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business plan

Why a good business plan is vital to your success

Have you ever tried rock climbing blindfolded? The path of running a business is rarely travelled without encountering a few bumps along the way. Without a clear vision, your chances of making it to the top are slim – and a lot more difficult than it needs to be! That's why a business plan is key. A business plan is a step-by-step guide to running your business. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal document, but at the very least some structured and long term thought needs to be carried out before beginning. You wouldn’t start up a sandwich shop, for example, without first considering whether there’s a need for a sandwich shop in that part of town, how much stock you need to carry, how much utilities will cost, or how you will attract customers. Waiting to figure these out through trial and error would not only waste time and money, but also potentially damage customer relationships or cause financial difficulty. Talking your business plan through with your accountant can be really beneficial to give you a clear image of your finances and projections. pexels-photo-303040 To be successful in the marketplace, you have to consider your position within it. Your business plan is your recipe for creating a product or service that will address a need. Flexibility is key to a successful business, and this is true for the business plan too, which should be adjusted periodically based on marketplace opportunities and changing circumstances. A business plan hugely reduces the possibility of risks or surprises. The plan should consider the following items:
  • As mentioned previously, determine the need for what you are offering
  • A reasonable expectation of profitability and timescales
  • What profit margin and pricing strategy will you be using? Is this feasible long-term?
  • Perhaps one of the most important questions - how will the business pay you and any team members? Estimate expenses and any unforeseen “catastrophes”.
While many of these may have occurred to you already, it’s important to write it down and record your intentions and progress. A documented plan helps you determine and coordinate all aspects of your business operations, reduces the risk of forgetting anything and also allows you to analyse situations with “the bigger picture” in mind. This increases your chances of success, and can be used to ensure your business doesn’t get stuck in a rut. By determining the risks and benefits associated with any changes, your plan ensures your decisions are informed and in line with your greater business vision. So, do you have a business plan? Talk to us today about your business plan needs – 01793 641 600 or contact us today.
making tax digital

Making Tax Digital update today – our comments

HMRC today released an update on the Making Tax Digital regulations. (read our original Making Tax Digital blog post here.) The key point in the update is that the Making Tax Digital deadline has been delayed until "at least 2020". Under the new timetable: Read More
cloud accounting

Top 5 benefits of cloud accounting

Let’s be honest – nobody starts a business for the love of managing paperwork. Managing your business’s accounts is vital, but it doesn’t have to be take up too much of your business’s time and effort. There is a better way – and it’s much easier and cheaper than you might think. Cloud accounting software can save you and your business money, time and hassle. Today, there are a wide variety of accounting software packages to choose from – the top players being QuickBooks and Xero. These use the “cloud” – a virtual platform that means your data is stored safely online. Here’s 5 key reasons why cloud accounting can make a difference to YOUR business. Read More
Selling a business

Selling your business? Maximise its value first

Selling a business can be one of the most important and financially rewarding events in your working life. Understanding exactly what buyers are looking for in a company allows you to plan and execute the sale efficiently, making it more attractive to potential buyers and maximising its value. Prior planning is key. Selling a business isn’t a quick process – to achieve the right price and terms often takes a year or more. If you’re looking to sell your business, you should ideally begin to maximize the value of your business at least two, but preferably three or four years prior to the sale. The benefits of selling before you have to means you can take a deliberate approach to what is probably the most important deal of your life. The increased payoff can be enormous relative to the company’s current value. Read our tips for increasing value within this time frame. Read More

Using the trivial benefits exemption

The trivial benefits in kind (BiK) regime came into effect in April 2016. This statutory exemption applies to small non-cash benefits like a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers given occasionally to employees or any other benefit in kind classed as 'trivial' that falls within the exemption. Read More
Save money image

How small businesses can save money on their tax bill

Running a small business often means money is tight, says Carl Reader, partner at d&t chartered accountants, author of The Start Up Coach and business expert. As with any business, money must be looked after carefully – there’s no room for wastage. Tax is always going to be an inevitable outgoing, but if you run a small business, there are plenty of ways that you can save some money on your tax bill – and do this legally. Read More

