In these challenging economic times, the ability to borrow money from your company is a handy resource to have at hand. However, what happens if the borrowing becomes a more regular occurrence, and ultimately, the company director can’t repay what has been borrowed from the company?
In this short article, we look at the pros and cons of Director’s loans, and how we advise handling them.
What Is A Director’s Loan?
A director’s loan is funds you take out from your company’s bank account that isn’t classed as salary, dividends, or legitimate expenses. In simple terms, it is money that you, as a company director, borrow from your company and will have to eventually repay.
The alternate scenario is when a director lends money to the company. This could be in a start-up situation or to help the company through cash flow difficulties. In this case, the director becomes one of the company’s creditors.
HMRC have issued detailed guidance to follow in either scenario – https://www.gov.uk/directors-loans
For the purpose of this article we are going to focus on the first scenario, a director borrowing funds from the company.
The main advantage of a director’s loan is being able to borrow money easily and cheaply, especially for short periods. Directors can use a short-term loan from the company to pay an unexpected personal bill instead of taking a dividend, which may have higher rate tax implications for the director.
There is no maximum value that a director is allowed to borrow through a director’s loan but consideration should be given towards how much the company can afford to lend before the business itself will suffer from cash flow shortage.
The trick is to repay the loan to avoid any corporation tax consequences. It also saves having to utilise external sources of finance, who will charge higher interest rates and most likely tie you in to a fixed repayment period.
When a director takes more money out of the company than they put in they are in an overdrawn position. Remember that the loan needs to be paid back to the company. The loan becomes problematic if your company finances change due to cash flow challenges or unforeseen financial problems arise. The director’s loan may exacerbate the cash flow situation and have a negative impact on the overall company activities – possibly even leading to forced closure.
The size of the loan is also important to consider. If you have taken out a significant director’s loan, HMRC may view the loan as salary. This is most likely to happen when your loan exceeds £10,000. If HMRC considers this to be a withdrawal for salary, you will, of course, become liable for national insurance and income tax on it.
Finally, there is a time limit on paying back a director’s loan. The director’s loan must be paid back in full to the company accounts within 9 months and one day of the company year-end. If you fail to do this in time, you will be charged a corporation tax charge, which is currently 32.5% of the loan amount. If you fail to pay back the loan altogether, you could be forced into personal bankruptcy.
Our Final Thoughts and A Checklist For You To Follow
There’s no issue with having a director’s loan. However, we advise our clients to only take a director’s loan in short-term scenarios. Below is a short checklist if you are considering a director’s loan.
• Only take out a director’s loans when it is absolutely necessary
• Repay your director’s loan within nine months and one day of the company year-end if possible
• Borrow less than £10,000
• If you must borrow £10,000 or more, you must report it on your self-assessment tax return and the company must treat it as a benefit in kind
• Wait at least 30 days between taking out different director’s loans
• Be certain that your company has made a profit before declaring dividends
Director’s loans are a complex area and shouldn’t be used without due consideration. Up to date accounts and good cash management are key when considering a director’s loan.
Need More Advice And Support With Director’s Loans?
Get in touch with NKY Consulting to find out how we can help with Directors Remuneration Review. After a quick fact find, we’ll give you some simple advice on how to pay yourself in the most tax-efficient way.
Growing Your Business?
What You Can Gain From Investing In Cloud Accounting
Growing your business is not easy. It is stressful and demanding, especially if lots of finance data is spinning about your head. But seeing your business grow and accomplishing your personal goals is extremely satisfying!
Investing in the best business tools is one of the keys to developing a growing business. It’s critical that you can access and manage your accounts in a fast and efficient manner. NKY Consulting has the solution for you in Xero Cloud Accounting software.
Xero is entirely cloud-based accounting software. You can manage multiple data sources on one platform, allowing you to perform bookkeeping functions like invoicing and payroll, and it also allows you to connect the software to a live bank feed. Plus, it’s great for reporting. It’s the best product on the market, and that’s why we use it!
Let’s analyse its benefits together, but first let’s learn what Xero cloud accounting software is.
What Is Xero Cloud Accounting Software?
