A gory cashflow model is a useful cashflow model – the bloodier the better

A gory cashflow model is a useful cashflow model – the bloodier the better

You probably can’t rely on your bank to save the day so it’s down to you

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I can have the business I want – by stopping the business I’ve got

Some time ago I posted a blog entitled “I can’t have the business I want…..because of the business I’ve got!” which concerned an owner-manager who had become trapped in his company by time-consuming, low-profit clients he didn’t really want but couldn’t afford to lose.

Recently, I was talking to another owner-manager who solved the problem by simply changing her business.

She started up some years ago providing the same services to her own clients that she had provided in corporate life and that got her new company off to a good start. However, she had become disillusioned with what she was doing and didn’t want to continue with it.

And this is one of the beauties of running your own business – you can make it do what you want it to.

And when you change direction you have one massive advantage – you already know how to start up and run a business!

Having made some profits and built up some cash in the bank, she stopped marketing her existing services and re-trained in a different activity. She’s now about to launch her new services into a new market and is very confident that she’ll succeed and also be a lot happier with what she’s doing.

What she had before was hardly an Ugly Duckling but she emerges from it as a beautiful swan gliding towards success and fulfilment 😉

So, good luck to her and it’s a lesson to all of us who run our own businesses – use the freedom you have to run the business you want.





What value does an FD add – and why you don’t need one

This gives your business the best of both worlds – the senior financial input you need but without a full-time cost. It’s a solution that an FD would be proud of!

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From paper bag to paper-free – alchemy for accountants

It’s the old accounting nightmare – the client brings in their records in a carrier bag or shoe box, dumps it on the desk and says “Here you go –  can you get my accounts / tax return done by the end of the month, please?”

We don’t see it happen very often but it happened recently with a new client.

One carrier bag containing a lever-arch file of purchase invoices and a box file full of bank statements and cash receipts. The previous accountant is no longer in business but there are accounts from two years ago we can take as our starting point.

Looks like a job for cloud accounting, QuickBooks and AutoEntry.


The first task – to scan the 35 pages of bank statements for the financial year and upload them as PDFs to AutoEntry.

The next day AutoEntry had crunched the bank statement data into one file which we downloaded as a QuickBooks compatible CSV file and 950 receipts and payments were ready to be imported into QuickBooks.

We have since done the same with credit card statements.


QuickBooks (QBO)

Having imported the bank and credit card receipts and payments into QBO we can start to account for them. There are two labour-saving tools at this stage:

  1. Set rules so that when a particular customer or supplier name or reference appears on the bank statement the correct accounting entry is automatically made for that transaction
  2. Even without rules, QBO will start to remember transactions and suggest the accounting entries for recurring customers and suppliers

Very quickly the bank and credit card transactions are dealt with and the accounts are beginning to take shape. There’s more to be done but the bulk of the routine transaction work is complete.


Future workflow

We can’t just look backwards as there is little point in doing the historical accounting without keeping the books up to date going forwards.

We set up the client to use AutoEntry so they can upload sales and purchase invoices every day and set up a daily import of the bank transactions directly from the bank into QBO. The day-to-day workflow is now under control.

Everything is kept up to date and visible so the client can get back to running their business and keep an eye on the financial performance, cashflow, margins, debtors etc. at the same time.


This blog is mainly for people running their own business. New technology is sweeping across the accounting profession like never before and the question for you is whether your business is benefiting from the best and most appropriate tech available.

If so then you will have at your fingertips the financial information you need to grow your business and improve profitability and cashflow.

If not – can we help you?  Visit our dedicated cloud accounting service page to learn more about how we can get you paper free.





PS – The most important lesson from this case-study is NOT to let your bookkeeping fall by the wayside in the first place. That’s not you, is it?

Improve profitability – in five simple steps

If your business can improve profitability the rewards include more money in the bank, a higher value for your business as well as greater peace of mind and the feeling of a job well done.

