Worried About Cash Flow? Follow These 3 Tips

Cash flow is the very life blood of a business. Even if you’re managing to turn a profit poor cash flow can scupper your company before you know it. And it’s the More »

Direct Recovery of Debts – is it One Step Too Far ?  

Taxation has always been jokingly referred to as “legalised theft” but the humorous aspect of this description is starting to look increasingly threadbare with the government’s latest move towards direct recovery of More »

Satellite to Digital TV: What to Expect

Have you been using satellite TV for years, but feeling frustrated with the inflated price and the hassle of dealing with your dish? There’s definitely a different way to go, and it’s More »

5 Lesser Known Casino Holiday Destinations

5 Lesser Known Casino Holiday Destinations  

Las Vegas, Macau, Monte Carlo; all these places are synonymous with gambling and casinos. Typically, when a casino holiday is first suggested, one of these destinations is often mentioned within the same More »

Scientific Independence in Africa

Africa is a continent which is experiencing impressive and rapid growth in recent years, especially in the areas of science and technology. Not only has Africa’s economy grown and become far more More »

Worried About Cash Flow? Follow These 3 Tips

Cash flow is the very life blood of a business. Even if you’re managing to turn a profit poor cash flow can scupper your company before you know it. And it’s the issue of cash flow that keeps many business owners up at night.

Any business that is losing money hand over fist will find the cash pot empty, no matter what efforts are made. The real problem is those companies that are financially sound but suffer from cash flow problems. Fortunately, in most cases these businesses can be saved.

Back To Basics

It has to start right at the beginning. Too many people plunge in both feet first without a solid business model in place. If your basic model shows that the business should be profitable then you’re in a more secure place to address any cash flow issues you encounter. If your business plan wasn’t sound then it can be much harder, if not impossible, to salvage things.

Understand If Your Business Has Positive Or Negative Cash Flow

You would be surprised at the amount of business owners who don’t understand if their business is inherently cash flow positive or negative.
Here’s an example of a business that has positive flow. A take away. Here the payment for the goods are received instantly in the form of cash. The business owner then has a week to pay staff and a month to pay their rent, business rates and of course all the food items! Payment terms with suppliers are usually agreed in advance and so the owner of the business has cash coming in to meet his outgoings.
For negative cash flow let’s take another similar small business: a cleaning contractor working in the office sector. On completion of each job the company submits an invoice, expected to be paid within 30 days. The majority of expenses are wages for cleaners which, for argument’s sake, the company pays weekly. If several clients are late paying invoices the squeeze on cash flow needed to pay wages and cover other operating costs can be quick and possibly lethal.
If numbers and accounts aren’t your thing then be sure to employ the services of a good accountant or bookkeeper. They really are worth their weight in gold when it comes to the smooth running of a business.

Have Plans To Bridge The Cash Flow Gap

But what could the cleaning contractor do to make things better? Well for starters it would be more sound to pay employees monthly, to keep the outgoings more in-line with incoming revenue. They could also negotiate shorter payment terms of the invoice, say within 7 or 14 days, and include an incentive for this in terms of a discount for prompt payment.
Another aspect is to always have time set aside to chase debtors. For some business owners this may mean taking a couple of hours a week to make some firm phone calls and emails or having a member of staff who carries out this function. If that isn’t practical then it may be necessary to employ the services of a bookkeeper to do this for you.
If cash flow is still a problem then to save your business it may be necessary to consult with a firm of business accountants who can handle the issue for you. Money well spent if it keeps cash flow healthy.
If you’re concerned about cash flow in your business, or any other aspect of your company’s financial situation then HW Fisher’s team of expert accountants are here to help.

Direct Recovery of Debts – is it One Step Too Far ?  

Taxation has always been jokingly referred to as “legalised theft” but the humorous aspect of this description is starting to look increasingly threadbare with the government’s latest move towards direct recovery of seriously overdue tax by effectively dipping into taxpayers’ bank and building society accounts – a practice that is euphemistically described as “ Direct Recovery “. Now, one of the leading providers of UK tax services, Baker Tilly, who have been engaged in consultation over the proposed new powers, has come out with a sometimes withering critique of the proposals as presently constituted.

 

As part of the consultation process, HMRC has been detailing its preliminary ideas regarding the new power, Direct Recovery of Debts, and been inviting leading tax services experts to present their views on how the measure might best be implemented including what possible safeguards might be built in to ensure that debtors are not dealt with in an unbalanced, disproportionate way and suffer undue hardship as a result.

 

Those in the tax services industry seem particularly concerned as to whether such a power should be introduced in the first place and are questioning why this was not first discussed as part of the consultative process.

 

One of the reasons why HMRC appears to justify the introduction of such a draconian measure is the fact that similar powers are already widely used overseas. However, tax services professionals who also work internationally are aware of taxpayer resentment in many countries where direct collection already takes place and, also, of general acceptance in other countries of a form of direct debit system where taxpayers do not have to worry about actively paying tax bills that have been already agreed. The bottom line as far as the tax services community is concerned is that HMRC is notoriously prone to errors that are often widely publicised leading to scepticism and likely resentment amongst taxpayers at large.

 

Experts on tax services are likely to focus heavily on this ability of the taxman to get it wrong on so many occasions and will certainly insist on independent court approval at the very least ( in the same way as bailiffs have to obtain court orders before finally confiscating goods and property ).

