Out With The Old (Accountant) and In With The New

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As a business owner, you’ll find the festive period is one of the few breathing spaces you get all year. One which, in between the roast dinners and family visits, you find yourself reflecting back on the past business year, its successes and areas to be improved. We speak to a lot of business owners in January and February that are looking to change their accounting software to a cloud-based solution, such as Xero or, looking to source a new accountant entirely. Have you looked back on the work your accountant has done and decided that now is the time for change?

Why Should I Change Accountants?

There are lots of reasons that people choose to move to a new accountant. If you feel that you are unhappy with the level of service you are receiving then this is a good reason to change accountants. Your accountant should be proactive in finding tax-saving options, if they’re not doing this you could be spending more on tax than you should be.

How Can I Change Accountants?

In one word, easily! Accountants are not allowed to put a fixed term of contract in place, so all you need to do to change accountants is give 30 days’ notice to switch providers.

We would always recommend that you give your accountant notice when you are leaving them. However, as your accountant, we can make this process easier for you. We will send your old accountant a professional clearance letter that asks for all the relevant documents and information that they hold for your business.

We will send your professional clearance letter to your old accountant on your behalf. This is a letter of correspondence that asks permission for us to take you on as a client and ask for the documents and paperwork that we need to look after your business accounts. This is the hardest part of changing accountants and absolutely nothing to worry about as we will do it all for you.

What Can Direct Peak Do Better?

We make sure we communicate with you throughout the year, not just at year end. We will make sure that you are utilising your tax savings. Once the end of year has passed it is too late to utilise these, so we make sure you are ready to utilise these savings. Our team will keep a close eye on your accounts throughout the year to make sure your business is on track. We will also let you know before year-end any changes that we recommend.  As accountants, we are regularly in contact with our clients. As our client, we will speak to you throughout the year with any recommendations or to answer any queries. We don’t just offer an end of year service; we offer an all year round service.

As a small business and accountants experienced working with small to medium businesses we know how worrying an accounts query can be. This is why we get most to almost all cases within 24 hours, to put your mind at rest. There is no charge for queries by phone or email, so if something is worrying you, please tell us.

By knowing where your business is at, it is easier to make informed business decisions. We turnaround management accounts within an average of 25 days of month end. This helps you see exactly what is happening within your business. All our work is on a fixed fee so there will never be surprise bills. We also utilise technology to make your life and business management easier.

All of our new clients moving over to Xero receive a free Xero migration service and two hours training for a member of staff, so you know your business will be up and running on Xero smoothly and your staff know how to use the essential day to day features. We are Xero Gold Partners and also offer advanced Xero training and Xero Payroll Training, so if you need further training, we are here for you.

If you’re finding frustration with an existing accountant or feel it’s time to move on to better accounting systems to reflect your modern business, let us help. Call us now for a free consultation on 01778 481044 and let’s get this job ticked off your new year’s to-do list!

Three New Years Resolutions For Small Business Owners

Three New Years Resolutions For Small Business Owners

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Three New Years Resolutions For Small Business Owners

Research shows that each year around a third of us in the UK will set New Year’s resolutions. The most common resolutions are things like joining the gym, losing weight, quit smoking, drink less alcohol and so on.

However, if you run your own business you may have set some New Year’s resolutions to help improve your business for the New Year? We have listed three new years resolutions for small business owners that we would recommend.

  1. Keep Costs Down

Minimising your costs is essential if you want maximise your profits.  Money can be wasted in all areas of the business very easily. Cost inefficiencies can build up to large amounts over time if you don’t keep a close eye on what you are spending. If your business slows down between Christmas and the New Year, take advantage of this. Use this time to review your in-comings and outgoings. You may choose to speak to suppliers about discount for customer loyalty for example. You could also introduce staff incentives for finding ways that money can be saved in the business.

It’s a good idea to do quarterly reviews on your spending to quickly spot where money is being spent and if money can be saved.

  1. Credit Control Tightening

If you have non-paying and late-paying customers that it is likely you are giving yourself a major cash flow headache. Do you currently carry out credit checks on all new customers? If not then this should be a new year’s resolution for your business. Make sure that your customers receive invoice as soon as possible. Any delays will affect your cash flow, so the sooner the invoice is received by your client; the sooner payment can be made.

We would recommend that you have a credit control system in place that tells you when a payment is overdue so you can chase that late payment before any more work is done.

  1. Cash Flow Forecasts

Every year over 32,000 businesses fail in the UK; this is usually because they run out of cash. As a business owner you need to address cash flow issues. You need to keep your financial records up to date so you know how much money your business has available at all times. Creating reliable cash flow forecasts is essential to a successful business.

