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How Many Britons Would Choose A Family Member As A Business Partner?


According to survey in SmallBusiness.co.uk one in three aspiring entrepreneurs in the UK would turn to family partnerships and that working with family members in a business is a popular choice.
The figure rises to two in five (40 per cent) among 18-34-year-olds, according to a survey by Barclays Business.  The study also reveals three in five UK adults (61 per cent) would want to pass on a family business to the younger generation in their family if they had the opportunity, however 23 per cent of those over 55 fear that the younger generation would not want to inherit it.

21% of Startp Up Business Up and Running Within 6 Weeks

According to a survey in Smallbusiness.co.uk of some 3,400 new businesses by PeoplePerHour, 21 per cent of businesses surveyed managed to get up and running within six weeks, 28 per cent in 6-12 weeks and 19 per cent took 12-20 weeks. Just 7 per cent of those surveyed say it had taken them longer than a year. One of the factors contributing to the speed of the start-up process is the fact that 71 per cent of those surveyed raised money needed from their savings and the 'bank of friends and family'.  Some 22 per cent of those surveyed started up with less than £2,000 and 17 per cent managed to start with less than £1,000.

Whilst accounting may not be at the forefront of a startups thinking for many the flexible and highly affordable cloud based accounting option is an attractive one.

Before The Cloud: How Work Has Changed In The Last 20 Years

We at Cloud Based Accounting are more than aware that the world of work has changed in the last 20 years – and this is certainly true of accounting and the availability of "the cloud"

The article below which appeared on Entrepreneur provides a nostalgic look at how things have changed.  How has it changed for you?

"In 1994, I had more hair and weighed less. I was struggling with a new baby (and two more on the way) and all the other stress of being a young husband and father. So naturally, I quit my job and started a business. Seems logical, right? 

Fast forward 20 years, the kids have made it to college with no arrests (so far), and the business is still going. It’s been challenging, rewarding, stressful, fun, not fun and not at all romantic. I’ve made many mistakes as a business owner, but luckily I’ve managed to change with the times. How?

1. I now watch what I say. The world has changed a lot in just 20 years. I, like many of today’s managers, have adapted to our people’s different races, cultures, sexual orientations or even someone’s physical appearance (you got a tattoo where?). I don’t ask, I don’t tell, I don’t comment. Because I’ve learned that my comments are not only irrelevant but definitely not funny and are more than likely just plain ignorant. I’ve learned that getting the job done is the most important thing of all. So I keep my trap shut.

2. I have different communication skills. In 1994, there was the phone. Today’s business owner must be prepared to write long emails, tweet in less than 140 characters, post on Facebook, update on LinkedIn, speak to groups of hopeful employees or prospective customers and be comfortable appearing on a Skype call, his company’s YouTube channel or sitting down for an interview with the local TV station. It’s a multi-media world and we must able to communicate our messages to our communities, wherever they are and whatever platform they choose to hear it. Whether we’ve got something relevant to say is besides the point.

3. I am on call 24/7 and totally mobile. There is no such thing as “out of office” anymore. I am expected to respond to emails, texts, tweets and calls within minutes of receipt. I get them on my phone, tablet and laptop. A wireless connection is everywhere. In 1994, I would literally make calls from pay phones at gas stations (Remember? They had extra long cords). I had my weekends mostly free. Those days are long gone.

4. I travel more. Even with all the social media and online communications, customers still expect to see me. Talk about demanding! Now I’m frequently jumping on planes, staying at a Marriott Courtyard (breakfast included!), eating dinner at a Bennigan’s (the Irish Tower O’Rings is awesome — talk about progress!) and be home the next day. This is easier, cheaper and safer today than it was 20 years ago, so I find myself doing that more often.

5. I’m virtual. Twenty years ago we had an office with computers on desks and a phone system. Today we don’t. We closed that down years ago and everyone works from their homes. All of our applications are managed by someone else. Our phone system is hosted. I pay every month for all my services. My people are Skyping, chatting and using online collaboration tools to share files and data, track projects and invoices, submit expenses and just to get work done. None of this was possible back then. I’m not saying it’s the greatest setup in the world or that Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer would agree, but it’s definitely kept my overhead low.

6. My work is coming from different places. In 1994, we had a telemarketer. Our leads came through calls and maybe a referral from a partner. Today we’re getting our leads online. Retailers and restaurants are using services such as Groupon and Foursquare to attract new customers. There was no mobile back then, let alone mobile ad spending. I’m attracting new clients from all over the world, and thanks to remote technologies we’re actually able to do work for them too.

