Cahill Dental Care case study

Cahill Dental Care Centre is an award-winning Dental Practice offering life transformational dentistry.

We recently asked Cahill’s what they think about working with Stafford & Co and this is what they said:

“Stafford & Co has…

  • Helped Cahills to realise that we are a business as well as a dental practice
  • Shown us how to make the time to efficiently work ON our business not just IN our
  • business
  • Helped us to develop a Cahills OnePage Plan which we use to track the real numbers
  • driving our business; this helps us to identify & resolve issues before problems
  • escalate
  • Given us access to a team who we can ask for help & advice on any financial matter
  • Developed tax planning strategies; to reduce our tax liabilities
  • Produced clear, concise, timely accounts”

“Whenever we have needed to make Financial decisions concerning the growth and development of our business Stafford & Co. has always provided relevant and practical guidance helping us to increase and more importantly retain our profits.”

Services provided by Stafford & Co:

  • Incorporated partnership
  • OnePage plan, monthly review of key figures driving business growth
  • Monthly payroll, including management of upgrade to fully compliant real-time information payroll submission
  • Quarterly BoardView service
  • Annual Accounts
  • Financial Director level support & advice

Achievements:

  • Saved +£10k pa in tax by introducing tax strategies
  • Increased profitability
  • Supported revenue & profitability growth through implementation of a Cahills
  • OnePage Plan
  • Monthly review of key performance indicators which drive the financial numbers

Join our dynamic growing accountancy team

Stafford & Co. Chartered Accountants are recruiting for a full-time Client Financial Controller / Book-Keeper role to support their expanding client base.

The ideal candidate will be AAT qualified, have experience in Xero / QuickBooks / SAGE and cloud accounting software.

Previous experience could be from practice or industry and ideally with a minimum of 3 years work experience within book-keeping / accountancy.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join a forward thinking, dynamic and growing accountancy practice with flexible working benefits and progression opportunities.

Stafford & Co highlight best practice in The Parliamentary Review

Co-chaired by Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, The Parliamentary Review is an indispensable guide to best practice across a variety of different areas, showcasing various examples from steadfast organisations in the public and private sectors. Its principal aim is to raise standards within said industries by producing a template for future reform, and the March release of the publication is acknowledged for its importance in the political calendar.

Stafford & Co were established in 2003 by Ken Stafford, the father of current managing director Rob Stafford. Rob explains in The Parliamentary Review how they have embraced technology and what he predicts the future will hold for accountants and their clients in the future.

Director Rob Stafford said; “We are delighted to be in the 2019 Parliamentary Review and welcome further discussions and input on how the Accountancy industry is changing and how we can continue to best-serve our clients as the profession evolves.”

You can take a look at The Parliamentary Review article in full here and read our views on the best practice for accountancy firms, which we are proud to live by at Stafford & Co.

If you are looking for accountants that can provide a truly personal service, with advice and support that can make a positive contribution to your business get in touch.

Spring Statement Summary

Yesterday Chancellor Philip Hammond issued his Spring Statement; as predicted this didn’t get as much media attention as normal due to the Prime Minister holding yet another vote on Brexit.

Highlights include:

Economy:
The Chancellor described the economy as being “remarkably robust” and has “defied expectations”, supported by GDP growth rates of 1.2% this year.

Brexit:
Mr Hammond used the Spring Statement to acknowledge the uncertainty over the economy due to Brexit, stating “The most urgent task is to lift uncertainty.”

He also warned in the case of a no deal – a sharp and sudden spike in inflation is expected, due to the economy operating close to full capacity and the impact of higher prices for imports. He went on to state that if a Brexit deal is reached, the government will hold a full spending review in the summer to set departmental budgets, including three-year budgets for resource spending, shaping priorities for the Autumn Budget.

Business & Enterprise:
Mr Hammond announced a £37 billion productivity fund, focusing on improving skills throughout the workforce, saying that he wanted to “build on the UK’s fundamental strengths”

Housing & Environment:
Mr Hammond devoted a significant part of his speech to housing and the environment, announcing £3 billion for the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, to support the delivery of approximately 30,000 affordable homes.

In addition, £717 million of funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund is to support the construction of homes in West London, Cheshire, Didcot and Cambridge. 

To conclude:
There were no major changes to highlight with the focus of the government clearly on Brexit.

R&D tax claims hit new high. Are you missing out?

The number of businesses claiming tax relief on Research and Development (R&D) has increased significantly, with the latest figures indicating a 24% rise in claims since last year.

The big question is, could you be eligible to make a claim?

The scope for identifying R&D is huge – in fact, it exists in every single sector and the HMRC R&D criteria is broad and far-reaching. In general, if you have spent money developing new products, processes or services; or enhancing existing ones, you could be eligible for R&D tax relief.

