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#LeaveNoBusinessBehind - come & join our movement

For accountants, by accountants. An industry-wide campaign, nay 'movement' launching tomorrow 8.30am

Didn't find your answer?

Seemingly, the Government have done as much as they're going to do.  But we know 23% of SMEs are still saying they're unviable due to social distancing; almost 70% of have deferred taxes and yet only 34% can repay those within 6 months; then why have only 27% SMEs businesses prepared cashflows? Is this a perfect storm and are businesses going to be 'sleepwalking into insolvency'? (all stats come from accountants responding to the ACCA/CFN SME Health Tracker) 

As accountants we can see what is coming over the horizon. Don't feel you are powerless to act. We are going to give the profession that power - a free Skills Hub for training and practical resources for us to support the SME economy to relaunch, survive and thrive.  AccountingWeb, ACCA, AVN, Accountex, Clarity, Capitalise and The CFN (led by me) are behind this campaign and we have been sent galvanising messages of support from leading figures such as Steve Pipe, Paul Dunn & Mark Lee.  Come and see if we've created something you want to be part of - More details tomorrow (Thur 16th July) on our launch webinar - register here and tell me afterwards what you thought.  We can do this!

[EDIT - the recording of the launch webinar is now here https://vimeo.com/438876796/bd09939906

To make your pledge & to get access to the Skills Hub, register here http://assets.em3.capitalise.com/leave-no-business-behind ]

Replies (170)

Comments for this post are now closed.

By Tim Vane
15th Jul 2020 19:35

I can tell you right now what I think of your post, but my reply would never get through the filters.

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Replying to Tim Vane:
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By Kirsty McGregor
15th Jul 2020 19:56

Please DM me. On twitter @TheCFN or linked in as I would really like to understand more. Accountants have gone above & beyond, I know that. So have I, believe me. But there is still a job to be done & we can do it. Please talk to me over message.

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By Kirsty McGregor
18th Jul 2020 09:07

Just so other readers know, TimVane never did DM me to discuss. Neither did any of the other 8 users who ‘liked/thanked’ his post.

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By Matrix
15th Jul 2020 19:56

Please can you rewrite your second sentence so we know what this is all about - 23% of what and who does “they’re” refer to?

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By Kirsty McGregor
15th Jul 2020 20:07

Good point - done! (SMEs by the way) Most have opened but still say its unviable. Worrying.

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Replying to kirstymcgregor:
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By Matrix
15th Jul 2020 21:12

OK thanks. You may want to introduce yourself if you think it would help. There isn’t much traffic here these days though since most competent accountants have stopped posting.

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Replying to Matrix:
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By Kirsty McGregor
15th Jul 2020 21:36

It must be a different crowd to the Any Answers Live - I’ve been on 2 in last month, am a columnist on here, have featured on the podcast - nice to meet you, I’ve clearly more to do haha

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By Rweaver
15th Jul 2020 22:28

kirstymcgregor wrote:

It must be a different crowd to the Any Answers Live - I’ve been on 2 in last month, am a columnist on here, have featured on the podcast - nice to meet you, I’ve clearly more to do haha

This thread is the first time I’ve heard of you.

Perhaps you’re less famous than you hoped?

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 05:27

Not ‘hoped’ I can assure you. I’ve been thrust into this role :)

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FirstTab
By FirstTab
16th Jul 2020 13:40

Being a columnist on this site, reading some of the articles, is not a reflection of how credible the columnist is.

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 14:17

Charming, lol
Maybe 25 years post-qualified and 16 years creating this is www.TheCFN.org.uk
But I accept, my days of being able to do a tax return are a bit rusty, so maybe I'm not worth my salt after all

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Replying to FirstTab:
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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 14:17

Charming, lol
Maybe 25 years post-qualified and 16 years creating this is www.TheCFN.org.uk
But I accept, my days of being able to do a tax return are a bit rusty, so maybe I'm not worth my salt after all

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By tom123
16th Jul 2020 13:50

Just the incompetent ones like me remaining :)

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By mumpin
15th Jul 2020 20:34

Kirsty, I am checking your bona fides at Companies House.
Everything appears to have dissolved!
It doesn't inspire confidence.

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By Kirsty McGregor
15th Jul 2020 20:44

Lol spoken like a true accountant. My mum retired so I dissolved the LLP & became a sole trader again. The CFN has been around since 2007. Sorry, thought most people knew me now & I didn’t need to explain who I was. Nicely put me back in my box lol!

