Member Since: 22nd Aug 2009
6th Jun 2019
I can see the sense in getting the clock started if the customer is a slow payer. As far as I know, there is no legal requirement for invoices to contain bank details. I assume any VAT registration for the subsidiary is either in hand and correctly shown on the invoice, or not needed yet and the invoice doesn't show VAT.
It isn't mentioned in your question, but the one thing I suggest checking carefully is that the service was totally delivered by the new subsidiary, and any shared labour, equipment, facilities etc have been correctly cross-charged. Just be clear in your own mind that the director isn't using this as a way to improperly channel funds from the parent company to the subsidiary.
30th Apr 2019
As Maslins said, for £50 a month, you're better off doing it yourself. An agency is likely to want to charge £200+ a month plus the actual Adwords cost - as with accountancy, you're paying for their expertise as much as their time.
The DIY approach can be a fairly steep learning curve, but there are plenty of online resources to help you. Start with what Google themselves publish, which will then help you work out which of the other self-proclaimed "experts" really know what they are talking about !
With a £50 a month budget, a good strategy might be to go for very long-tail niche search terms. Glenn Martin is right that "Dorset Accountant" is going to go at £2 a click. But "retail specialist Dorset accountant" (or whatever - think what terms you'd use if you were a customer looking for an accountant in their field) is likely to be a lot less. You'll get far less clicks, but they'll be cheaper and really zoomed in on the kind of client you're looking for.
You might also think about doing Bing Ads (now rebranding as Microsoft ads). It's a much smaller audience, but many businesses overlook it making for far less competition and thus cheaper clicks. Once you've set a couple of campaigns up in Adwords, Bing Ads has tools to let you import them into their platform.
Good luck !
4th Apr 2019
I have a couple of thoughts on this, from harsh practical experience.
First; if possible, let the Sales Director sign off on the scheme, but don't let him or her create it. They have a habit of thinking first about how to give as much as possible to their team to make them happy and give himself the minimum admin and hassle (as well as the biggest possible slice to themselves of tean-based commission), without thinking also of what is good for the business.
Second; make the commission based on profit not revenue. I've seen far too many sales staff gaining huge commissions from selling at a loss because they care about their pocket rather than whether the work is good for the company. Ideally design a scheme which operates over a period of time to help generate long term repeat customers.
Team bonuses are great, as are incentives for leads generated by staff in other roles (what tyhe sales staff see as "just another cold call" can often be a friend or family member, with an implied duty of trust for one of your staff).
Most important of all, always calculate the overall cost of bonuses in relation to profitability of the business as a whole, and model some extreme cases - what does it do to cashflow and profitability if the star sales person comes in with a massive order, and could the business also afford any additional cashflow needed to deliver the order ?
18th Dec 2018
What is your personal chemistry with the client like ? While I appreciate you don't know him very well yet, would you feel safe sitting down and having an open, frank discussion with him.
Just because the press make out he's some kind of violent criminal doesn't neccessarily make him so. "Mild mannered taxi driver jumps red light by mistake" makes for a far less exciting headline !
Also, how long ago is this alleged to have happened. Thgere's a big difference between a year or two ago, and back in the days of the Krays.
Your gut feeling may be right, and it may be better not to act for him.
But if he really is trying to make an honest living, he may well appreciate not having another door slammed in his face. Do you feel you could come to an understanding with him that everything has to not only be whiter-than-white, but can be demonstrated to be so, and that anything other than 100% honesty would be grounds for disengagement. It's more burden on him to prove his earnings and expenses, but one which leaves your concience clear while helping him build a better reputation.
10th Jul 2018
As lionofludesch says - he's a director and has every right to access the accounts. He can access the bank accounts to see the records, but if A has any sense, he'll ensure that any expenditure or withdrawals need the majority shareholding director's signature.
However, you say you are acting for A. This implies that either there is a separate accountant for the company, or no accountant has been appointed. So B has no right to demand the information from you, it has to come from the company or company accountant. Pragmatically, in the case of a small and new company like this, that means A has to authorise you to pass the information to B - I'd definitely get it in writing !
From what I read of the question, the company was set up on a nod and a handshake. It might be worth advising A to see a solicitor specialising in Company Law to either get it set up properly, or to dissolve it quickly but in the correct way if the relationship between the directors has gone south this early on !
