Networking & Technology

Networking & Technology

Networking & Technology

Get the right balance

Zamu’s has been very busy and has lead Sam to reflect on networking and technology.  Part of Zamu’s ethos is balanced business.

On a Thursday Sam was in London serving on two of the steering groups for the ATT (Association of Taxation Technicians). This gave her a chance to catch up with tax colleagues and talk tax and “real life”. 

On the Friday we were networking at Royal Cornwall Show talking with various people about Zamu what we do and how we can support their business or organisation. 

On Saturday Sam and Gary took the family and introduced the youngest grandchildren to the delights of the show (and the rain).

Recently Sam had an experience where someone was raising some queries that were surprising and not really clear. It was not clear what the queries were adding to the decision-making process.  Sam took some time to meet the client away from their workplace. Over dinner Sam began to understand the client and why the client was thinking their way. Sam understood the clients point of view better and next time they meet this understanding can form an important part of the considerations. It is fact finding 101 but there is a thread.

The common thread through all these events was the chance to talk, share and most importantly connect with people. 

In the car listening to Chris Evans talk about the effect that being attached to technology is having on our brains.  The addictive effect of dopamine being released on our brains when we get a Facebook like.  Sam had never considered the need but on average we check our phones 57 times a day.

The expert talked about how our brains can really only focus on one thing in full and to be “present” in our real worlds we needed to learn to manage our technology. 

All of this could be classified as networking, but really its just being human and maybe we should do more away from technology.

The technical age encourages us to assume that all our networking is online, but the value of meeting and talking to people face to face can be underestimated. If Sam had a conference call to London, would she have had chance to share the experience? Attending London allowed Sam to meet lots of people and share matters that were not on the agenda, understand people in a whole different way.

We love technology, it makes our lives easier, allows us to achieve things we otherwise could not but maybe now is the time to undertake a “digital detox” then re-evaluate what we use and when. Maybe phone free evenings would be good for all of us, and next time you are in a meeting try giving the person your full attention and turn the phone off or leave it in the bag.

 

Creative thinking demands your attention on the situation, so time to enable us to think differently is crucial to your business and all our lives.

Deadlines & Tax

Deadlines & Tax

Deadlines & Tax

Don’t Miss The Vouchers

With the rising costs of childcare where nursery costs in provincial towns are often £50 per day, many families are trying to work out how to fund this cost.

If family has low income they can look at tax credits, or universal credits.  For many working families this doesn’t help as their income is too high, so what are the alternatives.

Childcare vouchers

 

This scheme is being phased out.  If you are not already taking advantage of this scheme you don’t have long to join. On 6 April 2018 this was due to be phased out, but it has received a reprieve until 4th October 2018 when childcare voucher schemes will close to new applicants. 

 

This scheme is implemented by employers and therefore is only available to employees and not the self-employed. You can take up to £55 a week of your wages as childcare vouchers, which you don’t pay tax or National Insurance on.  These vouchers are then used to buy childcare at an approved setting.

 

Childcare vouchers can be used instead of working tax credits and some families may be better off with this option.  Check here

https://www.gov.uk/childcare-vouchers-better-off-calculator

 

Tax Free Childcare

 

This allows parents then put the money (after tax & NI) into a special NS&I account for childcare costs through HMRC.  Up to a maximum of £8,000 a year the government add a further 20% (£2,000) into the account then the approved childcare setting is paid direct from the NS&I account.  

 

The scheme is open to working parents:

• Who are employed or self-employed

• Who do not receive tax credits or Universal Credit

• The salary of each partner must be worth more than 16 hours at national minimum wage rates

• Both parents must work if it is a two-parent family (with some exceptions)

• The child must be under 12 years of age disabled child under 17.

 

Comparison

 

 

 

Tax Free Childcare

Childcare Vouchers

Eligibility

Employed & Self employed

Employee only if employer offers

Child maximum age

11 (16 if disabled)

15 (16 if disabled)

Minimum earnings

£120 per week, if a couple both must work at least 16 hours a week

No minimum earnings.  1 parent must work

Maximum Income limit

Less than £100,000 per parent

No Limit

Maximum gain of

£2,000 per child (£4,000 if disabled)

£930 per parent (basic rate taxpayer)

£624 per parent (higher rate taxpayer)

£590 per parent (additional rate taxpayer)

Basic explain

Government pays 20% of childcare

No tax or NI to pay on childcare costs

Best option for

More children and higher childcare costs

Fewer children and lower childcare costs

Walk the walk

Walk the walk

Walk the walk

Talk the talk

Zamu attended a net-walking event organised by Cornish partnerships and it got us thinking about networking as a business tool.