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Replying to kirstymcgregor:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
15th Jul 2020 23:48

kirstymcgregor wrote:
Sorry, thought most people knew me now & I didn’t need to explain who I was.

Well this is awkward...
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Replying to Lone_Wolf:
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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 05:32

Haha not at all - I clearly live in a certain bubble & I still have work to do! We’ve received huge praise for what we’ve been doing for accountants with daily update eshots about grants, schemes, stat & regulatory changes, enterprise support & so on. But hey, the accountants on here are a tough crowd to impress! I appreciate there is a wide scope of experience out there & the c.1000 firms I interract with are a drop in the ocean. Come & see what we’re doing & then you can judge me - and if I’m totally misguided, I’m sure I’ll be told in no uncertain terms. But at least I know I did what I thought was right & necessary. Be good to ‘meet’ you!
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BU97yPO7TQ2Rnh3bkiJwsg

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By Mr_awol
20th Jul 2020 18:45

There’s a lot of words, pomp, and excitement in the OP without any real information. I feel like I’ve just had the opening speech of a timeshare presentation.

Hopefully someone will attend tomorrow and give us a forty word (or less) rundown.

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 05:33
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Replying to kirstymcgregor:
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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 14:18

Recorded version linked here: https://vimeo.com/438876796/bd09939906

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By Mr_awol
20th Jul 2020 18:44

kirstymcgregor wrote:

Recorded version linked here: https://vimeo.com/438876796/bd09939906

Thanks Kirsty.

I tried. I got over half way. I just didn't feel I was learning anything or that there was ever going to be a point to it, other than trying to make me feel 'empowered' whilst making me feel bad about not doing things that I know are a waste of time.

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By Paul Crowley
16th Jul 2020 11:04

I did indeed see you on Aweb Live. You are a lovely lively person, very enthusiastic, but most here are probably not twitterers.
Laconic replies are de rigueur
More people watch and read than respond
See you tomorrow

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 05:34

Thank you, Paul :)
We’re buzzing this morning to share this.

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 05:38

I have my reasons for wanting to do this - burning the midnight oil & up before sunrise for 2 weeks - and my partner in this campaign has his reasons too. Have a read https://www.linkedin.com/posts/psurtees_forgottenltd-leavenobusinessbehi...
We’ll be ‘live’ here 8.30-9 to explain more
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BU97yPO7TQ2Rnh3bkiJwsg

And if you think it’s a load of rubbish after you’ve seen it, so be it. We can’t please everyone. But I’d love you to listen.

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By Nigel Henshaw
16th Jul 2020 07:42

Sounds like yet another sales pitch masquerading as yet another essential resource for accountants, with all due respect to you (never heard of you before so dont know anything about you), AW has become full of this type of nonsense, the one part of the site that this shameless advertising does not normally reach is Any Answers.

So, again I say with respect - it is called Any Answers - so what exactly is your question that we can help you with?

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By Kirsty McGregor
18th Jul 2020 12:46

Ok here it is phrased as a more direct question - what % of clients have you prepared a cashflow with? (or reviewed theirs?) It’s not a technical question, call it market research.

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Replying to kirstymcgregor:
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By Nigel Henshaw
16th Jul 2020 08:22

you have missed the point, if that was your purpose why did you not simply ask that in the OP?
The answer to your question is zero.

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 10:27

Because I knew the answer to that question. And would anyone have cared why I was asking it? But now I’ve got 20 comments & I have the opportunity to challenge some long-held firm views & behaviours.

And that’s my point. And it needs to be resolved. And I’m attempting, along with an awful lot of others who are totally supportive, to do that. Not just for businesses, but for the future success of our profession. There have been 2m new business in the last 10yrs or so, mostly micro businesses. And less & less of them have an accountant. If we don’t demonstrate value to the SME Economy, in 5 years time the only accountancy firms left will be the Top 50. Ok it may be 10yrs, but you get my drift.

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By Nigel Henshaw
16th Jul 2020 10:56

Nah, you are barking up the wrong tree I'm afraid, we speak to new and established businesses week in week out, a fancy cashflow forecast is way way down on their list of what adds value

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 11:36

Precisely. And that's why we need to change that. Accountants have to teach businesses how to run better businesses. There is no 'business owner school. Nowadays, with the changing business population as it is, that's our job. The wise experienced hands, normally from the GenX or Babyboomer generation, who build businesses over years and years with management teams & staff & premises, become less and less.
And now the newly established businesses are far more likely to be digital natives, GenY or GenZ, less likely to employ staff and far less experienced in how to run a business. And that's where we can really add value - using our skills as number crunchers to become commercial advisers, making a real and quantifiable difference to a business.
And ultimately, charging handsomely for that advice (which you would deserve and the client would value). Although - that ultimate goal may have to wait for the moment, there's a more urgent job to do first.

