News and Blog

When should I send my invoice?

  • Posted on: 25 November 2019
  • By: ali
When to send my invoice - illustration

Over the years I’ve been assisting business owners with their bookkeeping and accounts, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked is “when should I send my invoice?”.

The people asking me usually to mean - should I send my invoice as soon as I’m contracted to do the work, once I’ve finished, or at some other point. The reality is, the answer often depends on what has been agreed between you and the client, but I’ve put together a best practice checklist of what you should do before you invoice, and what you should include on the invoice to ensure it gets paid quickly.

Firstly, if you invited to supply a quotation or estimate, you should always do the following:
Invitation to quote following discussions
1. Check their Company status – Sole Trader, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership or Limited Company
2. Confirm their company name – e.g.: Blogs Limited or Blogs Limited Trading as Red kite Bathrooms
3. Ask for their Registered office address and company registered number if a Limited company or Limited Liability company. Company registered office number and if England or Wales
4. Do they have a separate trading and or invoice address?
5. What is the contact name, email and phone number of the person(s) wanting the quotation?
6. Understand your client’s invoice to payment process – who is responsible for authorising and making payment
7. Agree pricing and terms and conditions of trading. Short payment terms get you paid quicker

Any quotation itself should include the following:

Quotation
1. Ensure addressed to the correct company name and address and have an expiring date if appropriate
2. Credit check the company you are proposing to do business with
3. Follow up with the person receiving the quotation to ensure you have managed and understood their expectations of the pre quotation discussions
4. Use quotation and invoicing sooner rather than later

Invoicing
1. When the job is completed
2. Ensure you have the correct company name and address
3. If you are a Limited company or Limited Liability company show your registered number and address on your invoice
4. Show your VAT registration number if registered on your invoice
5. List a due date
6. Include payment types accepted and your bank details
7. Consider late payment fees to encourage your clients to pay on time
8. Send invoices electronically
9. Follow up with the person receiving the invoice to ensure they are happy with the invoice and the goods or service you have supplied. This gives you a chance to clarify when the invoice will be paid

What do many business owners underestimate?

  • Posted on: 14 November 2019
  • By: ali

I know that so many business owners under estimate just how powerful proper, intelligent bookkeeping and reporting can be. They record their revenue receipts and payments made, pay themselves and hope they have enough money to pay their taxes when due - this may be VAT if registered, corporation tax if a Limited Company payable at 9 months after their year end, or personal tax if self employed.

I hear too often business owners wondering why they are working very hard, making sales but still have no money. This can often lead to them becoming insolvent or at the very least causing them health and relationship issues due to the pressure they are under.

What would it mean to you.....
to truly understand your numbers, so that you can predict where your business is going?
not to worry about getting over any hurdles (because you know they're coming)?
to understand where to put your focus so your business makes the profit and income, you deserve?

I would like you to think about what financial reporting and information is important to you to enable you to make the right decisions?

The people I work with are trained to truly understand their numbers which help them make more profit and sleep better at night. If you would like to know more, or would like to book a review of what you currently have in place please contact me on 01793 915050, 07403 216682 or email alison@fiscalservices.co.uk

What is Cash Flow and why is it important to your business?

  • Posted on: 13 September 2019
  • By: ali

Cash flow is the money that moves within your business each month – into and out of your bank accounts. It includes the money paid to you by clients/customers and the expenditure that your business needs to pay out on and is very important to the future of your company.
When something stops that cash from moving it can have a negative impact on your business. This may not be your fault. For some companies, goods/services are paid for upfront such as restaurants or some retail shops, however, many small companies are paid after their work has taken place and if they miss out on a payment from a customer there could be serious knock on effects to the people that they have to pay.

Having a lack of cash is one of the biggest reasons that a business fails and must be shut down. Running out of money is the quickest way for a business to cease trading because there is not an adequate amount of financial reserves to turn to whenever there is a problem.
There are many steps that a business owner can take to ensure that cash flow never becomes a problem for them, or if it does become a problem that you can trace where it started and fix the issue.
The first step is to create a budget and cash flow forecast. The budget is a financial plan that shows you the income and expenditures of your business. This gives you an overall picture of the cash flow for the month that the budget is prepared for. A cash flow forecast goes into further detail and will show the business owner whether the business will need to borrow money further down the line as well as how much they will need and how long it will take to make the repayments.
The next step is to make a list of anyone that may owe your business money. This is particularly important if your business does not take payment straight away. If you find that you are having cash flow problems, creating this list will help you to find out who is late in paying you.

