The Autumn Statement

The Chancellor announced his Autumn Statement yesterday. 

We already knew that he was going to raise taxes and reverse most, if not all of the Truss Budget.

Indeed, the Chancellor set out his priorities as Stability, Growth and Public Services.

What this means is that we are back in Austerity 2.0 mode. Oh, and inflation is still going to be running at 10% across 2023.

This new fiscal direction isn’t good for small business owners. UK Plc needs repaying for all the money it gave or lent to businesses to support the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, furlough payments, Bounce Back Loans and such like all need to be repaid.

Sadly, the chancellor has taken a swipe at small business owners and decided that this is the population that will take the brunt. After all, we small business owners don’t have a union supporting us to strike. Plus, we are a resilient bunch of people and will roll our sleeves up to get through these tough times.

The leaked and previously announced tax increases are still going ahead…

  • Corporation tax from April 1 2023 to increase to 25% for companies with profits over £250,000. Companies with profits under £50,000 will be taxed at 19%. Companies with profits between £50,000 and £250,000 will be taxed between 19% and 25%.
  • Still support for energy bills. After April 2023 the Energy Price Guarantee will go up to £3000 per year for a ‘typical’ household.
  • Income tax and National Insurance contributions thresholds are staying the same until April 2028.
  • The Upper rate tax band threshold will be lowered from £150,000 to £125,140 from 6th April 2023.

Remember that small business owners bared the brunt of the tax increases? Well here is the sting in the tail

  • The National Living Wage will increase by 9.1% for individuals over 23 to £10.42 and the National Minimum Wage rates are all increasing by 9-10%.
  • The dividend allowance is being reduced from £2000 to £1000 in April 2023, then to £500 in April 2024.
  • The Capital Gains Tax Annual Exempt amount is being reduced from £12,300 to £6,000 from April 2023 and to £3000 from April 2024.
  • The National Insurance Secondary Threshold, i.e. the level at which employers start to pay Class 1 Secondary NICs for their employees, will be £9,100 from April 2023 until April 2028.
  • The R&D tax relief is changing from 130% to 86% and the SME credit rate will decrease from 14.5% to 10%. This takes effect from the Autumn Finance Bill 2022.
  • From April 1st 2023 business rates will be reevaluated to take account of a rise in property values since 2017.

Inevitably the Chancellor has decided that electric vehicles need to now pay road tax. This means that:

  • Electric cars and vans will now pay road tax from 2025.
  • New electric cars registered in 2025 will pay £10 in road tax for the first year then move to the standard rate.
  • Existing electric cars will pay the standard rate from 2025.
  • The exemption for electric cars for the expensive car supplement has also been removed. This means electric cars costing over £40,000 will pay an (at current rates) extra £355 per year on top of the normal road tax of £165 per year.
  • The benefit in kind tax for electric cars is going up to 5% by 2027/2028, with an increase of 1% per year taking effect in 2025/2026 until the 5% level is reached in 2027/2028.

Small crumbs of comfort here are that you still get the 100% first-year allowance for electric vehicle charging points.

Having read all of this you would be perfectly entitled to think that there is no good news for small business owners. And, well, you’d be right to think that. What the government did announce was:

  • No introduction of a possible Online Sales Tax.
  • The business rates multipliers will be frozen in 2023-24 at 49.9p and 51.2p.
  • There is a transitional relief scheme for business rates to support the changes in business rates from the reevaluation in 2023.
  • There, maybe, more energy price support for business announced in the Spring Budget.
  • The reversing of the increase in National Insurance rates for employees (that started in Nov 2022) is still going ahead.
  • There is still the £5000 National Insurance Allowance for small business owners.

What do you need to do now?