If you notice that you have a short-term cash flow problem before it is too late then you may be able to cut costs or arrange finance to get you by. Just ignoring your cash flow and hoping for the best is not an option.


These are just three new years resolutions for small business owners that we would recommend. If you would like the help of a local small business accountant in Peterborough to help your business New Year’s resolutions then contact us directly. We would be happy to discuss how we can help you.

Tax Planning in Peterborough

Tax Planning in Peterborough

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Tax Planning in Peterborough

Some business owners experience a quieter period in the run down to Christmas. While some business owners find this to be an uneasy period and worry about what they can do, other business owners embrace this quieter period to get things in order for the year ahead.

In this blog post we would like to look at tax planning. Tax planning should be on your year end accounting checklist. It should also be something you look at and review during quieter periods of the business to check you are on track.

Here at Direct Peak we help with tax planning in Peterborough. We help you get an analysis of your financial position from a tax perspective. This will help you ensure your business pays the least amount of tax that the law allows.

By completing some tax planning in Peterborough at the end of the year you can accelerate expenses you were planning to buy early in the New Year. For example, if you have software subscriptions or memberships that need to be renewed, you can do these before the end of the year and this will help increase your expenses and lower your taxable income.

If it is possible to defer sending invoices to customers until January, then do so. This will help make your taxable income lower than if you were to send these invoices in the current year.

These are just some of the basic legal tax strategies that you can try. However if you would like to know about some of the more in-depth tax strategies that will really help you gain some big savings on your tax we would recommend you speak to a tax accountant in Peterborough.

A tax planning accountant in Peterborough, like the team here at Direct Peak, will help you create and optimise your tax planning for the year ahead. They can also help you put together an end of year checklist to ensure that your business and accounts are all in order.

Remember – what you do at the end of the year for your business will help the success of your business in the New Year!

Three Common Mistakes Made When People Do Their Own VAT Returns

Three Common Mistakes Made When People Do Their Own VAT Returns

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Three Common Mistakes Made When People Do Their Own VAT Returns

We know that all business owners want to save money we can, that is completely normal. However, trying to save money by completing your own VAT returns can result in it costing you more. Here at Direct Peak we are a local accountancy firm in Peterborough and we can help you complete your VAT returns correctly and on time.

You might even find that by using a local accountancy firm in Peterborough for your VAT returns you could end up saving more money than you pay, not to mention the time and stress you will save.

In this article we have put together just some of the common mistakes that people make when doing their own VAT returns. So, if you do decide to do your own VAT returns you know some of the mistakes you can avoid.

  1. Flat Rate Scheme

If your company is registered for the Flat Rate Scheme then the box 6 figure on your VAT return needs to show the gross sales for that period. While you charge VAT at 20% on your net sales, the Flat Rate Percentage is applied to your gross sales. When people return their own VAT returns as registered Flat Rate Scheme businesses, this is a mistake that is often made.

  1. Nil VAT Returns

People commonly believe that if you do not trade in a period that you don’t need to submit a VAT return. However this is not true. Instead you need to submit a VAT return that says the sales were none. As no sales were made therefore no VAT is due. It is important that you remember if you’re using Standard Rate rules for VAT that there may be some VAT reclaimable. This will create a refund from HMRC for that quarter. If you are on the Flat Rate Scheme and have a single purchase of capital expenditure goods that cost at least £2,000 (VAT inclusive) then the input VAT may still be able to be reclaimed.

  1. Flat Rate Percentage

If you are registered for the Flat Rate Scheme as a company then you must follow the new rules that came in during April 2017. These rules are in regards to ‘limited cost businesses’ and came in play from HMRC. These rules can be confusing for some business owners because it is hard to know the correct percentage that needs to be applied. This is especially the case if you are still in your 1% discount period.

If you would like to work with a local accountancy firm in Peterborough on your VAT returns then please contact our team. We would be happy to discuss your business and how we can help make your VAT returns easier.

The Benefits Of Using A Local Accountant In Market Deeping

The Benefits Of Using A Local Accountant In Market Deeping

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The Benefits Of Using A Local Accountant In Market Deeping

In this modern day we are seeing more and more local and personal services, becoming huge corporate robots and machines. Personal services are now offered by robots and automatic replies. Just look at your local bank where you are directed towards the machines or your local supermarket where you can self-check out your shopping.

The world of accounting is no different. What used to be a local and personal profession is becoming a service from a faceless person on the phone. But what if you still want a local accountant in Market Deeping? Is that even still a thing?

Yes! Here at Direct Peak we are your local accountant in Market Deeping.