7. There is less paper. We’re still cutting checks, but not as many we did in 1994.  We take credit cards from many customers and eat the fee. We don’t send paper invoices anymore. I have a fax machine, but it’s more of a copier. We archive everything on DropBox, keep our customer files on our hosted customer relationship management system and will be moving to a mobile e-signature system sometime soon.

8. Yet, there are more people. That’s because things are more specialized than they were in 1994. I use people to help me with social media, marketing, taxes, bookkeeping, payroll, collections (now there’s one thing that hasn't changed, unfortunately) C++ development, C-Sharp development, SQL integrations, website coding, reputation management, etc. Today I need people who know Microsoft networks, Google searches and Apple devices. I need people to help me evaluate new products, respond to customer requests and do training in various specialties.

9. I rely on people from far-flung places. Thanks to the Internet, I can now get that help from qualified people no matter where they are. My social media assistant lives in Manhattan, my marketing support lives in Maryland, my phone system is hosted in California, my developers are in Ukraine (at least I hope they still are) and my entire company’s database is hosted on a server God-knows-where.

10. I have more data.  I’ve got years of customer interactions, gigabytes of scanned documents, analytics from Google, metrics from my marketing service, blogs about the economy, tweets about technology, alerts about the Phillies (lost again), photos from a client, updates from my high school friends (still drunk and stupid) and an email from LinkedIn every day telling me that a guy I once met at a conference in 2007 has recently changed jobs. I'm not sure what to do with all this data, but I’m sure someone will figure it out for me someday.

What about you? Are you running your business the same way you did 20 years ago? I hope not. Because if you are, you won’t be for very long."

To find out how to bring your bookkeeping and accounts up to the 21st Century take a look here..

To see the original article go here.

Sage Reveal Why Sage One Accounts is better than spread sheets

Sage have just announced why they believe that Sage One accounts is better than using spreadsheets.  If after you have read this you want to trial the software then contact us to arrange a free trial.

The Article Is As Follows:

"Technically, you could just use a spread sheet like Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of your finances in the early days of your business. However, unless you’re a whizz with formulas then you’re only ever going to have the most basic of information at your fingertips.

You also run the risk of accidentally deleting information from some cells, deleting the entire spread sheet or more drastically losing or having your laptop stolen! You’re also limited by when and where you can access this information if it’s stored on a single machine unless you make multiple copies or share the file in the cloud using Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) or Google Drive.

However, with an online accounting solution like Sage One Accounts, you can access the information with a single login from any Internet-enabled device. All the clever work has been done for you by our roomful of top notch developers so the data you enter is presented in a meaningful way and pulled through into useful reports like a Profit and Loss Report and Balance Sheet Report.

Time saving features:

When you first log in to Sage One, the ’Summary’ screen also shows your Sales, Expenses and Profit figures for the month and year to date, plus your ‘Top 5 Unpaid Sales Invoices’ and the outstanding totals beside them.
Invoices you raise can be printed off to post or emailed direct to your clients from within Sage One, and for extra convenience you can automatically back these up to Google Drive for quick access on your smartphone.
Another very popular feature of Sage One that you can’t do in a spread sheet is ’Recurring Expenses‘ which allows you to enter an amount once and set it to come out at the same time each month, saving you the time and effort of entering it each time.

With Sage One, your data is always securely backed up and the software is always up-to-date with the latest legislation and new features added free of charge as part of your monthly subscription. It also includes free 24hr telephone and email support from our Customer Support Team in Newcastle.

There are so many clever and time saving features in Sage One that aren’t present in Excel or Google Sheets – too many to list here now in a single blog post. So, why not sign up for a free 30 day trial now and then work through the step-by-step guides on the Sage One Help Centre so you can see for yourself how much better it is?"

Contact Cloud Based Accounting for a free trial.

What Would Start Up Businesses Do Differently If They Got The Chance To Do It Again?

One mistake start ups can avoid is by making sure their business accounts and tracking is set up properly.  A little time spent getting this right can save a lot of time down the line and with Sage’s online cloud accounting service there is an amazingly affordable and flexible option (see here).

However not all start ups get it right and here are 5 key areas where startups can learn from their past mistakes which I saw recently in Crowdspring..  Do any of these apply to you or to start ups that you know?

1. Perform A Post Mortem

On your A4 sheet of paper or wipeboard start listing what went wrong, when it went wrong, and how it went wrong. Understanding the mistake is to be clear on exactly what it was and how it happened. If the goal is to learn from mistakes and avoid them in the future, you have to look address it head on with you and your team.

