The Major Factors You Need to Consider when Choosing an Accountant for Your Small Business

Accounting is a necessary evil in the business world – at least, many managers see it that way. Often accounting procedures are seen only as an obligation, and this is due in part because of the complicated mechanisms that are often used, and due in part because it is associated with the tallying up of profit upon which taxes must be paid. However, it really needn’t be construed that way; accounting is a vehicle for growth when properly done. Well-kept books can be great eye-openers and can show the way to opportunity and prosperity.

A lot depends on the accountant, of course. If you have a good accountant, they can point to flaws in the system and open up opportunities to save or expand. They can save you money in taxes, suggest avenues for increasing income, and minimise risk. However, a bad accountant can cost you a small fortune and make you read all those confusing numbers the wrong way. So how do you choose? Here are the major factors to consider when choosing an accountant for your small business.

Look for someone who understands your business

Your accountant should act as your partner – and a partner should understand your business. You want your accountant to demonstrate knowledge of the business processes; that way it will be easier for your accountant to identify unnecessary expenses or ways to increase income. Furthermore, if your accountant understands your business, they have a better way of classifying various expenses and income.

The Major Factors You Need to Consider when Choosing an Accountant for Your Small BusinessThey should save you money

The best way an accountant can save you money is by having a great taxation plan – this, of course, means that your accountant should be very familiar with taxation laws, and understand the various ways in which expenses and income can be scheduled and classified to optimise your yearly profits.

You want good communication

It’s not just about being able to talk honestly and openly – it’s also about your accountant warning you in advance when they see things aren’t going well, or if they see areas that need improvement. Your accountant should be pro-active, just like the central London accountants from GSM & Co.

It pays to look around for a good accountant – it’s a process that should be done with care, because an accountant can make a difference. Never be afraid to ask questions, questions such as “Why should I hire you?”, “How much is it going to cost?”, and “How often will we talk?” Ideally, your accountant will act as a partner, someone who realises that they will gain only in the long run if you and your business prosper as well. Ideally, your interests are aligned and geared towards mutual growth.

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The Basics of Waste Classification and What You should Know as a Business Owner

Every business in the UK produces waste every day – and as a business owner, you may already know that it is your duty and responsibility to make sure that this waste is properly disposed of, whether it’s collected by a professional waste collection service, recycled, re-used, and so on. But there are different categories when it comes to waste as well. Here is your guide to the classification of waste in the UK.

The basic definition of waste

Waste is a broad term that comprises most materials which are technically ‘unwanted’, as defined by the EPA (Environmental Protection Act) of 1990. When we speak about waste, we are generally referring to any unwanted or effluent surplus materials or substances, scraps, and other materials or articles which warrant disposal simply because they are old or worn out, broken, spoiled, or contaminated. What you should also be aware of is that some materials, such as glass bottles, may not be considered waste if they are re-used or returned.

The Basics of Waste Classification and What You should Know as a Business OwnerClassifications of waste

There are four categories or classifications for waste, and these are as follows:

  • Substances, objects, or materials which may be considered worn or old but can still perform their original function after various repairs are made.

  • Objects or materials which can still be immediately used (without treatment) for a purpose different from their original use by a special establishment for waste recovery. A typical example of this would be the ash collected from a power station, which could still serve a purpose as a raw material for building or construction blocks. The ash does not need to be treated – it simply needs to be collected by the proper waste establishment and can then be used right away for another purpose.

  • Substances or materials which can still be used, but only by a waste recovery establishment. This would include such materials as scrap materials or solvents. These are considered waste materials until they are collected and recovered by a special waste recovery service.

  • Substances or materials which are simply no longer wanted by the establishment or household, so they are disposed of, often through a professional waste collection service.

In this regard, any business establishment can dispose of various items which can still be considered to have some value, whether they are scrap materials from production and manufacturing processes or equipment which the establishment already considers redundant, as long as the waste falls under the legal designation or classification set by the government.

There is also another type of waste referred to as hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is a broad category, however, as it can include any sort of substance which poses a level of risk to the environment and to living beings. Toxic materials and substances fall under hazardous waste, and so do fluorescent or cathode ray tubes from televisions.