Why small businesses should use an accountant

When you’re running your own business, it’s inevitable that you will end up wearing a lot of different “hats” and taking on a range of different roles within the business. If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to ensure the continual success of your business, it’s worth considering an accountant for professional advice and assistance when it comes to your business’s finances. It could be the best investment you ever make for your business.
Staying on top of your small business’s finances is a big task, even if you aren’t expecting a huge income. Many businesses and entrepreneurs are operating on a limited budget, so it’s understandable that some may opt to try to do their accounts themselves. However, these people may be unaware of just what a difference having an accountant can make to your business. Read More
business strategy

Top Business Strategy Tips for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, it's vital to develop your strategy and business goals. By creating a clear strategy and plan, you can design your course of action and mark out a path to achieve specific outcomes, helping you gain an advantage over your competitors.
Read More

Our PCIDSS Data Security Award

In any business, it is mandatory to comply with the customer data security regulations. Why? Because in any business, data security is critical, even in home computer uses. Data such as client information, payment information, personal files, and bank account details all need to be kept safe and secure in your business. All of this information can be hard to replace and could potentially be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Losing this information to potential hackers or a malware infection can have huge consequences on the business but also on your customer. Read More

Making Digital Tax

As you may be aware HMRC are making significant changes to the tax system regarding Making Tax Digital, which is aimed at bringing businesses into the digital age. HMRC have now published further guidance following the 2017 budget and legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2017 to set out the changes.

Read More
VAT flat rate changes

Download our VAT flat rate changes guide

New regulations for the VAT flat rate system came into effect on the 1st April 2017. Are you and your business up to speed? We've created a complete guide to keep you in the know.
Download our guide: VAT whitepaper

Carl Reader- Small Business Confidence Stats

Background scene setting At the beginning of 2016: 5.5m private sector businesses in the UK, up 97k from 2015, and up 2m since 2000. 99.9% of these are SMEs The majority of growth has been from non-employing (“micro”) businesses. They make up 89% of the increase since 2000, and 86% of the 2015 increase. Read More

Self Assessment

Do you know the deadlines for your self assessments? Do you know how to complete a self assessment form? This guide will answer the above questions in detail and will provide you with everything you need to know about self assessments. self-assessment


d&t teamed up with Intuit/QuickBooks (quickbooks.co.uk) to put on our annual d&t franchise Christmas social on Thursday 1st December 2016. And with the success of our franchise London boat trip, we needed to ensure this event was bigger and better! Read More

Autumn Statement 2016

Yesterday, Chancellor Phillip Hammond gave his first (and last) autumn statement for this year. See below for a detailed summary of all the changes that are going to be coming into effect autumn-statement-2016

Autumn Statement 2016 – Predictions

leaves-1784169_960_720Chancellor Phillip Hammond is all set to give his first autumn statement on the 23rd November 2016. It is set to be an intriguing one for all, as it will have important information regarding the economic fallout after the Brexit earlier this year. Earlier in October, Mr Hammond said that the government will prioritise spending on housing and business investments to boost the economy. So, what else can we expect to come out from the autumn statement 2016? Read More

Keep calm and carry on!

Now that the surprise of the Leave vote has died down, and we are dealing with the aftermath of the public choice to leave the European Union, many business owners have started wondering about the impact of Brexit on their business. It won’t affect all businesses; but I do feel that there are three key areas that every business owner needs to think about if applicable: Read More

Franchise Dashboard

d&t’s franchise dashboard combines all your and your franchisees data. Then creates one complete network wide view. Real-time management and financial information in one place. Just like Google Analytics for a website, our free of charge tool provides franchisors with a detailed insight into the performance of each franchisee and the network as a whole. Not an approximate guess. Real data on real graphs on a dashboard that is simple to digest and drill into. Read More

The Bear Group

The Bear Group is founded by 4 entrepreneurs all combining their knowledge and experience they have gained through the years together to help other businesses. Read More

Franchisee of the Year Awards 2016

On Thursday 29th September, it was the annual bfa Franchisee of the Year Awards. The night consisted of all sectors of the franchise industry coming together in Birmingham Town Hall for a star-studded event, recognising the continuous success of their franchisees. The likes of Wilkins Chimney Sweep, Swimtime and Revive were all there to support their franchisees who were up for awards. Read More
goal setting

What sort of goals should you set yourself?

