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SPWCA, which was established in 1945, comprises 6 partners and 3 Associates operating from both our West End and North London offices. Our clients consistently receive a high quality and personalised, partner led service. We provide experienced and specialist staff committed to the success of... More
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SPW (UK) LLP Chartered Accountants
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  • How Can Auditors Improve The Performance Of A Business?

    Sometimes, a business, even a successful one, can become like a bureaucracy. Meaning that man-hours, resources and capital are expended needlessly. Audit services can help a great deal.

    No-one ever intends for their staff to get tied up in regulations and paper work, to duplicate tasks, or to needlessly waste money on things the company does not need. It just happens over time, in many institutions. Sometimes it can be because of the "groupthink" effect, or often it can just be the way your company has always done business without anyone daring to question; "why?". It can sometimes require an outsider to see it.

    Getting in an outsider is really the best option in many cases

    An audit carried out by an external company can do a great deal to cut through this herd mentality, and get to the bottom of expenditure. Someone from outside the company has no emotional attachment to any member of staff, making them completely impartial. This means that they can say the things which may hurt feelings, but which really need to be said nonetheless. They can act without prejudice, without attachments to flawed ideas or procedures or the flawed ideas of their friends.

    This might sound harsh, but if something is going financially wrong in your company, the best people to diagnose the problem, and proscribe a cure are not often the people who caused the problem to begin with. Particularly if some of those people may have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

    Decreasing waste is just as good as making profits

    Businesses chase sales, it's what the business world does, and the main reason why companies exist. But it's not the be all and end all. Sometimes, the best way to make money is to reduce overheads. Both can result in increased profits, it's just that reducing overheads is often far less risky than spending great deals of money to chase sales that might never materialize.

    It's human nature to want more, to spend, to gamble, to acquire. It can be hard to hear that you may need to go backwards, to cut-down. For example: perhaps spending £100,000 re-furnishing the office building on the vague promise that it might increase revenues isn't the best idea. Perhaps spending hundreds of thousands on advertising without any assurance that the company will benefit isn't necessary.

    This goes against many people's instincts, to be told that less is more, and that sometimes going forward means taking a step back. Audit services will help show things in the cold light of day.

    If you can cut down waste, and survive in a recession, then you will reap the rewards later.

    It's often said, and it continues to be true; that companies who can do well in a recession are best placed to benefit massively come the recovery. Eliminating waste now, while money is tight, will set your company in a strong position.

    That being said; a professional audit & accountants firm will not only eliminate waste, but will also help you see where you can better allocate resources. If your company is in a strong position to take advantage of the current climate, then audit services will suggest where. It may be that because you've tightened your belt in the lean times, you have enough capital to purchase assets that are at a vastly reduced price. A full audit provided by a top firm will point you in the right direction of where these opportunities exist.

    Dec 05 9:17 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Creating A Personal Financial Budget - Become Your Own Money Expert

    If you frequently notice that you have too much month left at the end of your money then it's probably time to start thinking about devising your very own personal financial budget. Being forced to look at your monthly in-comings and outgoings can seem daunting but it's worth the effort because ultimately, it could save you money and prevent you from going overdrawn at the bank. If you have been living off your overdraft for months or even years then there's no time to lose.

    Become a List Maker:

    Your first task is to write down every single penny that you spend in a notebook which you should carry around with you everywhere. If you buy a newspaper, magazine, cup of coffee or put petrol into your car, then you need to record these purchases. At the end of the week you may be surprised at how much money you have spent on unnecessary items. These lists are an essential way to begin a budgeting plan because they familiarize you with your spending habits.

    Gather All of your Financial Statements:

    Collect all of your bank statements, receipts and bills and sort through them individually. On a sheet of paper, make three columns and label them as Essentials, Optional Spending and Miscellaneous. Under Essentials you will have things like utility bills, mobile phone tariff, groceries, water rates, council tax, mortgage or rent etc. For Optional Spending you should record things such as money for socializing like trips to the cinema, buying cups of coffee, sandwiches, gym membership and TV packages. The miscellaneous column is very important because this is where you will record irregular, unexpected outgoings such as dental bills, car repairs or gifts.

    Generally you should always remember to allow between £30 and £50 for miscellaneous expenditure. If your car breaks down, it's good to have that peace of mind that you have some money put away for these types of emergencies. Once you have added all of your columns up and compared them to the amount on your payslip you will soon notice whether you are spending more than you earn. If however, you have money remaining then you're already on the right track.