Given the extra costs the government has now imposed on your small business AND the rising cost of energy bills AND the minimum wage increases AND the 10% inflation rate across 2023, you have work to do. Namely:

  1. Put together your business plan for 2023 and model the impact of rising costs. Do you need to:
    1. Increase your prices?
    2. Reduce your overheads?
    3. Increase your wages?
  2. Carefully look at your personal and business tax situation. For example:
    1. Would you be personally better off if you paid yourself more via PAYE or made more pension contributions?
    2. Would closing your limited company and trading as a sole trader now make more sense?
    3. Do you need to put in motion anything to avoid getting caught by the reduction in capital gains allowance in April 2023, e.g. selling your business or property?
  3. Who in your staff needs a pay rise to avoid falling foul of the rise in National Minimum Wage?

Of course, give us a call if you need help with any of these next steps. We are here to help.

Boost your productivity

Why you need to ditch perfectionism and embrace failure!

Everyone wants to be successful, but there’s a difference between working hard and striving for perfection. When we’re too focused on getting everything right, it can harm our productivity levels; and when we’re less productive, it’s easy to feel worn out or exhausted every day. We may also end up stuck in a career rut because we think that “doing more” is the answer when really what we need is just “to do something different.”

If this sounds like you, read on. Here is how ditching perfectionism and embracing failure can help you get back on track again!

Strive for ‘done,’ rather than perfect

While it may sound strange to say that you should be aiming for ‘good enough’ rather than perfect, there is a reason for it.

If you’re experiencing burnout or you’re feeling lost in your work, striving for ‘perfect’ is only going to put more unnecessary pressure on yourself. Studies have shown that perfectionism actually tends to result in less productive work too, so just focus on getting the work done for a while (at least until you’re more in control of your workload).

If you do this, you’ll soon see that your quality of work won’t drop as drastically as you first thought AND you’ll see continued growth and progress again. Why? Because when you ditch perfectionism, you make room for improvement and growth.

Only take on what you can manage

You may think that you have to do it all, but you don’t. At least not all at the same time. When we try to do everything, we end up doing a lot of things badly.

It’s hard to see when we’re overpromising, especially when we have our own ideas of what we should be able to handle, so try to be easier on yourself. If you see ‘not being able to juggle too many balls at once’ as a failure, then reframe it! Your strength maybe time management and prioritisation instead (which still means that you can juggle multiple things, just over a more reasonable period of time).

Start managing your own diary and let clients know when they can expect their work to be done. You’ll find that most clients can wait for their work and you’ll have more time and space to do a better job.

Delegate and learn to say ‘no’

Delegating low-value tasks isn’t a failure (remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself). The same goes for saying ‘no’ once in a while. In fact, it’s encouraged. If these are fears of yours, then it’s time to embrace them.

Knowing how much you can take on and letting go of control are two very difficult things to master. When you do, however, you will see significant changes in your productivity and quality of work.

Silence that inner voice

We all have that negative inner voice that criticises us, and it is this voice that forces us to seek perfection. As we mentioned previously, always striving for perfection decreases productivity, and when we are less productive, we feel like we are failing and our inner voice just keeps piling on. It’s a whole negative spiral.

So what can we do to rectify this?

First, accept that you don’t have to always be working at 110%. And if you’re not, it doesn’t mean that you’re not working hard enough. Everybody works differently and that’s okay, so stop being too hard on yourself.

Secondly, ignore that voice in your head and accept that it is okay to be human. Some days, you won’t be able to work as hard and that’s fine. Not pushing yourself too much on those days will ensure that you avoid burnout and will ensure your productivity in the long run.

And lastly, if you’re afraid of failure or limitations, embrace them anyway. Mistakes and obstacles are the keys to innovation, so these are the moments where you have the opportunity to learn and grow the most.

Answering Your Top 10 Accountancy Questions

As accountants, a lot of our time is spent answering your queries and questions to help ensure you make the best financial decisions for your business. 

However, (after a while), the same questions inevitably start to crop up. 

So, in the hope that we can help out (and save you some time), we’ve answered your most frequently asked questions! 