2. Take it seriously.

Sometimes we fall into the habit of simply moving past our mistakes without taking the time to reflect. We justify this by telling ourselves that this was just a little thing. or this was just a one-off. Small mistakes cumulatively add up to big mistakes so don’t ignore or undervalue them. Take your mistakes seriously and take the time to learn from all of them – major or minor, simple or complex.

3. Be transparent.

Don’t try to hide your mistake or the impact of it from your team, your customers, or your investors. These relationships are based on trust as much as anything else and hiding your error can cause as much damage as the error itself. If we are to learn from our mistakes and determine what we would do differently, we need sunshine on the problem to best understand what happened.

4. Listen to others.

If the goal is to learn from our mistakes a critical component of doing so is to listen to what others have to say about it. Your team, your mentors, your advisors, even your customers are great sources of wisdom and ideas and you should never hesitate to hear what they have to say and learn from them. In spite of what you might think in the heat of the moment plenty of other people have made the same or similar mistakes already and you can learn much from their experience.

5. Make change happen.

If the goal is to learn from mistakes and do things differently next time, the most important factor is your willingness and commitment to make changes. These could be change in your process, change in your strategy, change in execution, or even change in your company structure. The nature of the change is wholly dependent on the nature of the mistake you’re attempting to mitigate, but your commitment to change is the core. To do things differently means to affect change.

What Would Start Up Businesses Do Differently If They Got The Chance To Do It Again?

One mistake start ups can avoid is by making sure their business accounts and tracking is set up properly.  At little time getting this right can save a lot of time down the line and with Sage's online cloud accounting service there is an amazingly affordable and flexible option (see here).

However not all start ups get it right and here are 5 key areas where startups can learn from their past mistakes which I saw recently in Crowdspring..  Do any of these apply to you or to start ups that you know?

1. Perform A Post Mortem

On your A4 sheet of paper or wipeboard start listing what went wrong, when it went wrong, and how it went wrong. Understanding the mistake is to be clear on exactly what it was and how it happened. If the goal is to learn from mistakes and avoid them in the future, you have to look address it head on with you and your team.

2. Take it seriously.

Sometimes we fall into the habit of simply moving past our mistakes without taking the time to reflect. We justify this by telling ourselves that this was just a little thing. or this was just a one-off. Small mistakes cumulatively add up to big mistakes so don't ignore or undervalue them. Take your mistakes seriously and take the time to learn from all of them – major or minor, simple or complex.

3. Be transparent.

Don’t try to hide your mistake or the impact of it from your team, your customers, or your investors. These relationships are based on trust as much as anything else and hiding your error can cause as much damage as the error itself. If we are to learn from our mistakes and determine what we would do differently, we need sunshine on the problem to best understand what happened.

4. Listen to others.

If the goal is to learn from our mistakes a critical component of doing so is to listen to what others have to say about it. Your team, your mentors, your advisors, even your customers are great sources of wisdom and ideas and you should never hesitate to hear what they have to say and learn from them. In spite of what you might think in the heat of the moment plenty of other people have made the same or similar mistakes already and you can learn much from their experience.

5. Make change happen.

If the goal is to learn from mistakes and do things differently next time, the most important factor is your willingness and commitment to make changes. These could be change in your process, change in your strategy, change in execution, or even change in your company structure. The nature of the change is wholly dependent on the nature of the mistake you’re attempting to mitigate, but your commitment to change is the core. To do things differently means to affect change.

What Are The Real Benefits of Cloud Based Accounting

The Benefits of Cloud-Based Accounting

Everything lives in the cloud these days: our Google documents; our holiday snaps; our powerpoint presentations and our music. In business, it's no different: everything from customer databases to photo editing software can be and infrequently is stored in the cloud.

The advantages of using cloud-based systems are well documented, ranging from convenience to security. Data – provided it is encrypted and backed up – can be accessed from anywhere and is safe from the threat of fire, theft or hardware failure. Cloud-based software is also cheaper thanks to licensing arrangements that enable multiple users to access the same program simultaneously.

The cloud isn't the future – it's the present and it's all around is, even if we can't quite see it. As the number of cloud-based solutions continues to grow, businesses are faced with tough decisions to make: to stick with what they know or to take the plunge and move their operations to a virtual environment. Just because it's possible do something in the cloud doesn't mean it's necessarily right for your company. Every solution needs to be assessed on its merits rather than its ubiquity or perceived trendiness.

