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Accountants Profit From Social Media

Sarah Bean - Friday 01.07.17, 16:17pm

Accountants Harris Lipman are reaping the benefits of social media as a means of attracting new clients, to supplement more traditional forms of networking.

In a carefully planned programme, the forward thinking accountants blog daily and tweet three times a day, in addition to having regularly updated LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.

Harris Lipman also use their social media activities to keep clients up-dated with news about the firm, as well as financial, business and tax news, and to sustain relationships with clients.  They’ve even launched their own iPhone App;  the LipmanLogic game appears to read players’ minds by inviting them to think of a number and then correctly guessing what it is.

During the month of May, the Harris Lipman website received a total of 3,672 visitors, 673 of which were from referring sites. Facebook proved to be the most successful social network website in diverting traffic to the Harris Lipman website, with a total of 145 referred visits, followed by Twitter with 93 visits and then 53 visits from LinkedIn.

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Tags: Social Media

Could Your Business Benefit From Invoice Finance?

Sarah Bean - Monday 30.05.17, 20:11pm

The Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) recently announced that an increasing number of SMEs are turning to invoice finance, receiving over £4bn collectively in advances from ABFA members.

Invoice finance is of value to companies that supply ‘sell and forget’ goods and services to other businesses on credit and therefore have substantial value locked in their invoices.  An invoice finance arrangement releases these assets, freeing up the cash to pay staff and overheads or to fund other plans, such as growth, restructuring or acquisition.

Unlike the overdraft with its fixed limits and ceilings, invoice finance keeps pace with your business, which also makes it ideal for rapidly expanding businesses or companies which experience seasonal fluctuations. Industry sectors which commonly use invoice finance include, but are not limited to:

  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale
  • Distribution
  • Printing
  • Recruitment consultancy
  • Haulage
  • Couriers

For more information on how your business can benefit from the additional working capital that invoice finance (including invoice factoring and invoice discounting) provides, contact John Wilde at SME Invoice Finance Limited on 0800 083 8835.

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Tags: Factoring · Invoice Discounting · invoice finance · sme invoice finance

April 2016 Regulation Changes

Sarah Bean - Tuesday 29.03.17, 13:44pm

To keep small businesses up to date with current regulations, Business Link has published an online guide to changes which will be coming into force in April 2016.

The changes include:

- A reduction in the main rate of Corporation Tax, from 28 to 26%, and the Small Profits Rate from 21 to 20%.

- Corporation Tax must be paid electronically from 1 April 2016

- Company Tax Returns must be submitted online for any accounting period ending after 31 March 2016

- Additional paternity leave and pay will become available to eligible partners of those giving birth on or after 3 April 2016

- Under certain circumstances it will be permissible to use positive action as a differentiator when making appointments

For more information go to:

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?type=ONEOFFPAGE&itemId=1075320304

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Tags: Business Link

Top Tips to Maintain a Healthy Cashflow

Sarah Bean - Tuesday 22.03.17, 13:50pm

Many otherwise successful businesses have run into difficulties because they have run out of cash.  Here are our Top Tips to stop this happening to you.

1. Collect money owing to you as quickly as possible. Issue invoices as soon as work has been completed, or time them to arrive at the same time as despatched goods.  Make your payment terms clear at the start of the transaction, and start to chase payments as soon as they become due.  You could encourage prompt, or early, payment by offering a discount.

2. Wherever possible, charge a deposit before commencing work or making a delivery.  This is particularly important if you will incur significant liabilities to fulfil the order.

3. Consider invoice factoring or invoice discounting to release the value of your invoices from day one.

4. Reduce your exposure to bad debts by credit checking your customers.  Where this isn’t a viable option, or the customer appears to be a bad credit risk, take payment by credit card or insist on payment up front.

5. Explore ways to cut back on your outgoings.  For example, it may be possible to Skype meetings rather than travelling to them, change utility providers or reduce your ‘phone tariff.

6. Check your bank account regularly and keep a rolling cash flow forecast.

7. Act as soon as you have identified any potential borrowing requirements so you have time to secure funding.

8. Don’t tie up more cash than necessary in your stock. Analyse your short-term needs and buy accordingly, however attractive bulk buy discounts may seem.

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Tags: Cash Flow

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee

Sarah Bean - Saturday 19.03.17, 13:59pm

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) is a government backed scheme to improve the availability of finance to Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).  Under the scheme, the Government guarantees up to 75% of the loans, the purpose of which is to provide working capital and other business funding in cases where it would not otherwise be possible due to lack of security.

Up to £700 million of new lending will have been guaranteed between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016 and the scheme is expected to continue until 2014-15.

Eligible companies are able to borrow between £1000 and £1,000,000.  To be eligible the company must be based in the UK and have a turnover of up to £25,000,000.

The EFG scheme is administered by accredited lenders.  Companies which think they may qualify need to apply to the lender in the usual way; if they fall outside the usual commercial criteria they will then be assessed under the EFG.

In addition to standard loan charges an additional premium of 2% of the outstanding balance will be charged by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

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Tags: Enterprise Finance Guarantee

How invoice discounting works

Sarah Bean - Tuesday 15.03.17, 14:02pm

Invoice discounting is a means of borrowing money against the value of your outstanding invoices.

