New corporation tax rates

As from 1 April corporation tax rates increased for companies with taxable profits above £50,000. The new rate is 25% for companies with taxable profits above £250,000 with a hybrid rate of 26.5% for profits between the two limits.

If your profits are close to the £50,000 you may wish to consider:
1. Are all your costs allowable for tax?
2. Paying into a company pension for yourself or your employees
3. Paying interest on any directors’ loan accounts that are in credit.

Know your client

Lots of client meetings this week. Yes, we need to know our clients for AML but chatting to them usually results in extra work. Sometimes it’s a quick query that can be answered straight away and earn ‘brownie points’ and client loyalty but sometimes it is paying work that earns extra fees.

How often do you speak to your clients?

Getting the most out of conferences

There are all sorts of conferences and events you may attend for different reasons but you need to prioritise what you want to get out of an event in order to make the most of it.

For me it’s usually about the people and maximising the time. I try to meet all the people I chat to remotely throughout the year. Here’s how I go about it.

1. Wear comfortable shoes and make sure that you look like your social media photo so you’re easy to spot. For me this means an up to date, professional photo online and remembering to wear contact lenses, hair down, and usually a branded shirt at the event.

2. First plan any talks you want to see – If speakers are unpaid the talks are often just selling a product rather than real value to you so leave.

3. Next identify any exhibitors you want to catch up with or see new products. This is the time to meet the people. If necessary you can arrange a demo when you get back to the office. Worth having a separate email when booking to separate the more spammy follow ups. If you don’t want a follow up don’t agree to have your badge scanned or hand over your details (it saves their time too)

4. Book when and where you’re going to meet other business friends.

5. Carry plenty of business cards unless you prefer to keep your contacts on Linked In. (Whilst sales folks often have their contact details on Linked In many people don’t due to the volume of unsolicited calls. Having a Linked In profile doesn’t mean that people log into the app; even my retired parents have profiles for some unknown reason 🤷🏻‍♀️)

6. Associated social events are an added bonus. Usually great for dancing but too loud for proper networking (or is it just my age?).

7. Transfer any items to your to do list on the train home so they might actually get done.

8. Book the next day as a quiet day for an introvert crash and/or to follow up on everybody that you met. Add new contacts to your CRM and connect on social media

Less is more

Management accounts. What should they include?

It depends very much on the users, their goals and their understanding of finance.

Most management accounts that I have seen over the years are just information overload. I prefer to focus on three key numbers at a time. These numbers may vary over time as focus shifts to improving different parts of the business.

Of course there should be more information available to drill down but most managers prefer to focus on a few key items at a time.

What do you like to see in management information?

Your business, your goals

When I talk to accountants about how to have a ‘better’ tax return season my assumption is that they want to avoid having to do all the work in a short period but I am aware that some accountants choose to work this way. They deliberately set aside December/January to do nothing but work, and then take most of February as holiday, and work part time the rest of the year.

And you will all have different goals for your businesses.

Most goals are a mixture of profitability, work-life balance, and final valuation on exit. But you might have a specific aspiration to drive a particular car whereas I’m happy with my battered old Skoda when it’s too far to walk/cycle or public transport isn’t suitable.

When we take on new clients the first thing we discuss is what motivated them to set up their business. We do this for coaching clients as well as for Minerva Accountants clients so that we can give the best advice. Not everybody wants to grow an empire. Other people are happy to put in longer hours short term in order to accelerate their new startup.

We run Vision and Values sessions for business owners and/or their teams. But you can read ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek to ensure that you are clear about where you and your business are heading.

You can order ‘Start with Why’ here.

The value of certification

There are all sorts of certifications to ‘prove’ that you run a good business. B-Corp, ISO, free range farming, CPD approved etc
Getting certified for all of these can cost a great deal of money for a small business.
But that shouldn’t stop you doing the right things. You can use these programmes to put systems and processes in place to improve your sustainability, quality, health and safety etc. Once you are running a good business doing the right things you can choose whether to apply for certification.
You might want the formal certification because they are an explicit requirement from your customers or you might want to use it for marketing purposes. If you’ve already done the preparation this can be done relatively quickly and easily.
What certifications will you prepare for?

People are more important than things

People are more important than things

This is one of my fundamental beliefs although it may sound a little odd for an accountant who primarily advises people how to grow their business and/or how to make it more profitable. But many of the techniques we use to make a business less dependent on its owners in order to scale are the same ones that we use to make owners less essential so that they can have a better work life balance.

It is really important to me WHO I work with as it’s about far more than money. While it is important to enjoy our work I also believe that we do our best work for people we like and where we are a good fit. That’s why I only accept about half the people who ask me about coaching.

