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News Business Advice

  Business Advice

Are you a UK Based Director of an Irish Registered Company?

While the potential deal or no deal scenarios of Brexit continue to play out, a very real risk has arisen for a number of companies and their Directors in the UK and Ireland.Although there are more than 60,000 Irish Directorships of UK registered companies there are also a significant number of UK based directors of Irish companies for which Brexit will create significant changes.In this article, Roberts Nathan Partner Aidan Scollard reviews the potential significant changes for UK resident Directors of Irish registered companies where the UK becomes a third country to current EU legislation.EEA Resident Director Requirement Companies Registration Office have alerted service providers to the fact that under Irish company law an Irish registered company must have at least one European Economic Area (EEA) resident director on the board on an ongoing basis.Many Directors based in the UK who are either of Irish decent or UK based companies who have established Irish entities as part of their Brexit planning will need to consider this likely change.Where an existing Irish company has fulfilled this Director requirement by appointing a UK resident director they should now consider replacing that director or adding an additional director who is an EEA-resident.It should be noted that this requirement is based on residency, not nationality. Thus for example, a company director of Irish nationality who lives in the UK and has done so for a number of years is unlikely to satisfy the EEA requirement in the future which is a question a number of our clients have been considering.S137 BondIt is possible for a company to put in place a Section 137 Revenue Bond which is an insurance policy that CRO approve in replacement of having an EEA resident individual on the board. This insurance policy covers against fines or penalties incurred to the value of €25,000 for non-compliance and covers the company for a period of two years at which point the company will either need to renew the bond or appoint a director who meets the requirement.The bonds are relatively easy to put in place but will have a premium cost to maintain for the two year period and which we have put in place for a number of clients recently.The Exception to the Rule – ‘Real and Continuous link’ It is possible for the Directors of an Irish Company who have no EEA-resident directors to apply to the Revenue Commissioners for a Statement under Section 140 of the Companies Act 2014 which, if granted, will relieve the company from the requirement to hold a Bond or to have an EEA-resident director.This Statement is granted based on the company having a ‘real and continuous link to the State of Ireland’. The successful company will need to satisfy one or more of the following two conditions:
  1. The affairs of the company are managed by one or more persons from a place of business established in the State and that person or those persons is or are authorised by the company to act on its behalf.
  2. The company carries on a trade in the State.
Furthermore, a company may be granted this Statement based on either of the following two conditions:
  1. The company is a subsidiary or a holding company of a company or other body corporate that satisfies either or both of the conditions specified in 1 and 2.
  2. The company is a subsidiary of a company, another subsidiary of which satisfies either or both of the conditions specified in 1 and 2.
This Statement is granted based on retrospective activity and will generally not be granted to a company that intends to have a real and continuous link to the state.Once the Statement is made by Revenue to the successful company, the Company Secretary can apply to the Registrar of Companies for a certificate that exempts the company from the Section 137 bond requirement or the need to have an EEA-resident director appointed to the board.Application for this exemption to Companies registration office must be accompanied by this statement from the Revenue Commissioners made within two months of the date of the application of the Revenue Commissioners statement.We have helped a number of clients in this area where they can clearly prove that there is a real and continuous activity here in the Irish state.Final WordCompany Directors need to consider the implications of the UK leaving the EU and consider their options. As with any legal or accounting issue forewarned is forearmed.Contact us if you wish to discuss the impacts of any of these potential imminent changes to your company structure and planning requirements.
July 9, 2019
  Business Advice

Thinking About Selling Your Business?

Selling a business is time consuming, emotive and can be costly if not executed correctly. As our economy continues to prosper there is increased interest in small and medium enterprises across all sectors.This coupled with the availability of funding makes it a great time to consider an exit strategy Once you have decided to sell the hard work begins! In this article we explore a range of considerations when selling a business.

Preparation  

Preparation is key to achieving the best value. The preparatory phase is when you should engage with your advisor and carry out a thorough review of the business and it’s value drivers. Ask ‘why would someone want to buy my business’ and then focus on this.   Prospective purchasers will demand transparency, so dealing with potential red flags and ‘deal breakers’ in advance of the buyer due diligence process will help protect value.  Telling your business’s story is important and understanding how to present it’s financial information, both historic and forecast is a crucial element of the process. What is the succession plan? With many owner managed businesses the owner is the business. A potential buyer will attribute little value to a business where it’s driving force (the owner) will be exiting or retiring in a short period after sale.  Tax planning in advance of sale will protect value.You should firstly consider the shareholder structure.Is there an opportunity to get family members (children and siblings) involved?Is there an option to claim retirement relief or entrepreneur relief or through a holding company group structure to claim participation relief on exit?

