Why Every Business Should Maintain a Cash Flow Forecast

Saint & Co thank Float,  one of our sponsors at BITE2018 for their support at our successful event last year and for writing this article about cash flow forecasting.

A lack of cash is the number one reason why businesses fail. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

By gaining insight into the inflows and outflows of your cash, you can begin to make more effective strategic decisions.

What cash flow forecasting can do for your business

Regardless of whether your business is just starting out, beginning to grow, or has been in operation for a while, keeping an eye on your cash flow is essential to establishing actionable plans, whatever they may be.

A cash flow forecast can allow you to plan for a rainy day, as well as for your blue sky scenario. Forecasting can show you when and where a cash gap may appear. This forewarning means that you can arm yourself against a cash crisis by tightening up expenses, securing finance or invoicing earlier.

Showing you the reality of your cash position, a cash flow forecast is an invaluable tool for growth, allowing you to know that you will have the right money at the right time. With an accurate forecast you will be able to pinpoint times when you have a surplus of cash that can be reinvested for growth. Furthermore, with scenario planning you can model out the impact of different decisions on your cash. These can include hiring decisions, opening a new location, taking on a new project or can even be used in contingency planning for a ‘worst case’ scenario.

How to forecast your cash

There are two ways to create a cash flow forecast, the direct and the indirect method. The direct method tallies all bills and invoices to give you an operational forecast that is accurate in the short to mid term. The second if the indirect method which derives a cash flow forecast from your profit and loss and your balance sheet, to give you a forecast that is accurate in the long term but cannot provide insight into the short to mid term.

We have created a free template to get you started forecasting your cash using the direct method. Use this method if you’d like to answer questions like ‘Can I afford to make payroll this month’ and ‘What if my biggest invoice is paid late’.

Check it out here!

About Float

Float is a visual and accurate operational cash flow forecasting tool for Xero, Quickbooks Online and FreeAgent. Float updates your forecast with actuals from your accounting software every 24 hours, which means that you always have an up-to-date view of your available cash.

Try Float for free for 14 days!

VAT Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) Numbers if ‘No Deal’ Brexit

HMRC, import export, intra-EU trade, TSP

If your business currently imports from or exports to the EU, then you may need to consider what will happen to your goods at the border if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

To move goods into or out of the EU you need an Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number. If we leave the EU without a deal then all UK traders will need to have an EORI number to allow HMRC to identify the VAT registered organisation and collect duty on goods.

If you already trade with non-EU countries then you should have either a UK EORI number or an EU EORI number. A UK EORI number will be 12 digits and will begin with the prefix GB, whereas EU EORI numbers will begin with a different country prefix, such as IE or FR. If you have a UK EORI number then this will allow you to trade goods with the EU without VAT problems at the border. If you have an EU EORI number HMRC will allow you to use this for a temporary period but will most likely require you to change to a UK EORI.

If you only trade with the EU and therefore don’t have an EORI number you can easily apply to get one. You can apply for an EORI number now, even if you do not use it. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to apply and it can take up to 3 working days to get your number, so if you are in any doubt about your ability to trade after 29 March 2019, apply now.

Visit www.gov.uk/eori to apply now.

If you need any help registering or are unsure of any of the details you need to have to hand to register contact Saint & Co.

Buy new equipment before 6 April?

Your business year end, not 5 April, is relevant for capital allowances purposes. If however you are running a business and making up accounts to 31 March or 5 April, you should consider buying plant and machinery to take advantage of the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA).  Note that the AIA was increased from £200,000 to £1 million on 1 January 2019, so the allowance for year ended 31 March 2019 would be £400,000, not the full £1 million (£200,000 x 9/12 plus £1 million x 3/12).

The AIA provides a 100% tax write off for equipment used in your business. This tax relief extends to fixtures and fittings within business premises such as electrical, water and heating systems. AIA does not apply to motor cars but there is a special 100% tax relief if you buy a new car that emits no more than 50g CO2 per kilometer.

It’s not too late to register for our Mini-BITE Session with Rocketspark

Struggling to find time to build or maintain your business website?
Find out how you can easily create a beautiful site with Rocketspark.

