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Archive for October, 2015

Spend today culture

Research of 5,000 adults by the Money Advice Service discovered a “spend today” culture in the UK and a lack of financial skills.

Some of the findings were surprising:

  • 20% were unable to read a bank statement
  • 33% could not calculate the effect that a 2% annual interest rate will have on their savings
  • 40% admitted to having less than £500 in savings


The Money Advice Service is going to be working with the UK Financial Capability Board to improve people’s ability to manage money. They will focus on developing their skills and knowledge to manage their personal finances.

At Sackmans we start the Improving the Numbers programme by looking at personal finance and money management. We even touch on the physcology of money.

By using E-Life Planner software we are able to help businesses owners create a personal financial plan. The service starts at just £250 plus VAT.

The software is great but we know that what really makes a difference is the mindset shifts this encourages. As well as doing the plan we introduce you to powerful concepts like “Pay Yourself First” as a way to achieve financial freedom.


A better 2016

As we approach the end of the year, it’s time to reflect and plan for the next year. One way of doing this is to create a budget.

There are different approaches to budgeting – here’s one that you can use based on Profit First principle. Normally, you start with sales take off costs and you’re left with profit.

When you put profit first and add costs you know what sales you need to hit. Once you know this you can create a sales plan to do this using:

  • Number of customers
  • Price
  • Quantity
  • Frequency of purchase


For example, if you are a hairdresser you could look at ways of:

  • Winning new customers
  • Charging higher prices
  • Encouraging customers to buy more
  • Getting people to come back earlier


Each strategy can be broken down an analysed. For example, winning new customers could be done by encouraging referrals. Charging higher prices can be done by creating premium experiences. Sales training can help sell more and rebook quicker.

Start with profit and give yourself some sales and marketing targets and you may find your 2016 results will be better than 2015.

Giving to save tax

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is something that affects more people than ever and is expected to double by 2020. In 2015/15 the tax office collected over £3.4 billion.

One way to defeat IHT is to make gifts before you die. Here are some ideas how to gift effectively.

Make use of the annual transfer’s allowance of £3,000 which can be carried forward one year. Small gifts of £250 per person a year is also exempt. You can also make gifts up to £5,000 if you are the parent of a child getting married. Grandparents and the other person getting married can give £2,500 – everyone else can give £1,000.

Make sure you give away your money before it is too late. If you survive seven years the gift is outside your estate. Bear in mind that you can insurance against IHT on an early death – just make sure the insurance proceeds go into trust, not your estate otherwise there will be tax on that.

One way around the seven year rule is to claim the gift is normal expenditure out of income. For the tax office to agree, you need to be able to show a pattern of expenditure. So, it can be better to do regular (perhaps monthly or quarterly) gifts rather than one large one.

Xero security update

The Website hack of Talk Talk made national news so it was interesting to see Xero recommend users change their password.

There is an increase volume of attacks so it makes sense to consider your position. With Xero it seems to be around phishing emails.

The first thing you can do now is to login and check your history and look at the time, location and IP address. If you have any concerns email Xero at

You can do the same with any other Websites/online applications you use.

Xero are working on a twostep authentication where you enter a password generated by an authenticator App on your phone or smart device.

A reminder of key points for passwords:

  • Never share passwords
  • Use complex passwords
  • Change your passwords regularly
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple Websites


Keep an eye out for Phishing emails – if in doubt about clicking a link check with Xero first. And, use reputable anti-malware software.