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5 tips on choosing bookkeeping software….

Choosing the wrong software for your business can be an expensive and time consuming mistake. Accounting software can not only reduce human errors but it can help you look at your business in more detail – some can even help you prepare forecasts and identify overstocked items.

There are several factors you should consider when choosing accounting software, below are five things to consider.

Type of Bookkeeping Software

There are hundreds of different account software packages, with more being released all the time, generally they fall into the following four categories:

Small business payroll and accounting

There are many accounting software packages you can buy off the shelf or online, that will meet of the needs of a small business.  In the UK the most popular ones are produced by Sage or Quickbooks.

Cloud accounting software

In the last few years this type of software has really take off and is now a major challenger to the traditional small business packages offered. Cloud accounting allows businesses to access their records any time anywhere providing they have access to the internet.  You will soon be able to access your Xero records on your Apple Watch!

Business management software programs

These are higher-priced products with more features and are designed for larger or more complicated businesses. They include features that will allow you to keep track of your business and often include features such as CRM, point of sale, inventory control, and the ability to deal in foreign currencies.

Free accounting software

Businesses should be sceptical of “free” programs, particularly when you are dealing with your businesses financial data. Some cloud accounting providers offer a very basic free package to small businesses – some limit the number of transactions or employees.  You should note that these packages will be limited and often don’t include standard functions such as remembering customer details.

Cost

Cloud accounting software tends to be invoiced monthly and often includes software updates and access to a helpline.  Whilst traditional accounting or business management packages are generally charged either as an upfront cost or on an annual basis.

The majority of providers offer a variety of price levels depending on what you need from your package and the size of your business. You should do some research, for instance if your business has more than 5 invoices and bills a month Xero will cost £20 per month (currently discounted to £10) whilst Kashflow will cost £10 per month for unlimited transactions.

Size of the Business

The size and complexity of your business will affect the software you choose.

A cloud accounting package such as SageOne is tailored towards smaller businesses, whilst Xero and KashFlow offer different packages for different sizes of businesses.

If you have large or a more complex business for example doing a lot of importing/exporting you probably need to consider a business management software such as Exchequer or bespoke package that is aimed directly at your industry.

Accessing your Records

Do you want your accountants to have simultaneous access to your records or to have access to your accounts from a mobile or tablet? If the answer to any of these is yes you should consider cloud accounting software such as Xero, or Kashflow.  If you are happy to just have access to your records from the office and don’t want to have your records “in the cloud”, then something like Sage or Quickbooks would be more suitable.

How Easy is it to Use?

Many accounting software providers offer free trials; these are definitely worth trying.  If you are finding it hard to use or time consuming to enter your transactions do you really want to continue with the software.  Try out a couple of providers because they all work differently and pick your favourite.

We hope these tips will help you choose an accounting software provider, but if you want further advice on what would be suitable for your business or want to discuss any issues raised in this blog please get in touch.

Desk and Flowers

5 tips on how to grow your business….

Congratulations, you run your own business and are now looking to grow it, here are five tips to help you on your way:

Be Focussed

Don’t try to spread yourself too thinly, pick what you are good at and focus on that. Once you have developed one area you can move on to the next but make sure you don’t forget the first one or what the key area of your business is.

Build an online presence

As a minimum you should make sure your business is listed in relevant online directories so prospective customers can find you.  A website would be good and a social media presence would be even better.  But make sure that you update your social media regularly having inactive social media is worse than having none.

Highlight offers, features and promotions

If you are having a sale or doing a special promotion make sure you advertise it.  Update your email footer, you could also include the details on invoices and on your website.

Ask for referrals

If you have done a good job and your customer is happy, ask them to write a review for your website or even better refer a friend.  You could even consider introducing a referral scheme where you reward your customers for their referral.  A really good example of this is American Express who reward both parties.

Be Consistent

Being consistent is key to making money in business, make sure you are providing excellent service to all your customers and not just your biggest.  You never know who your smaller customers know. Business growth will not happen overnight, it requires long term focus to achieve your goals, and making sure your customer feels valued will mean that they will come back to you time and time again.

We hope these tips will help you on grow your business, but if you want further advice or want to discuss any issues raised in this blog please get in touch.

 

 

House and Plan

5 tips on how to improve cash flow….

It seems simple, the best way to improve cash flow is to collect debts quicker and pay your suppliers more slowly.  But, I hear you say, if it was that easy you wouldn’t have a problem . There are so many other forces at work – the main one being every other business is trying the same strategy.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any quick fixes for improving your cash flow but these five tips will help you on your way.

Prepare a cash flow forecast

If you don’t already prepare a cash flow forecast, this is one of the best ways you can improve your cash flow.  It should show you where your cash currently stands and where it will go in the future.  A rolling 12 month cash flow is fine for most companies.  You should map out things week by week, you’ll see where you expect surges in expenses such as the rent quarter, VAT payments, or the purchase of a large piece of equipment ahead of your main sales season when you may receive several payments at once.