    Break Habits by Making Sacrifices:

    If the writing is on the wall and your figures show that you are in financial dire straits then you need to try and dispose of some of the things listed in your Optional Spending Column. Ask yourself if you really need to buy your lunch every day. The answer will probably be no because you know that it's far cheaper to take your own sandwich into work. You can still buy lunch occasionally but it's best to wait until you have sorted out your personal finance first.

    If you are paying a lot of money for a Sky or Cable TV package but you only watch a few of the channels, then you could downgrade to a cheaper bundle. This could save you up to around £30 per month. If you haven't been to the gym for months then cancel your membership and go cycling or running instead as these are free ways of staying fit and healthy. Look at the amount of money that you're spending on internet access and do some research to see if there are any cheaper deals available.

    If you usually spend a lot in the supermarket then there are many ways to save money here. Swap your usual brands for the budget equivalent as there's not that much difference and you could actually halve your grocery bill. If you normally waste money on bottles water, stop buying it and get a water filter instead or even better still, drink tap water.

    Know Your Weaknesses:

    If you are fully aware that you can't help spending money on certain things then you should avoid these things. For example, if you get regular emails informing you of special offers that you would usually take advantage off, un-subscribe from these mailing lists to remove temptation from your daily life. If you find it difficult to say no to night out then pre warn your friends and family that you will be off the social circuit for a while as you are trying to sort out your personal financial budget. You will be surprised how many people are in the same boat as you.

    Taking your credit card out with you is never a good idea so make a habit of leaving it at home as this will rule out any possibility of you buying something which you can't afford. If your credit card is charging you interest each month then consider transferring the debt to a new card which offers 0% on balance transfers. This could save you up to a thousand pounds over the tear, depending how much is outstanding on your card.

    Get the Balance Right:

    After a few months you will start noticing that you are not as poor as you normally are, thanks to your stringent budgeting. Don't use this knowledge as an excuse to start spending again. Any spare money should be used to pay off any outstanding debts on loans or credit cards. Alternatively you could set aside any spare cash for your miscellaneous category. If you don't have any financial emergencies for a few months then you could actually set up a savings account and use this money to kick start your new nest egg.

    You should aim to sit down and review your budget at least once every couple of months to ensure that you are staying on target with your expenditure. Keep your notebook with you at all times because it's a good habit to have. For example you may be asked to contribute towards someone's leaving gift at work so you can record this amount in the book and later transfer it to the miscellaneous column of your budget sheet.

    It can be difficult to try and make your money stretch, especially if you're on low earnings. However, it is possible to spend correctly and follow a personal financial budget by living within your means. If however you are overwhelmed by the state of your current monetary affairs then it's always worth considering seeking individual financial advice. An expert in this field will be able to figure out exactly where you are going wrong and advise you on the most effective ways to solve your problems.

    Nov 26 3:55 AM | Link | Comment!
  • The Thriving Business: Taxation, Accounting And Business Tactics

    The Changing Market

    A successful business is a journey, not a destination. A company never reaches a point where the owner can claim that he has "made it" and then relax his vigilance thereafter. Business conditions are constantly changing, what with competitors arriving on the market daily. Legislation also plays its part. Because of the introduction of the Combined Code (of tax practice) in the UK, the established company as much as the new entrepreneur requires rigorous Tax Accounting, vital as financial planning for success.

    A Glorious Expansion

    Success in business does not mean mere absence of failure, but looking around and seizing other opportunities. Companies that have capital to invest often consider taking over another business. However, a business owner must know the exact state of the targeted company's finances. This is so even when he is anxious to acquire a company brand for prestige purposes rather than profit. It is vital to hire a firm of Chartered Accountants to carry out a thorough audit of the company's assets and liabilities. The acquiring company must ensure that it has enough capital to cover the operating costs of the new company.

    Planning for Profit

    A business can get into difficulty for a number of reasons. The classic situation is when a company does not have enough cash coming in to carry out its customer commitments. The business owner who avails of an Accounting service at this point is not admitting to failure, but recognizing that matters are not going according to Plan A and that he might need Plan B. A good financial adviser will prove invaluable in helping the business owner negotiate a short-term business loan, make representations to refinancing firms and even to venture capitalists. He will need the best deal he can get, because the venture capitalist normally expects a stake in the business.

    Planning, Managing and Succeeding

    The other situations in which a business owner might need the service of an Accounting firm are almost as numerous as there are businesses. However, one area where many company owners neglect to seek advice is in Tax Management. Taxation differs slightly from the "normal" financial management within a company in that it is possible to negotiate the delayed payment of a tax bill at a time of slow cash flow. Such a tactic can save a business owner from having to take other, more desperate measures to save his company. In all situations, a good Accounting consultant is an important addendum to the most outwardly successful of businesses.

    Nov 26 3:51 AM | Link | Comment!
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