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xero certified advisor

Transform Accounting  – the accountants for small business, are now offering the option of cloud based on line accounting systems to our existing and future clients.

Transform Accounting have a wide variety of clients who require different things from their accountants;
– A sole trader or an individual with rental properties may require once a year assistance with tax planning, tax return preparation and HMRC filing.
– A contractor or consultant with a vat registered limited company in addition to the requirements of a sole trader will also usually require book keeping, payroll, quarterly vat returns, statutory accounts filing and advice regarding dividend payments and keeping tax bills to a minimum.
– Other clients require Transform Accounting to take over their back office functions entirely to provide services including invoicing, credit control, accounts payable and cashbook management in addition to those services provided for contractor/consultant limited companies.
– Small business owners of all types will often also require regular management accounts, tax position updates and profitability analyses.

In order to satisfy these clients, Transform Accounting have assessed the various cloud based accounting systems available in the UK and after a successful pilot have chosen Xero accounting as their preferred cloud accounting partner.

Transform Accounting will now be offering the option of cloud based on line accounting systems to our existing and future clients.Both partners of Transform Accounting have recently earned Certified Advisor status from Xero accounting.

We will publish more details in later posts, but if the idea of being able to share access to your company accounts by either a web browser, ipad, iphone or android phone app appeals then this could be ideal for you.

Other great benefits can include ;

– using your phone or tablet to take a photograph of invoices/receipts and have it immediately sent to your accountant for processing
– raising expense claims on your phone or tablet,
– raising invoices on your phone or tablet
– having access to your most up to date accounts allowing you to immediately see how your business is performing.

As a measure of confidence in Xero, Transform Accounting Ltd have already moved their own company accounts to this platform and have started to migrate existing customers and new clients alike and all have been delighted with the results.

If you would like to know any more about how cloud based accounting could help your business, or if your old accountant does not offer this option, please get in touch with Transform Accounting.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact by telephone on 01277 365447 or by e mail at info@transformaccounting.co.uk

Epping Accountant – Transform Accounting – Essex Accountant

Qr Codes

Ever since the invention of computers, cybercrime has never been far behind. As the technology world changes, so do the methods of the criminals, but their motivation always remains the same – to steal your money by any method open to them.

In recent years internet shopping and on line banking has now become the norm. Even the purchase of music, software, movies and video games has now often become an on line transaction. This potentially exposes our personal details and electronic banking to those who are up to no good.

The latest wide scale change in our consuming habits has been to migrate from on line purchases and banking using a PC to the use of mobile smartphones. Recently released statistics show this type of activity has increased by 221% year on year, and is anticipated to continue to increase at that rate. Mobile devices are increasingly being used to pay for routine items such as train or bus tickets and this use of technology is anticipated to increase.

The increased use of mobile phones means that criminals are increasingly turning their attention to these devices. So far, cybercrimes involving mobile devices are still relatively rare buts it is considered to be only a matter of time before these increase to be a significant risk.

Most mobile users are unaware of how these threats will manifest themselves.
Here is the second in a series of posts about the trends in mobile crime (also referred to as m-cybercrime) and how they might impact you.

QR Codes

A QR (or Quick Response) code is a type of bar code formed by a series of black dots on a white background arranged in a square pattern.  QR codes have now become popular in consumer advertising and can be read by most smartphones which interpret the pattern as a URL, load a web browser and take the user to a specified web page, usually to give more information about the service or product. QR codes are common in both newspapers and magazines and increasingly appearing in shop price labels next to the product.

The problem with QR codes is that they are not always safe. Mobile phone users can never be 100% sure where the QR code will lead them once they read them into their device. There have been a growing number of instances where the QR code leads the user to inadvertently download a virus onto their mobile device and IT security experts expect these instances to increase significantly in the future.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact by telephone on 01277 365447 or by e mail at info@transformaccounting.co.uk

Accountant BrentwoodTransform AccountingEssex Accountant

Mobile Phone Crime

Ever since the invention of computers, cybercrime has never been far behind. As the technology world changes, so do the methods of the criminals, but their motivation always remains the same – to steal your money by any method open to them.

