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DN21 Awards


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Gainsborough DN21 Awards Celebrating Excellence in Business Tonight

You may have heard us talking about the DN21 Awards. We were excited to be a part of them initially because they represented something positive for Gainsborough business. Our excitement grew when Belinda herself and The Studio Gainsborough were shortlisted for two awards.

The event will be held as a result of a partnership between the towns focal shopping centre, Marshalls Yard and Trinity Football Club. They are keen to recognise great businesses that enhance their community and add something worthwhile to the local landscape. There will be ten awards handed out during the event held at The Blue’s Club.

The categories include: Customer Service Team of the Year, Community Engagement Award, Green Business of the Year, Independent Retailer of the Year, Business of the Year, Business Person of the Year, Shining Star Individual Award, Best New Business and an award for the best Social Media campaign.

The finalists:

Customer Service Team of the Year 2015, sponsored by Gainsborough Golf Club, are Emmalooos, New Look and M and S Simply Food

Community Engagement Award 2015, sponsored by Pygott & Crone, finalists are Browns Department Store, Riverside Training and Sills and Betteridge.

Green Business of the Year 2015, sponsored by Waste Cost Reduction Services, finalists are Wilko, Browns Department Store and Stanley Hunt Jewellers.

Independent Retailer of the Year 2015, sponsored by Elite Signs, finalists are Barnes Jewellers, Pink Pamper, Cream and Horsley’s.

Business of the Year 2015, sponsored by West Lindsey District Council, finalists are Stanley Hunt Jewellers, RH Smith & Sons (Smiffy’s) and Allsop Commercial Services.

Business Person of the Year 2015, sponsored by Road Safety Markings, finalists are Dawn Barron of Barron Bo, Belinda Darley of ABC Accounting and Wendy Stephenson of Browns Department Stores.

Shining Star Individual Award 2015, sponsored by EDF Energy, finalists are Alan Powers of New Look, Paul Cooke of DW and Lilly Dennison of Browns Department Stores.

Best New Business 2015, sponsored by Horsley’s, finalists are Therapy Gold Sports Injury Clinic, The Tool Box, Nail Envy and Pyrus Studios.

Social Media Award 2015, sponsored by MMC, finalists are Williamson’s Farm, The Studio and Stanley Hunt Jewellers

In addition to these nine awards, the public have been invited to vote for their ‘Retailer of the Year’, sponsored by Wright Vigar, by giving their vote to the store who they feel deserves to win.

So our own Belinda Darley is a finalist for the Business Person of the Year 2015 award and faces some stiff competition. As we get dolled up ready for a night to remember and celebrate fantastic Gainsborough businesses we will be full of pride with what we have achieved along with our captain and with what our local community has. We have clients that are sponsors as well as finalists so you can expect the ABC crew to be vocal tonight. The winners will be deserving of the recognition and the runners up have already achieved a win for their business by doing something exceptional for this growing town.

However, to our boss we have this message because we are wholly and unashamedly bias. You have done an amazing job over the last 10½ years and it is an absolute privilege working alongside you. There is no doubt in our minds that you deserve recognition for your growing businesses and all that you have contributed to the town. You would probably defend Gainsborough with your last breath and your personality and presence is felt far and wide as you pursue your two great passions – helping people do business and tap dancing! So whatever the outcome tonight we are very proud of you boss and we hope you continue doing what you do best for many many years to come!

Good luck!


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IR35 Personal Service Companies: The Facts

HMRC are using their powers to crack down on those who break IR35 rules. The problem we are seeing with many clients is that those rules can be incredibly complex to unravel. So here is your walk-through of the legislation in place, who it applies to and what HMRC are trying to crack down on.

What is it?

HMRC have special IR35 rules which are designed to prevent the avoidance of tax and national insurance contributions through the use of personal service companies and partnerships.

Note, individuals can still operate through either their own personal companies or a partnership, but IR35 seeks to remove any possible tax advantages from doing so.

Removal of tax advantages

The tax advantages mainly arise by extracting the net taxable profits of the company by way of dividend. This avoids any national insurance contributions which would have been due if that profit had been extracted by way of a salary or bonus.

The intention of the IR35 rules is to tax most of the income of the company as if it were salary of the person doing the work.

To whom does it apply?

The rules apply if; had the individual sold their services directly rather than through a company or partnership they would have been classed by HMRC as employed rather than self-employed.

