How do think about risk?

Taking risk is an everyday fact of business life and entrepreneurs who take risks that come off are often admired. Risks can arise from adverse events, such as something giving rise to a legal claim/bad publicity or the loss of a key member of staff. There can also be risks of something good not happening, such […]

When quality, service & price aren’t enough to win business

The majority of large companies issue less than a third of contracts to small firms according to a recent Telegraph article.  While small businesses were given credit for efficiency, flexibility and being in touch with customer needs, the article suggests that this may be not enough to win business from big companies.  Large companies have concerns about […]

8 differences between internal and external audit

For many people “audit” is about the end of year accounts, which is very often the case.  However internal audit has a different focus it might be worth having a look at the differences – especially if you are a company director or a charity trustee.   I’ve spent a significant part of my career as […]

10 questions for proactive directors to ask about their finance function

A recent Telegraph article quoted some staggering statistics (from a survey by software company Exact) about missed invoicing and financial mismanagement  in SMEs.  A quarter of respondents saying they didn’t feel in control of their business accounts and finances with 12% having had to delay salary payments as a result of financial mismanagement. I guess that there […]

Why an “us” culture adds to the bottom line

As my work often involves helping improve business processes I am all too aware that having staff “buy in” is an important factor in achieving change.  Conversely, the way that change is managed can impact (for good or bad) on staff morale. In my view a key factor in motivation and positive change is the […]

Why businesses need 13 week vision

It may seem bizarre but when training to become an accountant, I was never taught how to manage cash.   I am sure that there are thousands of other accountants with a similar gap in their formal education; although there are some like me who have learnt through experience. While accountants have conventions for preparing accounts, […]

Choosing an accountant? Would you put Wayne Rooney in goal for England?

As most people first hire an accountant in order to prepare accounts and deal with tax, I guess it is small wonder that I sometimes get the comment “you’re an accountant you must know about tax”.   However  –  I’m an accountant who doesn’t prepare accounts (at least routinely) or who gives tax advice. I recently came across an […]

The economy, profits – you need to get past the headline!

There has recently been talk of a triple dip recession.  There is a recession when there has been two consecutive quarters of negative growth, a definition based on numbers.  In Q4 2012 UK GDP contracted by 0.3% and growth in the previous quarter was 1%.  In my work I particularly enjoy helping businesses use numbers […]

Is it time to take the “Corporate” out of “Governance”?

Corporate Governance has been described as “the system by which companies are directed and controlled”.   Clearly this applies to all businesses.    However Corporate Governance as a subject tends to be the ambit of public companies, charities and other public interest organisations.  On line conversations in the Corporate Governance community seem to mostly relate to larger businesses. In […]

Subsidiary audit exemption – four things to consider

There are various requirements for a subsidiary to become exempt from audit under recently published legislation; these most significantly include a statutory guarantee to be given by the parent company of all of the liabilities of the subsidiary at the financial year end. I believe that taking advantage of the exemption will require careful consideration.  Here […]