Here’s all you need to know, from tax and VAT to transport and wages:

1. Should I register myself as a limited company or a sole trader?

Before you can decide whether to register as a limited company or a sole trader, you need to understand the difference between the two. 

As a sole trader, you (the business owner) and the business are seen as one legal entity. Whereas, with a limited company, the business is an entirely separate entity. 

So which is better?

Well, both models have their benefits.

Being a sole trader allows you to have complete control over your business and retain all of your profits after tax. They’re also relatively easy to set up and require very little paperwork. 

However, registering as a limited company allows you to be more tax-efficient (19% corporation tax), relinquish any personal liability and gain greater credibility and funding. 

Ultimately, the decision is yours. However, we strongly recommend speaking to your accountant, as they will make suggestions based on your personal circumstances. 

Take a look at this blog for more information –

2. What exactly can I claim for? 

We get this question a lot! So we wanted to shine some light on the subject.

If you are self-employed, you can claim allowable expenses for:

  • Travel costs
  • Training costs
  • Advertising costs 
  • Financial costs
  • Office costs 
  • Staff costs
  • Clothing costs
  • The cost of your business premises
  • The cost of items you buy and sell on 

You can explore each category in greater detail on the government website, but if you’re ever unsure, always ask your accountant. 

The main thing to remember is that you can only claim expenses for business costs. So to give some specific examples, you can claim for your MBA, but you can’t claim for unreasonable expenses like extravagant meals or unnecessary trips. 

3. Can I charge my company rent for using my house?

This depends on whether you’re self-employed or you have a limited company. 

You can’t charge your company rent if you’re self-employed because you are the business. With that said, if you rent a property, you can claim a portion of your rent back through expenses. 

However, if you’re the director of a limited company, you can create a formal rental agreement between you and your business. But remember, the rent you charge should match the amount you pay. Otherwise, you’ll pay tax for turning a profit. 

income and wagees

4. How much should I pay myself?

Whilst we can’t offer you a definitive number, we can suggest 3 different ways to approach paying yourself. You can either:

  1. Pay yourself enough to cover your personal costs 
  2. Pay yourself a fair market salary 


  1. Pay yourself a combination of salary and dividends

The third option is the most tax-efficient as you can keep yourself on the lower end of (or even below) the NI and income tax brackets. However, the best option is the one that works for you and your business.

5. What is the best way to fund my pension?

First, let’s discuss the logistics. If you have a personal pension, you have the flexibility to pay into your pension monthly or invest lump sums whenever you can afford it. Your only limitation is the £40,000 annual allowance. Beyond that, you won’t gain any tax relief for your savings.  

Now, in terms of funding your pension, that’s entirely down to personal preference. For example, you could increase your pension contributions instead of your salary. Or, you could defer your pension (it will increase by 1% every nine weeks you defer). 

So speak to your accountant and see what they believe the best option is for you!

6. Should I pay my family members a salary?

Firstly, as with any employee, you should only pay a family member if they are genuinely contributing to your business. Secondly, if you do employ a family member, their salary should accurately reflect the work they’ve done. 

As long as you can fulfil both of these requirements (and pay the national minimum wage), there are several benefits you can receive by hiring a family member. For example, you can deduct their wage from your business to keep profits low or even receive Employee Allowance. 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to hire a family member, you can always make them a shareholder. That way, they can receive dividends. Although you won’t receive an employee allowance, you will pay significantly less tax on dividends. 


7. Should I buy my next car through my company?

Although it sounds like an easy way to save on tax, the truth is, buying a car through your business might not be as beneficial as you first thought.

You see, if you buy a company car, you can only use it for company purposes. Otherwise, you have to pay tax on private use. Now you can calculate the ‘benefit in kind’ tax on the government website, but usually, the most tax-efficient solution is to buy or lease the car privately and simply claim back any mileage. 

