How to ensure your business runs smoothly during the summer

How to ensure your business runs smoothly during the summer

We’re all going on a summer holiday, no more worries for a week or two..

Although this isn’t entirely true if you are a business owner as at this time of year in business everyone wants a holiday at the same time!

So, what are you doing to ensure that during this popular holiday period the operational side of the business runs smoothly and won’t be compromised? We look at some of the best approaches to ensure you are covered during the busy season.

Early requests

As obvious as it may seem, ensure that staff are encouraged to get their holiday requests in early. Whether you’re a small business or a corporation, have clear holiday guidelines for staff to adhere to. As the business leader, it is always helpful to lead by example and organise your own holiday in advance.


Having implemented an early request policy, you should then be able to ensure leave is staggered, so that operations are covered throughout the summer months. This can depend on whether or not you have different departments, but it is always important to be sure that a manager is present to oversee things and make executive decisions.


What this means is to get staff to discuss their holiday needs amongst themselves to ensure that they are structured in a staggered way. If you have clear rules about holiday entitlement, staff should be aware that they cannot all put in for holiday requests during the same time. Getting them to arrange it not only delegates responsibility, but it also means that it can be shared out fairly.


One of the best ways to be sure that you’re covered is to consider outsourcing a finance department, writer, social media consultants, marketing team or whoever is necessary. Many freelancers and remote departments essentially take on the same commitment as the rest of the staff, on the understanding that it is on a temporary contract. Why not get the jobs that take you the longest covered in this way to free you up for day to day management?


Recruiting an intern can be a valuable way of ensuring that the essentials are covered. Many interns like to feel that they are actually gaining valuable skills, and as such are happy to be given responsibility. Having someone fresh and enthusiastic look at the skills that are missing could free up your time to get on with the day to day business.

The trick is ensuring that you find someone self-motivated and able to work on their own initiative so that their presence helps you out. Naturally, they may need mentoring, and so this needs to be considered carefully.


Depending on the size of the business, you may wish to recruit someone on a temporary basis to cover the absences. Going down this route could require some investment of time at the beginning in order to find the right person. This is also a potentially costly solution to ensuring you have the correct skills in place.



At the Finance Department, we offer a remote team to help run the most important part of your business smoothly. This ensures that staff are still paid and all accounts are kept in order.

For more advice call us on 01392 495483 or email

Should I take a salary or dividends?

Should I take a salary or dividends?

This is a question we often get asked. And to be honest, quite understandably too as it is one question that causes a lot of confusion for small business owners who trade through a limited company.


What are dividends?

Dividends are an alternative way of paying yourself using the profits from your company. Limited companies can issue dividends at the end of the financial year (final dividends), and at points throughout the year (interim dividends), which is common when the directors or shareholders rely on this for income.

As long as your company is making a profit, or has reserves from previous years, you should be able to draw dividends to top up your monthly salary. Your company does not need to pay tax on dividend payments, but shareholders may have to pay Income Tax if they’re over £2,000. However, you cannot count dividends as business costs when you work out your Corporation Tax.

Dividends work differently than a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) salary because they are not liable for any National Insurance and you pay less Income Tax than a salary.

So despite paying corporation tax (currently 19%) this makes them a very attractive option for many directors. As an employee taking a salary, you are liable for tax and National Insurance contributions, which will be taken as a proportion of your earnings.


Tax on Dividends (above your allowance)

The tax you pay depends on which Income Tax band you’re in.

Tax On Dividends
Dividend allowance £2000 0%
Basic rate £12,500 0%
Basic rate £37,500 7.5%
Higher rate £150,000 32.5%
Additional rate Above £150,000 38.1%

To find out your tax due, add together your income from dividends to your other taxable income to work out your tax band.

The personal allowance rate for salary rose from £11,850 to £12,500 in April 2019 and the dividend allowance remained at £2,000.

These changes mean that it could be more beneficial to pay yourself a slightly larger salary and reduce your level of dividends.



For this example, we compare the income after taxes for three scenarios, all of whom have earned £80,000 in gross contracting fee income.
  1. is paying themselves via a salary
  2. has taken an £8,632 salary (2019/20 NiC Primary Threshold) and is taking the rest in dividends, and
  3. is splitting the income via salary and dividends between two equal shareholders
1 2 3
A Gross income 80,000 80,000 80,000
B [A-D] Salary 70,299 8,632 17,264
C [A-B] Gross profit before tax n/a 71,368 62,736
D Employers NIC 8,510 n/a n/a
E Employees NIC 5,373 n/a n/a
F PAYE 15,620 0 0
G Corporation Tax n/a 13,560 11,920
H [D+E+F+G] Tax Sub Total 29,502 13,560 11,920
I [A-H] Net profit, therefore dividends payable 50,498 66,440 68,080
J Tax on dividends n/a 10,311 8,937
K [I-J] Income After Tax 50,498 56,129 59,143


If you would like us to calculate which formula of salary v dividends is better for you, please contact us at but please remember….


Focus on your business and making as much money as possible – tax is a consequence of being profitable and shows you and your stakeholders that the business is doing well.


New – Xero CIS (Construction Industry Scheme)

New – Xero CIS (Construction Industry Scheme)

Do you work in the construction industry and use, or are thinking of switching to Xero?

Manually calculating CIS deductions can be time-consuming, and it’s easy to make costly mistakes. So let Xero do the hard work with accurate, automatic calculations and deductions.

One of the biggest developments to Xero recently is the Construction Industry Scheme add on. Xero CIS makes it easy to manage your Construction Industry Scheme obligations including – deductions and payments, managing contractor invoices, subcontractor bills, filing your CIS returns with HMRC and bulk email payments.

