What does your business do?
“We separate and filter various aqueous fluids including brewery water and pure water for washing surgical instruments.
“One of our big clients is Heineken in Herefordshire. We look after the process filtration for their canning lines as well as the cider filtration.”
“I worked for Staffordshire Water and Severn Trent Water. I then moved away from more rudimentary water tasks and started looking at iron exchange for water softening and dosing halogens such as chlorine dioxide to kill off nasty bugs.
“I then moved into filtration when I joined a large company called Envirogen. I really enjoyed my time there but I decided to go it alone as a sole trader."
“I started off doing my own accounts, but I quickly realised I would not be able to do it myself! I got a friend to help and my wife Kayleigh, who is doing her accountancy exams, chipped in too.”
“She took over the bookkeeping and then a friend in the water industry referred me to TaxAssist. I immediately liked my TaxAssist accountant and the way they deal with customers. We have not looked back since! The business has grown and my accountant has been invaluable to that in many ways.”
“I incorporated as a limited company within a year of starting, based on TaxAssist’s advice. Before working with TaxAssist, we weren’t aware of the benefits of becoming a limited company given the amount of business I had as a sole trader.
“Kayleigh speaks to our accountant monthly and I generally speak to them quarterly. The couple of months before our financial end of year is when I have the most interaction with him. We want to know what our tax bill is and what we can do to make tax efficiencies. They give us advice on purchases we can make that will bring the tax bill down such as buying a van and paying into my pension.
“Without TaxAssist, our cash flow would have been much more up and down. TaxAssist has given us lots of advice in terms of negotiating good payment terms and making the most of our suppliers. As we are a small business, we do not always badger suppliers for better rates and just accept what we get. Our TaxAssist accountant is more shrewd about that kind of thing.
“We now use one of our workflow systems to contact suppliers every three months. We ask questions such as can we get more if we buy more and can we get better payment terms?
“One thing that a lot of business owners do not consider analysing is whether your bottom set of customers are needed. Are they draining your resources, or can you put their prices up? TaxAssist is great with advice like that.
“Be careful of holding too much stock because you get taxed on it. It can be particularly unhelpful if it is there for multiple years. That is a secret cash drain that many business owners do not consider.
“For dealing with clients, good customer relations is key. Be organised. I live in my calendar and I use automation to remind me to check in with clients on a regular basis. I visit key customers in person every three months. Listen to your clients’ problems and focus on solving them.”
Would you advise other founders to get an accountant early on in their business journey like you did?
“I would also say you should use the accounting systems that your accountant recommends as they will be specialists in it which is very beneficial. We were already using a different online software before we started working with TaxAssist but they moved us to QuickBooks. It integrates well with our other software and it has been a really easy transition.”
Date published 15 Sep 2023 | Last updated 19 Sep 2023
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