you don’t know what’s important, take that time to allocate your tasks into a prioritised order. I use the four quadrant time management chart. If you would like a copy, get in touch.

Use the Friday afternoon or early Monday start to update and re-prioritise your to do list. There is a mental/ emotional response built in as well, which should help you to “switch off” over the weekend, as you’ll leave feeling that everything is under control.

  1. Keep focused

It sounds counter to the above, but you can build in time for the unexpected, if you plan for your priority tasks. Clearing your desk on a Friday afternoon, and putting away files etc. that are no longer needed sets you up for a great start to the following week.

It will also let you leave work with a sense of having achieved something if your desk is neat and tidy! Time management studies shows that we touch every piece of paper on our desk, at least 7 times before we action it. And if it’s still there the following morning, the whole process starts again.

We tend to have more energy first thing, so tackle that difficult task first. Remember, if you don’t “eat the frog” when it’s small, you’ll have to deal with it when it’s much bigger!

Setting up for a great start should also help to leave at home any negative things that have occurred over the weekend. (Typically HMRC letters tend to arrive on Saturdays!)

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.       Learn to say “no”

You don’t have to do EVERYTHING. Others may be much better at certain things, and (unless it’s your boss), you can say “no” and keep on track. Be aware particularly of people trying to “upload” their tasks. There’s a whole new article to write on resisting upwards delegation!

  1. Be personable

Many people struggle with the whole “Monday morning feeling”. Making sure you take time to catch up with people. Showing an interest in what they did at the weekend, and smiling, can really improve the atmosphere in your workplace. A recent survey revealed that if you can improve team morale by 20%, your PROFITS (note not your income but your profits) will improve by 42%.

And your customers will look forward to seeing you, and may spend more, and more often as a result….

You can also build in some personality to your emails as well. It doesn’t take long to ask “how are you?” or “did you have a good weekend?” at the start of an email. Remember, people buy from people, so being personable can generate extra income.

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.       Don’t overfill your day

I often over commit, and this leaves me feeling like a failure. While setting stretching targets usually leads to better performance, going too far can throw you off track in a big way. This is especially true of Mondays, when interruptions are at their highest. One commentator I read, suggests setting between five and eight goals for each week. Any more can lead to target overload, and the resulting mental stress can quickly ensure that none of the goals are achieved.

  1. Arrive early and well-prepared

Getting in early, having had a healthy breakfast can give you an initial boost. If you can exercise before you get in, so much the better. The endorphins released will also help you feel better, but be careful not to overdo it, as too many endorphins can just make you too relaxed!

  1. And finally…

Remember that there is Tuesday. You don’t have to clear everything on Monday. Generally, the world will not fall apart if you don’t solve all of Monday’s problems on Monday. So take some pressure off yourself and plan to clear some, less important issues, on Tuesday, Wednesday,…. (you get the idea).

Monday mornings can challenge even the very best business leaders, but applying some or all of these techniques should mean you don’t have another Monday morning on Tuesday.

Steve Carey BA (Hons); ACA; CTA

Be on your guard!

HMRC are overriding previously advised income figures for tax credits with figures filed under the RTI system, therefore double check your income on your annual declaration!

**Case study – A client had told the tax credits office in April that their income was £18,000, split between dividends & salary. The RTI filings only showed a salary of £7,680 so they reduced it on his tax credits claim and increased the payments!