Understanding your strengths and identifying opportunities

The more you understand about your business, your market and your competitors, the better prepared you are for the business journey that lies ahead – and this is where a simple SWOT analysis can be an invaluable tool in your strategic armoury. But what exactly is a SWOT analysis? Building a detailed picture of your business SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – and this kind of analysis helps you to get a more detailed understanding of your business and market. By breaking things down into four key quadrants, you can review each area and begin to build up your business intelligence profile. Let’s take a look at each of the quadrants: Strengths In this sectio

Are you paying too much tax?

Paying tax is an inevitable part of doing business. The more your income grows, the more tax you’re liable to pay. You’re rewarded for your success with a bigger tax bill. While we don’t want our clients to avoid paying tax or evade the tax department. We do want our clients to only pay the amount of tax they’re legally liable for. Many business owners don’t understand the tax deductions and other benefits available to them. We want to help you arrange your financial affairs to you can minimise your tax and pay only what you should. Tax legislation is constantly changing. Our team are up to date with any changes and understands how changes can affect our clients. Changes to your personal c

Getting ready to exit your business?

When you sell up, you want your business to have as much inherent value as possible – so you get a good price, a great return on your investment and the best possible payout. So, how do you take yourself ‘out of the business’ as the founder, add the best value and set up an effective and financially beneficial exit strategy? Adding value to the company Whether the goal of your five-year plan is an acquisition by a larger corporate, or selling your share of the company to a chosen successor, it’s critically important to focus on adding value. The more attractive the business looks in the market, the better the price you’ll achieve, or the better the yield you’ll see on selling your company sh

How to use forecasts and scenario-planning

For centuries, accounting was all about reviewing historic information – but that only told you about the past, not what was going to happen in the future. If you’re only looking back at past periods and historic numbers, that limits the insights you can achieve into your business. With a backward-looking ideology, it becomes difficult to plan, run through different scenarios or understand the path of the business. Forecasting changes this. With the right data analysis and forecasting tools, you can project sales, cash, revenue and profits into the future – and get in control of your business. A forward-looking view of your business journey Forecasting switches the focus of your financial ma

Competitor analysis – know who you’re up against

Knowing who your competitors are is a key piece of business intelligence, helping you understand your market and the core threats and opportunities in your sector. Competitor analysis is the process of identifying, researching and gauging the threat posed by your competitors and is usually carried out prior to launching your business. But monitoring competitors is a useful exercise to undertake regularly, for several reasons. Regular competitor analysis help to: Understand where you sit in the marketplace Identify gaps in the market that you could exploit Identify trends that may present a business opportunity Looking for the threats and opportunities Start by identifying your competitors –

How healthy is your working capital?

We all know that cash is king when it comes to business success, but what exactly is ‘working capital’ and how does this financial metric help measure the health of your business? Working capital is made up of the cash and assets that are available in the business to fund your operations and keep you trading. It’s worked out by taking your current assets (the things you own) away from your current liabilities (the things you owe to other people). So, why is working capital such a critical metric? Having the liquid capital needed to trade It’s possible for your business to be busy, successful and profitable, but for your cash position to still be in poor health – and that can have a serious i

How to accept payments online

If you’ve bought something online, then you’ve probably used an online payment method. The most common are credit cards, debit cards, automated clearing houses (ACH) like PayPal, and direct debit. These methods are generally instant and allow the customer to pay without visiting their bank website. In the case of direct debit, the customer can authorise ongoing payments. This allows you to take money direct from their bank account whenever a bill is due. Benefits of online payment One in five businesses that use Xero to send invoices offer an online payment service. They get paid 50% faster which, in the US, works out to about 20 days sooner. In some cases, they get paid instantly. Custome

Credit control policies and procedures for small business

What is credit control? Credit control is anything you do to reduce the wait between supplying a customer and getting paid. Your customer owes you, so you’re extending them credit – but you’re trying to do it in a controlled way. Credit control is a delicate balancing act. While it’s important to get your money as soon as possible, customers might leave if you’re too aggressive. Why you need a credit control policy Not many small businesses have credit control procedures when they first start. They just issue invoices and hope for the best. But fewer than half of invoices are paid on time [US: more than a third of invoices are paid late] and, before long, that takes its toll. Cash flow can

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