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Keeping the lights on - working capital for vets 

Working capital is the money available to a business to fund its day-to-day operations. Your accountant could explain that working capital measures your practices liquidity, efficiency, and overall health, and includes cash, inventory, accounts receivable, accounts payable, the portion of debt due within one year, and various other measures. But for you, as a working vet, the real definition is much simpler - working capital is the money you need to keep in business. Working capital is the cash you need to keep the lights on, pay your receptionist, put fuel in the tank of your practice vehicle and, generally, pay the bills. It is the lifeblood of your veterinary practice, and if it runs out, you may need a transfusion, fast.  Why does working capital run out? In the real world, business costs and business income rarely fit together perfectly. You may be faced with a big cost - an annual tax bill, or the need to invest in a junior to help move your practice forward. The chances are you will not have a big uptake in business at the same time - and even if you do, slow-paying customers might still make it hard to secure the cash you need to cover the extra costs. So if you have a business to run, you need a reserve of working capital to avoid the danger of trading while technically insolvent. This can easily happen even if your practice is busy and successful - especially if you are owed large sums by clients such as farmers who expect to settle their bills on a quarterly basis.  Help to fill the gap  Fortunately, if you run a successful veterinary practice, it should be more than possible to borrow the funds you need. But it is no longer simply a matter of going to your bank and requesting an overdraft. There are several types of funding available, and getting the right type, and the right source of the funds you need, can be essential - because it can mean significant savings in interest and charges for you. Seasonal business downturns, slow paying clients and planned growth can all make working capital finance essential. Revolving credit facilities Revolving credit - or overdraft replacement - is a versatile way to provide a reserve of cash to call on as you need it, and ideal for the ups and downs of working finance. Like an old-style bank overdraft, it is a pre-agreed facility or reserve of cash that you can call on as you need it. The funds earmarked can be drawn down and repaid as and when you choose. You are offered a pre-agreed funding limit upfront, based on the strength and trading history of your business. However, this limit cannot be exceeded without punitive extra costs. Again, similar to overdrafts, the facility will sometimes be partially drawn down or partially repaid.  What makes Revolving Credit Facilities different from your bank overdraft is that they are a loan provided independently of your bank. This can be a big advantage. Your bank may have strict credit limits, which it will not let you exceed. Arranging credit from a third party can mean getting access to a higher level of funding than your bank could offer. Facilities can be arranged for almost any amount depending on the scale of your practice and, used judiciously, costs can be moderate. Interest is usually charged daily depending on the balance used. This means you are not charged interest when your working capital is strong, assuming you are not using the facility. However, the difference in cost between providers can be substantial. Interest rates can range from 10% to 70% annually - so getting the most competitive solution is vital to keep costs under control  Business cash advances Another way to raise working capital for your veterinary practice is the Business Cash Advance or Merchant Cash Advance. This type of finance can be ideal if your business deals mainly with companion animals and takes a large proportion of payments by card. They are simply cash advances provided by a lender against your future credit card takings. But what makes them particularly innovative is the fact that they make no repayment schedules - and, in fact, do not require you to make any repayment whatsoever. Instead, repayments are made automatically as a set percentage of each future card payment you receive. This means that your customers are making the repayments for you - and the more business you do, and the more card payments you take, the faster your advance will be paid off.   Instead of paying a set interest rate, you repay a set amount. For example, a £10,000 facility may require a total repayment of £12,000, and there is no set time for repayments to take.  The overall cost of borrowing is difficult to compare to other products - but costs can be relatively high unless you have expert help in finding the most competitive provider Unsecured Business Loans Unsecured Business Loans can also provide solutions for working capital needs. These are loans from a bank, specialist lender or peer-to-peer platform and can be easy and quick to arrange. They are also versatile. They can be used to raise funding for your practice for almost any reason, and there is no need to provide security, such as property, to arrange the loan you need. Most unsecured business loan providers will only lend to businesses that have been trading for at least 24 months and can demonstrate profitability with full audited accounts. Lenders may offer loans from £5,000 to £500,000 and interest rates can start from as low as 3%, but rates of 8% to 12% may be closer to the average for veterinary practices. A call to Rangewell could help you get the most competitive funding available.  Need help taking your veterinary practice to the next level? Find out more about the financial solutions you need or apply here Another alternative might be a Goodwill Loan, which is in effect a loan secured on the future turnover of your existing business. These can be used for any purpose, including buying another business - but could provide a substantial cash input to help you through a challenging period.  Finance designed around your practice As a veterinary professional with an existing practice, you may be in a very good position to raise the working capital you need - especially if it is to support a period of planned growth. Many lenders will be happy to provide the funding you need, and may even compete to offer you the deal you want. It helps to have an independent expert on your side to help identify the funding that really is most appropriate for your needs.  At Rangewell, we can provide the expertise you need - and help you cut the cost of the finance - at whatever stage of your growth plans you have reached. You can find more information about how we can help vets find the funding they need here.

How much does it cost to set up a veterinary practice?