It’s easy to overlook the idea of R&D claims, thinking they are only applicable to large businesses or businesses investing significant sums.

However, many businesses may in fact be eligible to claim – especially since the original minimum R&D expenditure of £10,000 was removed in April 2012. This has opened the door for SMEs to claim back vital funds, and with the average SME claim in the UK coming in at £53,876 (2016-17), what are you waiting for?

Although many companies claim to be able to help with R&D claims, few actually have the knowledge and expertise.

The team at Stafford & Co have achieved great success for clients. One of our happy clients is Ben Griffiths of Clever IT, who we helped to reclaim over £8,000:

“Before speaking to Stafford & Co, I was unaware of R&D tax relief. However, they quickly explained how and why I would be eligible for this and efficiently put the claim together for me and submitted it to HMRC. I was over the moon, to find out that our claim had been successful, and I was reimbursed over £8,000. Thanks again Stafford & Co”.

So, if you’re looking to get 2019 off to a great start, we can’t think of a better way than to talk to us about making an R&D claim. Contact us on 01204 368 550 or email info@staffordandcompany.co.uk.

Budget Summary 2018

Chancellor Philip Hammond has delivered his third budget, telling MPs that “austerity is finally coming to an end”.

We have created a simple overview which covers the main points we think may have an impact on you and your business, download our 2018 budget guide.

If you would like any advice or help on any of the topics covered in our Budget Guide then please call us on 01204 368 550.

An alarming number of businesses are still unaware of Making Tax Digital

Despite a great deal of discussion amongst the accountancy industry, recent research has suggested that a worrying number of businesses themselves don’t know about the forthcoming Making Tax Digital (MTD) changes. The research, by the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), suggests over 40% of small firms soon to be mandatorily included in the UK Government’s MTD initiative remain unaware of the project.

This is obviously a concerning statistic – the ideal scenario for small businesses is for them to begin using new accounting software well in advance of the 1st April deadline so they can get used to the new methods.

But what exactly are the changes, who will they affect and what action do you need to take?

All UK VAT registered businesses above the £85,000 sales threshold will be required to make digital records and file VAT returns directly via MTD-approved software from 1st April 2019. Businesses must instead use ‘functional compatible software’ (digital records) that can connect to HMRC’s system via its API link to file their UK VAT returns.

This means that as of 1st April 2019, any business that applies VAT to its sales will no longer be legally allowed to keep manual records for accounting purposes. This includes paper records and applies to both sales and purchases for which VAT is claimed.

The process of manually keying-in VAT return data from spreadsheets into HMRC’s online portal must also cease as of the 1st April.

A further requirement for the new rule will require digital links to be maintained between any accounting package or spreadsheet through to HMRC’s new filing API.

This is the first stage of the UK’s MTD initiative to digitise tax records and submissions, and MTD is likely to extend to other taxes from 2020.

Compliance with the new requirements will require fundamental changes to the existing processes and systems of many businesses. At Stafford & Co, we’ve been in the process of educating our clients about MTD for several months and working with those clients that will be affected by the 1st April deadline to ensure they will be ready.

LARGE COMPANIES BEWARE: Are you ready for MTD? 
  • Do you submit a group tax return?
  • Is your accountancy software compliant for MTD?
  • Do you submit a consolidated return for all your divisions/departments?
  • Use to submitting using Excel? Have you got the correct API in place to be able to continue to submit in this way?
The answers to these questions are key to ensuring you’re ready for MTD. Planning in advance is vital to minimise cost and ensure returns can be submitted on time.  Ask the Stafford & Co team about MTD so we can help you prepare in advance.
For more information on how we can help your business get ready for MTD, contact a member of the team on 01204 368 550 or email info@staffordandcompany.co.uk

Take An Interest – Reasons for starting a business

There are many reasons people decide to set up their own business. What were yours?

Every now and then, it’s worth taking a step back and thinking about the reasons you decided to take the plunge and set up your own business. What were your aspirations? Are they the same now as they were then? Where do you want to end up and are you confident that you’re on the right path to get there?

For most business owners, their company is their main source of income, how they manage the day to day is one thing, but many get absorbed running a business and don’t take the time to think about their long-term finances.  What are the things that keep you awake at night? Do you have a plan to manage your finances throughout your lifetime to be able to provide for the people and things that are most important to you?

So whilst focusing on everyday operations and short-term profit is important, it is also vital to think on a lifetime basis. For example, we help clients by taking an interest in some of life’s big questions:

  • How should you plan for growth/exit / sale?
  • Will you have enough money for a comfortable retirement?
  • What’s the best way to fund your children’s education?
  • How will you pay for the cost of kids going to uni?
  • Will you need to help your children buy their first house?
  • Do you have elderly parents you need to care for?

