How To Choose The Right Accountant For Your Small Business

Save Money In The Long Run By Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

Keeping accurate track of your income and expenses is key to succeeding as a small business.

There are 5.8 million small businesses in the UK, which represents around half of the turnover of our private sector. Handling the books is a common frustration for SME owners, who may not have the necessary time or expertise to crunch numbers whilst also trying to manage staff, marketing, customer service and other daily operations. When startups launch, it’s understandable that entrepreneurs try to do everything themselves to keep costs low, but one job which is worth outsourcing from the beginning is accountancy. By letting a professional take charge of tracking expenses, bills and income, you can be confident that you have an accurate picture of how your business is progressing as you grow. The key to success is choosing the right accountant to work with your venture.

Digital Skills

Previously, you may have chosen someone who was local to you as face-to-face interaction was vital for the relationship between accountant and client. However, the digital era has brought with it multiple changes in the accountancy industry and it’s now possible and even desirable to use methods of communication such as email, Skype, Slack and cloud-based accountancy solutions which can offer real-time data about the financial health of your SME. Unless you would prefer the reassurance of having your accountant located physically near to you, find out what your chosen firm can offer in terms of software solutions and whether you would find them convenient for your company.

Qualifications and Experience

UK businesses will likely require the services of a chartered certified accountant who belongs to a professional industry that is regulated by the government. It is possible to hire someone with lower level qualifications in general bookkeeping for example, but this isn’t usually a sensible move if you’re planning to grow as a business. If you hire a professional, then you know that your books are in great hands. In terms of experience, a firm of accountants in Peterborough suggest that you look for an accountant who has worked with similar sized organisations to yours and has handled the tasks that you’re hiring them to do – for example, filing your end of year tax return.

Dividing The Workload

Once you know how much your preferred accountant may charge per hour, it’s important to work out how you plan to split the workload so that you’re receiving value for money. Although it’s possible to send an entire bunch of receipts to your accountant for them to enter and track, you may find that it’s more cost-effective to handle the manual data-entry at your end, and ask your accountant to take charge of tasks such as reconciliation or payroll.

If it’s time to get in the professionals to look at your books, begin by asking your network of contacts, whether through friends and family, business colleagues or on social media for a personal recommendation. It’s always best to go with a firm that you have heard positive things about and the right choice of accountant for your small business should be able to save you money in the long term!

Keep plantar fasciitis at bay this coming winter

Did you know that foot pain tends to worsen in the winter months?

It’s a well-known fact that common foot-related conditions often begin to flare up when the days and nights get colder. Chilly weather and constant shivering can lead to aching joints, muscles and bones; it can also begin to shrink the tissues that connect your joints to your knees and hips, which causes them to pull on your nerve endings and cause sudden, unexpected pain.

Consistently wearing unsupportive shoes during the summer can also lead to aches and niggles when the seasons change. This is because providing your foot arches with little to no support for prolonged periods of time can lead to enhanced wear and tear to the ligaments that run along the bottom of your feet, which are otherwise known as the plantar fascia.

Both of these factors combined can lead to worsening cases of plantar fasciitis, a condition whereby the plantar fascia become damaged and inflamed. Pain in the heel and stiffness in the foot are both symptomatic of this particularly prevalent ailment, which can strike any one at any time of life but is more likely to affect those who are overweight, overly active, or between the ages of 40 and 60.

How to tackle plantar fasciitis in the winter

You may convince yourself that the condition will go away on its own, especially if you haven’t suffered from plantar fasciitis in the past. But taking action now will not only ease your pain – it will also prevent you from causing further damage to your foot and lower limbs, and ensure that wear and tear to your plantar fasciia has a minimal impact on your mobility in the longer term.

There are plenty of things you can do to prevent or manage plantar fasciitis in the winter. Physical therapy can help, as can wearing night splints. In more severe cases, doctors will recommend injecting steroid medication into the affected area to temporarily relieve the pain.

But the single most effective way to deal with plantar fasciitis is to invest in a sturdy pair of watertight shoes that offer good arch support. Doing so will take the pressure off the areas of your feet that are succumbing to excess shock and stress (and it will improve your posture and stability at the same time).

If cost is an issue, or you’re prefer to carry on wearing the shoes you already have, you could always invest in a pair of orthotic insoles instead. The best insoles for plantar fasciitis can be adjusted to deliver the level of support you need using a series of interchangeable metatarsal pads. Some people feel much better after inserting a thin-style pad into the arches of their feet, whereas others, and particularly those who have been suffering from plantar fasciitis for a long time, will benefit from wearing the firmest arch piece possible. Heel pads can be used in conjunction with orthotic insoles to take even more pressure away from the plantar fascia.

A little extra care can go a long way

As we mentioned before, it can be so tempting to ignore the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and just put the intermittent pain down to the changing seasons. But if the condition isn’t addressed, it could have a significant impact on your health in the longer term – especially if you find yourself walking differently to try and manage your discomfort, as this can lead to a whole host of other foot, knee, hip and back problems.