Starting a new vet practice can be daunting because you are also setting up a business. You want to provide quality care and to make enough money to run the business and achieve a reasonable lifestyle. You can’t do one without the other. Like any other business, setting up a veterinary practice will require funding - but how much will you need? Costs depend on location Choosing the location for your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. You might want it in your local area, but if there is already a lot of competition for clients, you might want to look at setting up elsewhere. It wouldn’t be out of place to think that you will be serving an area with a 10-mile radius - but this could be less in an urban centre. You need to look at the demographics of the area. Is it likely to be made up of affluent pet owners?  If the answer is yes, you could start looking around for a suitable property. Renting might be the sensible choice initially if you are starting up. But don’t forget that you will ideally need parking and public transport nearby. How much space do you need? Consider about 1,000 sq ft to 1,500 sq ft per full-time vet in your practice - you will need a consulting room each, a waiting area and a reception, and this isn’t even taking into account whether you will need a theatre, prep, lab space and kennels. A branch surgery may well get away with offering consultations only, but if this is your main practice site, clients will expect both medical and surgical provisions.    Obviously, renting costs vary up and down the country, but you could expect to pay £25,000 to £30,000 a year as a minimum, and more for a large practice in a prosperous town centre. The veterinary equipment you need Your basic equipment needs are likely to include a microscope, dental machine and everything from autoclaves to x-ray. Nowadays most veterinary clinics have in-house blood analyzers, and most clients, in reality, expect to get all of their services in one place. Your veterinary practice will need business equipment too - computers and related IT - as well as access to a vehicle for home visits, especially in rural areas when you’re servicing farm animals and equines. Asset Finance covers a range of funding solutions designed to let you spread the cost of equipment - whatever equipment that may be! That being said, you will probably need a minimum of £80,000 worth of equipment to equip a basic surgery, and more if you decide that you need a full range of surgical or specialist equipment. And don’t forget practice management software. This can offer much more than scheduling and billing - the latest software will allow you to integrate inventory, boarding, pharmacy, digital imaging and every other activity in your practice, cutting the costs of admin and making you more efficient - but at a cost that could be around £8,000 in your first year alone. Plus, Asset Finance isn’t just for new equipment. Used equipment can also be financed with this type of solution, meaning you could get the equipment you need at a fraction of its original price. Need help setting up your business? Lacking the necessary funds to obtain vital equipment or carry out essential refurbishments? Find out more about for finance for your practice here Getting up and running When you are starting up, you might be tempted to think that you can do it all yourself. This is probably not a sound foundation for your business, because you can’t answer the phone while you are handling a diagnosis, or make a booking while you taking care of the paperwork. You’ll already be aware that most vet practices can’t run without receptionists, nurses and a vet, unless it’s a branch surgery where you may get away with one vet and a nurse to cover reception too. You’ll need help and, as the business grows, you’ll need more people - especially if you want to provide a “full-service” provision or even a 24-hour emergency callout. Plan for a practice size to support your plans - or make sure you have access to alternative after-hours provision from another practice.  Experts reckon that the employment costs of a vet practice will be around 40% of revenue. Your practice will stand or fall by the quality of the veterinary care you deliver - but you cannot deliver it without the support of a team taking care of customer services, nursing and administration. How will you bring in clients? The UK is well supplied with vets - you will have to find clients, rather than expect them to find you. These days traditional marketing, such as telephone directories, radio, local flyers or newspaper advertising, may not be very effective - although you should still consider it for launching your practice. These days, a great website, social media and, perhaps, even a regular e-newsletter or blog, or hosting an open house, may be more effective for bringing in (and keeping) new clients. Expect to pay a minimum of £5,000 for your website, and some expert social marketing.  Staying afloat Your start-up practice should be able to generate positive cash flow, ideally within the first year to 18 months. This means you have money left over after you’ve taken out your expenses, salaries, and loan repayments. But it will not happen immediately - you simply will not have enough clients coming in at first to supply you with your patients - which means you will need to fund your start-up period. To see how much money you will need, look at all your costs. Break down expenses by major area. The best way is to allocate percentages of revenue for drugs and consumables (20%), staff (40%) premises (a minimum of 10%). Allow for the costs of admin and finance and, remember, you will need to pay yourself enough to cover your personal expenses. £100,000 might be necessary to cover all the costs for yourself, your practice and your staff. Working Capital Finance can provide you with additional working capital and cash to pay staff and suppliers during the early weeks and months of opening a practice. It is designed to be repaid in the short- to medium-term - so after the first year, you should enjoy a positive cash flow. This will let you pay back the funding you needed to get your practice established and growing. Where will the money come from? You will need financial projections for your new practice before you start looking for the funding you want. These will show you what to expect and help you plan accurately - and lending institutions will want to see them before they approve a loan.  Will your first-year revenue cover the rent you’re going to pay, the staff you need to hire, the loan payments you’re about to commit to and the salary you’re going to want to take care of yourself? Traditional lenders are really only interested in lending to established businesses with years of audited accounts, trading history and VAT returns. But there are ways to raise the funding you need, and lenders who can be sympathetic. At Rangewell, we can show you all the options, with specialised funding for start-ups. We know that your new practice will take time to establish itself, build a list of clients and bring in the income you need to pay the bills.   At Rangewell our business finance expert team includes specialists in the veterinary sector. We work with over 350 lenders to offer you an overview of more than 23,000 business finance products. So if you’re looking for a way to support your plans for setting up your own veterinary practice, get some expert support to find the funding solutions you need.

