Tag: small business tips

Life Goals

In this video, Stephanie talks to Pension expert, Liam Kinnucane, from Life Goals, about key Pension queries arising due to the Pandemic. These include:

  • What an individuals options are if they cannot afford to pay into their Pension at the moment
  • What the options are for those made redundant

If you have any queries at all for Pimbrook, please visit our contact page.

Musings on Management – Promises, Promises

 

Mahatma Gandhi said… “Never make a promise in haste”. After watching the recent election and being offered the sun, moon and stars by the various parties, I started to think about how many of us make promises at a particular point in time but then don’t or can’t deliver on them.

There can be many reasons for this (and in fairness not all bad) – from a noble but overly ambitious desire to do some good, to a careless throw away remark that fits the current situation, or, worse, as a blatant attempt to deceive. But for the people that these promises effect, when they are not delivered, it is, frustrating and disruptive (perhaps critically so).

Elections across the globe highlight this phenomenon as they are probably the most obvious example of promises made but, often, not delivered.

This is not unique to any particular political organisation or individual as the electoral system seems to be based on making promises to people to attract their vote and then worrying about how this can be delivered later. 

In electing a government, these issues can be huge. Think about health, education, climate, social responsibility. These are not issues that should be taken lightly. 

But are we, as a society, playing with fire here, in what we promise and what we expect, particularly when it comes to critical issues?

As a business you certainly are. The two key elements at play here are judgement and trust.

In business, and indeed in our personal life, promising can follow a similar trend to politics. Under a weight of expectation from others we can be tempted to make promises that we later struggle to deliver, often for very valid reasons.

Here in Pimbrook, we experience this process first hand. We provide software, but we also provide customer service, a service in which we strive to deliver excellence. However, this very effort to provide the best can sometimes cause challenges (e.g. a software fix within a specific timeframe). In some cases, this promise is made under the stress of trying to meet a customer’s expectation that may just be unachievable, while the better approach would be to explain that it may not be possible and work on an alternative. 

This is where judgement is crucial. 

You need to know the capacity you have to deliver and have an understanding of the customer’s needs, so that any promise made is kept and delivered while meeting the customer’s operational requirement. The ability to get this right, builds trust.

However, this is a two-way street. There is also an onus on the recipient of the promise to have reasonable expectations around it. If this is not the case, then both parties should work to set realistic expectations, agree what is being promised and then follow through on that delivery. 

For us at Pimbrook, it is a constant learning process to understand and judge our capacity to deliver and optimise our contribution to our customers and partners. It is a process that demands two things: consideration in planning, and confidence in delivery.

Sounds easy? If it was, we would all get it right all of the time: our elected representatives, our companies, you and me. But it is not always easy in this life, so Mahatma Gandhi’s simple wisdom (“Never make a promise in haste”) may just fit the bill to help us make better and more fruitful promises.

About Us

Pimbrook Software is the go to company when it comes to solving the most demanding accounting and payroll challenges of our clients. We are the acknowledged industry leaders in the area of Sage Accounting & Payroll Software being named ‘Sage Partner of the Year 2018’ and ‘Sage 50 Irish Business Partner of the Year’ for five consecutive years.  

We have staked our reputation for excellence on the level of support we provide across our entire product portfolio. Sage 50 Support is something we’re particularly proud of, and we take enormous pride in the positive feedback we receive from clients who have called on us for support or training.

As an SME ourselves, we have a particular understanding of the needs of our fellow SME’s. This is why we insist on such high standards when it comes to rapid turnaround and the strictest adherence to both timelines and budgets.

We have invested heavily in our staff in recent years, and we believe that this has paid rich dividends in the levels of professionalism and sheer value for money that we can offer our clients.

If you’d like to know more, why not contact us today for an absolutely no-obligation chat? It will cost you absolutely nothing – but could make a massive difference to your business!

October Income Tax Returns

In this video Guardian Management Accounting discuss the Tax Return process for Sole Traders and Limited Companies, including:

  • The deadlines for filing by paper and electronically
  • Items on which you can claim tax relief
  • Contact information if you require assistance filing the relevant documents

If you would like to discuss or if you have any queries at all, please visit our contact page.

