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Are you lonely?

by mike tombs
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Running a business can be a very lonely lifestyle. You probably went into business for a whole host of good reasons, and with a clear understanding of the problems that running your own business can bring you. But you might not have considered the loneliness. Endlessly making decisions by yourself, holding the sole responsibility for the consequences of those decisions can wear people down. This is not a sign of weakness, it is merely a reflection of the difficult nature of running a business. Every decision that you make will have a ripple effect of consequences. For example, the pound [...]

Making the best of it

by mike tombs
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Many people regard paying their accountant as a necessary evil. Simply as something that has to be done, in order to tick the boxes laid out for us by the Government. But what if we change our thinking toward accountancy, what if we embrace something we have to do anyway, and turn it into a benefit, not simply a drain? We have to, by law, file our end of year accounts with HMRC. Most businesses pay an accountant to do this for them, in order to firstly ensure that it is correct, and also to optimise our tax position. This [...]

Travelling to the EU after Brexit

by mike tombs
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The following guidance was published on the GOV.UK website 20 December 2018. Much of the guidance has been updated on the basis of a no-deal Brexit.   UK citizens planning a trip to the EU and EEA before 29 March 2019 are not affected by Brexit changes.   The following comments assume a no-deal Brexit and would apply from 29 March 2019   Flying to the EU from the UK Flights should continue as today. Both the UK and EU want flights to continue without any disruption. There will be no impact to direct flights to non-EU countries. Before you [...]

Brexit may be in limbo, but Making Tax Digital is not

by mike tombs
in VAT
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As we have highlighted in many posts to this blog, from 1 April 2019, ALL VAT registered businesses with turnover above the £85,000 VAT registration threshold will have to submit their VAT returns from within software that can link with HMRC’s networks. In techno- speak, your data will need to be transferred using a designated API (HMRC’s application programming interface).   The fact that you have always prepared your VAT returns electronically, for example, by using a spreadsheet to record transactions and create the data for your VAT returns, will not be enough. Your spreadsheet will not have the functionality [...]

What are you basing your planning on?

by mike tombs
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One of the difficult things about being a parent is the constant changing. Sometimes it seems as though no sooner have you got yourself sorted, than your child changes. So, the tricks that worked last year no longer seem to work, and the activities that were perfect and enjoyable 6 months ago are suddenly no longer relevant. Planning ahead includes factoring in how your child may change in the intervening period of time. You can’t work out how to entertain a 6-year-old through the holidays based on what you did with a 4-year-old; it simply won’t work. Businesses are similar [...]

Keep private bank accounts private

by mike tombs
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Many small businesses, including landlords, use personal bank accounts to lodge business receipts and make business payments. If traders in this situation are subject to a HMRC enquiry into their business affairs, HMRC would be entitled to request sight of all bank accounts that record business transactions even if those accounts are essentially, personal bank accounts.   As many of the transactions in these accounts are personal, you may need to explain to HMRC where credits to the account came from and provide evidence that the credits are nothing to do with your business.   Without this confirmation or evidence, [...]

How do you eat an elephant?

by mike tombs
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The answer is, of course, a little bit at a time. Goal, dreams or aims are like elephants, it is far too overwhelming to have your goal as make a million pounds, but breaking that goal down into manageable bite sized pieces will make the obtaining of your goal possible, and certainly more probable. We have reached the time of year when we start to think about next year and what we want to achieve going forwards, so now is a good time to start understanding how to set out good goals, to enable you to reach your final aim. [...]

Receiving your State Pension if you live abroad

by mike tombs
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If you are about to move abroad and are already receiving a State Pension in the UK, you might like to read this article setting out some of the issues you will need to consider.   If you live part of the year abroad You must choose which country you want your pension to be paid in. You cannot be paid in one country for part of the year and another for the rest of the year. Bank accounts your pension can be paid into Your State Pension can be paid into: a bank in the country you’re living in [...]

Struggling with growth?

by mike tombs
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Trying to achieve increased growth can seem a daunting prospect, but as with most thing in business and life, once broken down it becomes clearer. There are only 4 ways to increase growth. 1.Increase the number of customers or transactions. Increase the average value of existing transactions. Increase the gross profit margin on your products and services Introduce a new product or service   So, for each of these we can come up with a strategy that may help. Firstly, increase your customers or transactions. This can be finding new customers or encouraging your existing customers to order more frequently. [...]

Are you looking for export opportunities?

by mike tombs
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In a recent press release, the Department for International Trade promoted its enhanced Export Opportunities service for UK companies. In a nut-shell, this lists overseas governments and companies that are looking to buy UK goods and services. On the face of it, if you are looking for a source of leads for your export marketing activities, it’s probably worth taking a look. Extracts from the press release and the link to find out more are copied in below: The UK is one of the first countries in the world provide this online service, following the launch of the Export Strategy [...]