Are you on cruise control with your business?

Are you on cruise control with your business

I spend a lot of time driving.

I stuff my face with Maltesers (the giant size pack) and listen to sporting trivia on Talk Sport. My only company in the car is the Sat Nav lady who  occasionally interjects with phrases like “You are no longer on the planned route. Do a ‘U’ turn when safe to do so”.

I sometimes ignore her instruction and take another handful of Maltesers.

I’m back on cruise control.

Only another 96 miles to go.

I’m not bothered about the journey, I just want to reach my destination.

Before I know it, the Malteser bag is empty. I cannot believe I’ve consumed so many in so short a space of time. I promised myself I would only eat half the bag and save the rest for my return journey but I have failed again (miserably).

But let’s forget driving for a moment – the above scenario can be a fair reflection of my life at times:

  • Operating on cruise control
  • Not appreciating the journey
  • Ignoring advice
  • Getting caught up in trivia
  • Lacking self-discipline

I’m not trying to make myself (or you for that matter) feel guilty, I’m just pointing out the down sides of being “on cruise control”; in other words, coasting through life rather than taking a firm grip of the wheel.

So I’m re-committing myself to the following:

  • I want to reach my destination and have appreciated the journey.
  • I want to listen to and weigh up the advice of others.
  • I want to focus on what’s important and not get side tracked by trivia.
  • I want to really feel I’m driving my life and not simply coasting on cruise control.

What about you? Which of the above particularly strikes a chord? Is it time to switch off cruise control?

This is relevant to everyone, but I think it is particularly pertinent when you are self-employed or running a small business. Stay focused and make the most of every available minute.

And above all, remember to enjoy the Maltesers!

Omni Chartered Accountants are here to help you take more control of your company finances and taxation affairs – request a free of charge call back from this website or click here to contact us today.

10 ways to get the best value from your accountant

An accountant can sort out your tax return or your annual accounts and provide advice on a range of issues, but how do you get the best return on the fees you pay to an accountant? 

file17813425517541.   Choose carefully

Look for accountants with experience of your type of business. Anyone can set up as ‘an accountant’, so look for chartered or certified accountants, whose qualified status is backed by membership of professional bodies. A large firm suggests reliability, but a smaller one may respond better to your needs. Ask prospective accountants how they can help your business.

2.   Explain your expectations

Your accountant will summarise terms and conditions in a letter of engagement. Put your expectations in writing, too. Describe the level of service you require, for example, how quickly you need queries to be answered. Ask to deal with a specific contact, to help build a close professional relationship.

3.   Ask questions

Check what other services your accountant can offer. These could include guidance on setting up your business, preparation of financial forecasts, help with loan applications, audits, investment advice and other suggestions for minimising your tax liability.

4.   Use your accountants’ contacts

Accountants specialising in your type of business can often suggest good trade contacts. Perhaps your accountant knows a supplier who can offer you a great deal or maybe they know of a potential investor.

5.   Keep talking

Communicate regularly with your accountant to get the best possible value from the relationship. Schedule quarterly meetings to review your firm’s performance; this will help you plan better for the future. Be sure to meet before producing your end-of-year accounts or tax return.

6.   Keep user-friendly records

If necessary, ask your accountant for advice about how best to maintain your financial records. If your books are easier to read, you will save them time, which should mean a lower bill.

7.   Do the easy jobs yourself

To reduce your outgoings, take care of simple bookkeeping tasks yourself, possibly by using accounting software. You could then better focus your accountants’ efforts where they best serve your business.

8.   Delegate

If your time would be better spent concentrating on sales or product development, you could ask an accountant to take greater responsibility for your bookkeeping and payroll. This would free you up to make more profitable use of your time.

9.   Shop around

Armed with recommendations of good accountants, get a full breakdown of an accountant’s charges and services. Work out which one offers you best value for money (and that’s not necessarily the cheapest, of course). And, at least once a year, review the value for money you receive. If you believe you can get better advice and value elsewhere, go elsewhere.

10. Seek advice

An experienced accountant can offer sound advice in a number of areas. For example, they could help with your business plan, help you estimate the cost of new projects or advise on the levels of investment needed to achieve your business development goals.

We understand that all clients are individual and as such have different needs – our cost effective but personal approach gets results and ensures that customers always get the best out of their accountant if they choose Omni.

For more information, call 01902 837 408 today, request a call-back or contact us.