"Saw things, saw things clearer, clearer, once you were in my rear-view mirror" Pearl Jam
I made my spinning class again this morning. Shane, our instructor, wasn't happy as there were a few late cancellations. I am learning that some things in the class are impossible for me. Like I lose serious speed when I do a hover sprint. And "turn it up one more" are my least favourite words. I don't sweat much but I am a disgusting mess coming out of that class. The best parts are the music and the words "this is our last sprint".
I was going to do part 2 to follow up on my blog of last week. In case you missed it see here. But then I thought this is the last blog of the year. It is a good time to look in the rear-view mirror. We will cast our eyes over
- Client wins
- Greatest Asset
- Looking ahead
Our best client is a pharmacy business. We do everything for them, bookkeeping, payroll, Vat, Co-sec, and all taxes. They are a pleasure to deal but they are sharp and no pushovers. If they don't agree or are not happy with something they will tell you, in a nice way. This is a second-generation business but run by the third generation. The owners wanted to get this passed onto the next generation. We had been working towards this over the last 4 years and it didn't happen for one reason or another. We put the foundations in place in 2017 and it got over the line 5 months ago. It's a fantastic opportunity for the new owner to bring on the business and introduce his own ideas. Our goal will be to work with him to help him grow, protect him by ensuring everything is right. And be there in 25 years’ time to help him pass the business on to his son or daughter. This generates taxes, helps create some wealth, and most of all protects jobs. The tax reliefs available are vital for this to happen. For further information on this see here
It's very satisfying to be part of larger tax and accounting projects. But our main aim is to look after our existing clients. To see our clients grow their sales and profits is very satisfying. This doesn't always happen as there are many bumps on the road with Covid and other hurdles. But Covid is not going away, and it can't be an excuse anymore. Wins for us is to see our clients
- Secure finance to expand their business or increase their workforce
- Open a second or third shop
- Buy a house
- help them negotiate a competitive exchange rate
- Get a bookkeeping process nailed on that works for them and us
- Secure a tax refund
- Deal with a Revenue enquiry
- Get outstanding taxes up to date
- Help secure a pension or social welfare payment
- Move their business into a company
- Get management accounts in place to review their numbers and suggest improvements
Our Greatest Asset
Before you read on what do you think is the greatest asset in your business? Is it the technology, your clients, your systems and processes, or your people? For me, by a country mile, our greatest asset is our people. They are the ones that are helping our clients daily. Each client has a dedicated manager that is their first port of call when it comes to helping their business. It's very important for us that our team enjoys their work. They must have the motivation to continue to learn and improve so that the service we offer is A+ standard. Our team must uphold our values. These are
- Protect our clients
- Enjoy what they do
- Problem solve
These are also the values we like to see in our clients. The more we work with like-minded people the better for them and us. It boils down to a few very simple things. Do they have the right attitude to help the client in the best way possible? We know we have a very strong team, and it is up to them and us to keep them motivated and happy. A willingness to learn new things is vital as we all must keep pushing forward. It's brilliant to see a team member trying new things, learning, and growing in confidence. This is great for business as clients are getting new ideas or ways to do things and are improving too.
A brilliant example of this was Dee getting a state pension for a client. She took ownership of the forms, made the phone calls, followed up on queries and got it done. It wasn't our job to do this, but she saw that the client needed help. She helped and got his pension plus back payments too.
Darragh left us to set up his own business. He was an excellent accountant and strong at tax, plus a gentleman to boot. We took on Brenda and she has a super attitude and is a great lady to get stuff done. We have replaced Darragh with Barry who will join us in January. Aedin, Cathy and Ludmila continue to offer a superb service to our clients. They are three brilliant ladies. And Dee helps clients and the team alike, so she keeps the show on the road.
The people that are working are working very hard. Christmas can't come soon enough as people need a break. There is a huge amount of work out there. Does it matter where we do the work? It depends on the business. In a service industry like ours, the answer is no. In a lot of jobs, you must be there. On a building site, driving a bus, or serving in a shop you can't work from home. Our office is closed since March 2020, and it could be March 2022 when we get back in there. We use it now and again for some meetings but not for work. And when we do it won't be the same as before. We will have to adapt a system of work that suits our clients and team. We can't or won't insist that people are at their desks from 9 to 5 from Monday to Friday. If we do, we will lose some of our team and we don't want to do that.
Working from home makes things easier for most of us. We can make medical appointments [booster please] pick the kids up from school and a lot of other small jobs. They may be small, but they are important to you, and you are no longer relying on parents or family to help you out. I don't fancy working from home all the time and a break from the house would be super. The cat would like some space too. To reconnect with the team and share information, do training together, and not be on Zoom. To have that social interaction would be fantastic and we will get there. Hopefully, not after our 25th booster shot!
Business, like work, is evolving and changing all the time. There is a huge amount of new technology out there. For us, the key is to become more skilled in the technology we use. And not distracted by the new shiny thing that can do all this other amazing stuff. Never has it become so important to have all your numbers right and up to date. Before Covid hit they were to introduce "Making Tax Digital" in the UK. The idea behind this was much the same way as doing your Vat during the year. You would do your accounts during the year and pay tax based on your profits every 2 or 3 months. If it comes into the UK, and it will, it will come into here. The value of having your numbers right and returns submitted on time is huge.
- Tax refunds
- tax clearance,
- lower RCT rates,
- fewer Revenue queries,
- easier to secure bank finance
- no interest, surcharges, or penalties
Knowing things are right will give you the confidence to grow your business. And you don't have to waste your time doing something you hate doing
Like many businesses we are planning and investing for the future. We will launch a new website in January and Barry will join us then too. The team will become more involved in marketing and will be writing about their skills. It will give you a break from all this tax stuff. As First Aid Kit sang in My Silver linings "we've got to keep on keeping on". We will get more clients moved onto cloud accounting and they will reap the benefits of that. We will continue to grow and add to the team here. It's not a case of "the future is so bright you gotta wear shades". A more realistic version is in the Slade song Merry Christmas Everybody.
"So here it is merry Christmas Everybody's having fun. Look to the future now it's only just begun"
From me and all the team here at Comerford Foley, we wish you our clients, our suppliers, and all those that helped us during the year a very Happy Christmas.
Reading this and looking to invest in your finance function or change the type of relationship you have with your accountant? Don't waste time. Tell us about you and your business here and we will set something up.