Typically, when people first think of goal setting they tend towards material items, or perhaps health-related (giving up smoking, giving up alcohol, going on a diet etc). I’d strongly suggest that you instead look at a more holistic approach, considering areas such as work-life balance, personal development, spiritual development, charitable aims. Having said that – always make sure that you only include goals that would truly motivate you! There is no point in setting goals that look good on paper, for someone else. Instead, make sure that you are fully committed to achieving the goals that you set out. Read More

End of the tax return

Time is moving forward, and so is the way that tax returns are being handled. What will be the benefits of moving online for individuals/businesses? Why is this new scheme committed to reducing the burden for taxpayers? Take a look for lots more information about the proposed move. Read More

Performa IT

“Performa IT are specialists in Sales & Marketing Automation for companies who want to grow their business & increase profit margins by automating & streamlining their processes. We are a Salesforce registered consulting partner and specialise in implementing their market leading products to deliver the automation & benefits required. Read More

Notes from The Franchising Handbook

Once you have narrowed down your shortlist, you will need to start approaching franchisors. It is important to remember that the franchisor has invested a lot of time, effort and money in building their brand, so they want to ensure that you will be the right partner for them to achieve mutual success. They will also not want to have a franchisee failure on their hands, as this will reflect badly on them insofar as a banks view on their network. It will also have a significant drain on head offices resources, as they will need to manage the situation pre-failure. Finally, the other franchisees will be affected by a fellow franchisee failing, and this will impact on the overall network morale. Read More

P11D – Cheat Sheet

When it comes to your business, paying your tax bills on time is one of the most important things that you can do. P11D is one of these tax forms that a lot of people will need to complete. We have, therefore, put together a whitepaper on P11D’s, how you can work out your benefit of a P11D, and some of the repercussions that could possibly happen if you don’t complete the P11D form. p11d-whitepaper

2020 Vision: Professional… Are you sure?

ONE OF MY biggest bugbears is the use of the phrase ‘professional’ when describing a member of the accounting, legal or medical professions. suit-673697_960_720-300x200A recent article in Management Today covered my views on the use of the word ‘professional’ pretty well. To summarise and quote: “Fifty years ago, the professional classes were revered by society. But long-held restrictive practices and a reluctance to accept reforms have contributed to a gradual loss of public trust and respect.” Read More

The British Accountancy Awards


The British Accountancy Awards will take place again on the 26th November 2016. This year due to previous achievements in the award and vast knowledge in the industry Carl Reader, director of d&t chartered accountants has been asked to judge the awards. We believe this is a great opportunity as Carl himself co-owns a multi-award winning accounting practice so knows what to look for in a winner and is excited to see the amazing entries.

You can follow Carl on Twitter, Facebook and keep up to date on his Website

Also follow d&t on social and stay up to date dates coming up to the awards!

Twitter                  Facebook               LinkedIn             Website

Choosing an Accountant

Franchisees looking for an accountant have a myriad of choices available, but which is the right one? The obvious choice is a firm that specialise in the franchise industry, such as d&t! However, where the franchisor has not provided guidance, some franchisees look to save a few pounds by paying a friend or relative, others… choose a local guy, some go for a purely online solution, whilst a few opt for one of the large national firms. Read More

Setting your targets appropriately

Everyone uses targets to some extent, but how many of you actually use them to suit your deadline, and more importantly meet that target for your deadline? Most businesses, including franchises, should have personal and company targets set to help them achieve a desired goal. So what can we do to make this easier? Read More

Do you need to take independent legal advice on your franchise investment?

