Find out what cloud accounting is all about and why it is revolutionising the way small businesses manage their finances, from two top notch accountants Tracey Aldous and Glenn Saunders. Of course the standard risk warning applies, namely that nothing in this podcast should be construed as giving advice which can only be done on an individual basis! Listen here What is cloud accounting

 

Welcome to our second podcast. My name is Neil Foley, from the Business Growth Club. We’re really fortunate today to have two top-notch accountants with us, Tracey and Glenn and I’ll introduce you in a little while. Essentially, what we want to do on this podcast is look at cloud accounting. What is cloud accounting? It’s a term that you may have heard of. It’s certainly one that’s bandied around a little bit. So, we’ll talk a little bit about what cloud accounting actually is. How it can benefit people and the changes that are happening to the accountancy profession. So, good morning, to Glenn and good morning Tracey.

Tracey:                 Morning Neil.

Neil:                       How are you?

Tracey:                 I’m good, thank you.

Neil:                       Good, good. Glenn is suffering from man flu, so, he’s not in the best of health, but I mean all credit to him he’s dragged himself out of his bed to be with us.

Glenn:                  I’m soldiering on don’t worry.

Neil:                       You’re soldiering on you’re a trooper. Let’s go straight into the meat of the subject. What is this term cloud accounting that we hear all about?

Glenn:                  It’s a concept that’s been around for a while now. I think it stems back to maybe 2008, 2009. There was a shift in the way that people were looking at the way they were producing their records in accountancy. The whole ideas is to make it more user friendly for the end user. The idea of the old ways of a spreadsheet and then turn information into a spreadsheet, producing invoices from Word documents was becoming a little bit laborious. In terms of time and what have you. So, cloud technology helps bring it all together. It is what it is, it’s in the cloud, it’s on the internet so it’s an internet based system. You basically do everything in one area.

Because it is on the internet, you can access your account, you can access everything from the internet. You don’t have to have it as a desktop download. Which means if you’re at home in the evening, and you want to check on something on your account, you can just go straight onto the internet. Log in, have a look and see how well your business is doing. Which, yes, you can do with a spreadsheet and what have you. But the reports and cloud accounting, the reports you can bring up are very user friendly as well. It’s a shift. The old ways of doing things are becoming more modern, and cloud accounting is basically helping people get more efficient.

Neil:                       So now I understand a bit about what cloud accounting actually is. What are the benefits Glenn?

Glenn:                  There’s a few benefits to this. Firstly, there’s online invoicing that you can do via any cloud package. This can be done through mobile devices as well, such as your mobile phone, your tablet. The nice thing about this rather than printing and posting it, you can send it via email straight away. Another nice feature about cloud accountancy is bank feeds. So, when it comes to looking at bank reconciliations rather than printing bank statements off and manually going through those ticking them off against expenses, you can feed your bank into the cloud software, and this helps reduce the amount of time you spend on bank reconciliation because there’s neat little functions in various soft ware where you can match everything up, and it just reduces the amount of time.

A lovely thing that we like about it is that both parties have access to the login. So, our clients are working away on the cloud software, and if there is a problem or any kind of help that they need, we can then log in at the same time in our office, and we can help them understand the issue or problems that they may be having in terms of working around the software. It is also secure. That’s one of the main points we need to get across. It has the same level of security as the high street banks. It’s encrypted, so therefore with there being an online software, the idea of it being hacked is that’s minimised through all the encryption in the software available.

Neil:                       That sounds great.

Glenn:                  Yeah, it’s great.

Neil:                       I think I’m right in saying you can also submit your VAT returns and things like that automatically?

Glenn:                  Absolutely, you can put your gateway system in there. So, again, they’re going in through a separate system, an online system through HMRC. You can produce your VAT returns in there. You can check everything in there. Then you can file your VAT returns by the cloud software as well. Which makes the time saving immense. There’s so many nice features about it.

Neil:                       No wonder it’s so popular. I suppose Tracey, if we then look at the different types of cloud systems out there. Because there’s a number of names that I keep hearing crop up. What are the main ones?

Tracey:                 So, the main ones that people use are KashFlow, Xero with an X, QuickBooks and there is Sage online. They are the four main ones. There are others, for example FreeAgent that is often promoted by Barclays, but we’re not really a fan of that one.

Neil:                       Okay.