  1. An individual operating through a personal service company, but with only one customer for whom they work full time is likely to be caught by the rules. On the other hand an individual providing similar services to many customers is far less likely to be affected.

Planning consequences

The main points to consider if you are caught by the IR35 rules are

  • The income of your company will be charged to income tax and national insurance at personal tax rates rather than company tax rates
  • Consequently there may be little difference to your net income whether you operate as a company or as an individual
  • If you have a choice in the matter would you want to continue to operate through a limited company
  • If the client requires you to continue as a limited company can you negotiate with the client for an increase in fees to cover the extra tax and national insurance due

Employment V self-employment

One of the major issues under the rules is to establish whether particular relationships or contracts are caught by the IR35 legislation. This is because the dividing line between employment and self-employment has always been a fine one.

All of the factors will be considered, but overall it is the intention and reality of the relationship that matters.

The following factors are relevant to the decision. HMRC will consider the following to decide whether a contract is caught under the IR35 rules

  • Mutuality of obligation

The customer will offer work and the worker accept it as an on-going understanding

  • Control

The customer has control over tasks undertaken and hours worked

  • Equipment

The customer provides all of the necessary equipment

  • Substitution

The individual can do the job or send a substitute

  • Financial Risk

The company bears the financial risk

  • Basis of payment

The company is paid a fixed sum for a particular job

  • Benefits

The individual is entitled to sick pay, holiday pay, expenses etc.

  • Intention

The customer and the worker have agreed there is no intention of an employment relationship

  • Personal factors

The individual works for a number of different customers and the company obtains new work in a business-like way

Exceptions to the rules

If a company has employees who have 5% or less of the shares in their employer company the rules do not apply to the income that those employees generate for the company.

Note, in establishing whether the 5% test is met any shares held by family members or associates must be included.

How the rules operate

The company operates Pay as You Earn (PAYE) and national insurance on actual payments of salary to the individual during the year in the normal way.

If on 5th April the individual salary from the salary included benefits in kind amounts to less than the company income from all of the contracts to which IR35 applies the difference net of allowable expenses is deemed to have been paid to the individual as salary on 5th April and PAYE & NIC’s are due to HMRC by 19th April.

This is a potentially complex area and we will be pleased to review any contracts you may have with customers to ascertain whether they are IR35 friendly. Please note that there is no such thing as an IR35 compliant contract.

For advice on this just email: shell@abc-accounting-services.co.uk or call 01427 613613 and ask to talk to Shell or Ian.


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Why you might need to change accountants

February is a great month to review your accountants and decide whether they have your best interests at heart. You have just gone through the self-assessment process so you can ask yourself some basic questions:

  • did you understand everything they explained to you
  • was the invoice what you expected/were told to expect
  • did you find them approachable
  • did they respond to communications quickly/efficiently
  • do you get the feeling they are making every decision based on what is best for you and your business

If you answered yes to most of them then you probably have an accountant you ought to hold on to. There are plenty of good quality accountants out there so if you answered no to more of the above  it may be time to spread your wings and see who else would make a better fit for you and your business. There are plenty of reasons people fear change when it comes to accounting. Let’s take a look at those reasons and try and demystify what essentially is a required service in an industry that is highly competitive. It’s up to accountancy practices to woo and wow you – not the other way around!

Reason 1: You have had the same accountants forever

This is usually a quick response that involves three main parts to it. What they are really telling you is that they are local and convenient, they are happy with the service because they have no comparison, and they trust their accountants to be doing what is best. These are all great reasons and loyalty is a fine quality provided you are getting the best service available. Like you would do with car insurance and heating bills it makes sense to shop around sometimes and make sure you are not simply remaining blinkered. We have seen clients trust accountants that have been woefully neglecting their responsibilities and left them in a real state. We have also seen clients content with ridiculous accounting fees for simply tasks. Loyalty is to be commended provided it is not costing you too much. Look around and make sure what you are content with is worthy of being content over.

Reason 2: Changing accountants is a massive upheaval

It often feels like that for many but in reality it is extremely simple. Once you have visited your new accountants and signed up with them they will contact your old accountants on your behalf and request all the information they need. It should be a seamless process and fluid transition from one accountants to another. They are obliged by law to co-operate so even if you leave on bad terms there is only a short amount of time they have to be awkward in before they are forced to comply. If you had a good bond with them and are worried about the emotional attachment then write to them, or go and talk to them to explain your reasons for leaving. This gives them the opportunity to lure you back and prevents bad feeling from developing.

