Register for our FREE Mini BITE session with AutoEntry on 10 July 2019

Chris Williams, Partner Manager from AutoEntry, will be introducing you to the app that saves you time – instantly!

AutoEntry allows you to automatically process all the paper your business receives without the need to endlessly key in information. Just take photos of all your receipts and save them directly in the app or forward an email receipt or invoice to the app and then delete the email. No more stuffing paper into your pockets or bags and wondering what happened to them later.

Chris will take you through this user-friendly app and show you how you can save hours and hours of time that you can use for new business opportunities instead. An added bonus, AutoEntry also integrates beautifully with Xero.

Register Today – places are limited!

When & Where:

Wednesday, 10th July 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 hear from Chris about how to save time and go truly paperless
  2. You’ll receive a demo on submitting invoices, receipts and expenses via the mobile app
  3. You’ll receive a FREE buffet lunch!


Join us on 7 June 2019 in Carlisle for our Employment Update Event

If you run a small business or are involved in one, please join us for a refresher to help you stay compliant with employment law and government guidance on employee pay.

We’ll be discussing tips for effective staff management, taking on new employees, their rights, statutory payments and pensions.

Our 3 speakers will be talking about:

1. Employment solicitor – Michael Bauer, Cumbria Employment Solicitors – Smart use of Employment Law to Sharpen Your Business, including proactical steps and checklist to take away. Read more about Michael here.

2. Payroll Manager – Graeme Metcalfe, Saint & Co – An update on Minimum Wage, statutory payments and the eligibility for these payments and pension obligations. Read more about Graeme here.

3. HR Consultant – Debbie Tollitt, Davidson HR – Onboarding: A talk on the induction process for new starters including the suggested HR paperwork and right to work checks. Read more about Debbie here.

Friday, 7th June

12.00 noon – 2.30 pm

Buffet lunch included

The Halston, 20 – 34 Warwick Road,

Carlisle, CA1 1AB

This event is FREE but booking is essential as places are limited.

Please book early to avoid disappointment

Register here

Xero Drop In Day – 7th May 2019

Are you ready for tax going digital?

Have you been left confused since VAT went digital on 1 April 2019?

Have you got the software but are scared to look at it?


If you have questions, have no idea where to start or just want a refresher, one of our friendly Xero champions will help you – face to face.



at Saint & Co Offices

in Ambleside, Annan, Cockermouth, Dumfries, Whitehaven, Wigton

Penrith Office (bookings for slots with Xero Champion only)

9.00 am – 5.00 pm



at Saint & Co, Penrith  

Drop in or book a slot with a Xero Champion

9.00 am – 5.00 pm


Register at


Can networking really help my business?

business community, networking, event

Back in October of last year, we welcomed over 200 business owners to Carlisle Racecourse for our local business event, BITE 2018. We watched as these entrepreneurs rubbed shoulders, talked shop, and shared their biggest business challenges. The room buzzed with industry and excitement.

So, when anyone asks if networking can help their business, we always answer with an unequivocal “Yes!” because we’ve seen it first-hand.

Here are some of the benefits of networking we’ve observed over the years:

The five greatest benefits of business networking

1. Profile

Marketing and branding are fundamentally important for any small business. But sometimes, getting out there into the real world, shaking some hands, and chatting with other business owners can make all the difference. Raising your profile within your local business community can keep you front of mind should anyone in that network require your expertise.

You also have an opportunity to build a strong reputation as someone who knows their stuff, who’s supportive and reliable, and who’s willing to offer guidance and advice. Visibility is key to the success of any growing business.

2. Referrals

Perhaps the biggest benefit in this list, earning referrals is the reason why many business owners join networking groups in the first place. Even in the age of digital marketing and social media, word-of-mouth is here to stay.

And the best thing about these leads is that they’re often pre-qualified. That’s because you have the chance to discuss the ins and outs of the opportunity with the very people referring you.

3. Confidence

Launching a business requires many different skills, and chief among them is communication. Networking pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to meet and interact with different people. And in the long run, this can only benefit your confidence.

