Category Archives: In the News

As ambitious entrepreneurs up and down the nation seek alternative ways to fund their business models, crowdfunding continues to gain traction as a popular road to healthy investment. With three mainstream platforms now operating in the UK Syndicate Room, Seedrs and Crowdcube ‘unlisted’ companies are able to raise capital by exchanging their shares via an FCA-regulated platform (with private investors able to back a business from as little as £10). While previously exclusive to venture capitalists and private ‘angel’ investors, crowdfunding also makes the act of investment more accessible, and thus the pool of potential investors far greater. For business owners crowdfunding for the first time, here’s five things to consider before diving in head-first.

As ambitious entrepreneurs up and down the nation seek alternative ways to fund their business models, crowdfunding continues to gain traction as a popular road to healthy investment.

1. Preparing for a campaign

When readying your first crowdfunding campaign, begin by asking what any investor would want to know: how will the money be spent? How will this convert to ROI further down the line? With clear direction from the outset, realistic projections can also be made so as to set expectations. Equipped with a well-thought-out plan, the next step is to carry out research on the current platforms available (and what they can do to propel your vision). Start-ups should also take note of the 30% rule; by activating your campaign (in private mode) preloaded between 20-30%, your project stands a better chance of sparking interest – and thus surviving the long-haul.

2. Perfecting your pitch

While the thought of planning a pitch may seem daunting and time-consuming, this really is your time to shine when it comes to attracting prospective investors. Though getting it right first time can prove tricky, try placing yourself in the shoes of your audience; does your campaign inspire with a human story at its heart? Pitches tend to comprise both a business plan and three-minute video, so take the time to rehearse your script in front of friends (or better still, a fellow colleague). Remember to tailor your pitch to a broader audience should you have targeted angel investors in the past, avoiding any form of exclusion.

Remember to tailor your pitch to a broader audience should you have targeted angel investors in the past, avoiding any form of exclusion.

3. Considering the cost

The total fee of a crowdfunding campaign is largely down to you. Up-front expenses, such as hiring a videographer or writer for your pitch, often form the main part of this sum; if successful in your funding, platforms tend to charge anything between 4-7% of the figure invested. Owners should also factor in time spent away from the everyday running of a business, and whether this could be better managed by delegating to other team members. After having been accepted, the majority of campaigns will be set live for a minimum of 30 days. When plotting this out, don’t underestimate the time it takes to sufficiently prepare your pitch.

4. Succeeding first time

Like with all forms of financial backing, the fear of failure can often stand between an entrepreneur and their next great idea. While crowdfunding does offer a more cost-effective route to investment, it’s important to realise that even the best ideas can sometimes fail – regardless of the sum you are hoping to raise. With another 20-30 campaigns likely to be live at the same time as your own, you’ll be competing against other start-ups – often hoping to attract the same investors. For this reason, you’ll need to ensure the following are met: a sound business plan and video pitch with realistic projections, a campaign that’s at least 20% funded, and the right platform-match for your project.

You’ll need to ensure the following are met: a sound business plan and video pitch with realistic projections, a campaign that’s at least 20% funded, and the right platform-match for your project.

5. What’s in it for investors

Crowdfunding is a great way to attract and form longstanding relationships with all manner of investors during the early years of your venture, which in itself can be very rewarding. Similarly, investors who choose to back your idea will have the exciting chance to be part of a young business, and the opportunity to invest more manageable amounts in accordance with its maturity. Established investors who see true potential in your company may choose to give more based on future return on investment – another reason for entrepreneurs to think carefully when finalising their pitch. Whomever you choose to partner with, ensure that you remain on the same page throughout your journey.

Starting a business for the first time can prove both exciting and daunting for any entrepreneur, as can seeking the right advice. Adams Moore offer a wealth of expertise and guidance on all manner of key considerations – from your first year end accounts through to trading. Get to know us by reading our business start-up advice, or why not get in touch to discuss your dream plans further.

As we come to the end of this year’s Small Business Advice Week, September offers businesses the perfect time to take stock of the busy summer period and approach the fourth and final quarter with renewed drive and a fresh perspective. Whether you’re a fledgling start-up or an SME looking to take the next steps, there are a number of resources available to entrepreneurs hoping to grow their business; in addition to arranging a free new client consultation at our Tamworth offices, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Hub is a great place to start. It connects SMEs with free expert advice, support programmes and funding opportunities available in the area. With a number of paths available, we’ve taken a look at three strategic activities, devised to propel your business in the right direction.