Musings on Management – Calculating the real impact of your business

Ever wondered how many different types of businesses your product or service supports? Our Operations Director, Tom Shields, got a pleasant surprise when he did some research into our own Pimbrook customer base.

I’m not entirely sure why I recently became preoccupied with the notion of how many different types of business we support, and the indirect impact we have on countless different facets of Irish life.

Maybe I’ve become more contemplative since celebrating a milestone birthday recently (I’ll give you a clue, it had a zero and a five in it!). Or maybe it’s to do with the fact that during a discussion on a customer issue with some of our support team here in Pimbrook, I happened to ask what line of business the customer was in. “Coffin makers” came the surprising reply. 

This is certainly not a common industry, so when it popped up like this it gave me cause for reflection. I did some quick research on the countless different industries that we service – and came up with a surprising and very pleasing conclusion!

The fact of the matter is that we deal with businesses that have an equally important role to play in the life of the communities that we serve. We’re there at birth, for example, in the form of maternity hospitals that we count among our customers.

And when those bonnie babies grow up a little, we’re there again as part of their early childhood by servicing countless creches right throughout the country.

When they graduate into formal State education, we’re on hand once more by providing software support to many of the nation’s primary and secondary schools. And when it comes to third level education, we count a host of colleges and universities among our customer base.

Once these young people move into the workforce, it’s almost inevitable that they’ll come across Pimbrook at some stage in their professional lives, as we have over 1,500 customers spread across a wide range of industry sectors and company sizes.

Moving on thirty or forty years, these young workers come to the retirement phase of their lives, and we’re still part of their world as we support numerous pension providers within the financial services sector.

And as old age eventually starts to take its inevitable toll, we’re there still as we have a significant number of nursing homes on our client list. And when the time eventually comes to shuffle off this mortal coil, our friends the coffin makers are there to complete the great circle of life.

This thought pleased me enormously, and it was genuinely gratifying to see in such a clear fashion how our endeavours are not just confined to the profit motive, but that we play an important role in the entire lifecycle of the nation.

We’re also on hand when people hit various medical challenges through our relationship with hospitals and medical practitioners of various hues. And to promote positive health and vitality, we also have clients in the sport and leisure industries, as well as hundreds of diverse clubs and societies that contribute so much to the enjoyment of our broader community.

And depending on your religious beliefs, it can even be argued that we are also linked to the afterlife via the churches, convents and religious orders that we service.

I fully understand, of course, that anyone running an organisation needs to ensure it remains viable – and this requires careful consideration of revenue, costs and ultimately profit. However, it was deeply heartening to think that there are companies out there who are not just about the balance sheet, but add significantly to many aspects of everyday life. 

It might be an interesting exercise for you to see how many aspects of Irish life your own business affects. I hope you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was. I also hope that all our fantastic customers continue to contribute so richly to their communities – though hopefully I won’t be calling on all of them just yet (with all due respect to our coffin-making friends!).

About Us

Pimbrook Software is the go to company when it comes to solving the most demanding accounting and payroll challenges of our clients. We are the acknowledged industry leaders in the area of Sage Accounting & Payroll Software being named ‘Sage Partner of the Year 2018’ and ‘Sage 50 Irish Business Partner of the Year’ for four consecutive years.  

We have staked our reputation for excellence on the level of support we provide across our entire product portfolio. Sage 50 Support is something we’re particularly proud of, and we take enormous pride in the positive feedback we receive from clients who have called on us for support or training.

As an SME ourselves, we have a particular understanding of the needs of our fellow SME’s. This is why we insist on such high standards when it comes to rapid turnaround and the strictest adherence to both timelines and budgets.

We have invested heavily in our staff in recent years, and we believe that this has paid rich dividends in the levels of professionalism and sheer value for money that we can offer our clients.

If you’d like to know more, why not contact us today for an absolutely no-obligation chat? It will cost you absolutely nothing – but could make a massive difference to your business!

How to Achieve Work Life Balance?