There are lots of benefits to having a local accountant too. For example, you will get a more personalised service. A small local accountancy firm like ours has the ability to get to know you and your business. You aren’t a number to us; instead we know who you are, what your business and what your business goals are.

The fees of an accountant can vary drastically from one accountant to another. When you work with a local accountant you can reduce your prices on travel for meetings. There will be no high mileage costs as we are based locally to you. This means you have regular meetings and reviews with us, without worrying about the expensive hidden costs of travel and mileage being added to your invoice.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a local accountant in Market Deeping is the convenience they offer. Time is everything for a business owner so having a local accountant means you can just pop in. You don’t need to deal with issues over the phone. Instead you can go through your concerns face to face, which many business owners find easier.

There are lots of huge benefits to having a local accountant in Market Deeping. Why not call us now to see how we can offer you a more convenient, personal and timesaving service as your local accountant?

Beginners VAT Guide For Small Businesses

Beginners VAT Guide For Small Businesses

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Beginners VAT Guide For Small Businesses

Our professional VAT return accountants in Peterborough work with a lot of clients on their VAT returns throughout the year. However we understand that for a small business, the world of VAT returns can be a confusing world. This is why we have put together a beginners VAT guide for small businesses. This is a really easy guide that gives you the fact about VAT that you need to know.

What is VAT?

We couldn’t complete a beginners VAT guide for small businesses without talking about what VAT is. VAT is Value Added Tax. It is a tax on consumer expenditure and is collected on the sale of goods or services. VAT has been around since 1973 when the UKL joined the EEC. Previously VAT was known as Sales Tax.

What is VAT Charged On?

VAT is often charged on things like the sales of your goods and / or services. It can also be charged on exchanges, for example things like a new car in exchange for an old car. When you are selling your business assets, you can be charged VAT on this too.

Business goods that are used for personal reasons may also have VAT charged on them. You will also be charged VAT on commission as well as items sold to staff, such as uniform or meals. If you hire or lease your goods, VAT will be charged on this too.

When Do I Have To Register For VAT?

If your business has a VAT taxable turnover of £85,000 or more in the last 12 months then you must register for VAT. However, if it is expected that your VAT taxable turnover will be more than £85,000 in the next 30 days period, this is another time that you must register for VAT.

When it comes to the end of a calendar month and you find that the value of your taxable sales exceeds £85,000 over the last 12 months you need to register for VAT. We would recommend that you contact a professional VAT returns accountant who will notify HMRC on your behalf. You will then be VAT registered from the first day of the next month.

Good to Know

If you have just become a VAT registered business but are holding any assets that have been purchased previously you should be able to reclaim VAT back on registration. These assets could be things like furniture, machinery, technology or equipment for example.


However, the most important thing to gain from reading this beginners VAT guide for small businesses is that if you’re in doubt, check! If you’re not sure about anything on your VAT returns then call your specialist VAT returns accountant and ask.

Why Your Start Up Needs An Accountant

Why Your Start Up Needs An Accountant

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Why Your Start Up Needs An Accountant

While accountants are not always seen as a ‘must have’ for start up businesses, there is a lot of things that start-ups need an accountant for.  In this blog post we have put together just some of the reasons that your start up needs an accountant.

You’ll Be Busy

As the owner of start up business you will be really, really busy. In the early days it is likely you will be the only person within the business which means you are the owner, the marketer, the admin, the sales, the secretary, the customer service rep and the toilet cleaner. You may think you’ll be busy, but you’ll be busier than that – trust us! As experienced accountants for start-ups, and as a business owner myself, we know how busy you will be. A start up needs an accountant to help them keep the finances and books up to date. If you let it slip it could have disastrous effects on the business.

Taxes Aren’t Simple

Calculating your estimated tax payments can be tricky. In fact the National Federation of Independent Business surveyed small business owners on their concerns. Every month when the survey was repeated and the report shared ‘taxes’ always ranked highly of the list of business owners concerns. Your start up needs an accountant to help you understand your tax payments and your tax code. You will find a good quality accountant to be a huge source of relief when it comes to taxes and dealing with HMRC.

Accountants Are Liked By Investors

As an entrepreneur you may be great at pitching your business. However, when you start talking to investors they will want to see and hear more than just your pitch. Investors want to see hard facts which includes your current figures, a financial forecast and growth projections. By working with an experienced accountant for your start up, even if you are not looking for investment now, you will be more attractive to investors.