Reason 3: Accountants are all the same

This is a massive misconception and ABC Accounting Services alone smash it into smithereens but we are also aware of plenty of other accountancy firms that do the same! Accountancy practices are just as varied as the people that work in them. They can be formal and professional, professional and approachable, approachable and friendly, quirky and friendly, a little crazy, forward thinking and fun! When you go for a free consultation with an accountancy firm you should get a sense of their character and their company ethos then. If you don’t then try another. You should be able to find an accountancy practice that shares your objectives and connects with you and your business. So do your research, go and talk to a few and see who makes sense as a natural extension to your business.

Reason 4: Accountants are there to liaise with HMRC and that’s it

If that is all your accountant does then you are missing out on a valuable chunk of the services they offer. They are there to support you, give you up-to-date financial advice, help shape your business the way you want it and assist you in planning for the future. A good accountant will listen to you and give you guidance. A great accountant will listen to you, help you fight when times are hard, discuss risks and challenges that lie ahead and be there for you exactly when you need them. There is something very flexible, immediate and responsive about great accounting that you will not get from a practice that just goes through the yearly motions. If you are not sure what type of accountant you have ask them if you can discuss your KPIs (Key performance indicators). They should walk you through the following:

  • how far ‘off’ are you from your forecast cash position? What’s the main reason for it?
  • any discrepancies need to be researched and understood so you can take necessary action to bring the figures back into line.
  • how well you are able to meet your short-term financial obligations – a key figure for almost all businesses in the current climate is their liquidity
  • how much gross profit you are making on average, per sale?
  • if you deal with consumers, say in a mail-order business, you’ll want to know how many complaints you have each day, and the broad reasons for them, so you can spot any trends and make plans to deal with them.

These figures can all be monitored and spending time with your accountant should shed light on aspects of your business you may overlook from time to time with your manic schedule what it is.

Reason 5: You don’t need a relationship with your accountant

There are clients that happily email in their data or use a digital filing system like DropBox so contact is slim on the ground. This is still no excuse for a poor or nonexistent relationship. The rapport you have with an accountant is a valuable connection. They understand business in a way that your family and friends are unlikely to. They witness hundreds, if not thousands, of clients go through the same issues, stresses and challenges as you do. In terms of advice, guidance and support there is no better ally that your accountant. You should be able to pick up the phone to them and hear a reassuring voice or drop in for coffee and receive a motivational pep talk when you need it. That is what great accounting is all about. Great accounting is not about the numbers it is about the people that create them!

Is it time to change?

We have given you five good reasons to take a long hard look at what your accountant does for you and weigh up whether it is enough. Don’t move for moving sake or base a decision purely on cost because sometimes you get what you pay for. But, if a move makes sense for you then do not hesitate because your accountancy practice should be an extension of your business and if they are not working with you then you are missing out on valuable momentum.

If you would like a free consultation to find out more about the services we provide then contact Shell via email: shell@abc-accounting-services.co.uk or ask for her by phone: 01427 613613.


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Some of the Best Christmas Videos Ever

This time of year is all about Christmas films and jumpers, indulgent turkey dinners, chocolates and a wide selection of alcohol and savoury snacks. They are also about spending time with the people you love and of course visiting family members you really only care to see once a year! Increasingly they are also about Christmas ads. For many people the Coca Cola advert announces the official arrival of Christmas.

Our eagerness to find out what the big supermarkets will come up with next is all part of the steady build up to Christmas. I for one am always that little bit excited when the ads begin. So we have rounded up our favourites, starting with this year’s hot picks. Sit back and enjoy some fine video viewing – but do please remember that these are advertisements so you will be influenced by powerful marketing creativity – we cannot be held responsible for any impulsive purchases made!

Sainsbury’s OFFICIAL Christmas 2014 Ad

One of the most touching ads this year. It remembers the sacrifices of soldiers during World War 1 and the emotive moment when both sides ceased fire to acknowledge Christmas. It also sees them return to the war as shells are fired to draw the celebrations to an end. This one is best watched with tissues to hand and Sainsbury’s message is one of sharing. If soldiers can share a moment of joy in the harshest most hostile of conditions, then what is our excuse. The adverts was made in partnership with The Royal British Legion and inspired by events that took place 100 years ago.