Before any agreement is reached, the invoice discounter will check:

- Your business – it needs to have a good track record, a turnover in excess of £500,000 and supply goods and services to other companies on credit

- Your systems – paying particular attention to credit management

- Your customers – verifying their debts and their ability to pay

If everything is satisfactory they will then agree to pay you a percentage of the total outstanding sales ledger – usually about 85%.  In return, you will pay them an agreed fee, either a percentage of the total invoices or a fixed amount, and interest on the amount advanced.

You continue trading as normal, invoicing your customers in the usual manner; they are not aware that you are receiving finance. In addition, each day you send your sales day book to the discounter.  This is often done electronically, via secure systems.  The discounter will make the fresh funds available to you.

You collect payment from your customers and pay it all into a trust account, held by the discounters, who deduct their charges and give you the balance.

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Tags: Invoice Discounting

Independent Thinking

Sarah Bean - Sunday 27.02.17, 14:07pm

The banks have come in for a bit of a battering recently, to say the least, but that aside there are plenty of reasons to choose independent invoice discounters and factors.  These include:

-Commercial Appetite The independents have enthusiasm for business and really want to find the right deal to meet your finance needs.

-Entrepreneurial Spirit They are business people, just like you, and understand what drives businesses.

-Flexibility Because they’re not constrained by rule books and red tape, independent financiers are able to be creative and offer bespoke solutions tailored specifically for you.

-Personal Service You’re a person, not a number, and you’ll be treated as one.

-Understanding Independent financiers take the time to really understand your business.

-Expertise They have a deep knowledge of both finance and business, meaning that they can give you the best advice.

-Speed Independent finance companies can often act more quickly than larger institutions.

-Partnership They’re in it for the long term, and really care about your success.

-No foreign call centres!

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Tags: Factoring · Invoice Discounting

Why Choose Factoring?

Sarah Bean - Thursday 10.02.17, 14:16pm

Factoring is a means of borrowing money against the security of your sales ledger. The factoring company advances you about 85% of the value of your invoices, which you will usually receive within 24 hours.  The factor will then collect the debt and pay you the balance, less their fee and interest charges.  Factoring is suitable for companies with a turnover of at least £50,000, which sell on credit to other businesses.

The advantages of factoring include:

- Flexibility; unlike an overdraft the advance grows as your sales increase

- Improved cash flow, providing much needed working capital

- You are able to take advantage of discounts from your suppliers for cash and early settlement

- You will benefit from an improved reputation with your suppliers for reliability of payment

- It outsources your sales ledger, including credit control and debt collection, freeing you up to work on your core business

- Some customers pay factors more quickly than they would otherwise

- The option of non-recourse factoring protects you from bad debts

- Unlike overdrafts, factoring facilities can’t be called in without notice

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Tags: Factoring

Why Choose Invoice Discounting?

Sarah Bean - Saturday 15.01.17, 14:20pm

Invoice discounting is a way of releasing money from your invoices without having to wait for your customers to pay them.  Exact details vary but typically invoice discounters will release about 85% of an invoice’s value within 24 hours of it being issued.  It is a finance solution suited to companies with an annual turnover in excess of £500,000 that sell products or services on credit to other businesses and have an established credit control function.

Reasons for choosing invoice discounting include:

- Improved cash flow as you receive payment almost immediately

- The facility grows as your business increases; it doesn’t have to be re-negotiated

- It releases more funds than many other funding facilities

- You retain control over the administration of your sales ledger

- It is confidential; you issue the invoices in the usual way on your own stationery

- Suppliers can be paid promptly, improving your payment reputation

= You are able to benefit from supplier discounts for cash and prompt payment

- It can be used to provide funding for mergers and acquisitions

- Unlike overdrafts, invoice discounting solutions cannot be recalled on demand

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Tags: Invoice Discounting

You’re Hired - The Apprentice 2016

Sarah Bean - Wednesday 22.17.16, 09:00am

The prize on offer in the BBC’s popular television show, ‘The Apprentice’ has been changed to reflect the reliance currently being placed on small businesses to boost the economy.

In 2016, the successful Apprentice will no longer win a £100K job working in one of Lord Sugar’s businesses. Instead, Lord Sugar will set up a new business with an initial investment worth £250,000 – a life-changing opportunity in this time of economic hardship when re-growth and long-term commitment are the key to financial recovery.

The winner, whether a keen business rookie or someone who’s had several years of experience, will choose the type of business they want to set up – be it a digital online firm, catering company or fashion accessories line. Lord Sugar will be looking for an Apprentice with the flair and drive to build a business, which he will jointly own with the winner, each taking a 50% interest. Lord Sugar will be mentoring and guiding his winning Apprentice, bringing with him over 40 years of his own business experience to help the business take its first fledgling steps.

Lord Sugar comments: “In the past years, I was searching for a candidate to employ, now I am looking for a business partner. The good news is they won’t have to put any money into the new company, I will. With an injection of £250,000 of value into this start up company, this is an amazing opportunity for someone who will choose the type of business it will be. I will be looking for a person with some expertise who can demonstrate they have a good understanding of all facets of business, so as to take this venture to another level.”

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Tags: Uncategorized