It’s not too late to register for the Mini-BITE session with Rocketspark!

Join Melanie Cant from Elm Marketing, who will be introducing you to this award-winning DIY website builder that makes it easy for anyone to build a fantastic looking website (no coding required) and keep it updated with fresh content.

Melanie will take you through this user-friendly, smart platform and will introduce you to the many add-ons Rocketspark has to offer, including Xero, Receipt Bank, Calendly, and MailChimp.

Register Today – places are limited!

Mini-BITE – When & Where?

Tuesday, 19th March 2019

Saint & Co. Carlisle Office, Sterling House, Wavell Drive, Rosehill, Carlisle, CA1 2SA

From 12 noon (buffet lunch included)

Why Should You Attend?

  1. You’ll be set up with a 30-day free trial so you can experience all that Rocketspark has to offer, before you decide to sign up
  2. If you are a client of Saint & Co, you’ll receive a 10% discount on the web design expertise of Melanie from Elm Marketing
  3. You’ll receive a ‘Website Home Page Essentials’ checklist, which Melanie will take you through in detail during the session
  4. You’ll receive a FREE buffet lunch!

Register Now


Simplified import procedures in the event of ”No Deal”

HMRC, import export, intra-EU trade, TSP

Arrangements have been announced by the government regarding the movement of goods to and from the EU. A simplified import and export system has been implemented by HMRC – in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario – as a mechanism to ensure that goods move to and from the UK, with a reduced administrative burden for businesses, in terms of the documentation required at the port of entry and exit.

It is intended to make it easier for businesses who import from the EU using roll on roll off (RO-RO) facilities. This development will be of interest to any businesses involved in intra-EU trade. In particular, those businesses whose goods arrive and depart from one of the UK’s RO-RO locations, for example, Dover or the Channel Tunnel.

Businesses need to consider whether they wish to make use of this provision. HMRC has advised that businesses will need to register to use Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), this can be done from 7th February 2019 via the following link: www.gov.uk/hmrc/eu-simple-importing.

These transitional simplified procedures reduce the amount of information you need to give in an import declaration when the goods are crossing the border. They do this by allowing you to defer giving a full declaration and paying the relevant customs duty.

No deal Brexit – What about VAT?

The Government and HMRC have updated its collection of high-level guides called “partnership packs”, intended to help businesses involved in importing and exporting prepare for changes to customs procedures after 29 March 2019 in the event of a “no deal” scenario.

If the UK exits the EU without a deal, UK businesses will have to apply customs, excise and VAT procedures to goods traded with the EU, in broadly the same way that already applies for goods traded outside of the EU.

In the event of a “no deal” Brexit the government’s aim will be to keep VAT procedures as close as possible to what they are now. This will provide continuity and certainty for businesses.

However, there will be some specific changes to the VAT rules and procedures that apply to transactions between the UK and EU countries.

Postponed VAT Accounting for Imports

The government has announced that in the event of a “no deal” Brexit, it will introduce postponed accounting for import VAT on goods brought into the UK.

This means that UK VAT registered businesses importing goods to the UK will be able to account for import VAT on their VAT return, rather than paying import VAT at or soon after the time that the goods arrive at the UK border. This procedure will apply both to imports from the EU and non-EU countries.

Low-Value Consignments

If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, VAT will be payable on goods entering the UK as parcels sent by overseas businesses. Low-Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) will no longer apply to any parcels arriving in the UK. For parcels valued up to and including £135, a technology-based solution will allow VAT to be collected from the overseas business selling the goods into the UK.

VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS) will come to an to end

A further change if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement is that the UK will stop being part of EU-wide VAT IT systems such as the VAT Mini One Stop Shop which currently simplifies VAT reporting for UK businesses.

CUSTOMS CHANGES Businesses can currently move goods freely between EU countries. For customs purposes, this means that businesses trading with the rest of EU do not have to make any customs import or export declarations, and their trade with the EU is not subject to import duty.

In the event of a “no deal” Brexit there would be immediate changes to the procedures that apply to businesses trading with the EU. It would mean that the free circulation and movements of goods between the UK and EU would end.