Your clients, Brexit – and an extra service you can offer

The Government has confirmed that if there’s no deal, the UK will leave on 31 October 2019. What does this mean to your clients – and to you? We see why there could be some opportunities for all concerned. With the Brexit deadline extended, and still no clarity on the form that Brexit will take, many businesses have been forced to re-evaluate their Brexit planning. Naturally, your clients will be turning to you as their accountant for advice and practical solutions. The big problem right now is, of course, uncertainty. Companies want to adapt and get ready, but as negotiations on possible divorce deals have been drawn out for so long it has been difficult for businesses to be prepared - because they simply haven’t been sure what to prepare for. Some businesses have been unsure whether they would be able to sell to their current European markets or even be able to bring in anything, from manufactured items for resale to raw materials, from current suppliers. With no clear picture of what the future holds, some have been stockpiling while others have been concentrating on keeping their options open and cash in the bank. Far too many have been putting off investments until they have a clearer view of the post-Brexit landscape This is understandable as there is no point in creating extra manufacturing capacity if they no longer have a market for whatever they manufacture. But it does mean problems. Growth and profitability are stifled, and opportunities are lost. Dire warnings from the International Monetary Fund of a 2-year recession has made businesses of all kinds wary – despite the fact that the UK economy is actually looking quite healthy. The fact is, businesses need to invest - and perhaps now more than ever But with the extension meaning yet more delays, the consensus is starting to be that businesses must do something. They can’t just keep the handbrake on any longer. They have to find ways to move forward - which is why they may be coming to you for guidance. Do you want to add finance to your list of services you offer to clients? Find out more about how you can become a Rangewell partner and add an additional income stream to your practice What can you tell your clients? Many accountants have come to realise that Brexit may actually offer opportunities for their clients. Exactly what you tell your clients may depend on the sector they work in, as UK-based firms that only do business in the UK may not be greatly affected by Brexit. However, EU imports have been falling – and businesses like China, The Far East in general and the US may be more than happy to step into the breach. They may even be able to reduce costs, once EU restrictions are removed. Whatever form Brexit takes, it is likely that there will be fewer restrictions on imports from the rest of the world, which means you can probably advise clients that they need to start looking for those new potential suppliers now. It could mean cutting outgoings and a real boost to profitability after October 31st. However, firms which carry out business between the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA) – whether they work through a ‘passport’ agreement or directly under standard EU legislation – could be affected, especially if there is a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. Services such as those in the financial sector could potentially be among the worst affected, but any business with markets in EU countries might suffer if there are tariffs imposed. Making the right arrangements now - such as opening offices in EU countries - could help avoid this type of issue However, clients need to understand that the possibility of trade tariffs may actually be fairly small. The leaders for who the EU is a matter of principle may be prepared to impose border taxes designed to throttle trade. But the car makers of Germany, the wine producers of France and Italy – and all the other EU members who see the UK as a valuable market  - will be less enthusiastic. They would reasonably expect the UK to impose similar sanctions in response. Tariffs are only a possibility in the event of a no-deal. In fact, there could still be a very good chance of the UK remaining in a customs union after Brexit as the result of last-minute negotiations. So it may be that your message to clients with strong EU connections is that now is the time to seize opportunities. The current pre-Brexit limbo might actually present opportunities for businesses prepared to take a bullish approach. How can you find financial answers for your clients? However, there is a problem with giving this type of advice, as making the most of any potential Brexit gains is likely to require some sort of funding, which could be something of a problem for many businesses. Companies have avoided investing recently given the uncertainty, the chances of fresh political upheaval and fears for weaker economic growth. Some have stockpiled resources from the EU against the possibility of no deal and are now finding that it actually means additional costs for storage, maintenance and management. Whether they are to make the most of any Brexit opportunities or tread water until some clarity is achieved, you will probably already be advising your clients that they may need to call on outside investment. The solutions available At Rangewell, we know the need for investment in UK businesses is growing – from the corporates down to SMEs. We understand that firms may be wary of financial commitments, in light of worries about interest rate hikes in some post-Brexit scenarios examined by the Bank of England. Fortunately, we also have solutions. From Inventory-based Finance – which can use the value stored in stockpiles as a source of security for funding – to International Invoice Finance, we can help provide the financial answers your clients need to make Brexit work for them. For those clients who want to explore new markets, we can offer Export Finance solutions too. Plus we can help access every other type of business finance. We can work with you to develop a package of funding around your clients' needs. Call us at Rangewell for the answers you need to help you turn Brexit into an opportunity for your clients. Our service is not only free for you and for them - it could mean an additional source of income for your practice.

