This weekly communication is designed to tickle your marketing glands.

But, maybe you’re like some of the people who, when approached a few years ago with the invitation to take a free £5 note out of an envelope, thought it was a catch so they didn’t take the money.

There’s no catch. So why make things harder for yourself?

Most of what’s offered here is free. It costs nothing. Except if you think it’s a catch and don’t bother to read it.

The very best publication on the Budget

The Bizezia 2015 Budget Summary is not free but it’s offered at an amazing price. It will be published on 18 March 2015. You can now start placing your order for it here. The earlier you order, the cheaper it is:

Order by 5pm on Price
09/01/2015 £20 + VAT
06/02/2015 £80 + VAT
06/03/2015 £140 + VAT
13/03/2015 £155  + VAT

The ICPA said glowingly: “This is simply the very best publication on the Budget available anywhere”.

See what you missed from the 2014 Budget publication, click here.
Please don’t miss it this year.

Differentiation

I read something interesting from the marvellous marketing guru Drayton Bird the other day. It was a list of 21 things to start you thinking about why you, or your firm are different to your competitors:

Are you unique?
Cheaper?
Quicker?
Better value?
Safer?
The most trusted?
The friendliest?
The first?
The top seller?
The most tested?
Give quicker service?
The most advanced?
The latest?
The oldest?
The most loved?
The one experts prefer?
The most reliable?
More fun?
You sell in a special way?
Easier to deal with?
More helpful?


Marketing and Business Promotion

Marketing ideas from Marketing Profs

More marketing ideas and tips have been published by Marketing Profs:

Getting People to read your Blog

Content marketers know how important blogs are to a solid marketing strategy. But creating beautiful works of literature for the marketing-inclined is only half of the puzzle.

How do you get people to read the darn thing?
HubSpot has stepped in at just the right moment to show you how. They’re giving Unbounce subscribers their ebook “How to Get 100,000 People to Read Your Blog” for free!

You’ll learn how to:

  1. Determine who your audience actually is.
  2. Determine what it is your readers are searching for on Google.
  3. Turn casual readers into avid email subscribers.

So what are you waiting for? Your blog deserves more readers.
Download from: get.unbounce.com/hubspot-blog-ebook/

3 Ways You Can Boost Client Loyalty to Your CPA (Accounting) Firm

From Kevin Stockton who says: With CPA firms constantly investing their resources in service expansion and the attraction of new clients, oftentimes existing clients and their needs trickle down to lower priority levels. This is important to note because neglecting existing customers is one of the most common errors in the business world that also can have one of the biggest impacts on your CPA firm’s bottom line.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 68 percent of clients break relationships with their CPA firms because of how they are treated by the firm, whereas only 15 percent leave due to poor technical quality.

Could that 68 percent of clients be retained? The answer is probably yes. However, to do so, investing in client loyalty needs to be a priority.
Read more: info.grwco.com/blog/three-ways-you-can-boost-client-loyalty-to-your-cpa-firm

IT advisory part one: A guide to providing an IT advisory service

Seen in AccountingWEB: Is your firm working with clients to solve their technology problems? As more and more firms are generating profits by advising clients on the best use of technology AccountingWEB and Microsoft have teamed up to help.

This FREE guide examines the issues that four of AccountingWEB’s members have experienced in integrating IT advisory with their core practice. It also looks at some of the options you might explore to do the same.
You can download part one from here.

From Down Under: Top tech toys for high-flying executives

Read in Business Spectator Australia: Krishan Sharma has written an interesting article, from down under, about the top tech toys for executives who have it all.

