Most Common Problems with Product Costs

I find that one of the most common problems with clients is that they are not confident in the product costs for their products or services. If the products costs are wrong then their product prices may be incorrect.  They could be too expensive,  losing them business, or possibly they could be losing profits by […]

What is a VIES Return?

Over the past year, I have been getting questions from clients about VIES. Typically, the client has received a letter from Revenue advising them that they should be submitting a VIES Return. But the clients typically don’t know what VIES is and have no idea how to make a VIES return. At this stage, I […]

Managing Foreign Exchange – Preparing for Brexit

In the past few months, I have been getting more and more questions from exporting companies who are worried about the effects of Brexit on their businesses. There are a number of areas that cause concern but two in particular are common for the companies I have been talking to. Firstly, Sterling has weakened significantly […]

What KPIs should I use?

A question that I regularly get asked by business owners is “what KPIs should I use?”.  Most business owners are familiar with the idea of KPIs and they understand that they should have them but they are not sure where to start. I have been working in management for over 20 years now – initially […]

Form of Business – Sole Trader v Limited Company

Which form of business? If you are starting out in Business, you have several decisions to make.  A key decision is to decide which form of business to use.  Will you trade as a sole trader or will you  trade through a company? You may not fully understand the difference between the two forms of […]

Tax Allowable Deductions

Are you claiming all of your allowable expenses when doing your taxes? Most people know about the PAYE tax credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.  They also know about Pension allowances and Medical Expenses. Not as many know about what the Revenue call Flat Rate Expense Allowances. Flat Rate Expenses Flat-rate expenses are those […]

Understanding Financial Statements

Do you understand financial statements and how they relate to each other? Over the years, I have developed and delivered workshops on Finance for non-financial managers.  As part of those, I developed some simple scenarios to explain the key points. This series of videos uses those scenarios to explain what each of the three main […]

How to calculate your breakeven point

One thing I am often asked about is how to calculate your breakeven point. Video on how to calculate breakeven (6 min) Other relevant articles If this topic is relevant for you, you may  also be interested in the following blog posts. The nuts and bolts of accounting How to prepare financial projections How much […]

Reducing the cost of preparing your Annual Accounts

Reducing the cost of preparing your Annual Accounts Are you conscious of your business costs and do you want to reduce the cost of getting your annual accounts and tax done.  It’s a common issue and one I will address in this article. As you may know, I am a qualified accountant with many years […]

What do Venture Capital Companies look for in a business plan?

What do Venture Capital Companies look for in a business plan? Are you a start-up business, looking to bring in some Venture Capital Investment? You know you need to have a business plan but you are not sure what to include in this business plan. I have been supporting SMEs for almost 20 years now […]

What do you need to know about Value Added Tax (VAT)?

What do you need to know about Value Added Tax (VAT)? Are you one of those people who doesn’t feel totally confident about VAT? I have been qualified as an accountant for over 30 years now and my work experience includes working at Finance Director level in large multinational manufacturing plants as well as helping […]

Best approach to implementing improvements

Best approach to implementing improvements What’s the best way of improving something in your business?  This is one of the most common questions that we come across when working with clients. With over thirty years of experience working on improvement projects, I have seen a lot of different approaches but there are a few common […]

Not confident about Product Costing or Pricing?

Every business needs to have a good understanding of its product costs.  If it doesn’t it could end up quoting or pricing incorrectly.   You could have a situation where losses on one product are wiping out profits on another product. So how do you improve your understanding of product costs? The first thing to understand […]

What do I have to do to get a business loan?

One of the questions that comes up often is from someone who is having trouble getting a business loan.  They are frustrated and want to know what they need to do to get that loan loan. To answer this to have to first put yourself in the shoes of the bank manager. Understand how the […]

Allowable Motor Expense Rates (2017)

Allowable Motor Expense Rates (2017) Revenue amended the rates for claiming motoring expenses with effect from April 1, 2017. Given that most businesses use these rates as the basis for Revenue-approved motor expense claims for businesses, you should be aware of the changes. The key changes are: They have increased the number of distance bands […]

What tax/accounting returns do I need to make for my business?