Xero cloud accounting software has all the same functionality as desktop accounting but moves the whole process to the cloud and expands upon it. You can manage and access data from any location with any device. There’s no desktop application – you log in to an always-up-to-date online solution. All the data is secured safely on a cloud server. Most cloud platforms will also have an open API, meaning third party software can connect with your system to provide even further value to you as a business owner. Say goodbye to accounting spreadsheets held on your office desktop computer!
Xero Cloud Accounting Software – The Key Benefits
- Time Saving & Money Saving
We all know how important time and money are when you want to grow your business. We all want to get paid quickly and keep cash flow positive. Xero allows you to take control of your business with full automation and high-level accuracy, reducing the amount of time you spend on manual inputs.
You can complete invoice templates for invoices with clients’ contact details saved in Xero. Set-up a repeat invoice that can be immediately emailed to the client – it’s as easy as that!
- Work Simultaneously With Your Accountant
Both you and your accountant need to have a clear view of your business’ current financial position. With Xero you can collaborate in real-time with your entire finance team. Wherever you are in the world you can connect to your accountant through Xero, instantly reviewing information together.
Xero sits on the cloud and adheres to the strictest cloud security standards. It’s accessed using a two-step authentication process for added security. All information is encrypted so only you can see your finances. Even if your laptop is stolen or you do not have access to your device, your data will not be lost. With Xero you’re always in control.
- No More Spreadsheets
Wave goodbye to numerous spreadsheets that are time consuming, prone to error and suck the time out of your day. Xero allows you to automatically connect your bank accounts feeds, saving you time and removing the need to reconcile your bank account on a spreadsheet.
- Improve Business Efficiency
Xero has over 700+ third party integrations that help make your business more efficient. Use Xero, and clients’ invoices, bank statements, receipts, etc., can be managed by uploading receipts and statements to cloud-based document hubs. Chase unpaid invoices or automate reporting and financial analysis. All this can be done using Xero apps.
As you see there are a host of benefits from using Xero for your business. It’s very easy-to-use, with fantastic features that can grow with your business.
NKY Consulting are certified Xero partners, which means we can help you get everything set up correctly and show you around. If you’d like to learn more about Xero cloud accounting software and how it can improve your business contact us for a free consultation.
When should your business register for VAT? For anyone running a small business it can be a challenging process following the HMRC rules, particularly if the business owner is being pulled in different directions.
This article answers when you need to register your business for VAT, and the registration process to be followed.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax charged by VAT-registered businesses on most goods and services in the UK. It is also charged on some goods and services that are imported from outside the UK.
If a VAT-registered business is charged VAT when it buys goods or services, it can normally reclaim the VAT it has incurred. If the entity is not VAT-registered, then it cannot recover the VAT that is charged.
VAT-registered businesses charge customers VAT on top of the sales price, collect the cash, and then pay it over to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) – less any VAT they have incurred on their purchases.
When Do I Need To Register For VAT?
You need to register your business with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) when your VAT taxable turnover:
- exceeds £85,000 in the last 12-month period
- is expected to be more than £85,000 in the next 30-day period
VAT Taxable Turnover
VAT taxable turnover is the total value of everything you sell that is not exempt from VAT. Therefore, you need to include sales taxable at the standard, reduced and zero rates.
You must register for VAT with HMRC if turnover is greater than the current registration threshold (£85,000) in a rolling 12-month period. This is not a fixed period like the tax year or the calendar year – it could be any period, for example from the start of June 2020 to the end of May 2021.
How To Register
You need to register your business on the HMRC virtual portal and include any partner company or group of companies that operate under the same VAT number. After creating your VAT online account, also known as a Government Gateway account, you will receive your VAT registration number once your registration has been confirmed. This is issued within 30 days.
On occasions, online registration is not allowed. In these cases, you need to register by post, for example, if you are an EU Business that trades with Northern Ireland.
When you register, you will be sent a VAT registration certificate. This confirms:
- your VAT number
- when to submit your first VAT Return and payment
- your ‘effective date of registration’ – this depends on the date you went over the threshold, or is the date you asked to register if it was voluntary
You can reclaim the VAT you’ve paid on certain purchases made before you registered.