Evaluate your terms

Check how well your customer and supplier terms are balanced. If you give your customers 90 days to pay but you are expected to pay invoices on a pro-forma basis you are heading for trouble.  You would need to have a much higher working capital than if you balance your credit offering to your suppliers’ credit terms.  Do some research to establish what terms your competitors are offering or if changing suppliers would get you better terms.  You might find that you’re missing out on a prompt payment discount – but be careful to make sure that the discount is worth it.

Collect your debts quicker

This is often overlooked especially when you are busy managing your business and making those all-important sales, but perhaps your debt collection has slipped. Bear in mind that a quick call to chase payment could be turned into a way of improving customer service or even a new sales opportunity.  Call ask your customers if there is a problem with the product or invoice that is delaying their payment.

Be Focused

If you don’t have the time to call and chase every single invoice focus on the bigger debts, or the ones that have been overdue the longest. But if you are not getting any results don’t be afraid to send them a stern letter or refer them to solicitors – you may lose their business but if they are constantly avoiding paying your invoices do you really want them as a customer?

Establish a business wide policy

If collecting your debts on time is a priority, ensure that everyone in the business is aware of this. Instead of setting the sales team a sales target, consider changing their target to one that rewards them once their sales have been paid.  If the sales team is only rewarded by volume of sales, there is no motivation to ensure that they sell products to customers who are going to pay on time.

We hope these tips will help you on your way to improving your cash flow, but if you need any assistance preparing a cash flow forecast or want to discuss any issues raised in this blog please get in touch.

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5 tips for starting a business….

 

Many people dream of working for themselves but having an idea and turning it into a product or service can be a daunting prospect.

Here are five tips to help you turn your great idea into a new business:

Market Research

This is perhaps the most key point and often the one that gets overlooked in the excitement of starting a business. Make sure you look at your competitors, see what they are doing well and things that they could improve on. Approach potential customers and get a feel for what they want from your business. Finally, after you have done this research, consider carefully whether there will be a demand for your new business.

Plan

You need to develop a plan, where you see your business in three months, six months and even five years from now. More than half of new businesses don’t survive more than five years and many fail due to poor initial planning. It can be easy to get carried away with the passion of a new venture but as the saying goes “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. Make sure you have thoroughly tested your product, have sufficient time to develop your business and have the finance in place to support your business.

Decide on the Legal Structure

After you have done your market research and prepared a plan, decide on which legal structure is best for you. The most common structures when starting a business are limited companies or sole traders, but there are many other options available to you all of which will have different pros and cons. You will need to decide whether you are intending to employ people and if so register as an employer with HMRC and decide how you will prepare your payroll and RTI submissions.

Funding

You will need to decide on how you are going to finance your new business, you may be lucky enough to be able to finance it personally. If not there are dozens of different ways to obtain finance from crowd funding through to a loan from a bank or family member, sometimes you can even get funding from the Government. You may wish to obtain funding through an Enterprise Investment Scheme – in which case you will need to satisfy certain criteria set by HMRC.

Suppliers

Finally, you need to source suppliers, people you can work with and who you want to associate your business with. Draw up a list of potential suppliers so you can get estimates and start to develop relationships.
We hope these tips will help you on your way to building a successful business, but if you need any assistance or want to discuss your ideas for a new business please get in touch.

Sheffex

See us at Sheffex 2015

We are exhibiting at the Sheffex on Monday 7 December, why not come along and meet us at Sheffield’s leading business event?

http://www.sheffex.com/

New ADO Branding

Take a look at our nifty new website, plus we’ve also had a brand new re-brand. We thought it time for new brand identity to take us forward.

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Looking After Your Business

Who Are We?

We have been established for 9 years providing outsourced accounting services to many different shapes and sizes of business. We provide a high quality service, making sure that you have an accounts department that provides the support that the rest of your business needs.

Our team of qualified accountants ensure that we offer the best solutions, and when things get busy, we have flexibility to provide extra resources as and when they are required.

Our Offer

ADO offers a simple solution to your accounting problems by providing a virtual accounts department that is fully tailored to your business. It means that you can focus on what you do best – looking after your business and your customers.

From managing payment collection to dealing with day to day, we offer a full service giving you more time to develop your business, safe in the knowledge that we will be taking care of your accounting needs.

How We Work

Before we work together, we sit down with you to discuss how you would like the service to work for you, what your needs are and how we can match these with our tailored services. Flexibility is key to ensure you get what you are looking for. Some clients like us to handle everything, whilst others ’cherry pick’ services for us to provide.

Our team have many years of experience between them, and we can advise on how to set up your accounts so that you get the management information you need to make important decisions about your business.

We are always up for a challenge, so if you are having problems managing your accounts, get in touch and we will be able to help you find a solution.

 

See us at Buy Yorkshire 2015

If you would like to meet us in person and find out more, then pay a visit to the Buy Yorkshire Conference.