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5 ways an accountant can help your small business

Hiring a good accountant can add real value to your business. Not only will they help you manage your accounts, they will also help you to make better business decisions, help your company grow, legally minimise your tax bill, and, of course, save you lots of time on admin.

Here’s 5 of the perks of having a professional accountant:Accountants for small business


Grow your business

A good accountant will be able to offer guidance on taking your business to the next level and the best way to do it, from structuring the business properly to making sure you avoid pitfalls such as overtrading. Good accountants provide consultations for free and will be up to date with the latest technology that can save you time and money.


 Minimise your tax bill

Few people can say they’re genuinely on top of taxation rules and regulations, but that’s just what your accountant is there for. An accountant will go through your business with a fine-tooth comb and check to see that you’re making full use of any tax allowances and reliefs you can claim.


Help you to raise finance

Accountants aren’t there simply to manage your money. They can also steer you in the right direction for additional finance without putting your business at risk, looking at options such as taking out a loan, increasing an overdraft or issuing share capital. They can also help you sell shares in your business, crowdfund or find other investment.


Meet your needs

Before hiring an accountant, take time to consider what your business needs. If you’re a small start-up that needs a lot of handholding, don’t opt for a firm that specialises in accountancy for multi-nationals. Make a list of all the things you’d expect your accountant to help you with, and then shop around for the accountancy business that best suits your company’s needs. An experienced accountant, for example, can advise a small business on issues such as adequate working capital, good stock control and invoicing. If you want cloud accounting products and add on business apps, pick an accountant that uses them and is an expert. Ask questions and make sure you’re a good fit.


Register you and advise you on VAT

If your annual turnover is getting close to or is above £81,000, you’ll need to become VAT registered. If you make all, or nearly all, of your sales to VAT-registered businesses, you may benefit from being VAT registered even if you are under the threshold, as you can then reclaim VAT on any business expenses you incur. An accountant can deal with VAT registration for you – leaving you with less admin to worry about! Don’t forget there are many VAT schemes – your accountant can advise you on the best one, and even advise you to switch if it benefits you.

That’s just 5 ways hiring a professional accountant can help you.

If you meet with a Xero Accountant with expertise in helping you choose the best business apps to use in combination with Xero you’ll see great results in time saving and better business processes.

To talk to an adviser for free you can e-mail, find us on Facebook – shaperaccountantsuk or tweet us @ShaperAccounts

Shaper Accountants Xero Experts

Tips from a Cafe Accountant

Here’s our top bookkeeping tips for cafe owners.

Cafe Bookkeepers

Every business is busy. Hopefully you’re busy on profit generating activities, and not just busy being busy. Cafes and coffee shops, in particular, can have massively busy periods of the day. You know how fast time flies when you’re serving at lunchtimes or breakfast times. These are times when having processes and systems followed by all the team, really pays off.

Here are our top tips to busy cafe owners to keep control and focus on profit making activity.

  1. Use Xero.  Join the many cafe owners already using the best cloud accounting software there is to save valuable time on the paperwork. Xero is affordable and real time. With your bank transactions fed straight in, available on any device – your tablet, phone or laptop, you can keep up to date from within your cafe. You can manage inventory items, contacts, key files and documents, sales and payroll – all from Xero.
  2. When stock is received – Check the order and the delivery note. Cafes tend to have high order and delivery volumes, and it’s easy to be overcharged or have the incorrect items delivered, both situations causing inconvenience to you. There’s nothing worse than running out of take away coffee cups or milk, during your rush hour.
  3. Keep an inventory list.  Use Xero to create a list of all you buy and supply. Or use one of the many business apps that link seamlessly into Xero. Why? Knowing what you’ve got in stock and how quickly stock turns over, will become key performance indicators for your business.
  4. Keep all cafe paperwork in one central place and ensure you all know that is the system. This is a low cost, sure fire success tip. All paperwork in one place only. This means anyone doing the bookkeeping, scanning receipts, checking deliveries can access all the papers. Once it’s been processed – keep in somewhere else. It’s a simple in-and-out system, use coloured box files to make it even easier, simple and economical.
  5. Keep all your supplier and equipment information in one central place. This will be a file of all the necessary phone numbers, serial numbers, guarantees, service phone numbers, health inspectors, certificates and help lines. Basically, all your key info, that any staff can access, for when things break, stop, need servicing etc. Keep a physical copy and an on-line file in your cloud storage. That way, if it’s power failure or wi fi failure, you can still act fast to prevent total disaster.

Finally, let your accountant be your friend! Once you know that the key reason for looking at your past financial data is so you can plan for your future, you can access more powerful & useful information. If you want to grow your cafe, you’ll find time saving bookkeeping apps will be life changing, and once you start forecasting things like cashflows and profits you can see your business plans in financial pictures – this helps if you need to raise finance, helps you have clarity of thought and lets you analyse your cafe performance versus others in the cafe industry.

Get in touch to find out more.

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Top tips from the cafe accountant

What’s your Business Journey?

If you’re not on the journey you want to be on, how do you change course?

Change your business journey

When you know your business is going to work, but the big break seems to be just out of reach, what action can you take to regain control?

As soon as your business has the basic operations of invoicing, quotes, paying bills and collecting cash under control the next step is to get information from the accounting system that will help you on your business journey. A quick look at the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet can leave you underwhelmed as you struggle to see the bigger picture. If you’ve got this far you need to see the bigger picture of your business now, and in the future.

This is where business intelligence tools come in – handy little applications that your accountant can bolt onto your accounts, interpret and look at the pictures with you. The advantages for you?

  • You see what’s going on now.
  • You understand your gross profit and it’s relationship to your operating profit.
  • You understand the highs and lows of your cash situation.
  • When you put a stake in the ground, you can then forecast forward for a range of scenarios. You can plan how to change your own business journey.

For daring small businesses

What, exactly, do I need to forecast, you may well ask. Here’s the low down on the popular 3-way forecast.

Cashflow Forecasts do just that – you plug in your sales expectations, and your costs and VAT and project forward. Many try this on Excel, which has it’s place, but also it’s limitations. For a speedy, simple solution which also allows you to add in various “what if” scenarios – try Float – our favourite Xero add on cashflow app. It’s useful to forecast cashflow variations like, fluctuatons in sales, a big events like trade shows, the aquisition of new staff or a capital expenditure item.

Profit Forecast are useful, especially if you’re interested in how much distributable profits you may have available to pay in dividends. Or you may be planning for the reduction in corporation tax in 2016 and 2017 by deciding to invest in your business now, so when you start turning a profit in later years, the corporation tax you pay will be at the lower 2016 or 2017 rates.

Balance Sheet Forecasts are usful to keep a handle on your assets, liabilities and equity. This is part of what’s called a 3 way forecast – another essential business tool to get a complete picture, and to see how the business looks depending on the path you take.

Forecasting tools are now accessible and affordable to even the smallest business owner. If you have your accounts on Xero, the eco system of over 300 add-on applications is at your fingertips. This means you can have the same super powers as a big corporation.

A Xero Accountant will help you to get the business journey map to your chosen destination.

Want a map? If you’re on Xero – Get a free dashboard report for your business – Get in touch with Shaper Accountants today and quote “Free Dashboard” offer.

To change your business journey and experience the power of business analysis get in touch today. You can call us on 01603 516 304 or follow us on Twitter @ShaperAccounts.

Business Intelligence Apps

Take back the power: See your business in pictures, understand what it all means and change your business journey for the better. Happy travelling.