Arrange a free new client consultation at our Tamworth offices.

Identify your key performance indicators (KPIs)

It’s likely that once upon a time, your KPIs formed a formidable part of your business plan, yet it’s surprising how quickly (and easily) these can be left by the wayside. While these may take pride of place on the first page of your notebook – or simply be ingrained in your head day to day – take the time to write them down and review them on a regular basis; has anything changed since launching your venture, and are they still relevant? More importantly, how can you use them to better measure the success of your business moving forward? Designed to give you clarification and greater insight, here is an example of five growth metrics you may want to consider:

Churn rate – this is the rate at which your clients choose to leave your business each month. If customer retention is low, you’ll want to identify the reasons behind this as a priority for on-going growth (as this will likely hinder your progress, if there is any at all).

Customer Lifetime Value (CVL) – having analysed your churn rate, the average monthly revenue from each customer can help illustrate their lifetime value to your business. Compare this to the average cost of customer acquisition, and this can prove very useful.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – armed with your monthly marketing budget, compare this to the average amount of new customers gained to identify how much they are costing to acquire. How does this then compare with physical customer spend per month?

Average customer revenue – how much are your customers spending on average per month? To maximise your revenue, you’ll want to consider how you can increase this figure through cross-selling and up-selling, in turn enhancing the customer experience.

Monthly recurring revenue – you’ll need to track this over several months to acquire an average revenue figure. If you operate on a monthly subscription basis however, be sure to track the ‘recurring’ revenue and monitor how much is gained (or lost) each month.

Designed to give you clarification and greater insight, here is an example of five growth metrics you may want to consider.

Track your results (and learn from them)

There’s nothing like enjoying the fruits of your labour, but if you don’t learn from your results – whether good or bad – a positive outlook can prove difficult to sustain (or achieve). To do this effectively, you’ll need to decide what variables need to be measured in order to monitor your success rate – as well as considering how to measure them. There are two methods of data collection that can help you in this instance: active data collection, and passive data collection.

Active data collection – this requires both the knowledge and permission of the individuals suppling the data. As a result, this can lead to ‘observer bias’: the inclination to see what you expect to see, or want to see.

Passive data collection – this means data can be collected with no action required by the collector of data (or the source). This makes it easier to gather and, due to the lack of observer bias, generally more accurate.

For this reason, passive data collection is often the preferred method of results tracking. Once having gathered the statistics required, algorithm-based data analytics can help you interpret them (and thus better guide your future business decisions). No longer reserved for the big data of big corporations, there are companies that specialise in providing this service for SMEs that are easily searchable.

You’ll need to decide what variables need to be measured in order to monitor your success rate – as well as considering how to measure them.

Scale up sensibly

Growth, growth, growth. Experienced entrepreneurs will know a thing or two about the ambitious ‘starry-eyed’ phase of wishing to take a start-up to new heights – sometimes without sufficient regard for the consequences. Yet while gumption is nothing to be sniffed at, scaling up at a pace that suits your business is a more effective way of achieving continued expansion. Investing too much before establishing product-market fit, for example, can result in failure.

Instead, business owners should look to avoid debt and build savings back up in the early stages so as to invest in the future. SMEs could consider a co-working space (as opposed to renting a sole premises), hiring an apprentice rather than an entry-level employee, or implementing cloud-based solutions in place of costly hardware to host data. Whatever you can do to preserve outgoings will only result in more funds to play with when the time comes.

They say the best advice often comes from the least likely of places, yet while entrepreneurs should be open to guidance from all parties, what value can this input really add to the journey of a business over time? Whether it was a past colleague, university roommate, or older sibling – good advice has the power to drive our ambitions forward in the years to come, whether we realise it or not. As 2019’s Small Business Advice Week begins (2-8 September) we take a look at five nuggets of advice relevant to an SME’s growth and development – often with tangible business results.

1. Did you know: SMEs can claim tax relief on some social events?

Starting a business from scratch can prove both an emotional and financial rollercoaster, as we soon learn the true value of time and money. For this reason, claiming costs wherever possible can save start-ups large sums of much-needed cash – whether set aside for a rainy day, or pumped directly back into the business. Organising an end-of-summer staff party? Business owners may not realise it, but ‘entertaining’ a workforce may make them eligible for tax relief for social functions and events – if it’s costing no more than £150 per employee. While annual events are exempt from this expense (no claiming back on that Christmas dinner), it’s worth noting for other sizeable, one-off occasions where a little spare cash goes a long way.

