, , , ,

Are these the top five business trends for 2020?

Top 5 business trends for 2020

As 2019 draws to a close it’s important for business owners to be on the front foot when it comes to anticipating what’s in store for next year. Predictions by experts are commonplace in business circles at this time of year and some are more accurate than others.

Our team at Alexander Knight & Co think these five trends are the ones that should be on your radar during 2020.

1) 5G

Mobile connectivity is set to get faster and more reliable with the steady rollout of 5G across the country during 2020. As well as being much faster than previous ‘G’s, it is also set to open up lots of new business opportunities for entrepreneurs. One interesting consequence of the introduction of 5G is that the battery life of mobile phones is now being touted as being up to 10 times longer.

2) Public reviews

Public user-generated reviews will play an increasingly powerful role on your business fortunes during 2020. Google reviews, Facebook reviews and Trustpilot reviews are all being pushed heavily in internet search engines and star ratings will increasingly appear alongside mentions of your business online. It’s important to get a proactive strategy in place now to make sure you are generating plenty of positive online sentiment about your business and encouraging your clients and customers to give you five-star reviews.

3) Remote working

Remote working and collaborative working spaces will continue to increase in popularity. Formerly the preserve of freelancers and one-man bands, SME’s are now seeing the benefits of increased productivity when enabling and empowering their workforce to work from home or in a collaborative working space with other companies. More and more office space will become dedicated to the concept of collaborative working and local authorities in particular will be encouraging this use to fill up vacant buildings on the high street.

4) Going global

Internationalism will be a major focus for businesses of all sizes during 2020. After three years of uncertainty about Brexit, businesses have realised that expanding their international links will stand them in good stead, no matter how things turn out with Brexit. Expect to see more companies developing international connections, launching new offices and agreeing joint ventures with companies across Europe and the rest of the world.

5) Speedy decisions

Faster decision making. Business owners who can make speedy (and correct) decisions will always be the ones who succeed more than the rest. This has always been the case but the trend during 2019 of delaying decisions about expansion, investment, exiting or acquiring new companies may come to an end in 2020. Companies in our own client base at Alexander Knight & Co are planning to make big and bold decisions they feel are right for their business. We predict more corporate transactions next year and we’re excited about what this means for our entrepreneurial client base in the year ahead.

 

If you are reviewing your current arrangements with your existing accountants please call us on 0161 980 8788.

Alexander Knight & Co at Accountex North 2019 in Manchester

We were delighted to have been invited to an exclusive round table hosted by Accountex at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. Alongside a group of other professionals, accountants and financial advisers we were there to share our insights on how to innovate and grow.

Working so closely with entrepreneurial clients who are growing and developing their businesses gave us a real advantage in the discussions and we were able to cite many great examples of the incredible success many of our clients are having in business.

One of the things we emphasised was the need for small and medium sized businesses to continue investing in innovation if they are to grow and expand. We also pressed home the need to have a good, trusted network of professional advisers around you as a business owner.

You can read a brief summary of the event here.

Time to ‘e-think’ the company car?

Company cars have been deeply unfashionable for more than a decade now. In that time, the vast majority of company directors and employees understand that they are better off buying a car personally and then claiming the associated expenses.

Concern for the environment was the reason why a more punitive tax regime was placed on the owners of company cars in the first place. Tax was tethered to the value of the car and the level of CO2 emissions belched out.

However, could the downward trend be reversed? 

The introduction of electric powered cars has reignited the debate on what the levels of company car taxes should be.

Now, the Government says that company car drivers choosing a pure electric vehicle will pay no benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax in 2020/21.

It has created two new BIK tables for company car drivers; a table for those driving a company car registered after April 6, 2020, and one for those driving a company car registered before April 6, 2020. Speak to Murray if you want to see either table.

In a nutshell, what it means for motorists is that pure electric cars offer outstanding tax advantages.

Hybrids, which are currently more popular and accessible at this point in time, also make sense as a company car. Those with a 40-mile range will have a very low 8% tax rate. Company cars with CO2 emmisions below 75gkm are a good choice as a company motor compared to the alternative diesel/petrol models.

