Press Release: MMA Appoints New Director
Sara Crowther has been promoted to Client Services Director
Sara Crowther has been promoted to Client Services Director at My Management Accountant (MMA), reflecting the growing business’s emphasis on providing first-class customer service.
Sara has a wealth of experience of working alongside business owners during her time at the Huddersfield company, which provides management accountancy services to small firms who wish to use the services of their own finance director but who do not have the resources to create such a role within their business.
In her new position she will build on her role as a trusted advisor to assume overall responsibility for service delivery to the business’s growing client base. The promotion comes almost three years after Sara joined MMA as the Compliance Accountant, having previously worked at insolvency practitioners Geoffrey Martin & Co.
Martin Bown, Managing Director, My Management Accountant, said: “Our ethos has always been to deliver a service that goes above and beyond anything a business owner has experienced before from their accountant, and the promotion of Sara is fundamental to that. It also comes as the business prepares for the next stage in growth and recognises Sara’s huge contribution to our success so far.”
Sara said: “I’m very much looking forward to taking on more responsibility for ensuring our accountancy team delivers the best personalised service to every client – something I think already sets MMA apart from other accountants.”
“The best part of my job is getting to know each client and making sure we understand their finance and accountancy needs. It means we can give better advice, deliver timely information consistently, and advise on how to make their money work for them – and they can get on with running their business and doing what they do best."
Martin established MMA in 2011 after spotting a gap in the market to deliver a proactive accounting and advisory service to business owners, with the prime goal of working alongside them throughout the year rather than simply delivering year-end accounts.
The business moved into the Media Centre in Huddersfield at the start of 2013, with its first part-time employee joining shortly afterwards, and has been on an upward curve ever since. The business currently employs eight people, with plans to recruit more before the year is out.
My Management Accountant provides a range of accounting services, from year-end accounts, tax returns and payroll through to management accounts and finance director support. MMA specialises in delivering an end-to-end outsourced finance department, including white-labelled credit control service, which can be delivered as part of the whole accounting package or a standalone service. It is also a gold partner of online accountancy software Xero, which allows business owners to easily access their cloud-based accounts.
More information can be found at www.mymanagementaccountant.co.uk or by contacting the team on 01484 600514.
We're increasing our use of different Xero add-ons, where they benefit specific clients. One app that benefits all of clients, regardless of size, is FUTRLI.
Connecting Futrli, a forecast and reporting engine, with Xero cloud accounting software has enabled educational social enterprise Evolve to improve its efficiency in tracking its financial performance.
The business, that supplies Health Mentors to improve pupil wellbeing in schools, has regional managers based in areas across England and Wales and FUTRLI has allowed Evolve to look at the business more efficiently, both at a national and regional level.
The dashboards prepared by My Management Accountant using the platform are proving to be easier to understand and much more user friendly than spreadsheets.
“FUTRLI is a piece of software that feeds off Xero, so allows us to prepare numerous financial key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as giving us the capability to import in, and report on non-financial KPIs,” Martin Bown explains.
“For Evolve, specifically, we’ve produced numerous KPIs, both at Evolve (whole company) level, and region by region.”
The dashboards prepared by My Management Accountant:
- Look at the business both at a national and regional level
- Compare actual financial performance forecast
- Give region v region comparisons
- Produce region specific boards to share with each regional manager
Typical measures we report on include:
- Analysis of the profit & loss account (actual v forecast)
- Gross profit
- Net profit
- Average revenue per mentor by region
- Average contract value by each region
Evolve managing director John Bishop said: “I’m a big fan of visuals for forecasting and planning financial information and using FUTRLI has improved the way we share data with managers across the country.
“The system has dramatically reduced the time spent on creating graphs and spreadsheets. This has released some of my time and has given managers more accountability for their figures and regional performance.
“The beauty is that it links with our accounting system so that we don’t have to duplicate any work.
“The boards enable us to look at forecasts and actual figures as well as non-financial data such as how many new clients we have acquired. It is all very straightforward and intuitive.”
Making Tax Digital
Maybe it’s because we’re accountants and so we read different newspapers to everyone else, but it seems like there are an increasing number of stories about Making Tax Digital (MTD) surrounding the business community.