You’ll need to learn to sell yourself and your company every time you meet someone new – what some call the “elevator pitch”. This helps you get to the heart of your idea, and hones your proposition. And the more confident you feel about your business and your abilities, the more confident you’ll appear to prospective investors, employees, and stakeholders.

4. Connections

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And if you want your business to survive and thrive, you need to build a network of strong and reliable connections. If you need advice, or an introduction to a key decision maker, it pays to have that network at your fingertips.

Use your local networking events to connect with the most influential people in your business community. You never know when they might come in handy!

5. Advice

Running a business can be a lonely affair for the first few years. Particularly if you’re a sole trader. Getting up and out from behind your desk once in a while can make all the difference to your mental health, and the health of your business.

Instead of running into problems with no solution and nowhere to turn, you can grab a coffee and kick around ideas with like-minded people. And perhaps you’ll even overcome your latest business challenge with a little help from someone who’s been in your shoes before.

Try it for yourself

If you’re local to the North (or you fancy travelling), you can join us for BITE 2019 and try business networking for yourself. Join the waiting list today!

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.

BITE 2018 Recap: An Event to Remember

Xero, tech, Carlisle

150 attendees.

9 speakers.  

One unforgettable day.

BITE 2018 took Carlisle Racecourse by storm on Friday the 12th of October. Business owners from across the North of England came together to learn how innovative technology could transform their business – with a firm focus on Xero.

In this blog post, we take a look back at how the event came to be, the behind-the-scenes graft, and the results of a terrific and inspiring day.

A Brief History of BITE

The initial idea for a local business event hosted by Saint & Co. came about when our partner, Andrew Liddle, attended Xerocon London in 2017. He witnessed first-hand the impact the event had on himself and his colleagues, and he knew that many of our 2500 clients would benefit greatly from using Xero.

But how could we get them excited about that prospect? How could we best demonstrate what was possible? Andrew very quickly realised that a Xerocon-style event (only smaller) would be a game-changer in Carlisle.

And with the help of Karen Reyburn of The Profitable Firm, we set about putting it in motion.

What Went Into Creating BITE 2018?

A lot of hard work!

BITE 2018 was six months in the making, from event planning, branding and marketing, to securing venue hire, sponsorship, and speakers.

  • Logo & Branding – The BITE concept was originally created by Brighton-based firm MHA Carpenter Box. With their blessing, we amended the logo to include our signature Saint blue.
  • Marketing – The Profitable Firm created a dedicated website for BITE 2018, with all of the important information neatly displayed across each page. This was complemented by their carefully planned content marketing campaign, complete with event invites, emails, and blog posts.
  • Venue Hire – We knew we needed somewhere bright and modern to reflect the ethos of BITE, and Carlisle Racecourse more than fit the bill. The spacious main room gave us plenty of space to fit our attendees and exhibitors without feeling claustrophobic, and with 9 TV screens, everyone had a great view of our speakers’ slides.
  • Sponsors – We secured a number of local and national sponsors, which allowed us to push the event to a wider audience, and also connect our attendees with important networking opportunities.
  • Speakers – Finally, the most important part of any conference or event, we confirmed an impressive lineup of speakers: John Stevenson (MP), Ashleigh Lambert (Xero), Karen Reyburn (The Profitable Firm), and Andrew & Pete (content marketing duo).

The Result? See For Yourself

Watch our video summary of the day’s events below to see it all come together:

In Summary

BITE 2018 was a smashing success, but don’t take our word for it! Here’s a small sample of the incredible feedback we received:

“Possibly the best event I have been to!” – Angela Roberts

“Thank you for providing a breadth of high quality speakers for free” – Julia Cater

Our attendees were enthusiastic and ready to learn from the outset, and our speakers did not disappoint. Full of energy and knowledge, they crammed so much into such a short space of time.

Did you miss out on BITE 2018? Don’t worry – we’re already hard at work on the plan for BITE 2019! Register your interest here.

Read a comprehensive case study of BITE over on the Profitable Firm’s website.