Business owners may not realise it, but ‘entertaining’ a workforce may make them eligible for tax relief for social functions and events.

2. Did you know: sole traders aren’t required to open separate business accounts?

It’s likely that your bank or fellow business owners may have ‘recommended’ opening a business account, but the reality is that as a sole trader, you are not legally required to. If the business is not separate from the self-employed person running it, start-ups can save money by holding off on opening this type of account – and dodging unwanted charges in the process. While a business account can be beneficial for a number of other reasons, such as accepting card payments from customers, applying for business loans, or becoming the owner of more than one company – you may simply consider opening a second personal account for now to help keep things separate.

3. Did you know: tech start-ups can gain easier access to capital through SEIS/EIS funding?

When it comes to financial backing, tech start-ups will already know the significance of securing the right investment. Tax-based government funding through the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) are designed to support start-ups in the early growth stage by encouraging investors through tax incentives; in return for equity, a total of £100,000 (SEIS) or £1,000,000 (EIS) can be invested per tax year. Not only are these grants more attainable for tech entrepreneurs, but they also enable greater access to capital; a higher rate of failure within the tech industry also gives investors the grounds to substantiate the risks involved.

A dedicated mentor who’s focused on your business alone can be worth their weight in gold – especially during the early stages.

4. Did you know: business mentors can help you avoid costly mistakes in the long-term?

While you may already have a strong network of friends, family and industry professionals around you, a dedicated mentor who’s focused on your business alone can be worth their weight in gold – especially during the early stages. Contrary to popular belief, a good mentor is not hard to find when looking in the right place, and doesn’t cost the earth (if anything at all). The government-backed Great Business hub offers sound advice on where to seek this all-important guidance, whatever your circumstance – from 18-30 mentoring with the Prince’s Trust Enterprise to quality-assured business mentoring organisations. Details of entrepreneur events and networking communities can also be found here.

5. Did you know: passion can get in the way of progress?

Closing with a piece of broader advice, entrepreneurs who enter the growth phase blinkered to others can run the risk of jeopardising their own business. While that fire-in-the-belly feeling will get you so far, harnessing this drive in new ways can ensure you remain both passionate and knowledgeable (so as to always make informed decisions). From reaching out to fellow business professionals and conducting market research, to trusting in the expertise and opinions of your team, business owners can ensure the responsibilities of steering a new venture don’t disrupt that all-important approach to hands-on leadership.

Here at Adams Moore, our team of friendly professionals are dedicated to helping small businesses realise their vision. From business advice services to future tax planning, get in touch to start your journey today.

Whether it’s been a jaunt abroad, a weekend staycation, or simply time away from the screen, there’s nothing like that back-to-work feeling after some much-needed headspace. Yet even if you haven’t had chance to escape this summer, the holiday season provides the perfect opportunity for SMEs to get their accounts in order. With the deadline for your tax return 12 months after year end (for Corporation Tax and Companies House it’s nine), businesses now have less than half the year to get their affairs in order. So as not to incur unwanted fines – the later you leave it, the more severe the penalty, and some accountants will charge you for late submission of data to them – here are a number of things to consider when submitting your accounts to HMRC and Companies House, from what to file to managing that all-important housekeeping.

From expenses to overdue invoices, chasing up any outstanding payments should also be a priority to ensure your accounts remain accurate.

What exactly do I need to file?

Before year end, you’ll need to ensure your Company Tax Return, or CT600, reaches HMRC; this comprises your total business income – minus any tax allowances and expenses. The remaining figure is then used to determine how much Corporation Tax is owed. Annual Accounts that require submission are made up of these three segments: the Income Statement, Statement of Financial Position, and the Footnotes:

> Income Statement – this record contains any profit or loss your company has made over the relevant accounting period.

> Statement of Financial Position – otherwise known as the ‘balance sheet’, this statement communicates the assets, liabilities and capital of your company, culminating in its overall value.

> Footnotes – these detail any further information regarding transactions, such as loans or advances, between your company and any of its directors.

For businesses that prepare accounts via the Financial Reporting Standard for micro-entities, or FRS 105, Companies House also require the Statement of Financial Position and the Footnotes; it’s important to know that these findings will then be published on the Companies House website.