Accountancy solutions

Accountancy is one of many fields to have benefited from the cloud computing revolution; it's now possible for businesses to maintain all of their financial records online. When audits and tax returns are due, there's no need to take a hard copy to your accountant's office: at the press of their button it can be instantly delivered to their desktop, saving you time, money and the need to ransack the office in search of a thumb drive.

'Time and money' is the mantra that's used to sell most business systems of course. Will it make your life easier? Will it reduce your overheads? And if so, will the savings justify the initial investment required to train staff and purchase the software?

Payroll and accounts may be two separate systems but they're closely linked. Cloud solutions provide the option to seamlessly merge these two divisions, ensuring that records are in synch and in the same place. That said, it's possible to have one without the other; SMEs may still prefer to process their payroll manually in-house for example. For larger limited companies however, it makes sense to use the two in tandem via an integrated cloud-based system.

Packages are typically priced via a monthly tariff which includes a provision for a maximum number of employees. The larger your company, the higher the fee you'll be expected to pay. Invoicing, payroll and bookkeeping are all included, ensuring that at the year-end, the blind panic induced by having to round up a year's financial records is largely eliminated.

Pricing

Major software vendors including Sage provide all-in-one cloud-based systems, complete with 24-hour support and free introductory trial. It's not just convenience that might compel a business to move all its operations to the cloud: fully-integrated invoice generation can also enhance the perception of your business. Whether visiting your premises in person, shopping online or ordering over the phone, customers will benefit from having their records all in one place.

For example, a company technician can issue invoices and create sales records on the job, with quotations emailed instantly to the customer. Spare parts, new stock and repeat business can all be processed with the minimum of fuss. Emailing records directly to customers doesn't just look professional – it substantially saves money on stationery and postage costs.

One of the biggest headaches that businesses face is VAT. If it's kept up to date, VAT can be dealt with fairly easily. It's all too easy to put it off until the last possible moment however, leading to the risk of late payment fines from HMRC when deadlines loom and then pass.

Cash is king

Accountancy software isn't just about calculating the monies that are due to Caesar; it's just as useful when it comes to managing cash flow. It's all well and good having stock, customers and sales enquiries, but cash flow is what makes a business tick. Healthy cash flow is at the heart of a healthy business. Good cash flow management software will enable you to keep track of all monies coming into and out of your business. Takings, credit, cash card and cheque receipts are all calculated, giving you an accurate figure of your finances – one that's updated in real time.

The range of administrative tasks that accountancy software can handle is exhaustive. If you're considering a cloud-based solution, however, it's possible to be overwhelmed by the options available to you. Having all of your data in one place is undoubtedly convenient, but avoid overcomplicating things by tacking on services you really don't need. Most cloud systems are modular, enabling you to tailor a bespoke solution to suit.

One option may be to start off with the essentials – payroll and accounts perhaps – before bolting on additional features as and when they're required. This also ensures that staff can be trained up gradually rather than having to dispense with years of acquired knowledge and master new systems overnight.

If you're in the market for cloud-based accountancy software, try the free trial at Cloudbasedaccounting.co.uk, focus on the features you really need and allow your staff time to adjust. After the initial teething period, you'll be well-placed to reap the benefits every single day. More time. More money. Less hassle. It's that simple.

Try Before You Buy

When it comes to any cloud based service our strong recommendation is that  you try before you buy.  Many services allow this and our own service is no exception.  The response to our service has been excellent and without exception they try before they buy – so why not go ahead and give it a go yourself.  Try Before You Buy.

Excel V’s The Cloud

When it first came onto the market, Microsoft Excel was a revolutionary product, greatly reducing the time and manpower necessary for complex financial record keeping. Today, however, there are plenty of horror stories about serious problems created by errors in Excel records. Excel mistakes have caused major academic researchers to arrive at skewed results. Businesses end up overstating profits, investment firms incur trading losses, and government agencies find significant budget shortfalls – all because of errors in Excel data.

Cloud Based

If your small business uses Excel and doesn’t have a similar horror story, consider yourself lucky. The fact is that Excel doesn’t have enough safeguards in place to prevent human error. Problems are created through manual data entry or when records are merged and manually pasted. Such situations provide plenty of leeway for potentially costly mistakes.

Fortunately there’s a low-cost and efficient alternative to Excel: cloud accounting software.