One client recently saw more than £10,000 knocked off his tax bill because he plumped for the Range Rover Hybrid model over the petrol version.

Renaissance

Our prediction is that there will be an upward swing in demand for electric vehicles, not least from socially responsible fleet managers in the business world, but also for business owners driving cars at the luxury end of the market. These new tax advantages will see a rise in the number of company cars on the road.

With more e-charging points being installed across the country, improvements to the range of electric engines and a steady fall in the price we are sure to see a renaissance of the company car – one that might be more suitable for you than your current arrangements.

For a review of your company car tax status or that of your existing fleet for your business call Murray Patt on (0161) 980 8788. 

, ,

Deal sees £1.5m turnover printing business acquired

Deal sees £1.5m turnover printing business acquired

We place great emphasis on our high quality relationships with other professional advisers. We believe that by working alongside the best lenders, lawyers and insolvency practitioners we can offer a fully rounded service that the modern entrepreneur expects.

A deal which saw one of our clients in the printing sector acquired has been completed successfully as a result of proactive teamwork with other professional advisers.

When one of our long-standing clients faced severe cashflow difficulties we were able to work closely with the directors and senior management team and other professional advisors to source buyers for the business, who could take it forward as a going concern.

The business, a successful owner managed business had been trading for more than 15 years. Earlier this year it faced extra challenges due to reduced demand for its specialist glass printing as well as stiff competition from overseas competitors.

Sadly, as margins continued to be squeezed, and after exhausting all other funding options, the directors had no other choice but to place the business in administration.

Working with restructuring specialists

We introduced the directors to SFP Restructuring Limited, the licenced insolvency practitioners, who immediately set to work discreetly marketing the business for sale through its network of contacts, investors and interested parties. After a period of just two weeks, an offer for the business was accepted and the business was acquired by a trade buyer.

The deal meant that the directors of the business could exit and new owners could continue the business with minimal disruption. It was a good deal all round and the business remains in experienced hands moving forwards giving certainty for staff, suppliers and the wider marketplace.

We were very pleased to be able to assist the directors to identify the most suitable exit from the business. Our clients were keen to ensure that the business was passed onto experienced operators, who would continue to use the brand name, maintain the skills developed by their staff and seamlessly integrate a new management team. This was successfully achieved by working closely alongside SFP Group, the restructuring specialists, who were able to move quickly and get the deal done.

Daniel Plant, director of SFP Restructuring Limited, said:

“By working proactively with management as well as the team at Alexander Knight & Co we were able to do all of these things achieving a good result in difficult circumstances.”

If your business is experiencing cashflow issues, speak to us to get advice on your options.

, ,

Alexander Knight & Co becomes official partner with Funding Circle

funding circle logo manchester accountants

Raising finance

We are pleased to have been selected as an official partner with Funding Circle to widen the scope of opportunities for our clients to raise finance for their business.

We already work very closely with all the mainstream banks and most of our clients are able to access facilities with their existing bank or re-finance with another mainstream bank. These relationships are stronger than ever before.

Sometimes though, alternative finance can be more suitable.

For this reason, we’ve partnered with Funding Circle because its online lending platform is easy to use and the deals on offer are competitive. In addition, as an official partner we can secure preferential interest rates for our clients.

Funding Circle

Some of our clients have already used Funding Circle successfully and they have been pleased with the service and the results. That’s why we can be confident that this official partnership will benefit some of our other clients seeking access to finance.

IF YOU NEED TO RAISE FINANCE FOR YOUR BUSINESS TO EXPAND, HIRE STAFF, BOOST CASH FLOW OR FUND YOUR NEXT STEP – TALK TO US FIRST AND WE CAN GUIDE YOU ON THE BEST PATH FOR YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

,

Alexander Knight & Co expands with appointment of Alan Su

Internships in accountancy at Alexander Knight & Co in Manchester

We are pleased to announce that Alan Su has joined Alexander Knight & Co as an assistant accountant.