Identify prospective purchasers 

Understanding and researching the potential buyers for your business is a very important part of the process. Every business owner will be able to name a number of potential buyers, be that a management team or a key competitor.However there might be other potential buyers who may not appear on a list, who may have other strategic reasons for buying and may pay a premium for the business, i.e. new market entry, to acquire IP or to gain access to resources (e.g. people).  Keeping the process confidential during these early stages is important as it may ‘spook’ potential customers or suppliers and may unsettle key employees. Having an advisor on board will help maintain confidentiality.  

Negotiating the deal   

Once potential purchasers are identified they may enter a period of limited due diligence.A lot of valuable insight can be gained during this period for the seller in terms of how the due diligence is conducted the type of queries and questions raised. Having this insight early will help in the price negotiation phase.   You should never name your price, solicit offers for potential acquirers setting strict deadlines for offers. It is important that the seller maintains control of the process at this stage. A second round of offers maybe required until a preferred bidder is selected after which they may enter a period of exclusivity to carry out a more detailed assessment of the company.   This selection criteria should not be based on price alone and factors such as the ability to execute the deal and sources of funding should also be considered.     

Closing the deal  

Negotiating the transaction documents is the final part of the process and also very important for both buyer and seller protection. Considerations will need to be given to the deal structure. Will part of the consideration be based on an ‘earn out’ from future profits? Will the owner manager be required to remain with the business for a period post sale to help with handover of relationships and integration? The sale process is a time consuming and involved process for the business owner and often management teams are distracted by the process taking their ‘eye off the ball’ to the detriment of the business. Getting your advisers involved early in the process will help avoid many of the common pitfalls and ultimately protect the value that in many cases has been built up in business over many decades. At Roberts Nathan we have a wealth of experience advising owner mangers through the transaction process both on the sales side and buy side. Please contact us if you would like to understand more. 
May 17, 2019
  Business Advice

Save Time and Money with Our Complete Payroll Service

In today’s competitive business world, it is important to make the most effective use of time.  Outsourcing routine tasks, such as payroll, means you have more time to focus on your business.If you’re doing your payroll in-house, it can be both time-consuming and complicated. And keeping up with PAYE Modernisation and tax changes can be an added headache.We have an established a dedicated payroll department, headed up by Susan Lennon who has over 20 years’ experience. We have well-trained staff and we use the very latest software packages which are fully compliant and integrate seamlessly with the Revenue Commissioners system.     

Our Payroll service includes:

  • The benefit of a dedicated payroll team.
  • A computerised payroll system that streamlines the entire payroll process.
  • Options for weekly, fortnightly or monthly payroll runs.
  • Submission of all statutory returns required by the Revenue Commissioners in line with the new requirements introduced under PAYE Modernisation in January 2019.
  • Paperless delivery – with all authorisations carried out via email to make life easier for you.
  • Payslips emailed directly to employees, saving you time.
  • A smooth transition from your old system to one that is simple and stress-free.
We would love to help you make your payroll more efficient. Let’s get started - Tell us a little about your business and payroll requirements.

Would you like to consider outsourcing your payroll?  

Simply
Contact us to discuss your requirements.Perhaps you're looking to recommend solutions for payroll to a client, or a friend's business? If you know someone else who could save time and be more efficient by using an automated or outsourced payroll solution, share this page with them using the links below.
March 29, 2019
  Business Advice

Here’s why you should make a will …

Why should I make a will? – the key considerations for both you and your business

Our own mortality is not something many of us wish to contemplate in too much detail. But making a last will and testament is an extremely important step to take if you are going to minimise the impact on your family, business partners and colleagues when that sad day arrives.

With this in mind, here are some of the important areas you need to consider when starting the process of creating a will.

Securing your finances for the next generation

No-one truly enjoys the thought of making a will, but why let someone else make decisions about your finances after your passing? This is your chance to express your wishes and give your executor a clear plan for how to deal with your estate.

As accountants, we look to secure our clients financial future – or in this case the financial future of our clients’ family, their businesses and next generation. And when it comes to making a will, our advice is have the comfort and security of knowing your finances will be dealt with in the way you wanted.

And remember that your will doesn’t just deal with your personal finances. It is also important to think about securing your business after your death and ensuring that there are plans in place for succession and handing over the reigns to the next owner. In many businesses this can often be a family member which increases the importance of having clear instructions of your wishes.

Dying intestate – without a will

If you shuffle off this mortal coil without making a will, this is known as dying ‘intestate’. And not having made the requisite will can have far-reaching consequences for those you leave behind.

