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Whats happening with Brexit?

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, UK Chief negotiator David Frost and EU negotiator Michel Barnier continue to offer differing messages to the public about Brexit, some are positive, some ambivalent and occasionally negative remarks about the negotiations. It is hard to see through the comments made and whether we can take them at face value as, after all, there is a negotiation going on.

Whatever the outcome there are significant changes ahead for travel and trade.


If you are traveling to the EU from the UK after the 1 January 2021 then check out the Government website “Visit Europe from 1 January 2021”. This page tells you how to prepare if you’re planning on traveling to Europe from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

See: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021


.Gov website

If you haven’t made your business preparations, check out the Brexit transition website: https://www.gov.uk/transition

If you trade with the EU and have not yet made preparations then here is a summary of actions to take:

We must all be prepared for changes in the way we travel and trade with Europe. Even if there is a free trade deal the key thing to remember is that there will be a UK border which will mean paperwork and border checks.

Businesses that trade with the EU must get familiar with customs declarations as these will be essential for accounting for VAT.

Depending on what contracts a business has with its customers in Europe, it may have to factor in that goods could take longer to get there, meaning extra costs and administration.

In the short term, there will probably be delays at the border, so it is important businesses map out supply chains and think about how to do things as efficiently as practicable post-transition.

Overall with still no deal on the table, specifics are still very up in the air. We will make sure to keep you updated once we know more information.


What are the key figures I need to manage my cash flow?

Running out of cash is one of the biggest reasons that businesses fail. It’s not surprising really, as forecasting your cash flow can be tricky, not to mention that there are so many variables that determine how much is needed for operations, how much money you have coming in, and how much money you actually have to spend. Like we said, tricky (and a recipe for a headache).

While it is difficult, cash flow planning is absolutely essential to the success of a business. It ensures that you have the cash flow you need to not only survive, but thrive, and in any market or economy. As you can imagine, this is the dream for every business right now – to know that they are okay and that they can make payroll and keep up with the bills – in the midst of the recession.

To be in this position, you need to start cash flow planning or forecasting and here are the main 4 numbers that you need to know.

1. How much cash is in the bank 

It is crucial for a business to always know how much money is in the bank, but what makes a business successful is knowing how long that money will last based on their current spending.

Just take the many businesses who were forced to close due to Covid as an example. They might not have generated adequate cash to meet monthly outgoings (e.g. rent, paying suppliers, paying employees, buying raw materials etc) for most of this year. So how have many of them survived?

Through cash flow planning, many businesses know exactly how long they can survive before they go bust. Due to this knowledge, they’ve been able to plan ahead and make better business decisions to improve their position throughout the year.

2. Turnover (revenue and stock)

Knowing your turnover or gross revenue (e.g. the total amount of money you’ve brought in from sales) is obviously a key number to know, but when it comes to your cash flow forecasting, things like stock turnover are also essential.

Stock turnover is the rate at which you keep and use all of your stock after you have purchased it. You might not think that this number is essential to know, but stock can actually hide a lot of problems and issues within the business that you wouldn’t otherwise see if you weren’t looking.

Imagine you have been buying too much stock. Imagine the money you have available that is just sitting there. By looking at metrics like this while cash flow planning, you can know whether or not you should be buying more or less stock at a time and what effect this will have on your profitability.

3. Cost of sales

While revenue is an essential number to know, cost of sales is even more critical. Why? Because if making those sales cost you more than the money you brought in from them, you are actually making a loss and are heading for some major cash-flow problems.

Even if your business is growing, this doesn’t mean that you are heading in the right direction, so pay close attention to this number when cash flow planning. What costs are involved in making your sales (e.g. the cost of stock if you sell tangibles or the cost of labour if you sell services etc)?

A small decrease in the cost of sales can have as much impact on gross profit as a large increase in sales, so that is why it is so essential to know this number. If you’re aware of these costs, you can either negotiate with suppliers for better prices or tighten up work processes to reduce labour hours.

4. Net profit

Net profit is the ultimate measure of a business’s success. It is your bottom line, i.e. everything you’ve made after you have subtracted all direct and fixed costs.