 

The same tax services professionals, who generally speaking would probably prefer taxpayers’ bank accounts and ISAs etc. simply to be temporarily frozen rather than raided, are also likely to insist on sufficient safeguards being put in place to ensure that individual taxpayers do not suffer undue hardship as the result of direct recovery. In the case of individuals, this clearly means being deprived of sufficient resources for day to day subsistence while, in the case of businesses, HMRC would be urged not rely on historical data when deciding if direct recovery of funds would result in individual businesses getting into serious and even terminal cash flow difficulties.

 

In this latter respect, tax services specialists are likely to insist that ample regard is given to future financial projections and cash flow forecasts as well as the historical information.

 

The final possible area of contention according to the tax services lobby is the thorny subject of the taxman’s powers when it comes to assessing a taxpayer’s ability to pay an overdue tax demand. Tax services professionals are all too keenly aware of the existing limits to HMRC’s information gathering powers and are quite emphatic in opposing any open-ended access to taxpayer information that might transgress these well-established boundaries.

 

If you would like advice on any element of tax, Baker Tilly’s team of tax services experts would be delighted to discuss your requirements with you.

Satellite to Digital TV: What to Expect

Have you been using satellite TV for years, but feeling frustrated with the inflated price and the hassle of dealing with your dish? There’s definitely a different way to go, and it’s the way of the future: digital TV. Digital tv packages are made to let you pick exactly what you want to watch, and completely remove the inconvenience of dealing with a satellite dish. Here are some things you can expect if you choose to make the switch from satellite over to digital TV:

digi

Lower cost

As soon as you get your dish taken out and switch to digital TV, you’ll notice that your monthly bills are a lot lower. This is because you’ll have a lot more freedom to choose the package you want, without paying for channels you never watch. Digital TV packages from Virgin Media are designed with your ideal choices in mind, and they allow you to pick exactly which package fits your lifestyle and budget so you’ll never be surprised when your monthly bill arrives.

Convenience

With digital TV, unlike satellite, you don’t have to deal with any annoying equipment or devices. Digital TV is set up to be extremely user-friendly and give you great, reliable service. You won’t have your service going out in big storms like you would with satellite service. And you can often even add in a phone line to streamline your service and just get one bill per month. Easy and convenient – just like it should be.

Great selection

Chances are, you’ll never get bored with the selection of channels available on digital TV. There is simply something for every interest, taste and need! You can pick from great movie channels, shows for children, sports, special interest, and so much more. And you are free to create the ideal combination of channels for you and your family so you’ll always have something on that someone wants to watch.

Flexibility

With digital TV service, unlike satellite, you can actually bring your service with you when you leave home. This means that you can access your channels from a laptop or mobile tablet, not just your TV at home! This is the beauty of digital service. So don’t worry about how you entertain the kids on your next trip, because they’ll have all their favorite shows right at their fingertips. And you’ll have all of your options available right when you need them as well.

Watch your finance with meticulous planning for retirement  

The motto of the Scouts movement is well known – “Be prepared” – and being prepared is something to bear in mind in life too, especially when it comes to planning for retirement.  In retirement, demands on finances can be particularly strenuous, so planning well ahead for such eventualities makes a lot of sense.  Health issues and accommodation requirements also have to be taken into account.

 

Finances

People are living longer and retiring later in life.  Most individuals now retire in their mid to late 60s, and the average life expectancy in the US is 78.74 years, according to 2012 figures.  Faced with this reality, individuals nearing retirement age will likely need to have a sizable fund already built up on which to survive, even after taking a social security entitlement into account.

Financial advisors recommend that people start planning for retirement early, including investing in a pension fund, to give themselves plenty of time to build up the necessary funds.  Not everyone expects to live the same kind of lifestyle in retirement that they did while working, but there will be unexpected expenses as well as day-to-day expenses to take into consideration.  With income static or certainly relatively so, having access to sufficient funds is imperative.  Living in a senior community can be beneficial to some individuals in terms of finances, because it can help save on certain costs, such as home maintenance.  The size of a senior community also means that some costs, such as energy expenses, can be pooled, ensuring a discount that retirees living on their own would not otherwise enjoy.

 

Health

As people age, their health deteriorates, so it is common sense to plan for that eventuality.  Having appropriate levels of health insurance is essential to meet ongoing medical costs during retirement.

 

Where to live

When it comes to retirement planning, a key issue is where to live after retirement.  For some retirees, remaining in their current home may not be practical for all sorts of reasons.  The house may be too large for their needs now that their family is reared, or there may be future maintenance and renovation costs that may be too much to bear financially.  A senior community may be a more practical option for the retiree.   In addition, living in a senior community can turn out to be beneficial to the retiree’s health.  Senior communities tend to have nurses on-site and ready access to doctors and other medical professionals.  Of course, living in a senior community by its very nature means living alongside other people.  For many retirees, growing old can mean growing lonely, resulting in a negative impact on mental and, as a consequence, physical well-being.  Living among others going through similar experiences can in fact be a great positive.

 

To get a better idea of how senior communities work and what type of community might suit individual needs, it is recommended to visit a number of different sites.  Ask plenty of questions and talk to different people – residents, staff and family of residents included – to get a feel for what a particular community would be like to live in.