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014 – #MontyThePenguin

Monty the penguin has a loving home. He enjoys all the usual delights of life with his bestest bud but no matter the joy he experiences he is lacking something special. He is lacking another penguin to share it all with! John Lewis’s message is to ‘give someone the Christmas they have been dreaming of’. For most of us that means exactly the same thing – to spend it with loved ones, relaxing and appreciating everything we have for one of those rare moments where we get to switch off to life’s stresses.  Hug everyone tightly and spend some quality time with loved ones.

Marks & Spencer Christmas Advert 2014 #FollowTheFairies

A classic tune that immediately captures you attention and emotions. ‘Fly me to the Moon’ has a real authenticity and magic to it instantly reminding you of Marks and Spencer’s rich heritage. The idea of fairies flying around delivering Christmas cheer and magical interventions is perfect for the festive period. This advert allows you to escape with it and it is quite simply charming. If only we could have a white Christmas like the one in the ad. Marks and Spencer’s message is clear throughout: ‘Christmas is better with magic and sparkle’.

Coca Cola Christmas commercial 2014 HD Full advert

Holidays are coming…

What more is there to say other than we love it and that soundtrack has come to mean Christmas just as much as our other traditions. There is something truly heart-warming about the video despite the fact that we know they are selling us a pretty gassy, fairly fattening, sugar rich pop. Oh well…Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without Coca Cola. Here is the extended version for this year. You could also go and see the truck itself as it swept through the nation making refreshment stops along the way in our major cities.

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2013 – The Bear & The Hare

The journey of the bear and the hare was watched by 14,801,939 making it without doubt one of our favourites for 2013. It makes us sad and emotional for a short time before it rewards us with a perfectly magical ending. It does make you think that maybe there is the perfect present for everyone – you just have to find it!

The M&S Christmas TV Advert 2013

A great take on some of our literary classics like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’. This one didn’t get shed loads of hits on YouTube but it is one of my favourites so I included it anyway. The appearance of Helena Bonham Carter gives it added character and although it is almost overwhelmingly creative and arty there is a real British pride running through it. It celebrates our culture, heritage and the power of a fairy-tale ending.

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2012 – The Journey

Yes it is John Lewis again but this advert in many ways feels like the one that changed the importance of them all. It was emotive from the beginning, a journey of hardship to overcome severe adversity just so that a snowman can bring his snowwoman some warm winter gloves, and a hat. She is one lucky snowwoman and it is safe to say that when we realised what he was doing our hearts melted. The ability of supermarkets and high street stores to capture out imaginations and take us with them into a gripping Christmas story had been cemented.

Morrisons “For Your Christmas”

There are not many memorable Morrisons Christmas ads but this one has something for sure. The plight of the woman at Christmas (yes I know there will be plenty of men cooking the traditional family meal) is told beautifully. It brings a tear to the eye when you realise that all that stress, and effort (that we do every single year) is worth that moment when the family comes together around the table. It has a great comic edge to it and is a really engaging watch – enjoy!

And finally, here area couple of ads that did all of the above on a smaller budget back in the 80s. They have a deeper meaning to them this year which is why no round-up of the best Christmas Ads of all time could be without them. Lynda Bellingham will always be the Oxo mum to anyone around in the 80s.

1980’s Oxo Commercial

Oxo – My Christmas (1984, UK)

Merry Christmas everyone from the whole team at ABC Accounting Services, whatever you do this Christmas, make the most of it!


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Why are Christmas Parties Important?

It is one of those things we do annually because it is expected. Employers are expected to arrange them and to a lesser extent employees are expected to turn out for them. The level of awkwardness involved in the entire process comes down to whether a good working environment exists. If one does then it is the perfect opportunity to bond and relax away from work, an occasion where you can truly get to know your colleagues. If not then some people will be measuring what they drink and observing the proceedings while others will be getting hammered and saying more than they would ideally of wanted to.

So is your work place a happy place? Can you go out and let your hair down without worrying what your manager thinks or feeling isolated from your work colleagues. The best places to work have the best Christmas dos. ABC Accounting Services is no exception so when we all went out on Friday night we let our hair down, had a good laugh and told each other how brill we all are. That’s what you are meant to do. Here is what to look for in a Christmas party that means you have nailed it!

