If you’re running a company, you’ll want to be able to focus on making money. The last thing you’ll want is to spend all your time performing admin tasks and rifling through endless paperwork. Invoices and accounting can be a large part of this. It’s essential that everything is recorded and collated correctly. Tax forms need to be submitted on time, and the data needs to be accurate. Should anything go wrong there could be financial penalties or issues during audits.
It may be that you are in need of some outside help for your business. Perhaps you are thinking of employing an accountant, but don’t know which way to turn. This article has been written to help you find the most suitable professional for your company’s needs.
Research The Accountant Online
Before choosing one, perform some background checks. Most financial professionals have an online presence, so this should be your first port of call. MCL accountants provide free quotes over the internet, and also display a selection of customer reviews. They are Chartered Certified accountants based in Southend-on-Sea, and have received favourable reviews and accreditation.
Decide On The Level Of Qualification
You could secure an unqualified bookkeeper to do your daily accounts for you. This could save you money, and they may also be able to help you with your tax return. Some people prefer to have everything done by a fully qualified accountant, so they have total peace of mind. To be Certified and Chartered the person will have had to undergo extensive training, and to have acquired practical experience too. Having said that, make sure the accountant is able to perform all the tasks required for your business. This could include advice on taxation, payroll and business support.
Choose Someone With Experience
Find out how long the accountant has been in business, and whether they work for similar companies to yours. You’ll be paying them by the hour, so you won’t want someone who has to look things up every time you ask a question. If you select the right person they will cope with your company if it grows, and be able to provide helpful tips and recommendations.
Consider How You Wish To Communicate
If you dislike computers, you may want a local accountant: then you can drop off piles of invoices or have a quick chat during your lunchbreak. Alternatively cloud accounting might be attractive to you. You can send and receive emails, and have videoconference calls when you need them.
Go For A Big Thinker
Don’t just choose someone who will sit down and do what they’re told. Find someone who can advise you on possible tax benefits or ways to streamline your finances. They might be able to assess the way you run your company and identify specific areas for improvement.
Choose Someone Personable
You’ll be communicating on finance, which can be a sensitive issue. Make sure they are approachable and a clear communicator, and be sure you can trust in them to do the job properly.
Author: Isabella Goode
Being a female business leader can be tough under normal circumstances, let alone when there’s a pandemic going on. Many have struggled over the last year because of the virus getting in the way of sales or potentially even forcing businesses to shut up shop temporarily.
The good news is that the light at the end of what seemed like an impossibly long tunnel is finally approaching. Restrictions are lifting, businesses are reopening, and the prospect of once again making a profit is becoming a reality.
To ensure you’re ready to reopen in a post-pandemic world, though, there are probably a few things you need to prepare for.
Find Ways To Reach People
If your business hasn’t been operational for months, there’s a good chance your finances might not be in the best position. That puts a lot of pressure on you for reopening because you need to start generating money immediately.
Improving your online presence through digital marketing techniques can help with this, as it’ll ensure your business reaches more people. Offering special offers upon reopening is also worthwhile because the possibilities of discounts and other good deals may tempt potential new customers.
Also, don’t forget that the government has a lot of support options available to businesses dealing with money troubles right now. You can find out more information about that here.
Ensure Your Premises Promote Good Hygiene
For the next few months, potentially even years, customer expectations are going to be a little all over the place. Some people will want things to be as they were before the pandemic, while others won’t be comfortable unless they see suitable hygiene measures in practice.
Pleasing everyone will be tough because you want all customers to feel safe without being too restricting. There are small things you can do to help achieve this, though.
For instance, you may need some countertop sneeze guards, which are available in bulk through Discount Displays. Having these around will demonstrate your interest in stopping germs from spreading, which ought to make some customers feel more comfortable. These countertop sneeze guards don’t interfere with the buying or selling experience, yet they still go a long way to showing that you’re passionate about maintaining good hygiene.
Put A Plan In Place
It’s always good to have a plan in place. Even if something unexpected happens that throws everything off the rails, plans usually account for such occurrences and find ways to work around them.
That’s why it’s so important to have one upon reopening your business. The future is still very uncertain, so it’s impossible to predict what will happen over the coming months. If you prepare for all eventualities beforehand, though, then you can feel more in control when things go wrong.
Not only is this good for you and your business, but it’s also ideal for your customers and employees too. They want and need you to stay open and profitable, and having a plan in place will give you an excellent chance of doing that.
Reopening a business after being closed for so long is incredibly exciting. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make up any losses from the last year and go on to great success, with these tips helping you to achieve that.
Author: Isabella Goode
People are the backbone of any organisation, so choosing the right people to work with you is vital to your business’s growth and future success.