8. What is more beneficial an EV or a hybrid car?

From a tax perspective, an EV is objectively more beneficial than a hybrid. Simply because you don’t have to pay any road tax on zero-emission vehicles! 

With that said, hybrid vehicles are still more tax-efficient than standard petrol and diesel vehicles. So both are great options!

9. Should I take advantage of the Cycle2Work scheme?

If you already cycle to work, then you should absolutely take advantage of the Cycle2Work scheme! 

You can save between 33.25% and 43.25% on your new bike and accessories by applying to the scheme. Why? Because you don’t have to pay any tax or NI. Plus, the cost is spread over 12 – 18 months and is immediately deducted from your pay slip via salary sacrifice. 

So, as long as you can commit to cycling to work 50% of the time, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t apply to the scheme. 

10. Why does my accountant always say ‘it depends’ when I ask one of these questions? 

Because it’s true!

All of these questions depend upon your unique personal circumstances – from your business model and lifestyle to your financial situation. So always ask your accountant for their professional opinion! They can offer you the most appropriate advice based on your books. 

Jeremy Hunt makes changes

Here is another blog with yet more changes and reversals to the Kwarteng mini-budget that wasn’t a budget.

In short, most of what he announced has been ditched by the new chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

I am hesitant to say that these new announcements are ones that are going to remain. After all, we are living in “interesting times”. Things could change still further by the time we get to the 31st of October when the chancellor will reveal the full financial statement.

What we know now:

  • The basic rate of income tax remains at 20% and likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.
  • The 45% higher tax rate is here to stay.
  • The planned reversal in the increase to Dividend Tax which took place in April has been cancelled.
  • The repeal of the 2017 and 2021 changes to off-payroll rules, AKA IR35, is now cancelled. This means the burden of proving that a contractor is not a disguised employee now rests again with the employer.
  • The help with energy costs is still going ahead but only until April. From April there is likely to be a different and more targeted regime to help with energy costs.
  • The planned increases in the duty rates for beer, cider, wine and spirits will now go ahead.
  • VAT free shopping for non-UK visitors scrapped.

You may be pleased to know that the cuts to stamp duty and National Insurance remain in place. These are very small crumbs of comfort.

The likelihood is that there will be more announcements on the 31st October.

We will, of course, then, give you a full rundown of any changes which will impact you or your business.

Our thoughts:

It’s aint over until the fat lady sings. At the moment we seem to have no idea whether the lady in question is clearing her throat or even thinking about going to perform.

What is clear that the Conservative government is in turmoil right now. The politic gossip columns are humming with different leadership scenarios. None of which seem to involve Liz Truss in them…

Initial reactions from the markets seem to be positive about Jeremy Hunt’s new plans for GB PLC. At time of writing the pound was making tiny gains against the dollar. But still a long way off the dizzy exchange rate heights in August of US $1.20 dollar to the pound. Bear in mind that at this point last year £1 would buy you US $1.37.

As a fellow business owner, my hope is for some stability and certainty in the months ahead. After all, that is what we all need to be able to plan and take decisions for the future. However, my sense is don’t assume that we are now entering into stable waters.

This is what I still think we can rely on going forward:

  • The cost of living crisis is going to bite hard over the winter
  • It is important to keep an eye on your business’s cash going forward
  • It will be harder to get access to finance
  • The turmoil will bring opportunities for business owners who are managing their finances carefully and prepared to be bold and take good decisions.

If you are uncertain about what the future holds or how to cope with the headwinds coming your way, then get in touch. We are here to help.

Government makes a U-turn

On Friday afternoon the UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss held a press conference. Ahead of this press conference, it was announced that the Chancellor had resigned/been sacked (depending on whose version of the truth you are listening to).

In this press conference, the September tax cuts as promised in the mini-budget have been watered down even further.

What we know so far… 

The Corporation Tax will rise from 19% to 25% in April 2023. It is unclear whether or not that includes the previous 19% tax rate for profits under £50k, with a tapering of tax rates up to £250k profit.