Cash Flow Lending: What is it and how does it work?

Healthy cash flow has always been a powerful engine behind any UK business, providing a stable foundation for growth and reliable day-to-day operations. Yet despite its necessity, cash flow is one of the trickiest aspects of running your own business. Naturally, you do everything you can to secure new customers and ensure they spend their money with you but, sometimes and though no fault of your own, you may run into a number of issues involving your cash flow that threatens the stability of your finances. Although it can be intimidating, you must remember that quick and decisive action is what makes all the difference. That’s why many business owners choose Cashflow Finance to support their business. Providing access to a variety of finance solutions, Cashflow Finance could provide the funds necessary for supporting day-to-day operations and tackling the root cause of the issue. What is Cashflow Lending? Cashflow Lending is a tool that many business owners use to support their operations and resolve any underlying issues before any lasting damage is done. This is achieved by generating funds on the back of your previous income, card-based sales, unpaid business-to-business invoices or the equity contained within your unencumbered assets (equipment, machinery or vehicles). In order to do so, Cashflow Lending offers you access to a variety of financial solutions including Merchant Cash Advance (MCA), Invoice Finance, Overdraft Replacement and Asset Refinance. So no matter what’s affecting your business or how much support you require, the tools you need to reinforce your cash flow are at your disposal. Is your business suffering from the effects of uneven cash flow? Need help providing the support your business needs to move forward? Apply for Cashflow Finance and learn more about how your business could benefit. When should I consider Cashflow Lending? When it comes to supporting your cash flow, it’s all too easy to feel lost and confused by the situation that’s unfolding. However, no matter whether the issue involves late payments, unexpected bills, revenue shortfalls, vandalism or natural disasters, your focus needs to be firmly set on getting your business moving again. That’s why, whether you’re currently experiencing cash flow issues or are expecting do so in the near future, you could benefit from exploring what Cashflow Lending has to offer. Plus, depending on your chosen product, you could receive an agreement in as little as 48 hours with the funds following soon after. What do I need to apply for Cashflow Lending? If your business stands to benefit from Cashflow Lending, some of the factors you need to consider when placing an application include Security, Credit Worthiness and Documentation. Security The act of providing security, for example with Asset Refinance, usually involves presenting collateral in the form of unencumbered assets such as equipment, machinery or vehicles. Although this helps to raise lender confidence and could earn your more favourable interest rate, it does, in fact, mean putting your assets at risk of repossession should you fall behind in the repayment scheme. Even though it is also considered as a secured finance solution, Invoice Finance products use the capital contained within your unpaid business-to-business (B2B) invoices. So unless you’ve taken out bad debt protection, your business may be required to settle the invoice if the debtor fails to repay what they owe. Yet, on the other hand, Merchant Cash Advance is an unsecured form of lending that doesn’t require the use of collateral. This is because Merchant Cash Advances use a Flexible Monthly Repayment scheme that allows lenders to automatically intercept an agreed percentage from each of your card-based (credit and debit card) transactions until the debt has been repaid. Credit Worthiness As always, lenders seek to minimise the amount of risk that they’re accepting. But what makes Cashflow Lending so useful is that it’s open to a wide range of financial situations. One way in which lenders decide this is by reviewing your credit profile. However, the amount of attention that’s given to credit profile varies depending on your choice of product. So, although lenders will request permission to view your credit profile when applying for products such as Asset Refinance or Overdraft Replacement, they often take a different approach when considering an application for a Merchant Cash Advance. Here, lenders prefer to take into account the strength of your card-based sales. Therefore, no matter where you stand financially, you could still receive the support you need to persevere and move forward. Documentation When applying for Cashflow Lending, the documents that you’ll need to provide along with your application can vary according to your chosen product. That said, this should be outlined within the documents provided to you by the lender. Nevertheless, the documents that you’ll need to submit often tends to include proof of identity, recent and past bank statements, profit and loss statements, sales reports, cashflow forecast, turnover, collateral documentation and tax returns. So in order to ensure that the application process runs smoothly, you should aim to get these ready and in the correct format prior to placing an application. Need help supporting your business’ cashflow? Although cashflow is a vital aspect of any business trading in the UK, there are a number of issues you may run into that could make it difficult to maintain. But if you do happen to enter a period of uneven cashflow, you can’t afford to just sit by and watch. That’s why more and more business owners are choosing to take back control of their finances sooner rather than later with the help of Cashflow Lending. The only obstacle standing in your way now is knowing how to source an appropriate agreement for your business. At Rangewell, we’re an Access to Finance specialist who have mapped over 400 lenders to offer you an overview of more than 23,000 business finance products. Our services are free to use and we’ll also guide you through the application process. So if your business is suffering from the effects of uneven cashflow, apply for Cashflow Finance today or find out more with Rangewell.