Alan qualified with a first class honours degree in Accounting & Finance from the University of Huddersfield in 2018. He has also worked in the accounting and admin team at Lip Hing Metal Manufacturing, the international wholesale business in Trafford Park.

Alan will play a key support role to the wider team in delivering audit, accounts, bookkeeping, payroll and VAT.

Alan was born in Guangdong province in China and speaks fluent Cantonese. He arrived in the UK aged 6 and attended Xavierian College in Manchester.

Murray Patt, founder of Alexander Knight & Co, said:

We are delighted to formally welcome Alan to our team.  He is a very welcome addition and he has already accrued good experience client side. He showed great initiative in contacting us directly and we are always keen to hear from good people in the accountancy profession.  We look forward to him continuing his journey, securing his professional qualifications here at our practice and enjoying a career with Alexander Knight & Co.

Welcome to our team Alan!

, , ,

Interns in accountancy in Manchester

Internships in accountancy at Alexander Knight & Co in Manchester

We are delighted to welcome Alan Su to our team as he begins his internship programme at Alexander Knight & Co. Since we launched our practice in 2012 we have always invested in the next generation of accountants.

This summer, in 2019, we have introduced a more formal internship programme for people who wish to launch or progress a career in accountancy in Manchester and Cheshire.

If you are in college, sixth form or university and you are trying to get a foot in the door in the finance industry then you’ll know how challenging it can be.

The competition is intense. However, there are some things that you can do to stand out from the crowd. Here are some of our key tips:

Polish your CV

First things first, you need to have a clean and clear CV – with no spelling mistakes. Make sure that you proofread your resume for any spelling errors. Correct any spelling, style, or grammatical mistakes. Then, check it again. It is better to get someone else to proof read it too.

Be truthful and realistic on your CV. Don’t stretch the truth. That time when you worked in the school tuck shop doesn’t count as “financial management”. Don’t be tempted to exaggerate the roles you have played in organisations or it will surface in interview.

Think outside the box

Be alert to internship and work experience opportunities all year round – not just during the summer months. Getting experience  at anytime of the year in a good accountancy firm is always worthwhile.

Get advice – and go direct

Careers advisers at schools, colleges and sixth forms are normally pretty good these days at guiding students on the availability of internships. Don’t just rely on them though.

To uncover really good internship opportunities, check the websites of accountants because many of them will have a careers page which offers details of their work experience or internship programme. Even if some of them don’t list one, the chances are they might have one, they just don’t advertise it. Don’t be shy to pick up the phone and speak to people to find out who the correct person to send your CV to is.

Apply on time

More formal internship programmes have strict deadlines for applying. Make sure you submit your application on time. Pay close attention to the submission process and don’t miss anything out. If anything is ambiguous, double-check with the employer so that you are fully clear on what is expected. Many applications get rejected because candidates don’t complete their application properly.

Prep for your interview

Going to an interview unprepared almost certainly guarantees that you won’t land the position. Obviously, you should be well presented, smart and arrive on time for your interview. Find out as much as you can ahead of time who will be interviewing you so that you are familiar with their role in the company.

Be proactive in asking questions about the company you are applying for – what is their growth strategy? How do they go about finding new talent? What is their range of clients?

Some of the more popular open-ended interview questions posed by employers include:

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why did you choose the A-levels/degree you did?
  • Why are you interested in becoming an accountant?
  • Tell us about a time when you resolved a problem.

Alison perhaps add some better ones!?

Be flexible!

Internships offer a varied range of duties and learning opportunities. Whether your task is to input data into a spreadsheet, support an audit team or attend a client meeting, make sure you do it enthusiastically and professionally. Employers are always on the look out for new talent to enhance their organisation. If you follow these simple tips you could be the next superstar they are looking for.

To be considered for our accountancy internship programme for 2020 email alison@alexanderknightaccountants.co.uk

, ,

Six good reasons to buy a business this year

buy a business in hale

Alongside launching a company, buying an existing business usually ranks as one of the most exciting times of an entrepreneur’s career. It’s worth remembering that a successful acquisition takes patience, effort and plenty of homework before the deal is agreed.