Perhaps the most commonly asked question that I have from prospective franchisees, with regards to the legal agreement, is whether they have to obtain independent legal advice. My answer is always “absolutely” – and then I usually enter into a long discussion about why you should use a solicitor that understands franchising, rather than a general commercial or family solicitor. In my opinion, there are two main reasons to use an expert: Read More

Small Business? Three Things To Consider After Brexit

Now that the surprise of the Leave vote has died down, and we are dealing with the aftermath of the public choice to leave the European Union, many business owners have started wondering about the impact of Brexit on their business. It won’t affect all businesses; but I do feel that there are three key areas that every business owner needs to think about if applicable: Read More

The five warning signs

There are five major warning signs that you should look for in any network that you are talking to. If you see one of these, proceed with caution! Read More

It’s all for a good cause

On June 26th 2016 d&t will be competing in a Dragon Boat Race at Coate Water Country Park in Swindon. We will be raising money for Swindon Guide dogs which are a charity for breeding and training guide dogs

You can help d&t raise money for this great cause by donating directly to our fundraising page

Read More

Setting your values

Not sure how to define your business’s values? Our director Carl Reader talks about how we at d&t came up with our businesses values. Read More

Improving your business workflow to result in better productivity

workflow-300x199In any workplace, improving the workflow and eliminating waste ensures that not only will your business run as efficiently and effectively as possible, but it will create a much easier and less stressful environment for you are your employees to work in. It’s a little bit like the saying ‘happy wife, happy life’ … happy staff, happy life? Ok, the rhyme doesn’t quite work. However, the majority, if not all of your business results are relying on your staff. If you or they don’t know how to organise their tasks and do things in the best way possible, or the work environment is messy and rushed, it could result in low motivation and productivity which will have a big impact on your business. Read More

Potential franchisee? How to approach a franchisor

Once you have narrowed down your shortlist, you will need to start approaching franchisors. It is important to remember that the franchisor has invested a lot of time, effort and money in building their brand, so they want to ensure that you will be the right partner for them to achieve mutual success. They will also not want to have a franchisee failure on their hands, as this will reflect badly on them insofar as a banks view on their network. It will also have a significant drain on head offices resources, as they will need to manage the situation pre-failure. Finally, the other franchisees will be affected by a fellow franchisee failing, and this will impact on the overall network morale. Read More

Does business have a dress code?

Carl Reader talks about whether businesses should have dress codes. This video has been inspired by Michael Bohan of GTI Consultancy and a blog post that he wrote. Read More

Basic market research

In this video, Carl Reader talks about the importance of market research and provides some useful tips on performing basic market research. Read More

Funding options for small businesses

Whether you’re starting out or planning to grow there are a range of options you can fund your small business. In this video, Carl Reader talks about the different funding options for businesses and what you should look out for. Read More

What is a franchise?

What is a franchise? Carl Reader talks about brands such as Mcdonalds, Dominos, Dyno rod and many more. A brief overview of what a franchise business model is and the different components that go into a franchise business. Click the video below to find out more and if you have any questions or queries about your franchise and what WE could do to help don’t hesitate to call the office on 01793 741600. Read More

Free V’s Paid – franchise dashboard

Within every franchise network, business and like most things in life, you tend to usually get what you pay for. This is exactly what franchise dashboard offers our clients: management information (MI) and reporting on all franchisees within their network. Read More

What does a franchise look like?

Business format franchises can come in all shapes and sizes, and the brands listed above show that these businesses can be either large, consumer facing retail chains or smaller businesses operated from home. There are however a few similarities across most franchise networks, which help define the business as a business format franchise: Read More

Top tips for managing cash flow

Fundamentally, the reason that most businesses fail comes down to a cash flow problem – whether it is another business failure that leaves them with a bad debt, a change in market conditions that they can’t adapt to quickly enough, or simply their funding being withdrawn; a problem with cash flow can very quickly lead to a business having to close it’s doors. Read More

Be awesome at doing your accounts

ggAny new franchisee or business, only really has one option when it comes to ‘doing’ accounts …. a cloud based accountancy, bookkeeping and reporting platform. Read More

Natwest/BFA Survey 2015

There’s some great news that has come out from the latest Natwest / BFA Survey. The industry is contributing £15.1bn to the UK economy, employs 621,000 people, and the number of franchisees topped 44,000. Not only that, over half of all franchisees had a turnover above £250k, and 97% reported profitability. Read More

Driving performance in a franchise network

Driving performance in a franchise network Maximising the performance of a franchisee’s business benefits the franchisee, the franchisor and the network as a whole. The best way to maximise performance is to measure and track activity so that the right guidance and support can be provided at the right time to the right people.driving-rep-performance-300x224 Read More