Sometimes it’s the wrong type of business, or they require different expertise, or it may just be that I don’t feel a connection. Because if you don’t trust me you won’t follow my advice. Not that you have to follow my advice but it would be a waste of your money and my time if you NEVER followed my advice.

One element of what helps to develop a connection is shared values.

We donate 1% of our turnover to charity, we make a donation to fund a day’s education for everybody who attends our free webinars (we like to think that it will encourage the right sort of people to attend), we run a paperless office and, when we can’t avoid travel, we offset. Not surprisingly many of our clients also include charitable donations such as 1% for charity and 1% for sustainability. Or they’re members of B1G1 doing business for good.

So, if you’d like to help a girl to receive a day of education please join us for our series of Better Business webinars (for accountants and bookkeepers) or Money Matters webinars for other business owners. Details here.

Why to enter awards

I love judging awards as I get a sneak preview of what the best accountancy businesses are doing. It’s really exciting to see people pushing the profession forwards. This year I’m fortunate to have been asked to judge both the Accounting Excellence Awards and the Xero Awards. (My atrocious memory means that I immediately forget who has been shortlisted and who has won so you can try bribing me with chocolates as much as you like but I just can’t remember)

I also enter my books into the Business Book Awards. The Numbers Business won first place in its category in 2019 which was a really pleasant surprise for a first time author. Growing by Numbers sank without trace in 2021. And just yesterday Changing the Numbers was shortlisted in its category. We’ll find out if it wins at the big awards dinner on 16 May.  

Entering awards can feel like a lot of hassle or you may be afraid of ‘failure’ so why would you put yourself through that?

  1. Writing out your awards application helps you to realise how much good stuff your business has done.
  2. An award or shortlist helps you to stand out from your competitors
  3. Being shortlisted is as good as a win as far as your work is concerned. Making the shortlist is based on how good YOU are. The winner can depend on who else happens to have entered the same year. You might win or lose depending on your competition more than your own work.
  4. An award or shortlist is great for handling imposter syndrome
  5. An award is great for publicity as it gives you something to shout about in your local community and amongst your clients. Local papers like to hear good news although you may need a bit of an angle such as your reasons for starting the business or how you have overcome adversity.

Not all awards are created equal. Some seem to be more about making money for the organisers, either in large entry fees or selling tables at awards dinners. If the winner is dependent on paying to attend the dinner then it is not worth it.

But there are plenty of reputable awards out there.

Both the awards I judge and enter are open to anyone whether you can be there in person or not. And, if you can afford it, you can treat your team to a great night out to celebrate all their hard work. Or take along some clients to remind them that they have chosen to work with a (potential) award winner.

So go ahead and enter those awards. And let me know if you need a hand to prepare your entries.

The baby bear amount

Not too much, not too little, but just right.

If you’re reading this then you’re probably like me and read/watch a lot of other business advice books and other resources. Some appear to repeat the same ideas and other appear to offer exactly the opposite suggestions and sometimes it can be hard to figure out what is right for your business.

Should I invest in this course/software which will all but guarantee success or should I save my money and bootstrap? Although I’m generally in favour of wise spending I often have bootstrap moments.

Should I work longer hours just to ‘get ahead’ or would I be better off spending quality time resting like an athlete recovering from a sprint. After all, you can’t sprint a marathon.

You are not the same person as me and your business is not like mine. Mentoring can only get you so far by sharing my expertise. That’s why I’m so pleased that my qualification is coaching AND mentoring. People come to me for my expertise as a mentor who has been there, got the t-shirt and even written the book but the coaching techniques help me to focus on YOUR business for maximum impact. Together we can stop any prevarication, financial waste, and work out the best strategy and actions for your business.

When you’re running your own business it’s too easy to get bogged down in the day to day which is why I also use a business coach to help me view my business more objectively. So far, so good.

What else do you do to devise your business strategy and to keep on track between too much and too little, too sweet and too salty?

I want you to pay more tax

If you make more profit you will usually end up paying more tax BUT you also get to keep more for yourself so everybody wins.

Whilst Minerva Accountants is mainly about the compliance work of keeping businesses legal and providing management information the main business, Hudson Business Advice, is about helping business owners to build a better business.

Whether you want more profits, more time, or to increase the value of your business prior to sale you need to do the same sort of things,
– Systemise the business so that it can run independently of you and can be scaled more easily
– Automate where appropriate as this will minimise manual errors and save time
– Let go and delegate, whether to employees, outsourced services, or experts

You can come along to our free webinars or join me on one of our courses or group or individual coaching. The accountability ensures that you will take action to improve your business. And pay more tax.