  1. Without a will on your death, your assets are frozen until someone is appointed to deal with their distribution – this will be based on law, not on your preferences.
  2. Based on the law above, your assets may be distributed to someone you had not intended. The following are just some of the rules of distribution when you die intestate:
    • If you are survived by a spouse or civil partner and have no children, your spouse gets everything.
    • If you are survived by a spouse and you have children, your spouse will receive two thirds of your estate and the remaining third will be split equally among your children.
    • If you have no surviving relatives, your estate goes to the State.

The key reasons for making a will 

As you can see, dying intestate is likely to cause problems, arguments and stress for those you leave behind. So taking the time to consider your wishes for your estate, and making a suitable will, is a critical part of protecting your finances and the welfare of those close to you.

There are four key reasons for sitting down to write your will:

  1. Deciding how your estate is distributed – by recording your requirements for how your estate is to be divided you can ensure that your wishes are carried out effectively after your death. And you can also take into the account the best interests of your family and avoid any internal squabbles over the distribution of your estate.
  2. Deciding who looks after your children – if your children are still minors, you can give instructions in your will as to who will become their guardian and will look after them when you are not around to do so.
  3. Finding on the most tax-efficient distribution – there are several taxation thresholds to consider for your beneficiaries (inheritance tax being one of the key taxes to consider). The law around these taxes can be complex in the extreme; for example, the threshold for tax will be different for your sister than for your mother – so professional tax advice is recommended.
  4. Minimising the likelihood of legal cases – by having a will in place, you reduce the likelihood of legal action being taken after your death by parties who feel aggrieved from your chosen distribution of the estate.

Choose a trusted distributor

You do have the option to select someone to deal with the distribution of your assets upon your death. This will usually be your chosen executor of the will. Their role is to execute the will and to ensure that your estate is distributed as to your express wishes, as set down in the legal document.

Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today

Each of us hope that we live a long, healthy and happy life and that our loved ones will be supported once we are gone. By taking the time now to get your will and estate in order you are securing peace of mind for yourself, your loved ones and your business colleagues.

By making a choice now, and making it a legally binding document, you ensure that your affairs do not fall into the hands of someone who may have another agenda. If circumstances change, you can change your will whenever you wish; although any changes must be witnessed.

It is worth stating that any witnesses you choose must be impartial and may not gain from your will. As such, it is sensible to choose an objective witness, such as your accountant, who can provide that impartiality.

Let us help you secure your will and estate

As business advisors we strongly advise our clients to consider the arrangements surrounding their will. Making a will is not a significant expense but is the best thing you can do to secure your family’s, business’ and friend’s future and ensure your wishes are carried through once you have passed on.

If you want to understand more about how Roberts Nathan can support and guide you on this matter, please contact Gail for a confidential chat about writing a will.

Images: Shutterstock

June 23, 2016
  Business Advice

The Benefits of Cloud Accounting

Update your Accounts as easily as you update your Facebook status

In recent years, cloud technology has revolutionised our day-to-day lives. We post our family photos to Facebook, we pay our household bills through online banking and we use our smartphones to check our email on the move.

So, if we are utilising the cloud in our everyday lives, why are we not doing the same in our business lives?

Cloud-based accounting software now offers all the functionality and reliability of your tried and trusted desktop accounting system, but with a plethora of additional benefits that only online technology can deliver.

If your business is looking for a more effective way to manage its financial affairs, here are six reasons for seriously considering a move to cloud accounting.

 

1. Mobile access at any time

With cloud accounting, you can access your accounts and key financial figures at anytime, from anywhere.

When you use an old-fashioned, desktop-based system, you are effectively tied to the office. Your software, your data and your accounts are all sat on a local drive. And that limits the access you can have to your financial information.

Cloud-based accounting frees you up from this restriction. Your data and records are all safely encrypted and stored on a cloud server, and there is no software application for you to download – you log in and work from your web browser, wherever you have Wi-Fi and an Internet connection.

So, wherever you are, you can always check on the status of your business.

 

2. A cost and time-effective solution

Working online reduces your IT costs and saves you time by keeping you constantly connected to the business.

Desktop-based systems require an investment in IT hardware, plus the maintenance of that hardware. You require a server to house the application software and the related data. And you will need to pay an IT expert to maintain both the server and the office network – that can be an expensive overhead.

Online accounting is carried out entirely from the cloud. There is no costly IT infrastructure for you to maintain, and you can access the software whether you are in the office, working from your kitchen table or out at a customer meeting.

Rather than waiting until you are back at the office, you can immediately approve payments, or send out invoices to customers, saving you time and making your financial processes far more effective.

 

3. Watertight security and no time-consuming back-ups

When you are cloud-based, your accounts and records are all saved and backed up with military levels of encryption.

If you have used desktop accounting, you will be aware of the need to back-up your work at the end of each day. And you will also know about the need for updates each time your provider brings out a new version of the software.

