Steve Jobs, when aged 33, looked in the mirror and thought to himself:
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Do you feel like that sometimes?

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The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

It may be me, of course, but I cannot understand why some firms just don’t bother to treat their clients like customers.

Governments rule much of our lives. The interest we pay on our mortgages, the interest that we don’t get on our hard earned savings and how we draw our pensions. On 3 December, Chancellor Osborne will, once again, explain what he is doing with our money and the huge National Debt we have built up over the years.

What Mr Osborne says on 3 December will affect you and all your clients.

Don’t you owe it to your clients to send them a handsomely designed summary from your firm about the Chancellor’s proposals?

Send out a million copies, if you like, of the summary to clients and prospects for £100 + VAT. For details, visit our shop or email me at:

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It’s happening

You don’t go into a boxing ring with Mike Tyson with no gloves and no strategy to protect your vital bits, do you?

A month ago, I warned you that the big boys were going to take away your clients (see

It’s happening. Right now.

KPMG Enterprise, who believe that online accounting is the way forward for start-ups and growing businesses, have launched their marketing initiative. They work with their strategic technology providers to help clients ensure that their business benefits from the flexibility and freedom that this form of accounting can offer.

Delivered as part of the KPMG Small Business Accounting solution, they now offer a suite of services designed to meet the needs of growing businesses, including bookkeeping, VAT and Corporate Taxes, annual accounting and payroll.
Built around an award-winning cloud accounting platform (Xero), to prepare and maintain accounting records, providing instant access to the figures for a business, such as cash flow, payables, receivables and commentary. No more email attachments with hard-to-download spread sheets. Just accounting on the go for your growing business.

That’s what they say.

What do you say? Or rather, what are you going to do about it?

Marketing round-up:


Marketing ideas from Marketing Profs

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

5 Common Myths About VoIP Phone Systems

From VTSL Business Phone Systems, written by Audra Oliver: New technology is often misunderstood. Even those that have a decent understanding of the basics are rarely aware of the nuances or differences between providers. Take something like digital radio. Digital radio (DAB) became available in the UK in 1999 and has become increasingly popular over the years. A tech-savvy person will likely be able to tell you that digital radio is a compressed analogue audio signal transmitted using a digital modulation scheme. But that same tech-savvy person will likely be unable to tell you which DAB radios you should buy, or what to look out for when shopping for one.

The same is true for VoIP. Most people know it stands for voice over internet protocol—a form of telephony in which your voice travels over a network (such as the internet)—but few know much about the differences in systems, or whether the general assumptions are true or not.

In this article, the author dispels some common myths about VoIP phone systems.
Read more:

White Paper: Top 3 Reasons to Use Multiple Email Service Providers

There are more than 400 email service providers out there, using just one limits your scope and success within your day-to-day email marketing operation. Boost performance and engagement with the multiple email service provider approach. Find out how this can be done and why you should have been doing this yesterday.

Download this FREE white paper, Top 3 Reasons to Use Multiple Email Service Providers, to find out:
• How to get into more inboxes and maximize ROI
• How to reduce your email marketing costs
• How to easily setup backup systems for redundancy

To learn more about the benefits of working with multiple email service providers, check out the in-depth white paper now.

How to Master the Balancing Act Between Web Design and Functionality

From Marketing Prefs, written by Roy Chomko: The technical and aesthetic components of “good” Web design are often presented as two competing forces, or separate entities that must be corralled into grudging cooperation for the sake of producing a functional product.

However, by implementing a few best-practice development process strategies, Web designers and developers can work as a unified team to achieve a common set of project goals.

From a website’s conception to official go-live date, the design and development teams need to have shifted out of their silos and onto the same workbench:
1. Know your audience
2. Bring developers on board sooner rather than later
3. Resist the development veto
4. Try before you buy
5. Don’t be a lemming
Read the full article at:

Don’t get left behind in the enterprise mobile app dev (r)evolution

Found in Business Matters:  In seven years we have gone from Blackberry and Nokia to iPhones, smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. Today mobility is king. Employees like – and expect – the same experience they have at work as the one they have at home.

The latest Forrester report on mobile app development published this month predicts that consumer and employee demand for innovative mobile experiences will increase in 2015. According to the report, the requirement for innovative mobile experiences will continue to grow as mobile platforms, development tools and programming techniques evolve at a similar pace in an attempt to keep up with demand for best-in-class apps that create customers’ mobile moments.

The percentage of enterprise-focused developers has also significantly risen in the last few years, increasing from 29.3 per cent in 2010 to 42.7 per cent in 2013. In the same period, developers primarily interested in consumer-facing apps have shrunk from 70.7 per cent to 57.2 per cent. Where mobile app dev is concerned, the enterprise is where the activity is happening now. Developers are increasingly focusing on building apps for internal purposes to improve processes for the finance teams, HR, sales and marketing, instead of solely focusing on building new mobile B2C apps.