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FirstTab
By FirstTab
17th Jul 2020 23:03

business owner school - MBA

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By Mr_awol
20th Jul 2020 18:59

kirstymcgregor wrote:

Precisely. And that's why we need to change that. Accountants have to teach businesses how to run better businesses.

Big mistake most of the time.

Most of my clients know a hell of a lot more about their business than I do. I could ask the farmers why they didnt plant broccoli this year when it did so well last, but they will probably tell me the reason is last year's Brocolli was washed out of the soil by heavy rain shortly after it was drilled, and the prices were unusually high due to the low demand.

I can peddle the easy answers of course. I can tell my franchised car dealers to pre-register a load of his consignment stock when he gets the chance, to bump up last quarter's bonuses - but then what happens when he's had a dozen 'used' vehicles on the forecourt for 90 days and it starts affecting not only his cashflow in terms of having to fund the purchases, but it even starts affecting his income on every new car sale?

There is a real danger when you assume you know more about 'business' in a sector than the people who actually operate in that sector. Take for example the 'practice gurus' (some of whom appear to have supported your 'movement') who know oh so well how to build the practice of the future - yet rather than doing it, are trundling round the networking circuits or accountex trying to flog their book on how to succeed.

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By Kirsty McGregor
20th Jul 2020 20:00

As accountants we don’t know all sectors. Of course we don’t. We know numbers.
And (imo) we should know the questions to ask - to make sure the client knows, or finds out, those answers.
If you don’t believe that’s your role, that’s fine. It takes all sorts for all different types/age of business owner.

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By Wanderer
16th Jul 2020 09:23

In last ten years?
Zero.

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By lesley.barnes
16th Jul 2020 09:51

I'm actually doing a cashflow for a business at the moment at their request. How relevent it will be given the uncertain situation who knows. Prior to that in 20 years perhaps 2.

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Replying to kirstymcgregor:
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By DJKL
17th Jul 2020 10:43

I in the last twenty years have done myriad cashflows, but all for the same business and all were likely variants/had bits from previous ones- we only consider excel made to measure, no off the peg stuff.

I think between 2008 and 2016 I must have done 40-50.

But this was not a client but my employer and I only ever really do full cashflows to snare a new bank or appease the current one. Some briefer ones get prepared when evaluating property developments .

My main cash management tools are maintaining a schedule of leases, reviewing bank receipts and debtors every day and ensuring I alone control all payments- manage the pennies and the pounds look after themselves. Even writing the bank balance each day in the front of my diary means I can readily compare this time last month, last quarter, last year.

Cashflow is important, in my opinion more than P & L, but one does not need to use formalised cashflows to manage it and one has more time to actually control costs if one spends less time fiddling with excel- which is more valuable, an excel sheet recording what we have done/forecasting the future or actually cutting my utilities bills by 10%, or researching cheaper water suppliers?

I prefer using my available hours to find extra rents/cut costs rather than recording the past and the maybe future, so am now away back to contemplating what empty space we have and how we can fill it and earn from it.

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By bernard michael
16th Jul 2020 09:06

Being cynical- why are you doing this ?? What do you gain from it. Please don't say just satisfaction

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By legerman
16th Jul 2020 09:44

bernard michael wrote:

Being cynical- why are you doing this ?? What do you gain from it. Please don't say just satisfaction

It's an extra resource for accountants seemingly centred around doing cash flow forecasts for all those struggling businesses. I was unable to attend otherwise I think I would have done so it would be unfair for me to criticise but, looking at the link Kirsty gave yesterday it did look like one of those (expensive?) "adding value" packages that I personally don't like, but then again I'm at the micro business end so wouldn't want to be burdening my clients with unnecessary additional expenses anyway.

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 13:41

I can assure you it isn’t a sales pitch. But I can understand why you would think that, because so much in the profession (& world) is a veiled sales pitch. With all due respect, my income comes from accountancy firms who pay c.£15k per year each to be part of the network & peer group I run. I doubt I’ll find very many firms on here willing or able to be part of that. But I am passionate about the ability of accounting firms to drive growth in the SME economy, not just reporting on historical figures. And I’ve spent the last 20yrs trying to give accountants the skills & confidence to do that, to know their own power. And since March, I’ve widened my reach to more in the full profession - to help them help businesses. There’s no chance or desire to bring any revenue from this.
I’ll leave you to make your own mind up. I’ll post a link to the webinar when it’s finished processing.