On a cloud platform, back-ups and software updates become a thing of the past. You’re always logged in to the most up-to-date version of the software, with all the latest functions, tax rates and necessary returns. Also your work is saved automatically as you go, so you save both time and money on tedious back-up procedures.

Security is another area where cloud accounting trumps a desktop system. Your data is no longer sat on a physical server in the office, or languishing on the hard drive of your laptop. All your accounting information is encrypted at source and saved to the cloud. So the only person who can access your confidential information is you, plus selected members of your team and advisers.

 

4. Share and collaborate with ease

Working with colleagues, and sharing data with your advisers, is an extremely straightforward process when you’re based in the cloud.

Using the old, desktop approach, you had limited access to your accounts – and that made collaboration with colleagues and advisers difficult. If your accountant needed specific numbers, they would need to be emailed back and forth, or saved to USB memory stick and couriered directly to their office.

With a system like Xero online accounting (our choice of cloud accounting), you, your colleagues, your management team and your advisers can all access the same numbers – instantly, from any geographical location. So collaboration is as easy as picking up the phone and logging in to Xero, with the key numbers in front of you.

 

5. Reduces paperwork and is more sustainable

Using cloud accounting can deliver the dream of having a paperless office.

With traditional accounting, dealing with paperwork, data-entry and financial admin can start to eat into your business time. Everything must be printed out and dealt with in hard copy, and this is slow, ineffective and bad for the environment.

With an online accounting system, you can significantly reduce your reliance on paperwork. Invoices can be emailed out directly to clients, removing the costs of printing and postage – and speeding up the payment process. Incoming bills and receipts can be scanned and saved directly with the associated transactions in your accounting software.

And because your documents are all digitised and stored in the cloud, there is no need to keep the paper originals – saving on filing space and storage costs.

 

6. Better control of your financial processes

The efficiencies of Xero’s online accounting software give you greatly improved control of your core financial processes.

Xero’s online invoicing function streamlines the whole invoice process, giving you a better view of expected income, an overview of outstanding debts and a clear breakdown of what each customer owes your business.

 

Talk to us about moving to cloud accounting

Are you beginning to see the benefits of a cloud accounting approach for your financial management?

If you are currently using a desktop-based accounting system, and want to see first-hand how cloud accounting can benefit your business, please do get in touch for a face-to-face demo of Xero from our financial team.

 

Images: Shutterstock

June 9, 2016
  Business Advice

Key Recommendations for a Successful Stocktake

As a business’s financial year approaches preparations will begin for their annual stocktake.  A stocktake is a physical count of inventory on hand and provides a business with an accurate reflection of stock held.

It is advisable that stocktakes would be carried out regularly, however some businesses choose to do so only at their year end. We have been asked recently by our clients to outline our suggestions and recommendations for carrying out a stocktake. We have outlined below some suggestions which we hope you may find useful.

 

Why Conduct a Stocktake?

While some may feel that stocktaking is a necessary evil there are a number of advantages to conducting a regular stocktake for your business, such advantages include:

  • Improved Cashflow - cashflow can be improved by identifying slow moving stock items and therefore reducing the level of such stock held.
  • Accurate Profit Margins - regular stocktakes enable you to accurately monitor profit margins across a range of products.
  • Identify Slow Moving Stock - regular stocktakes will also identify items of stock that are slow moving and allow you to make decisions on such items, such as selling at a discounted price.
  • Improve stock management -  having a better understanding of your stock levels will enable you to minimise waste and will allow you to identify if you have a problem with theft.
 

Suggested Method for completion of a stocktake

1. Plan Ahead

Before you commence your stocktake it is important that you have a full understanding of the resources and time required, so as to reduce the level of interruption to your business.  To minimise disruption to your business a stocktake should be conducted during the quietest time of the day, with most businesses conducting stocktakes outside of business hours. As part of your planning procedures you should also ensure that the following are ready for your staff members:

  • Stocksheets
  • Pens
  • Calculators
  • Hand Held Scanners, if applicable.

2. Organise Staff

While some companies may use external stocktakers, it can be beneficial to involve your staff in stocktaking procedures as it will help them to gain understanding of the importance of stock management.  When allocating teams for the stocktake you should always appoint a supervisor to each section and ensure all staff fully understand how the stock is to be counted. For example, it may be advisable to count from top to bottom and from left to right of the stock room, to avoid count duplications.  It is also important that noise and conversations are minimised during a stocktake, as distractions from mobile phones, music or the radio can lead to errors in counts.  It is also good practice to clearly mark items that have been counted, so as to avoid duplication and to identify items which may have been missed in error.

