Boost Your Business with Better Bookkeeping

Filed in Business Leave a comment

Too often, small businesses and sole traders see bookkeeping as a boring obligation. It’s something to get done (eventually) and use for the necessary evil that is the tax return then file away in a dark cabinet. In other words, it’s important as record keeping but has no use outside of working out your obligations to the taxman.

In fact, your business’ books can be a powerful and valuable tool to help your business operate at full efficiency. Maintaining your books carefully and regularly looking over them, preferably with the help of your accountant’s expert opinion, can help you better run your business in a number of ways.

Predicting the Future

Your books are the closest thing you have to a crystal ball when it comes to making forecasts about your several important aspects of your business. In some areas, the best way to work out what will happen is to look at the past. True, past performance is certainly no guarantee of future performance, but in some areas it can be a very useful tool to predict what is likely to happen.

In particular, if your business is at least a few years old, your books from previous years can help you get a good idea of seasonal trends. This means you can be prepared for “famine” periods and better prepare for them in “feast” periods. It also means you can be prepared to take steps to mitigate periods of slow trading and capitalise on seasons or events which boost your business.

Tax Compliance and Efficiency

Another benefit of paying close attention to your accounts is that you are simply more likely to keep them in thoroughly good shape. Small expenses, especially the kind that represent crumpled and half-forgotten receipts, can easily slip through the net if you make the mistake of just going through your books in a single blitz once every few weeks. Similarly, discrepancies and compliance issues are more likely to appear, and even if you spot these in time it will be harder to investigate them if you don’t see them until weeks or even months after the fact.

For this reason, your business will be a lot healthier and run far more smoothly if you keep a closer eye on your books and deal with them more regularly. You should set up regular sessions for dealing with your books and getting your latest records in shape, with short intervals in between. Weekly sessions are ideal.

, , , , , ,

The Best Things to Buy Second Hand

Filed in Personal Finance Leave a comment

Buying second hand is one of the most well-known tactics to get things for less. The trade-off, of course, is that second hand items have already been used so they will have amassed some wear and tear and have a shorter service life left to them. However, there are certain things which are not particularly susceptible to this problem, and buying these things second hand can be a great way to save money with few if any drawbacks.

Books

Books will generally remain eminently readable even if they become dog-eared and floppy. Most second hand books, however, are in very good condition. They are widely available from charity shops, specialist bookshops, and online for extremely low prices – often a fraction of the original cover price. Unless you want to snap up a new release as soon as it comes out, you will almost certainly be better off buying second hand.

If you like to experiment with new books, you could try buying very cheap ones from a charity shop and then returning them for someone else to read when you are done. That way, you are saving money, reducing clutter in your home, and passing on the opportunity to other book-lovers.

DVDs, CDs and Computer Games

These disc-based goods hold up to their second hand status almost as well as books. Generally, a disc will have to be quite badly scratched before it develops problems. Unless the previous owner was careless, it is probably almost pristine as simply being played does not really put any wear and tear on a disc. These items rarely offer any real disadvantage when bought second hand. Most retailers inspect second hand discs before sale, and will happily accept a return if there is a problem.

CDs are particularly interesting. In the age of the digital download, they have been an oft-neglected medium for some time. For this reason, second hand CDs are often sold at bargain bucket prices. This means that buying a CD and then digitising the tracks (a simple process using software that comes with new computers as standard) can actually be cheaper than downloading.

Cars

Cars depreciate quickly. This fact is the bane of many car owners, but it can be a blessing when it comes to buying a second hand car. Buying cars that have previously been owned is already a popular process, but even if you want the newest model it can still be worth looking at second hand models. Even cars that are just a few months old with very low mileage will sometimes appear on the market, and will generally offer a noticeable discount while in reality being little different from a brand new car.

There are sometimes advantages of buying a new car over a good second hand one. These are usually not so much anything to do with the car itself, but rather retailer promotions like attractive finance deals, long warranties, or free servicing. Sometimes, similar deals can be available on second hand cars if bought from a dealer rather than privately.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

TOP