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Archive for March, 2016

Low cost financial planning

The Financial Conduct Authority and HM Treasury have published a report called the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).

The report was commissioned because there is a problem getting good financial advice out to people. At the moment only the very rich can afford financial advice. The problem is that there are no longer any large commissions so advisors need to charge fees, which can run into thousands of pounds.

The report recommends technology is used to bridge the gap and provide advice.

Websites are being launched which use algorithms to suggest automated investment portfolios based on customers’ goals and attitude to risk. The value of money being managed this way is forecasted to grow 2,500% between now and by 2020.

Here are three:

Fiver a Day
Money on Toast
Wealth Horizon

This Websites may not be a replacement for holistic financial planning but you can use our life planning system for free to help create a plan for yourself.

If you want to review your plans get in touch.

The power of a checklist

Would you get on a plane if the pilot didn’t go through the pre-flight checklist? Would you be happy for a surgeon to operate on you without using the checklist recommended by the World Health Organisation?

I didn’t think so – most people on the receiving end of an important service would prefer the person delivering the service to use checklists.

Checklists are very powerful. A simple five step hygiene checklist was tested in an Intensive Care Unit in 2001. The results were amazing – after 12 months the 10 day infection rate was down from 11% to 0% and after 15 months it had prevented 43 infections, 8 deaths and saved £1.3m in post infection costs.

Checklist is something every small business can use to grow and get a competitive advantage but it’s not to implement easy.
Many people (especially experienced) don’t like checklists because they don’t think they need them and/or they don’t like feeling controlled.

Here are some strategies to help implement checklists in your business.

– Share your company’s non-financial purpose so your team buy into your vision. Link the use of the checklist to the outcome you want to create in the world

– Explain that it’s not about the checklist; it’s about the culture of discipline and teamwork

– Remind yourself and your team that the most intelligent well trained people in the world, like surgeons and pilots, use checklists

– Start with key systems and grow the number of checklists

– Get your team to build the checklist

– Celebrate the impact of checklists

– Explain the cost of not using systems and how this impacts everyone financially and non-financially

– Make sure systems are available at the right time in the right place

If you’d like to find out more we recommend reading The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

March 2016 budget

Full details of the March 2016 budget are available on the governments Website .

Here’s our summary of the main points.

Dividend Tax

The new dividend tax is confirmed; you can read more about it here.

Personal Allowance

From 6th April 2016 the will increase by £500 further to £11,500 in April 2017.

Tax Higher Rate

From 6th April 2016 40% tax will kick in £2,000 later at £45,000.

Corporation Tax

The rate will reduce 17% by 2020.

Director’s Loan Accounts

From 6th April 2016 loans to directors not repaid within 9 months will be taxed at 32.5%.


A new allowance is being introduced for the 2016/17 tax year which means basic rate taxpayers won’t have any tax charged on the first £1,000 of savings interest. Higher rate taxpayers have £500.

Employment Allowance

This is increases to £3,000.

National Insurance Contributions

Class 2 National Insurance Contributions will be abolished from April 2018.


The rules on closing a company using a Members Voluntary Liquidation are changing. It will not be possible to pay tax at 10% on company assets.

But, the rate of Capital Gains Tax for basic rate taxpayers has been reduced from 18% to 10%. For higher rate taxpayers the Capital Gains Tax rate will reduce from 28% to 20%.


The Government is looking to introduce “pay-as-you-go” tax accounts with flexible payment rules,. This means you can pay tax as soon as the income is received. More details will be released during the year.

Free Profit Improvement Software

Every business needs to think and act strategically, including Sackmans.

One of my target markets is start-ups and small businesses that want to grow. I feel this segment of the market deserved a separate brand, so I have created Ten Accountants. The names suggest “perfect” as in the Dudley Moore film.

I know there is no such thing as perfect but I think it’s a worthwhile direction.

I’m working with other accountants on this and our aim is to create the perfect business development system; a guaranteed way to launch a successful small business.

One of the things we are doing is building business management software. This will help you manage the business, projects and people – including yourself. This software (if sold separately) would start at £50 plus a month for three users. But, the value is far more that £600 – what would 20% or 30% growth every years be worth other the next 5-10 years?

That software will be available in a few months. In the meantime you can use Profit Improver. This is a system that will help you figure out how to improve your profits. You can look at the impact of relatively small improvement to your key drivers over the next five years.

If you are interested in a service which is more focussed on business development and growth then maybe Ten Accountants would suit you better than Sackmans.

We use Xero Accounting software with all clients because of the budgeting feature. This allows you to set and report against targets.

Get in touch if you’d like to know more.