Using An Agent
You can also use an agent or an accountant to submit your VAT Returns and deal with HMRC requests.
You can register voluntarily if your business turnover is below £85,000. You must pay HMRC any VAT you owe from the date they register you.
Exception From Registration
If you exceed the VAT registration threshold (£85,000) but believe that your VAT taxable turnover will not exceed the deregistration threshold, in the next 12 months, you can apply to HMRC for an exception from registration. This can be done on form VAT1. This may be the case if you have a one-off sale that is particularly large.
By registering in the HMRC online account, you must:
- Charge the correct amount of VAT for your products and services
- Pay any due VAT to HMRC and submit VAT returns
- Keep VAT records
Making Tax Digital (MTD)
If your VAT taxable turnover is greater than £85,000, you must keep records digitally using a compatible software package. This way, you keep your digital records safe and have access to all your data in one place.
From 1 April 2022 all VAT registered businesses must sign up to MTD, whatever their turnover.
Need More Advice And Support With VAT For Your Business?
Get in touch with NKY Consulting to find out how we can help with VAT and other compliance services.
Every business, no matter what size or sector, will engage in some form of budgeting to plan what needs to be achieved and, most importantly, to assess what the business can achieve.
Whilst current economic conditions and factors external to the business can make budgeting and forecast scenario planning more challenging, it goes without saying that budgeting deserves full attention and focus from all key stakeholders involved in the growth and success of your organisation.
The Importance Of Budgeting
A budget provides a forward-looking overview of both the current state of your finances (including income and expenses) and your long-term financial goals. Your budget will be critical in making sound financial decisions across all areas of the business.
Having been involved in budget cycles for various organisations, I am well versed on why good budgeting is so important, what steps organisations should follow in the budget process, and the many benefits that can be realised from a sound budgeting process.
Understanding the value of good budgeting for your business and the key steps to achieve this, will provide valuable insights for any organisation that is new to budgeting, or perhaps seeking to improve their budgeting process.
The Budget Process
A budget should cover the full Income Statement: revenue, cost of sales, gross profit, overheads, net profit, and taxation. The budget should also consider cash flow – there’s no sense in having revenue growth in your budget if it’s not factored in a positive cash flow.
Do not forget to budget for Capital Expenditure. This can be a significant area of any organisation’s cash outflows and must be included in the budget.
The budget process can easily be broken down into six key steps, which will involve both planning ahead, as well as reviewing historical information to recognise where you are now and where you are going.
1. Plan The Budget Cycle
I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan the budget cycle. Start early, plan ahead, and set deadlines for draft budgets to be reviewed. Typically, those involved in the budgeting process have their day job too, so communicating deadlines to team members and giving plenty notice of the deadlines, is essential to keep the budget cycle on track
2. Start With Your Current Operational Plans, Schedules & Financial Results
The best sources of information for budget preparation are all around the organisation and beyond.
There are several documents that are key when preparing a budget. These are:
- Business Plan
- Operational Planning Schedules
- Historical Financial Results
Kick off with these documents and determine the operations that are driving the budget, and support the strategic goals and objectives of the business. Don’t simply take last year’s results and assume 5% increment across the financials – business is rarely that easy.
Consider external factors that will influence the budget. For example, oil price fluctuations, Brexit, change in government policies, and market developments, such as new entrants or mergers and acquisitions
3. Factor In Your Growth Strategy
Most organisations aim to grow, or at the very least maintain their revenue base. Think carefully about how growth can be achieved. Do new markets need to be developed? Or new customers? Or selling more to current customers?
4. Get The Right People And Information Into The Discussion
Budgeting can be simple, but it can also be complex depending on the individuals and information brought into the mix. Use one version of the operational plan. Do not have multiple versions that can cause confusion and uncertainty between users and departments.
Get the key people involved in the budget. For example, accountants are the ideal people to develop budgets, but they also require input from operations-based individuals. We all have our core skills and knowledge. Put these to good use during the budget cycle.
5. Make Use Of Proper Budgeting Tools
Utilise software that makes budgeting easy. Most accounting software has a built-in budgeting tool, so there are other options aside from excel. You should have easy access to historical results for prior years, which will make the budget process much more efficient. Let your software do the work for you!