As already announced the removal of the 45% top rate for high earners has been scrapped.

What is still, apparently, going ahead from the mini-budget is:

  • The income tax basic rate cut by 1p to 19p in April 2023
  • The scrapping of the 1.25% rise in National Insurance is from November 2022 is still going ahead.

Our thoughts:

Hang onto your hats for a while longer. It is clear that the Conservative government is in turmoil right now. Read any of the online news sites and you will see speculation about whether Liz Truss can keep her job as Prime Minister. Or whether the new chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, will become a caretaker leader.

As a fellow business owner, my hope is for some stability and certainty in the months ahead. After all, that is what we all need to be able to plan and take decisions for the future. However, my sense is we are far from the stability we require.

This is what I think we can rely on going forward:

  • The cost of living crisis is going to bite hard over the winter
  • It is important to keep an eye on your business’s cash going forward
  • The cost of borrowing is going to increase as interest rates increase
  • It will be harder to get access to finance
  • The turmoil will bring opportunities for business owners who are managing their finances carefully and prepared to be bold and take good decisions.

If you are uncertain about what the future holds or how to cope with the headwinds coming your way, then get in touch. We are here to help.

How to recover from career burnout

Career burnout is pretty self-explanatory. It’s when we burn ourselves out to the point where we have lost the love for our work, it all seems a bit pointless, and we don’t have the energy to even flick on the switch of the kettle, never mind ploughing through a full day of work.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Feeling constantly tired and drained.
  • lack of enthusiasm and motivation for anything.
  • Anxiety and worrying about everything.
  • Insomnia, loss of appetite, and depression
  • loss of confidence in yourself.
  • Getting sick more often and for longer.

Why does it happen?

Career burnout can happen for several reasons, and it’s usually due to a couple of reasons rather than a single cause. Here are a few reasons why you may be suffering from burnout:

  • You’re not doing something you really love
  • You’ve lost sense of your purpose and your ‘why’
  • Your life priorities have changed
  • Your surroundings have changed
  • You’ve changed – but your role hasn’t
  • You don’t fit in your company culture
  • You don’t get on with colleagues
  • You’re being held back or your own beliefs are holding you back.

For many, the pandemic made people realise that they weren’t doing what they love or what they were doing just didn’t fit with reality anymore. This can lead to a lack of motivation and drive, and in extreme cases, anxiety and depression.

How to recover from burnout

If you’re suffering from career burnout, use this opportunity to really understand the cause and make impactful changes. Here are a few steps you should start with:

  1. Identify the cause of your burnout – is it you, your job, your company or your lifestyle? For example, are your personal needs being met with your work? Is your current role fulfilling enough? Do you fit the company culture and get on with colleagues? Does your current job fit with your lifestyle and priorities?
  2. Start making changes – work out what you would rather do instead (either by making your own lists or using online tools). Consider changing careers or approaching your manager to make some role changes. If your lifestyle has changed (e.g. if you’ve recently had a baby), find ways to adapt your role, to work more flexibly, and balance your priorities.
  3. Always prioritise your self-care – you should be doing this consistently anyway, but especially if you’re suffering from burnout. Make sure to take a break (and actually switch off). Try to have at least a week where you sleep for 7-8 hours a night, you exercise for 30 minutes a day, and you eat and drink healthier things that give you the energy you need.  When you’ve done this, try to make this your normal routine.

3 magic steps

That really is it. Don’t suffer from burnout any longer; waiting will only make you ill.

To recover from burnout, identify what is causing it, don’t be afraid to make the necessary changes, and always look after yourself. Change is scary but in this case, it is good; it will ensure your happiness in what you do on a daily basis and for a very long time to come.

Mini Budget 2022

Last week, as part of the mini-budget, the government began announcing help for small businesses. This blog gives you the details of what matters and how this could impact your business.

