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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bonuses the good the bad and the downright ugly

It is people’s abilities and behaviours that drive business success (and also failure). Training, leadership and motivation are critical to success. For people to perform well they should understand the purpose of what they are doing and its relevance to the organisation as a whole;  it is also important for them to have feedback.  Something […]

Put your head in the Cloud – but keep your feet on the ground!

A lot of the work I do is around the information that comes out of a computer or the processes before data is entered. What happens in between is to me, quite frankly, a bit of a dark art. I recently attended a seminar Cloud Accounting for the 21st Century Debunking The Myths hosted by […]

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 […]