Tracey:                 There aren’t many differences between them. There are certain things that certain software can do. I mean, I favour KashFlow over any of the others because it can do different things to QuickBooks and Xero. It does projects. What I mean by that is if you’ve got two businesses, so for example we do have a client at the moment that’s got two businesses. Where they’re trying to keep track of what’s going on with the two separate parts of the business. So, we set up projects in KashFlow so they can keep track of what’s going on. You can do a profit and loss report for each separate project. It can basically do cost cutting as well, it’s a pretty good system.

Neil:                       So, you like KashFlow, and that’s KashFlow not spelt with a C but with a K isn’t it?

Tracey:                 Spelled with a K yes. I’ve used KashFlow since 2009, and seen a lot of changes in KashFlow. It’s a good system to use.

Glenn:                  It’s evolved over the last few years.

Tracy:                    Yes.

Glenn:                  The dashboard has changed a lot. It’s become a lot more user friendly. It’s just a very nice easy system for people that are new to the cloud to use.

Neil:                       I guess that’s an important point isn’t it? In terms of IT because you said that cloud accounting started around 2008 or whenever, IT for most of us can still feel like a dark art. You need something that’s intuitive. What are these systems like to use?

Glenn:                  Yeah, well, I’ve just touched on that. Some of them are very clunky to use. We won’t name, names because it’s unfair. But, some are easy to use, some are very difficult to use. I think the important thing if you’re new to using cloud technology, and you’re used to and what we would tell now is the old ways of doing things with desktop technology. We would favour starting software because of the way that it is so easy to use.

Neil:                       It’s a very competitive market. So, I guess these four main ones including FreeAgent, which actually isn’t a bad system at the end of the day.

Tracey:                 No.

Neil:                       I’ve got to say that because I’ve got some shares in it.

Tracey:                 Yeah.

Neil:                       So, it’s a shame that you dissed it there Tracy, but never mind. I’m ignoring that. I guess it being such a competitive market and these are big companies aren’t they? QuickBooks is owned by Intuit.

Tracey:                 Yes.

Neil:                       It’s a huge American Company isn’t it?

Tracey:                 It’s American based.

Neil:                       I guess there’s a lot of developments. Do you see these updates going on all the time?

Glenn:                  Yes, we do. We often go to various conferences to find out what the latest updates are. There’s one in London that happens in May every year. We like to go down there and see what the latest developments are for the major players in cloud technology. Also, to see what new software they’re rolling out for the future as well. There’s some exciting things coming up.

Neil:                       In terms of the bank feeds and the major banks, will they all provide bank feeds?

Glenn:                  Not all of them. The way that the bank feeds are actually set up with various cloud products differs. For instance, one cloud software will allow you direct bank feeds. Another software will use a third party to feed the information in. So, it’s a question of us advising clients which is the best one and the most simple to use.

Neil:                       So, if Tracey prefers KashFlow is that the same for yourself Glenn?

Glenn:                  I’m leaning towards it. I do like Xero. I’ve used it in the past. I think it’s fantastic. There’s a lot of back end stuff that goes on with Xero that I like, in particular, the wacky paper side of thing which makes it a lot easier for our processes in the office. I do enjoy KashFlow as it’s a very easy to use system. QuickBooks is a nice, it has its benefits. We don’t use it as much as we do the others. But, that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it. It’s a nice software, but I don’t think I favour any one over the other. I like to use them all.

Neil:                       No in some ways you’re unusual as accountants for that. Because I’ve come across accountants who, when you talk about the cloud with them they’ll say, yes we’ve done our due diligence and blah, blah and then we’ve decided we like this one.

Glenn:                  Yeah.

Neil:                       That strikes me as possibly quite a risky thing to do isn’t it?

Glenn:                  Yeah, it is, but it’s not really about us is it? It’s about our clients and what they … What we feel they would be comfortable using.

Neil:                       Yes.

Glenn:                  For instance the people that aren’t so techie we would point them in the right direction, to get started with, which are very easy to use. Those that love all the tech, then we would suggest other products to use. Because, you know, what’s available on the other product would probably excite them a little bit more than others. Because of all the gadgets and what have you that’s on there so.

Tracey:                 I guess it just depends as well on what sort of business they’re running. If they’re a running a stock based business, then certain accountancy programmes-

Neil:                       Is QuickBooks probably better for stock control?