Taking control of your admin

When it comes to mastering your Company Tax Return, there are several bits of housekeeping you’ll want to action in order to provide the most accurate report; addressing this ahead of time will only make it easier come submission day. Business expenses are a perfect example of this, as every transaction you claim equates to less Corporation Tax paid at year end. If said item/service was bought exclusively for your business, such as staff uniforms, travel costs, or a training course, chances are you can claim it back. If unsure, you can always double-check this with HMRC here.

From expenses to overdue invoices, chasing up any outstanding payments should also be a priority to ensure your accounts remain accurate; allow enough time for clients to settle up ahead of sharing your tax return to avoid any unnecessary stress. Similarly, keeping on top of your paperwork (and yes, that includes your large wad of receipts) is crucial in maintaining visibility. Whether it’s copies of statements from your bank or suppliers, or any other records of income, you must keep track of these transactions for at least six years from the end of the relevant accounting period.

Allow enough time for clients to settle up ahead of sharing your tax return to avoid any unnecessary stress.

Business MOT – your summer service

Year end can prove a hectic time for any SME owner, so why postpone your annual business review any longer? While submitting your tax return can be a huge sigh of relief, it’s also worth stretching your efforts that bit further to give your company the best possible start as you approach the new financial year.

As a limited company director, you’re required to re-confirm your details with Companies House once a year (failure to submit this Confirmation Statement or Annual Return will result in a fine), plus you’ll also need to plan for your VAT returns (if VAT registered on the flat rate or standard scheme). You may also wish to review your suppliers and/or service providers to establish you’re getting the very best deal from your existing set-up. In addition, wise financial decisions – such as assessing your pension options or paying into an ISA – can help you save towards a brighter future; efficient tax planning can also help minimise your tax bill in the long term.

From knowing what to claim on expenses to keeping your records shipshape, Adams Moore offers a range of accountancy services bespoke to your business needs. With a free hour-long initial consultation available at our Tamworth offices to all prospective clients, contact us for a friendly chat.

Late payments, we’ve all been there; and that’s not to mention the chasing up, the waiting around, and the age-old frustration that comes with it. Yet for the majority of start-ups, late payments represent more than just a mere inconvenience. Software company Xero found that on average, a staggering 48% of invoices issued by small businesses were paid past their due date in 2018 – nearly half of the nation’s SME invoices (in their millions). Not only can this have major repercussions for the financial health of a business, but it can also trigger needless stress and anxiety for both owners and employees – as well as damaging all-important business relationships in the long run. We explore the reality behind Britain’s late payment offences, and what businesses can do to prevent them.

Software company Xero found that on average, a staggering 48% of invoices issued by small businesses were paid past their due date in 2018.

From cashflow woes to stifled growth

As many a business owner will concur, keeping on top of cashflow can prove a real everyday struggle. Throw delayed payments into the mix, and an SME’s incomings and outgoings become even harder to manage – spiralling out of control and having a severe impact on productivity. With 50,000 businesses failing each year due to cashflow problems, the belated actions of a client can result in serious setbacks or (worse still) a company’s doors closing altogether. Xero’s Small Business Insights report found that over a quarter of SMEs pay their suppliers late as a result, racking up a debt of over £50 billion per year across the small business community. While bigger corporations may find this easier to swallow, this is a ‘luxury’ the majority of SMEs simply can’t afford.

With a third of small business owners claiming they’d be more productive if it wasn’t for cashflow worries, it’s clear that consistent late payments can have consequences for future growth. Without access to the funds that are duly owed, SMEs will find it difficult to invest in the staff and technology needed to drive their business to the next level. In a world where invoices were always paid on time, 28% of business owners also agreed they would feel more empowered to make big decisions. Affecting the self-confidence of entrepreneurs, it would seem the instability caused by stifled cashflow has the ability to go beyond simply balancing the books.

Losing sleep over late payments

According to Theresa May’s Thriving at Work review, poor mental health in the workplace costs the economy up to £90 billion per year – of which start-ups play a big part. With late payments responsible not only for negative cashflow but a lack of growth, it’s easy to see why once-ambitious entrepreneurs would feel hard done by. Whether that’s being forced to borrow the funds required from family and friends (of which 52% have claimed), to the drastic impact this may have on relationships at work and at home, mental health issues caused by financial uncertainty alone have the power to abolish future growth plans for any business. As 43% of SME owners admit to losing sleep over capital, this mental health dilemma – causing 37% to relinquish their ventures entirely – is already having a detrimental effect on the UK economy. So, what can be done about it?