Hiring new staff is always a challenge, and nationwide skills shortages, the Coronavirus pandemic, and other issues have meant that it’s even more difficult in 2021 than it has been in previous years.
Still, when you need new employees, you need to make sure that you hire the right ones. To help, here are some practical tips.
Create The Perfect Job Description
When you’re creating your job advert, it’s easy to think that the perks or the list of skills is the most important part, but you’d be wrong. It’s crucial that you craft the perfect job description so that you get the right applicants for your role. Take the time to write down everything that you require from your new employee and the qualifications or characteristics that are optional but preferred. With an accurate job description, you can reduce the chances of receiving unsuitable applications or hiring an unsuitable candidate.
Take Recommendations From Your Business Network
As well as using recruitment agencies and platforms such as Indeed, Monster, Reed or CV-Library, it would help if you also took recommendations from your business contacts and existing staff. Make it clear that you’re seeking new team members, and share your job specification and advertisement. Use professional social media sites such as LinkedIn to communicate with your network. If you know an individual who might be able to give you a personal recommendation, such as someone who operates in the same sector, then you could also consider reaching out to them personally and asking if they have anyone that they could put forward.
Use All The Resources At Your Disposal
While you might think that you know all there is to know about hiring new staff, there’s always plenty to be learned. Also, the recruitment market is continually evolving, so you should ensure that your knowledge is completely up to date. You must ensure that you understand important topics in recruitment, such as diversity, so that you can create the right workforce for your company. Use resources such as those provided by diversity and recruitment experts Embracing Future Potential to ensure that the process goes without a hitch and that you find the perfect employees to enhance your organisation’s culture. The platform offers a range of websites, so you can find all of the resources and online support you need to create an engaged and diverse team.
Trust Your Instincts
Fundamentally, as the business leader and the person who supports and hires your staff, you know best what individual will work well in your company. If you feel that a candidate will fit well into your business and enrich your company culture, then you should give that candidate a second look. Your instincts aren’t always right, but they are a great jumping-off point. Once you’ve identified a candidate who you feel will fit well into your organisation, you must explore further. Seeking a second opinion can help you to ensure that you make the right choice the first time.
Author: Isabella Goode
American society is adapting to a new concept of work: the gig economy. The term refers to a workforce where freelancers contract with businesses on a short-term or as-needed basis. Right now, about 11% of working adults in the U.S. are full-time independent contractors. And while “part-time gig” may sound like a euphemism for being broke, nearly 20% of independent contractors earn over $100,000. By other estimates, 53 million Americans are employed as freelancers.
Gig work injects $715 billion into the economy each year. Since 2000, traditional W-2s have stagnated, while the use of 1099s has shot up 22%. Here are some tips to get going in the gig economy and to kick-start your own successful gig business.
Some economic forecasts predict that by 2020, 40% of American workers will be full-time independent contractors. A number of factors have contributed to this trend. First, digitalization eliminated many traditional jobs, which made the workplace remote, shrinking it down to your laptop. Then, during the 2007 recession, people switched careers, contracting with businesses on a short-term basis. In turn, this was a boon to companies that could boost their bottom line without shelling out benefits to permanent staffers. Currently, common freelance occupations include writers, architects, engineers, web developers, analytics specialists, lawyers or paralegals, among others.
The freedoms that the gig economy offers are numerous. These include the independence to move from city to city, choose their schedules, set their rate and hours and pick your own clients and partners. The downside is that the gig economy is quite selective. Gig work is often great for people established in their careers who can cherry-pick high-paying jobs on the side. But it’s frustrating for people who have only found spotty or inconsistent work. And however exciting it can be to hustle between assignments, 91% of millennials say that they desire stable, long-term employment.
Starting Your Gig Business
Two types of businesses predominate in the gig economy: Companies employing independent contractors, or independent contractors themselves. Let’s say you’re a company. Your company should make it easy for freelancers to find and sign on with you, so that red tape and corporate rules don’t put them off. Also, it’s imperative that your business is mobile-friendly, because you might want to hire someone who’s in Spain while you’re based in San Francisco. Pay on time, and every time, so you don’t get a bad reputation. Finally, develop a collaborations page where freelancers can network and feel tight-knit in a digital workspace.
Employing Yourself in the Gig Economy
Another way to make ends meet in the gig economy is to run a business of one, employing only yourself. To make it as a problem-solving business owner, you need tenacity, adaptability and flexibility.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of freelancers out there. They offer services that range from designing a web page to preparing legal documents to driving Uber. But, there are ways to succeed:
- Put together a home office.
- Design business cards and an invoicing template.