How to Achieve Work Life Balance as a Busy Small Business Owner?

 

Work life balance for a small business owner involves prioritizing your personal life just as you would your working life. It is important to balance the time you spend working with that spent participating in things you love, such as quality time with family and friends, or hobbies.

Some of the best aspects of running a small business include being your own boss and the variety in your day to day work. However, this means you may end up spending too much of your time working, which can interfere with your personal life and your personal relationships could suffer.

Small business owners are constantly overworking themselves and moving at a fast pace and although this can help progress their business, it can also lead to a burnout. When you are burned-out, you will no longer be able to perform at optimum levels and this can give you competitors an advantage.

Burn-out can be avoided by looking after yourself and taking some personal time, but, still giving your business the focus it needs to succeed.

 

Here are a few ways in which small business owners can achieve the ideal work life balance

 

Give and take

Achieve work life balance with sage 50
Some days your business may require more attention and time from you and others your personal life will demand more attention. Focus not on trying to divide your attention equally between the two but giving additional attention to either side as required. When starting out with your business, you might end up spending more time on activities related to business and your personal or family life could suffer. This can be addressed by putting a plan in place to structure your week, giving time to both the personal and professional side of your life.

 

Make time for loved ones

It is easy to take your family and friends for granted when work takes up much of your time, but you will never regret saving time for anyone who supports you in life. Make a date with your partner weekly; set time aside to help your children with their homework; schedule a lunch or dinner date with friends. This will show them you care about them and appreciate them and you will get to unwind and recharge in the process. This will result in you being far more focused and productive when working.

 

Establish boundaries

As a small business owner, you will need to set boundaries with your vendors, employees, and customers. The most crucial boundaries involve work hours, as several entrepreneurs fall prey to working long hours and sacrificing personal time to keep their businesses running. Set specific work hours, stick to them, and identify off days that you will obey, not to mention vacation days and embrace your personal time. Let your work remain in the office so that there is a clear line between your living space and your work space.

 

Self-care

If you are healthy, you will work better and thus more effectively. Being healthy involves keeping active and eating well. If you already have a workout routine you have established, maintain it and try not to let any work demands erode into this time. It is also easy to fall into the habit of eating junk food or fast food because it is easy and convenient to access. Prepare in advance and incorporate healthy food into your diet, regardless of your busy schedule.

 

Saying no

Even if you are the most organized person who manages their time very well, there are instances when you will not be able to do everything for everyone. Get used to saying ‘No’ and setting realistic expectations. If it is a busy season for your business and a community organization asks you to undertake a big project or a client makes an unreasonable demand, you can decline politely or propose an alternative date. When you say ‘No’ you can make room for things you deem important.

 

Take a break

A work-life balance requires you to dedicate time to all elements of your life, so that you can focus more on them. In order to succeed in business you will need to invest time into it; the same goes for your personal life. If you find that your work schedule is too busy, you probably will not be able to do anything personal without moving around your time which could be stressful for you. You can avoid this by scheduling in your personal time just as you would do with work tasks. You will eventually consider these time slots to be very valuable, helping you with your endeavor towards a better work-life balance.

 

Use Technology to your Advantage

Technology should make your life easier, not control you. Initiate Switch off  Policy. The average person checks his or her smartphone approximately 150 times in 16 hours, A one-day digital detox made one man realize just how important it is to unplug. Overworked, stress-out small business owner are driving a surge in demand for digital -free getaways (Digital detox), Ban technology at certain times so that you can focus on your family and friends.

 

Outsource or delegate your work

Most small business owners find it hard to delegate tasks to employees, especially if they started their businesses from scratch. This is mainly due to a fear of losing control or a fear of spending too much money. If you have employees, you should list down minor tasks you are comfortable delegating to them. You can also outsource tasks to professionals on a contract or a permanent basis, subject to the available budget. A good example of a task you may need extra help with is bookkeeping. You can invest in accounting software such as Sage 50c so you can easily collaborate to your accountant.

 

What is Sage 50c?

