Feature Finance — 06 February 2019

The first thing on any business’ New Year’s to do list is getting their finances organised for the upcoming year. Whether it’s preparing to expand your workforce or scale your business, every company wants to make this year their best.

Tax expert and Director of Online Tax Rebates, Tony Mills, provides actionable advice to help you manage your business’ finances better in 2019.

Stay on top of cash flow

Managing cash flow is one of the basic principles of doing business but it’s actually one of the biggest cause of failing SMEs.

It may sound obvious but keeping an eye on your finances means you can spot any potential cash flow issues before they arise and figure out how to manage them. Be clear with clients on payment terms – it’ll help you forecast cash flow, so you’re never left short. Also, consider adding late payment charges as an extra level of insurance for your business.

Managing books doesn’t have to be the arduous manual task it used to be. There are plenty of online resources available to help you plan your finances. Accounting software gives you a wider view of your financial future to make planning for the whole year easier. Try out some accounting and expense tracking tools like Quickbooks and Xero to find one that works for your business.

Time equals money

It’s normal for business owners to want to stay in control of all aspects of their company, rather than outsource jobs to external companies. However, hiring specialist organisations to tackle some of the more time-consuming tasks can free up your time to focus on growing and developing your business.

Plenty of manual tasks can be outsourced – like bookkeeping, marketing and payroll – giving you more time to invest in innovation or streamlining internal processes. Not to mention, outsourcing tasks can often be more cost-effective, but make sure to be clear about expectations and stay in regular contact with third-party hires.

Raising investment

Small businesses looking to raise additional funds in 2019 could benefit from The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, which offers indirect tax relief for businesses meeting certain criteria. SMEs with fewer than 25 employees and less than £200,000 in gross assets could be accepted into the scheme.

The SEIS sees over 2,000 SMEs receive investment backing per year, offering potential investors the incentive of income tax relief on 50 percent of their investments – up to £100,000 – for backing small businesses.

The scheme makes SMEs who may typically struggle to secure external funding a more attractive proposition and could see businesses secure up to £150,000 in investment.

Take what’s yours

Small businesses can benefit from many forms of tax relief, however too many are unaware of the incentives available to them.

In fact, it’s thought 95 percent of businesses eligible for research and development tax credits are still not claiming what they’re owed. Companies who’ve brought innovative products to market could be eligible for a tax break, which has an average value of over £50,000.

If your business uses uniforms for any reason – whether it’s reinforcing your brand or keeping staff protected on the job – you could benefit from tax relief. Simply keep a record of all company uniform purchases and let staff know they’re entitled to claim a rebate for the cost of maintenance of their uniform.

This online calculator will give you an idea of how much you could be entitled to, and send out the relevant uniform tax rebate forms to help you get the claim process rolling. Workers who’ve not previously claimed could even be entitled to claim back on the last 4 tax years as a lump sum.

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