- And never, ever work for free.
For many people, the disappearance of the 9-5 workplace, with its pay scale, corner office and promotion track is scary. However, the new work model empowers business-minded people to turn their passions into flourishing careers.
Image via Unsplash
Post from Lucy Reed of Gigmine
Q1. Your name and what you do?
I’m Shaheen Schleifer, owner of theDigital which I’ve run since 2014.
Q2 Why did you start a business and your biggest business challenge when you started?
I started my business to take control of my future and help people. The hardest thing to deal with was the ‘advice’ of people who had never run a business. Although well-meaning, it was not helpful.
Q3 Who do you help / serve in your business?
We help small businesses, start-ups and sole traders who need online digital services (websites, social media content) but have a limited cash-flow. We train all our clients so that they can update their website and social content. They benefit from the development and enhancement of staff skills, and reduce future costs for updates.
Q4 How did you know they were the people you’re meant to help?
As a website designer for previous clients, I noticed how small businesses struggled to pay for essential items such as websites. I also noticed the frustration with continuous payments for updates. I decided to help by changing the business model for website design.
Q5 What do you think of business networking?
There is no business without networking. It provides a relaxed environment in which people can discuss the problems they are having with their business. Sometimes I can help, sometimes I can recommend other people who can help. I love being part of this skill connection.
Q6 What do you think of women-only business networking?
It’s essential to business. They are many experiences women share and we can help each other through these problem, or in general business.
Q7 Who is your female in business idol / role model / business celebrity
Jane Fonda. She has successfully created and led many different types of business, and has shown entrepreneurship at many different ages of her life. She is not afraid of succeeding or failing in public, and she talks about her success and failures candidly. She defines the ‘always be learning’ mantra and she never gives up.
Q8 Your Favourite book by a female author (business or pleasure)
Either Jane Fonda’s autobiography or Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch
Q9 What’s your favourite restaurant for a business networking lunch?
Heddon Street Kitchen
Q10 Tell us your best business “win” so we can celebrate your success with you. And finally, please add anything you think is relevant to your business story here, our audience is business women.
I’ve currently helping an existing client to expand her business. This client has been in business a long time; she was looking to spend less time serving clients at her business place and more time sharing her knowledge, but she was having concerns about the effect on her income.
We decided to use her love of sharing knowledge to build an extra income, which in time could become her main income. We are doing this by creating a library of online content which can be monetized. We are currently developing videos and a course to publish online and which will feature a professional body of which she is a member.
This 1TB (terabyte) SSD that you bought, yes… well, the machine only recognises 250GB. Given that a terabyte is 1,000 Gigabytes (GB) 1024GB to be precise, that means that the HDD (hard disk drive) is only using a quarter/25% of its full capacity.
Hmmmm. Still with me?
What is the difference between a Solid State Drive (SSD) and a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?
A traditional HDD is a device made up of moving parts that uses spinning platters to store data. An SSD on the other hand uses flash memory and has no moving parts.
What am I talking about? Data storage space, computers, PCs. Those of you who know me will know that I’m not technical although I have been known to fit a few GB of RAM over the years. OK, either way this SDD is dangerously full up, so said machine needs a new hard drive. Seems that a 4TB hard drive would be a good move.
The machine sees that it has 4TB hard drive, but only reads it as 2TB. Eeeeek!
No, really… I’m not, honestly…… I mean it….. I’m NOT!
Sometimes I get asked why I don’t give a 1-minute talk at the 1230 The Women’s Company business meetings.
The answer is really simple
As the MD of 1230 The Women's Company, I'm always delighted to attend many of the business networking meetings, particularly where, with a whoop and a holler, the 1230 TWC Host will have introduced me at the beginning of the meeting and, to quote the wonderful Caroline Hewitt, “bigged me up!” Some attendees will already know me, some not.
Remember…. I‘m NOT precious. But that introduction gives me a warm glow, because it introduces me to so many awesome business women.
Attending so many meetings in different locations, enables me to cross-refer attendees. Notice I say "attendees"? Yes, of course, our Members always get preferential treatment, but if I can see a connection for anyone attending 1230 TWC meetings, I will make that connection for them.
As 1230 TWC is my business, I can give a talk at any meeting for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 20 minutes, 2 hours – however long I like – remember, I’m not precious.
The opportunity to give a 1 minute talk at 1230 TWC meetings is
YOUR moment to shine;
YOUR moment in the spotlight,
YOUR moment to let everyone know about what
YOU and YOUR business offer.
I’m not precious about me, but my business and those who attend are precious and YOU are precious. And I’m delighted to know you all.
I'm not precious
YOU - ARE!
See, I said it was simple!