  • Asus S1 Mobile LED Projector: Ditch that projector and notebook for those business presentations on the road. Travel light by beaming your presentation from your smartphone to a pocket-sized projector instead. The Asus S1 is a pocket-sized portable projector with a relatively long battery life (3 hours) that can beam a 100-inch WXGA (854-by-480) resolution image from 2.4 metres (or a 41-inch image from just one metre away) and also has the ability to charge other mobile devices attached to it.
  • Bose QuietComfort 25 noise cancelling headphones: Regular jet setters swear by Bose’s QuietComfort headphones and for good reason – it has hands down the best noise cancelling performance of any pair of headphones on the market. The new QuietComfort 25 is the first update in five years, making improvements in both noise cancellation and headphone design while also upping the audio quality in the process.
  • LG G Watch R or Motorola’s Moto 360 smartwatch: Smartwatches have been slowly gaining momentum in the market, with almost every smartphone maker and notable luxury brands getting in on the act. After a rather bland debut of the first round of Android Wear smartwatches in the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, tech companies are now taking a more sophisticated approach to design and nowhere is this more evident than in Motorola’s Moto 360 and LG’s follow up – G Watch R.
  • Livescribe 3 smartpen: Writing with a stylus on the glass of a smartphone screen will never feel as natural as the pen on paper experience, but with the Livescribe 3 Smartpen, you can have the traditional writing experience all with the digital perks of easily archiving and sharing your handwritten notes on your iDevice.
  • Luggage tracker – Trackdot or Lug Loc: There’s nothing worse than having your luggage go missing after a long flight and this is where a luggage tracker can come in handy. Over 30 million bags go missing via transit every year worldwide, meaning that airlines are losing over 3,000 bags every hour. While using a luggage tracker doesn’t completely eliminate the nuisance of lost luggage, it does give you a greater chance of actually recovering your belongings by making them traceable.
  • Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Laser Projector LSPX-W1: If you have some serious cash burning a hole in your pocket, then look no further than Sony’s jaw-dropping 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector also referred to as ‘LifeSpace UX’. At a cool US$50,000 however, only those with extravagant tastes and deep pockets need apply.

Read more: www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/12/17/technology/top-tech-toys-high-flying-executives

A Model to Deliver Personalized and Orchestrated Customer Experiences

From the US, Marketing Profs say that there’s one challenge all marketing organizations face today: how do you integrate your efforts over time and across different touchpoints? It starts by getting your marketing team in sync and fixing your fragmented approach.

Thanks to the proliferation of new media and channels, making an impression with consumers is harder than ever. It’s even worse when you’re stuck in an old campaign mindset, with messaging split between various touchpoints. Based on Forrester research of 200 advertising and marketing professionals, The Rise of Marketing Orchestration offers valuable insights into how you can deliver consistent customer experiences and build long-term relationships through marketing orchestration.

Download this FREE compelling report to learn:

  • The challenges of marketing to the ultra-connected customer
  • Six components that define marketing orchestration
  • Key recommendations for implementation

Download today from here

Gadget guide: six new technologies to watch in 2015

[18 December 2014, Smart Company] Posted 17 December: By Andrew Sadauskas: It’s sink or swim for many new gadgets in 2015. A year ago, SmartCompany listed the top new technologies set to race into 2014.

Another year has come and gone, and a new group of technologies are emerging over the horizon. So what new technologies should you look out for in 2015? It’s time to gaze again into the crystal ball and take a look at six technologies you should keep an eye on in 2015:

  1. Make-or-break time for smartwatches
  2. Mobile payments and tickets
  3. Multi-device app development
  4. Health tech
  5. Plastic OLED displays

In conclusion
From health tech to mobile payments, there is a range of technologies that will potentially have a big impact on Australian small businesses over the next year. But perhaps the most important thing for businesses will be to make sure your consumers have a seamless digital experience across all of them.
Read more on the above in the full article at: www.smartcompany.com.au/technology/45110-gadget-guide-six-new-technologies-to-watch-in-2015.html

Technical Stuff

Holiday Pay – Cap on Backdated Claims

From Daniel Barnett, employment law barrister: The government has introduced the Deduction from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014.

They do two things:

  1. Limit all unlawful deductions claims to two years before the date the ET1 is lodged (with the exception of certain categories of unlawful deductions claims such as claims for SMP, SSP and guarantee payments, which remain unaffected); and,
  2. Explicitly state that the right to paid holiday is not incorporated as a term in employment contracts.

The effect? To remove any chance employees have of bringing long-term claims for back holiday pay, either in the tribunal or civil courts. But the new Regulations don’t apply to ET1s presented before 1st July 2015 – so anyone with a potential long-term backpay claim who wants to gamble on somebody else appealing the Bear Scotland decision should get their claim in now.