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Janet Ellison, has announced that the introduction of HMRC’s MTD drive may be delayed until 2019 for most businesses to give them more time to adjust.
At this early stage in the process we want to assure you that, as clients of My Management Accountant, you’ll be compliant with whatever HMRC decide the final plans are, even though it must be said that at this stage HMRC haven’t even fully defined their plans for MTD.
So, how can we be so certain you’ll be compliant with plans that are yet to be finalised?
We use two key pieces of accounting software in MMA. We prepare VAT returns and management accounts using Xero, and we use BTC for producing year-end accounts, corporation tax returns and self-assessment returns.
BTC have already confirmed they are part of the software developer community being consulted by HMRC. They have assured us their software will be fully compliant in time for MTD.
I’d be surprised if Xero weren’t part of that software developer community as well and I expect Xero will make the same assurances to us if it becomes apparent that MTD has an impact on data stored within that software, such as quarterly management accounts – in a similar way to which they already allow us to prepare and file quarterly VAT returns directly to HMRC using Xero.
Of course, we’ll share more news about MTD as and when it becomes available.
Be prepared for pension change
Even if you employ only one person, auto enrolment into a workplace pension scheme is something you cannot ignore. The law on workplace pensions under the Pensions Act 2008 states that every employer in the UK must enrol eligible staff into a workplace pension and contribute towards it.
The auto enrolment scheme began in October 2012, with larger firms complying first. SMEs that existed in 2011 are enrolling their staff by the end of 2017, followed by all newer employers by February 2018.
You can find out when your staging date for auto enrolment duties comes into effect on The Pensions Regulator website by inserting your PAYE reference.
However, letters advising the date will be sent to individual firms by The Pensions Regulator. If you don’t pay staff by PAYE, the date you will need to comply will be 1st April 2017.
The level of pension contributions will be phased in over time to help employers and individuals adjust. Full contributions will have to be paid from 1st October 2018.
You need to pay the correct contributions on time to your staff pension scheme. If you don’t, you risk being fined by the Regulator.
We know many small employers are worried about the changes to pensions law, but as part of our complete service at My Management Accountant, we can guide you through the process, help you comply and process the pension contributions seamlessly through our payroll service.
Our systems also manage any changes to employees’ eligibility or if they choose to opt out of the workplace pension scheme. One of your duties is to accept opt-out and leave requests.
The Pensions Regulator is a public body set up by the UK government to regulate work-based pensions and will be communicating with all employers to let them know when their legal duties start.
For more information click here
Five Tips for Better Cashflow
1. Invoice promptly
Often small businesses concentrate on delivering the goods and services to their customers but then take time raising the invoice. Sometimes businesses even forget to raise invoices at all, and customers won’t be the ones to remind you. There's no excuse anymore. Using online accounting apps, invoices can be raised on the go. Repeating invoices can be set up to automatically be raised each month.
2. Offer numerous ways to pay
In today’s world the last thing most businesses want to do is pay by cash or by cheque. Invoices can be paid via online banking, or via low-cost credit card payments services such as Stripe, which offers an online link within your invoice. Physical card payments can also be taken via low-cost services such as iZettle which connect a customer’s card to a phone, tablet of laptop. Even direct debits can be set up now for little expense, using services such as Go Cardless.
3. Keep in touch
Don’t send your invoice and automatically expect customers will pay it. Speak to them to make sure they received the invoice, that they agree the charges, and that they can give you a payment date.
3. Manage payments
Keep on top of VAT, corporation tax and PAYE liabilities – HMRC will have no trouble chasing you. Likewise, your suppliers will want payment on their agreed terms just as you do off your customers. Late payment to your suppliers means you run the risk of reduced credit, higher prices, or worse still, no credit at all.
Use accounting software tools, such as Xero, or Crunchboards to forecast future sales, purchases and tax liabilities, and to highlight any future crunch points in cashflow. Even a basic spreadsheet is better than nothing!
Do all of the above and you'll be on the road to a secure cashflow.
Don't, and you're risking the future of your business.
And do you really want to risk your business?