Tracey:                 No, actually I would say Xero.

Neil:                       Xero would you, okay.

Tracey:                 Yeah, QuickBooks can’t do the stock system. I will say that QuickBooks desktop was better for stock than the online version is.

Neil:                       Okay.

Tracey:                 But, that’s the only one we’ve really come across with stock problems. But, yeah, Xero I think.

Glenn:                  I think it depends what industry you’re in as well. I mean, for argument’s sake, we know that if you’re an online traderI believe that KashFlow is the one to use, because the PayPal integration is fantastic. It’s not so great with Xero, we’ve found. So, it depends what industry you’re in as well. We’ll then make a decision on what we decide to promote.

Tracey:                 Touching on the PayPal – it’s a little bit like the bank feeds. Basically, when people use KashFlow it will bring every single thing in from PayPal. So, if you’ve got like an e-commerce trader who used PayPal as their payment side of things, it’s literally five clicks to bring quite a lot of invoices in. It brings all the details. It brings all the data. The name, the address, email address and the actual product. If the product is in wherever they’ve put it for sale for example on Ebay it’ll bring the product name in. It just helps more than anything for the client. You haven’t got to sit there and…

Glenn:                  It all comes back to time saving. That’s it.

Neil:                       Which, means money as well doesn’t it? It’s more cost effective for everybody. I can imagine if you’re issuing invoices quickly, then there’s a chance you’re going to get paid quickly aren’t you? So, it should be good for your own cash flow shouldn’t it?

Tracey:                 Yes, they can then print them off and use them as delivery notes.

Neil:                       So it works doesn’t it?

Tracey:                 So, yeah, rather than straight out the Ebay system they can print it straight out as well.

Neil:                       This may sound an odd question. But, I know in terms of banks they have changed a lot over the years. The way that they interact with their customers. Yet, most people don’t change banks, even though your people would normally be very critical of their bank. They won’t actually get off their backsides and change.

Glenn:                  No, we often get asked by our clients, which bank do you recommend? Because naturally some of our clients, go off the back of our recommendations. It’s very difficult to say one or the other. Because-

Neil:                       They’re all as bad as each other right?

Glenn:                  Well, I wasn’t going to say that, but-

Neil:                       Well, I think most of them are-

Glenn:                  Yeah, okay. You took the words out of my mouth.

Neil:                       Even the Co-op owned 80% by American hedge funds. That seems a bit odd. So, in an accountancy package viewpoint, do people get very, “yeah, I know I should change, but you know, I’m used to doing things the way I’ve done. I’ve got my excel spreadsheets set up the way. Or my book keeper uses Sage and she’s happy?”

Glenn:                  Yes we do. We do get a lot of new business, in particular, often trades guys come in and they’re used to using a spreadsheet. Used to using a word doc for raising invoices. It’s a question of, well look, it’s not necessary that you have to stop changing the way you’re doing things because of the way that HMRC now want you to present your information to them. Many people aren’t aware of the changes that’s coming. Therefore, what we try to do here is educate people on the advantages of great technology, and then the necessity of it as well going forward.

Neil:                       Let’s touch on that now. Is this what I hear as being the digital revolution and quarterly reporting?

Glenn:                  Yeah, this is the make tax digital they’re rolling in for 2018. Although, from the budget the auto budget that’s now been put back to … I’m sorry is it the Spring Budget?

Neil:                       The Spring Budget.

Glenn:                  Sorry, yeah. That’s now been put back to 2019 for small businesses which, is great news to be honest, with you because in our opinion, not many of them are ready for it yet. There’s been a lot of consultation about it. We’re a little bit worried that as time goes on people aren’t aware of it and they’re not sure what they’re meant to be doing.

Neil:                       Well, we’d be paying taxes is that what they said? We’re paying every quarter as well as reporting?

Glenn:                  No, it’s not. You don’t have to at the moment, although I suspect that some point down the line that will be-

Neil:                       It’ll be too attractive not to do it.

Glenn:                  Exactly, yeah.

Neil:                       Because, you get a one off hit won’t you? So the Chancellor will do that.

Glenn:                  Once all the problems have been ironed out and they can see the system work. Then of course, the HMRC are going to say, right, okay, we want our money now.

Neil:                       Unlike a government to do that.

Glenn:                  Yes, very unusual.

Neil:                       Very, unusual, extraordinary.

