If you’ve started a small business recently, you’ll know how hard you have to work to succeed, especially in these times. Luckily, there are ways to save money on running your business, money that can either be reinvested or spent in your local community to help grow the economy. Saving money on your business energy bills is a great way to start.
So, perhaps you’ve just moved into new premises and inherited out-of-contract rates or ‘deemed rates’ from the previous contracted tenants. Getting your quotes in quick and signing for a proper tariff could see you save as more than 65% on your bills instantly. Setting up a direct debit to pay your supplier straight away can also bring a saving of about 3% on average, but you need to make sure you have the money in the account on the DD day.
Once you’ve got your new contract in place, check the expiry date and make a note of it in your diary… Now flick back a few pages so you’re at about eight weeks before the expiration date... Now flick back a few more pages and write in big letters “NOTIFY ENERGY SUPPLIER IN WRITING OF TERMINATION OF CONTRACT”.
On this day, you need to write a letter informing your supplier that you are terminating the contract. Why? Because contracts have an automatic renewal clause, and once this kicks in, you’ll find that you’re the victim of price increase – sometimes up to 40%!
Yes – FORTY PERCENT!
A letter of termination is straightforward to write. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple letter stating from the expiry date you will not be renewing your current contract. Pop this in the post and use the ‘signed-for’ service, so you have a record of when it’s received. Once you know your contract is no longer going to be renewed, you can gather quotes, but remember that business energy quotes are only legitimate for the day upon which it’s been quoted, after that, they cease to be valid.
You should find that your supplier and other suppliers will be just itching to give you the lowest rates they can for the next contract period. Coincide this with seasons of low energy usage (eg the summer months) and you can secure a nice low rate for the next 12 months.
Forget mainstream price comparison sites and consider chatting to a UIA energy broker. They’re specialists in business energy suppliers and how to get the best deals. Many offer free advice and consultation, so you’ve got nothing to lose by giving them a call. Energy brokers will actively negotiate with suppliers to lower your energy rates, so you’re not being quoted from an automated system.
Historically, accountants have charged large fees for preparing the accounts and completing the tax returns for businesses.
In these changing times are these high fees a thing of the past?
All businesses, regardless of size, must prepare accounts and submit a tax return to HMRC. The traditional view is that preparing these returns is a complex procedure resulting in sky-high accountancy fees.
However, two key factors have evolved over recent years that challenge this and as a result the fees charged by accountants should reduce dramatically.
Advances in technology
In all areas of life, there have been huge advances in technology over the past decade. At last the accounting profession is catching up.
Computer-based bookkeeping packages have become easily accessible to business owners at an ever-reducing cost and ever-increasing ease of use.
This means the quality and completeness of information made available to accountants at year-ends is constantly improving.
Coupled with this, accountants now use accounts production software that greatly simplifies the preparation of annual accounts and tax returns.
Logic would dictate that the evolution of technology would have led to a reduction in accountancy fees.
Increase in the number of small businesses
There are nearly five million businesses in the UK. Small, non-complex businesses account for 99.9 per cent of this number. In fact, the growth of small businesses is at its highest level since statistics were recorded.
The accounts and tax affairs of these businesses are simple. They do not demand many hours of tax advice. Most of the time is spent in what is generally known as compliance duties. For example, preparing the accounts, filing the tax return and making sure all deadlines are met.
The accountant’s fee should reflect the level and complexity of the work required.
The accounting profession is gradually waking up to the changes in technology and businesses over the past decade.
This is very good news for small businesses out there that should be able to benefit for dramatic reductions in their accounting fees. A great help in these tough times.
Elaine Clark, www.cheapaccounting.co.uk