Friday, 19 July 2013

Business management tips

It is not enough to complete work for a customer and to invoice them. Sometimes there are problems, such as the customer being slow to pay or even going out of business before you can receive payment. This can cause big problems as you are still incurring expenses while not seeing any income generated for it. In order to assist with this common problem, we have provided a few useful tips below.

·         Ensure that customer terms of payment are crystal clear. Obtain signed terms and contracts which, where possible, contain guarantees of payment.

·         Ensure you fund projects by asking for a payment/deposit up front before work commences.

·         Do not let a customer run up a large debt. Set a credit limit and make sure that the customer understands that work will cease if your invoices are not paid.

·         Borrowing money from banks can be difficult, so be sure to plan for this in advance.

·         If a customer goes bankrupt, (especially with a Limited Company) it will be unlikely that you will see any money for your work, so obtain stage payments and deposits.

·         Try not to rely on a single large customer. A larger number of smaller customers ensures continuity of income and spreads the risk.

·         Look for work with a recurring element to it, for that repeat business.

·         Review competitors prices and the quality of their product or service. Make sure your prices are competitive, and that you provide a better quality product or service.

·         Expect that some customers may cease over the next year, so always be looking for new customers, make use of selective advertising, marketing and existing industry contracts.

·         Cash advances on customer invoices, sometimes called factoring, should only be used as a last resort. There is no guarantee that this will solve your cash flow problems and is really an expensive form of bank borrowing secured by way of a personal guarantee by you. Seek professional advice before going down this route.

·         Where possible, stock should be purchased on a ‘just in time’ basis. The opposite means having your cash tied up in unsold stock, which does not help with cash flow.

If you need any help, or would like further explanation of any of the above, please contact us now.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Loans to directors

If you are a company director or ‘participator’ and take money out of your company and which is not described as a salary or a dividend, it is classed as a director’s loan.
If your director’s loan account is not paid off in full within nine months after the end of your company’s accounting period:

  • You must include details of the loan in your Company Tax Return.

  • Your company must pay Corporation Tax on the loan (s455 CTA 2010) – the current tax rate for directors’ loans is 25% of the loan.

The good news is that you can reclaim the tax when the loan is repaid - often by paying a Dividend to clear the balance outstanding (s458 CTA 2010)

How you do this depends on timing:

  • If your claim is made within 24 months of the end of that accounting period you can amend and resubmit an amended Company Tax Return for that previous accounting period.

  • If your claim is made more than 24 months after the end of the previous accounting period you can make a separate claim by writing to HMRC at the same time as you file your Company Tax Return for your most recent accounting period.

The Claim was previously known as a S419 claim (S419 ICTA 1988) but its now covered by S455 and S458 Corporation Tax Act 2010

When writing to HMRC make sure you give them as much information as you can for example:

UTR – Unique Taxpayer Reference
Company Name and Details
Amount being reclaimed
Details of the relevant Corporation Tax Returns on which the Directors Loans are shown
Your Bank Account Details for the Refund

Final comment from Mark

It is always preferable to clear down any outstanding loan accounts as far as possible before the company’s year end.