Sage 50c is very efficient in helping you save time on managing your finances, invoicing, taxes and so much more. This software has plenty of features that ensure the accuracy of your finances and availability of information to you or your accountant anywhere and anytime. Sage 50c  will help you achieve your work life balance. To learn more about Sage 50 – Accounting Software for small business, please visit the Sage 50c product page.

Sage 50c is an easy to use accounting software. Request a Demo Now!

 

5 Ways to Improve Your Cash Flow

The origin of the expression “Cash is King” is unknown, however it’s validity within the business world has never been opposed. Cash is essential for a business, if you’re not making money; you’re not really running a business.

 

Here are the top 5 ways to help you improve your cash flow

1. Use the Right Accounting System

You need an accounting system in place that helps you keep track of money in, money out. It’s that simple. Using these standards, ensure that you have reliable accounting information on which you can base important financial decisions (also necessary for potential investors and creditors). If you don’t have a system in place, you’re just flying blind. Work closely with a trusted financial partner or accountant and dig deep into your books to avoid cash flow mistakes.

2. Monitor and Analyse your accounts

Once you have an accounting system in place, you’re on the right road, but, now you need to track and analyze the numbers to understand and improve your cash flow. Just because you’re turnover is good, doesn’t mean you’re profitable. You need to keep a close eye on costs vs turnover —including future costs such as taxes. If there’s still money left over after your calculations, then and only then, are you making a profit. Also use the numbers to identify where the profits are coming from (i.e. is one product more profitable than others) and make business decisions based on your findings.

3. Established Payment Terms

For many business owner this task may not be their first priority, but getting it right is crucial to ensuring healthy cash flow. When you are in the early days of starting up your business, there’s a never-ending list of tasks to complete. Sorting out the terms and conditions of trade is not always at the top of the list. Getting your product market ready, finding customers and marketing your product often take priority in the startup process.

You need to establish payment terms between you and your supplier or between you and your customer, neglecting this less exciting part of your business, could impact your cash flow through delayed payments and having to pay for materials before receiving payments.

The invoice may have been sent, but has the payment been received? Customers are notorious for stretching credit terms, which means that the money you were including in your calculations may not have been received. It’s important to have a system in place to collect payments in a timely fashion, as per the agreed terms. Your accounts receivable need to be in line with your accounts payable.

4. Set-up Budget

Operating your business without a budget is like starting a business without a business plan. You need to know where you’re going and how much you can afford to spend on this journey, if you want to build a profitable business. Unfortunately for those entrepreneurs who aren’t “number people” a budget is never one and done. You’ll need to create a new budget at least annually.

Many businesses wind up spending money unnecessarily. One of the biggest unnecessary expenses is staffing costs. Business owner often miscalculate their personnel costs: who you need, what you need to pay them, and how long (and how much it will cost) to source them. Before going through the expensive process of sourcing, recruiting, and hiring an employee, look into outsourcing, especially for non-core functions such as HR, accounting, and legal.

Keep a close eyes on your bills, just as you would hope (and expect) your customers to make payments in a timely fashion, you need to do likewise. Make sure that you have a system in place to ensure that you give the money going out at least as much attention as the money coming in.

5. Review your Product or Service Pricing

Pricing is an art, a challenging art. Do your due diligence to perform competitive analysis. It’s not realistic to think that you can charge much less than your competition, unless you are guaranteed a much higher volume of sales—a nearly impossible guarantee for most startups.

Raising your prices – if you have not already done so, it might be time to raise your fees but not quietly. Make sure you announce to your past and current customers that your prices will be increased as of a specific date and why you are increasing them. You can then give them an opportunity to stock up or renew their contracts.

 

Want to improve your cash flow? Choose Sage 50c Accounting Software

 

Managing the day-to-day accounts is important, but you also need financial reports for insight into the big picture, that is, the real-time and projected status of your profitability.

The first step towards improving your cash flow is to get an overview of your businesses current financial status. Sage 50 Accounts can help you track and improve your cash flow.

 

Pimbrook Software is an award-winning Sage Business Partner, delivering payroll systems and online or on-premise accounting software for small to medium size businesses. If you have any questions, please contact us now!  1850 202 502.