1. Laughter

There should be an abundance of laughter at other people, at each other and at yourselves. Not malicious though of course!

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2. Alcohol

Not an essential element for most people it does help step over that threshold out of work and into play mode.

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3. Photo Opportunities

It is a great opportunity to get lots of material for social media if everyone is willing and you can have a right laugh at some of the shots taken on the night, especially on the following morning.

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4. Frivolous fun

You are serious all day long everyday. Let your guard down and show people that you can have a giggle and be silly if you want to. Being able to chill and act daft is actually a huge stress buster.

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5. Exceptional or exceptionally bad entertainment

It doesn’t really matter if the entertainment is bad because you can laugh at them. It is nicer if you are laughing with them but both options are workable.

6. Going Out Clothes

For those who work in suits and dresses all day it is an excellent opportunity to get glammed up and strut your stuff on the social scene. You never know what people look like until they let their hair down and dress to impress!

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7. Chatting and dancing

When you are not laughing and taking pictures people should be talking and entertaining each other. There should be mingling and dancing and lots of banter.

8.Selfie

It wouldn’t really be a Christmas do without a selfie – would it? The perfect moment for Belinda, Shell and Dana popped up as they were leaving the loo! Just done your make-up ladies?

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The whole point is to wander off the beaten track and see where it lands you. Admittedly you do not want to puke on your boss or call them anything they may realise you mean. But, for those working in a positive and content working environment there is no risk of that because they respect their boss (es) and are old enough to know their drinking limits. Go out there and embrace the opportunity to have a laugh with people you spend a hell of a lot of time with. It’s Christmas – be merry and have fun!

We did!

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Never Give Up


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50 Top Business and Accounting Tips

We are celebrating our ten year anniversary here at ABC Accounting Services. That means we have ten years worth of accounting and business experience to share with the world. Not just that, it also means that we have seen thousands of businesses both fail and succeed in their sectors.

The culmination of this knowledge is a list of 50 top tips for keeping your business afloat based around what we have seen businesses benefit from and what we know is sound accounting advice. They wont all be Earth shattering insights, because a lot of business involves common sense, but there will be some nuggets of wisdom in there. We have also thrown in a few light suggestions to keep you amused along the way.

So enjoy and hopefully we will continue to entertain and educate our followers for another 10 years – cheers!

1. Good bookkeeping from day one not only makes perfect sense but it will also avoid a lot of long nights and accompanying stress further down the line. Get a system in order from the start and then you will always be on top of your paperwork.

2. Talk through big issues with someone else in business. If you run a business on your own another perspective can be crucial when making big decisions. You will not always agree with someone else’s insight but it does make you consider another viewpoint to that of your own.

3. Always make time for clients when they need it, even if it is not convenient for you. The same applies to customer service for commerce companies. It has to be above and beyond what the client and customer expects if you are to build real trust and respect with your target audience.

4. Leading on from point 3, the most valuable form of marketing today is still the same as it has always been – word of mouth. People talk and the only question you need to consider is whether they will be saying good or bad things about you and your business.

5. Don’t run out of tea, coffee, sugar, or milk. Firstly, because it is really bad for morale and secondly because you will look a right dummy if you can’t offer visiting clients a drink!

6. The traditional advice is to keep personal and business completely separate. ABC has more of a family style bond where the boss is the boss but still a colleague, source of support, and when needed, a friend. Do what works for your business but be careful to keep a clear line so that everyone knows where they stand when tough decisions need to be made.

7. Ignore social media at your peril. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are the big four. Instagram and Pinterest are the big movers. It is free marketing that will raise your profile so make sure you know your social media and get your business on there pronto.

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8. Making mistakes and learning from them is the most valuable skill that you will learn. No mistake is irreversible unless you do not face it head on and put it right.

9. Keep all receipts from fuel, office supplies, overheads, work clothes, equipment, and hospitality/social functions so your accountant can claim full expenses entitlement against your tax bill .

10. Keep morale high by empowering staff, training them to be the best that they can be, and actively encouraging light relief and social events when the team need them.

11. Write all the important dates on a wall calendar where you cannot miss them: Year End, VAT Return, PAYE, Business Insurance Renewal, Website Hosting Renewal, Employee Birthdays…you get the idea.