43% of SME owners admit to losing sleep over capital.

Power to the process

With the right support and processes in place, businesses have the power to take better control over the late payment crisis. As government backing increases to better incentivise those who do wish to pay for services on time, here are a few sure-fire ways a start-up can help themselves:

Trust in the tech – whether it’s automated ‘invoice chasing’ or making it easy for clients to settle up sooner, the adoption of specialised software can take the hassle out of late payment fallout (often preventing it from happening in the first place). If using online wallet PayPal for example, the ‘Pay Now’ feature allows developers to implement this ‘experience’ to encourage payees to finalise transactions sooner – minus the worry of funds being debited later down the line.

Payment on your terms – while it’s good to demonstrate a more flexible payment agreement (particularly in the early days of business), this will only benefit your working relationships for so long. Negotiate shorter payment terms with new and existing customers, and not only will you make your services more transparent – but you’re more likely to regain control of your cashflow as the chief mediator. This may seem like risky territory, but you’d be surprised at how receptive clients can be.

The politeness factor – we’re all guilty of being over-polite; when it comes to your business however, don’t be afraid to speak your mind. If the outstanding payment in question is out of character (or already pre-empted), a fair amount of leeway can be afforded. If late payments are a regular occurrence on the other hand, be pro-active in your professionalism and investigate the reasons why. With better communication in place, the ‘theme’ of late payments is more likely to subside.

For more information on cloud accounting software, please visit our Xero page or contact us to see how we can help streamline processes and keep your business buoyant.

As a start-up juggling multiple tasks at any given time, it’s easy to let the fundamental basics of running a small business fall by the wayside. Yet while brushing these things under the carpet may seem harmless at the time, the knock-on effect can have major consequences on the long-term health of your business – especially where cashflow is concerned. So much so that as a result of poor management (combined with the challenging economic backdrop), research from Xerox and PayPal revealed 37% of small UK businesses considered closing down completely this last year. To help you keep your cashflow in check, here’s a number of things you can do to streamline your operations and look to a brighter future.

research from Xerox and PayPal revealed 37% of small UK businesses considered closing down completely this last year.

Manage your payment risks

Money worries; every business has them. Yet while more established SMEs can afford to suffer the occasional hiccup, fledgling businesses are encouraged to assess their payment risk to establish their level of resilience should the unexpected occur. If you’re just starting out for example, it’s likely you’ll require payment up front if cash generation is a top priority. As a result, this could initially limit your market (where the majority of larger companies may prefer to pay upon completion), and thus demand additional incentives to enhance your offering – from early payment discounts to money off subsequent projects. Working at a reduced rate can open new doors and is a great way to build experience, which also makes it less costly for those making advance payments.

Create a cashflow forecast

While you’ll never know what’s round the corner, a monthly (or even weekly) financial forecast can give you greater visibility, alert you to any discrepancies sooner, and help keep your business on track. A good finance manager, whether internal or external, can help you monitor this and provide detailed reports and valuable insight to ensure you’re never left in the dark; if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, a number of cashflow management apps and software are also available, like Xero. Despite the fact you may be having your best month yet, acting as though you’re in a constant ‘cashflow crisis’ will ensure you maintain focus, never taking your foot off the gas. A cashflow forecast also makes it easier to keep track of overdue payments should they tend to arise on a regular basis.

 A cashflow forecast also makes it easier to keep track of overdue payments should they tend to arise on a regular basis.

Keep contracts ‘on the money’

You’ve finally closed that exciting new project, and the last thing on your mind is fussing over paperwork. But get the invoice wrong, and it could cause a number of problems down the line (resulting in payments made a lot later than expected). Take time to build a comprehensive template, and filling this out will soon become second nature; there’s resources online to get you started, but be sure to make it bespoke to your business. Terms and conditions are an essential tool designed to cover all elements of a transaction, which can even detail what happens should you not receive payment on time (or at all). Remember never to agree to any add-ons verbally (that aren’t included in the contract), and don’t be afraid to draft in a solicitor to help.