Take our advice: make an effort to manage your plantar fasciitis now, and your feet will thank you later!

Is It Time To Remortgage Your Home?

Get A Better Deal On Your Mortgage Product

If you’re the type of person who shops around for the best deals on your mobile contract or utility bills, don’t forget about your mortgage!

The number of people opting to remortgage their home is on the increase. February 2019 saw 18,200 customers choosing to remortgage to acquire funds, which was a significant increase of 10% in comparison to February 2019. The low base rate and equally affordable fixed interest rates have a lot to do with this trend, which is a situation that is likely to remain stable in the coming months. If you’ve been wondering about remortgaging, either to release some cash or else to take advantage of a better mortgage product, this guide will help you to make the right decision.

Current Deal Due To Expire

The most common reason to remortgage is when your current mortgage deal is about to end. Perhaps you’ve been on a low rate tracker or fixed mortgage for the past 2-3 years. Once your discount finishes, your product will be moved to a standard variable rate (SVR) which often ends up costing hundreds more in repayments each month. Savvy homeowners choose to shop around for a better deal, perhaps fixing at a low rate for a further 2-3 years with a different mortgage provider.

Has Your Home Gone Up In Value?

If your property is worth far more than when you first purchased it, you will find that your loan to value ratios have also changed. A remortgage brokers Wirral based expert explains that if the amount you’ve borrowed is suddenly much less than the value of your home, you may discover that you belong in a lower Loan to Value (LTV) category which means that you’ll also be eligible to mortgage products with lower interest rates.

Releasing Cash for Home Improvements

If you’ve built up significant equity in your home, either because you’ve been paying off the capital for quite a few years, or else the value has changed, then you may wish to release some cash. This is a popular scenario for homeowners who are looking to carry out renovation works on their home. Instead of taking out an additional loan, or putting money on a credit card, it can make sense to release some equity from your home to pay for that kitchen refurbishment or ground floor extension. Due to the value that some home improvements are able to add to the worth of your property, it can make perfect sense to remortgage in this scenario. Effectively, you’re borrowing from your home only to plunge the money straight back into the property again.

If you’ve decided that remortgaging is a good opportunity for you, then you may be wondering what the next steps are. Begin by finding out exactly when your current mortgage deal is due to end; ideally, you’ll start to make arrangements a couple of months in advance of this expiring to give you time to arrange a new product before you get moved to a higher interest rate. It’s best to speak to a professional mortgage broker who will have access to a wide range of lenders and will locate the most suitable product to switch to. Be aware that remortgaging may involve paying penalty and/or arrangement fees, so it’s important to speak to a professional who will be able to get the best deal for you!

How to Welcome Your New Team Members

Showcase Your Workplace to New Employees

If you have new members of staff starting soon, then make sure that you do everything you can to make them feel welcome.

Starting a new job is scary. You probably remember it well – the uncertainty, loneliness and fear that you are going to do something wrong. What if you could make starting a new role as smooth and stress free as possible for people in your workplace? Well, there are a few ways to do so.

Use the buddy system

There is nothing worse than starting a new job and feeling like you have no one to turn to for help and advice. That’s why it’s a great idea to implement the buddy system. When someone new arrives, assign them a workplace buddy who will show them the ropes during those crucial first few days. They’ll be able to show the new arrival where everything is, answer their questions, and give them insider knowledge such as how everyone likes their tea and coffee!

Invest in team building

Team building events are a great idea, especially if you are welcoming a few new members of staff to your workplace. If you get in touch with team building experts such as Zing Events, they’ll be able to help you choose fun activities that will allow everyone to come together and working well as a team. Whether it’s baking, hunting for treasure or making cocktails, the right team building event will bring office newbies out of their shells in no time.

Organise an office lunch

If you can, try to get the team together for lunch. With so much to learn, it can be hard for new employees to find the time to relax and connect with their new colleagues. Organising an office lunch means that everyone can sit down, unwind, and any new arrivals will have the opportunity to get to know their new co-workers outside of an office environment. It doesn’t have to be anywhere fancy – a local coffee bar or cafe would be perfect.

Prepare their desk

Having a new employee’s desk ready for them is a nice way to welcome them to the office. Make sure that their new workspace is clean and tidy, free of anything that’s a reminder of its old occupant, and leave a little welcome note there for them to open. It could also be a good idea to leave a printout with essential info such as passwords and email addresses so that they have the information they need to go about their jobs with confidence.

Keep checking in

It’s important to keep checking in with new members of staff to see how they are settling into their new roles. For the first few weeks, schedule a weekly meeting (nothing too formal or scary!) so that you can talk with them about any concerns that they may have and just get to know them a bit better. Showing that you are a boss who is committed to their happiness and growth in the workplace will make them feel at home.

You know what to do next

As you can see, it only takes a little bit of time and effort to help those starting work at your company to feel welcome. So next time you offer someone a role and send them that all important welcome email, put into motion a plan to show them why your company is the best place to work.