Category Archives: Case Studies

Helping to Navigate From Sole Trader to Limited Company.Keredy Andrews of Hannes Digital has a story that will strike a chord with many freelancers. Her choice to become self-employed came after starting a family, when she needed more flexibility than her previous marketing agency employer could offer; as long as ‘enough money’ was coming in, the lifestyle was more important so she could balance all things that mattered. However, businesses grow organically, goals are transformed and company structures change.

Through a recommendation, Keredy appointed Adams Moore to take care of her Self-Assessment needs and Adams Moore then also hired Keredy to deliver SEO and PR services. She explains: “My skill-set revolves around words, and numbers send a shiver down my spine. After a stressful first year-end submission, I decided I really needed an accountant that I could trust to take my balance sheet and receipts, process everything compliantly, and also bring to my attention any potential tax efficiencies. Martin and I met to discuss his PR and marketing requirements and my accounting needs, and we both felt it was a good, mutually beneficial fit.”

Freelance feast or famine

Business was steady on the whole, but another frequent report from sole-traders hit home for Keredy on a couple of occasions: “I started looking for employed work on at least two occasions as the feast or famine adage is very real. This led me to the mindset of not turning down work, even when I was busy, but that then led to me unexpectedly managing a growing business, something I never aimed to have.” Fast-forward two years – after Keredy had a second child – word-of-mouth enquiries were coming thick and fast for ad-hoc project work, on top of having clients on retainer. Keredy was faced with more business than she could handle alone. Adams Moore advised Keredy about the options available and together they agreed that employing someone wasn’t the most secure and controlled approach, nor would a junior member of staff meet requirements. Working with other freelancers, however, would allow Keredy to assign work to people on an ‘as-required basis and to choose the best support based on each activity. She adds: “As I knew a number of other freelancers and was also part of a Midlands digital community, it made sense to work with the best person for the job when each job materialised. This also became a USP for Hannes Digital and messaging evolved to promote the client benefit of this approach; I could offer an agency experience, but at a freelancer’s hourly rate.”

Forecasting the change to limited

Forecasts revealed it soon would not be tax efficient for Keredy to operate as a sole trader, particularly because an online focused service firm, doesn’t have a huge range of expenses to offset. Adams Moore advised on the best way to prepare for a change to operations under Hannes Digital Ltd, which included carefully planned activity in line with her Self-Assessment tax return 12 months before the switch.

All of the questions, all of the answers

Based on years of experience, Adams Moore was also prepared for Hannes Digital’s shift and ensuing questions, as – understandably – business owners can be nervous of change and ‘doing something wrong’ in the process. The accountancy firm were prepared for Keredy’s queries and supported her through the administration and activity; “I felt like I had far too many stupid questions and needed hand-holding,” Keredy says, “but Martin and Sellena were more than happy to help. From advice on setting up a bank account, and a payroll for myself, to ensuring incoming and outgoing payments used that account on the correct date, I was given all the information. I also didn’t have to think about undertaking all the behind-the-scenes work with HMRC, as Adams Moore had it in hand.”

Adams Moore advised Hannes Digital on a whole range of areas for making a change to the business model, including:

> Opening a business bank account

> Moving money from the sole trader to business account

> When to optimally make the shift

> When to tell clients and service providers about the change

> Removing the ‘dormant’ status of the pre-registered company – Keredy registered the limited company at the same time as working freelance, so she could be sure no other company could take her brand name

> Submitting the business’ annual statement to Company House

> Adding company directors

> What shareholding should be allocated

> How director’s dividend payments work

> Setting up and managing payroll

> What directors’ salaries should be set at

> What’s required for pension legislation

> What the tax advantages of having a Limited Company are

Keredy concludes: “Without the support of Adams Moore, I would never have realised how beneficial a preparation phase was and I’m grateful for their insight and forecasts on the optimal time for me to change business structures. I’m confident both the company and myself as an individual are operating in the most tax efficient way, and feel safe in the knowledge that Martin and the team will continue to have my back. Whether I employ staff, rent an office or take my business to a new level in other ways, I know Adams Moore will guide me across the terrain and help me to make smart decisions.”