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How Your Business can Truly Benefit from a Proper CCTV System

Often we think of a CCTV system as a monitoring device that really doesn’t do anything but record what is going on – useful only after the fact, when the damage is done, to help in the investigation of what exactly happened. But a CCTV system does much more than that – in fact, there are advantages to the CCTV system you may not have considered yet. It’s not just about recording; it’s about prevention, awareness, and creating a much better working atmosphere. Not convinced? Here’s a list of how your business can truly benefit from a proper CCTV system.

It’s a great deterrent

Burglars and thieves prefer not being watched whilst they go do their heinous acts, so the knowledge that there’s a camera recording their every move tends to act as a great deterrent. It has been proven to act as a great deterrent even if nobody is actually watching the images live.

How Your Business can Truly Benefit from a Proper CCTV SystemIt can prevent crime

It doesn’t just act as a deterrent – it also prevents crime. Often criminals hang out around the premises before the crime; to scout, to formulate their plans, to gather intelligence and information. Thanks to CCTV cameras, suspicious behavior is recorded and can be analysed before any crime happens, and this could lead to better prevention.

It helps in solving disputes

Disputes in the workplace happen now and again – between two employees, or between employees and customers or clients. Often recorded images help in determining the guilty party and solve disputes before they become worse.

It increases employee awareness

Employees that are aware that there is CCTV are also constantly aware that there may be security risks – and this will automatically lead to every employee collaborating to have a safer environment. Employees are extra careful and act preventively.

It boosts employee morale

Employees feel safer and more secure when they know there is CCTV to record any possible crime. This feeling of security boosts employee morale – and a happy crew is a productive crew. It actually leads to better efficiency and an improved team spirit.

What’s more, a CCTV system is – generally speaking – a lot less expensive than people would think, especially CCTV from Milton Keynes. In fact, there are now wireless systems on the market that are cheaper than wired systems. They’re not only cheaper, they’re also much more flexible and much easier to install. And don’t think of the expense as a cost – think of it as an investment. Your insurance premiums should drop soon after the installation, which will minimise your costs. Considering the great many benefits a CCTV system offers, it would be silly not to get one. It’s safety we’re talking about, after all – and that’s priceless.

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Making Your Small Business Secure against Burglary and Robbery

Making Your Small Business Secure against Burglary and Robbery

If you’re a small business owner, then you’re sure to have your hands full dealing with the everyday needs of your business and the challenges of growing your customer bases and fending off the competition. But it’s important that in spite of all the urgent and pending tasks demanding your attention, you find time to carry out a security assessment of your business premises, to ensure that all your effort (and investment) is secure against an attempted break-in or robbery.

Security assessment

You can either do this yourself or hire a local security expert to do it for you. It’s essential that any weak points where unauthorized entry could be made are identified, such as poorly secured doors or windows, fanlights, roof hatches, or other similar apertures.

It’s also crucial that any operational procedures which allow access to cash or valuable stock are properly vetted to ensure that opportunities for easy theft or robbery are eliminated. Cash handling procedures, delivery of goods, and other regular functions should all be examined in order to ensure that there are no opportunities for anyone to take advantage of weaknesses.

Remote monitoring

Obviously you can’t be on the premises all the time – but there are ways to make sure that your business premises are monitored remotely at all times. Internal and external CCTV cameras are incredibly easy to install and allow you to keep an eye not only on the premise themselves, but what’s happening within them as well, from wherever you are, at any time of day or night.

Expert specialist services

Depending on the type of business you own, and the mode of operation, you might consider taking advantage of certain expert and specialized security services which can help make your business operations more secure and also provide an additional layer of protection for your employees and customers.

If your business opens early in the morning or closes late at night, consider using an ‘unlock and lock up’ service where a trained security guard will be assigned to open and close the premise as required. This eliminates the need for staff to have keys and ensures that staff arriving to start work early or leaving at the end of the night are not targeted by opportunistic criminals attempting to gain entry to your business premises.

If your business works with or stocks high-value items or materials, consider using a security patrol to check on your business at regular intervals around the clock. This provides peace of mind, and a strong visual deterrent against potential thieves if trained security personnel are monitoring the premises throughout the day and night.

If you’re not sure what security measures your business would best benefit from – consult one of the expert firms in Security Oxford offers to find out how easy and affordable it is to deploy security measures customised for your business needs.