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 10:33

PS it’s free!

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th Jul 2020 10:47

In answer to your only question "why have only 27% SMEs businesses prepared cashflows"

Because they are largely a waste of time, as it presuppose that you know what your revenue will be.

The best analysis at times like this is breakeven. Ie knowing what t/o you need at each level of fixed costs not to go down the tubes. Most small businesses know what that is anyhow.

People flogging stuff like his never seem to appreciate that small business owners normally have a pretty good grasp of how their business is going, and spending time and money on a pretty cash flow forecast is not help you avoid going bust.

or to put it in your language, undertaking a detailed cash flow analysis is unlikely to add management clarity to future vision critical cash flow trajectories, and not assist in rightsize the business going forward to minimise the downside potential of a terminal fiscal event.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 11:17

spending time and money on a pretty cash flow forecast is not help you avoid going bust.

[/quote]

Really? Well why would banks insist on them, HMRC also for extended TTPs, why are they the first thing a restucturing team does? Why do corporate FDs insist on creating them and reviewing them regularly if there a waste of time and money for a business.

I'd say they were the fundamentally most important thing to be doing right now - a road map - when the costs have gone up & margins down, the revenue down, working capital cycles stagnated & deferred debts mounting up for payment over 6-18 months. You think a business owner can manage all that info in their head?

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Replying to kirstymcgregor:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th Jul 2020 11:38

@Kirtsy, I am talking about my clients, who are largely 1-2 person business.

the work "SME" is totally unhelpful, as it covers 99% of all business and is a useless measure, beloved by politicians and people who simply don't understand the first thing about business.

And yes that can work out where they are quite successfully in their head or on a scrap of paper. It really aint that hard for most of them. When you are the business you know what's going on and don't need armies of analysts telling them the bleeding obvious. A hairdresser will know how many cuts they need that month do to pay their mortgage. A consultant will know how many hours they need to bill.

The reason why banks ask for them is they don't understand the business like the owner does. They are also are rubbish at assessing risk and apply "tick box" approach.

Corporate FD's do many things, and as much of my concern as what airline pilots do when taking my kids out for a bike ride.

I am afraid your hectoring tone implies (A) my clients are idiots for not doing cash flows, and (B) we are idiots for not insisting they do them.

Which is why you get folks backs up.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 11:38

Micro businesses are the vast % of the business population.
I'm not saying they're not.
But they still need our advice.

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Replying to kirstymcgregor:
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By DJKL
17th Jul 2020 10:49

Banks, because they understand little and it is the done thing, what is normally asked for, heaven help a banker who leaves the herd.

I will caveat that, I have done a fair bit of banking/arranged funding with what one might describe as bankers for high net worth individuals, where one has a direct line plus mobile number to a named person and you actually know one another, have met, may have gone to the rugby etc,or to an organised dinner, they are slightly different, they do what all bankers used to do, the rest of them throw the numbers into their little black boxes and heaven forbid they actually think.

(DJKL- dealing with bankers since the 1990s)

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 11:18

And a straight-talking Lancastrian would never use language like that. I'm no city-type management consultant!

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Replying to kirstymcgregor:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th Jul 2020 11:36

well that's how it comes across to me.

All sales flannel.

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By Kirsty McGregor
16th Jul 2020 14:18

Here's the 'Kick off' webinar from this morning - 30 mins.
https://vimeo.com/438876796/bd09939906

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By thevaliant
16th Jul 2020 12:40

We'd all love for things to go back to DEcember 2019, but that isn't happening, even AFTER a vaccine (which looks hopeful this morning).

Social distancing makes many businesses unviable. Even when that is removed:
Working from home basically bones any high street lunchtime/breakfast business. They're Soviet Unioned and no amount of support can stop that. The three lunch time businesses near our offices (salad bar, coffee shop, sandwich shop) are closed and I don't think will reopen.

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Replying to thevaliant:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
20th Jul 2020 13:01

Suspect you are correct re the sandwich etc places, we have three such units and have been struggling to work out what they might be leased as instead(tenants still in place re leases but not holding my breath)- it looks a perfect storm with retail and leisure property sectors taking a pasting at the same time as office market softens,so hard to see how one can readily vary the use of some premises, and as high street units become boarded up that in itself will impact the other occupiers adjoining.

We

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