Posts tagged ‘Management Accounts’

Drowning under a mountain of paperWith 2011 more that half way through, how is your business performing?

 

Here are twelve tips to act an aid-memoire when trying to stay in control of your business:

  1. If you are not producing regular management accounts, consider what financial information can be easily extracted from your accounting system to help you monitor the business. You can only extract meaningful information if your records are up to date and accurate.
  2. If you are selling a product, make sure you know your break even sales volume – this could be higher than you realise, particularly with pressure on prices.  What level of waste are you experiencing?  Are you carrying too much stock?
  3. If selling a service, check how many hours of time you are invoicing out a month – how much of it is resulting in billable income?   Are you charging at the right levels?  Are you competitive without being cheap?
  4. Project Management PlanRevisit your business forecasts and cash flow projections for the coming 12 months on a regular basis – are they still realistic in the current climate?  What costs can be trimmed back?
  5. If cutting costs, make sure you know which of your costs are fixed and which are variable.
  6. What can you delegate/outsource so that you can devote more of your time to looking after key clients and driving the busimess?
  7. A big, bad debt can be disastrous for business, so make sure you monitor your debtors carefully.  Keep in regular contact, resolve disputes quickly and discuss options at an early stage if they are having difficulties.  A debtor making round sum payments on account is often a warning sign.  Consider credit checking businesses that do not have any history with you.
  8. Look after your purchase ledger with as much care as your sales ledger.  Good suppliers are key to you being able to deliver to your customers, keeping prices down and an essential source of credit when managing cash flow.
  9. Make sure you have up to date information to hand when requesting a renewal or increase in your banking facilities and keep your bank manager informed of changes to the business and its performance.
  10. Check that the financial structure of your business is correct.  If you are relying on short term finance for long term projects then you need to get the balance right.  What assets do you have to secure more cost effective commercial finance?
  11. Income taxGet your tax affairs up to date and make sure you have provided for payments due in January and July as well as Corporation Tax due nine months after the accounting period if trading through a Company.  This is just as important if profitability has declined as you may be able to reduce any payments on account that fall due.
  12. Check you are using the most effective VAT scheme.  If you have a large sales ledger, cash accounting may be more appropriate.  Have you calculated whether the flat rate scheme results in less VAT being paid over to HMRC?

 

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

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On Wednesday 24th March the Chancellor, Alistair Darling gave what could be his last budget. Many are saying how the budget was a waste of time, being so close to an election and the lack of assistance to small businesses or real attempt to recover from the significant budget deficit certainly supports this view.

Businesses however, should consider reviewing their own budgets and make sure they are set appropriately. As someone a lot wiser than me once said ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’.  Just as sinful is spending time creating a business plan and annual budget and not reviewing, updating or revising them on a regular basis.

Budgets are an important tool for anyone in business and at least an annual review should be considered. Many businesses approach their accounting year end at this time of year so it is an ideal time to appraise how your business is doing and what you wish it to achieve in the future.

Here are a few tips to consider when reviewing your budgets for the year:-

  • Are you producing management accounts on a regular basis, if not, what financial information can you easily extract from your accounting system that would help you monitor the business?
  • Business forecasts and cash flow projections should be prepared for a minimum of twelve months giving you something to monitor performance against;
  • You should ensure budgets are realistic in the current climate,
  • Are there any costs that can be trimmed back? Do you know which of your costs are fixed and which are variable, in reality in the short term most costs are fixed, if you need to go through a cost cutting exercise you need to know which costs can be varied and when.
  • Is cash flow behaving as expected? Are you likely to need further banking facilities at some point in the future?  Are your debtors and creditors being managed appropriately?
  • If you are selling a product, it is important to know at what point the business is generating a profit, following the recession with pressure on prices the break even point can be higher than you realise, you need to be aware of this.
  • If you are selling a service, do you know how many of hours of time you are invoicing out a month, you may feel busy but is it resulting in billable income.
  • How are you generating new business, and what is this costing you in terms of time and resources.  Are you being realistic about how much new business can be won?

Focus your attention

Reviewing your businesses budget can be a very valuable exercise.  It will focus your attention on how your business is doing and help you to keep control of costs.  It should also give you a target to achieve for the future.

If you are in business on your own, it may be beneficial to speak through your budgets with someone who understands your business, like your accountant, for example as this may help you to look at the bigger picture, question your processes or brainstorm ideas.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.