Is your admin adding to the bottom line?

What’s happening below the radar? Private sector losses through fraud have been estimated at £140bn per annum in a recent survey*.   Many fraud prevention measures also reduce losses through innocent error or sloppiness; the total cost to business of not ‘minding the back office’ must be mind boggling.  With the potential to reduce leakage in […]

Getting spreadsheets to add value as well as numbers

Spreadsheets can be used in almost any part of a business. While accountants feature highly among users, Excel’s ease of use at a basic level means that most people can create a spreadsheet.  Having said that Excel is very powerful and a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. A contact of mine Steve Randall recently […]

Ethics by Design – smaller business reflections

  I recently attended a thought provoking conference, Ethics by Design, on the topic of fostering ethical culture in organisations. Ethics pays The morning session was led by Jonathan Haidt, a Professor at NYU Stern School of Business.  One takeaway for me was something that I had only partly rationalised – that is that ‘Ethics […]

Management accounts – do yours ‘speak to you’?

My work includes supporting SMEs through due diligence to eventual sale.   Buyers want to gain an understanding of business drivers and expectations of future performance.  A Sale leads to a heightened focus on the numbers and the quality of the management accounts can create a good or bad impression. While great management accounts can help a business sale, they are good sense for any business. […]

Selling a business? Ready for a balancing act?

Selling a business is not an everyday event.  In fact it is not uncommon for it to be a once in a life time experience. Like selling a house? One way of describing a business sale is it’s a bit like selling a house – but on steroids.   Like a house sale, the buyer will […]

Risk indicators for smaller businesses

When things go pear shaped in business people look back and often see that there were warning signs.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing! Especially in a smaller business. Smaller businesses v larger ones Small and medium sized businesses are very different to larger ones – here are a few examples: Bosses are likely to be more involved in […]

Ethics & policies. On the tongue, are they on the lung?

I was struck by a recent headline, “55% of small firms don’t have an ethics policy”.   The article referred to a survey of ‘SMEs’  and I must say I was surprised that there are as many as 45% that actually have an ethics policy! Does the lack of an ethics policy mean that a business lacks […]

Fraud should be seen as a business opportunity!!

‘It’s not going to happen to us’ From time to time a major fraud scandal hits the headlines, the latest one being Toshiba. Frauds in smaller businesses are less likely to receive public attention but they still happen. Common characteristics are a high degree of trust in staff and more informality than in a large company. […]

No internal audit? It needs a business case!

A red flag  In a recent article Richard Chambers Global President and CEO of The Institute of Internal Auditors rightly described the lack of an internal audit function as a ‘red flag that should cause an investor’s antenna to go up’. In the UK, fully listed companies are not obliged to have an internal audit function, […]

10 internal audit qualities for smaller businesses

Recent UK governance changes are likely to lead to smaller quoted companies looking more closely at the way they manage risk and how they ensure that business practices are effectively supporting their organisation. More companies are likely to look at having some sort of internal audit function, although resource is likely to be limited. With […]