HMRC is currently introducing its new Customs Declaration Service (CDS), which replaces its Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

From 11pm on 29 March 2019, for businesses trading with the EU, the impacts would include businesses having to apply the same customs and excise rules to goods moving between the UK and the EU as are currently applied in cases where goods move between the UK and non-EU countries.

This means customs declarations would be needed when goods enter the UK (an import declaration), or when they leave the UK (an export declaration).

For imports into the UK, a separate safety and security declaration needs to be made by the carrier of the goods (usually the haulier, airline, freight train operator or shipping line).

For exports from the UK, the export declaration includes the safety and security declaration.

Come to our Xero Drop In Day on Tuesday 5th February 2019

Make sure you are ready for Making Tax Digital for VAT

Join us at our next Xero Drop In Day – tea and coffee available
on Tuesday 5th February 2019
Saint & Co, Sterling House, Wavell Drive, Rosehill, Carlisle, CA1 2SA
9.00 am – 6.00 pm

Are you an existing user of Xero Cloud Accounting Software?

Do you need help using the software or would you like to learn more about how cloud accounting could boost your business?

Let us introduce you and your business to this cloud accounting software which is becoming more and more popular with our clients. If you are a VAT registered business you will need to maintain digital records from 1 April 2019.  However we recommend that you introduce digital record keeping as early as possible.

Saint & Co are Xero Platinum Partners.

Drop in and chat to our friendly staff who will be on hand all day to help with any queries or questions you may have about using the software.     If you do not currently use Xero, why not book onto one of four hour long,demonstrations being held at 9.00, 12.00 noon, 3.00 pm and 6.00 pm.

Visit our events page for more details.

Only two weeks to the 31 January 2019 tax return deadline

Ensure you submit your Self Assessment Tax Return online to HM Revenue and Customs for the tax year ended 5 April 2018 by the 31 January 2019 to avoid any penalties and interest.

You also need to make your Self Assessment  balancing payment for tax year 2017/18, and make the first payment on account to HM Revenue and Customs for tax year 2018/19 by 31 January 2019.

A look back at our Inheritance Tax Planning Event: Don’t let the taxman take your family’s inheritance


On 22 November 2018, Saint & Co hosted an inheritance tax planning event entitled “Don’t let the taxman take your family’s inheritance!” in conjunction with Quilter Private Client Advisors, Old Mutual Wealth and Quilter Cheviot.

50 guests joined us at The Halston Hotel in Carlisle for an informal afternoon to enjoy a buffet and wine tasting, and to learn how to reduce the amount of tax payable in short presentations by speakers from Saint & Co, Quilter Cheviot and Old Mutual Wealth.

Feedback from the event has been fantastic ranging from “informative” to “very good” and “fun” (the wine tasting!).

Our three speakers looked at inheritance tax planning from a different perspective and outlined different, simple steps that can be taken to either totally eliminate, or at the very least reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable on your estate – all very thought provoking if you haven’t planned your tax affairs in the event of your death.

First to speak was Pauline Jackson, Saint & Co’s Tax Partner who briefly touched on various inheritance tax basics.  Using a case study of a husband and wife’s assets, Pauline explained what reliefs would be available and outlined some planning opportunities which included:  writing life assurance policies under trust, gifting assets during lifetime, looking at the ownership of business properties, diverting assets on a first death, using a lifetime family trust, gifting surplus income during lifetime.

Ash Kapasi, Offshore Specialist with Old Mutual Wealth, then touched on trust solutions such as gift trusts, discounted gift trusts and loan trusts and how these can be used in inheritance tax planning.

Gillian Bailey, Investment Director with Quilter Cheviot then explained how investing in the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) could be used to mitigate inheritance tax.

Pauline rounded off the presentations with a brief explanation of the residence nil rate band and what complications can arise with this.

Inheritance tax is a very complex and sometimes sobering topic so the evening concluded with wine tasting and a very light hearted and fun wine quiz, delivered by Paul Bolt from Quilter Cheviot.

If you couldn’t make this inheritance tax event, we are planning another in 2019 – watch out for the details!

In the meantime, if you would like to know more about inheritance tax, how to calculate the value of your estate and what planning opportunities are available please contact us.


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