3. Know what needs to be counted

Before you commence your stocktake you should identify all stock owned by your business, along with locations of where the stock is held.   Stock that has been invoiced to customers, but not yet dispatched and stock received but not yet recorded in your system should be isolated and excluded from the stock count.  All stockrooms should be laid out in a tidy and orderly manner to ensure it is easily accessible and arranged into appropriate categories. Staff members should also be made aware of the requirement to identify slow moving, damaged or obsolete stock.  It is important that these items are separately identified so they can be either valued at a discounted price or removed from the stock count completely.

4. Value your stock correctly

Once you have counted and verified your stock levels it is important to review price lists to ensure you have the most up to date prices for the stocktake and that all recent price changes have been taken into account.  Another aspect to be considered when valuing stock is to identify the lower of the cost of the item or the actual selling price of the item, as stock should be valued at the lower of both.  For example, you may have purchased an item of stock for €2,000 however due to changes within your market this item will now only retail for €1,200. In this case you should value this stock item at €1,200 as this is the lower of both the cost and the actual selling price.

5. Get value for you stocktake

Now that your stock has been counted and priced correctly it is important that you get the best value from the information gathered. You will need to review the results of the stocktake to identify where improvements in stock management can be made.  By understanding your stock levels and stock requirements you can easily identify and monitor slow moving stock, profitable stock and possible theft which may be occurring within your business.  Regular stocktakes will also assist you in streamlining your warehouse procedures and allow you to deal with stock issues in a more efficient and effective manner.

Carrying too much stock or not having sufficient stock to meet customer demands can have a negative impact on the profitability of your business. It is important to remember that stock equals money.  The introduction of regular stocktakes will give you more accurate information to allow you to make better operational decisions. Furthermore, if you conduct regular stocktakes throughout your financial year your staff will become more familiar with the procedures and stocktakes will be conducted in a more efficient manner.

If you have any queries ahead of your year end stocktake or on conducting regular stocktakes throughout the year please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team, here, who can assist you.

Images: Shutterstock

May 5, 2016
  Business Advice

Are You Receiving Any Of These Benefits From Your Employer?

There are many benefits that an employer may provide to employees and consideration should be given to those benefits that have a possible tax implication. We have outlined below some of the key points in relation to benefits in kind (BIK).

A BIK is a benefit other than money provided by an employer to an employee in addition to salary as part of his/her total compensation package.  Such benefits are subject to PAYE, PRSI and USC.  A BIK is taxed as notional pay and is taxable when the benefit is provided or when a payment is made on the employee’s behalf.

 

1. VOUCHERS

There is no BIK charge on small non-cash benefits, i.e. benefits not exceeding €500 in value. Such benefits (e.g. vouchers) may be given to employees tax free.  Where such benefits exceed €500 the full value of the benefit will be subject to PAYE, PRSI and USC deductions.

The €500 limit is not cumulative over a number of separate benefits and only one such benefit may be provided annually.

 

2. COMPANY CARS & VANS

Company Cars

The notional pay subject to PAYE, PRSI and USC is the “cash equivalent” of the private use of a company car by the employee, less any amount paid by the employee for the private use.  The annual “cash equivalent” is calculated by applying a business mileage related percentage to the original market value (OMV) of the car, as follows:

Annual Business Mileage Thresholds

Cash Equivalent (% of OMV)

24,000km or less

30%

24,001km to 32,000km

24%

32,001km to 40,000km

18%

40,001km to 48,000km

12%

48,001km and over

6%

For example, the cash equivalent of a car with an OMV of €36,000 for an employee who travels 25,000 business miles per annum would be €8,640.  This amount would be treated as notional pay for the employee and subject to PAYE, PRSI and USC.

Employee Contribution

A reduction is available for any amount paid by the employee directly to the employer towards the cost of providing or running the car.

Note: The Finance (No. 2) Act 2008 introduced provisions for a new CO2 based system of calculation of BIK for company cars.  However, this legislation will only be effective from a date which will be determined by a Ministerial Order.

 

Company Vans

Generally, the cash equivalent for private use of a company van is 5% of the original market value.  However there is an exemption from Benefit in Kind on the provision of a company van where all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The van is supplied by the employer for the purposes of the employee’s work
  • The employer requires the van to be brought home by the employee after work
  • The employee spends at least 80% of his/her working time away from the employer’s premises
  • Private use is prohibited (apart from travel to and from work).

Where any of the above conditions are not met, the usual BIK charge of 5% of the OMV applies.

For example, the cash equivalent of the use of a van with and OMV of €25,000 made available to an employee where private use is not prohibited would be €1,250.

It should be noted that there is a specific definition of a “van” for the purposes of the BIK rules.  A van means a mechanically propelled vehicle which:

  • is designed or constructed solely or mainly for the carriage of goods or other burden, and
  • has a roofed area or areas to the rear of the driver’s seat, and
  • has no side windows or seating fitted in that roofed area or areas.