Invest in face time to avoid late payments

Whether you’re a bricks-and-mortar or digital business, you can’t put a price on maintaining face-to-face communication with your customers. With new clients, know what you’re getting into from the outset by assessing their credit situation so as to swerve the likelihood of any late payments – and make it clear you take creditworthiness seriously. Try to avoid online-only correspondence by investing time in human relationships – from suggesting a casual lunch meeting to a working day at the office. Not only will this help build trust and rapport with your customers, but it will also help you avoid the awkward situation of delayed payments in future (with faces put to names).

You can’t put a price on maintaining face-to-face communication with your customers.

Trust the experts

If your finances should allow, enlisting the support of external expertise is one of the most sensible ways you can stay on top of your cashflow, saving you time, worry (and ultimately money). Here at Adams Moore, we understand peace of mind is key for the smooth operation of cashflow – at whatever stage of your business journey. Our team of friendly professionals are on hand to guide you in the right direction, from offering business start-up advice to invoice factoring to further drive growth. Contact us to find out more.

Tax, whether we like it or not, continues to form a large part of how we run our businesses today. But if the ‘T’ word still sends shivers down your spine, it’s worth remembering that knowing more about tax not only improves efficiency, but could also save your start-up valuable revenue in the long run. While it’s easy to get bogged down with the everyday demands of running a business, taking an afternoon to swot up on what tax breaks you could be eligible for – with many aimed at SMEs specifically – could result in an unexpected payout when you need it the most. We explore five tax breaks that could help lighten the load for your business.

Taking an afternoon to swot up on what tax breaks you could be eligible for – with many aimed at SMEs specifically – could result in an unexpected payout when you need it the most.

Annual investment allowance (AIA)

Part of a company’s Capital Allowances, the annual investment allowance means full value AIA items that qualify may be deducted from business profits before tax; as it stands, AIA can be claimed on the majority of plant and machinery. However, this relief does not include cars, previously owned items now used within your business, or items gifted to your business. Both sole traders and partners can qualify for AIA, though mixed partnerships are not eligible. It’s also worth noting that between January 1st 2019 and December 31st 2020, the AIA amount was temporarily increased to £1 million from £200,000. SMEs can seek to claim AIA via their tax return.

Small business rates relief

Designed to alleviate the pressure of substantial business rates, small business rates relief offers money off for business properties with a rateable value of under £15,000. While this is only available to SME owners of a sole property, existing relief will continue for 12 months should a second be purchased. Business owners with a premises worth less than £12,000, however, are not required to pay these rates at all. If you’re based in a village and the only business of your kind (e.g. a shop or post office) with a rateable value up to £8,500, Rural rate relief is also be worth investigating. SMEs can contact their local council to apply.

. If you’re based in a village and the only business of your kind (e.g. a shop or post office) with a rateable value up to £8,500, Rural rate relief is also be worth investigating

Creative industry tax reliefs (CITR)

For businesses working in the creative sector, a series of eight Corporation Tax reliefs cover the following sectors: film (FTR), high-end television (HTR), children’s TV (CTR), video games (VGTR), animation (ATR), theatre (TTR), orchestra (OTR), and museums and galleries exhibitions (MGETR). To qualify, businesses must first pass a cultural test, after which (if eligible) can benefit from a deduction of qualifying expenditure between 80pc and 100pc, or payable tax credit. To claim this relief, SMEs must be liable for Corporation Tax. Both certification and qualification are decided by the British Film Institute.

Employment Allowance

Employment Allowance can be worth up to £3,000 off your Class 1 National Insurance bill. Most businesses and charities (including community amateur sports clubs) qualify if paying their employees via PAYE, and can still claim the allowance if paying out less than £3,000 per year. Businesses that employ care or support workers are also eligible, yet for those with more than one employer PAYE reference – Employment Allowance can only be claimed against one. In addition, you cannot claim if you’re a director and the only employee (paid above the Secondary Threshold), employ someone for personal/household work, or are a service company working under the ‘IR35 rules’. SMEs can apply via their payroll software (ticking ‘Yes’ to Employment Allowance) when sending their next Employment Payment Summary. This can also be done via HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools.

SMEs can apply via their payroll software (ticking ‘Yes’ to Employment Allowance) when sending their next Employment Payment Summary.

