Finance

Alison Numberland

By CS Accounting Limited
April 2020

It was a fine sunny day just before Easter and Alison had taken the day off from her accounting practice and was wandering through the meadow. As she watched a little furry bunny hop across her path she was surprised when her foot fell into a hole and before she knew it she was hurtling down a rabbit hole – scary stuff!
Alison landed at the bottom surprisingly gently and was amazed to see that she was in a small village with a row of cottages on one side and a row of small shops and businesses on the other. She closed her eyes, gave them a good rub and thought, ‘surely this can’t be right’. Her thoughts were disturbed by a soft furry pat on her arm and she opened her eyes to see a white rabbit hopping from foot to foot and tapping his pocket watch. ‘I’m late, I’m late’ he said ‘Hurry up or we’ll miss the meeting’. A bemused Alison followed him across the village green and before she knew it she was sitting in the cosy Dormouse Tea Rooms at a table set out with pots of tea and yummy looking tarts. ‘Where have you been?’ Doris Dormouse asked the White Rabbit, ‘the tea is going cold’. As she started to pour the tea a big ginger cat grinning from ear to ear came out from the kitchen with a plate full of warm cheese scones. ‘Made with my own Cheshire Cheese from the Cheshire Cheese Company’ he said. ‘Eat them while they’re warm’. ‘Leave room for my tarts though’ said Lizzie, ‘fresh from the Queen of Tarts Bakery’. They had barely raised cup to lip when a small man with wild hair and a very extravagant hat jumped to his feet. ‘Now he said – to the point of the meeting. If that Asbury’s store gets permission to open we are going to lose a lot of business’. ‘They’ll sell cheese’ said the Cheshire Cat. ‘And cakes’ said the Queen of tarts. ‘They’ll have a café’ said Doris ‘and they’ll sell clothes’ said the Tweedle twins who ran a tailoring, dressmaking and alterations business (and had

wandered in from another story by the same author). ‘They’ll have a greengrocery’ said the caterpillar who had preferred a couple of lettuce leaves to the cheese scones and tarts. ‘Bet they don’t sell hats’ grinned the Mad Hatter. ‘What are we to do?’ they all wailed. Alison (who was half way through her second cheese scone) perked up. ‘I can help’ she said, excitedly. ‘I love a challenge. Accountants are not just there to make the numbers add up. Their experience of many types of business leaves them well placed to advise with business planning and forecasting. Let’s get started’. The assembled anthropomorphic creatures were thrilled. ‘Oooh yes please help us’ they said, as they pulled notebooks and tablets from previously hidden furry pockets. Alison had a list of suggestions. Firstly, keep your accounts as up to date as they can be and make sure they are telling you the information you need to know. Cloud accounting systems will allow you to easily analyse your sales and costs so you can spot trends and because it is cloud based you can access it anywhere you can get online. You can use apps to make entries much easier, things like bank feeds, uploads and automatic entries save time. Make sure your HR and H&S are spot on and you have policies and procedures in place for how the business is run. Keep your staff involved, offer them relevant training and encourage them to submit ideas. Happy staff mean a happy business.

The customer may not always be right but they are always important. Smaller businesses need to make each visit an experience, something memorable, to encourage customers to come back and allow them to compete with online shopping and the choice and pricing from larger stores. Make sure everyone knows you are there. Social media can be a very effective method of advertising but keep up the postings and make them visually appealing where possible. However there’s nothing like a happy customer walking out the door and telling everyone of their superb experience. And think of all the opportunities for ‘themed’ offers and campaigns. Not just the usual annual events like Christmas, look for more unusual occasions and local connections. Consider working together. Whether it’s a coordinated media campaign along a certain theme or group buying to save costs. ‘Gosh, that’s an awful lot to consider’ said the white rabbit, ‘how will we find the time’. ‘You don’t need to do everything at once!’ laughed Alison, ‘Just break it down into small steps and you’ve got a plan’. Doris Dormouse was already opening up a spreadsheet and the Dodo who had sat silently reading a book through the whole proceedings said ‘I’ll just get my Filofax and we can make a start’ ‘Now’, said Alison, ‘that plate of tarts has eat me written all over it’ And hopefully they all lived happily ever after…

For help to take your small business to a magical place contact CS Accounting 0191 487 9870 info@csaccounting.co.uk

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