6. Work Bottom-Up And Top-Down >>> Meet In The Middle
A budget dictated downwards by senior management is unlikely to be effective. Likewise, departmental budgets that are consolidated at company level are highly likely to be over-optimistic and unachievable. Usually, every department wants more than is available.
The budget process should be overseen by senior management who are closer to the organisation’s strategic goal during the cycle, with the budget being delivered by the departments in the organisation. Then, during the review process, the budget is aligned to key markets, funds available, and the most profitable opportunities.
Benefits Of Budgeting
Planning your budget objectives and implementing a budget cycle with key deadlines is an important part of the process. Preparing a budget properly will ultimately result in a number of benefits for your organisation.
- Your Organisation Can Clearly See Its Financial Goals
You know where you are and where you want to get to in the budget period. However, the budget goals must be consistent with the strategic plan and direction of your organisation.
2. Meet Operational Objectives
The budget acts as a performance tool to ensure that operational goals and objectives are being worked towards and achieved. Resources are allocated in a defined, prescriptive manner to support the achievement of pre-established objectives.
3. New Project Development Resulting From Well-Managed Capital
Budgets highlight key areas of project development and improvement. Aggregated budget information will identify best use of capital resources, resulting in best value return on investment by analysing your initial and final value from capital expenditure.
4. Improve Your Decision-Making
Your budget should act as a guide and keep your business on the right pathway to growth and success. When inter-departmental conflicts arise, the budget will aid efficient communication and enhance transparency, preventing unexpected situations and improving management decisions.
5. Performance Measurement
One of the significant benefits from preparing a budget is being able to critically evaluate performance across the organisation. Evaluation will inevitably lead to performance review and identification of areas of the organisation that are profitable and areas of the business that need to improve.
6. Future Planning
Creating a budget and rolling forecasts will support the changes that you want to bring to your business. A defined budget will identify the highest-value business priorities and can easily be shared with employees and other stakeholders for greater transparency, increased feedback, and improved communication.
7. Investor Confidence
Investors in an organisation are continually seeking assurance that the organisation is on the right track, and that their funds are being properly utilised and in operations that are consistent with the vision and objectives of the organisation. A detailed budget that can be openly shared with investors is key to adding confidence.
Preparing a budget should be seen as a positive exercise for your organisation given the significant benefits that can be realised. Don’t see it as an onerous task, rather consider your budget process as an extremely valuable business planning tool. See your budget as a transformational exercise that will improve financial performance and decision-making, and act as a framework for business growth.
Through improved collaboration, communication and data management, your business will be ready to implement those projects that will really make a difference to the bottom line of your organisation.
For further advice or assistance with your budget planning, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 homeworking has become the norm for many millions of people. While homeworking you are entitled to include part of the running costs of your home in your business accounts, resulting in tax savings. Below are some valuable tips to work out how much you can claim.
1. What is an ‘allowable expense’?
By law, an expense is allowable as a deduction only if it is incurred ‘wholly and exclusively’ for business purposes. It does not have to be billed separately nor does the part of your home have to be set aside permanently for business. For example, you can claim for allowable expenses for a room used as your office during work hours, but it must not be used for other purposes during that time.
2. Won’t my allowable expenses be similar to other businesses similar to mine?
Not necessarily. People organise their businesses differently, so there is no fixed proportion of costs allowable for particular types of business. That said, the amount you seek to deduct as an allowable expense is expected to be similar to someone running a similar type of business in similar circumstances.
3. What factors are considered when apportioning an expense?
Area – how much of your home is used for business purposes? Usage – how much is consumed (e.g., where there is a metered/measurable supply such as electricity, gas or water). Time – how long is it used for business purposes.
4. Are heating, lighting and power costs allowable?
Where used wholly and exclusively by your business, yes, a proportion of the amount you pay is allowable. Obviously, that proportion will be determined by how much power your business consumes in your home. Some businesses use far more than others. A proportion of water charges are also allowable.
5. Are telephone and broadband costs allowable?
If used wholly and exclusively for business, yes. If used partially for business, a suitable proportion is allowable. An itemised bill will help when it comes to working out the cost of business calls made. Some of the monthly charges you pay to telephone / broadband providers is also allowable.