Neil:                       In terms of the cloud again. I guess one measure of how well it works and successful is do many people go back? If they come from an excel or carrier bag full of receipts and bits of paper. Do they ever go back to saying you know, I can’t go on with this cloud stuff?

Tracey:                 No, not really. No, it’s very rare that you get a client that wants to come back … you know, go back.

Neil:                       Okay.

Tracey:                 It’s like back tracking. It’s going however many steps back. It’s backwards.

Glenn:                  We’re very good at showing people how to do it-

Tracey:                 Yeah, I mean-

Neil:                       And you’ve got the support staff here like, Matt etc., who can train people.

Tracey:                 Yeah, Matthew does quite a lot of training here. So, if there are any issues most of our clients will say can we come in for a training session. We’ll do that.

Neil:                       You touched earlier on the fact that there’s other tools that you can use. Alongside the cloud accounting packages. Is that Receipt Bank?

Glenn:                  There’s a raft of apps that are available to help everybody with automation which goes hand in hand with cloud accounting. For instance, you can have CRM system attached. You can have an app that … A phone app that actually helps you track your mileage.

Neil:                       Oh, really?

Glenn:                  Yeah, there’s a very-

Neil:                       That means you can’t make it up.

Glenn:                  I don’t know what you’re talking about. You can also use MailChimp as well. For instance, if you’ve got all your clients in cloud accounting such as KashFlow, using one as an example you can download all your customers into MailChimp. You can send them out regular information by MailChimp to help. A promotion, sales offers that kind of thing. Keeping in touch like there’s things that’s happening in your world.

Neil:                       Good idea.

Glenn:                  Yes, there is Receipt Bank. Which we’ll go into depth more in a little while because there’s a lot to talk about.

Neil:                       Receipt Bank itself, that’s an app isn’t it that’s on your phone?

Glenn:                  It’s a standalone app. It becomes in effect your bookkeeper. It really does reduce the amount of time that us as a practise spends on compliance with record keeping. It’s a fantastic app. Yes, it is on the phone. We use it a lot. It also has a small sister company called OneTap which is for sole traders that are non vat registered. Receipt Bank  records all your receipts via the camera on your smartphone. For instance, you’ve got receipts in front of you. You open up the app on your phone. You open up the camera. You take a photo of the receipts. That, then, is converted into a PDF once it’s submitted to Receipt Bank. Then it sits in the Receipt Bank Dashboard. Then it’s put into your cloud package

Neil:                       So, it will know that this is a parking receipt from Wednesday.

Glenn:                  It’s very clever technology, yes. When you’re taking the photo it will pick up, for instance the description. It will pick up the name of the receipt. So, if it’s something from Shell  say it’s a fuel receipt. It’ll pick up Shell. It will pick up the date. It will pick up the amount. It will split the VAT out. It will pick everything up and put it into your chosen cloud system. It builds the book, keeping up in the background. So, you don’t have to worry about spending even weekends thinking, oh I must do the bookkeeping. Because it’s an ongoing process. Once you get used to using the app.

Another lovely feature about Receipt Bank is that you actually get a dedicated email address as well. So, there’s no point really to get your suppliers to email you purchase invoices, printing them off and then taking a photo. That seems a little bit daft nowadays. The Receipt Bank email address allows you just to forward that email along. Again, it works the same way as the phone app, but, in this case it just emails it into Receipt Bank. Receipt Bank extracts the invoice from the email it picks up all the information as just described. Then it pings it straight into the software.

Neil:                       Yes, clever, isn’t it?

Glenn:                  It is very clever and it’s very-

Neil:                       Does it work for techno morons like me?

Glenn:                  Of course, it would. That’s very easy-

Neil:                       Well, then maybe, I’ll try it.

Glenn:                  If you take selfies. Then you’ll be able to use Receipt Bank. It’s that easy.

Tracey:                 That should be a tagline. It’s so easy to use Receipt Bank.

Neil:                       That seems like a good one. Yeah, if you can take a selfie use Receipt Bank.

Tracey:                 Yeah, agreed.

Glenn:                  Yeah, absolutely.

Neil:                       Let’s talk a little bit about a subject I touched on it earlier in terms of people being  unhappy with banks yet, don’t change. Clearly you’re attracting new clients all the time. I heard them talking to you … you’ve got a constant stream of new people coming through. Why do people change accountants?

