2015 – Ready, Set, Go! Preparing your Business Finance for the year ahead

Christmas! Phew!  There’s not one business leader I know that isn’t ready for a break.  But as you kick-back with your mince pie and coffee (or something stronger), it’s a good time to reflect on all your business has accomplished in 2014 while setting goals for 2015.  Here are a few considerations I’d like to throw into the mix.

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1. Your Client Portfolio

Take a detailed look at your client portfolio and the % of business each contributes to your overall revenue. Is it balanced? Ideally your biggest client should be no more than 15% of your turnover. Are you really making money from each client or are they pushing you to over-service such that it’s diluting your profitability?  Perhaps 2015 is the time to refocus and make some changes.

2. Cashflow

Christmas is often a time that highlights particular problems with clients who don’t pay on time. The impact on cashflow is exaggerated because businesses often have to pay their staff a little earlier in December. The perfect storm!   Why not tackle credit terms and bring down the average time to payment in 2015 and see what a difference that makes to your business finance.

3. Staff retention

It’s likely that your staff will take time to reflect over Christmas too, it’s often a time when people think about changing jobs.  If there are key staff members you want to retain then utilise the wide range of compensation tools at your disposal, it doesn’t have to be a salary increase.

It’s probably also worth mentioning here that, if you’re not already on top of it, you should also be preparing for the new pension legislation and the auto-enrolment of staff through 2015 (see previous blog post).

4. Pricing

When was the last time you reviewed your pricing policies, systems and proposals?  By systemising your pricing you can gain consistency and efficiency while also reducing risk to profitability.

5. Products and Services

Are all your products and services profitable? If not, then why? Act now to either make the changes necessary or remove the product/service from your portfolio.

The Blenheim business health-check covers all these aspects and more.  Get in touch if we can help your business to a prosperous 2015.

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Automatic-enrolment of pensions – do I have to?

It’s great that our generation stands a good chance of living until we’re 80, 90 or even 100 years old. It’s wonderful that we’re getting closer to cures for cancer, that we are fitter, healthier and stronger than our forebears. However, longevity comes at a cost. How can the treasury afford to support us all in our retirement when, at any one time, approximately half the population isn’t actually working or paying any income tax?

The answer is – it can’t.

It’s a frightening fact that 53% of the UK workforce today has no other pension provision than the state pension. If we’re to avoid extreme pressure on the UK economy, or extreme poverty for pensioners, action needs to be taken to encourage workers to engage in retirement planning from an early age.

AutoEnrolment

Introducing automatic enrolment also known as auto-enrolment: a new law on workplace pensions requires employers to automatically enroll staff into a pension scheme and make regular contributions into the pensions of the eligible staff if they are:

  • Over 22 years of age
  • Earning more than £10,000 per annum (and over 16 years of age)
  • Working in the UK

In other words, almost all businesses (with a very few exceptions) must have a workplace pension by the time their notified staging date comes round and before the law comes into force in 2017. The consequence of NOT doing this are immediate and heavy fines that can mount up to several £1000’s in less than a month.

Blenheim Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers have been preparing for auto-enrolment since it was first announced. We’ve already met with the Pensions Regulator, the Minister for Pensions, the main pension providers and joined the Friends of Auto-Enrolment. We’re ready for it, and we’ve been running workshops for our clients to help them get ready for it too.

Get in touch today to discuss the impact of auto-enrolment on your business.