6. Can I claim insurance costs?
If you have separate business cover, this is allowed in full, but no part of your household policy is allowed in that case. If you do not have separate business cover, a suitable proportion of your domestic insurance is allowable.
7. Can I claim a portion of my council tax?
An appropriate proportion of your council tax bill is allowable, if part of your home is used exclusively for business some or all of the time.
8. Is mortgage interest allowable?
If part of your home is used solely for business some or all of the time, a proportion of the mortgage interest you pay is allowable. Repayments of capital are not allowable.
9. What if I rent the property? Can I claim a proportion of my rent?
Part of the rent you pay to a landlord is an allowable expense if part of your house/flat is used solely for business purposes for a proportion of the time you work. A sole trader cannot charge a separate rent to their business because you cannot rent a property to yourself.
10. Are repair and maintenance costs allowable?
Yes, if you operate your business from your home some of the cost of general household repairs and maintenance is allowable. That might include redecoration of the exterior of the building or roof repairs. If a room is used solely for business, redecoration costs are wholly allowable.
11. Can I claim for money spent improving my home?
If you mean having an extension built or fitting a new kitchen, as examples, no, neither is an allowable expense.
12. What if my business operates mostly away from my home?
You can still claim deductions for allowable expenses generated when part of your home is used solely for business. A home-based office used for administration purposes is a common example.
13. Where can I get more information on home expenses?
You can get advice on allowable expenses if you are self-employed (including expenses incurred if you use your home for business such as premises, utilities, telephone and internet expenses) from the HM Revenue & Customs website. Alternatively, you can call HMRC’s self-assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310.
Speak to your accountant or tax adviser to help you understand the essentials and claim all the expenses you are entitled to.
You have done the hard work. The customer is happy. You can rest easy. Afraid not!
Now it’s time to get paid. How easy is it? It should be simple but how often have you delivered great work and not been paid on time?
Follow these simple steps, make your life easier and keep your bank balance healthy.
Get Your Paperwork Signed Off Quickly
It’s so so important to get ALL paperwork approved by the client before you submit your invoice. Always include any client approved documentation with the invoice.
Some examples are:
- Delivery Note
- Expense Receipts
- Third party documentation
- Purchase Order
If you don’t you run the risk of the invoice being returned, or even worse put to the bottom of the “Queries” tray by the Accounts Payable department. Agree with the customer, in writing, what is required as backup and ensure this is provided for every single invoice you submit.
One way is to use an invoice template. You will find loads of templates online in excel or word format. Personally, I prefer to use excel as it enables easy summation of line items and sub-totals.
A more effective way to generate your invoices is using accounting or bookkeeping software. Invoices are easily generated. They are recorded in the sales ledger and debtors account, and automatically sent to the customer by email. You have real-time data and instant access to your debtors’ account. Remember the backup though!
- If you have a Purchase Order number, make sure it’s shown on the invoice. No PO will likely mean No Payment.
- Don’t Forget to State the Invoice Due Date. This might be upon receipt of your invoice or within 30 days. Whatever you agree in the contract state those terms on the invoice.
Keeping It Legal
HMRC require certain details to be shown on every invoice you generate. Follow the guidance and stay legal!
- A unique invoice ID number
- Your company name, address, and contact information
- The company name and address of the customer you are invoicing
- A clear description of what you are charging for
- A supply date (i.e. the date the goods/services were provided)
- An invoice date
- A breakdown of the amount being charged to the client
- The VAT amount if applicable
- The total amount
Sole traders also need to include:
- You name and any business name being used
- An address where any legal documents can be delivered to you
Limited Companies must include the full company name as it appears on your certificate of incorporation.
Include The Right Information
The information you include on the invoice will depend on what you are charging for and the customer requirements. It may be a simple one-line invoice for monthly services or three pages of line items to cover all manner of sales. Include relevant but concise information on the invoice.
Ensure the content is easy to follow and the format is clear and tidy. No one wants to waste time reviewing an invoice that is difficult to understand. Remember you want paid on time and without hassle!