This is a common question? To answer it, the first thing we have to do is to identify the form of your business.  Are you a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company? This table summarises the key reporting areas. Sole Trader Partnership Company Income Tax Yes Yes n/a Corporation Tax n/a n/a Yes […]

How to prepare financial projections

Feedback I get regularly from the clients is that they don’t know where to start with the financial projections. So in this article I want to give you a framework and an overview of how I go about doing projections. My approach is something that has built up over time.  To help myself remember the […]

Decision-making and the importance of understanding cash flow

As I said in my last blog post, one of the most common areas where my business clients want advice is around decision-making – knowing which of the options they’re faced with will be most beneficial for their business. Whether you’re a brand new start-up business, or an established family business, it’s vital to make […]

You’re a start-up: what are the key things you need to know about accounting?

I’ve had several new business owners come to me over the years saying, “We’re a small start-up, but nobody tells us what we really need to know about accounts”. If this is the situation in which you find yourself, you’ve probably gone into business because you had a great idea or a valuable skill to […]

How to avoid accounting surprises

One issue that often comes up with new clients is the frustration they feel when the accounting results turn out to be significantly different from what they expected.  They may have had a very busy period, worked hard and expected to show good results and, yet, when the accounts are finalised they are disappointed because […]

Unit Price v Total Cost

Today’s blog update comes from Mindshop founder, Chris Mason. “In today’s ever increasingly competitive global market the question on how to compete on price always comes up. People believe that the only way to compete is to be the lowest price supplier of their goods or services. Unit price is only one factor in deciding […]

Can Accounting really be fun?

I know most of you think that’s a strange question but Dennis Howlett, who blogs regularly on accounting topics, on www.accmanpro.com recently posted an article headed “Accounting is Fun.” I have posted extracts from his article below. The full article can be found here http://accmanpro.com/2011/06/17/accounting-is-fun/Accounting is fun. Since I have started using online accounting, I […]

Lessons from this year’s tax season

Earlier today, I had a conversation with two friends, one an accountant and the other an owner-manager. The owner-manager commented on the rush of the tax season being over for this year and we got to talking of how some clients lose themselves money through their actions or inactions. I think it would be useful […]

Markup and Margin

In the past week, I have had discussions with three different people on the difference between markup and margin. In my own experience, I have come across a number of business owners who thought they had a margin of a certain percentage but they actually had a markup of that percentage. There’s a big difference […]

Tips for Managing Cash

In the past year, I have spoken to a number of different audiences on Managing cashflow. In the course of my work as a mentor on Bank of Ireland’s Enterprise Builder Programme, it is clear that managing cash remains an issue for many companies. So here are the key points from the presentations that I […]

Tax Tips

Income Tax Returns for 2009 must be filed by 31 October 2010. Failure to file on time will lead to surcharges. The way our system works, we pay a preliminary Income Tax for 2010 on 31 Oct 2010 and we file the actual return for 2010 in 2011 and at that time, we balance up […]

Working with VAT on Kashflow

I have had a couple of questions recently about how Kashflow handles VAT. Users do not seem to fully understand the use of the “submit VAT” button. So here is a brief overview of what needs to be done to have accurate VAT reporting. When you first submit a VAT report, it is important that […]

Lesser Known Kashflow Features

As I work with clients who are using Kashflow, I realise that there are several features in Kashflow that clients often don’t know about. I am going to highlight some of these in posts over the next period. Some of them may be useful to you. Repeat Invoicing. If you have a customer where you […]

Employees or Self-Employed

In a recent tax briefing document, Revenue have promised to continue to focus on the issue of employed v self-employed across a multiplicity of sectors for the foreseeable future. Right now, they are focussing on locums in medicine, healthcare and pharmacy. The move is part of an overall strategy by the Revenue to bring more […]

Are you missing out on the benefits of budgeting

It’s the start of a new year and larger companies will have their budgets done, or almost done. Yet, in most owner managed businesse,s there are no budgets or forecasts. Ask them why and they’ll give you all sorts of reasons. They haven’t got time. The current climate is so uncertain its nearly impossible to […]

How banks are evaluating lending requests

I was talking with a banker last week about their lending policies at the moment. One thing was very clear. In the current climate, they expect companies to have up to date accounts. The days of the bank accepting accounts from last December are gone. Now they are looking for much more up to date […]

Getting Better information from Computerised Accounts

I attended an Insolvency Update last week and one of my own hobby horses appeared again. One of the speakers, who regularly works on examinerships, commented on the lack of good accounting information in most of the companies that go into examinership. This really struck a chord with me. In most of the improvement projects […]

Simple things to improve Cash Collection

I have been working with a number of clients lately where cash management is an issue. I am sure that’s true for every accountant now. There are so many simple things that make a difference here. Think before you extend credit. Decide if you want to give the customer credit and how much credit you […]