So why is this important for cash flow planning? The net profit margin helps you to see whether you are generating enough profits from your sales and whether operating and overhead costs are being contained. If you’re not doing either, then you should know where and how you need to make adjustments.

Don’t confuse cash flow with revenue!

Revenue is only a measurement of a one-way inflow of money whereas cash flow demonstrates all movement of money through your business (e.g. income, outgoings and existing cash in the business). That’s why cash flow forecasting is so essential, as you can use it to track your business’s financial health while also planning for any expected peaks or dips in business in the future.

So many numbers besides revenue indicate profitability, so you need to manage them ALL right before you can be sure that your revenue growth is cause for celebration (not commiseration!). Isn’t that what we all need in the current climate?

I'ts okay to say no


Are you saying yes to every piece of business coming your way?

Do you hear yourself saying ‘I wish I’d never agreed to this?

Are you losing money on small jobs that aren’t worth your time?

If you answered yes to any of the above, this blog is for you.

The art of saying NO.

It can be difficult to say no to work. Especially if you are running a small business. However, qualifying leads and setting expectations is vital to move your business forward. Don’t undervalue yourself and don’t take on work that will disrupt your businesses ‘flow’.

The lesson of saying no has been a long one for our Director Paul. He is a yes man. However saying yes to everything has often put us out of pocket and disrupted our business structure, leading to confusion in the practice. Last year we implemented a very strict and lengthy onboarding process for new clients. Starting with a phone or zoom call to see if we are the best fit for the business enquiring. This then eliminates anyone that doesn’t fit into our business model and indeed if we don’t fit into theirs.

Pauls Experience

“With the help of my business coach Heather and nearly 30 years experience I am finally starting to understand the importance of no. This lesson was tested to the full this week.

I have for many years worked with Sage and in particular Sage50, unfortunately the Sage50 platform is not a true cloud product. When opening 1 Accounts, one of our unique selling points was that all of our clients are using cloud based accounting software to keep their records. Using cloud based software allows us to give up to date help and advice to clients that we (and the client) can access from anywhere. This has without a doubt helped us through this pandemic as we have been able to affectively work from home and give our clients the same level of service.

This week I had to turn down a client I acted for many years ago. Despite being a great business and nice people, they do not want to move from desktop sage 50 to Xero. It was with a heavy heart that I wished them well and did not take them on.

Was this a mad decision?

Definitely not. Our service works because all of the data is live and on hand. Our business model is based around this. Our client service would not be as good, and my team would have become frustrated with software they are not used to, or ‘experts’ in. We have taken on Sage50 users in the past, and they have all, without exception, had issues resulting in all of them moving to Xero.”

The lesson of the day

Saying no is an important business lesson. Don’t bite of more than you can chew and stick to your guns. Your business has a brand, stick to it.

movie themed

How can I use webinars to win business?

Webinar marketing is all about hosting online workshops to build a relationship with attendees and to promote and increase credibility for your business.

What’s great about webinars is that they are a win-win for both parties: attendees learn valuable content and, if you do it right, it markets or achieves a sales outcome for your business. Sounds good, right?

While webinars are a great tool to use to win business, if you don’t do it right, it can end up costing you a lot of time and effort for little reward. So this is the point of this short article. We want to show you the 3 essential steps for how to use webinars to win business.

Step 1: start with the end in mind

If you think about what you want to achieve from your webinar before you start, you can make sure that it is relevant and that it is a topic that is in demand. Before creating your webinar, explore these 4 questions:

  1. What is the purpose of my webinar? Is it just to inform clients, to stay front of mind or to sell an additional service?
  2. Who do I want there? Is it for existing clients or potential clients or both?
  3. What pain points are my audience motivated to solve? What are their biggest challenges at the moment?
  4. When will they attend a webinar? When is the most ideal time for them?