When Should You Send Your Invoice?
This one is obvious – when the work is done! Don’t wait ten days….or twenty days!
Think of your cashflow. Get the invoice out and the money in.
Consider requesting milestone payments or payment in advance if the job is a big one and likely to stretch your own cash-flow.
Mistakes To Avoid
You will come across difficult customer in business. They may just be difficult individuals or perhaps their systems and processes are not as good as yours! It all adds to potential issues you need to aware of.
Here are some common mistakes you can easily avoid:
- Make sure you know who you should send the invoice to. Do not send your invoice to the wrong person.
- Double check that your invoice adds up properly. Multiple line items can lead to summation errors. And taxes such as VAT can lead to miscalculations. Check, check and check again!
- Your text and descriptions should be clear and understandable. If they are vague you are giving your client room for manoeuvre. Remember the key is getting paid on time.
The Follow Up & Getting Paid
If it is a new customer you are working with, give them a call a few days after you’ve submitted the invoice. Ask politely that the invoice has been received.
If the invoice has 30-day payment terms, email the customer a couple of weeks later to check on the invoice status. Ask whether the invoice has been approved and a payment date.
You will normally have your own suppliers to pay. Fair-minded customers will appreciate cashflow is important for your business too. Once payment is received send the customer a brief thank you email. We all like to be flattered. Being thanked for paying on time will improve the long-term relationship.
It can be hard work chasing payment. It is a waste of time and resources, and often a source of tension and stress. By following these steps and avoiding the common mistakes you stand an excellent chance of being paid on time.
You will improve your cash flow, reduce your stress, and have access to additional funds to improve your business. Sounds like a plan to me!
Are you seeking immediate and long term business support?
Is your existing accountant providing the correct information for you to make the right choices for your business?
To help Business Owners move forward we are delighted to launch the NKY Consulting Business Recovery Programme.
As a Business Owner you wish to:
▪ Achieve your goals
▪ Build and realise value in your business
▪ Gain lifestyle improvements
▪ Deal with challenges as they arise
▪ Create personal wealth
The programme has been developed to provide businesses and their owners with support, direction and solutions in these most challenging of times.
How We Work With You
- We kick off with a free personal discovery meeting to review your business and maximise your cash flow.
- We will send you a summary report identifying the key financial and business opportunities available.
- Together we decide what is most urgent, important and relevant to your business.
- We prepare a next steps action plan that puts you back in control and on the road to planning your future business success.
Seven key steps that support the transition from:
Survival > Recovery > Rebuild > Growth
The programme operates in a structured and understandable manner, enabling your business to implement immediate and effective business tools to get back on track to recovery, rebuild and growth.
Don’t stick your head in the sand, plan a brighter future for you and your business.
Contact us today for your initial discovery meeting.
Outsourcing parts of your business is not a new way of working. It’s been around for many years. You may call upon legal advice when required, or perhaps your IT department is run virtually by a third party. All arrangements that work perfectly well if managed and controlled effectively. The progression to cloud-based services makes the Finance Function ideal for being managed virtually.
The Benefits of Investing in a Virtual Finance Function
- Access to SPECIALIST ADVICE and KNOWLEDGE across a wide range of areas
- Business Strategy & Advice
- Budgeting and Planning
- Cash Management
- Statutory Accounts
- Credit Control
- Cloud Accounting Software
- Management Accounts
- Taxation / VAT
- Latest Business Practices and Government Regulations
- PEACE OF MIND that your finance function is being taken care of, allowing you to focus on running your business.
- Expert ADVICE on latest government regulations, software and reporting tools that can help your business flourish.
- When owning a business RISK MANAGEMENT is key. Every business has to pay taxes, file annual accounts and run payroll. Get it right first time by recruiting EXPERTISE in these areas. You have immediate access to the specialists you need.
- Reduce TIME & RESOURCES that are dedicated to finance duties. FOCUS your time on your core business. Leave the Finance Function to the experts in this field.
- Agree a distinct package that is tailored to meet your company requirements > FLEXIBILITY & SCALABILITY. You only pay for your own specific and unique needs. You can increase or decrease resources easily as operations dictate.