Many jeeps and other similar types of vehicle may qualify as “commercial vehicles” for VRT but such vehicles must meet all of the above criteria in order to qualify as a van rather than a car in calculating the BIK charge.

 

3. OTHER BENEFITS

BENEFIT IN KIND

TAX IMPLICATIONS

Accommodation provided by employerTaxable benefit is the cost to the employer for the provision of the accommodation. If owned by the employer it is the annual rent which might be obtained if rented at arm’s length. An employer may take a figure equal to 8% of the current market value of the property.
Preferential LoansA preferential loan is one provided to an employee where either no interest or a reduced rate of interest applies. This results in a taxable benefit.
Travel PassesThe provision by an employer of monthly or annual bus, train, LUAS or ferry passes to employees is not a taxable benefit.
Professional SubscriptionsProfessional Subscriptions paid by employers for employees are taxable benefits. If the expense was incurred on the basis that it was wholly, exclusively and necessarily for the duties of the employment, then no BIK charge will arise.

 

 4. OTHER EXEMPTIONS

There are a number of other exemptions from the BIK provisions such as mobile phones and computers where private use is incidental to business use; reasonable expenditure on staff parties and events; course and exam fees; and staff medical check-ups.

If you are an employer applying BIK or an employee subject to BIK and would like additional information please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team, here, who can assist you with your queries.

 

Images: Shutterstock

April 7, 2016
  Business Advice

How a virtual FD makes a difference – The value of a trusted business adviser

When your business gets to a certain size, there will come a time when you need to take on a financial director – a business specialist who sits on the management team and can focus on the financial strategy of your business.

But what if you are a smaller business that cannot yet justify the cost of a full-time FD? Is there a way to get the same level of expert strategic thinking and financial guidance without the expense of a full-time director?

The answer is to hire a part-time, cloud-based financial director – a ‘virtual FD’ who can bring a human face to your finances and become your trusted strategic adviser.

 

A virtual FD, but a human adviser

Cloud technology has made it easier than ever to collaborate with a part-time business adviser. And although providing key financial data is part of the service, a virtual FD delivers far more than just the numbers.

Where a virtual FD really adds value is as a trusted adviser to your business – someone who will act as a combination of sounding board, business coach and strategic expert to your company.

Don’t let the term ‘virtual’ put you off. Despite the technological-sounding prefix, a virtual FD is very much a human element in your business model. What you get is a human face: someone who acts as a counsellor for your business and guides you through the choppy waters of running your business.

An FD shares your entrepreneurial mindset and speaks your language. And that means you get explanations of the significant business issues in simple terms that resonate with you as a business owner. Myths will be debunked, guiding the course of your business plan and aiding the clarity of your decision-making.

 

Your business interests at heart

Trust is the key to the virtual FD relationship. By working with a virtual adviser, you get a valuable, trusted player on your team. And you can rest assured that the needs and wants of your business will be at the heart of their advice – at all times.

A virtual FD also offers complete objectivity. They do not sit with your team day-to-day, and that brings you the benefit of an external viewpoint and objective opinions on the plans you have set out for the business.

There is no personal agenda other than to help you grow and prosper. You get an honest answer when there’s a difficult decision to make, whether it’s a financial issue, a potential buy-out or a matter relating to relations at board level etc.

 

A focus on strategic planning

Running your business is not just about having money in the bank and keeping the business afloat. It is also about looking to the future and putting strategic plans in place that will underpin your long-term goals for the business.

Having a virtual FD on board provides you with a forum to discuss your future plans for the business. You have a sounding board and by talking through your strategy, you get analysis and strategic guidance that adds weight and confidence to your long-term goals.

 

A valuable and ongoing relationship

Once you have built a stable relationship with your virtual FD, that level of trust will increase over time – and that adds significant additional value for you.

Letting that relationship flourish means opening up to your virtual FD and letting them inside your inner management circle. By being honest and open with them you will get far more from the relationship. When you truly value the opinion of your virtual FD that allows them to help steer the business more productively and effectively.

You will also have far more direct contact when you work with a virtual adviser, rather than a standard accountant. The relationship is no longer about simply delivering year-end accounts and meeting once a quarter. It is an ongoing, continuous relationship between you and your trusted adviser.

As you go through the peaks and troughs of trading, your FD is there to resolve any issues – and even to identify problems before they occur. Your FD will spot the trends, assist you in avoiding the pitfalls and help you identify the opportunities for new sales, new purchases and chances to improve your profits.

 

Online: a more convenient way to do business

Cloud-based access to your accounts makes collaborating with your virtual FD an incredibly straightforward process.