Glenn:                  Well, there’s various reasons. I mean, there may be an issue with the current accountant. Over the last few years since we’ve been a practice we’ve found that some accountants are just really not looking after their customers. We’ve noticed it. One of the main concerns is that nothings getting done. They can’t get hold of their accountant. Which is really bizarre we think, because you’re there to help and support your clients. Not just well, thank you, very much for your business we’ll be in touch once we need to get hold of you kind of thing. That’s a really horrible way to do things. So, it’s mostly … Yeah, it mostly is because that there’s an issue things aren’t getting done.

Tracey:                 Other reasons is may have moved, so they may have moved into the area. The main reason why some of our clients leave is because they’ve moved. They want someone who is closer. But, with cloud technology you know, cloud accounting you don’t need that.

Neil:                       No, you could be anywhere couldn’t you?

Tracey:                 You could be anywhere in the country, or the world even.

Neil:                       I guess that’s trying to think in terms of why this is so different. With all the people that I know, the criticism, if I hear one of accountants will be, I’ve submitted my accounts and my year end is gone. Then I speak to the accountant well …there’s sort of no point doing that is there? Because if the year end is gone, then actually theren’t any changes you can make. Surely if you were proactive and I don’t see this very often with accountants, you should be there before the year end. Saying, you’ve had a good year or bad year. Have you thought about upgrading some equipment. Or some kind of allowances or pension contract? Or-

Glenn:                  I think you just hit the nail on the head. I mean, we offer something unique we’ve done it since day one five years ago. We offer a monthly accounting service. It is just that, a monthly accounting service. It’s not you can pay us monthly and then we’ll speak to you in a year’s time. It’s an ongoing process and it encapsulates everything we do as a practice. We build a bespoke a system for our clients. It entails bookkeeping, payroll, tax that kind of thing. But, one of the most important things is like you’ve just mentioned. A few months before the year end of our clients we tend to do tax reviews. We ping out on social media letting people know that we’re doing these tax reviews, because it’s important.

Everybody should pay tax. I do firmly believe that. But, everybody should pay the correct amount of tax. So, therefore, if there are ways in which we can utilise the tax laws and look at a person’s accounts, and say they just made these small little changes. I’ve done this before the year end the amount of tax that they pay will be the correct amount to pay. For that amount of tax, rather than letting it go over the year end. Then you see the client and they drop their accounts off. Then you try to do the tax work. It’s like, well, that ship has sailed. You missed the deadline. So, part of the monthly accountant service we offer does entail a tax review. To be honest, with you our clients love it.

Neil:                       I’m not surprised. Actually, it’s a really important distinction you mentioned there. In terms of paying an accountant monthly is different than having a monthly accounting service isn’t it?

Glen:                     Absolutely.

Neil:                       I’ve never really thought of that, but you’re spot on with that.

Glen:                     Yeah, because it’s not just you know, I mean, we tweet about this. It’s on our website. We like to be more than just number crunchers to our clients. It’s the support. In answer to one of your questions earlier, mainly because they’re not getting the support that they need. We like to be an arm around your shoulder. People can contact us as much as they like. We don’t charge for that service either. Because we’ve had some horror stories about some accountants charging by the minute for phone calls. I mean, that’s absolutely bizarre. So, the monthly accountant service includes the business support as well. Our clients are always getting in touch with us. We never refuse a phone call. We’re always there to help them.

Neil:                       Yes, good for you. I remember you saying Tracey, that there was a client you’d worked with, where you’d actually were able to get them a tax refund.

Tracy:                    HMRC had pulled it and basically said that he wasn’t going to be getting the 8,000 pound back. It was a CIS payment. I went through the whole system looked through it all. Basically, they wanted to pull everything. So, they wanted to look at every single thing, every single cost centre that he’d used, etc., so we did a full investigation for him. Got everything together sent it all over for him to HMRC with our findings and five months down the line after battling backwards and forwards with HMRC, rather than 8,000 pound back we got 10,000 pound back.

Neil:                       One happy client.

Tracy:                    So, one happy client. The other thing touching on what Glenn said about monthly accounting is we can actually keep an eye on the turnover as well. To see, to make sure that people don’t go over the VAT threshold.

Glen:                     Yeah, we’ve had a few of those recently.

Tracy:                    We’ve had four recently in this office.