- Access to REAL-TIME management and financial INFORMATION enabling informed and effective business decisions being made in a timely manner.
- Costs are generally higher for companies with internal Finance Functions versus those who outsource. When done correctly, outsourcing, almost always DECREASES OVERHEAD COSTS.
As businesses emerge from lockdown it’s expected that more will be persuaded by the advantages of utilising a Virtual Finance Function. As highlighted above the benefits are clear and tangible. If you are considering a Virtual Finance Function to positively impact your business please get in touch for an initial discovery call.
Has your business prepared a full re-forecast in these challenging times? If the answer is NO, then now is the time to do it. Revenue, Operating costs, Overheads and Cashflow must be reviewed and re-forecast. No easy task but it’s key for any successful business, especially in these times of extreme change.
Many businesses will be encountering uncertainties at present due to:
- Activity down
- Government grants and loans received
- Cashflow volatility
Business owners are often confused by complicated management accounts and accounting jargon. They want presentations where the information and content are easily understandable.
Information presented in the right format is a real game changer in terms of analysing business performance and aiding the decision-making process.
The data table shows Budgeted Monthly Sales versus Actual / Forecast. Not very exciting is it!
Will this grab the attention of the business owner? I doubt it!
When this data is translated into a chart it becomes far more effective and powerful.
We can immediately see the budgeted and actual / forecast sales month by month; the reduction in sales in Q2 due to the impact of COVID-19, then the forecast upturn through Q3.
Annual sales are forecast to be £1M less than budgeted which should raise a number of follow up questions.
- Are there departments within the business that are struggling more than others?
- Can the cost base be reduced to offset the decrease in sales?
- What impact will the drop in sales have on the Cashflow forecast?
- Your accountant should be answering these questions and providing this level of insight on a monthly basis.
Below is a Waterfall chart tracking budgeted vs forecast overheads for 2020.
It’s far more effective to view the movements graphically. A list of numbers or data table just don’t carry the same insight or effectiveness. The waterfall chart is ideal for visualising:
- The starting value > Budget
- The positive and negative changes expected > Overhead cost categories
- The resulting end value > Forecast
Monthly re-forecasting is critical for all businesses.
Charts and graphs are great ways of presenting data and explaining the story.
Make sure your accountant provides this information on a monthly basis. If they aren’t, as a business owner, you should be asking why not……or finding an accountant that does!
It is highly recommended that your business has access to a Qualified Accountant. Like any specialist service a Qualified Accountant provides insight and adds value to your business by:
- Managing your cash flow effectively
- Ensuring debtors and creditors are reviewed on a regular basis
- Advising of changes in legislation, reporting requirements and technological developments
- Providing advice on a suitable structure for your business
- Submitting documentation to HMRC, ensuring your business meets the deadlines with accurate numbers
Every business does not need a full time accountant. However it’s critical that your business works with an accountant that understands your business and industry, and provides you with SMART Management information.
SMART >> Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely
At NKY Consulting, we have over 20 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector; our specialism is working in Industry, and utilising this experience to assist the clients we work with.
In the UK there is no requirement for someone who calls themselves an ‘accountant’ to have special training or experience. They may have no qualifications or basic competence to do the job. Any individual can register with a professional accounting body, but that doesn’t mean they are a Qualified Accountant.
To reduce the risk to your business use the services of a Qualified Accountant. Check the accountant’s accreditation, ensure they have professional indemnity insurance, a practicing certificate, anti-money laundering supervision, and ask for recommendations from your network. Arrange to meet the accountant to get an understanding of their experience and personal qualities; probe them with questions.
Neil Yeoman from NKY Consulting has FCCA status. He is a Qualified Accountant with a practicing certificate from The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Another accreditation in Scotland is The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS). Both carry that badge of integrity.
Members of professional bodies must comply with an ethical code of conduct and benefit from support systems including continued professional development, ongoing regulation and information, technical advice as well as useful networks. If something goes wrong, there is recourse for the client via the professional body. You don’t have that protection if you employ an unqualified accountant.
To conclude, utilise the services of a qualified accountant and experienced business professional. NKY Consulting fulfil these obligations allowing you to rest easier as a business owner.