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

A form of venture capital scheme, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme is not a ‘technical’ tax break, but is designed to accumulate capital for your business. Should both SMEs and investors meet the HMRC criteria, small businesses could receive up to £150,000 worth of investment. To be eligible, your business must be no more than two years old, have less than 25 employees, and possess gross assets of no more than £200,000 when shares are issued. For those SMEs interested in pursuing SEIS, it is recommended they contact the venture capital schemes department within HMRC for the appropriate advice.

From Making Tax Digital to reducing your company’s annual tax bill, our expert accountancy team specialise in supporting your small business journey. Get in touch with Adams Moore to discuss your bespoke requirements.

This full time, permanent Bookkeeper position at out offices in Tamworth is a fantastic opportunity for an experience person to gain exposure to an interesting and quality client base, spanning many sectors.

You will ideally have experience working in an accountancy practice, but those with experience in industry in bookkeeper positions are also encouraged to apply.

Required experience:
> Bookkeeping using Sage and Xero software including:
> Bank reconciliation
> Purchase Ledger
> Sales Ledger
> VAT reconciliation and filing VAT returns
> Journals including Wages Journals
> PAYE and Wages reconciliations
> Factoring experience – some of the bookkeeping clients use factoring
> Familiarisation of filing VAT returns through software now MTD is here (first VAT returns under MTD will have to be filed at the end of July)

Desirable experience:
> Payroll
> Sage Payroll experience/ RTI
> Sage Payroll year end
> Pensions legislation – filing pension returns etc.

The role may involve visiting clients at their premises and sometimes producing management accounts from Sage/Xero.

To register your interest in the position, please call us on 01827 54944 or email your CV with a covering letter to accounts@adamsmoore.com.

If you’re in the building and construction sector, a new change to VAT is coming in October – and we’re here to make sure you’re ready for it. First announced in the Autumn Budget of 2017, a VAT reverse charge for building and construction services will come into play from October 1st 2019 in a bid to prevent criminal attacks on the VAT system within the industry, or ‘missing trader’ fraud; this will be akin to the domestic reverse charge that currently applies to the sale of computer chips and mobile phones.

As a result, when supplying construction services to other VAT-registered businesses, you’ll soon be required to provide a VAT invoice stating that the service is subject to the domestic reverse charge. Recipients must then account for the VAT on that specific supply through a VAT return at the relevant rate (as opposed to paying directly to the supplier); this may be recovered at the same time as input tax.

VAT reverse charge for building and construction services will come into play from October 1st 2019.

Who will the changes affect?

While the industry can be complex, this change will broadly affect up to 150,000 UK taxable building and construction businesses concerning transactions where the recipient makes an onward supply of the same services; it will only affect supplies at the standard or reduced rates where payments should be reported through the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). Where exceptions are concerned, the following supplies are not covered by the reverse charge if supplied on their own:

> The drilling or extraction of oil or natural gas

> Extraction of minerals by tunnelling/boring/construction of underground works

> Manufacturing of building or engineering components/equipment, materials, plant or machinery, or delivery of any of these things to site

> Manufacturing of components for systems of heating, lighting, air conditioning, ventilation, power supply, drainage, sanitation, water supply/fire protection, or delivery of any of these things to site

> Professional work of architects or surveyors, or of consultants in building, engineering, interior/exterior decoration, or the laying out of landscape

> The making/installation/repair of artistic works such as sculptures, murals or other works artistic in nature

> Sign writing/erecting/installation/repair of signboards and advertisements

> Installation of seating, blinds and shutters

> Installation of security systems including burglar alarms, closed circuit television and public address systems

While the VAT reverse charge won’t take place until October this year, it’s worth considering the potential impact this could have on your business ahead of time.

What impact will this have on my business?

While the VAT reverse charge won’t take place until October this year (with HMRC taking a light-touch approach for the first 6 months and guidance offered throughout), it’s worth considering the potential impact this could have on your business ahead of time. To ensure supplies and purchases are correctly treated moving forward, SMEs will need to update their accounting systems to process these reverse charge supplies. Beyond this key adjustment, HMRC have highlighted a number of potential challenges arising as a result:

> For subcontractors of micro businesses, this change will likely have a direct impact on their cashflow as of October – with VAT no longer chargeable.

> Under the new regulation, the recipient will need to identify the correct VAT treatment of the service provided by another contractor, which can often be tricky to verify.

> To establish whether the reverse charge applies, contractors will have to divulge whether they are at the end of the supply chain to their subcontractor – information which could be commercially sensitive.

