Clogs to clogs

I enjoyed reading a letter in the Financial Times recently from Vivian Bush of Bush the Opticians in Hessle, East Yorks.

Titled ‘Clogs to clogs’ keeps many a business grounded he says

Why might family-owned companies, according to PwC’s survey shun rapid growth? Maybe the generational bank of knowledge and wisdom says that aggressive expansion demands unrealistic gearing in order to generate the vanity of turnover. A healthy aversion to risk, and that old metaphor “clogs to clogs in three generations”, keeps many a family business in the land where profit is sanity, and cash reality.

KPMG and SMEs, chalk and cheese

I was amused to read in the Financial Times that KPMG (one of the Big Four) is offering a cloud-computing accountancy service for a fraction of its normal fees.

Aimed at faster-growing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) they will be charged a monthly fee “starting at £150, rather than the £600 plus per hour charged by senior partners for auditing or advising larger companies”.

Carl Williams, northwest managing partner of Grant Thornton, like me, has his doubts

They [KPMG] will return to the big businesses when that work [tax and corporate advisory work] picks up.

I would add:

  • How much experience do KPMG have of working with small businesses?
  • I find it hard to believe that £150 will buy much advice from experienced KPMG staff
  • Those companies which need a more hands-on approach from their accountants will be paying more than the starting fee of £150
  • For a fraction of the £150 monthly fee a company can use Xero accounting software to deal with their accounting, payroll and VAT

My advice would be to contact a firm of accountants who match your business and who are geared up to work with SMEs using the latest online technology and discover that size does matter!


Don’t let the government into your bank accounts

The government is trying to give HMRC the power to access our bank accounts without recourse to anyone!

I know how often mistakes are made by HMRC and how difficult and how long it can take to correct their errors. My own Institute has said

To let HMRC take the money from bank accounts and argue later is not appropriate in a democratic society.

Please click on the link below to sign an e-petition to help prevent these proposals becoming law.

UKIP and small (micro) businesses – their views

My Tweet to Nigel Farage didn’t produce a reply, so I decided to take the bull by the horns and try and find the answer myself.

Rather surprisingly entering ” UKIP micobusinesses” into Google only produced a handful of results, two of which were links to my blog!

However, there was one from Margot Parker, a UKIP MEP, titled

UKIP is the party of real business

I have to admit I did expect a little more

The answer to Kendal’s traffic problems isn’t more money

The Westmorland Gazette kindly published a letter I sent them a couple of weeks ago about Kendal’s traffic problems

 When will Cumbria County Council realise that spending more taxpayers’ money will not improve Kendal’s roads?

Enforcing the law in respect of parking and loading/unloading will free up the town more than new roads, cycle tracks and improved bus services (Gazette, September 25, “£6.8m plan to free up roads”)


UKIP and small (micro) businesses

With all the excitement (?) of the party conferences I may have missed what UKIP have said about this, so I thought I’d send Nigel Farage a tweet.


I’ll let you know what he says.

Cumbria Tourism – 90% hot air 10% the bleedin’ obvious

Last week the Westmorland Gazette published an interview with Ian Stephens of Cumbria Tourism under the title

Lake District tourism industry needs to continually improve and invest

Because a great deal of our clients rely on tourism I felt it was important I should read the article to see what advice Cumbria Tourism was offering Cumbrian businesses.

Finding it was difficult!

The final two paragraphs (less than 10% of the article) said

We need to keep our share of that [a globally-competitive market place] otherwise we will lose out to other areas.

Cumbria is not lagging behind necessarily, it’s still got a fantastic, profound and diverse visitor offer but it needs to continue to improve and invest to keep pace.

Unfortunately the other 90% words concentrated on how wonderful Cumbria Tourism is!

Even worse, however, is the fact that Cumbria Tourism offers no advice on how to “continually improve and invest”.

Words are cheap Mr Stephens. Cumbrian businesses don’t need to be told what to do they need to be shown how to do it.

Are you and Cumbria Tourism up to the task?




David Cameron and tax

I’ve read a great deal about David Cameron’s tax “giveaway”, most of it has been highly critical, and to be honest I do wonder how George Osborne will find £7bn to pay for it but I can’t help feeling that Cameron has the right idea.

One of his supporters is Christian May, head of communications at the Institute of Directors, who in an article on CITYA.M. sums up the speech in one sentence:

Rewarding those who do the right thing.

Our future prosperity depends on people who do the “right thing”, i.e. work hard, pay their taxes, save and support themselves. It doesn’t mean that we ignore those in society who can’t do this but not encouraging the “doers” will not solve our problems.

It’s time to take pride in ourselves and our country.



A tax specialist’s view of the party conference season.

We’re now more than half way through the political conferences and I can’t think of a better way of summing them up than this tweet by Giles Mooney.

Google tax – yet more rhetoric from the politicians?

Yesterday, the new, slim George Osborne, announced his new “Google tax”, an attempt to crackdown on the double Irish arrangement – a tax avoidance strategy that multinational corporations use to lower their corporate tax liability first used by Apple.

I have my doubts as to how effective this will be. Politicians of all parties have too cosy an arrangement with multinationals who promise job creation in exchange for “sweetheart deals” with the tax authorities.

Perhaps we do need the European Union after all.

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