Step 2: get people to sign up, turn up, stay till the end, and to buy from you

For your webinar to be successful and for it to win you business, you will need these 4 essential processes in place:

  1. How I will get people to register – your webinar needs a catchy title and objectives that promise value and raise curiosity. You also need to pick a time and day that is best for your audience and use an email marketing tool to assist with registrations.
  2. How I will get people to turn up – streamline a process for sending email reminders to attendees (we send a total of 5 reminders to ours) and call warm prospects or people you want there.
  3. How I will get people to stay to the end – keep your attendees engaged and make them want to stay. You can do this by making the webinar highly interactive (especially at the beginning); tell them the agenda, promise something for those who stay to the end, and make it about your audience and their issues.
  4. How I will get people to buy – you need to show your audience their ‘ideal’ scenario and position your product/service as the solution to getting them there. You can do this by including case studies of clients who have had the same or similar issues and how you’ve helped them to take action and resolve them. You can also include statistics, show them the different options available to them, and have clients actually on the webinar to advocate for you in real-time.

Step 3: use the right technology

Technology can make or break a webinar, so make sure you are using the right tools. Tools that will assist you and make your life easier rather than tools that limit you. If you want to win business from your webinars, you need to be using the following technology:

  1. Webinar or online meeting software (e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc)
  2. Decent broadband and ideally a webcam
  3. Automated diary booking system (e.g. Calendly, AcuityScheduling etc)
  4. Registrant data collection tool (e.g. Eventbrite or the other event software)
  5. Bulk email marketing tool (e.g. Active Campaign, MailChimp etc)

Webinar marketing is a great way to win new business and to stay in front of your existing clients. You just need to know how to create a relevant and engaging webinar that your audience is interested in and you need to make it as easy as possible for people to remember to turn up and buy.


Reopening your business safely: the ultimate checklist

We may not know when things will be going back to normal, even now that a Covid vaccine is on the horizon, but we can plan ahead for when the time comes to reopen our businesses.

This is called scenario planning – also known as ‘hoping for the best but planning for the worst’ – and it’s very valuable. Not only does it make you feel better in the short term, but it also allows you to act more effectively if that time does come in the future.

While reopening as normal may still be a few weeks or months away, there is a lot of logistics to think about due to the safety measures you will need to implement. To help you plan for this, here is a useful checklist so that you can reopen your business safely when the time comes.

6 areas you need to cover to reopen your business safely


Do we have a plan to reopen with ‘social distancing’ in place when our business is legally allowed to?

  • Do we have a supply of hand sanitiser available for all entrances and exits used by staff and customers?
  • Can these sanitisers be fixed in place to minimise theft?
  • Have we done a deep clean of our premises
  • Do we have a supply of face masks for staff? If possible, will they be branded?
  • Have we worked out how to minimise the risk to staff by introducing social distancing wherever possible? E.g. spacing out seating, staggering shift times or rotas, placing visual markers where queues form to help people socially distance?


Do we have a plan to re-engage with staff who have been furloughed?

  • Are they physically able to return to work? And on what basis?
  • What hours do we need them to work? And does this require formal HR assistance if there is a major impact on their working hours or contract?
  • What training will they need to be safe and competent in doing their job?
  • Will they need to be reskilled or reassigned? And how will this happen?


Have we forecasted the impact of social distancing on our business?

  • Reduced demand and capacity?
  • Cash flow? Turnover? Profit?
  • Resource requirements?
  • Parents of school-age children may still need to be at home with their children?


Have we identified ways to reduce the need for customers to physically be on our premises?

  • Telephone and/or internet orders?
  • Photos or videos of our products/services on our website?
  • Deliveries to customer homes?
  • Click and collect?


Have we done a risk assessment and implemented recommendations to minimise the risk to our staff?

  • How to reduce contact in our offices and premises?
  • Increased cleaning of all surfaces?
  • Education and training to staff on how they will play their part to keep everyone safe?


Have we identified ways to increase demand for our business’s services or products whilst still remaining ‘COVID-19’ secure?

  • New products or services which will be in demand?
  • Different ways of delivering the service or fulfilling the order or demand?
  • New channels to market? E.g. direct to consumers?

Plan your coronavirus-comeback

If you want to be ready for when the time comes (and it will) where you can reopen your business, you will need to have a plan to keep your employees and customers safe. If you have your plan and your safety measures in place for when that time comes, you can hit the ground running.

Imagine bouncing back stronger than ever when restrictions ease? Don’t waste any more time now giving into the Covid turmoil. Plan your comeback and reopen with confidence.

Is my accountant regulated?

Is my accountant regulated?

Would you trust your life to someone who was not a doctor?