> If the customer fails to confirm their ‘end user’ status with the supplier, the recipient will be accountable for the domestic reverse charge. It’s not yet clear whether a penalty would apply for not confirming this status, and whether HMRC would take action.

SMEs will need to update their accounting systems to process these reverse charge supplies.

What are the next steps?

 There’s no time like the present to take action regarding the VAT reverse charge. Construction businesses can start by reviewing supplies previously made to (and received from) other contactors, and whether these will be subject to the new legislation. In addition, the one-off (and ongoing) costs associated with calculating and reporting the reverse charge should be taken into account. Finally, it’s important for SMEs to acknowledge how this change may affect their cash flow due to the fact they will not receive VAT directly from the contractor – if that contractor is not an end user – and how to alleviate this transition.

For businesses looking to adapt their accounting systems ahead of October, Adams Moore provides leading advice and services dedicated to businesses across all sectors. Speak to us to ensure your building and construction business heads into the autumn VAT-savvy.

When it comes to protecting your business, you wouldn’t head home with your shopfront door wide open after a long and busy day, nor would you allow members of the public to leave with a basket of your goods, minus the payment. For both digital SMEs and bricks-and-mortar businesses also operating online, you should be protecting your business from cybercrime. With the average cost of an SME’s worst form of cyber attack ranging between £65,000 and  £115,000 last year, cyber security may seem invisible and ‘unimportant’, but can prove a costly hit to your business should you wind up exposed.

Government data has shown that in the last 12 months, 40% of small businesses and 60% of medium-sized businesses have experienced some form of cybercrime – whether stealing personal data or hacking into banking/payment systems. While an SME’s cyber fortress may be slightly less sophisticated than a larger corporation’s (some with whole departments dedicated to fraud prevention), there are measures all business owners can put in place to enhance their security. We explore some simple ways you can help keep cybercrime at bay.

Password protection

It may seem like the oldest trick in the book for office-based businesses, but password protection of email accounts, servers, folders and even single documents is key should you wish to limit potential intrusion. When communicating passwords to others, ensure information is shared via a brand new email thread, and prompt your team to update their existing passwords on a regular basis. Password management apps are the best solution to keeping this in check, while also generating secure combinations that cyber criminals won’t be able to crack in a hurry. Two-factor authentication can also help keep your business data watertight, where the buffer of a second device such as a smartphone or tablet is the only way users will be granted access.

Practice cyber hygiene

Making cyber hygiene part of your housekeeping is crucial should you always wish to remain one step ahead.  Hold regular workshops with staff to train them on best practice, set time aside for insightful webinars, or why not invite a cyber fraud expert in for the day. Involving your staff members will help them realise that your business security is a joint responsibility, and that all team members should be on the lookout for weak links. Take time to reassess your in-house policies, such as streamlining staff access to certain file locations to minimise the risk of a breach. If working from a central server, ensure staff are not saving work to their desktops. While technical firewalls are effective, an even stronger ‘human firewall’ can be enforced through simple security awareness.

Partner/supplier security

While your priority of course starts with your own business, the surveillance levels of those external parties working alongside you – your partners, suppliers and clients – could also pose a security threat should they fall by the wayside. As you continue to review your own protocol, take this as an opportunity to learn about theirs and whether this measures up; are their employees equally as cyber-savvy? Would they ever be willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement? Consider any stand-out weaknesses and always be cautious whenever granting third-party access to classified material. For future working relationships, include a clause within your contract so that new partners will know to comply with your standards from the get-go.

Know your threat

Beyond raising awareness and conducting best practice seminars with your staff members, knowing how cyber criminals operate will give you and your employees the best chance of identifying suspicious behaviour. With ‘phishing’ emails said to aid the most common form of malware attack (malicious software designed to cause harm to a victim’s computer system), this is just brushing the surface when it comes to wider hacker activity. From ‘keyloggers’ – monitoring tools used to record keys typed by the end user to gain access to company accounts and networks – to ‘Trojans’ – illegitimate software in disguise giving hackers access to computer systems once installed – these are just some of the terms used to describe the tactics of cyber criminals (and something every SME owner should know about).

By keeping passwords, systems and software updated – as well as enforcing a strict staff awareness policy – your business will be better positioned to withstand what’s around the corner. From company set-up to strategic planning, our business start-up support services are designed to cover all bases. Get in touch with Adams Moore today.