A quick look back at the Borderway Agri Expo

On Friday the 2nd of November, Saint & Co. attended the 12th annual Borderway Agri Expo.

As one of the UK’s largest agricultural events, it was a terrific opportunity for some of the Saint team to meet existing and potential clients already working in the industry, and to offer accountancy advice specifically tailored to the farming community.

The event itself was a lively and vibrant showcase of the best quality sheep and beef cattle, along with the latest in farming practice developments, cutting-edge machinery, equipment, and technology. What’s more, a number of important discussions were led around topics such as the environment, exports, and livestock marketing.

Our Farm Advisor, Will Robinson, had this to say:

“Once again, the Borderway Agri Expo was a truly fantastic event, with many of our current – and some prospective – clients coming to see us at our stand for a chat. Some wanted to discuss Making Tax Digital and Xero, while others were keen to learn more about the Farmplan accounting software. Lucky for us, Farmplan had their stand right next to ours, which worked out well.”

“We had lots of visitors, and our branded merchandise (torches and bottle openers) were very popular. In fact, we ran out in the first hour! We also ran a free prize draw, with one lucky person scooping a £100 gift voucher at the end of the event.”

“All in all, it was a great day – we met a number of passionate farming professionals and provided plenty of expert guidance. I’m sure next year’s Expo will be even bigger, and even better. I’ve already circled it in my diary.”

Were you at the Borderway Agri Expo and missed us? Get in touch to chat with one of our farming experts.

Only a few places left – Event – Don’t let the taxman take your family’s inheritance!



Join us for an informal afternoon to enjoy buffet and wine tasting

at our Inheritance Tax Event

on 22 November 2018

at The Halston, Warwick Road, Carlisle, CA1 1AB

at 4.00 pm to 7.45 pm

Saint & Co invite you to our prestigious Estate and Inheritance Tax Planning event in conjunction with Quilter Private Client Advisers  – the perfect chance to learn how to reduce the amount of tax payable on your estate.

Plan for your family’s future.  Let us help you feel confident that your loved ones will receive the assets you intend and that any inheritance tax liability is minimised.

There are some very 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.

It is always useful to know the full tax implications of the options available to you to enable you to ultimately make an informed choice.

If you would like to know more about inheritance tax, how to calculate the value of your estate and what planning opportunities are available, book your place at our wine and buffet afternoon today.

To book email Jane MacLachlan – or give her a call on 01228 534371.


Event: Don’t let the taxman take your family’s inheritance!

Join us for an informal afternoon to enjoy buffet and wine tasting

at our Inheritance Tax Event

on 22 November 2018

at The Halston, Warwick Road, Carlisle, CA1 1AB

at 4.00 pm to 7.45 pm

Saint & Co invite you to our prestigious Estate and Inheritance Tax Planning event in conjunction with Quilter Private Client Advisers  – the perfect chance to learn how to reduce the amount of tax payable on your estate.

Plan for your family’s future.  Let us help you feel confident that your loved ones will receive the assets you intend and that any inheritance tax liability is minimised.

There are some very 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.

It is always useful to know the full tax implications of the options available to you to enable you to ultimately make an informed choice.

If you would like to know more about inheritance tax, how to calculate the value of your estate and what planning opportunities are available, book your place at our wine and buffet afternoon today.

The event is FREE but booking is essential as places are limited.  Please book early to avoid disappointment.

RSVP by 19 November to Jane MacLachlan – or 01228 534371


BITE 2018 Recap: How accounting sits at the core of your business

Xero, tech, BITE 2018

On Friday the 12th of October, 2018, hundreds of business owners descended on Carlisle Racecourse to spend the day learning about Business, Innovation, Technology, and Efficiency.

Or ‘BITE’ for short.

Saint & Co. welcomed a number of guest speakers to the stage to share their insight and expertise. And we couldn’t be more pleased to have had the brains behind BITE – our very own Andrew Liddle – kick things off in the morning with his talk called ‘How accounting sits at the core of your business.’

If you missed the event, or you’d like to refresh your memory, here is an edited transcript of Andrew’s talk:

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

For those of you who do not know me, I am Andrew Liddle, a partner at Saint & Co., and the person who had the idea to bring this event to our community.