Xero have teamed up with Stripe, a leading online payment solution that makes it really easy for your customers to pay you with their credit cards.
In fact, we highly recommend Stripe ourselves having set up the service for our own clients to use.
Stripe is integrated with the Xero cloud accounting software so payments can be processed almost instantly. This complements our My Credit Control service by allowing you to create any type of payment flow, eases cashflow issues and reduces debtor days.
We can set up the free, quick and secure system for our clients to enable them to accept credit and debit card payments online, and to insert the correct links on to their Xero invoices.
Please get in touch to learn more.
Want a good night's sleep?
In a recent Accountancy Age article, 650,000 micro businesses admitted to missing tax return deadlines, with over 200,000 of those businesses feeling overwhelmed from the burden and complexities of accounting.
20% of micro-business owners confess they manage their accounts via pen and paper.
Twenty percent. One in five of all micro-businesses. Pen. And. Paper.
No wonder they feel overwhelmed and burdened. I would too if I kept all my accounts written down on pieces of paper, or stored on excel spreadsheets.
I know what else I'd do. The absolute bare miminum. Just enough to make sure HMRC received what they needed. Nothing more than that.
No analysis of my sales. No analysis of my costs. No monthly review of my overall financial performance. Definitely no forward planning. My cashflow "forecast" would entail me logging on to my bank account, and seeing if anything was expected to be received or paid in the next day.
But there is another way.
We are working alongside an ever increasing number of businesses, using our expertise to streamline their record keeping, helping business owners understand their accounts, ensuring deadlines aren't missed, and supporting the owners as they plan for future growth.
One of our favourite testimonials? "I started sleeping again when you became involved in my business".
So, to the "One in Fives", would you like to find out how we can help you get a good night's sleep again?
Officially Xero experts!
We're pleased to announce we're all now Xero Certified Advisors.
Every member of staff.
Each and every one of us.
We don't just love Xero, we know quite a bit about it too!
So whether you want to talk about moving over from spreadsheets, or another accounting system, onto Xero, or if you're already using Xero and want to have a chat about different specialist add-on options, contact us.
You'll be in good hands.
01484 600514 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you looking for funding to take your business to the next level?
Not sure where to start, who to speak to, or how to put down on paper the ambitions you have in head?!
Contact us now to find out how we can help your business secure the funding it needs.
Our latest news explains how we worked with the directors at Rogers Geotechnical Services on their successful applicatio for investment:
Shelley based family business RGS provides site investigation and consultancy services to the construction, property development and insurance industries.
Managing director Emma Rogers turned to Martin Bown, of My Management Accountant, for assistance in producing a four year business plan and financial programme to support a case for investment from Finance Yorkshire, the organisation that offers seedcorn finance, business loans and equity-linked finance from £15,000 to £2 million for businesses in or relocating to the Yorkshire and the Humber region.
“At MMA we have all the skills needed to support an investment bid of the scale required by RGS,” said Martin.
“Our experience shows that businesses are beginning to expand again and are feeling more confident about plans for growth.
“This successful bid for support from Finance Yorkshire demonstrates that at MMA we are perfectly placed to offer all the help needed to take a business to the next level.”
Are you a happy Sage user? Really?
Is your business a Sage user? Are you happy with their decision to increase prices by up to 90%, starting this week?
We're guessing the answer is No!
If you haven't already, now is the time to think about switching to Xero.
The process is simple, and quick, and what's more we'll take care of it for you.
Contact us now if you'd like to find out more about how Xero will streamline the way you, your employees, and your business works.
Xero Silver Partner
We're pleased to announce that from today My Management Accountant are Silver Certified Partners of Xero.
This is a result of us helping more business owners receive valuable advice, based on real-time figures, than ever before.
Call us now if you'd like you're business to achieve the same benefits our existing Xero-based clients enjoy, and want to understand how Xero will help you and your business.
Who are management accountants?
We often meet business owners who tell us they already have an accountant who does their "accounts", but then curiously say "but, tell me what it is you do".
This is the first in a series of blogs explaining who management accountants are, what we do, and why management accounts differ to "accounts".