In recent years internet shopping and on line banking has now become the norm. Even the purchase of music, software, movies and video games has now often become an on line transaction. This potentially exposes our personal details and electronic banking to those who are up to no good.

The latest wide scale change in our consuming habits has been to migrate from on line purchases and banking using a PC to the use of mobile smartphones. Recently released statistics show this type of activity has increased by 221% year on year, and is anticipated to continue to increase at that rate. Mobile devices are increasingly being used to pay for routine items such as train or bus tickets and this use of technology is anticipated to increase.

The increased use of mobile phones means that criminals are increasingly turning their attention to these devices. So far, cybercrimes involving mobile devices are still relatively rare buts it is considered to be only a matter of time before these increase to be a significant risk.

Most mobile users are unaware of how these threats will manifest themselves.
Here is a first in a series of posts about the trends in mobile crime (also referred to as m-cybercrime) and how they might impact you.

1.       Smishing

You may already be familiar with the term “phishing” which is commonly defined as attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords or credit card details by falsely masquerading as a trustworthy entity such as a bank or credit card provider.

Phishing is usually carried out by e mails trying to tempt an unsuspecting user to go to a fake web site, or give away sensitive information.

The term Smishing is relatively new and is derived from “SMS phiSHING” where SMS (Short Message Service) is the technology used on mobile phones for text messages.  Smishing will use mobile phone text messages to get your attention, and then persuade you to click on a web link contained in the message. Tactics could include telling you that you have been signed up for a service costing £10 a day until you click the link to cancel, or alternatively telling you about a tempting offer such as an iPAD for £150. Normally, when you go to the linked web site, you will then be required to enter your credit card or personal details. Alternatively, if the hook is a phone number, then the number is highly likely to be a premium rate number or alternatively will lead you to an automated system that again asks for your personal information.

Another common ploy is to disguise the message as being from a commonly used bank or credit card company. The desired reaction from the criminals is to worry the recipient – eg – if you receive a credit card bill appearing to be from HSBC and you don’t bank with HSBC, a consumer may be tempted to contact the bank to dispute the bill. Equally, if you do bank with HSBC, you might be even more alarmed and wish to contact the bank.

The action for any unsolicited text messages is the same as for any unsolicited e mails. Delete the message immediately and do not click either on the links or ring the phone numbers.

If you are really concerned, do not ring the phone number in the message or use the link provided. Instead, ring the bank using a phone number that you know is correct – eg – the banks fraud department printed on the back of your credit card or on your monthly statements.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact by telephone on 01277 365447 or by e mail at info@transformaccounting.co.uk

Accountant HarlowTransform AccountingEssex Accountant

Did you know that 30th May is also known as “Tax Freedom Day” for UK residents?

According to the Adam Smith Inistitute, it has been calculated that for the average UK taxpayer, the 30th May is the first day when your 2013 earnings go into your own pocket.
Up until this date, all your earnings have effectively gone to the government in the form of various taxes.

This year, tax freedom day is a day later than last year, a sign that the tax burden for UK citizens continues to increase.

This date is calculated by measuring taxes and national insurance contributions as a proportion of the UK’s national income. This results in a figure of 41.5 percent, which in turn gives 150 days as a share of the year.

Tax freedom day varies depending on where you live. In Australia and the US it comes much earlier in mid April, but for citizens of France it isnt until July.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups.
We can also help with interim financial controllers for small and medium sized businesses.
Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or telephone on 01277 365447

Accountant BrentwoodTransform AccountingEssex Accountants

norway flag

What would you do with £350 billion? – Invest like a Norwegian 

Norway, the land of the Vikings, northern lights and the generous folk who send a Christmas tree every year which Londoners light up and put in Trafalgar Square.

It’s also a land of great natural beauty but not many people. At the last count there were only around 5 million people living in 150,000 square miles which makes Norway the second least densely populated country in Europe.

It is a land of vast natural resources – minerals, wood, water, fish, hydroelectric power and most importantly oil and gas.