When looking through the final running order for today, we realised that there was an omission – so there is change to our running order this morning. You will be pleased to know there will be a tea and coffee break at 11am!

My Inspiration

The idea (for BITE) came to me when I attended a conference held by Xero – we use Xero internally for a significant number of our quarterly and monthly bookkeeping assignments for clients. I was visiting to see what the latest developments to the software we use were, and to see what was coming next in terms of features and enhancements.

The event was held at the Excel Arena, and as I entered the exhibition hall I was immediately struck by the number of people attending, and the huge array of applications that connected directly into Xero.

Yes, some of these applications were related directly to the accounting function, but a number were dealing with other business areas, such as advertising and marketing, which are traditionally outside the accounting function but used Xero as the hub of these tasks.

This intrigued me, and I spent the best part of two days looking at these applications and listening to talks about the impact of technology. At the conference I met Karen – whose firm we use for our marketing – and we were talking about how rapidly the technologies are moving and how this creates opportunities and threats, and realised that a smaller, focused event would be of interest to the business community our firm serves. Our businesses want to learn, develop and improve, and why should they have to travel to the major cities to do so when we could bring an event like BITE to them here?

This event was also where I first became aware of our keynote speakers this afternoon, Andrew and Pete, who stood out from all the talks I attended over those two days as the ones I would most want to hear again.

Finally, I would like to thank my fellow partners for embracing this idea to enable us to bring it to you all today.

A Story of Innovation

From the receipt of a ZX Spectrum some 40 years ago, I have always been interested in technology and innovation. The ZX Spectrum brought computers into the home environment for the first time.  All programs were installed via a cassette tape and could take up to 10 minutes to load as you sat eagerly awaiting the installation of your new game – Manic Miner and Daley Thompson’s Decathlon were particular favourites!

Some would say that 10 minutes to load a program is quick in comparison to the time you’re sat waiting for Windows to download and install the latest security patch on your computer.

Throughout the 80s and early 90s, computers were gradually becoming more and more commonplace in the workplace and the home. When I first started at Saint, we had 4 computers in the entire office which we had to book a slot to use. Most sets of accounts were produced on handwritten schedules, with the finished accounts produced on typewriters.

Giant Leaps; Same Old Mistakes

Now we have a server in every office, computers on every desk, with the majority of staff using 2 screens to ease multi-tasking, and the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

It will not be long once Elon Musk’s space tourism business commences where it will be possible to file your VAT return while orbiting the moon. Or, more likely, sharing selfies on your social media platforms while commenting that the freeze-dried rocket food you have been served on the flight tastes just like chicken!

Throughout all these technological advances, we still see that a large number of clients continue to bring in their accounting records months after the event, which makes their numbers simply a historic scorecard.

A significant minority of our clients are using the improvements in technology and software applications available to have their accounting information accessible in real-time. And they use this data to enhance their business and personal life.

The story I am about to tell is one such example.

Meet ‘David’

I have a client who, to protect his identity, I am going to call David.

Now, David runs his own business and is successful, but the one thing he hates is paying tax. I used to dread his phone calls every time he had to make a payment to the Inland Revenue, as he would always say “how much?” and “is this correct?”

“Yes”, I would reply, “it is correct and you need to pay it by the end of the month.”

The industry he operates has become increasingly regulated to such an extent that he was faced with having to submit quarterly accounts to his regulator within 6 weeks of the quarter end. So he rings me up and says he has this problem and, as he is the chief cook and bottle washer, he is going to need some help as he doesn’t have enough hours in the day to cope with this change.

David’s record keeping in the past was simply a box of his bank statements in order, paying in books filled in fully, and chequebook stubs fully completed. They always arrived 4 months after his year-end, so by the time we got around to discussing these figures, they were out of date.

When we had this conversation, Saint had recently conducted a review of the cloud accounting providers at this time, and as a firm, we had selected Xero to be the one we would recommend if asked. I thought to myself, we have the opportunity to try this now for real.