Cocoonfxmedia has found that Adams Moore and its provision of Xero accountancy software has saved it time and hassleThe introduction of Xero accountancy software by Adams Moore is proving a real success and garnering a lot of interest, as our clients want to know more about how Xero can help them in their business finance operations. One client that has recently made the switch from another provider to Xero accountancy software is already starting to see the many benefits.

Cocoonfxmedia overcomes ‘pain points’ with Xero accountancy software

Cocoonfxmedia, a provider of multi-media marketing solutions, became aware that Adams Moore was a Xero accountancy software provider and decided to switch to the service, sold on the features and benefits it holds. For Cocoonfxmedia, there were some pain points in its financial functions that were taking up valuable time, which became the catalyst for trying the new system. James Blackman of Cocoonfxmedia explains: “As our business has grown, of course our financial functions and duties have increased and the accountancy software we were using, which was once adequate, wasn’t enabling us to automate or easily execute some key tasks – which in turn was costing us more time and hassle to do.”

Invoice automation and bank account feeds with Xero accountancy software

“We have many clients for whom we work with month in, month out, so creating a new invoice for each month isn’t a smart way of working, but the software we were using meant that’s exactly what we had to do. With Xero, recurring invoices can be generated at the click of a button. It’s saved us so much time and is hassle-free,” adds James.

The firm also enjoys the capability of adding bank accounts as a feed directly into Xero – thus enabling the monitoring and management of bank accounts in real time and in the context of business finance management. This also facilitates bank reconciliation.

Xero accountancy software makes child’s play of expenses logging

Cocoonfxmedia has been making the most of the easy expenses logging functionality of the software. “Receipts can be scanned on a smartphone and attached to expenses claims with ease, creating an instant log and making life much easier when it comes to year end accounting,” says James.

It’s not just receipts that can be logged: there is an app available that can track business mileage via GPS for ease and accuracy when making and tracking mileage expenses claims – all good news for end of year accounts.

Talking of year end accounts, one of the real benefits of Xero accountancy software is the fact that the accountant can log into the back end of the system and download the invoices and expenses when creating the accounts to file tax returns.

Making the switch to Xero accountancy software

James is keen to convey just how easy it was to switch to Xero. “I had visions of it being a real headache switching all the data and info across from one accountancy software system to another, but it couldn’t have been easier. Information can be quickly imported to Xero, which allows transfer of information from systems such as Sage and Quickbooks.

“For us, saving time and increasing functionality and smart features is important and we couldn’t be happier following the switch. We can easily execute financial functions whilst monitoring cash flow – vital for business forecasting and planning,” James concluded.

To find out how Xero could help your business, get in touch now on 018227 54944.

Whilst the impact of the recession caused heightened competition and a squeeze on profit margins, for one of our clients – product, retail and graphic display solutions provider Daytona Visual – a business restructuring opportunity was identified which led to the achievement of increased profits and the securing of blue-chip companies Pirelli tyres and Virgin Atlantic.

Operating in a highly competitive market and with the technological developments in digital print, the industry is subject to de-skilling of the work and eroding margins. By working closely with Daytona Visual as part of our Board Support service, we identified areas where the profit margins were being squeezed the most and recommended a strategy change from a pure print to a manufacturing company supplying high end, durable point of sale; giving us the great benefit of higher margins on the manufacture and repeat orders to change the print displays.

Daytona’s managing director Andy Wassall explained: “This change required a refinancing of the business. The aim was to re-mortgage the company factory and re-negotiate the confidential invoice financing facility, but our incumbent bank, RBS, declined, so Adams Moore got to work on a detailed business plan, accurate forecasts and a put together a compelling business case. After months of hard work we switched bank and achieved reduced monthly mortgage repayments, accessed additional funding and negotiated a new invoice finance facility that releases working capital sooner and is cheaper for the business.”