Vibration Monitoring

Vibration Monitoring

Vibration monitoring is the process of measuring passing movements in the ground due to an operational body in near vicinity. Industrial engineering uses vibration monitoring for detecting damages and impending machine part failures in heavy machines. Vibration monitoring is used to monitor the faults during the course of operation

There are a number of heavy equipment manufacturers that manufacture vibration monitoring equipment which can be used for detecting minor to major defects. Just like earthquake seismograph measures and record the vibration, these devices also measure vibration by movement of a magnet which is suspended in the coil of the wire. The signal recorded from such observation is then decoded to predict impending machine part failure. There is an entire science behind decoding these signals. The contractors that install such devices also help you in reading and decoding the signals. A good prediction department can help you in saving tons of money because correct prediction avoids major defects and failures which may lead to expenditure of huge amount of money.

Vibration measurement equipments work on the principle of wave measurement. Every vibration is a wave and can be measured in three directions viz. the radial, transverse and longitudinal. These three directions of measurement are at right angles to each other and hence each has its separate coil for measurement in the transducer of the vibration monitors. Since the instrumentation of vibration monitors is very complicated, you will need specialists who can handle the device and understand how to read the data recorded by it carefully. If you do not want to have the entire set up of vibration management in house then you can outsource it also. There are many companies that offer this service on rental basis. You may choose to hire their service in order to keep your house in order.

How To Not Blow All Your Budget on A Trade Show

 How To Not Blow All Your Budget on A Trade Show

We all know how important it is to get your brand out there. But for many small businesses, it’s also very expensive.

Trade shows, in particular, can end up costing a fortune. And often the investment doesn’t yield a sufficient return. Just renting space at a trade show can run into thousands of dollars.

Not to mention the extra costs of the custom display, the free giveaways, and the labor costs. Companies spend big because they want to garner the most attention.

But, believe it or not, there are ways to get the costs of a trade show down. And you don’t have to sacrifice on market appeal. It’s all about creating a buzz around your product, not flashy marketing material.

There’s no doubt that trade shows are a uniquely valuable way to advertise your small business. But they need not break the bank. Here are some tips for exhibiting on a budget.

Go Small

There’s nothing that says that bigger booths are the ones that get the most attention. They’re usually only used for companies that need more physical space to showcase their products.

What’s more, you’ll likely pay a lot more than you would for a smaller booth.

Affordable options include banner displays, tabletop, and portable. And if managed correctly, you’ll gain the attention of attendees who will remember you well after the event closes.

Just because your booth is small, doesn’t mean that it can’t be eye-catching. It’s often well worth spending the money on having a professional graphic designer to brand for you.

This is needed to grab attention from delegates whose eyes are drawn to other places.

Get On Social Media

Social media is fast becoming an impressive marketing platform. That’s no secret for modern, 21st-century firms.

So what better place to advertise your trade booth? Broadcast on social media your location at the trade show and your booth number.

Tell your followers the date and the time of the event too.

Hold Contests

At trade shows, every booth tries to do everything it can to grab attention. Some booths give away bags of merchandise in order to get people to stop by.

They’ll give out bags full of branded pens, flashlights, mugs and even their own branded food. But, as with most things at a trade show, this is expensive.

One of the things that you can do to reduce costs is to hold a competition. You could give away some of your product. Or you could offer free tickets to a concert.

It just needs to be something that creates a buzz around your stall and your product.

Make sure that you do the prize draw towards the end of the day so that you can include the greatest number of people possible. And make sure that you get a crowd to gather as you’re reading out the result.

Use it as an opportunity to market your product and let people know your unique selling point.

Don’t Buy New Displays

There is no reason why your company needs to buy expensive, brand new displays when cheaper alternatives are available. Sites like infinityexhibits.com do second-hand displays at a fraction of the cost.

Remember, thousands of companies have bought and used trade show displays. That means that it’s likely that there is one that suits the needs of your firm. It might not be exactly what you wanted, but it sure will be close.

There is also the option to rent a tradeshow display. This is something that is very helpful for companies that don’t want big displays taking up valuable space in their warehouses.

Rented trade displays can just be returned to the rental company after the event.

