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Deal sees £1.5m turnover printing business acquired

Deal sees £1.5m turnover printing business acquired

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

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 experts

We referred 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.

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

We were 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 insolvency practitioners, who were able to move quickly and get the deal done.

Daniel Plant, director of SFP Restructuring Limited, said:

When directors are faced with the difficult choice of placing their company into administration it is important that the administrators can be relied upon to seek the best deal available and do it in timely fashion.

By working proactively with management as well as the team at Alexander Knight & Co we were able to do both 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.

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Alexander Knight & Co becomes official partner with Funding Circle

funding circle logo manchester accountants

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 work 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, the deals on offer are competitive and as an official partner we can secure better 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!

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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

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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 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.


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.


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.


Action required – ‘Making Tax Digital’

If you currently submit your VAT return using an Excel spreadsheet you must take action to update your process or face expensive fines from HMRC.

To comply with new ‘Making Tax Digital’ requirements you must use accredited accounting software to submit the return. We can:

  1. Guide you on upgrading your existing accounting software.
  2. Check and submit your VAT return using our specialist software for just £99 per VAT return.

Failure to comply with these new regulations could see huge fines imposed by HMRC.

We are working with all our clients to ensure they choose the best method of processing tax and VAT returns which are HMRC compliant and work best for their business.

In many cases, it is easier and more efficient for our VAT team to handle your returns. This way, you can be sure that you are compliant and also it removes the risk and hassle of doing it all your self.

To simply update the way you process your VAT returns speak to Jane Marquez in our team and she will guide you on the best option for your business.

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Flying high with our drones

Accountants using drones to complete audit work

We are proud to be the first accountancy firm in the region to make use of drone technology in audit work for clients.

We have introduced a fleet of drones to undertake verification work for our audit clients who have large or dispersed sites where traditional auditing methods prove difficult or very labour intensive.

Our team is now being trained to fly the drones and the benefits of this approach for our clients are significant.

Drones for audits

We have been testing the use of drones in the audit process for several months now and the results have been successful. Many clients can benefit from the use of this innovative technology. Clients are increasingly seeing them as less of a novelty item and more of a useful business tool.

They are also proving extremely helpful in assessing physical risk before completing audit work in tricky locations.

We hope that by using technology like this, as well as testing other forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI), we can pass the benefits on to both our staff and our clients.

Murray Patt flies one of the drones we are using for some of our audit clients.

Artificial intelligence

Accountants have been using technology for many years to improve what they do and deliver more value to clients. However, it is important for our profession to keep exploring new methods of working as technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence, develops at such a rapid pace.

Drone technology is under the spotlight and new legislation due to be introduced in November 2019 will give police officers the power to land and seize drones. It will also require users to produce a licence.

We firmly  support this new legislation to make sure that drones are used in a safe and responsible way. We are confident that these policies will continue to enable businesses to derive the benefits from this emerging technology

If you are looking for new accountants to audit your business – speak to our team now.


Making tax digital

From 1st April 2019, if you are VAT registered and have a turnover of more than £85,000 then the making tax digital (MTD) scheme for VAT will be mandatory.

If you are eligible you must join the scheme and if, for whatever reason, your turnover falls below the £85,000 threshold you must stay on the scheme and cannot revert to the old way of submitting returns – unless you deregister or become exempt for MTD.

If you qualify then you will need to change the way you file your VAT return with HMRC starting for your VAT period starting after the 1st April 2019:

  • If your VAT quarter end is March then your first MTD submission will be June 19
  • If your VAT quarter end is April then your first MTD submission will be July 19
  • If your VAT quarter end is May then your first MTD submission will be Aug 19

The new regime means that HMRC will receive the same VAT return information as before, but it needs to be sent by an API (electronic) link to HMRC and can’t be typed in manually via online services.

VAT frequency and payment deadlines will remain the same as will eligibility for VAT special schemes.

When filing your return, the transactions that make up the return need to be kept digitally, this can be done using an accounting software package or by using spreadsheets.

Some software accounting packages that are up to date will have the API link required already in (SAGE ONE for example) so you will just need to send your return via the software package.

However, some older versions and spreadsheets won’t have this capability and therefore two options are available:

  • Upgrade your software for the latest version with the API link. This may not be practical, or possibly cost prohibitive.
  • Use our software to send the data to HMRC. We have already invested in the new software to enable our clients to maintain their existing VAT return process in a compliant way.

If you have any questions about ‘making tax digital’ and what it means for your business, speak to Jane Marquez in our team and she will help you make the transition.