Showing posts with label legal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label legal. Show all posts

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ease of doing business: UK slips

The world bank has just published the new rankings of its yearly study on ease of doing business and the UK has gone down by one notch to #7 compared to last year. The report compares the regulation for domestic firms in 183 countries and ranks them based on the following 10 factors: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

The top 4 remain the same this year again with Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zeland and the US taking the top spots. While the UK drops a notch, it remains high on the chart thanks to continuous efforts to reduce red tape.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How well do you know your clients?

We have already stressed in the past the importance of credit control. It's even more critical in a difficult business environment to ensure that you only extend credit to those clients who will pay you. You don't have to rely on luck however. There are many tools that allow you to monitor your clients and be alerted they start showing signs of financial difficulties. But until now those tools have been very expensive and therefore most small businesses have been unwilling to use them.

That's not the case anymore. At TaxAssist Accountants, we have teamed with Red Flag Alert to get extensive data from which you can now benefit. Be it sales, credit control, collection, risk or compliance we have information on every limited company, every PLC, LLP, 3.5m sole traders and 26.7m director records. The data source comes from Companies House, London Gazette, Central Register and Equifax, which provides data intelligence and protection against credit risk. Using those tools you can now:

Monitor your risk
We can provide 'real time' critical automated e-mail alerts when a company being monitored starts to deteriorate. Using various detrimental triggers, we will notify you of changes to your customer/supplier status as they happen, in order to minimise your risk exposure.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Am I insolvent?

The economy has been tough those last few years. Many businesses have gone under. You might have a hard time as well. Whatever your situation, it is important to understand what your options are. While no one likes to talk about insolvency it's better to face problems early on than wait until all your options have been exhausted. And if you have a limited company you have quite a few options are your disposal.

What is insolvency?

There are 2 kinds of insolvency. The first one is cash-flow insolvency and it happens when a company can no longer pay its bills and other obligations on time. The second one is called balance-sheet insolvency and and it occurs whenever liabilities exceed assets, i.e stockholder equity (capital plus accumulated losses) becomes negative. The second one is the one you have to be careful about, because it's possible to continue trading while in that state and the consequences can be dramatic.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What about the director's loan account?

In most small businesses, a director will often spend money on behalf of his company or conversely have the company pay for personal items. While in theory it would be better to not do that, it does happen and when it does it's important to record those transactions properly in the accounts.

That's what the director's loan account is for. It's also sometimes called an expense account or a director's current account. Its role is to record money due to or due by the director. Typically, if a director uses cash or his personal credit card to buy items for the company, that account would be credited by the corresponding amount. Conversely, should  he buy some personal items using the company credit card, that account would be debited. In that case the net effect is that the company would have lent him some money. This is where the name comes from.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The 10 key steps to creating your business - part II

I wrote in a previous post about what you should do when starting a business. That post talked about what you need to do before or right at the start of your new venture. This post now discusses what you should do right after that and picks up where the previous article left off:
  1. Get an address and a phone. For the office there are a lot of brokers out there that will be happy to find the right office for you. Some people start from home, and use serviced offices when and as required. Regus has some very flexible plans that allow you to use their premises when needed for business meetings. Another option is to check some of the self-storage companies such as Access Storage that also provide offices for rent at very competitive rates. You can also share an office with an existing business. Gumtree is a good place to start if this is what you are looking for. As for the phone, having just a mobile number on your business card is not a good idea. Fortunately, most VOIP vendors can provide you with local numbers (including fax lines forwarding faxes to your email) that you can easily use wherever you have a broadband connection. Be careful though as some vendors can lock you in since there is no automatic number portability for fixed line numbers. Some brokers can help find the right solution at not cost for you and you should use them. Skype is also a viable solution, even though it is not based on open standards like SIP.

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 tips to improve your Credit Control

We all know that there is only one way to go bust: lack of cash. Cash-flow management is therefore just as important as profit monitoring when it comes to manage your business. And the best way to do that is to keep a close eye on what accountants call the Aged Debtors list: those clients who have been billed but have not paid yet.

So how do you do it? Here are 10 tips you should follow to become a pro at managing your cash-flows:
  1. Don't extend credit. This one is obvious: if you can avoid offering credit, you don't have a problem to solve any more. Unfortunately there are very few businesses that can afford to not offer credit. In most cases you will have to offer some level of credit. If that's the case, read on.
  2. Do not invoice manually. With many systems to choose from, some for as low as £10/month, you should not invoice clients using Microsoft Word. Whether it's Kashflow, FreeAgent, Xero or Sage, all allow you to specify your standard terms and will alert you when a bill is overdue. They will also produce the Aged Debtors automatically. Lastly they will allow you to keep notes so that you know why the bill has not been paid next time you call to follow up.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The 10 key steps to creating your business - part I

You have decided to start up a new business. It's a lot easier to do in the UK than in some other Europeans countries. Yes I am thinking of France and its famous red tape. However, while it's easy to start a new business it's also easy to make the common mistakes that cause 1 in 3 start-up businesses to fail in the UK.

So if you don't want to be in that 30% bucket, what are the top 10 things you should do as soon as possible when you create your own business?
  1. Choose a name for your business and protect it. If you intend to build your brand you need to trademark it. The name does not have to be the same as the one of your company. As a matter of fact, if you are a sole trader, your legal name would be "John Doe trading as Amazing Widgets" for example. 
  2. Decide on the legal structure. Sole Trader, Partnerships or Limited Companies all have benefits and drawbacks. Make sure you understand all the implications (and costs) before you decide on a given structure. Most accountants will be happy to provide a free consultation to help you out. We at TaxAssist Accountants certainly do.