Netwalking yes you heard it correctly! You could be dubious about discussing business issues, aspirations or solving problems in the Forrest or on the beach with dogs running around your legs.

Well I went Netwalking and it works. One your exercising your limbs and brain, two you’re in an environment that is neutral and engaging. You are walking so it changes. Even when you turn around and walk back the perspective changes and you see new things.

Changing your walking partner throughout the walk and having a theme to discuss was great it helped meeting new people and the conversation flow.

I met a tea supplier (a French lady who lived in Taiwan but was born in Cornwall!), social media strategist, , event coordinator, Adventurer, Substance abuse counsellor, a Cornish Food Supplier and many more…

I won’t say in this blog what we talked about its confidential and I don’t want to mention anyone by name as it could breach GDPR! You can see them in the photo above. I am the one in the all-terrain big wheeled green thing.

This adventure in Networking got me to thinking. Anyone can network but some people get it so wrong. Networking for me is about being genuine, authentic, having a genuine conversation which is of benefit to both people,  what the other persons interests and skills are and sharing yours.

Networking for me is a pleasure not a chore. I like helping people and without any direct reward. What goes around comes around is something I believe in. If you do something that’s selfless people will do the same for you. People are reciprocal. Co-Creation, working collaboratively, associating ideas are ways I like to work and it all starts with networking – building a relationship that is formed on shared values and trust.

If someone asks you to connect on Linked in and as soon as you accept they message you with a pre formed template seeking to sell you stuff you know you probably wont interact or collaborate because they are not using it  to network they are using it to sell and setting out what’s important to them. I will let you all think about that.

Finance Director

Finance Director

Finance Director

Need an FD?

Forecasting, Balance Sheet, Profit/Loss, Costs, Vat, Lending, Sales, Products and Logistics…

Funding Cashflow and Support

Kirsty and Sam have been working with a client to fund cashflow and ongoing support. The client had looked at the expenditure and considered they needed a loan of £20,000 – £25,000 for 5-10 years. The first step was to understand the expenditure and, its benefits and costs to the business. What income would the investment generate? Were the expectations realistic? Had any costs been missed? What are the VAT and tax implications?

Having analysed that, the next step was to prepare a project cash flow. This looks at when moneys would be due, rarely are all the costs incurred on day one and all the return at year five. Having looked at this in detail the result was that the project alone had a cash gap of about £15,000. A cash flow of the business is needed to understand how the cash flow would impact on other aspects of the business. This showed that the tightest point of the project is also at a tight point for the business, so a delay of 2 months would ease the whole process. Having done a total financial check, the suggestion was the client’s need would be better met by an overdraft for £15,000 for a period of 6 months.

An application and a supporting business plan was then written, and an appointment made to jointly visit the client’s bank to apply for the amount for 12 months. Now the client can move forward with the business, funding in place. With our on-going support to ensure targets are met and the investment is carefully managed to maximise future income.

So from a business looking for a £25,000 loan over 5 years to a £15,000 overdraft for 12 months benefitted and added value to the business.

Have you had a problem with the bank or funding? We would love to hear your story.

What Accounting Software?

What Accounting Software?

What Accounting Software?

Change, Technology and the Digital World “The Cloud”

Adapting and agile working.

Many clients are hearing about cloud accounting and asking questions about what, how, why, and how much.

There are many cloud accounting solutions. FreeA-gent, Xero and Kashflow are a few that Zamu advise on.

First consider why switch at all? Cloud has the advantage of being available on many devices – desktop, tablet and phone.

“I use my phone for talking to people and I have spreadsheets on my computer – I don’t need it”

Software can give you up to date information, protect you against future digitisation from HMRC and support your business going forward. Save time and upload your bank statements to achieve bank reconciliation (automatically from your bank). The software learns and saves double key-ing of data.

You can offer to be paid on-line through a link on your invoices, thus improving cash-flow. You can send client in-voices before you leave the premises from a tablet!

“I have made a decision I need cloud accounting, now what?”

You have to choose the right software and you or your staff need to know how to use it (training) to be compliant and of benefit. At Zamu we advise and support clients with this transition. We also assist with regular review to ensure it meets your needs as time goes on and your business changes.

Setting up correctly and having the correct data in your system is a key requirement. Start your journey in the right way.

In summary, these products are another tool they will be better in some businesses than others but the pace of technological change is increasing and burying your head in the sand is not an option. A business which adapts to the digital age will survive in the long term.

Pricing varies depending on many variables from £7 per month to £45 per month plus a charge for additional users scalable up to 200 employees.