Artificial intelligence and accountants

The thought of being replaced by a robot is no longer a science fiction trope. It is already happening across manufacturing, and now it is coming to accountancy. But is that good news or bad, and what will it mean for the future of your practice? The robots are coming Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the goal of computer science pioneers since the early 1950s. In the 21st Century, with dramatic advances in software and a corresponding decrease in the cost of the hardware to run it, AI has started to become a practical proposition. It has already insinuated itself into our lives with smart home networks and applications, and voice-based assistants like Alexa and Siri. But what can it do for you as an accountant? The ICAEW has already started exploring the use of artificial intelligence to improve services for its members. The body believes that AI could deliver exciting opportunities for accountants in the short term and, in the long term, change the profession in its entirety. They suggest that AI provide outputs that can be extremely accurate, replacing and superseding human efforts. Google believes that robots will achieve human intelligence levels by 2029, and Gartner estimates that 33% of all occupations will be using robots by 2025. But it may not be quite the devastating revolution some are predicting, and it should certainly not see you and your skills replaced by a machine. It is more likely to be the next step in a process that has already started, and which will deliver some substantial benefits.   As an accountant, you have been using computer technology for many years to eliminate the drudgery and improve results. Properly used, AI can help you take this process to the next level, and you and your practice will reap the rewards in increased productivity and even increased job satisfaction. Looking to implement the latest tech in your accountancy practice? Apply for funding today or find out more about what solutions are available to the accounting professon Working alongside AI To understand why, remember that artificial intelligence is not, in human terms, intelligent at all. Its strengths and ability come from dogged perseverance and a tireless capacity for crunching numbers. The key to harnessing AI is, therefore, to realise that robots will help you avoid repetitive tasks and free you to use your real skills. Basic office automation has already taken away the ledgers and the paperwork. Now, AI applications are helping to make better use of the information already being provided by the basic apps and bookkeeping software. By automating and streamlining bookkeeping tasks, the new AIs will present the figures that used to take hours of work and analysis at the touch of a button. It could mean cutting the time it takes to prepare basic returns - and it could also be happening very soon. Cloud-based accounting software packages such as QuickBooks for Accountants are already automated, capable of delivering a wide range of reports, and automating tasks such as the preparation and submission of VAT directly to HMRC. They save your valuable time - but instead of simply dealing with the data they are given, this type of system can flag up anomalies and help you catch and address clients’ common errors before submission. It means, for example, that AI can perform the tedious manual VAT check, leaving you free to get on with more productive work. Giving you the time to focus on your real work The thing to focus on when considering the impact of AI is to remember that, as a professional accountant, you do much more than keep track of receipts and provide basic reports. You act as a consultant who can advise on tax planning, discuss operations, review client goals and suggest solutions to business and revenue issues - the type of creative thinking that will remain out of reach of even the most sophisticated AI for many years yet. There are many things that the AI will not do. Understanding the real world is one obvious example. The human impact of rapid change in client industries and the growth of regulation means that your human services will be necessary to ensure that compliance requirements are met and financial controls are sound. Human input will still be the main benefit of your accountancy business. The rise of the robot is simply an opportunity to reimagine and radically improve the quality of business and investment decisions – which is the ultimate purpose of the profession.  In future, you can allow your AI to tackle the data, do the basic number crunching and find and flag up anomalies. The human members of the profession will then interpret those findings and to use them to answer the needs of clients. Creativity, the ability to recognise opportunities and challenges, and to suggest the right way to deal with them, will still be vital. So will be the ability to communicate and, above all, provide experience, honesty and integrity when imparting advice and making decisions. The robots are coming - but they are going to support the human side of accounting, not replace it. If you are considering harnessing AI systems, you might want to find out about the funding solutions that could help you put them to work in your practice. Call us at Rangewell for the answers you need.

Are your clients ready for MTD?

Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT arrived at the beginning of the tax year. Most accountants - and most clients - should already be working on compliant systems, and enjoying the benefits in terms of simpler bookkeeping and error-free returns. But what about those clients who are having problems making the transition? Time is running out for them. Who needs MTD? Since April 6, VAT has been digital. Businesses with turnovers over the VAT threshold of £85,000 are no longer able to use HMRC’s manual service to compile their VAT returns. If your clients submit their own VAT Returns and want to continue to do so, they will need to sign up for MTD. Most have already adopted suitable software, but with the first post-MTD VAT deadline upon us, those who have not made the leap are going to face problems - and that will inevitably lead to headaches for you as their accountant. These businesses may be traditional operations reluctant to change, and start-ups who already have plenty to deal with. If they are small, with a turnover under £85,000, they currently have some breathing space. However, it will be temporary. All tax will probably become digital in the very near future. So what can you do to help businesses who need to go digital, but currently won’t, or believe they can’t? MTD in easy stages HMRC requires businesses to make digital returns, but it does not actually require them to use a software package that allows them to keep records and submit VAT Returns. This might be the logical and most efficient approach, but the taxman has probably estimated the numbers who will resist change, and provided an alternative. This is bridging software, which allows users to connect non-compatible software such as spreadsheets to HMRC systems. HMRC have provided a long list of suitable software titles. So, while some clients may be ready to adopt new software packages which automate their bookkeeping, change-averse clients can continue to use spreadsheets as they have done in the past and then manually type them into the HMRC interface. Some clients may take an even more manual approach and use paper calculations, before typing the figures into HMRC’s online service. Need additional funding to enable you to help your clients? Take a look at what solutions are available for accountancy practices or apply now However, this is not really a viable approach any longer. MTD also requires digital records - Excel files count as digital records, but cannot be used for submitting VAT Returns. What's more, this approach is time-consuming and is liable to error. If your clients fall into the latter two categories, there is an opportunity for you to help them adopt the new MTD system, and enjoy the benefits. You will be saving them time and from the risk of errors, and lightening your own workload - you may never have to spend hours over handwritten sheets trying to work out where the mistakes are again! Get talking So do you have clients who seem to be MTD resistant? The first step is to talk to them and try to understand the problems - what it is that is preventing them from adopting MTD? Then you may be able to work with them to overcome these problems. If some of your clients are still just using Excel, you should discuss with them the benefits of moving to cloud accounting software. Pointing out the benefits of Sage, Xero or Quickbooks can be easy. They already use a computer and, once they grasp the principles of online accounts, it is very easy to adopt these market-leading programs. A little reassurance from yourself, and pointing out the availability of online help and training, could be enough to bring them into the modern era. Paper-based businesses Of course, many accountants will still find themselves working with clients who insist on paper systems. Small businesses who have been working with ledger books for decades, and even those who will give you the figures on the back of an envelope still exist. You may have to accept that these clients will never be able to adopt MTD, no matter how much you cajole them, or whatever the taxman may offer as penalty or inducement. You may simply have to make their VAT submissions on their behalf. This can be unprofitable in terms of your time, but it does offer you the opportunity to maintain a dialogue with your client, and to introduce your other services. With some workflow software of your own, you can, at least, bill for the time you take. You can use the VAT for Agents online service to submit your clients’ VAT Returns and final VAT Return (VAT193), view clients’ VAT Returns and set up Direct Debit instructions to pay HMRC. Remember, you must be an authorised signatory on a client’s bank account to do this. It all means doing more for your clients, which could support your own profitability. Funding? Funding may be required for MTD - to provide suitable IT hardware and to pay for compliant software. Costs may be an issue for smaller clients, who have obsolescent IT, or no IT at all. For funding solutions that could help your clients, simply call us at Rangewell for the answers they need.

Want to grow your dental practice?

You worked hard to gain your dental qualification, and probably found that you had to work even harder when you first set up your own dental practice. Simply running your own business might give you a good living - but for the real rewards that the profession can offer, you may find you need to grow your business to take it to the next level. Of course, there are a limited number of hours in the day and, consequently, a limit on the number of patients you can see - but there are several steps that could see you take your practice further and earn a higher level of rewards. These steps include: Offering additional services - such as some of the new cosmetic practices now available Taking on a hygienist - as an outsourced service or as an employee Bringing in a second chair - which could double the number of treatments you can offer Opening a branch surgery - either from scratch or taking over an existing practice The potential will depend on your location and the size of your premises - and on securing the funding you need. Offering additional services Some of the new techniques and services in the dental arena can offer exciting results. New ways of whitening teeth, plus new techniques for alignment and straightening can all mean important new sources of revenue. Most will require new equipment. At Rangewell, we believe that Asset Funding solutions can often provide the most cost-effective solutions to provide the equipment you need for your surgery. Asset Finance provides a number of ways to help you spread the cost of the equipment you want for your practice, and includes solutions to let you buy outright or lease items of all kinds. With Hire Purchase, you effectively hire your dental equipment until you’ve paid enough to purchase it. You’ll normally pay a deposit, plus fixed monthly repayments. When you’ve made all the repayments, your business will own the equipment outright. This can be ideal for durable items that you will want for the long-term. Leasing gives you flexibility. You can regularly update equipment to ensure you always work with cutting-edge technology - such as laser whitening. In some leasing arrangements, you have the option to own the asset at the end of the term, upgrade it, or simply give it back. You can also decide whether you want maintenance and insurance to be included and whether you need the item for its whole working life or a shorter, agreed period. Taking on a hygienist Bringing in a hygienist will let you provide an increased level of care for your patients, and create an additional income stream. Naturally, you can call in a self-employed hygienist who will be able to come in as required - but you will need to provide somewhere for them to work. Setting up a second chair could be an investment for the future - your hygienist will be able to use a chair, even if he or she will not need the full range of tools to go with it. If you have the space, it means your hygienist will help pave the way for the growth of your business. You can reduce the costs of setting up a workspace for them by selecting good, pre-owned equipment. Many sources of used and refurbished dental equipment exist, but many dentists believe they would need to find cash to take advantage of the savings it offers. Remember, Asset Finance can also provide funding for used dental equipment. Bringing in a junior - with a second chair Taking on a newly qualified dentist could be the logical next step. With somewhere for them to work provided simply by upgrading the facilities you brought in for your hygienist, the equipment costs will be minimal. You are more likely to take on a junior as an employee rather than a partner. This will mean an extra wage to pay, and you might want to look at a Working Capital Finance arrangement for the first few months that they are with you. This will allow your cashflow to stay positive while you take on more patients to ensure that your new employee is fully occupied. As he or she builds their skills, you can expect them to take on an an increasing share of your own workload. Need help taking your dental practice to the next level? Find out more about the financial solutions you need here Buying a second dental practice Of course, even with a second - or even a third - chair and a long list of patients, your existing practice will eventually reach its logical limits. The next step may be to buy a second site - perhaps in a nearby town and expand your existing operation. You may be able to transfer your junior - it will require a substantial investment. It may be possible to arrange a straightforward business loan. Secured Loans may be used to borrow upwards of £250,000, and so may be more suitable for the costs involved in a business purchase.Secured Loans can provide an appropriate level of funding, with rates that can be as low as 2% above base rate, and ten or more years to repay. They are secured because they are supported by security, such as your existing business premises or your home, that the lender can take and sell if you became unable to make repayments. This sounds like a risk - but is only ever used in the most extreme cases. An alternative may be to use a Commercial Mortgage which will let you spread the costs involved. Commercial Mortgages work much like a residential mortgage, and can be cost-effective - often undercutting the costs of leasing - and providing an asset for the future of your business which should appreciate in value. If the practice you are buying owns its premises, it might be the cost-effective solution. Again, Working Capital Finance could provide you additional working capital to pay staff and suppliers during the early weeks and months of your new venture. Finance designed around your growth plan As a professional with an existing business, you may be in a very good position to raise the finance you need when you are ready to consider expansion - but getting the right finance for each need could help keep costs down. Thorough research, and expert help can be essential.   At Rangewell, we can provide the expertise you need - and help you cut the cost of the finance you need at whatever stage of your growth plans you have reached. You can find more information here.

