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Posts in Archive

A New Role ….

May 3rd, 2016 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “A New Role ….”

Great news !!! Not only have we been shortlisted for North East Small Accountancy Practice of the Year, we are also looking to expand our team! 

We are looking for an apprentice trainee accountant to join us from September 2016. This is a three year fixed term apprentice contract which includes working toward the AAT qualification through day release and on the job training.  The selected candidate will be involved in many projects and experiences due to being part of a small team, which will add to their skills and knowledge. At Clarand we have a strong work ethic and reward well.

The successful candidate must be focused, determined and have a passion to succeed. Candidates must have a minimum of five GCSEs grade A to C which includes Maths and English. A Levels or equivalent are desirable. The role is in a professional office and is client facing, therefore the successful candidate must be self-aware and presentable at all times.

For a detailed job description and application form, please email us at [email protected] The closing date for applications is Friday 24 June 2016.

Three Years Old!

March 8th, 2016 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “Three Years Old!”

We are celebrating Clarand’s third birthday this month, and what better way to do so than to sponsor and present at the Community Foundation Women’s Fund lunch on Friday 4 March 2016 in Newcastle Upon Tyne.  Over three hundred business women attended the event and over £18,000 raised on the day.  We have been delighted to be to involved in the event and it was great to share our journey so far.

Five Reasons to Consider Venture Capital Investments

August 11th, 2015 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “Five Reasons to Consider Venture Capital Investments”

This guest post comes from Richard Charnley,  Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures.

Five Reasons to Consider Venture Capital Investments

Whether you’re a small business looking to expand or you’re a startup that needs seed funding, you might have considered seeking investment from a venture capital firm. Unlike traditional bank loans or private equity, venture capital can help support higher risk companies in the early stages of development. Here are five reasons why you should consider speaking to a VC Investment Manager if you are looking to grow your company.

  1. Expertise

There’s a saying that ‘it’s lonely at the top’. If you’re the Managing Director or CEO of a company sometimes it can be difficult knowing who to talk when you’re facing a big decision. This is why it can be helpful to have a VC Investor on your team: you can draw upon their experience with other startups and SMEs.


  1. Network

Venture capital often works through a string of networks, made up of investment firms, consultants, angel investors and of course the startups and SMEs themselves. By raising capital through a funding round you are likely to connect with a strong network of useful contacts. Whether it’s someone who can mentor you through the early stages of your business, or someone who can help raise funds in the future, the network VC investment can link you with can be invaluable.


  1. Flexibility

Venture Capitalists are experienced working with startups and small businesses. This means they understand that each business is different and a ‘one-size fits all’ approach (which you might find with a typical bank strategy) does not work. They are able to evaluate the business requirements and tailor a package that meets the needs, stage and exit route of the business and the management team.



  1. Growth

Venture capital typically has a stronger focus on growth when compared with other financing options. This can be particularly helpful for businesses in the early stages of trading who need to focus on quick growth in order to succeed. VC Investors may also accept initial losses for growth purposes – they can see the bigger picture.



  1. Cash

This is probably the most obvious reason people consider venture capital investment! Venture capital funds often have the ability to invest larger sums than might be available from a bank or on your credit cards. They also have the ability to fund the same business more than once, if the business has started to grow or is being scaled up.

It is worth noting that not all companies are right for VC investment and vice versa. VC investment is usually only suitable for companies where the management team and shareholders are focussed on the future sale of the business.


About Northstar Ventures

Northstar Ventures is a North East-based venture capital company that has been operating since 2004.

It is currently looking to invest from £50k to £0.5m in innovative high growth businesses and social enterprises across the North East region.

Online Accounts Software (Cloud accounting)

March 20th, 2015 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “Online Accounts Software (Cloud accounting)”

With more and more of our clients turning to using online accounts software to help support them with their day to day finances, we thought we’d share some of the benefits that our clients have reaped from going digital …..

  • Real-time accounting
  • Easy access by their accountant throughout the year
  • Access whilst on the go
  • Saving time
  • Reducing costs
  • Helping with forecasting/planning
  • Going paper-free
  • No year-end surprises
  • Monthly fees; no upgrade costs and no contracts
  • Secure and no backups

There is now a vast choice of user-friendly online accounts packages for all size of venture and business and there are just  a few detailed below, including Exact Online; Xero; Quickbooks Online; Freeagent; Clearbooks; and SageOne.


                  Exact Online


Many features being …..

  • Live bank feeds (no need to input statements manually)
  • Easy to use
  • Smart phone and tablet apps
  • Document management/storage
  • Take photographs of receipts/documents
  • “Bolt on” packages and apps with additional functionality ie Receipt Bank; Shopify
  • Integration with HMRC (ie easy filing of VAT returns)
  • Client relation management system
  • Monthly fees; no upgrade costs and no contracts
  • Secure and no backups

Most have free trials/demos so take a look and see what’s out there and how it could work for you.  Any queries please contact us as we can help you ….

Supply digital products to the EU? This will effect you!

January 13th, 2015 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “Supply digital products to the EU? This will effect you!”

With effect from 1 January 2015 the EU has brought in a new EU VAT scheme which directly affects UK businesses making digital supplies to customers in the EU.

Essentially the change is to “the place of supply”. Up until the end of 2014 the place of supply was where the supplier is based – ie here in the UK. If you are VAT registered you would charge UK VAT on your supply, and if you are not VAT registered you wouldn’t charge VAT. However, now the “place of supply” is where your customer is based.