You then need to make another list. This one is who you owe money to and whether you are behind on any of your payments. Not only does this have an impact on your cash flow, it will impact the cash flow of those you owe money to.
Creating these lists each month will help you work out who your slow payers are. Slow paying customers can cause a business significant financial strain and if it is happening every month it is best to find out why. Do your payment terms need to change? Do you need to give them a reason to pay early? This could be a small discount. On the other hand, do you have late payment fees in your terms, or do you need to add them? By working with your slow payers, you are improving your monthly cash flow. The slightest change can make things easier for them and you.

Cash flow problems do not necessarily mean that there is a problem with your finances, just that you may need to change the way you are approaching your finances may need to change and this is where your accountant can help you:
1. Take a fresh look at your accounts
Your accountant can identify any financial areas that need to be changed within your business. These could be areas that you missed when looking the first-time round. They will be able to point out where you are wasting money and where to make changes that will increase your finances.

2. Create better financial forecasts
One of the reasons that businesses suffer with cash flow issues is due to bad financial planning. The accountant will be able to create you a more in-depth forecast than you can create for yourself. This forecast will give you more accurate data to work with on where you need to spend or save money next in your business.

3. Plan for the Tax Year
By forward planning and having the help of your accountant, you can ensure that your VAT and Tax returns are completed on time and correctly. They can then make sure that your payments are accounted for throughout the year to ensure that your business cash flow isn’t negatively impacted at the end of the financial year.

4. Encourage you to keep your books updated
Whilst it seems like a pretty obvious statement, working with an accountant will help you to keep your accounts up to date, therefore making it easier to see where any cash is coming from and where it will need to go.

5. They are the professional with the new perspective
When you own your own business, keeping your books can be really overwhelming especially if it is not something that you are used to doing. Bringing in a professional like an accountant will help you to view things with a new perspective that can help you to turn any cash flow problems around.

Cash flow is very important for your business and whilst there are some ways that you can keep on top of it yourself, the better route to take would be to ensure that you have an accountant on board that can prevent any financial issues by creating you detailed documents to keep track of your money.
If you want any more advice on how an accountant can help you with your cash flow and forecasting, get in touch with Ali on alison@fiscalservices.co.uk

Why do you need a Management Accountant?

  • Posted on: 22 March 2019
  • By: ali

Many businesses already have an Accountant and often wonder what a Management Accountant is and how working with one can help their business finances stay secure.
Every business no matter how small or how big, will have a financial story to tell but will not know how to ensure that their business is on the right track to keep their business on the right road. 


 So, what can a Management Accountant do for you? 

There are many differences between an Accountant and a Management Accountant, but the biggest difference is how they work. A Management Accountant will sit with you and work through:
 • Profit and Loss Accounts
 • Balance Sheets
 • Budgets and Forecasts. 

 They will tell you about your business to help you make those decisions that may seem scary but that will allow your business to grow in Profit.
A Tax Accountant will tell everyone else about your business rather than talking to you, so they will talk to the banks, the credit agencies and HMRC. 

 Why should I choose a Management Accountant? 

Having monthly discussions with your Management Accountant will allow you to see any issues straight away within your business, allowing you to choose the right route that your business needs to take. 
With the Management Accounts updated regularly you will have the accurate information that you need which allows you to plan for your future, put any money for your VAT and any other tax liabilities meaning that you can avoid those nasty surprises that pop up in business. 

Having the correct data is critical for any company that wants to be successful. Without the correct accounts that you need your business will not grow to the level that you want it or to be able to plan for the future. Management Accountants can help you to plan for any surprises and hiring one will be the best thing you have done for your business in a long time!

Kick Start your Finances to Improve Profitability

  • Posted on: 2 December 2013
  • By: admin

WHY? For Financial Stability to allow you to Pursue Opportunities and Take Appropriate Action


Wheel of Profitability - From Budgets and Cash Flow Forecasts to Greater Profitability


Steps to Improve Profitability - Review your Accounting/Finance Department processes, Your Clients and Credit Control procedures


Top Tips on Profitability - Looking at your Costs, Pricing and Customer Invoicing


Review - Cost Reduction, training and Financial Risk Assessment


Accounting Options - Outsource, Training and Software packages


ACCURATE ACCOUNTS REDUCES ACCOUNTANCY BILLS AND HELP YOU TO AVOID NASTY SURPRISES


Management Accounts - HOW PROFITABLE WERE YOU LAST MONTH?