Anyone remember Preston v Wolverhampton? The ECJ held that the UK’s backstop of two years on equal pay claims was unlawful, and the two year limit had to be removed. But that argument is unlikely to succeed here, partly because of the lesser nature of the right to holiday pay (Directive, as opposed to Article in the Treaty of Rome), and also because the six month delay in implementation gives workers a real chance to put in their claims (which is relevant to proportionality).
Source: www.danielbarnett.co.uk

Islamic Finance: A Trend Too Significant to Ignore

From the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC): By Jaseem Ahmed, Secretary General, Islamic Financial Services Board: The year 2014 has seen a flurry of international activity in Islamic finance with important issuances of Islamic securities—in the form of sovereign Sukūks —by the United Kingdom and Luxembourg in Europe, as well as by South Africa and Senegal in Africa, among others.

These issuances come in the wake of sustained growth of the industry in recent years. Although the origins of Islamic finance go back many centuries, its re-emergence is relatively recent.

The modern revival of Islamic finance dates from the 1960s and is closely linked to the emergence of newly independent countries that found the means and incentives to respond to the unmet need of their citizens for a form of finance that they could trust, and which was in accordance with their ethical and moral principles. Banking the unbanked—before that memorable phrase was invented—has been a part of the Islamic finance success story among Muslims. But many non-Muslims have also been drawn to Islamic finance, attracted by the value it places on high ethical standards and its resilience and stability during the global financial crisis.

The Principles and Conventions of Islamic Finance
A distinctive aspect of Islamic finance is that it is a form of financial innovation in which legal contracts for real sector productive activities serve as the basis for financial intermediation—intermediation that must serve a socially useful purpose.

Many of these contracts have their origins in classical times.
Read more: www.ifac.org/global-knowledge-gateway/viewpoints/islamic-finance-trend-too-significant-ignore

Dynamic Firm Benchmarking: the New MAP Survey Platform in Action

Learn something from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA Blog) Have you ever performed an in-depth comparison of your firm’s standing against other firms of the same size? The 2014 PCPS/TSCPA National Management of an Accounting Practice Survey provides some new and valuable ways to assess where your firm stands and plot your future course. If you participated in the survey this year but haven’t really delved into the results, which became available in November, you definitely want to check them out. Thanks to a new online platform, it’s much easier to take a peek at how firms like yours operate. And even if you didn’t participate, the survey offers some valuable information that will help your firm plan.

Take the case of a single owner firm like mine. We have a boutique corporate tax practice. In addition to myself, our permanent staff includes one CPA and one CPA candidate, but we add an administrative person and per diem help in busy season. When I’m planning for the future, I often wonder what a top performance single-owner firm looks like, but it’s tough to find more than anecdotal information.
[NOTE: The author is Stephen L. Nelson, CPA, a sole practitioner in Redmond, Washington, and the author of QuickBooks for Dummies and Quicken for Dummies, among other books]
Read the full blog at: blog.aicpa.org/2014/12/dynamic-firm-benchmarking-the-new-map-survey-platform-in-action.html

Chancellor George Osborne sets 18 March date for 2015 Budget

Chancellor George Osborne is to deliver his last Budget of the Parliament on 18 March 2015, less than two months before the date of the general election.

He announced the date while appearing before the Commons Treasury Committee in Parliament.

His update on the economy, including any tax announcements, will come just weeks before Parliament breaks up ahead of campaigning for the 7 May 2015 poll.

Mr Osborne has already announced his spending plans for 2015-6.

He has also set out his intention to secure a surplus in current government spending by 2017-8, which will entail £30bn in either spending cuts or tax rises in the first years of the next Parliament.
Read more here

Martin Pollins

Martin Pollins

Managing Director at Bizezia
Martin Pollins is a Chartered Accountant with wide experience in corporate finance and business management. He holds a number of directorships and has served on the boards of several companies, including those listed on the London Stock Exchange, AIM and OFEX.

He was a Council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales from 1988 to 1996.

Martin Pollins ran his own firm based in Sussex and was the first Accountancy firm in the UK to advertise on television and Martin went on to create and launch the CharterGroup Partnership (the UK's first Accountancy network) and then LawGroup UK (one of the largest networks of lawyers in the country).

Martin started work on the Bizezia concept in 1996, developing the broad range of information resources and products over the past 18 years.
Martin Pollins
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