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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Is more audit exemption a good idea?

Last week the Government announced a further expansion of the audit exemption rules.  In addition to extending the exemption for some so called “small” companies, it will be available to most subsidiary companies provided the parent company guarantees their liabilities. Arguably I should be welcoming the relaxation in rules, perhaps more businesses will want internal […]

Double dip or not – 5 tips for steering through uncertain conditions

When the credit crunch hit I was struck by how many businesses adopted a slash and burn mentality. Doubtless many businesses had been complacent and there was fat that could be trimmed, but also there was a reluctance to spend money on the things that would take them forward, whether it was marketing, skills, IT […]

Is audit an emotive term?

For many people their experience of audits is of external audit, which to a large extent is a forced purchase required by law. For the uninitiated an external audit is carried out by an independent firm of accountants and its main focus is forming a view on whether the annual accounts give a true and […]

How fraud prevention can improve profits and cash flow

In my last blog I spoke about the increased risk of fraud in the current climate and the challenges of SMEs in preventing fraud.  Whilst businesses can thrive on friendliness, informality can also result in loose procedures that leave a business exposed to fraud or error.  Here are some tips which should not only help […]

Management accounts: are beans part of your recipe for success?

The eyes of many directors can glaze over at the thought of looking at a set of accounts. I can sympathise – going through lots of badly laid out and sometimes unimportant information is not appealing!  As a numbers person I can handle it, but for non accountants? …..well yes, I can see it IS boring!! Accountants […]