Oil was discovered in the North Sea in 1969, and since then the UK and Norway have benefitted from a windfall in oil revenues.

oil platform

In the UK, the oil revenues have been largely spent as we earned them. At first this sudden windfall increased the value of sterling, causing inflation that resulted in demands for wage increases from UK workers. The results of these wage increases were to increase costs for UK manufacturing making UK products uncompetitive in export markets.

mrs thatcher
During the course of the 1970’s and 1980’s, this led to a reduction in the UK manufacturing base, high unemployment and the North Sea oil money being spent by the Thatcher government on UK social costs. Many would say the UK has squandered the windfall from North Sea oil.

Norway saw what was happening in the UK, and decided to follow a completely different track.

viking ship

A nationalised oil company – Statoil was created and by the middle of the 1980s began to generate vast cash inflows.  The government of Norway decided to create one of the first “Sovereign Wealth Funds”, a term that is commonly used today, but hadn’t been invented back then so they unimaginatively called their fund “The Government Pension Fund Global”. Despite this name, the fund is more commonly referred to as “The Petrol Fund”.

This fund was set up to invest the cash flows being created by Norway’s North Sea oil windfall on behalf of the nation, to provide for the future needs of the Norwegian population.

Two of the key aspects of the fund were to invest only in the safest asset classes (initially just safe government bonds but now extended to equities and property) and most importantly to only invest outside of Norway.
This decision was taken to prevent inflation in Norway, and to make sure that no future Norwegian governments would be tempted to spend the money.


This wise decision has certainly served the current and future citizens of Norway well.

sarkozy

Interestingly, this is completely the opposite of the French Sovereign Wealth Fund set up by Mr Sarkozy in recent years that has the objective of investing only in the equities of French companies so as to protect French industries from the threat of foreign ownership. Time will tell which has been the wiser path.

In the last 10 years, the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund has grown to a massive £350 Billion.

norwegian-krone

To put this into context, this is considered just slightly LARGER than the similar fund belonging to China, and only slightly smaller than that belonging to the United Arab Emirates.

Unlike just about all other sovereign wealth funds which are clouded in secrecy, the Norwegians are very open about their funds and are keen to publish exactly what they do with their money and how effective their investments are.

Also like other Sovereign Wealth funds, the Scandinavians use their fund for political purposes, but these purposes are entirely different from other funds.

white dove

The Norwegian fund carries out extensive research into the ethics of companies and countries where they are investing.  Investments into companies having anything to do with weapons technology or polluting industries are withdrawn. Of course, interpretation of these factors to be politically interpreted as you will notice in the table below that they are one of the largest investors in BP – despite the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

In a world of very volatile investment markets and very low investment returns, it can be hard for an individual to know where to invest their money to make healthy but safe investment returns.

question mark

Imagine trying to do that if you have £350 Billion pounds of your countries nest egg to deal with!

So, here is a chance to see what asset allocations the second largest investor in the world uses.

Firstly – asset allocation – here is how the Norwegians allocate their investments;

60% equities

35% fixed income

5% property

Fixed Income (Bonds)

Let’s look at where they invest their biggest proportion of their wealth into fixed income (bonds).

Country

£’Millions

USA

28,912

UK

9,339

France

8,402

Japan

6,877

Germany

6,205

Italy

2,801

Canada

2,566

European   Inv Bank

2,381

Australia

2,112

With the possible exception of Italy, whose bonds have recently been an area for concern, the majority of the investments from Norway have focused on the developed world, especially the United States. This has certainly been due to the assumption that these are considered the safest assets. It will be interesting to keep an eye on these investments in the future to see if the Norwegians begin to shift their focus more into developing economies. These were previously considered to be a higher risk, but as the debt crisis continues and the risk in the developed world increases, there might be a change in focus.

How about Greek Bonds?

The 2012 Q1 report explained that the Norwegian fund held Greek government bonds to the value of 785 Million Euros – on which they had suffered a serious 50% loss in Q1 2012. It is fair to say that they will probably not be back for more Greek bonds in the future.