At a top level, the mini-budget, the government’s Growth Plan and announcements on energy caps are very good news for small businesses. Excuse the pun, but in many ways, the government has put its hand into its pocket to keep the lights on for small businesses this winter. It’s also changed decades of fiscal discipline and if you believe the media and political pundits it is a very risky move. After all, the government still needs to pay back what it borrowed to support individuals and businesses during the worst of Covid-19.

At a glance, these are the changes that impact you and your small business:

Income tax: Not including Scotland

  • The basic rate has been cut by 1p to 19p from April 2023.
  • From April 2023, the higher rate of Income Tax, 45%, has been scrapped.

Corporation tax: 

  • The planned increase in corporation tax from 19% to 25% has been scrapped.
  • This means that from April 2023, the rate will remain at 19% for all firms.

National Insurance: 

  • The 1.25% increase in National Insurance introduced in April 2022 has now been scrapped. I.e. from November 6th 2022.
  • The Health and Social Care Levy due to be introduced in April 2023 has been scrapped.
  • No change to the threshold that individuals pay National Insurance, i.e. £12,570
  • Eligible businesses still get up to £5000 in employment allowance to reduce their annual National Insurance Liability.

Dividend tax: The 1.25% increase to rates introduced in April 2022 has been reversed from April 2023

Annual investment allowance: The temporary increase from £200k to £1m has been made a permanent increase. This gives 100% tax relief to businesses on their plant and machinery investments up to £1m.

IR35 rules changed: The 2017 and 2021 changes to off-payroll working are to be repealed from April 2023. This means workers providing their services via an intermediary will once again be responsible for determining their employment status and paying the appropriate amount of tax and National Insurance contributions.

Company Share Option Plan: From April 2023 companies can now grant up to £60k (up from £30k) of share options to each eligible employee.

Seed enterprise investment scheme (SEIS):

  • The amount a company can raise under SEIS has been raised from £150k to £250k
  • The amount an individual can invest in SEIS shares has been doubled from £100k to £200k
  • The scheme has been extended to companies with gross assets under £350k

Energy price guarantee and Energy Bill Relief Scheme:

Businesses will pay no more than £211 per megawatt hour for electricity and £75 per megawatt hour for gas. This applies to all energy supply contracts entered into after 1st April. The energy companies will apply the discount. The energy bill relief scheme will operate until March 31st 2023 and potentially be extended after this date for businesses in certain sectors.

Under the energy price guarantee, the highest amount domestic households will have to pay is 34p per kWh of electricity and 10.3p per kWh of gas. The standing charge – the fee customers pay for being connected to the energy grid – will be 46p per day for electricity and 28p per day for gas. This energy price guarantee will last 2 years. A typical household can expect to pay about £2500 a year for their energy.

Investment zones: These new investment zones will benefit from tax incentives, planning liberalisation and wider support for the local economy.

VAT-free digital shopping scheme for visitors to the UK: Visitors to the UK will be able to claim back VAT on goods bought in the high street, airports and other departure points and exported from the UK in their personal baggage. The date for this scheme to go live is currently unknown.

What you need to do now?


If you run your own payroll, then you will need to check that your payroll software provider will be implementing the changes to National Insurance in time for November. If we run your payroll, we will ensure that the changes happen seamlessly.

Personal tax return

The changes to income tax rates and national insurance take effect for the 2022/2023 tax year. They will not impact your personal tax bill for the 2021/2022 tax year. With 2 rates of National Insurance, this will make your 2022/2023 personal tax return more complicated than normal. Please contact us if you would like us to do your personal tax return for the 2022/2023 tax year.

Do a new budget and reforecast your cashflow

The energy price guarantee and changes to employers’ national insurance rates mean that your business’s costs have materially changed for the year. Please contact us if you want help to see how this changes your business’s cost structure going forward.