In fact, when we talk about mobile app dev we should really make the distinction between enterprise and B2C because business to consumer apps are quite different in terms of the approach and the development environment than that used for business to enterprise or business to employee apps.
Read the full article at:

Latest SME Finance Survey, Continued move away from traditional bank funding

Business Matters report that while the appetite to seek finance may be on the rise for UK micro and small businesses, the latest information from the BDRC Continental SME Finance Monitor, released on 27th November, highlights that many continue to shun traditional banking products and are looking towards alternative financial providers, their supply chain or dipping into their own personal funds to finance future growth.

However, the report also highlights that small firms still perceive ongoing difficulties in securing funding, reporting a confidence gap of 10 per cent in terms of those who were fairly or very confident that they would receive bank finance and the proportion that actually did.

In addition, 68 per cent of businesses surveyed reported their aspirations to pay down what is owed and to be debt free and only 39 per cent are happy to use external finance to help the business grow.
Read the full article at:

UK: Business birth rate soars to near 10-year high

Angela Monaghan reported in the Guardian some interesting figures on new businesses. UK businesses were created at the fastest rate in almost a decade last year as confidence increased against a backdrop of economic recovery. The business “birth rate”, which measures new companies as a proportion of all enterprises, was 14.1% in 2013, the highest since records began in 2004, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The proportion of business “deaths” fell to 9.7%, the lowest level since the financial crisis took hold in 2008.

The number of new businesses jumped 28.5% last year to 346,000, as Britain’s economic recovery looked more secure with growth in every quarter. Administration and support services were the areas with the highest rate of business births.

Businesses which stopped trading fell 6% to 238,000 over the year, with those operating in the finance and insurance sectors experiencing the highest death rate, followed by accommodation and food services.

In the run up to the crisis, businesses were created at a faster rate than they closed, but that trend was reversed in 2009-10. Business births overtook deaths once again in 2011.
Read more at:

New Class 3A NICs

[26 November 2014, ICAEW Tax Faculty Team] Posted on 24 November: People who reach state pension age before 6 April 2016 will be able to top up their state pension by paying a new class of voluntary National Insurance contributions (NICs) – Class 3A – from October 2015.​

The new class of NICs was announced at the 2013 Autumn Statement. The government has recently published:

Class 3A voluntary contributions will give existing pensioners and individuals who are entitled to a state pension, and who reach state pension age before 6 April 2016, the opportunity to increase their pension.

The measure is aimed particularly at women and other groups who have done less favourably under the existing rules for the state pension and have not previously been able to top it up.

Paying Class 3A NICs
Those eligible will be able to pay Class 3A contributions from 12 October 2015 in Great Britain, and from a date to be appointed in Northern Ireland.

The opportunity runs until 5 April 2017.
Read more:

HMRC clarifies pension lump sum recycling rules

From William Robins in New Model Advifser: HM Revenue & Customs (HRMC) has clarified rules relating to the annual allowance in retirement, brought in under Rightthe pension freedoms, amid fears people will recycle pension cash back into their scheme.

Under new rules outlined earlier this year, which come into force in April 2015, an annual allowance of £10,000, known as the money purchase annual allowance, will be triggered whenever someone goes into flexi-drawdown or takes an uncrystallised fund pension lump sum (UPFLS).

However it is often possible for people with old money purchase occupational schemes to take what is called a ‘standalone’ lump sum, which can be of substantial size. It would mean they would be using neither flexi-drawdown nor UPFLS.

At an HMRC pensions’ industry forum, HMRC clarified that a ‘standalone’ lump sum would not trigger the money purchase annual allowance except where the member has primary protection as well.

It said a stand-alone lump sum will not trigger the money purchase annual allowance rules unless the member had primary protection, but not enhanced protection as it is possible to have both, and protected ‘standalone lump sum’ rights exceeding £375,000.

Primary protection was available to anyone whose pension funds on 5 April 2006 where at or above the annual allowance of £1.5 million brought in that year. Enhanced protection, available until 5 April 2009, had the effect of eliminating and lifetime allowance charge in return for surrendering certain rights.
Read more:

SRA consults on accounts rules

Nick Huber in AccountingWEB] reported that fewer solicitor firms will be required to have an annual audit under a proposal from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The proposal is to exempt firms from the requirement of getting an annual accountant’s report if there is a low risk of a solicitor taking customers’ money.

This is part of a wider plan to cut unnecessary regulation in the law profession.

The SRA consultation, published on 18 November, also suggests another reform of accounting rules; changing the criteria for when an accountant has to qualify the report. The intention is to reduce the amount of fairly “trivial” qualified accounts it gets.

Proposed changes could cut income for accounting firms, although the new rules may have some benefits. The SRA suggests that accountants be given more freedom to use their professional judgement when checking solicitors’ accounts. “The primary purpose of the current Accounts Rules is simple – to keep client money safe,” the SRA says in its consultation.
Read more:

Martin Pollins
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