19th Apr 2018
Data protection is increasingly important. But for most industries (exceptions being things like finance services etc) it's about reading the rules, applying them in a systematic way that both meets the legal requirements and is appropriate to your industry, and being able to produce evidence.
With GDPR coming in, I have seen quite a few consultancies trying to make it look more complex than it is in order to try to sell massively over-priced training and compliance services.
In your case, I'd suggest starting by looking at the information the ICO gives away for free (book a day free of day to day interruptions to do it !) and see if there are any gaps in relation to your business, or any concerns around conflict of interest. Then identify any formal training or setup needed to enable you to supervise the system while building the evidence-gathering into normal working practices and procedures.
Then you can go to the MD with a costed request for any training you need and an outline proposal for changes needing to be made in business processes.
It never hurts to have another good thing on your CV !
27th Mar 2018
You don't say where in the country you are, but in the Home Counties (where I am) there is a significant oversupply of commercial property. Don't believe the letting agents headline prices - haggle ! And then haggle some more. The worst that can happen is that they'd say no and you go and look elsewhere, although it's better not to move than to get the wrong location.
You may not be able to haggle on price, although it's worth a try. Don't admit you know the lack of parking is factored into the price, and if they tell you it is, question how much they have undervalued it for your customers and how much it'll cost you to pay to park over a year.
Even if you can't get the price down, try for an initial rent-free period and try to get the terms amended. The last commercial property I was involved with had a repairing lease, and we ended up agreeing an annual cap (and quite a low one for the size of property) on repair costs, and that the landlord would pay for any repairs to the roof. We also agreed that they'd do a significant amount of making-good including replacing a rather expensive cracked plate glass window before we moved in.
Finally, get a solicitor to read over the proposed lease VERY carefully, particularly in regard to things like break clauses and any unexpected liabilities (check for things like Business Rates, and whether you are in a BID Levy zone). Always allow for some unexpected expenses !
Even if you decide this isn't the one for you, it's worth having a plan for when you find the right place. Good luck !
30th Nov 2017
If both employees are in the same role, it may (for your own peace of mind, if nothing else) be worth discussing with their managers why the pay rates are different.
There is anti-discrimination legislation in place covering this, but it does make allowances for such things as annual pay increments based on length of service, the impact of performance reviews (provided, of course, that these in turn are conducted in a manner which is objective and non-discriminatory).
After that, if A wants more pay, it's up to them to show the company they are as good as B !
29th Sep 2017
It might be better to look at this from a different perspective. As an accountant, it's easy to focus on getting accurate data into an accounts package of some kind. But from the business' point of view, having software which enables operational efficiency is the key thing. Getting the accounts right is important, but pales into insignificance compared to managing inventory and getting orders out to customers.
What tools or software does the client currently use to run their operation ? With the number of channels you mention, it's likely they are already using something, in which case the right question to ask is "what integrations does that software have available ?"
You haven't given us a picture of the kind of business they are, but most e-commerce businesses operate as efficiently as possible on wafer-thin margins, so a good cost-benefit analysis is worthwhile.
If they are looking for an operational package as well, I'd suggest the first place to look is Linnworks, which is certainly the market leaders for SME-sized businesses. Being blunt, it's accounting integrations aren't great and can be a little pricey, so I prefer to pull reports directly from each channel and enter the bulk figures into the accounting software.
I would suggest that Brightpearl might be best avoided unless they are on significantly higher than average margins and are manufacturing their own products. It's got it's own internal accounting module, which is good, but it has far fewer integrations to selling channels or other third-party apps, and is frighteningly expensive compared to Linnworks (in one case I know, £30,000 over 2 a fixed year contract including installation, compared to a flexible £180 a month for Linnworks).
12th Sep 2017
Yell.com is different to the actual Yellow Pages, although it's owned by the same organisation. It's the online directory, and usually produces results fairly high up Google organic search results.
It's hard to get data on any additional revenue it's delivered to me. But it certainly has helped me to get found. By call centres in India, dodgy chaps offering me stocks and shares in companies I've never heard of, people trying to persuade me to get a new web design, and companies doing wonderful charity calendars for the Fire Brigade.
I don't recall any actual customers calling up and saying they got my number from Yell.com.