Retail Q&A: All the answers here. #GetRich

Thanks to everyone who took part in the live Twitter Q&A this morning with our retail expert Richard Godsland. For those that missed it weʼve rounded up all the action here.

Donʼt forget, if youʼve got a question for Richard on how to get your business growing, cash flow, debt management, reducing overheads, data/information and business set up you can still email him at richard@smithbrownaccountants.co.uk

Q: My company has been going for 12 months now, at what point would you suggest to start using an accountant and what are the costs?

Richard: The honest answer is it completely depends on what type of accountant you have. Itʼs advisable, but not necessary, to get your accountant involved from the offset. If they are proactive and helpful, then they could actually aid your business start up. In terms of cost, it depends on the level of service. Standard compliance can range from £500pa onwards. Accountancy can be so much more than compliance – not your traditional ‘bean counters’ anymore!

Q: I’ve heard the new term “Cloud Accounting”. What exactly is this & how can it benefit our company?

Richard: Cloud Accounting is effectively online accounting. Benefits include; access anywhere, backed up collaborate with your accountant instantly and the opportunity to pay monthly (great for cash flow management).

Q: Hello, in your experience what are the biggest financial pitfalls startups should be aware of?

Richard: The main one is having control and awareness of the financials available. Cash flow management is the key! Budgeting/Forecasting. There are lots of unforeseen costs.

Q: Print advertising is so expensive how can my marketing budget be better spent?

Richard: You need to get into the mindset of your customer. Why/where/how do they purchase your product/service? With that info you can formulate a strategic marketing plan. That may entail SEO, PPC or something drastic like guerrilla marketing!

Q: What records do I need to keep for HMRC?

Richard: A lot! Invoices, expense claims, receipts, year end accounts, PAYE details – as a general rule of thumb you should keep for 6 years. Either digitally or paper based (if you have the space!)

Q: I run a bathroom showroom on a traditional high st. Have you any tips on reducing my expenses without compromising quality/service?

Richard: Plenty. First, look at what your business data is telling you. Are there any specific expenses that stick out? Postage/travel/advertising/purchase/price/rent? Any seasonal patterns? Secondly, look at the info and assess what systems & processes are currently in place relating to the expenditure. There will be a slicker way of operating.

Q: Who do I need to notify about my new business and when?

Richard: Assuming youʼve registered your business already with companies house, they will automatically inform HMRC that your company has been incorporated. However you must register your company as ʻactiveʼ for corporation tax within three months of starting to trade. Other than that…. Customers!!

Q: Should I charge VAT to my customers?

Richard: The simple answer is yes if you are Vat registered. Vat registration is compulsory for businesses turning over a certain threshold (from 1 April 2015 this is £82k).

Rich

Do you have a question that has not been answered here today? Don’t hesitate to contact Richard at: richard@smithbrownaccountants.co.uk

Oct 9, 2015