Would you be defended in court without a qualified lawyer?

Of course not. Yet many businesses trust their livelihoods to unregulated accountants.

Why does being regulated make a difference?

To be regulated accountants have to be a member of a professional body. The main professional bodies are:

  • ACCA
  • CIMA
  • AAT

In order to practice as an accountant with a professional body, you have to have a practicing licence and hold professional indemnity insurance. You also have to do continued professional development. An unregulated accountant does not have to have any of this in place.

As a member of a professional body they will be regulated by law under the Proceeds of Crime Act Money Laundering Regulations (AML) with very strict rules to comply with.

How to check if your accountant is regulated.  

When you sign up to an accountant, you will receive their terms of business (engagement letter). This will set out the basis of the contract between them and you. In that proposal there should be reference to their professional body and details of their AML procedures. If there aren’t, this should be your first red flag.

Questions to ask your accountant:

  • What professional body do you belong to?
  • Can I have a copy of your professional indemnity insurance?
  • What CPD do you do?

If the accountant isn’t regulated they HAVE to register with HMRC under the AML rules. This is the law. The link below will give you the details and allow you to check if your unregulated accountant is actually registered with HMRC.


Our experience

When taking on new business, we always request hand over information from the previous accountant. Normally this is relatively easy, however for one of our new clients it has been far from it. We have been shocked by the quality and correspondence from the previous accountant. After looking through all the information, we have found out that this particular accountant is unregulated. This ultimately meant, our client cannot report the accountants actions to their governing body. Leaving them with one option, legal action.

The client put their trust in this accountant and have been left with extremely messy books, which could result in more tax and potential fines.

Make sure your accountant is regulated, this way if something goes wrong your accountant has certain standards to adhere to, ensuring your finances are kept in order.

Calendar and alarm clock

When do I need to send my Tax Return Information to my accountant?

Your self-assessment tax return is the document that is needed to calculate how much tax you owe personally. This return includes your dividends, employment income, rental income etc. One way to ‘stress out’ your accountant is to send them your tax return information in January. However, many people don’t understand why January is so stressful for accounting firms. Therefore we wanted to explain why sending in your information before January is so important.

Important dates explained

The tax year runs from April (of the prior year) to April (of the current year). For example, if we send you a request after April in 2020 for your self-assessment tax return information, it will be relating to information from April 2019 to April 2020. So the start and the end of the tax year.

The deadline to complete the return and pay any tax will be the following January, so in this case the 31st of January 2021. This gives you 9 months to get the return submitted and tax paid from the end of the tax year.

For anyone who has to pay a payment on account, this will be due the following July, so in this case the 31st of July 2021.

self-assessment timeline

The way we work

At 1 Accounts we use a system called Karbon to request self-assessment tax return information. At the end of the tax year on the 6th of April, we send out an automatic email requesting all the information we require to complete the return. We then send an automatic reminder email once a month for five months to those who haven’t uploaded the information. If you still haven’t sent in any information after this, you will get chaser emails from one of the team.

If you haven’t used our Karbon system before, it is nice and straight forward. All you have to do is click ‘manage checklist’ on the email.

Karbon checklist

This will then direct you to create a pin number (make sure it is memorable). If you forget your pin, just click on the ‘forgotten your PIN?’ hyperlink and follow the steps.

Pin number

Once you are in, you will be able to see a checklist where you can comment and upload the information we have requested, or ask any questions. These comments come through to the team like an email.

Once you have completed a task we ask you to tick it off. The open tasks are what triggers the automatic reminders and so ticking them off will stop them.

If none of the information requests apply to you, we still need you to write N/A in the comments so we know it doesn’t apply.

Once you have completed your checklist and ticked off the tasks, please just log out or close the window. Your progress will be saved and we will be notified

For anyone sending us information after the 15th of December, there is no guarantee we will be able to complete the return on time.

So why Is January so stressful for accountants?

With January being the deadline for self-assessment tax returns, naturally many people leave it until the last minute. If you are completing your own return, then that’s fine, however waiting until January to give the information to your accountant will not make you very popular. No matter how much accounting firms prepare, January is always horrible. Not only are the Christmas festivities over, last minute tax returns are a given. If you have left your tax return until the last minute, bear in mind, that you are not the only one.

