As the owner of a small business, you've taken an enormous risk. It's a really brave move going it alone, and plenty of your fellow entrepreneurs have fallen by the wayside. So what are the main reasons brave people like you are kept awake at night? Here's a list of five common financial worries encountered by small business owners.
The problem - Cashflow
You can run the most successful and popular business on the planet, but if your cashflow goes pear-shaped you still run the risk of having to shut up shop for good. No wonder so many small business owners find the cashflow side of things so stressful. It's one of those real make-or-break things.
Staying on top of your incomings and outgoings, always knowing exactly where you are financially at any given moment, helps enormously because you don't get any nasty shocks and you have time to spot problems, heading them off before they become nightmares. Regular invoicing is another must-have, as is a simple but effective system to notify you of late invoice payments so you can chase them.
The problem - Pensions
As a business owner you might worry about your own pension. But there's more. How about workplace pensions? If someone you employ is eligible for automatic enrolment, you as their employer have to make contributions to the scheme. If you ignore auto enrolment, miss your staging date or duties start date, or don't pay your contributions, the pensions Regulator will take action, including fixed fines of anything from £400 to £50,000 and daily fines of between £50 and £10,000.
It's designed to be relatively simple, but many people still find the workplace pension scheme confusing. Check which of your staff want to be a part of the pension scheme and which would like to opt-out. You must then assess their age and income to determine if they need to be put into a pension scheme and how much you need to put in. This information must then be submitted to the Government Pensions Regulator http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/employer.... It's wise to get expert help and support from people who have an in-depth grasp of how the whole thing works, then you can relax and enjoy a decent night's sleep!
The problem – VAT and tax
The British tax system is notoriously complicated, and even though HMRC has made efforts to simplify it and the forms that support it, plenty of people still find it incredibly difficult. Getting it wrong comes with stiff penalties, and plenty of business owners feel it isn't worth the risk. That's why so many of them hand over their tax and VAT matters, along with Payroll and other financial essentials, to us.
Whether you're a tax wiz or novice, there are five taxes that as a small business owner you should be aware of. Income Tax is the tax paid on the businesses profits. Corporation tax applies to all Limited companies income as soon as they start taking profits. A company must also register for and be paying Value Added Tax (VAT) after that business earns more than £82,000 a year regardless of what kind of business it is. National Insurance is not technically a tax but must be paid to the government by all businesses. Business Rates are a tax on office or retail based businesses, similar to council tax but for business properties. If you don't have the time, inclination, resources or skills to make sure your books are in fine fettle, up to date 24/7/365, it makes a lot of sense to hand it over to someone else, an expert in the tax and VAT field.
The problem – Access to finance
High street banks have been told off several times over recent years for their over-strict small business lending practices. But they're still lagging behind. Your business might be very successful but as we mentioned when covering cashflow, VAT and tax, if your books aren't in apple pie order and your finances are in a mess, there's very little chance a bank will lend you money to fund growth or anything else. When you're set to expand, need to buy equipment or employ staff, it can be very frustrating.
There are many ways as a small business; you can make yourself appear to be a more attractive candidate for a business loan. Firstly be clear about why you need the money, how it will help your business and where it will be spent, it's important that you can communicate this to a lender. Next it's important that you find the right loan that meets all of your criteria and the best money lender, if you can match these to your business you become a much more compelling prospect. Finally hand your finances to a team that knows exactly how to present your books to a lender. The better your business looks on paper, the more likely you are to be offered a business loan.
The problem - The National Living Wage
The National Living Wage is an obligatory minimum wage in the United Kingdom for workers aged over 25, and it's expected to rise to at least £9 per hour by the year 2020. It might be keeping you up at night but on the other hand everybody deserves a decent pay packet, whatever their role. There isn't really a solution to this one, except to acknowledge gracefully that you will have to pay your staff according to the rules.
Call us to get your business finances in great shape
Why torment yourself with the money side of things? If you'd feel much better about life, the universe and everything with reliable, experienced financial expertise on your side, let's talk.