It may seem like these things are a long way off, but we all know that time flies; they’ll be here before you know it!

Take an Interest: managing your lifetime finances

Although running your business as it is can seem a daunting enough task without taking on board the added pressure of planning for the future, the last thing you want is to find yourself working years past your planned retirement age to ensure you can afford the lifestyle you had hoped to achieve when you first set out in business. One thing you most certainly did not start your business to do was to end up being a slave to it!

The good news is that there is help on hand. The team at Stafford & Co specialise in working with owner managed businesses and have helped many business owners to reset their focus to work towards their aspirations. We care about our clients and their dreams and we’re well-placed to help them to get there.

Free consultation: Personal Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss

For help getting your finances on track, contact a Director at Stafford & Co. We’re not just accountants, we can work with you to put together a structured personal balance sheet and profit & loss to help ensure you are managing your lifetime finances & fully prepared for those all-important life events – big and small.

Get in touch with one of our experts, for help, advice or for specific advice in relation to planning a business sale or exit strategy.

Take An Interest – Managing your Lifetime Finances

We’d all like to lay claim to being good with money; some of us may even convince ourselves that we are. But in reality, is ‘good’ good enough?

Most of us know the steps we should be taking steps to be more financially responsible. Steps such as paying into a pension. Saving into an ISA each year. Making regular overpayments on our mortgage.

The problem is, there always seems to be something to pay for in the here and now…

After all, taxes are rising. The cost of living is increasing at a pace. Take home pay in real terms is decreasing.

Here are a few facts & figures…

  • The lifetime cost of having a child is typically £218,000.
  • For the average family with two children, this cost can double.
  • Low-interest rates have decimated interest income from savings.
  • Students are having to pay a minimum of £27,000 for university tuition fees and parents often need to contribute up to £30,000 to university living costs.
  • Average first-time buyers must find £30,000 – with 78% needing help from their parents.
  • People are living longer, yet state pension provisions are getting worse.

It doesn’t paint a very positive picture, does it? No matter how good you may think you are with your personal and family finances, you are going to feel the squeeze over the coming years.

There’s only one way to try and prevent falling into the financial doldrums and that is to take control. Control of your current expenditure. Control of your future financial planning.

Taking financial control may involve making changes and there may even be certain sacrifices you have to make. But what’s the alternative? Rely on the older generation for an inheritance, meaning your parents can’t fully enjoy their own retirement? Have to work well into your 60s (or even 70s) to build yourself a half-decent retirement fund? Or be rendered unable to provide your family with all of the help and support you want to?

The irrefutable fact of the matter is there is only one person who can pave the way to future financial security for you and your family. And that’s you. And you need to act now.

Free consultation: Personal Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss

For help getting your finances on track, contact a Director at Stafford & Co. We’re not just accountants, we can work with you to put together a structured personal balance sheet and profit & loss to help ensure you are managing your lifetime finances & fully prepared for those all-important life events – big and small.

We believed we could do it and now we’re delighted to let you know we’ve achieved Xero Gold Partner status!

Lots of clients tell us that Xero has helped to transform their business, from reducing cost and admin time to giving them easy access to the key numbers driving their business. Tracking performance using Xero is easy and can even be fun!  As an accredited Xero Gold Partner we have 6 Xero-certified staff, this makes us experts in using and implementing Xero. It is the implementation that most clients are worried about; the hassle and difficulty of transferring from one system to another without making costly mistakes and without losing vital financial control and information in the transition period.  This is where the Stafford & Co team really add value in helping you change to Xero.

Top Benefits of Xero for forward thinking businesses:

  • Use unrivalled timely management information to help make informed decisions.
  • Daily automatic updates, so you always know how much money you have in the bank.
  • See at a glance who you owe money to & who owes you, plus know your tax liabilities.
  • Integrate with other apps, transfer information accurately & at low cost.
  • All your data is secure & backed-up in the cloud.
  • Access all your accounting information, 24/7, wherever you are in the world.
We helped Wyatt Logistics transfer to Xero, and this is what they said:
“Stafford&Co introduced us to Xero and managed the implementation. They fully explained the software to us, provided training and are always on hand to answer any questions we may have, they have been great. There are many benefits of using Xero, for us the online system makes it easy to access all our information and the automatic calculations minimise human errors.”
Free Xero Workshop for you and your team:
We are hosting a series of Xero workshops over the coming months that are free for everyone to attend.  If you would like to book a place or for more information about Xero and how it can benefit your business, please contact Gillian today.