When our entrepreneurial clients acquire a business, we take great care to make sure that the deal makes sense financially, practically and culturally. After all, it’s not for the faint hearted.

Buying a business

In our experience there are usually some common reasons why it makes sense for business owners to make an acquisition.

  • Geographical expansion. Rather than creating a new physical infrastructure to sell your services or goods and hiring new staff in a new location, it may be less risky and more profitable to acquire an existing business in your target location.
  • ‘Bolting on’ new services, skills or technology. Creating new products and services to add to your business can often be done more efficiently through acquisition than trying to build them in-house. If another company has expertise in an area you want to operate it can make sense to ‘bolt’ them on to your existing business.
  • Growth and exit. It could be that you and your boardroom colleagues are on a growth mission for your business and a strategic acquisition can add value to your position. If you have one eye on an exit (i.e. selling your business) you may be able to create more value in your business by growing it with a suitable acquisition.
  • Buying a competitor. It may be that you feel that your business and a rival business are in the same marketplace, fishing in the same pond for the same type of business and that you come up against each other all the time in pitches and tenders. By teaming up together you may be able to create a more successful business.
  • Getting presented with an opportunity too good to miss is common. Sometimes, you will see an opportunity to radically reduce costs, improve margins and cashflows in a target business. Good professional advisers will present opportunities to you where you might not ordinarily come across them. This strategy is where private equity firms excel.
  • Succession planning. Retirement, handing a family firm into new hands or undergoing a management buyout (MBO) are popular routes to acquiring a company.

If you are thinking of acquiring a business you need to make sure that you finance the deal appropriately, structure the deal correctly legally and ensure that a thorough due diligence process takes place. That’s where lawyers and accountants will be able to help you and add tremendous value.

If you are looking to acquire another business call Murray Patt on 0161 980 8788 or email murray@alexanderknightaccountants.co.uk

,

Do you have a Brexit headache?

Brexit headache

If you run a business there’s a good chance that you’ll be exasperated by the way the Brexit process has unfolded. Whether you voted to leave or remain, the one thing we are sure most entrepreneurs agree on is that stability and certainty is better than prevarication and procrastination.

It’s for that reason that we are recommending that clients stick to the things that they can control in their own business. Being brave, creative and agile are the hallmarks of good entrepreneurs but being focused is also a key attribute.

At this stage, Brexit has already been delayed and we still have no idea what our relationship with the European Union will look like – but getting the basics right will stand you in good stead, whatever happens.

Focus

Focus on what you do best as a business. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing – just stick to what you know you are good at and keep your management team and colleagues around you positive and motivated to keep delivering a good quality service and product.

Cashflow

Cash is king. Businesses that have a clear view of their cash position will be able to respond better to issues out of their control. If a fresh injection of working capital is required, you can predict it well in advance and find sources in good time.

Learn 

If you want to know more about preparing your business for Brexit, you can find this guide published by the UK Government, which offers some guidance. The ICAEW has also produced some excellent guidance here.

Both of these sources will give you ‘food for thought’ and enable you to be equipped with a decent level of knowledge about many of the Brexit factors at play for business owners and employers.

If you want to discuss the impact of Brexit on your business, you can speak to our team on 0161 980 8788.

,

We’re hiring!

PQ accountant jobs in Hale
Are you a newly qualified (or part-qualified) accountant? 

A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a newly qualified – or part-qualified accountant – to join our growing practice in Hale, Greater Manchester.

Alexander Knight & Co is based at modern Grade A office space in the heart of Hale village. We have an entrepreneurial culture and work with some of the brightest and fastest-growing businesses in Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

Working in a supportive and friendly environment you will be involved in a wide variety of accountancy services for our client base.
This is a fantastic opportunity for someone who is Chartered, Certified or AAT qualified/part-qualified  and looking for ongoing personal and professional development and support.
Please send your CV and a covering letter to alison@alexanderknightaccountants.co.uk
We're recruiting in Hale for a new accountant

Join our growing team of accountants in Hale.