Accuracy: Accounting records are updated automatically rather than manually, reducing the odds of human error. There is one single source for accounting data, avoiding mistakes caused by multiple sources of financial records and eliminating the need to cut and paste. Records are updated instantaneously, so you know you’re working with the most up-to-date information.

 Classic

Access: Your data isn’t confined to a single desktop or particular office. With cloud accounting, employees can access your company’s information from anywhere in the world at any time. In addition, employees can work together from multiple locations without having to email information back and forth. Many cloud providers also offer easy access for mobile devices.

Efficiency: Reports such as cash flow summaries can be created with the touch of a button. Cloud-based software can help your company budget and forecast business trends more accurately. In addition, your cloud provider is responsible for updates, back-ups, and security, allowing you to focus on your core business.

Budget: Cloud computing is sometimes thought of as the province of large businesses and government agencies, but it can be a cost-effective alternative for small and mid-sized organizations as well. You can avoid the upfront costs of purchasing expensive on-site equipment and instead pay a monthly fee. Also, you don’t have to pay for capacity you’re not using; instead, you can scale as needed.

You may have been wondering if your small business can afford cloud based accounting software, but maybe you should be asking yourself if you can afford not to have it. Pricing for cloud accounting software varies from a few tens of dollars (low-end) to thousands per month (high-end). Depending on the size of your business, the low-end software should suffice. Cloud accounting providers also make it really easy for businesses to upgrade to new and improved packages, making the software a perfect choice for growing businesses and startups. Most providers also offer a free trial so you can try it out without any out-of-pocket cost. Switching from Excel to cloud accounting software may give your small business that competitive edge you’ve been seeking.

 

The key announcements made by George Osborne in the 2014 Budget speech.

Yesterday the news world was filled with the all the live action. Today, we take a look at the key announcements made by George Osborne in the 2014 Budget speech.

Economic growth

The UK economy is forecast to grow by 2.7% in 2014. This is a change from the forecast made by George Osborne in his 2013 autumn statement, which was 2.4%.

For 2015, the forecast is 2.3%. The economy is then forecast to grow by 2.6% in 2016 and 2017; and by 2.5% in 2018.

Government borrowing and debt

Borrowing is expected to be £108bn this year – £12 billion less than forecast a year ago.

The government is forecast to borrow £95bn in 2014-15, £75bn in 2015-16 and £44bn in 2016-17.

A surplus of £5bn is predicted for 2018-19.

The national debt is forecast to be 74.5% of GDP this year, then 77.3% next year, reaching a peak of 78.7% in 2015/16 and falling to 78.3%, 76.5% and 74.2% in following years.

Benefits and pensions

A “welfare cap” on the amount the government spends on benefits will be set at £119bn for 2015/16, rising to £127bn by 2018/19, with only the state pension and cyclical unemployment benefits excluded.

Taxes and allowances

The personal income tax allowance will rise to £10,500 from April 2015.

A married couples and civil partners tax break, which is set to cost about £700m a year, is proposed to start in April 2015, enabling people to transfer £1,000 of their income tax allowance to their partners.

The higher rate threshold for the 40p income tax rate will rise from £41,450 to £41,865 next month and then by a further 1% to £42,285 next year.

Cash and stocks ISA’s are to be merged into a single new ISA, with annual tax-free savings limit of £15,000 from 1 July. The limit for a Junior ISA will be raised to £4,000.

Jobs and training

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts 1.5m more jobs to be created over the next five years, and for earnings to grow faster than inflation this year and in every year of the forecast.

Transport

There will be no increase on fuel duty

The 2% increase in company car tax will be extended to 2017 and 2018, with increased discount for ultra-low emission vehicles.

Housing

George Osborne has already announced that the Help to Buy scheme is to be extended until 2020.

Infrastructure

A total of £270m will be guaranteed for the Mersey Gateway bridge.

Legislation will give the Welsh government tax and borrowing powers to fund infrastructure needs, including improvements to M4 motorway.

An additional £140m will be made available for repairs and maintenance to flood defences, and an additional £200m will be made available for repairing potholes.

Duties

Air passenger duty will be reformed so all long haul flights carry the same tax rate as currently charged for flights to US.

The duty on fixed odds betting terminals will be increased to 25%, while the horse racing betting levy will be extended to offshore bookmakers and bingo duty halved to 10%.

Tobacco duty will continue to rise by 2% above inflation.

The alcohol duty escalator will be scrapped, meaning taxes will rise in line with inflation except for on whisky and other spirits, where it is frozen. The duty on ordinary cider is frozen, while beer duty is cut by 1p a pint.