Equity Investments

The Norwegian fund publishes details of every equity position that it holds. This list runs into investments of thousands of companies spread all over the world. However, their top 10 Equity holdings are as follows;

Company Country

£’Millions

Royal   Dutch Shell UK

2,950

Nestle Switzerland

2,839

HSBC UK

2,451

Apple US

2,397

BG   Group UK

2,023

Novartis Switzerland

1,862

Vodafone UK

1,861

BP UK

1,823

Exxon   Mobil USA

1,779

Roche Switzerland

1,660

It is interesting to note that the largest holdings of the fund are based in the UK and Switzerland.

One final thing to note – when you have such a large fund to invest, currency risk can be a real issue.

The Norwegians keep the bulk of their investments demominated in just four currencies with 80% of the funds investments denominated in either Euros, sterling, dollars or yen.

Managing £ 350 bn is quite a headache for futre generations of Norwegians, but what a great headache to have and one which we all wish we had.

Sadly for the UK,  its a headache we could easily be suffering from but our North Sea Oil money is already spent and so our focus must remain on our debts.

 

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact by telephone on 01277 365447 or by e mail at info@transformaccounting.co.uk

Essex Small Business AccountantsTransform AccountingThe Essex Accountants

selling price

If you own a small business and are trying to maximise sales margins, then one of the most essential things that you must present to potential customers is your “value proposition”.

A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible and intangible results a customer gets from using your products and services.

The objective is for your potential customer to interpret your value proposition and understand the very specific advantages they will gain from working with you. It should be unique – ie – no other competitor should be able to make the same claims in the same way.

Your value proposition could be comprised of a number of value drivers.

Examples of tangible (physical) value drivers could be – if you buy my goods or services, they will help your business to “increase revenues”, “reduce costs” or to “improve customer retention”.

These are very tangible which increasing revenues or reducing costs leads to improved profit margins for the customer, and improving customer retention can often reduce the need for marketing spend, hence also improving profit margins.

Examples of intangible value drivers could include “improved aesthetics”, “more leisure time” or “conflict free business relationships”. These don’t always immediately appear on the bottom line (profit) of the accounts, but in the long term deliver real value to the customer.

It is very important to note that price should not form part of the value proposition.

Price should be discussed only at a later stage once some form of engagement with the target customer has been formed.

So, when planning sales strategy for goods or services, the value proposition should be a very important consideration to maintain profit margins and is a far more important long term strategy than discounting.

For most successful businesses with healthy profit margins, the value proposition is well understood by the sales staff, and also by the customer.

Finally, remember that the value proposition is defined by the customer, not the supplier. Not all customers think alike and therefore the definition of what is value and value added varies from customer to customer.

At Transform Accounting, our “Value Proposition” focuses on forming long term partner relationships with our most customers who are focused on driving their businesses to success. These are the businesses who value top quality financial advice to maximise their profits and chances of long term business success.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact by telephone on 01277 365447 or by e mail at info@transformaccounting.co.uk

Epping AccountantTransform AccountingEssex Accountant

Payslips

The Employments Rights Act sets out the requirements of producing payslips for employees.

The requirements are that you need to supply an employee with a payslip on or before their pay day. This requirement covers both full time and part time employees.

The minimum information that a payslip must contain is;

  • Gross Pay
  • Net Pay
  • Amounts and types of all fixed and variable deductions
  • Method of payment
  • Deductions for stakeholder pensions

Whilst not a requirement under the Employment Rights Acts, most employees payslips also show the following;

  • Time period covered by the payment
  • Date of payment
  • Basic Pay
  • Overtime
  • Bonus or Commissions
  • Sick Pay ( including Statutory Sick Pay)
  • Holiday Pay

It is also wise to print an employee’s National Insurance (NI) number and PAYE Tax code on each payslip to reduce future queries.

If in doubt, always ask a qualified accountant such as Transform Accounting who will often be able to perform the payroll function and production of payslips on your behalf.

Loughton Accountant Transform Accounting  – Essex Accountants