Revisit your personal and business tax planning strategy

This was anything but a mini-budget. It is a massive change in fiscal policy and direction. This means you may need to rethink your personal and business tax planning strategy going forward. Changes, in particular to the SEIS scheme, may mean there are more tax planning options now open to you and your business. Once again get in touch with us if you have any questions or need help.

Why we ask for your ID

As part of our onboarding process we ask all of our clients for two pieces of ID. You might be wondering why we need this and what we do with it afterwards? We explain it all here.

Why we need your ID

As we are a regulated accountant, we are required by our regulatory body (AAT) to hold two pieces of identification for all clients for whom we act. This is so that we can complete anti money laundering checks on all of our clients and ensure that all of our clients are who they say they are.

What ID do we need

We need two pieces of ID from you:

  • Photo ID – such as driving licence or passport
  • Proof of Address – Such as bank statements, credit card bills, council tax bills, utility bills or driving licence.

All ID must be in date and display your current name.

Note – you can use your driving licence for either piece of ID, but not both. If you are giving us your driving licence please also submit an additional piece of ID so that we can still have two pieces of ID for you.

How do we use your ID

We request your ID using our Karbon client portal. This is the most secure way of getting your ID to us and is preferred to email which is not as safe.

Once in our possession, we upload it to our secure cloud storage system, Sharepoint. It is never saved onto individual computers.

We will use your ID to confirm your identity during our anti-money laundering checks. If we have not met you face to face we may arrange a zoom call with you to make sure you are the same person as in your ID.

All of our systems are GDPR compliant.

When we’ll need you to update your ID

If you have changed your name for any reason, we will need an updated copy of your photo ID and proof of address with your new name. If you haven’t arranged for updated ID yet we can accept your marriage certificate or deadpoll document until you can obtain your updated ID.

If you move address, we will need updated Proof of Address ID. We understand that these can take a while to come through but if you can get them to us as soon as you have something, in these cases often bills are the first thing to come through, then we can get started on updating our systems.

We will check your ID once a year when we update your anti-money laundering check. If we find your ID to be out of date we will simply request that you send us an updated copy as soon as possible.

Customer Research: The Key to Keeping Up With Your Clients’ Needs

As our businesses grow and evolve, so do the needs of our clients. It is important that our customers always remain at the centre of our companies, otherwise our efforts will be in vain.

A great way of ensuring that your business is always meeting your client’s needs is by constantly updating your customer information!

Throughout this blog, we will discuss it all – from the importance of client information to different research methods and data storage.

Why is gathering customer information so important?

Customer information is important for a myriad of reasons. It helps us understand our client’s needs, which products or services generate the most income and, most importantly, how to improve our customer experience.

By leveraging this information we can refine our marketing strategies, keep up with our competitors, offer personalised services and improve customer loyalty by a staggering 64%!

Do consumers actually care about the customer experience?

Believe it or not, 80% of consumers claim that the customer experience is ‘just as important’ as the quality of products and services you provide. Overlooking customer research simply isn’t an option! After all, who’s more qualified to teach you how to deliver the best customer service than your clientele?

What client information should you collect?

More is more in this instance. So instead of spending hours specifying all the information you need, we’re going to outline the four types of data you should collect to gain a detailed understanding of your audience:

Identity Data

Identity Data is used to identify specific clients and customers. Some of the information you would need to collect would include:

  • Names
  • Physical addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Mobile numbers

This information will allow you to contact customers, ask for their insight and send them marketing materials – with their consent.

Descriptive Data

Descriptive data asks for more personal information about your clients so you can gain a greater insight into your audience and the demographics you’re reaching. For example, you may ask about their:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Career or education
  • Marital or familial status
Qualitative Data

Now, this is where we get into the really good stuff. Qualitative data teaches you all about your customer’s beliefs, behaviours and motivations in relation to their consumer habits. This is your opportunity to ask specific questions like:

  • What do you enjoy about our product/services?
  • How could we improve our customer service?
  • Why did you choose our company over our competitors?
  • Would you recommend us to a friend or family member?
  • How can we bring you additional value?
Quantitative Data

Collecting quantitative data is a great way to understand how your customers interact with your business. Its primary function is to track marketing trends and consumer patterns. For example, some of the analytics you could track include:

  • How often customers visit your website
  • The value of each transaction
  • How often they engage with your social media

How should you collect and store your client information?