A Chance for Change

I said to him, yes, we can help, but we would have to change how we processed his transactions. I explained that we would use this new cloud accounting technology to assist with him this. He said, “that’s great but I don’t want to pay any more fees.” I said they would have to be an increase, but it would be sensible to reflect the increased work.

So we set-up Xero and obtained a direct feed of his bank account transactions. He never processed a transaction, although he said he would, so we had to do the processing for him.

The first couple of quarters were a pain as we were back and forth identifying transactions  and getting him to use a debit card for payments rather than cheques – to a point where we simply gave him a quick call to go through a couple of  transactions we could identify directly from the bank feed to allocate the correct code.

A Bit More Back and Forth

During these phone calls, I said to him “you’ve had a good start to the year, but you’ll have a hefty tax bill if this continues.”

“Really?” he said, “how much?”

I told him if this continued he would have this figure to pay, and when he would have to pay it by.

After a few curses, he asked “what can I do about it?”

We talked through his options. Increasing his salary was considered. “I would have to pay too much tax on that if I increase, and I would only spend it down the pub!” he said.

He eventually decided that he would make a regular pension contribution for his retirement, and he would transfer 20% of his profit each quarter into a deposit account to cover his tax bill. And then in quarter 4 of his financial year, he would consider making a top-up to his pension if he was having a better-than-expected year.

A Happy Ending

I now no longer get the phone calls each time David has a tax bill to pay. He has the money set aside to cover it, and he knows that he has done all that he can to minimise the amounts.

He does still ring me when his bill is due for payment, as he likes to keep us on our toes. But a quick reminder of what we do for him, that he’s not stressing that his regulatory reporting will be completed on time (so he can enjoy his Friday night in the pub), and that he now has provision in place for his retirement, which he has saved corporation tax on, is met by a “I know, I know. I just need to have grumble at something.”

So today we’re bringing this new way of working to you all, with the aim of showing you the available possibilities. Our speakers and exhibitors have been carefully selected to raise your awareness and to show that there is a different way of doing all of this.

In Summary: Overcoming Barriers with Making Tax Digital

We have all attended events, read articles or had thoughts on improving our business, but are worried about the status quo being damaged. So we introduce barriers to implementing change.

However, like David, there is a change coming: Making Tax Digital – MTD for short. And this change is not going to target a specific industry; it is going to impact all VAT-registered business owners.

This change is being introduced from April next year, and the reality of Making Tax Digital is that you and I are now going to have to prepare our accounting records digitally to be able to submit a digital VAT return.  Here at Saint, we think this new initiative should have been named Making Accounts Digital, as it makes it easier to explain this change. However, with an acronym of ‘MAD’, this would not have lasted the first press release!

So, an action point from today is to make sure your business is ready for MTD.

This disruptor removes the status quo and removes the barriers to change as, unless you are already doing so, you are going to have to change and bring your accounting function into the very heart of your business.

Your record keeping can longer be an afterthought. Use this precious data to enable you to gain a greater understanding to your business; to understand how your cash flow varies over time; why, at certain times of the year, you are at the limit of your funding facilities; and once you become aware of the issue, then you can look at ways to alleviate it.

From your digital accounts, you now have information, and with relevant information, you can make informed decisions. But with a multitude of information at your fingertips, what details should you be looking at and using?

This is where your Trusted Advisor comes the fore

Who is your Trusted Advisor?

Studies have shown that most business owners see the accountant as their Trusted Advisor.

In the age of automation and artificial intelligence, this advisor becomes even more important. Some will ask why, and I would reply that we are human. We understand that not all the decisions we make are simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There are other factors in play, such as our own hopes and fears, which result in decisions that are grey.

At this moment time, the machines will not be able to cope with the answer “it depends”, and from my experience, people still like dealing with people.

As I said earlier in my talk, as a practice we have heavily invested in Xero and have recently become a Platinum Partner.

So, let me welcome to the stage Ashleigh Lambert from Xero, who will share her knowledge of Xero and the importance of the connections between people, and how their technology cements these relationships.