Going further - growing your travel agent business

As a travel agent with an established business, you know that the key to real profitability is to grow it - but the question is how. Growth can only come if you increase the number of customers you serve. “We all know that you need to advertise - but it is hard to know where to start.” Bringing in more customers starts with a simple question. Why should customers come to you, rather than another agent - or even use the internet to book their trips themselves? The answer will probably be that you have the expertise to make things problem-free and to save them money - and you may have local knowledge that they simply won't have. “We can add value - we know the best places to stay and the sights you have to see. There’s no substitute for local knowledge.” These days, travel agents are not restricted to local customers. You may still get walk-ins if you have a high street shop, but many people with book by phone or the internet. This means that you need to be online, with a clear message - and so able to work with any customer, anywhere. But you will need a clear sales message to get people calling you, rather than your competitors. “Anyone can book a package holiday - the operators have seen to it that people can book themselves - there's nothing much we can do about that - but there are plenty of people who want to go somewhere off the beaten track.” Can you specialise in a particular destination? Any agent can arrange a package holiday - but not every agent will have first-hand knowledge of a particular destination - or a particular market. “We work with some particularly exciting tour companies offering city breaks in out of the way cities - like Dubrovnik, or Cluj-Napoca. They are obscure - many people don’t even think Transylvania is real for example - but there is a growing number of people who go every year. We are out to corner the market.” So, if you have expert knowledge of a particular island, or of coach holidays in the US for retired people, or activity holidays in the Pyrenees, make that your key focus.   The key to growing your business is to bring in more customers for the trips you offer. You can use this as the core of all your marketing, and provide a consistent message that will build a reputation of expertise in that sector.  This will need to be supported by consistent advertising, which should include: Press advertising You need to put paid advertising in the media read by your target market. There is little point in taking space in local titles simply because they serve your locality. Your target market is not limited by geography, and will not be looking for a local service. “Putting an ad in your local paper is easy - but you might not get much business from it.” So, if you are focussing on sailing holidays, make sure you are in the sailing enthusiast press. If your focus is on family holidays with very young children, you might want to look at mother and baby titles. Every interest group and practically every location will have a specialist title, or at the very least, a supplement which you can take space in to include your sales message. “Whoever you are catering for with your business, there will be a magazine or a website that is already talking to them. That’s where you need to be. “ Are you looking to grow your Travel Agency business? See what funding options are available or apply now Direct marketing  Postal marketing has been replaced by emailing - but both use the same principles. You need to build a list of potential customers and to send them suitable offers when they are ready to think about booking travel. With emails, there is little cost for producing or sending the communication, but you will need to find a list of potential customers. Your existing customer list is a good place to start but you ultimately need to grow your list to reach more people. One benefit of this is that you can address people by name and make personal offers - both of which can help increase uptake of what you offer. “It’s personal. You can address people by name an even refer to the holiday they took last year. That means you can make what looks like a personal offer - people like that.” If people like what you send, they can click through to your website and book directly - hence the name of the technique. Digital advertising Online advertising works much like traditional advertising, in that you want to target your customers. Like email marketing, people can click through to your website, and to your offers, which makes it a powerful way to drive business. Being able to take a presence on the websites your target customers may use is only beginning. “Some agents see the internet as a problem. We don’t. We use it to find customers, and to get them calling us.” There are ways to ensure that your online advertising is only seen by those who have already started searching for the procedures you offer - or are likely to be interested in them. This is a complicated technique and you will need the support of online marketing experts - but it can be a very cost-effective way to bring in business, and getting your phones ringing - or keeping your website busy. Your website  These days, your website is the most important tool in your marketing toolkit - and will be the focus of your publicity online and off.   It allows you to showcase the holidays and destinations you offer - and you must make them look appealing as well as good value. It should include background information - you want people to see your business as the experts on travel to this destination. Creating an effective web presence will require a substantial investment. “We spent £7,000 building a website, which seemed like a lot. Now I know it was money well spent, and we will be spending more next year to make it even better and to work even harder.” A professional design and marketing agency may be able to help you set up a suitable website and to arrange press content. You may need to talk to several to find one that you are happy working with - you may even need to seek out one that understands the travel industry. Although it is possible to get ‘instant’ responses from some types of advertising, you will need to fund your marketing for months, and possibly years, until you can enjoy the real returns on your investment. People will need to recognise your business as the first choice for your location. “If you understand what you are doing, it's really not a problem getting in the customers you need to grow your business - but you will need to be prepared to invest to bring them in.” This will, of course, be a major financial commitment. You may need to look for external funding that could allow you to sustain the level of marketing you need. Fortunately, as someone with an established business, lenders may be happy to do business with you. This can mean that you will have a choice of ways to raise the funding you need - but getting the right funding is essential to keep costs under control. At Rangewell, we work with travel professionals across the UK and we know the lenders who can offer the most competitive rates for all types of finance, As well as the funding for your marketing which will power your growth, we can help source Unsecured and Secured Loans, Asset Finance, Merchant Cash Advance, Commercial Mortgages, Growth Finance and more. Find out more about what we can do for you here

