• Diary of a Non-Accountant: An Apple Turnover - Not the actual turnover (the actual one got eaten) It is Friday.  I usually spend Fridays in the office to ‘provide support to staff’, which actually means I get recharged in their lovely company and get very little of the actual work done.  It is good for my soul, like a mini family reunion.  I travel to clients’ sites much of the week or work from home to keep focused, Continue Reading
  • When Good Things End - Sometimes being a business owner means making tough decisions. This week, I had to say a couple of good-byes.    No matter how we dress it up or how justified the cause, partings are always difficult. They signify a death of something. They can, and often do, resonate with our earlier experiences of loss. They are tough, both for the initiator and for the receiver of the news.   We often avoid good byes, Continue Reading
  • Lessons in Extraordinary Customer Service - Like most business owners, I am often preoccupied with how I can create a better customer experience for my customers. With customers' expectations increasing all the time, the bar against which our services are evaluated is higher than it has ever been. Today, I have experienced first hand what it is that takes customer services from ordinary into extraordinary. I went to get a haircut. What do you expect when Continue Reading
  • Allowable Business Expenses if you are Self-Employed - I am asked quite often whether a business expense is 'ok'.  Let's clarify...   If you are a sole trader (i.e. you are self-employed), the law does not distinguish your business from you personally.  There is no Board of Directors, no shareholders - only you.  As an individual, you can pay for whatever you like.  The significance of 'allowable' business expense is in the context of the tax computation.  Tax Continue Reading
  • 3-point health check for the success of your business - When you look at your finances, what you really want to know is - ‘how are we doing?’  It is quite easy to drown in numbers and not see the stories the numbers are trying to tell us.   After all, a number is only useful if helps you make business decisions.   For profit-making companies, here is a 3-point checklist to assess the financial health of your business and understand Continue Reading
  • Create a Business Growth Plan in 3 steps - Everyone has a slightly different approach to business planning and there have been lots of credible articles written on the subject.  Over the last few weeks, I have been working on my own business growth plan and I’ve found that 10- or 14-step instructions are far too long for a document that needs to be short, snappy and to the point.  I am used to seeing business plans that run Continue Reading
  • Choosing an accountant for your growing business - Your relationship with an accountant is likely to be a long-term commitment, so you need to choose carefully. What are you looking for from this relationship?   If you run a steady-state lifestyle business, are not looking at any major changes, feel you’ve got a good handle on things – then a high-street accountant who does your taxes and  year-end accounts is probably all you’ll ever need.  You need to Continue Reading
  • Financing Your Business Growth - It is a well-established truth that businesses live or die based on their cash flows.  If you intend for your business to grow, you will most certainly need more cash than what is required for maintaining a steady turnover.  You might be asking two questions: 1) How much will I need? and 2) Where will I get it? How much will I need? In any business, cash is typically tied Continue Reading
  • Have you claimed your Growth Voucher of up to £2,000 yet? - Business Engine Room is an approved provider for the Growth Voucher Scheme We are delighted to have been accepted as an approved provider of strategic advice under the Growth Voucher scheme.  The government is providing match-funding of up to £2,000 to qualifying small businesses to receive business advice.  20,000 businesses across England will be selected for this scheme, so apply today!   If you are a small business (less than Continue Reading
  • Strategic clarity on the back of an envelope - A few days ago, I met a friend of mine over a coffee.  When I commented on the deep ‘worry’ lines on her forehead, she shook her head and said, “I just don’t know what to focus on.  I have this long list of priorities – and no time to give to all of them, so every day I scrape the surface.  My staff all have different opinions about what Continue Reading