There are several ways you can go about collecting customer information. Our top recommendations include:

  • Feedback surveys
  • Interacting on social media
  • Website tracking
  • Subscription services

We also strongly suggest investing in a CRM system. Some CRM systems focus solely on storing your client information, whilst others also offer sales and marketing automation to help put your research into practice. Whether you opt for the former or the latter, an effective CRM system can help you:

  • Streamline your communications
  • Optimise your marketing strategies
  • Improve customer retention
  • Increase profits

Keep up with your customers’ needs!

If you want to optimise your services, keep up with competitors and continue fulfilling your clients’ needs, you must invest your time and resources into your customer research.

Loyal clients are the basis of every successful business, so don’t underestimate the importance of understanding your audience! Instead start valuing their insight as much as you value their business.

13 Ways an Accountant Can Help a Small Business Owner

There are two huge mistakes that many start-ups or small business owners make. The first one is trying to manage their own accounting system. This is often done incorrectly which can hurt the business in the long-term. The second mistake is assuming that an accountant is only good for managing accounts and filing Tax or VAT returns.
An accountant is a financial guru and an all-around business advisor all in one. Accountants are an incredibly valuable member of any small business team as they can offer a lot more than just accounting to small business owners. Here are 13 ways accountants can help:

1) They can help you go from business idea to start up

They will give you advice on what you need to create the foundation for a successful business e.g. determining the best business structure, creating your business plan, opening a business bank account etc.

2) They can assist with the financial analysis in your business plan

They can also help with loan applications and forecasting.

3) They analyse your finances to determine where your business’ money is going

They can then advise you on where to make improvements in your processes and cash flow so your business can scale and grow.

4) They will explain your financial data so you can make financial decisions with confidence

A good accountant will break it down so you understand the ins and outs of your business at all times.

5) They close out your books and create end-of-year financial reports

With your reports, an accountant will recommend changes to budgets or forecasts.

6) They compile and submit your taxes and financial reports to HMRC and Companies House

As well as submitting, they can also calculate VAT, provide advice on estimated tax payments, and provide guidance.

7) They make sure that your accounting procedures comply with government regulations.

Legislation changes all the time. An accountant keeps up to date with these so they can check your company’s tax position and keep you compliant.

8) They oversee your company payroll and payment process

They can help you streamline your business processes to work smarter, not harder.

9) They can help you streamline your business processes to work smarter, not harder

They can provide advice on the type of accounting software that’s suitable for your business, how to track your expenses, and also invoicing and payroll. More time means more earning potential!

10) They can identify risks in financial transactions to prevent fraud

Many business owners want to identify investment opportunities too. An accountant can provide advice on this and check whether an investment is solid.

11) They can help you identify areas for growth in your business as well as ways to save money

By looking at cash flow patterns, inventory management, your pricing, business financing.

12) They will work with you to create a business budget and stay on track

Every business owner needs a budget to support their business goals. An accountant can actively help with this.

13) They can advise you on all the big things

Reports, taxes, audits, business strategy, you name it and they can probably help you with it. Need advice on property or equipment leasing and purchase? Need guidance or resources to assist with scaling the business? Guess who can help – Accountants!

Accountants are key to business success, wherever you are on your business journey

These are just some of the ways that accountants can work with you to support your business. Whether you’re launching a start-up, you’re a small business owner who needs help with running the business day-to-day or you’re wanting to really scale your business, an accountant can provide essential advice and guidance, every step of the way.