12. Buy tons of pens because they have a habit of going missing!

13. Pass on your expertise – make sure people know what you know because it is great for your business, it means that one day you can reduce your hours and share your unrelenting responsibility with others who have followed in your footsteps. It also keep the company ethos strong and in line with what you set out to accomplish.

14. Expand your network so you are connecting with new people over social media and face-to-face on a weekly basis. If you can add one person to your network of contacts each week imagine where you will be in a year and then in five years.

15. Have plan A, plan B, and plan C ready at all times because the first attempt isn’t always the best attempt.

16. Keep reminding yourself why you started your business and ask yourself if it still matches your original objectives and ambitions.

17. Stick post-its on your computer but make sure they are for the most urgent task you have to do at that moment in time. It will help you prioritise critical issues and then once they have been dealt with you can throw the post-it away.

18. Your website is potentially your most valuable asset so make sure it reflects you and your business. Fill it with strong content, make sure it is optimised for searchability, loads fast because visitors have short concentration spans, and is attractive/original.

19. Automated posts, phone systems and digital communication cannot replace the human touch. Make sure your clients/customers know there is a person behind their service and someone who cares, can relate to them, at the end of a phone.

20. National Minimum Wage (NMW) often goes up on the 1st October, it is illegal not to pay employees NMW so keep updated on changes.

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21. Give yourself the credit you deserve and acknowledge your success because you should feel proud of your achievements. Otherwise all you will ever feel is stress and responsibility and that is no fun.

22. Following on from point 21, celebrate successes because you are bound to beat yourself up over mistakes – the Universe likes balance.

23. Try not to say no too often, yes opens more doors that lead to more opportunities. Say no and you never know what could have been.

24. Learn to delegate, as much as you want to do everything yourself, you cannot maintain that level of commitment and workload forever.

25. Schedule in personal time. Block out days to spend with the family, trips away, and holidays. If you block out days in your calendar you will respect their importance and make them psychologically harder to put off or rearrange.

26. Connect with local businesses so your can exchange services/products, agree discounts, work on referral arrangements and have a friendly face at networking events to seek out.

27. Only take out a loan if you absolutely have to and make sure you get solid forecasts done to check and check again the feasibility of your business plan.

28. Have a mix of men and women in the office if you can ethically because the opposite sexes tend to have different qualities/strengths. They are not set in stone but generally speaking men and women can often provide different values to the team that compliment each other.

29. Have a dress code and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be suits and skirts, you may prefer a more causal approach. Many technology companies have a casual Friday to boost morale and give everyone a ‘ahhhhhhh’ day. If a policy is in place it is easier to address unsuitable attire issues.

30. Pay it forward by helping the next wave of entrepreneurs or by employing apprentices. Contributing to the future of business in both of these capacities can be financially rewarding in the long-run but it is for the personal satisfaction that most do it.

31. Keep your business account and your personal accounts separate. It makes bookkeeping far easier so if you are doing it yourself it will not take as long. If someone else is doing it that means it wont cost you as much. Sure, you can pay your business account back but will you always remember and keep the appropriate records. So much easier to keep them separate.

32. Call an expert when you are not sure of something. Many experts in pensions, insurance, banking, accounting, the legal sector, and the marketing sector to some extent are happy to offer free advice and may even provide a free consultation. Sometimes you need outside help so make sure you know when to access it.

33. Spend a lot of time interviewing people. Invite them in for trial days and make sure they fit in and you can imagine them being part of your company. Smarts count for a lot but you should also go by your gut – do they feel right? It’s your business so your feelings count.

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34. Keep a close eye on in-comings and get a system in place early on that includes chasing outstanding invoices. Too many people sit waiting for the money to appear or forget about half of the invoices they have sent out. That’s your money!

35. Always remember to let your customers know where to go with calls to action. Never let them navigate around your site aimlessly, read your blog, or scan your flyer, without giving them their next destination – a strong pull or hook to something that will tell them more, offering them something better.

36. First impressions are made in seconds – are you giving a good one? Is your team giving a good one?

37. Prepare and practice your introduction for networking events so it comes across smooth and polished and says everything you intended to say.

37. Set expectations that you can exceed. The ultimate goal may take you some time to reach so put in short and medium term goals that give you a motivational push when you need it and a moment of joy and victory when you achieve them.

