Category Archives: Business Growth

GDPR Made Easier

Okay, For business owners these four letters are a little haunting here in April 2018!

We made our preparations for GDPR last autumn so I would hope that we are able to give you a good summation of the work that needs to be done:

Your business does need to complete a checklist to show you have tackled these exercises before 25th May. Please do not work on the basis that you can pick this up on May 24! Doing so will show that should you have a data breach the ICO, your insurers and the outside world will not see that you were negligent.

There are three key areas you will need to address:

1. Data

If you keep personal data on your business customers and especially as a result of having business to business website or other software held in the cloud then you need to make sure that this data is kept to a minimum and up-to-date. You will need to have systems to make sure that old data is regularly removed and refreshed.You will need to have a purge of old data before May 25. This would mean destroying old records that you are no longer legally required to still hold if they are physical. Electronic data also needs to be reviewed. This could be a long process so please allow time for this.

2. E-mail

If you send email attachments you need to consider whether there is sufficient encryption to prevent this information falling into the wrong hands by accident.

  1. Inform your world

Inform your customers and other contacts that you are compliant -once you have carried out these processes. Your industry will suggest means by which you should be doing this. In our case we shall be issuing updated engagement letters.

If you would like a checklist please please drop me an email and I’ll be happy to forward this to to you.

Research and Development


What comes to mind when you hear the term research and development?

Men in white coats, with black spectacles, hovering over microscopes?

If that is the case you may be in for a surprise!

R & D is not limited to laboratories. If you run a business in the field of IT, food technology, construction, software, electronics or communications than you may maybe undertaking R & D without even being aware of it.

If you think that this is the case you are missing out on valuable source of tax relief.

The government is keen for entrepreneurs and business owners to “push the boundaries” and have subsequently laid out very generous tax reliefs.

For instance if you are an ‘SME’ (small medium enterprise – employing less than 500 people or a balance sheet of gross assets not exceeding £86m) than you could qualify for a reduction of 230% on certain costs incurred in research and develop.

Alternatively the HMRC allows you to surrender any losses to receive a tax refund of 14.5% (£33.35 for every £100) spent on qualifying expenditure.

Qualifying expenditure can include staff costs, consumables associated with the project, software and workers who may have to be drafted in.

Qualifying expenditure does not include capital expenditure, but this benefits from other tax reliefs.

Example 1

If you work in the food industry and have been inspired to create a new taste of alcohol or food and have had to develop the technology to do it.

Example 2

You own an IT company and need to construct a costing and processing system to measure the expenditure and progress of external client work.

Remember a project does not have to be a success to benefit from R & D tax relief!

If you want to be the next Richard Branson or James Dyson  – than remember the letters R & D and get in touch with us at Calcutt Matthews – we would be happy to advise you on the potential tax relief to your business.

The new ‘tax-free’ childcare system – will it help you?

In 2013 the government announced their plan to restrict employer based voucher systems of subsidised childcare. The new tax-free system has already come into effect, and you only have until April 2018 to decide which system to enrol in. So, what are the main points you need to know, and how can we help you to make the right choice for the future of your children?

The Previous System

The government’s previous system for assisting parents with the cost of childcare, involved employers setting up the use of childcare vouchers through a salary-sacrifice system. This was available only to employed parents, and enables each parent paying basic rate tax to receive up to £933 per annum for childcare for children up to age 16 (17 if disabled).

The New System

The new system provides parents with an account into which can be paid money for childcare. The government will top-up the account, so for every 80p you put in, you will receive an extra 20p from the government, up to a total of £2,000 (£4,000 if disabled). This means that for every £1 in the account, 20% of it is given to you by the government. The scheme is the equivalent of ‘tax free’ as you effectively aren’t paying the 20% VAT, thus it is more like a government subsidy than a tax-free programme. This scheme is open to both the employed and the self-employed with each parent’s earnings below £100,000, but will only be provided for children up to the age of 11.

What it Could Mean for You

This is a time-limited option as new entrants to the previous system will not be permitted after April 2018. Adopting the new tax-free system could save you a large amount on childcare costs. However, depending on your situation, it could be significantly more beneficial to remain with the voucher system.

How We Can Help

Our expertise will help you to comprehensively review your childcare situation. We are able to give you the best advice on which option will save you more money in the long term interests of care for your child. Please contact us if you would like further assistance.

Turnover is vanity-Business Growth school 101!

Some years ago, back in business school 101, this was the first lesson I learnt…
I was 25, worked for Deloitte and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had been sent to visit a family construction group whose turnover for the previous year was £10 million, but this year it was £2 million. After 10 minutes onsite I called my manager, worried that these people were going into administration and asking if I should come back to the office – were we going to get paid?!

This is when I learnt one of the most valuable business lessons: “turnover is vanity profit is sanity”. My manager calmly asked me to check the profit. Sure enough, although the turnover had gone down from £10-£2 million, last years profit on £10 million was £500,000 but this years profit on £2 million was £800,000!

After the initial panic and then letting my brain fry for five minutes, I got it. The family had realised that turnover was just vanity. All those construction projects were going wrong on site and there was nothing they could do to halt it. So they moved out of the building side of things and concentrated on the design and land dealing. They found the key in a different product with a higher margin and immediately started to make more money.

So what is the lesson here? It is dependent on the price elasticity of whatever you sell, but if price is elastic then there is always an opportunity. Sit up and change what you’re doing right now if you are not already making millions!

There are some areas that this isn’t always possible. If you own a sweet shop for example, there’s not much you can do about your margin – everybody sells Mars bars at the same price! In this case it is just about turnover, the more customers …the more profit. However the sweet shop example really only applies to about 10% of businesses. For the rest of us we can choose what we sell, be it service or product. So if we shift to a higher margin product or service, we can change our lives within weeks.

So that’s all I want to say today, to share with you the main secret of Business Growth. After a decade of helping businesses grow and winning major awards for doing so, I can tell you that this works every time. If you want to get my opinion on what your business can achieve, please get in touch. After all that’s what this blog is all about – free information to really grow your business.

So what are you waiting for? Get to it right now everyone!