Key considerations for your academy

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The process of becoming an academy requires a big change to the culture, management and financial administration of your school. And as we pointed out in our last blog, there are plenty of areas where you will need to plan ahead to make sure the right levels of financial management are in place.

If your school is going through the conversion process to become an academy, there are a few key questions that you will need to consider.

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5 ways to ensure your charity is less liable to fraud

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Safeguarding the funding of your charity or non-for-profit is a vital part of your stewardship of the organisation. Having real control over your income streams, knowing where and when funds are being spent and protecting your charity’s brand are all essential tasks for CEOs, trustees, and management teams of not-for-profits.

But we live in a world where fraud and cybercrime are an increasingly dangerous risk, especially for charities.

Recent statistics released by the Charity Commission show that over 200 cases of fraud and 250 cases of theft are generally reported in the UK charity sector each year. And the impact of these crimes on your charity’s funding can be significant – reducing the social care you can deliver and damaging your brand in the eyes of potential donors, investors and fundraising partners.

So, how do you protect your charity and make your organisation less prone to fraud?

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Academies and helping your school with change management

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In Budget 2016, the Government confirmed its plans for every school in the UK to convert to academy or free school status by 2020 – or to be actively planning to make that change.

If you are the head or management team of a school that’s yet to make this change, this presents a big challenge. There is a multitude of considerations to start planning for, not least of which is the impact of academisation on your financial management and accounting processes.

Whether your school is starting out with its plans for this change process or has already made the switch and needs assistance with its financial systems, there are some key elements you need to start planning for to ensure you are delivering the best financial performance for your educational establishment.

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Business record keeping and what you should do

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Knowing where your skills lie is a key part of making your business work efficiently. Everyone is good at what they do, whether you are a plumber with 20 years’ experience of plumbing, or a farmer with detailed knowledge of running a dairy herd.

Being aware of your own talents is important, and when it comes to doing your accounts and record keeping, it’s likely that a professional accountant is the best person to carry out your bookkeeping.

Whereas you might get satisfaction from mending a broken water pipe or finding the best milker in the herd, accountants like keeping the books in order. It is what we are trained and qualified to do and where our talents lie.

And because we like it, we can help you get your books in order in the most efficient and timely way possible.

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How to change the direction of your business (and stay profitable)

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Changing the direction of your existing business is challenging, hard and time-consuming work – and certainly not an enterprise for the faint hearted! But, on the flipside, when a chance is carried out well it can also be a highly rewarding and profitable move for you and your business.

How, then, do you decide if a change of business direction is right for you? And how do you ensure that this change process is effective and meets your newly conceived vision for the business?

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Proactive planning for your business’s year-end

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When you set up a business, you choose the accounting period that will work best for your business. But whatever accounting period you are working to, it is absolutely vital that you have clear planning in place to ensure that your financial loose ends are all tied up and your documentation is ready for the end of your own financial year.

In short, you need to proactively plan for your year-end, and you need to start doing this as early as possible!

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Comparing your hotel to industry standards

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We’ve talked at length about how your Hotel business needs to track and review its occupancy rate and manage its profit centres with a view to improving efficiency and profitability.

But knowing the overriding health of your hotel cannot be judged purely through internal measures – it is also extremely valuable to compare your own metrics against those of your competitors, and the industry as a whole.

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How to manage your hotel profit centres

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Being in control of your finances is one of the key ways to ensure your Hotel actually turns a profit.

Hotels have a number of different income streams. It is, therefore, essential to analyse the income from these different income streams and match the associated expenditure with the income e.g. effectively create distinct ‘profit centres’ – codes within your accounting software that collate all transactions for one department under a specific tag or heading.

Being able to break down your revenues and expenditure into separate, discreet profit centres gives you more control and a better overview of where the hotel is making money – and where it may be losing money.

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Addressing hotel occupancy figures for increased profitability

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If you are running a hotel or guest house, no matter how small, then you need to know how your occupancy figures affect your bottom line.

At any given time of the year, your aim as a hotel manager will be to fill as many of the available rooms in the hotel as possible – that is a given.

Getting in control of your occupancy numbers allows you to instantly see how well you are using these available rooms, helping to reduce the average overhead for each room and, most importantly, to improve your profits.

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Auto enrolment: don’t get caught out by workplace pensions

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You’ll have noticed a lot of talk about changes to workplace pensions over the past few years. And you’ll also be aware that ‘auto-enrolment’ – the compulsory provision of a workplace pension for your staff – was on its way.

But what does auto-enrolment mean for you?

The big corporate-sized businesses are already meeting this auto-enrolment requirement, and most smaller UK businesses (yours included) will need to have an auto-enrolment pension scheme up and running in the very near future – your staging date can be found out here by entering your PAYE reference.

So, with time slipping away, now is the time to assess how auto-enrolment will impact on your business.

It’s by no means a simple task – setting up the right systems, admin and payroll software is a big job. And that means acting fast to avoid being caught out by workplace pensions.

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