Making lower profits than you think you should leads to the opposite outcomes and a lot less fun.

So, what can you do to improve your profitability?

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Cloud Accounting – give your accounts a Digital Detox

The pace of change we’re seeing in the world of bookkeeping and accounting is staggering and this blog is all about how your business can make the most of the cloud accounting digital revolution.

Say goodbye to the old ways and give your business a Digital Detox!

In this blog I’ve referenced several apps that work for us and our clients – but shop around, there will be something new by the time you read this!


Digital detox – why and how?

The main benefits are:

  • cost savings from making bookkeeping more efficient
  • going paper-free without losing documents
  • getting paid more quickly
  • collaboration within your business and with your accountant
  • improved productivity and profit

The main building blocks are:

  • adopting a cloud accounting solution (we recommend QuickBooks Online, QBO)
  • utilising the impressive app ecosystem growing up around cloud accounting
  • being prepared to change some of the habits of a lifetime


Sales and getting paid

Raise your sales invoices within your cloud accounting system and email them straight to your clients. If you have recurring invoices to the same client for the same amount then you can set up your invoices to recur each month and go straight out, on time, without you needing to do anything.

If your sales invoices are already produced in another system then import them into your accounting software using an app such as Transaction Pro. There’s no need to enter data twice and certainly no need to have paper copies!

And once you have raised your sales invoices get them paid by direct debit. We’re using GoCardless which integrates with QBO.


Suppliers’ invoices and receipts

Use an app! We’re using Auto Entry but also check out Receipt Bank. These services read suppliers’ invoices and receipts, learn what the accounting entries should be and post them to your cloud accounting software.

You can send the invoices to these services by email, upload them from your computer or take a photo on your phone and send it from the phone app – ideal for the coffee receipt!

This is the most impressive area of automation we’ve seen and it saves hours of work. But more than that, when the transaction is sent to your accounting package a PDF of the invoice or receipt is sent as well so you don’t need to keep the piece of paper.

Useful per se. More than useful if you have a VAT enquiry!


Bank accounts, PayPal and Credit Cards

Link them all to your accounting software and download new transactions whenever you wish.

It can be overwhelming when the first download of bank transactions appear and it’s important to learn the best way of dealing with them. But once you get used to it the accounting for receipts and payments is really simple and you can keep your bookkeeping records reconciled to your bank and credit card accounts all the time.


Improve productivity, improve profit

Getting the computers to do the work saves time and money. People (the largest overhead for most businesses) are more productive and accounting work is less dull, less prone to error.

We access cloud accounting services from anywhere so more people can access the bits they need for their job and can work from home as easily as in the office.

Much of our work with clients is now done using screen-sharing in Skype. A short review with a client whenever we need it keeps things ticking over correctly without needing to meet.

Time saved, problems solved.

And do you really need any paper any more? We’ve been paper free for several years thanks to working in the cloud. Documents and files are available to everyone, we can all work at clients or at home and we need less office space.

What’s not to like?  Efficient workflow saves you time and money.


Can we help you with your Digital detox?

We’re helping businesses benefit from the digital world all the time. Can we can help you? Please give me a call on 020 7125 0270.






A business is either registered for VAT or it’s not.

If it’s VAT registered then it needs to add VAT to its sales invoices (with one or two exceptions) but it can reclaim the cost of VAT it pays to its suppliers. This is done on a VAT return.

A useful summary of VAT is this – Tax Donut VAT overview.

Good bookkeeping is the key to keeping on top of VAT but also it’s a good idea to keep a separate bank account for tax savings so you know the money is in the bank to pay the VAT (and corporation tax) when the time comes.

Download our free Bookkeeping EBook here.

HMRC has several VAT schemes to help ease the burden of VAT on smaller businesses and both the Flat Rate scheme and cash accounting for VAT are worth looking in to.

To learn more about how we help businesses with VAT and Making Tax Digital, visit our VAT Services page.