So why not book in now and have your moment to shine!
I have a new, beautiful leather handbag, a Roanne Tote bag to be precise, to be even more precise – a handbag from the Shona Easton Design Studio! You can tell I’m delighted with it, can’t you?
It’s a practical size, made in grainy calf leather in a fabulous pink colour – of course, and is much admired wherever I go. So what can I get inside, quite a lot actually. Mobile phone, which slips nicely into its own pocket, keys have their own secure clip, my purse also has its own pocket, I use the zip pocket for make-uppy bits, tablets, couple of pens and there are 2 large slip pockets – all in a beautiful deep rose taffeta lining. Those of you who know me well, know that I’m a belt and braces person, so my Filofax goes in as well, notebook, 1230 TWC business cards, currently promo cards for Business Women in Action Conference and 1230 TWC Note Cards. I can tuck all my bits and pieces safely inside and zip everything in with a secure zip with lock and key fastening. Also, I can conveniently carry the bag, handbag style, or slip it over my shoulder.
The designer (or Bag Lady, as she is affectionately known), Shona Easton tends to float between the Guildford and London 1230 TWC meetings, that's when she's not designing or visiting her overseas manufacturers. So why not come along and find out what else she has to offer. Shona is also speaking at the Business Women in Action Conference on 4 November.
Just check out the video to see where we've been together!
According to the Marketing to Women Conference, 85% of buying decisions are made by women. That means that appealing to women to purchase your product or service is a very important aspect of marketing online. With more than 94% of these women having access to the internet, it becomes clear that you need to appeal to women if you want them to buy what you have to offer. In fact, some people believe that even if you want the man to buy what you have to offer, you should appeal to their wives and mothers first as they influence their men.
Women make up the majority of the online market with over 20% of them shopping online at least once per day. Most women are using mobile devices to access information that helps them make purchasing decisions. With over 70% of new businesses being started by women, and many of those being online businesses, it’s important for your business to understand the market.
- Make them feel special – Women are special, so it’s important for you to make them feel that way. Most women report to feeling completely misunderstood by companies. Make it your business to know what makes them feel special. This will go beyond the fact that they are women down to the exact particulars of your audience.
- Appeal to the mother – Most women are mothers or will be mothers or have a mother. If you can appeal to the mother in women, depending upon your audience, you can create a powerful urge to purchase your product.
- Show that you care about the environment – Women are more environmentally aware today than ever before. If there are two similar products, and one is more environmentally friendly than the other, they’ll be more likely to purchase the environmentally friendly model.
- Support women’s causes – Study your particular audience to find out what causes they care about, then support those causes. Giving 10% of your profits to a cause that the women in your audience care about will encourage them to buy.
- Acknowledge that women love sports – There is a rumour that women do not like sports, but that’s just not true. They love sports almost equally to men. Women also like staying fit by walking, running, and playing sports.
- Be a socially responsible company – Take pride in supporting social causes, because like the environment these are things that a lot of women care about. They want to buy things from companies that share their values.
- Create responsive web design – Women use many devices to access the internet so it’s important that you design your websites to be responsible, no matter which type of device they use to access your information.
Women are technologically advanced, spending more time online than men, and using more types of devices to access the internet than men. They tend to buy using whatever device they are using at the time. They buy at their PC, from their mobile devices, as well as in person using their devices to research beforehand, and ask their friends and family for recommendations.
To appeal to women, don’t misunderstand their intelligence, their autonomy, or their knowledge of social responsibility and the world outside of men. Research your audience. If your main criteria for your audience is women, you still have a subset of women that you need to learn about and know.
Last Thursday I excitedly drove for nearly 2 hrs (in my new car, first long trip, eeek!) to take part in the Channel Radio programme Hosted by the lovely Sian Murphy on “The Women in Business Radio Show” #wibradio.
Down country lanes until I came to Haguelands Farm, Burmarsh – what a fab pretty place. Apart from the Radio Studio, I discovered afterwards the Fish Shop – bought some wet fish, into Alpaca Annie shop, stroked some beautifully soft scarves, slippers and all manner of lovely articles and bought some Alpaca Poo! Don’t ask, but apparently it’s excellent on roses. I also popped in to see Faye in her hair and beauty salon and saw the finishing coats of paint being applied to The Bistro to open on 7 May.
And of course – the broadcast! Always a pleasure to see Sian of course and charismatic Paul Andrews and to meet lovely “Geeky” Keith – I only mention this because Sian had decided the topic for the broadcast – “Geek Baiting” – you’ll find out why….
Have a listen here to see what we got up to + lots of useful information including details about VOIP.
Thanks again Sian for inviting me!