What you need to set up a podiatry practice

Setting up your own practice can be the most rewarding way to use your own podiatry - or chiropody - qualification. Your own practice will mean all the responsibilities and challenges of running a business, but it could also mean a turnover of £250,000 if you build your practice into a clinic with junior practitioners. And - as long as you get some expert help with your finances - setting up can be easier than you might think. You may not need sophisticated equipment or a large consulting room, and you may be able to operate from a room in your home. You’ll probably already have all the key items, such as your knives and hand tools. But you will need a businesslike approach if you are to succeed. You may need a website and marketing. You’ll certainly need to deal with overheads, from your electricity bill to local business rates. Plus, you’ll need to find a way to keep the lights on while you build up a patient list. This will mean investment, and your bank will probably not be able to help. These days, traditional lenders are only interested in established businesses with years of audited accounts. Even the new breed of online business lenders usually want evidence of a year’s trading, with online accounts and VAT returns. How much will you need? The surprising fact is, if you have no other source of income, by the time you have invested in marketing and set up waiting and treatment rooms, you may need to capitalise your business with £50,000 worth of investment in the first year alone. The answer can be to call on us at Rangewell. We can show you all the options for Start-up Funding, and we have a 5-step plan to help you to secure the finance you need. We can help you find the most appropriate funding options to help you find the solutions to all the challenges you are likely to face. Set up - or buy in? Setting up might seem to be the simple way to start your business, but remember, it could take years to build up the patient numbers and the level of business you need to be profitable. Buying an existing practice, perhaps from a practitioner who is retiring, could provide a shortcut. It could mean an established patient list, goodwill and turnover. Or, to put it another way, it means having a practice that you know will start bringing in patients and money from the moment you open. Having established accounts will also make it easier for a lender to put a value on the business as a basis for their lending decision. The size and value of the patient base, any premises and equipment that come with it and the value of any NHS contracts need to be taken into consideration. The solutions you need Unsecured business loans are a straightforward way of borrowing, and operate much like a personal loan, repaid in monthly or quarterly instalments over an agreed term up to 5 years. Decisions can be fast but you will need to provide a personal guarantee. This would mean that you will become personally liable for the debt if your business was unable to pay. A loan secured on property, such as your home, could give you even longer to repay. Here, terms of up to 20 years are common. You can enjoy lower interest rates with Secured Loans than with other types of lending, meaning monthly repayments can be lower and easier to fit in with your cashflow. Need help setting up your podiatry practice? Lack the necessary funds to obtain vital equipment or carry out essential refurbishments? Find out more about the financial solutions you need here Getting the help you need to start your podiatry business from Rangewell Coming to Rangewell means getting a team of financial experts working for you and your new podiatry practice. We’re an Access to Finance specialist working with virtually every UK lender to give you access to more than 23,000 business finance products. Our services are free - and we have expert advisors who understand the podiatry profession and who can help you through the application process. We’re with you every step of the way. So if you’re looking for a way to support your plans for setting up your own podiatry practice, find out more about what we can do for you.

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