Renting also reduces your exposure to risk too. It means that if you do have a bad experience, you’re not saddled with a large item that’s hard to get rid of.

Focus On The Local First, Before Moving On To The National

Trade shows aren’t just expensive in terms of their direct costs. They’re also very costly in terms of their indirect costs too. If you’re travelling around the country to far flung locations, your costs will rise.

You’ll be spending more money on fuel, your vehicle will suffer more depreciation, and you may have to stay in a hotel. All these costs add up and can make trade shows prohibitive.

Freight Shipping For San Francisco Companies

Freight Shipping For San Francisco Companies

The world is getting increasingly interconnected on multiple levels. Global trade is on the rise with freight being carried by land, sea, and air. Having the biggest economy puts the US in the center of all these developments. China and the rest of Asia have also increased their profile as manufacturers of various goods. When these are transported to America, the West Coast is the logical landing place. There are several ports along the California coastline including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Oakland. From these locations, cargo can be loaded on large trucks and shipped to different states by land.

The Port of San Francisco

The natural harbor makes it a good place for ships to land. This port has thus been developed since the early 1900s. Progress was slow but steady. The volume of cargo being handled gradually increased. However, it was Los Angeles that emerged as the primary port while San Francisco played more of a supporting role. It is now specializing in dry bulk and break bulk cargo. It also provides ship repair and ferry services. The port has five deep water berths and an on-dock rail that makes movement a breeze. It features 145 acres of paved cargo staging space and more than 550,000 square feet of covered storage.

San Francisco CA Cargo Statistics

According to its annual importing and exporting report, the facility handled 1,506 tons in containers and 4,260 tons in breakbulk for 2015. Meanwhile, the dry bulk was at 1,496,072 tons. Unlike previous years, the port did not handle any liquid bulk cargo. The total number of large cargo vessel calls was 36. All around the place is companies that provide heavy lift crane services, warehousing, cold storage, tug and barge, and much more. Every need can be met at a reasonable cost and with relative ease. There is even a Foreign Trade Zone or FTZ for stress-free handling and cost reduction.

Land-based Freight Shipping

From here, the bulk and container for cargo can then be arranged for shipment to their intended destinations. Some trucking companies are available for this purpose just outside of the port. They can also be loaded onto trains and delivered via railroad. The choice will largely depend on whether the destination is near the railway. Sometimes the best option is to use trucks which are more versatile concerning route. These can be depended upon to ship virtually any goods.

For enormous shipments, an extralegal vehicle may be required. These are vehicles that exceed the dimensions specified in the California Vehicle Code. This means being more than 8.5 feet in width, 14 feet in height, and 65 feet in length. The weight may also exceed 34,000 lbs per axle. Since they go above the legal limits, they would have to acquire a permit before being allowed to be used on city streets. They should not be driven within the city during peak hours as they might worsen the traffic. A $1,000 fine may be charged for violations.

Should You Mount Your TV on the Wall or Use a Stand? Here’s What You should Know

Not so long ago, all TV’s were placed on a TV stand – after all, in the days of the traditional cathode ray TV, we had very little choice. The TV was a big box that needed proper support. Then manufacturers produced the first flat screen TVs, and suddenly everybody started mounting their TVs on the wall, enjoying the sleek and elegant feel of a clean display. The modern family needed a flat screen TV and opted to do away with the bulkiness of the stand. Nowadays, however, the TV stand is making a comeback, and for good reason – we relish the convenience and practicality the stand affords. Should you mount your TV on the wall or use a stand? Here’s what you should know.

When using the wall

There are always advantages and disadvantages, and this is equally true if you decide to mount your TV on the wall. The greatest advantage of mounting your TV on the wall is, of course, the modern feel and sleek look the combination of wall and TV provides. Another advantage is that you can save space.

Should You Mount Your TV on the Wall or Use a StandUnfortunately, there are a few setbacks. Firstly, you need to have a wall that allows it – meaning that your wall can’t be very hard, and your wall will automatically be damaged. Secondly, once mounted, it’s hard to move your TV to redecorate or change the viewing angle. Thirdly – and importantly – the elegant look is only possible if your wiring allows it.

