One more reason not to focus on sales if you’re a small business

Much though I dislike the saying

Sales are vanity, profit is sanity and cash is reality

there is a great deal of truth in it.

However, I have just read an excellent article on the EMyth website which also challenges, from a slightly different angle this time, the emphasis small businesses have on increasing sales at the expense of everything else. It’s well worth reading.

The diagram below is a summary of the author’s argument.


Seven reasons why you should use Xero instead of Sage

  1. If you make a mistake in Xero you can go back to the entry and correct it. In Sage you have to cancel the entry and enter it all again.
  2. You don’t have to enter any bank payments or receipts in Xero because your bank statement entries are downloaded from your bank into Xero.
  3. Because Xero is a “cloud based” (online) product your accountant can access the program and help you if you’re stuck. Most Sage users have a traditional accounts program which can’t be accessed remotely.
  4. Xero will remember transactions you have analysed previously and suggest the same treatment for new ones. This one feature saves so much time.
  5. If you’re VAT registered you can submit your VAT return to HMRC from Xero.
  6. Your data is constantly being backed up by Xero so you don’t have to worry about transferring data onto USB sticks every day to prevent data loss.
  7. Big businesses are 100% focussed on profit. Small businesses struggle to understand what profit is; let alone if they’re making one! Xero has some wonderful reports which show your business’s performance.Your accountants, because they can access the figures remotely, can discuss the figures and help you improve them. Just make sure you have the right accountants!

How to stay on top of your debtors in Xero

The Awaiting Payment tab of Xero has some powerful features that make it easy to stay on top of your debtors. In order to help your cash flow forecasting you can set and adjust an expected payment date (when you think you will actually get paid) and write notes so you can keep track of the status of each invoice.

Remember to add phone numbers to your contacts so you can ring them from here.

We suggest simply working down the list every few days to chase those bad payers!

1. Click on Add Date & Notes

Example of adding an Expected Date

2. Enter the Expected Payment Date and any relevant notes, then Save

Example of adding an Expected Date

Sign this if you don’t want HMRC taking money from your bank account

Thirty years after 1984 the Government seems determined to allow HMRC to become Big Brother*.

Normally, I wouldn’t aim a discussion of tax legislation at the man or woman in the street but what the Government is proposing has the potential to affect everyone.

In very simple terms, HMRC will be allowed to recover tax debts from taxpayers’ bank accounts without sufficient safeguards and any outside supervision

The majority of the tax profession is against these proposals and has started a petition to withdraw the proposals but we need people outside the profession to voice their objections as well. After all, anybody may suddenly find HMRC have taken money from their bank account without warning.

Please sign the petition.


* Not the Channel 5 programme of the same name!



Companies House – filing requirements

In very simple terms, you have to file an Annual Return and a set of accounts with Companies House each year.

The Annual Return is

a snapshot of general information about a company’s directors, secretary (where one has been appointed), registered office address, shareholders and share capital.

The accounts are, for small and medium-sized companies, an abbreviated version of the full accounts which has less detail by combining certain items. Qualifying dormant companies can deliver even simpler annual accounts to Companies House.

Shortly before the Annual Return or the accounts are due Companies House will send a reminder letter to the company’s registered office.

The filing dates for the Annual Return and the accounts can be checked by entering your company name on the Companies House website.

Be very careful what you call your company especially if you’re English

We have just incorporated a new company at Companies House, Cardiff.

Just prior to clicking Submit we were warned that

the proposed name contains a sensitive word or expression which may result in the application being rejected

The sensitive word?



2nd Lieutenant Reginald I Goodburn 1899 – 1918

My great uncle Reginald I Goodburn was born on 12 August 1899.

Despite being under age he enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 9 January 1915 at the age of 15 years 4 months. In just over three months, when he was 15 years 8 months, he was promoted to sergeant. Probably the youngest sergeant in World War I.

Reg GoodburnShortly before he was due to be sent to France he was discharged from the army because he was under age.

He returned to Manchester and worked in an office until he was conscripted in October 1917 at the age of 18 and joined the Royal Flying Corps (the predecessor to the Royal Air Force). This was a prestigious and sought after appointment and it is thought that his earlier service contributed to the decision by the War Office to train him to be a pilot.

On 1 April 1918 the Royal Flying Corps became the Royal Air Force and on the same day my great uncle was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant.

Sadly he died on 17 August 1918 in an RE8 (C2394) . He was making a flat turn in the aircraft at 100 feet when he nose-dived and crashed to his death. I suspect this happened as he was taking off, though I can’t confirm this. This info came from the Casualty Card at RAF Museum Hendon.

He is buried in Stretford Cemetery but doesn’t have a war graves headstone. Neither does his name appear on the Stretford war memorial and his family were not sent the medals he was awarded.

However, I do have the scroll commemorating his death and the “death penny” sent to his his parents after the war.

ScrollPenny  All I have to do now is make sure his name is added to the Stretford war memorial and ask the Ministry of Defence to send us his war medals.











For once, a decent accountant’s joke

I’m not a great fan of accountants’ jokes, mainly because most accountants don’t have a sense of humour!

This joke was sent to me by a solicitor client which may explain why it stands above the others.

At the end of the tax year, HMRC sent a tax inspector to check the books of a local hospital.
While the taxman was checking the books, he turned to the executive of the hospital and said: “I notice you buy a lot of bandages. I imagine there’s a lot of wastage there. What do you do with the end of the roll when there’s too little left to be of any use?”
“Good question,” noted the executive. “We save them up and send them back to the bandage company and every once in a while, they send us a free roll.”
“Oh,” replied the taxman, somewhat disappointed that his unusual question had a practical answer. However, he was now well mounted on his favourite hobby horse and ready to be critical.“What about all these plaster purchases? What do you do with what’s left over after setting a cast on a patient?”
“Ah, yes,” replied the executive, who actually hadn’t a clue, but rising to the challenge said “We save that too, and send it back to the manufacturer and every so often they send us a free bag of plaster.”
“My, my, an answer for everything!” responded the inspector, who also fancied himself a bit of a wit. “What do you do with all the remains from the circumcision surgeries?”
“Here, too, we do not waste,” answered the executive. “What we do is save all the little foreskins and send them to the tax office, and about once a year they send us a complete pr**k.”

Top 10 tax credits renewal ‘excuses’ revealed

With the tax credits renewal deadline of 31 July just over two weeks away, HMRC has revealed the top 10 excuses for not renewing tax credits claims.

Excuses given by claimants to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for missing the deadline include:

  • I didn’t need the money because I’d met a rich bloke, but he dumped me
  • My mum usually does this for me
  • The form was locked in the boot of my car, and then my car caught fire
  • My baby used the paperwork as a colouring book
  • My dog ate the form
  • I got confused with the 31 January Self Assessment deadline
  • I booked the last two weeks of July for a holiday and forgot all about it
  • I’ve been in hospital but am feeling much better now
  • I was unable to get income details from my employers in time
  • I thought I’d already renewed

Claimants have until the 31 July deadline to renew, or their payments might end. Last year more than 650,000 failed to renew on time.

We are recruiting

We are looking for a qualified/part qualified Accounting Technician to help us expand the services we provide to our clients. Experience is less important than attitude.

Details of how to apply are on our website.

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