Glen:                     That saves a lot of aggravation.

Neil:                       Yeah, that’s true.

Glen:                     Because HMRC don’t like it and they’ll fine-

Neil:                       Quite agree quite right and accept that, it’s not your money is it? No matter at the moment you’re over the threshold. Then you’re a tax collector for the government aren’t you?

Glen:                     There is a lot of responsibility on individuals to make sure that, that doesn’t happen themselves. Each client is responsible for their own actions, but, we try to help them along the way as much as we can. So, if we can avoid that kind of situation, then we do. The process and the systems that we’ve got in place in the office allows us to pick these up. So, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Neil:                       I don’t know if you’re able to come up with these … this idea, but what are the common top five mistakes that people make?

Tracy:                    The common mistakes are, the first one is not registering to be self employed. Sometimes we’ll get someone come to us and say, oh, I left my job in I’ll say May. This is like September, October time. Well, what have you done in between? Oh, well, I’ve been doing this and I’ve been doing that. It’s like, have you registered for self employment? No. Okay, so that then means there’s a possibility of a fine because you have 12 weeks to register as a self employed person.

Neil:                       Oh, crickey. That’s not very long is it?

Tracy:                    No, not at all.

Neil:                       What you’re doing with registering is flagging presumably to HMRC saying look, I’m doing a trade.

Tracy:                    Yeah, basically. What you’re doing is you’re telling them that you’re not employed anymore, and you are self employed.

Neil:                       Okay.

Neil:                       Okay. So, that’s the first one. What else springs to mind?

Tracy:                    Not keeping business records. We have … sometimes we have clients come to us and they have not kept all the receipts for the year. So, that means they’ll end up with a hefty bill if they’ve not got every single receipt that we need to put against the income.

Glen:                     Yeah, the most important thing is keeping it in some kind of coherency.

Tracy:                    Yes.

Neil:                       Do people still bring them in carrier bags?

Tracy:                    Yes.

Neil:                       Do they?

Glen:                     Yes.

Neil:                       Really?

Tracy:                    It’s not an issue, but, yeah.

Glen:                     For argument’s sake HMRC will spontaneously say to a person we want to come have a look and investigate you. If they’ve got a bag of receipts and just a few purchased sales invoices, and nothing is set in any kind of coherency HMRC just don’t like that. They like people to keep accurate records.

Neil:                       Don’t they work on the assumption that you’re guilty rather than innocent. You have to prove your innocence don’t you? So, they don’t have to prove that you’ve done something wrong. It’s almost the other way around really.

Glen:                     Yeas, we deal with quite a few tax investigations here. Where HMRC, as everybody knows now, are just literally spot checking everybody. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. You don’t even have to have a problem. HMRC could instantly write to you and say we just want to have a look at everything for a certain year.

Neil:                       Wow.

Glen:                     Yeah, it could happen to anyone.

Neil:                       Okay. Can you think of any others?

Tracy:                    Losing receipts. Again, this is quite a big issue. Not picking on anyone in particular. But sometimes-

Neil:                       You weren’t looking at me then Tracy?

Tracy:                    No, no, no-

Neil:                       I was just wondered what you were doing?

Tracy:                    I was thinking of trades.

Neil:                       Oh, were you? Okay.

Tracy:                    So, sometimes you’ll get a trades person who will pay for fuel and it will just go on top of the dashboard.

Neil:                       Of course. So, that’s where I guess Receipt Bank could really come in because you can just take a picture on your phone and it’s done.

Tracy:                    Exactly, that.

Glen:                     Oddly enough the trades guys are the ones that are really loving the Receipt Bank App.

Tracy:                    Yeah, they are.

Neil:                       Because your’re right the vans you see them with all the clutter on the dashboard.

Tracy:                    Yeah.

Neil:                       So, that’s three.

Glen:                     Okay. One of things that often comes up when we meet new clients is the bank account. Some people assume that they can run everything through their personal account.

Neil:                       Oh, I see.

Glen:                     Which is not good news. Mainly because again, going back to the investigation. If HMRC, were to investigate-

Neil:                       It’s confusing.

Glen:                     They would say hang on a moment. Well, I can see all your personal stuff. As well as your business receipts. What we tend to say to people try and keep it all separate. Your personal stuff is your personal stuff.

Neil:                       So, there’s no reason why they couldn’t set up a business account. Just even if you’re self employed is there?