When using a stand

Using a TV display stand takes care of all the problems associated with mounting your TV on the wall; it also looks great, you don’t have to damage the wall, and you are free to move the TV whenever you like. The only disadvantage is that it does require slightly more space.

The modern stand

There are plenty of options when it comes to TV stands – ranging from the classical to the ultra-modern. As a matter of fact, many people now feel that getting a TV stand is a great way to complement their existing furniture.

It is, of course, a personal choice when it comes to opting for the wall or for a stand – it’s about weighing practical measures with aesthetic preferences. If your walls allow it, and if you’re sure you’ve found that perfect spot on the wall so that all those watching or viewing the TV can enjoy it regardless of where they are in the room, then the wall-mount is a space saving option that will bring elegance and cleanliness to the area. If, however, you want a little more flexibility and practicality, then it might be time to consider a modern TV stand.

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Quick Guide to VoIP for Small Businesses

Quick Guide to VoIP for Small Businesses

Are you looking for a low cost communication system for your small business? It is hard to keep call costs down, particularly when you must regularly talk to clients and customers. An old-fashioned phone network is not the ideal choice for a small business – VoIP is the way forward, and this guide shows why.

Best Advantages of VoIP for Small Businesses

Most businesses will point to cost considerations as the primary advantage of this form of communications system. VoIP for business costs significantly less than the standard phone services. When using VoIP you have minimal investment to make in hardware, which makes it an attractive option for a start-up company. You don’t have to install new telephone lines or buy expensive hardware for your computer. Since you already have a high-speed internet connection, the first stage of setting up the VoIP system is complete.

You will also find that the cost of calls is lower than you are used to paying. You can sign up to a variety of plans including those that have unlimited free calls, and features included in the package, for a set monthly fee. For businesses that make a lot of calls this is an attractive option.

Another advantage of VoIP for small businesses is the portability. Using mobile apps you don’t need to be tied to a landline or to a computer in order to make and receive calls. So long as you have an internet connection you can talk and make calls just as you would on your mobile or landline, but at a lower cost and with more convenience plus added features.

Program your phone system to answer calls in rotation depending on who is available, or to direct straight to a home phone or to voicemail depending on your preference. You can set up the system to ring round a group of phones until someone answers. There are many features included in VoIP systems including hold music, automated messaging, voicemail direct to email, ability to save messages, and more.

Scalability of VoIP

Most small businesses want to grow, and your VoIP system will grow with you. You don’t need to worry about installing extra lines if you get extra employees, or cutting back if you downsize. One of the best benefits of VoIP is the flexibility.

Are There Any Disadvantages?

The only real problem with VoIP is that if the internet connection goes down, or you don’t have an internet connection, you cannot make or receive calls. But you can set up redirect rules that automatically send calls to voicemail, or to your home phone. You should never see too much disruption from this kind of service.

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Why the startup needs a robust marketing strategy?

Why the startup needs a robust marketing strategy

The startup landscape is changing at a rapid place owing to the change in consumer demand, consumer demographics, entrepreneur demographics and diversity, medium of business and the access to the customers all across the globe. While all these welcome changes are bringing new doors for the entrepreneurs to cash in their ideas and product with relative ease at the same time it poses a greater challenge in front of them to strategize well for the sustainable growth of the business.

I believe many would not disagree with me that gone are the days when a good product or a great idea alone can carry the entire business on its shoulder. In this diverse and challenging startup market where many people are coming up great ideas make it difficult for one to grow without a proper business strategy and goal. Also the use of technology that is growing at a rapid pace and capable of affecting businesses overnight invites more methodical and trusted approach with far sighted vision to run the business.

Along with the great product the great marketing also holds equal stake in the success of the business. The enterprises with a great Startup Marketing Strategy which has been formed based on the well researched data is more likely to create bigger opportunity for the enterprise. The marketing strategy holds the key for the product visibility as well as the translation of the product appreciation to sales. A well formed marketing strategy can only address the fundamental issues regarding the products, targeted market, promotion and campaign. With all relevant facts and figures about the entire business process only, the enterprise can formulate products, find its targeted customers, do marketing and sales management and generate huge revenues.

As we all know one cannot lead to anywhere in absence of a vision and at the same time the business vision can be achieved only by a proper marketing strategy.