Franchise news: October 2015

d&t and the BFA As everyone will know Helen Thompson has recently joined the BFA to support the recruitment and retention of all BFA members. Completing her QFP in 2013 and acting as interim Recruitment Manager for Dunkin brands Helen has an extensive 8 years working in franchise recruitment. As d&t work closely with the BFA we are delighted that Helen has joined and we will be working closely with Helen in the future. Welcome Helen! Read More

Measure it | Manage it

DASHBOARD Franchisees will never follow a system like a robot! Of course there are some who will be incredibly successful with very little support and guidance, whilst others will need continuous direction and correction simply to stay on track with the business model! Read More

Estate planning for grandparents

Your children may be grown up and financially secure. If your assets pass to them, you will be adding to their estate and to the IHT which will be charged on their deaths. Instead, you might consider leaving something to your grandchildren, or reducing your taxable estate by helping them out during their education.

Estate planning for singles

Single people might not have given much thought to estate planning. But you should make a will to set out your preferred funeral arrangements, how you want your estate to devolve on your death and who will have responsibility for it. Your net estate might pass to your parents or your siblings under intestacy rules but would you prefer to leave your wealth to your nieces or nephews?

Gift strategy: Use the nil-rate band

Most transfers of property between spouses or civil partners are exempt from IHT. This means that when one partner dies leaving some or all of their property to their spouse/civil partner they may not make full use of their own £325,000 nil-rate band. In these circumstances, it is possible to transfer unused nil-rate band allowances between spouses or civil partners. Read More

Gift strategy: Gifts out of income

Another way to build up capital outside your own estate and save IHT is to make regular gifts out of income, perhaps by way of premiums into an insurance policy written in trust for your heirs. Regular payments of this type are exempt from IHT.

Gift strategy: Appreciating assets

Gifts do not have to be in cash. You could save more IHT or CGT by giving away assets with the potential for growth in value. Give while the asset has a lower value so that the appreciation then accrues outside your estate.

Gift strategy: Business assets

There will be no capital gains tax (CGT) and perhaps little or no IHT to pay if you retain business property until your death. This is fine, so long as you wish to continue to hold your business interests until death and recognise that the rules may change. Read More

Do you need a will?

Anyone who owns property – a home, a car, investments, business interests, retirement savings, collectables or personal belongings – needs a will. A will allows you to direct by and to whom your property will be distributed after your death. If you die without a will, your property will normally be distributed according to intestacy laws. Assumptions about how these rules work is a very common mistake.

Selling your business: Business factors

External factors can also be important in timing your sale. If you can time your business sale to coincide with a period of economic growth, when buyers outnumber sellers and will pay premium prices, you will most likely secure the best price. Read More

Planning your estate

Estate planning should start early in life. If your estate is worth in excess of £325,000 it could be subject to inheritance tax (IHT). Even if it isn’t, careful planning and a well-drafted will can ensure that your assets will go to your chosen beneficiaries.


When you raise that final sales invoice and bank the proceeds from the sale of your business, you should be completing one of the last steps in a strategy aimed at maximising the net return by minimising the capital gains tax (CGT) on sale. Read More

Maximising profitability

Increasing profitability is always important but no more so than in the years leading up to the sale. So, what is the range of values for your business? Although you may think you can make an educated guess, a professional valuation gives you more solid ground. Read More

Selling your business

If you consider your business to have a market value, or if you want your business to provide you with a lump sum on sale, it is essential to start planning how you will realise that value. This is particularly important if you envisage selling your business within the next 10 years. Read More

What qualifies as a ‘mobile phone’?

The first thing to figure out is whether an appliance is a mobile telephone. In recent years we have seen smartphones that are capable of doing many things other than just making telephone calls. Conversely, we have seen computers and tablets acquiring telephony facilities. In short, computers and telephones are slowly merging. Read More

Tax-effective employee benefits

Employers may provide many benefits to employees in addition to their salary or wages. Some of these benefits can be tax-effective, in that the employer or employee (or both) may save tax by providing a benefit rather than cash. Read More