38. Be passionate and communicate to people with feeling. There is no shame in being excited, energetic and enthusiastic about your business. Too many people fear public reaction to a little confidence and pride but if you are happy then don’t suffocate that. The majority of your audience will actually find that refreshing and endearing.

39. Follow up on leads straight after events. For one thing it is easier because you can remember who you have talked to and are more likely to recall a detail that adds a personal touch to the email/phone call. And they also like immediate contact because it lets them know they were remembered and you are also fresh in their mind.

40. Singing around the office shouldn’t be done on a regular basis but a bit of music and self expression is great for morale and can be highly amusing. Just a thought!

41. Respect everyone that you meet and be courteous to the horrid people you immediately dislike. Why? Because you never know when you might need them or who they may know/be connected to.

42. Only sell what you would buy yourself. Only offer a service that you would be happy with yourself. It is a simple mantra but if everyone did it then we wouldn’t have call centers in countries overseas containing employees that customers just cannot understand. We wouldn’t be able to buy poor quality clothes that only last three washes or vehicles that break down around the corner from the garage!

43.  Manage your email by creating sub-folders so that you can filter emails into dedicated areas for each client/staff member/subscription/service provider. You can also have an ‘important’ folder to make prioritising your emails far simpler. Then just make sure you stay on top of them.

44. Rich Tea do make great dunkers but they taste a lot like cardboard. Hobnobs, chocolate digestives, custard creams and ginger biscuits are preferable. Offering clients a cuppa or a coffee is essential, offering them a biscuit is just plain nice (also good dunkers)!

45. Appreciate and encourage staff to motivate them. Pulling them up on mistakes is sometimes necessary but if you smile and provide a solution and incentive to revise and refine that solution then you can turn a negative into a positive. Never leave a conversation on a negative unless the mistake was business or life threatening.

46. Step out of your comfort zone because that is usually where opportunities await you. Everyone would be successful if it didn’t take a few brave steps into the unknown. Be prepared to try new things, trust new ideas and embrace change.

47. Negotiate energetically on price and never take the first quote without a little bartering. You never know what you might save and it isn’t cheeky or rude it is just business.

48. Measure everything and use that data to drive decisions so you always have solid facts to reinforce the direction your business is taking. It will also make you analyse decisions with logic rather than feeling.

49. Budget for tax. Budget for VAT. You will have to pay them both whether you ignore them right up to the deadline or not so it makes sense to set money aside and be ready for them.

50. Do not give up. Most people who are self-employed go through tough patches where they are penniless, disheartened, and beginning to doubt their future. The ones that survive grit their teeth and push on hard. They drag themselves into tomorrow and manage one day at a time until they start smiling again. Not giving up is the core skill embedded in most business owners.

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As with any advice this is just what ABC Accounting Services Director and team would advise based on their experiences. Everyone is different and you have to learn to navigate your own path and learn from your own experiences. If Ginger Nuts are not your thing then buy in Bourbons. Follow your gut but more importantly follow the figures and continually measure your success against key performance indicators (KPIs).

The very best of luck and if you want to discuss your ambitions or issues with someone then we offer a half hour free consultation so just give us a call: 01427 613613.

 

 

 


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Gainsborough Woman Celebrates 10 Years in Business

Belinda Darley started her accountancy firm in a porta-cabin in 2004 and now celebrates its 10 year anniversary with a growing team behind her.

corringham road premises

She has taken the number of clients on the firm’s books from 50 to over 1500 and has recently had the ABC Accounting Service’s offices refurbished to accommodate growing demand. Belinda grew up in Gainsborough and the majority of businesses that her firm supports are from the area.

ABC Accounting Services was started because Belinda thought clients deserved a more tailored and cost-effective accounting service than the one large chains and franchises provided. The premises and charge-out-rates have always come second to straight talking communication and an open house policy.

Her local spirit is strong, Belinda proudly stated: ‘I would never leave Gainsborough, it is part of who I am and what ABC Accounting Services stands for – we have tons of local clients that pop in for a chat or just a natter all the time. This town is going in the right direction commercially and I am very happy to be part of its future.’

Of her ten years in business she had this to say: ‘you never get chance to relax and take stock of what you have accomplished. But, when I think about what I had when I started this company and where I am today it makes me want to laugh out loud in disbelief, grin, and cry, because it is so much more than I ever planned’.

The team at ABC will be celebrating ten years to the day in business on the 4th October with a few drinks in town courtesy of the boss!