Xero Benefits to the Construction Industry

  • Automatically calculate the right CIS tax deductions and file your monthly returns directly from Xero
  • Sync Xero seamlessly with third-party apps for for inventory management, project management, time tracking and more.
  • Invoice clients and pay subcontractors faster with online invoicing.
  • Check on cash flow at any time with the online dashboard.
  • Store all your documents online in Xero in one central, secure and easy-to-access place.

Basic CIS features

  • Automatically calculate and apply CIS deductions to your invoices and bills.
  • Report on deductions you’ve made from payments to subcontractors, and file manually with HMRC.
  • Download payment and deduction statements to manually send to your subcontractors.

CIS Contractor add-on

You’ll need to add the CIS Contractor add-on to your pricing plan to use some features.

CIS Contractor only features:

  • Online filing of CIS monthly returns with HMRC from Xero.
  • Bulk email payment and deduction statements to subcontractors from Xero.
  • CIS Contractor is free until 31 March 2020.


Whether you’re a builder, plumber, plasterer or carpenter, Xero is simple accounting software that gives you an up-to-date view of your numbers while you’re on the move. Use it from your office, van or the building site and keep your business healthy.




Xero Updates: January–March 2019

Xero Updates: January–March 2019


If you have accounting or Xero OCD you will be aware of the latest Xero update, however for all non-accountants or bookkeepers, here is a rundown of the latest updates from January 2019 – March 2019, to the cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting platform.

Bank reconciliation

  • Style changes, including a new Options menu where you can create a bank rule or delete a bank statement line.
  • We’ve also changed how bank accounts are displayed when you transfer money between your accounts.
  • You can now add notes to your invoices when viewing or editing them in new invoicing.

Xero for Business Android

  • You can now edit submitted and unpaid bills in the mobile app.
  • More detailed invoicing is now available in Xero Projects which shows project time entries as individual line items on the tasks & expenses invoice.
  • You can now rename, delete and move bill attachments to your files inbox.

Payroll (UK)

  • Xero now emails a reminder when it’s time to re-enrol employees in a workplace pension.
  • You can now add payroll benefits such as private medical and dental insurance in Xero. Set up the benefits starting with the 2019/20 tax year and we’ll calculate and file the taxes. Register with HMRC before 6 April to add payroll benefits in Xero.
  • The pay item category for employer pension contributions has changed. These contributions used to sit under Benefits, they now sit under Employer Pensions.
  • You can now add student loans to an employee’s tax details, Xero will calculate the employee’s student loan deductions for each pay run.

Xero HQ

  • Xero HQ now searches for duplicates every time you add or update a client as well as when you import clients. The banner alerting you to potential duplicates isn’t dismissible and is now visible to all practice administrators.

Xero for iOS

  • You can now add file attachments to all quotes.

Xero for Mobile

  • Access contact details including notes and invoice activity, using a new contact summary screen.

VAT return (UK)

  • You can now switch to MTD (making tax digital) for VAT filing through Xero and can then start using our new Making Tax Digital (MTD) VAT return.


For more information about using Xero to organise your business finances, please get in touch and we will be happy to help. Contact us here or call on 01392 495483.

Which is the best finance solution for my business?

Which is the best finance solution for my business?

You want to grow your business, but how?

Your available operating expenses are taking up in the day-to-day running of the company. You can see a pipeline forming, yet you don’t have the staff to meet the fulfilment of the work that is on the horizon.

Sound familiar?

The team at the Finance Department have recognised that as a small business wanting to grow, cashflow is often the problem. Being able to get enough money in the bank to fund marketing, staff, equipment, office space etc. is a challenge. And when the ‘Oh my goodness I need more staff / a new computer / bigger office’ comes, what do you do?


To help make your business growth journey smoother and easier, we have teamed up with Capitalise to offer you a financing solution that could see your business steam ahead of your competitors.

It can be a minefield trying to find a lender whose experience and lending criteria matches the specific needs of your business. As a trusted partner of Capitalise we can support your business needs by matching up your business financial requirements with specialist lenders within your industry.

Being a Capitalise partner, we have access to over 300 finance lenders so whether you’re looking for additional finance to complete a merger, a new business acquisition, or simply need some working capital to keep your company ticking over, we can help to match you with a specialist lender that meets your cashflow and business needs.

The Finance Department is delighted to be a Capitalise partner offering you a financing solution that can take your business to the next level.

Just a few ways business finance can help:

• If you want to invest in new equipment, but don’t have the funds, asset finance could be a cost-effective way to fund purchases and spread the cost of equipment over its economic life. We have lenders specialising in hire purchase, leasing and refinancing.

• Invoice finance allows you to use your business invoices to get paid up to 95% of their outstanding amount upfront. Payment can be quick with invoice finance – usually in under 24 hours, one approved for the facility.

• A merchant cash advance also offers quick access to capital and is an established alternative to traditional bank loans. You use your credit card transactions to secure funding – and pay back a small percentage when your customers pay with a credit or debit card.

• With trade finance, you use your purchase orders to get funding. Our lenders will fund your suppliers upfront based on confirmed orders and finished goods. Funding can be received in a few business days, once approved for the facility.

• Working capital finance is intended for everyday business costs such as salary payments. Working capital loans are an easy and hassle-free way to secure funding and again, once approved for a working capital loan, funding can be received in just a few business days.

• Property finance has become a staple form of funding that now features in almost every commercial property purchase or redevelopment project. You’ll also have access to rapid bridging loans, development and commercial finance.

For more information about how you can grow your business, please get in touch and we will be happy to help. Not only can the Finance Department help with finding the right financing solution for your business, but we can then complete the plan, budget and forecast for you to really make a difference.