Growth Is Made Easier

While you know you want to grow your business, it is not always that easy. When is a good time to expand? Which part of the business should you expand? How far can your finances be stretched without putting the business at risk? A good accountant will be able to help you plan for the future and plan for growth. It is always a good idea to run ideas past your accountant and they can then offer advice and guidance to help you.


Reports show that 3 in 5 businesses fail in the first year of business. Many studies show the reason behind this failure is poor financial planning. While start up accountants may look like an expensive luxury for a start up business, you’ll be amazed at how much help they can offer you and how much money they can save you over time.

Great Reasons To Outsource Your Payroll

Great Reasons To Outsource Your Payroll

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Great Reasons To Outsource Your Payroll

Here at Direct Peak we know how tricky it is as a business owner. There is so much to manage, including marketing, sales, suppliers, customers, employees, pay roll, cash flow and more. We are a small business ourselves and we know how busy things can get – and how many plates business owners feel they need to keep spinning!

This is why we offer a service so you can outsource your payroll. We can take one of those many spinning plates away from you so you can focus on your business. There are other ‘spinning plates’ that we can take away from you so you’re able to spend time doing what you enjoy and what you’re good at. However, in this blog post we would like to talk about just some of the reasons to outsource your payroll.

  • Large businesses may have the budget to afford and maintain a large payroll department. But as an SME business it can be costly so why not outsource your payroll? Calculate the time, effort and cost of doing payroll in-house. This includes the payroll software costs, admin time, training costs, printers, printing and payslip distribution. Then take a look at a quote for out outsourced payroll services. You’ll quickly see you can save time, effort, money and stress by outsourcing your payroll.


  • Training staff can be time-consuming and costly, especially if there is nobody in the business to offer the training. When you outsource your payroll you are giving it to the professionals. We manage payroll for businesses day in and day out. You’ll know you’re in safe and fully trained hands when you use Direct Peak for your outsourced payroll.


  • Payroll doesn’t need to stop when someone goes on holiday, which can sometimes be the case when it is managed in-house. We have a team of payroll specialists that will look after your payroll for you. It doesn’t matter when you choose for your employees to be paid. We will make sure they are paid on your chosen date. Our holidays and time off will not affect your business or payroll.


  • There is not much worse for an employee than payroll mistakes. These can be painful, upsetting and stressful for an employee. If a payroll mistake happens more than once it can risk the loss of that employee to your business. Mistakes happen when people are doing more than one job or have multiple roles in the business. This is where outsourcing your payroll can help as you will have someone dedicated and focused on your payroll to ensure there are no mistakes.

If you’d like to know more about outsourcing the payroll for your business then why not call us now. We would be happy to give you a quote and tell you how we can help.

The Benefits Of A Financial Forecast

The Benefits Of A Financial Forecast in Peterborough

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The Benefits Of A Financial Forecast

We have been offering financial forecasts in Peterborough to our clients since we first began. Many lower middle market and smaller businesses don’t have financial forecasts for their business. They are therefore missing a really good opportunity to determine what really drives results for their business.

Meanwhile, the more valuable companies across all industries are earning above average profits and growing as fast as others in the market (or faster). These are the ones that have financial forecasts for their business. This means they can predict their results each year and month. This is based on previous years and reasonable market condition assumptions.

A financial forecast in Peterborough is like a prediction of future results for the business. It means you don’t have to guess about business offerings. It also means you’ll be able to make informed decisions for the best outcome for your business.

Here at Direct Peak we complete financial forecasts in Peterborough on an annual basis for our clients. This means they can see the forecasted results for the upcoming years. We then review this financial forecast with the client half way through the year.

Financial forecasts in Peterborough are really useful because it enables business owners to clearly see which products or services generate big revenues, but perhaps have poor gross margins. By understanding which areas of the business bring in the most profit you can find ways to make your business more profitable. We have worked with many clients that have adjusted their business strategies. When they have embraced the parts of the business that have much higher gross margins.

By being able to see into the future with a financial forecast in Peterborough you will be able to make a well-informed decisions. For example, to see if you need to hire new staff, the education and experience you’ll need from new employees. Along with what software, tools and support you may need from third parties. This is because your financial forecast will enable you to see where the business is now and where you want the business to be.

You’ll be able to see what parts of your business are not working by looking at your financial forecast. You can quite easily roll on, month after month, thinking all is well. However, it’s the annual financial forecast that will show you how things are going. It gives you a chance to take time out of the business. To review what you are doing right, and what really isn’t working for your business. This financial forecast will also help you find ‘D’ level customers. These are the customers that take all your time, but produce the least profit.

If you’d like to know more about how financial forecasts in Peterborough can help you, then why not call us directly or send an email. We look forward to showing you what you business can achieve.