We advise you to send in your information any time between April to August. This will give us ample time to complete your return. The sooner you send us the information the sooner we can complete the return. We prioritise our returns on whoever sends us the information first.

On a side note, if you are looking to buy a house, your returns will need to be completed for your mortgage. If this is the case you will need to send us your information ASAP and let us know well in advance.

Remember your tax is due in January?

Your tax is due in January. This means that if you leave sending your information until the last minute you could end up with a large unexpected tax bill to pay straight away. If you return gets completed early, you will be able to prepare for paying any tax in January. Or for those lucky people, get a refund early.

Overall, accountants all over Britain ask nicely that you send your tax return information between the months of April-August so we can give you the best possible service and eliminate stressful Januarys once and for all.

If you have any questions on your self-assessment tax return please email jade@1accounts.co.uk


What information is needed to complete my personal tax return?


It’s that time again ….. tax returns!

From the 6th of April, accountants start to request information from clients. In this blog, we will go through what information accountants need and why.

At 1 Accounts we request the below information from all of our clients via our Karbon software. A secure virtual checklist gets sent to every client automatically on the 6th of April. For more details on when and how to send your tax return information to us please *click here*. Not all of the checklist points apply to everyone, however, we ask all of our clients to write N/A by the tasks that don’t apply, this confirms to us that they aren’t applicable.

karbon checklist

Bank Interest

You have to declare your bank interest received on your tax return. You do not have to pay tax on any interest under £1,000 if you are a basic rate taxpayer or £500 if you are a higher rate tax payer. If you are an additional rate taxpayer, you will have to pay tax on all of your bank interest. However, regardless of the amount you still have to declare any interest you have had. Depending on your bank you will get an April summary that will tell you your annual interest. Your bank should also be able to provide an interest statement on request. Failing both of these, you can just look through your bank statements and add up any interest received, however, this could be long, time-consuming and most of all boring.

Details of Dividends

Your dividends are taxable income (after £2,000), so they have to be declared on your tax return. To send us the details we will need the dividend vouchers. If you do not have these you will be able to ask your accountant managing your business to send them to you. If you are a 1 Accounts client and we look after your company, we will have the dividend information for that business.

If you have invested in any shares, you will also get a dividend certificate. Keep hold of these even if just for a small amount as this will also need to be declared.

Details of rental income and expenses

We will need to know the gross rent. This is the amount of rent that you are paid before any management charges. We will also need a list of your expenses obtained throughout the year. If you have an agent you should be able to ask for a ‘rental statement’. If you don’t have an agent please send us a spreadsheet of your expenses and details of the rent paid to you every month.

Some of our rental clients use Xero to keep track of their income and expenditure. If you would like a version of Xero to be able to do this, just let us know.

Donations Under Gift Aid

This one is a little trickier to find the information. If you have donated through ‘just giving’ or have a monthly subscription to a charity you will be able to find the donation given. All we need is for you to add all the donations together to give us the total figure donated, confirm who you donated too and that it was made under gift aid. Remember that donations made under gift aid will REDUCE YOUR TAX if you are a higher rate taxpayer and so it is worth noting down whenever you give to charity.

Pension contributions

This is another one that you could get tax relief on, depending on the type pension scheme and how the contributions are made into the scheme. We will need the details of all the amounts that have been paid into a pension scheme, whether by you or on your behalf by say your employer. Dependent on your pension provider you should be able to get a statement for the year. If this is applicable we will need to discuss this with you further.

Employment income

If you are employed we will need details of this income from either the P60 or P45. This is because it is part of your total taxable income for the year and is needed to decide your tax band. We will need your P60 or P45 from any employer for whom we don’t run the payroll and don’t worry, any tax deducted at source under PAYE will be deducted from your tax bill.

If you are in receipt of you pension, we will also need this P60 as well.

Details of any other income

If you have had any income that we have not listed above, please tell us. Even if you are not sure it applies. This could include the following:

  • P11D employment benefits received.
  • The sale of capital assets.
  • Inheritance income (if not handled within the estate).
  • Sole trade income (if turnover is above £1,000 we need to know).
  • Sale of shares.
  • Cryptocurrency sales.