Glen:                     Get yourself an account and just run all your income, expenses through that.

Neil:                       That makes perfect sense. What about the final one?

Glen:                     Tracey and I’ve done discussed this. There’s some people just literally put everything through their accounts each year. This usually happens to the annual clients not the monthly clients. When we get that bag of receipts each year and it’s dropped off. Often clients are quick on their way out the office. Usually we have to go through everything, and everything is in there. Personal expenditure the whole lot. They literally just put everything through and we have to then sit down and go through the expenses and see what can and can’t be claimed for.

Some people also come to us with accurate records. We find that there’s some expenses in there that they’re not aware that they can’t claim for. Therefore, the educational side of what we do is we then have to call them and say look, you’ve claimed this as an expense. Were you aware that you can’t? Then we explain to them why they can’t claim it. Then of course, that alleviates that problem going forth for next year. Claiming expenses is a little bit of a tricky area. Our advice is if you’re not sure just get in touch with somebody that knows. We’ll point you in the right direction.

Tracy:                    We do have a little fact sheet that we hand out. If they’re a newly self employed person. Because sometimes we don’t actually know what they’re going to be physically claiming for.

Neil:                       No, that’s useful. One other cloud accounting features isn’t it? Is that you can actually put a discussion point on something if there’s a particular transaction and you’re not sure what to do. You know, what do I do with it? You can highlight it and of course, you see it as a question and you can answer it. Or put it in the right place.

Glen:                     Yes.

Neil:                       You don’t even have to pick up a phone, do you?

Glen:                     You can do it all interacting in the actual system itself.

Neil:                       Yeah, it makes perfect sense doesn’t it?

Glen:                     Personally, I prefer if they pick the phone up. Because it helps us.

Tracy:                    It’s a conversation as well, and we’re keeping in touch with everybody then and that’s what we want to do. The personal approach.

Neil:                       Yes, that makes sense.

Glen:                     We enjoy it.

Neil:                       I believe you’re now … celebrating your fifth anniversary this year?

Glen:                     Yep

Neil:                       So, what’s in the future for all of us apart from world domination? What’s the future for all of us in some of this?

Glen:                     As you know with your good self we’ve adopted the Business Growth Club into the business. It’s fantastic. We’ve got clients using it. They’re enjoying it. They’re coming along to the monthly meetings as well and meeting other members. It’s helping our clients interact and network with one another as well. We’re also, in terms of the office, we’re looking at three new apprentices in the next two years. One will be an admin and two other trainee accountants. Now, the reason we’re getting an admin apprentice is because that’s very important to us, everything in the office has to be just so. Just correct. All the processes.

Everything that we do is there to make sure that our clients have the necessary support needed. When they get hold of us and need us to help them. So, the apprentice admin is going to take the pressure off our full time admin lady Paula. Who is an absolute diamond by the way. She’s going to be able to concentrate on other areas of the business that we also offer, which is auto enrolment registration, payroll and she’s very good at that as well. We’re also looking at two other apprentices to help with the accountancy side of things because it’s very important to us that we help nurture the new talent coming through.

We could quite easily go out there in the workforce at the moment, bring those into the business and grow the business quicker. But, for us our growth has always been dictated by Tracy and myself. We could be a lot bigger than what we are right now. But, we’ve always had that customer focus in mind like I mentioned a moment ago. There’s no point in us bringing a lot of brand new clients in if we haven’t got the processes or the people there to support them. Going forward yes we have growth plans but, we want to make sure that the office is ready for that growth.

Neil:                       Good for you. Well, I want to thank you, very much indeed. Especially Glenn getting off your sick bed. I’m not sure you were that sick.

Glen:                     I held it.

Neil:                       You held it didn’t you?

Glen:                     I did.

Neil:                       Us men have to do that Glen.

Glen:                     Well, they don’t know-

Neil:                       Women don’t know half the … They don’t understand.

Tracy:                    I don’t understand.

Neil:                       But, we do want to thank Tracy and Glen for their time. You can find out more by contacting Glen and Tracy… I’ll put their details at the bottom of the Podcast. Remember the standard risk warning here of course, anything they said you can’t construe as active advice. They need to think of everything on an individual basis.  Thanks very much for listening and have a look at businessgrowthclub.net and until next time, goodbye.

www.aldous-saunders.co.uk