Business Planning: Plan to Succeed!

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Writing a business plan may sound like a long and tedious process that will lead to very few benefits for your business, but in reality the benefits that can be achieved from business planning are huge.

  • Attracting investors – Business plans give investors a look at what a business expects to achieve in the future by using statistics, facts, figures and detailed plans. This gives businesses a better chance of attracting investors to provide capital.
  • Growth – A business plan can be used as a tool to help plan growth and associated costs and capital requirements.
  • Stick to the strategy – During the day to day running of a business it is easy to lose sight of what the main goal is. A business plan can be used to define what the business is or what it intends to be in the future. Clarifying the purpose and direction of your enterprise allows you to understand what needs to be done to meet your objectives.
  • Managing cash flow – Careful management of cash flow is necessary for all businesses. Using a cash flow plan is a brilliant way to link together educated guesses on sales, costs, expenses, assets you need to buy and debts you have to pay.
  • Milestones – A business plan can be used to set milestones that you can work towards. These are key goals that you want to achieve. Having all dates and deadlines visible in one place can make achieving these milestones so much easier.
  • Management – A business plan should include an organisational structure of your business, including titles of directors or officers and their individual duties. It is an ideal place to clarify who is responsible for what. Every important task should have someone in charge of its execution.

A business plan can help to identify potential threats and opportunities your business could face, avoid penalties or other legal problems, helping you to adapt quickly and efficiently to changes.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

 

HMRC Business Record Checks

Record check

HMRC have recently announced they are exploring new ways of conducting their business record checks to target those who are likely to have inadequate business records.

According to HMRC, it is important for businesses to keep records in order to complete their tax returns correctly, and to ensure they pay the correct amount of tax at the right time to avoid any interest or penalties.

Good record keeping could also:

  • help bids to obtain finance (eg. loans, mortgages)
  • give you the information you need to manage your business and plan for the future
  • help you budget for future plans and tax payments
  • reduce accountancy fees if you provide your accountants with well organised information
  • support your claims to some reliefs or capital allowances
  • help you keep track of amounts you owe to suppliers, or that customers owe you.

Three simple steps to bookkeeping:

1.    Set up a system – whether it be a manual book or computerised package. It helps to have all the information kept together.

2.    Keep records throughout the year – only keeping some of your records is as bad as keeping none at all. Keep your records updated regularly, rather that letting it pile up

3.    Keep your records for as long as required – certain records must be kept for a minimum period, for example 6 years for VAT or 5 years for Self Assessment.

Failure to keep proper records could result in penalties from HMRC if you are subject to a business record check, and could prove detrimental if you are subject to an investigation from them.

If you would like any help with your bookkeeping, Green & Co has a dedicated VAT and bookkeeping department, who specialise in Sage. If you would like any further information, please contact Green & Co.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net