You log in to your accounting software online, wherever there’s an Internet connection, wherever you are in the world. This online access to your real-time numbers means your virtual FD is only ever a phone call or Skype conversation away. Both of you can log into the same system, see the same information and talk through your current business concerns in real time.

And this ability to collaborate changes the value you get from your virtual FD. You get analysis and guidance, whenever you need it – there is no more waiting around for historic management accounts to back up your decision-making. You have the information you need immediately, alongside the advice of your trusted adviser. And that’s an extremely powerful tool to have in the armoury.

 

How Roberts Nathan can help your business

So, how would a virtual FD fit into your current business set-up?

Do you have a bookkeeper already? If so, we can work with them on your accounts and deliver the financial data needed by your accounts team, as well providing more detailed high-end management reporting for you, the business owner.

If you don’t have a bookkeeper in place, you can outsource this function to us. We will move your books over to Xero online accounting, bringing you all the benefits of a cloud-based approach to your bookkeeping. And with Xero’s detailed reporting functionality, we will deliver regular management information that puts you firmly in the driving seat of the company.

And, as we’ve said, don’t confuse ‘virtual’ with being something remote and distant. With the enhanced access that cloud software delivers, your communication and interaction with your virtual FD will actually increase – so you get more time with us, and far more timely advice and guidance on your ongoing business issues.

 

Arrange a chat with our virtual FDs

If you think a virtual FD would be a great fit for your business, please do contact us to arrange a meeting and a demonstration of the benefits of cloud accounting.

Get in touch to discuss the needs of your business, and find out how we can cut our virtual FD cloth to be a tailored fit for your enterprise.

Images: Shutterstock

March 24, 2016
  Business Advice

Business Start-Up Plan – How Planning Makes Your Dreams Come True

Plenty of great businesses start with a dream – an idea that comes to you in a flash and gets you motivated enough to think about starting your own business.

But whatever the dream, you will need to encapsulate your end goals, decide on a strategy and find the funding needed to get that company off the ground – and this means sitting down to write a clear, effective business start-up plan!

Getting your business down on paper

Writing a business start-up plan has two key benefits for you as an entrepreneur.

Firstly, taking the time to write a business start-up plan helps you to focus on your business idea and work through the details of your business model. It forces you to think about the key questions and get them down on paper, some of which are:

  • What is your objective for creating the business?
  • Who will your customers be?
  • How much can you charge for your product/service?
  • What will it cost you to make this product or deliver this service?
  • What other main costs should be considered?
  • Will you need employees or will you go it alone?
  • What will your predicted profit margin be?
  • What is your turnover likely to be in year one?

Once you’ve considered these questions along with many more (I can assure you!), and given your best shot at the answers, you will have a reasonably good indication of whether your business has the potential to bring in business, create the right revenues and deliver the income you (and your team) need to make a living.

Secondly, writing down your business start-up plan makes it easier to demonstrate your idea to investors and partners. It gives you a clear explanation of your business model that you can then work on further to create a structured financial business plan to bring to your bank, potential investors and other partners you may need to work with along the course of your business journey.

In a nutshell, writing the plan highlights the elements of your business idea that work, and shows you where improvements are needed to turn your dream into reality.

 

Researching the market

You may have had the best business idea since the wheel, but it means nothing if there isn’t a market for your product or service. So researching your intended market is a big part of making your business plan watertight.

  • Is there a need for the business in your local area?
  • Where will the best location be to set up?
  • Who will your core audience be?
  • How will you advertise and promote your business?#
  • Can your product/service be sold online?
  • What price are my competitors charging?

Understanding the potential market for your product/service is extremely powerful. It allows you to be far more realistic about your income potential, your predicted profits and the underlying stability of the company.

 

Dealing with the management and administration

Setting up the business is not just a case of finding customers and making money, of course. As the founder and owner, you will have all kinds of new responsibilities that you need to include in your detailed business start-up plan, just some are listed here:

  • You have to decide on your business structure – will you be a sole trader or a limited company (the way you are taxed will be different for each)?
  • You must register your new business with the Revenue Commissioners and the Companies Registration Office.
  • You may need to register for income tax, corporation tax, VAT or PAYE, if they’re relevant to your business structure.
  • You will need to look at tax planning and the impact of your tax payments on your overall cash flow for the year.
  • You should consider putting insurance in place to protect your income in the event that you can’t work.

There’s also the option of outsourcing your bookkeeping and financial admin to a third party. Rather than spending time on data entry and bank reconciliation, you can hand over the admin and enhance your focus on driving the business forward.

 

Managing your finances

One of the big things to think about is how you source and arrange the capital needed to start the business. And once you’re trading, how you manage your finances to guarantee the best possible return on this original investment.

