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 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, […]

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 […]

How easily can your business cope with slow paying customers?

A recent survey carried out by the credit reference agency Graydon and the Forum of Private Business (FPB) highlighted that late payment by companies was having a domino effect, with 56% of businesses that are paid late being forced to delay paying their suppliers.   16% said they had almost been put out of business as […]

Tone from the top – ethics, integrity and…profits & cash

The term “tone from the top” is usually used to describe the way that directors create the atmosphere in which an ethical approach to business is promoted or where dodgy behaviour is allowed to exist. Not actively encouraging ethical behaviour can lead to turning a blind eye. Where there is a highly driven approach to the […]

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 […]

Benefits and pitfalls of invoice discounting

Invoice finance is an increasingly popular form of funding. To some extent it’s been associated with distressed businesses, but it can also be a good way of funding growth. What is invoice finance? In broad terms the funder provides finance up to an agreed percentage of outstanding customer balances. Typically cash can be advanced the […]

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 […]

Small business finance. A response from Minister for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk

Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk posted the following question on LinkedIn:  “The Government has announced plans to help small and medium sized businesses access finance, secure new contracts and help drive growth. What are the barriers holding back your business that Government could help remove?” At the time of writing there has been […]