Growing your business: the importance of accountants and finance managers

For most businesses, whatever their size, support from an accountant or finance manager is usually something that is needed at some point during a business year. Whether it is someone to manage bookkeeping, format and submit account to HMRC, manage payroll, audit accounts or simply offer advice to help you make the best decisions, it is unlikely that you will be able to grow your business without this support.

Businessman Using Calculator
Image: Corbis Super RF / Image Source RF – IS099G9PY

For most small businesses, hiring a bookkeeper or an accountant is normal and usually enough to get through day-to-day life. But for growing businesses, increasing staff and revenues usually lead to more complicated arrangements and eventually the need for an in-house finance professional. It is therefore important to be able to identify when it is appropriate to manage your finance operations in-house.

What is the difference between an accountant and finance manager?

Job titles and roles will vary from company to company, but an accountant is generally responsible for preparing accounting information. The accounts will be used to inform decisions and must also be submitted to HMRC and, if relevant, Companies House. Whether you are trading as a sole trader, partnership or corporation will determine your accounting and reporting requirements.

Finance managers, however, tend to use the accounts to make investment decisions and allocate resources. If you are a sole trader then you are the decision maker and will most likely be responsible for how money is spent. Whereas larger businesses generally have multiple decision makers who rely on the accounts as well as internal forecasts to set budgets, make investment decisions and optimise how resources are allocated.

Should I hire someone to manage my finances?

Well this is really only a question you can answer yourself. If your company is growing and you are finding it hard to manage various aspects, you are starting to invest large sums of money, or need someone to better manage the allocation of company resources, then you may well benefit from hiring a finance professional. There may also be legal factors or caveats set by lenders that require you to hire an in-house finance manager.

The good news is that if you are considering hiring a CFO or someone for a similar role you could save money by hiring them on a part time basis. Given the current economic climate, hiring a part time Finance Director is becoming even more popular. It gives you access to someone with the expertise and qualifications to help you make the best financial decisions, but without the cost and commitment of a full time CFO.

Why are finance professionals essential to start-ups and growing businesses?

Whether you are looking to grow your business or not, it’s unlikely that you’ll be happy losing money unnecessarily. Contract accountants can help you to some extent manage your affairs to reduce your tax liability based on what you are currently doing. However, in-house Finance Directors and CFOs are better positioned to help you make the right decisions from the outset. Responsible for managing and allocating financial resources, not only can they save you from paying unnecessary tax, but they can make decisions that will grow the business.

For start-ups, doing things right from the start will make things easier going forward. The wrong decisions can be costly in terms of time and money. It is highly advised that you make use of professional advice from the outset; then when the time is right you should look to hire a finance professional that not only has the experience to grow your business, but someone who understands your industry, your goals and is committed to seeing your business succeed.

Part Two: Redevelopment of Penalised Website

I’ve now had the whole site moved and 301′ed for a few days now and all of the pages can be found in Google now, they haven’t really been “indexed” as such however they are appearing searching with the “Site:” function on Google; This is a massive step forward as previous to this the previous domain had been completely deindexed and black listed.

No real increase in statistics as of yet, it’s currently getting around 30 unique visitors a day and making about £1.00/£2.00 a day on Adsense earnings.

Webmaster tools isn’t showing any errors and no warning messages have been sent to me as of yet unlike the previous domain, I’m interested to see over the next week or two if the pages will get indexed in a similar position to where they were before, of they are any better or worse.

Google’s crawl rate is up a lot over the last day or two so hoping to see some proper indexed pages over the next few days, Fingers crossed this can recover to the site it was previously.

More to follow…

Skiing Holidays

Going on holiday is a great way to relax and get away from the normal day to day life for a week or two, and if you can’t decide where to go or what to do then maybe you should consider a ski holiday in Europe; There are loads of great resorts across Europe for you to go on your holidays, and if you’ve not been on a Skiing holiday then why not try it?

If you have been skiing before then you may already have a resort that you go to every year, have you considered some of the other great options available to you? Below is a list of some of the resorts that are available across Europe.

The usual resorts that most visit in France are Chamonix, Morzine, Val D’Isere and Courchevel, but you may not have considered visiting Montgenèvre on the Italian border, Vaujany, Meribel and even La Tania. As part of larger ski areas they all have access to some awesome slopes and terrain close to home.

Switzerland offers some great resorts, the main ones visited by holiday goers are Verbier, Zermatt or St Moritz but there are some real gems available such as like Saas-Fee, Gstaad Les Crosets and Klosters. Switzerland can be a little more expensive that France, but the ambience, chocolate box villages and the fondue are well worth the extra money.

Austria is by far the best location for a party ski holiday, with the towns of of Mayrhofen, St Anton am Arlberg and Ischgl leading the way whenever you hear the words après ski!

The above is just a snapshot of the great ski resorts to consider for your next winter holiday, it’s always worth doing your own research for your holidays on websites like www.goski.co.uk, they offer reviews, slope ratings, information on the resorts and the night life in the local area.

Finding a decent online marketing company

When working on websites using a online media agency is a paramount to getting the boost you need in the rankings and promotion of your new or existing website. I’ve used many over the last few years but recently have used http://www.searchable.co.uk, They provided me with some on site SEO for a client of mines website and also provided me with some link building for one of my own projects.

Searchable.co.uk provides SEO, PR and Domain Brokering and a service helping you out with your social network profile. I’ve used several of the services and have found everything has been done to the highest standard possible, and my dealings with Adam Grunweg the company owner have always been pleasant.

Getting the right help with the promotion of your site via the SERPs and Social Media is what will make your site;  Getting not just traffic but the right traffic to your website is going to help with the conversion of advertising, natural promotion of your content from your site users and returning visitors.

It’s always best to find a good SEO Agency and for my current projects Searchable Media Agency are the people for me!

Using Royalty Free Images Within Projects

With the development work that I regularly undertake within the content management system side of things there is often a need for high quality royalty free images that add quality and a unique look to articles, content and blog posts. I’ve used stock image sites such as Fotolia and Shutterstock before and although they offer a wide range of images, they often feel quite stocky and it’s not too difficult to find a site using exactly the same images within the niche of the site I’ve been working on which can devalue content and take the edge off the unique feel of a site.

Over the last few months I’ve been using http://ImageSource.com, they provide high quality stock images sold for advertising & publishing; I’ve found great images that don’t necessarily have that `stock` feel to the images, this has given me the chance to make the websites I’ve been working on look more unique, more professional and generally better looking for the users of the website.

The ImageSource website has a modern design and is very easily to navigate; It has a power search engine that very quickly returns hundreds of images from a search result providing me with a wide choice of images for a specific search. Not only do they provide stock images, they also provide competitively priced HD video footage covering a huge amount of subjects.

The advantage of a site Like ImageSource.com is that once you purchase your royalty free photos you are then free to use them as many times as you like for a one off payment, allowing you to use the same image across a network of sites without the need for a payment each time you use it.

I’d strongly recommend giving them a try, a few well placed stock images can make a piece of content or a site homepage look a lot better.