So, who are management accountants?
Management accountants typically have a background in industry. That gives us business acumen. We understand how different parts of a business interact with each other. Not all business decisions are based on finances.
Building on this, management accountants in industry frequently move on from the finance department, into all areas of an organisation.
A strong financial background, coupled with sound business experience perfectly places us to help businesses achieve sustainable success. Here at My Management Accountant that means our client's business's - in fact, your business.
We chose to leave industry to offer our services to a range of businesses who normally wouldn't have the resource to employ a full time accountant (or do have the resource, but have no inclination to set up their own finance department!).
Isn't this the kind of accountant you'd want working with your business?
Always moving forward....
We recently attended the annual Eaton Smith Business Awards. A fantastic occasion, attended by the 12 winners of the Monthly Award, all hopeful of scooping the Annual Business of the Year prize.
Congratulations to YTM Group who won the coveted award.
In their acceptance speech, they explained how the business had traded for over 30 years without making any real significant pogress. The turning point came when, with the help of an external advisor, the management implemented a strategic plan for their business.
More importantly, the strategy was acted upon, regularly reviewed, and frequently updated by the management team.
In the case of YTM Group, the results are clear to see.
We recently spent the morning with the entire workforce of a client, reviewing and updating the strategy we orginally helped implement. Working in the hardest hit sector, in these austere times, it's fantastic to see a business continue to thrive.
As the old saying goes, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.
The question is, what are doing to drive your business forward?
Faster payments from your customers
Here at My Management Accountant, we're big fans of Xero accounting software.
We love the flexibility of it, and how, having online software accessible from your desk, your laptop, your tablet, or your phone gives you so much more power and freedom to get on with actually running your business.
There are loads of add-ons to Xero - something to suit any type of business, and all designed to make your life easier.
The one we really like is eWAY, a payment gateway that makes it so much easier, and faster, for your customers to pay you. In fact, we like eWAY that much we signed up to be a partner within 10 minutes of visiting their website.
Just imagine, you're out on site doing some work for your customer, you log into Xero via the Xero app, raise an invoice, and email it. Your customer receives the invoice, and tells you they'd like to pay by credit card. You say "no problem", and open up the eWAY app, then process the payment there and then.
How easy is that?!
If you'd like more information, give us a call today on 01484 600514.
Top 10 tips for SMEs
We were recently asked our opinion on the top 10 tips for new, and small established businesses.
The following list published in the Yorkshire Post Business section on 19 July 2012.
1.Manage your cash. There’s a lot of truth in the saying “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is king”. Without cash your business will fail.
2.Understand your gross profit – the profit you make from selling your products. It’s not uncommon for businesses to sell products for less than they cost to produce because they don’t know their true cost.
3.Spend as little money as possible, especially in the early days. For example, if you can, work from a room in your home rather than rent an office.
4.Keep up to date, and neat, accounting records. Use accounting software. Software will help you prepare management information, vital in helping you manage your business more effectively. Tidy records will keep your accountant happy!
5.Set a budget. It doesn’t have to be “war and peace”, but spend a few hours writing down your forecast for the next twelve months. Every three to six months take time to review the forecast. Amend it where necessary.
6.Always file your tax returns on time, and pay your tax bill by the due date. If you’re having difficulty paying, speak to HM Revenue & Customs and explain why. Never ignore them, and never expect them to forget about you.
7.Nothing gives a stronger negative impression than not having an office number, especially if you’re providing professional services, so don’t just have a mobile phone as your only contact number. There are plenty of low cost solutions available without having to pay for a fixed line.
8.Outsource the tasks that either take up your time, or you don’t enjoy. It’s a false economy to thinks it’s cheaper for you to do them yourself.
9.Employing someone new is more expensive than keeping hold of a current employee. It’s in your interest to recruit, and then retain the best people. Happy employees mean happy customers.
10.You may be a small start up, but act like a large successful business. Apple didn’t become successful by failing to manage cash, failing to plan, failing to produce regular management information or failing to deliver the service their customers want.
The hardest part of the exercise was to decide which 5 or 6 tips didn’t make it into the top ten!
So, what would you add to the list?