This is what Xero can do for you

As an accountant I am a big fan of Xero accounting software. It makes my life and those of my clients a lot easier.

Xero also allows me as your accountant to provide a far better service to you.

I have an excellent example of this which happened last week.

I started working for a new client in January, he was already using Xero accounting software so that was good news for me.

He e-mailed me with an enquiry about a potential tax liability in April. Within 30 minutes, after a review of his accounts in Xero, I was able to make some suggestions which removed that potential tax liability and identified tax savings of more than £2,000.

All that in less than 30 minutes.

Had my client not been using Xero accounts software I doubt I could have identified these savings in two weeks, let alone 30 minutes. By that time the opportunity to make those savings would have been lost.

So if you’re wondering what Xero can do for you get in touch and I can show you.

Mark Telford


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Go on, try it, we did.

I’m a big fan of Xero accounting software not just as an accountant but as a business owner. I implemented it in my business in 2010 and encourage clients to make the move when its right for them.

Many of our clients who have changed accounting software to Xero are won over by its visual appearance and ease of use. It has the ability to help clients get closer to the financial aspects of their business and encourages them to find out more.

If you are a business owner, have heard of Xero but haven’t gone any further than that, take a look at the video below to see if it can convince you to make the change.

You won’t regret it, we didn’t.

Mark Telford


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Good times and bad

Being in business has its ups and downs as most people know. As an accountant I get to see a wide variety of businesses, some doing incredibly well, plenty doing okay and a few struggling.

Businesses in each of these categories need a different approach and type of service from their accountant.

A business doing well may need their accountant to help plan to stay in control of the growth, perhaps producing cash flow forecasts to make sure they don’t bite off more than they can chew. Remember the much overused clichés

“cash is King”

“sales for vanity, profit for sanity”

In the current climate and with funding being increasingly hard to come by its vital that businesses control their cash flow.

One of my longest standing clients had been struggling for some time, profits falling and cash flow worsening. We took the decision recently to close the business down. There have been some dark days and high levels of stress over the past few months but once the paperwork had been signed and there was the realisation that it was all finished there was a huge sense of relief from him.

He can now look to the future, his other business is trading well and he will benefit from the lessons learned, one of them being to make a decision.

The worst thing you can do is to make no decision, especially if it involves your struggling business. Things are not always as bad as they may seem and there are often a variety of options available.

So, if your business is struggling and you can’t see a way out, make sure you speak to your accountant – he (or she) should be there to help in good times and bad.

Mark Telford


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Adding value

Last week I prepared annual accounts and corporation tax returns for two companies, prepared management accounts and attended a board meeting for another and helped another finalise a company sale.

You could say that these fairly standard accounting services added value but in many cases the role of an accountant is seen as a necessary evil. Accounts and tax returns these have to be submitted and many clients begrudge the fact that they need an accountant to help with this.

So, how do you add value – help a business grow, improve their cash flow, reduce their tax bills? Yes, all of those things help to add a financial value.

The best thing I did last week was to help a client reduce his and his family’s stress levels which had been sky high for the last 18 months. How? By finalising the liquidation of his business. This had been hanging over him like a dark cloud for more than a year and a half and now its all in the past.

What did I do? You could say I held his hand through the whole process, found a specialist to deal with the liquidation, negotiated with creditors, reduced debt levels, planned for the future and helped him do the right thing from start to finish.

That to me is adding value, improving a clients quality of life and helping him be able to look forward to the future.

Mark Telford

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I’m not your man

How much do you charge?

I never compete on price, so if you’re looking for a cheap accountant I am most definitely not your man.

I prefer to win new accountancy clients by offering and providing a high quality, personalised service. I like to demonstrate what Telford Associates can do for them, it may be by improving the quality of their accounting records, improving their understanding of accounts and how to interpret the results, or of course, not forgetting, how to help them pay less tax.

Clients need to feel like they are special and their accountant should show a genuine interest in their business. After all as an accountant I need to understand a client’s business to be able to provide a high quality service.

Provide this level of service  and your clients will be happy and will refer you to friends, family and business contacts.

This is particularly important for my accountancy business as I don’t spend money on advertising and marketing. The vast majority of my new clients come from referrals from existing clients and business contacts.

The same principles should apply to your business, whatever you do. This is exactly what I found when I met with Chris Keel from Denton Mowers to get my chainsaw, hedge cutter and brush cutter repaired.

Chris delivered an excellent service which I was completely blown over by. He kept me completely informed of what was happening, what he needed to do and how long it would take. The machines were returned in absolutely fantastic condition. How much did it cost? Well, its not really relevant because I was completely sold on the level of service I received and I will happily recommend Chris to anyone based 100% on the level of service I received.

So if you want to win new clients focus on delivering a fantastic service, keep your clients happy and they will recommend you.

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Tax avoidance, that’s illegal!

No it isn’t.

Tax avoidance is what a good accountant should be doing, helping you to pay less tax legitimately.

Like tax mitigation.

Tax evasion is the one to avoid like the plague.

So which is your accountant helping you with?

Hopefully its avoidance or mitigation. If its none of the above, the likelihood is you’re paying too much tax. Most of us don’t like paying more tax than we need to so it makes sense to use an accountant who will take time to understand you and your business and recommend an approach which fits with your circumstances and attitude to risk.

The approach taken will very much depend on your attitude to risk. The high profile tax avoidance schemes which have been in the press over the last few weeks will not appeal to individuals and business owners who favour a cautious approach.

If you operate your business as a sole trader you may want to consider changing to a partnership, especially if your partner is not currently working.

Perhaps your business has grown over a period of time and has build a strong brand as well as asset value. In which case changing from sole trader to limited company has a number of tax and cash flow benefits.

So, are you paying too much tax? It may be worth speaking to an accountant to find out. If you decide to see an accountant the first meeting should be free and he or she will either confirm you’re not paying too much tax or will help identify real tax savings.

So, why wait? Pick up the phone or send an e-mail and set the ball rolling to see if an accountant can help you pay less tax – legitimately.

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It’s been a while, but I’m back!

It’s been a while since I posted on here. I’ve been very busy growing my accountancy practice which has led to me neglecting my blog, so it’s time to get back on track. I’ll look to post on a regular basis touching on accounting and tax tips which I think are relevant to small businesses and relating these to real examples – no names of course.

Accountancy and tax can be confusing to small business owners, my aim is to make it more understandable and to help business and individuals to pay less tax.

I post regular updates and tips on linkedin and twitter, so take a look and connect or follow me if you think I may be able to help.

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