Daytona used some of the funding to invest in new machinery, re-organised its factory and safeguarded jobs and now manufactures point of sale. The whole process was completed within six months and Daytona is thriving with its new business plan and course.

Andy added: “Adams Moore’s Board Support package is a breath of fresh air -they take a very proactive role rather than the traditional accounting we had been used to previously which was generally reactive, and so often too little too late. Our company has benefitted greatly from the expert knowledge in business planning and forecasting from Adams Moore– as well as dealing proactively with the banks on our behalf. These are all areas where we felt we didn’t have the required specialist knowledge. Our business is going from strength to strength under the new model and sales are improving with a range of new products and further investment for the future now a viable option.”

Daytona is a great example of how a company can completely change its strategy and business model to turn fortunes around in difficult economic times. It’s been great to work with them on a project such as this and see the results of all the hard work come to fruition with direct impact on the bottom line.

The recession created a ‘survival of the fittest’ environment for many industry sectors and not all survived, but one of our clients, Midlands silversmiths Broadway Silver, managed to maintain good trading during the recession thanks largely to the client base. Dealing with top end clients meant that although the recession inhibited sales in many areas of retail, it didn’t have as much of an effect here.

In addition, the company’s heritage as an established, quality supplier of silverware (the company was founded during the reign of Queen Victoria by William Benjamin Broadway) stood it in good stead. Despite this, with the business battling the effects of the hugely fluctuating values of silver, Broadway knew some fundamental changes had to be introduced to the business, one of which involved changing the accountant of 30 years to the services of our hands-on financial and business support package Board Support.

Richmond Broadway, co-director of Broadway, explained: “The business was established in 1900 and is now being handled by third and fourth generation family members in the form of myself, my brother Christian and our father, Gerard. The business has come a long way and we’ve built up an enviable portfolio of retail clients large and small – ranging from John Lewis, Goldsmiths and Fortnum and Mason, to smaller independents. We were hit by the recession, like most businesses, but not as hard as many who rely on a buoyant economy – our customers are high end and therefore we’ve been able to minimise the effects. However, what we felt was that although the company had grown and thrived with the usual financial monitoring systems in place – and because of the rapid changes in the value of silver – we needed more from an accountancy service. We needed something that would allow us to monitor the business profit and loss on a much more regular basis, something that would allow us to react quickly to changing market conditions and something that would allow us to strategize for the business more accurately and frequently. We found all of this in Board Support. 

“Changing solid business services like accountancy services, especially when the company has dealt with the same supplier for decades, is a huge step and one we didn’t know how to take. We knew we needed a radical, hands-on approach but we didn’t know where to find it. A chance discussion with a family friend led to us being introduced to Board Support, which seemed to comprise everything we were looking for.”

Board Support is aimed at Owner Managed Businesses (OMB’s), and works in partnership with the business to provide recommendations, budgets and forecasting, regular updates and strategic reviews, and attendance at board meetings. Everything associated with having in in-house finance director – all for a fixed fee for unlimited access to expertise.

Richmond added, “The great thing about the service, among others, is the fact that the meter is never running. We can access all the advice we need, from the on-going strategic help to down to quick questions we need answering fast over the phone. It’s really allowed us to stop and take stock of the business frequently and do this with the right business and financial knowledge as part of our team, guiding and advising us along the way. When issues such as the volatility of silver prices arise, to have that up-to-the-minute advice and guidance on what to do to minimise financial impact on the business is critical – and to leave things and not take the right action can be fatal.”

Broadway is a typical example of why Board Support was launched. With so many OMB’s out there, turning over anything between few hundred thousand up to a few million, they need so much more than just a regular accountancy service that files end of year accounts and looks after tax returns. Board Support provides the next level of support, without an open-ended bill. Making the service available for a fixed fee and incorporating everything needed from an accounting and business advice perspective means clients get the absolute optimum from the service, without worrying about a huge bill.

Broadway is just one example of a business, of which there are many, that don’t feel they’re getting the best from their accountancy services but don’t know where to turn to start afresh.