Your bank may be happy to offer you a business loan, or you may have to source your capital from private investment. But wherever the funding comes from, your partners will expect a transparent view of your financial progress, repayments made on time and a stable return on any private investment.

 

How Roberts Nathan can help you

Working with a business adviser will really give your business start-up plan an edge.

With nearly two decades’ experience of working with Irish start-ups and small businesses, Roberts Nathan can help you review every detail of your business idea to ensure your plan is clear, realistic and actionable within your stated timelines.

We can also help you streamline your financial management by taking on your bookkeeping burden and giving you back more business time.

Set up a meeting with our team and they will help you turn your business dreams into a profitable, efficient reality.

Images: Shutterstock

February 25, 2016
  Business Advice

Having a good business plan – how planning makes your dreams come true

Plenty of great businesses start with a dream – an idea that comes to you in a flash and gets you motivated enough to think about starting your own business.But whatever the dream, you will need to encapsulate your end goals, decide on a strategy and find the funding needed to get that company off the ground – and this means sitting down to write a clear, effective business plan!

Getting your business down on paper

Writing a business plan has to two key benefits for you as an entrepreneur.Firstly, taking the time to write a business plan helps you to focus on your business idea and work through the details of your business model. It forces you to think about the key questions and get them down onto paper.
  • What is your objective for creating the business?
  • Who will your customers be?
  • How much can you charge for your product/service?
  • What will it cost you to make this product or deliver this service?
  • Will you need employees or will you go it alone?
  • What will your predicted profit margin be?
  • What is your turnover likely to be in year one?
Once you’ve considered these questions, and given your best shot at the answers, you will have a reasonably good indication of whether your business has the potential to bring in business, create the right revenues and deliver the income you (and your team) need to live.Secondly, writing down your business plan makes it easier to demonstrate your idea to investors and partners. It gives you a clear explanation of your business model that you can then put in front of your bank, potential investors and other partners you may need to work with along the course of your business journey.In a nutshell, writing the plan highlights the elements of your business idea that work, and shows you where improvements are needed to turn your dream into reality.

Researching the market

You may have had the best business idea since the wheel, but it means nothing if there isn’t a market for your product or service. So researching your intended market is a big part of making your business plan watertight.
  • Is there a need for the business in your local area?
  • Where will the best location be to set up shop?
  • Who will your core audience be?
  • How will you advertise and promote your business?
Understanding the potential market for your product/service is extremely powerful. It allows you to be far more realistic about your income potential, your predicted profits and the underlying stability of the company.

Dealing with the management and administration

Setting up the business is not just a case of finding customers and making money, of course. As the founder and owner, you will have all kinds of new responsibilities that you need to include in your detailed business plan.
  • You have to decide on your business structure – will you be a sole trader or a limited company (the way your taxed will be different for each)?
  • You must make your new business known to the Irish Tax & Customs and the Companies Registration Office.
  • You will have to register for income tax, corporation tax, VAT or PAYE, if they’re relevant to your business structure.
  • You will need to look at tax planning and the impact of your tax payments on your overall cash flow for the year.
  • You should consider putting insurance in place to protect your income in the event that you can’t work.

Managing your finances

One of the big things to think about is how you source and arrange the capital needed to start the business. And once you’re trading, how you manage your finances to guarantee the best possible return on this original investment.Your bank may be happy to offer you a business loan, or you may have to source your capital from private investment. But wherever the funding comes from, your partners will expect a transparent view of your financial progress, repayments made on time and a stable return on any private investment.Having a modern cloud accounting system in place, such as
Xero online accounting software, will help you to manage your momey, keep on top of your spending and give you (and your partners) a great overview of your financial performance.Xero will also help you to cut down on the paperwork and improve your admin:
  • Xero’s online invoicing function to cuts out the need for hard-copy invoices.
  • Email your bills straight to your customer with no postage costs.
  • Get paid faster through online payment gateways, such as PayPal.
  • If your bank offers it, there’s a live bank feed so you always know your current bank balance.
  • Speeds up bank reconciliations and have an improved view of your cash flow.
There’s also the option of outsourcing your bookkeeping and financial admin to a third party. Rather than spending time on data entry and bank reconciliation, you can hand over the admin and enhance your focus on driving the business forward.

How Roberts Nathan can help you 

Working with a business adviser will really give your business plan an edge.With nearly two decades’ experience of working with Irish start-ups and small businesses, Roberts Nathan can help you review every detail of your business idea to ensure your plan is clear, realistic and actionable within your stated timelines.We can also help you streamline your financial management by taking on your bookkeeping burden and giving you back more business time.Set up a meeting with our team and they will help you turn your business dreams into a profitable, efficient reality.
February 24, 2016