On 1 January 2015 you sell a download of your latest album to a customer in Germany. You now need to charge German VAT on that product!

You have two choices:-
1. Register for VAT in Germany – which, aside from the language barrier, will be an administrative nightmare; or
2. Use the EU VAT MOSS – “mini one stop shop”. This means you declare the VAT charged (at UK rate of 20%) and pay it over for all of your EU sales. This way you avoid registering in each individual country.

If you are not currently VAT registered you will need to register for VAT to be able to use the VAT MOSS scheme. You can register via HMRC website. However, this does not mean that you need to charge VAT on your UK sales going forward (unless over the UK sales threshold). You do need to go through the VAT registration process, include your VAT registration on any invoices to the EU, submit quarterly returns to HMRC, and pay over the VAT in relation to EU digital sales. Payment can be made via HMRC website.


My UK sales are lower than the current VAT threshold of £81,000 therefore I won’t have to register will I?
You will have to still register for VAT via MOSS. The UK VAT threshold is based on UK sales only. The EU has not sent a de minimis amount. Therefore, if your sales are £1,000 you need to still register for VAT via MOSS. However, you do not declare your UK sales on the VAT return, just those digital sales to EU countries.

When I complete the form on HMRC website it is asking me what my UK sales are – they are below the threshold and I am not sure what to include. Help?
You need to include £0.00 in the UK sales box.

How do I know where my customer is located?
You can use your customer’s postal address or bank sort code. If you search a bank sort code on the internet it will bring up the branch details. You also need to retain this information for your records for the next ten years.

If I register for MOSS can I now claim my VAT on expenses back?

You cannot claim VAT back on UK purchases, however you can claim VAT back on any EU purchases which are wholly attributable or can be part apportioned to the EU digital sales.

If I register for MOSS and then decide that I am no longer going to supply to EU customers – how do I stop reporting to HMRC?
You need to de-register from MOSS. You need to tell HMRC at least 15 days before the end of the VAT quarter in which you intend to stop using the scheme.

This is the link to HMRC’s website where you can register for MOSS and find out more about it:
We hope that this helps gives some guidance to what can be quite a complicated area.  Please drop us a line or give us a call if you want to discuss this further.

Being Human

March 11th, 2014 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “Being Human”

So what do you need to do to have a successful business?

Well I’m not going to compile the whole list. As I’m managing a small business myself it would probably make me panic a little. I’ll stick with what I know best, marketing.  How do you market your services or products with as little resources, (time and money) for maximum return?

Think human.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

… ok, I’ll expand on that a little.

The products or services you are selling are for humans. You want humans to buy them and use them, talk about them, get their friends (again more humans) to buy them, then return for either more of the same or for other lines or services.  So what you need to do is develop your business around human needs and wants. Even if you are selling B2B, it’s still you (a human) communicating with a real live person in the business.

Here are some suggestions on Human 2 Human (H2H) marketing:

Cut down on the jargon. If you are communicating with people about you or your business they need to be able to read it, watch it, or listen to it without having to try and figure out exactly what you’re trying to get across.

Be real and authentic and keep to your values. Pick three or four words that describe your business personality. Is it honest, fun, passionate, traditional, professional, reliable, ethical or confidential etc? Think about what it is that makes your business special and use those values in your communications.

Talk to the humans, they’re real. This is the thing about social media and where some people are still getting it wrong. You are having relationships with real people so show that you’re living and breathing too. There’s a person at the keyboard who perhaps had to get up too early this morning, is thinking about what sandwich to have and would appreciate you sharing or retweeting their content. Be nice and be real. Think before you tweet too, thoughtless tweeting is not going to do to you any favours.

What makes them tick? Think about what it is that they need from you or your business. Do they want to improve on what they’re doing? Is this all new to them and they need support? Have they been disappointed with other companies? Do they need to excel and be strides ahead of their competitors, or do they just want wonderful service? Think. What is your message, what can you offer that’ll make them either feel smart or valued or will make their lives better.

So, all your need is: the right product or service; at the right price; at the right time or location; and a good amount of people who are willing to buy it. Then tell people about it in the right way and deliver it (with a smile). Good luck with that!

By Karen Marshall of Canny Marshall  www.cannymarshall.com or follow me on twitter @cannymarshall

What exactly is a Virtual Assistant?

February 13th, 2014 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “What exactly is a Virtual Assistant?”

People are often surprised or a little confused by the word ‘virtual’ but when you think about it, everyone works virtually – you do it every time you pick up the phone, use email or participate in a webinar!

A VA is a professional who provides a full PA support service from their own fully equipped office, has public liability & indemnity insurance and pays their own NI/tax.  Because they are self employed it means that clients aren’t responsible for any employee-related taxes or training, etc.  Clients only pay for 100% productive work and can work with VAs to meet their exact needs and requirements which may be on an on-going basis or for one-off projects.  And they don’t have to create any office space or supplies and worry about holidays and sickness.

By embracing new technology VAs can easily maintain regular communications with their clients and their IT systems very easily. The internet and cloud computing is increasingly providing easily-shared, lower-cost software options for start-up firms.   The industry is growing rapidly and now some VAs offer specialist services such as diary management, social media management/training, and most have a very solid career background in administration.

To mitigate risk it could be wise for business owners to plan for disaster – flooding, fire, loss of power, staff sickness, travel/weather disruption – a VA can work remotely completely unaffected.  Could your business withstand disaster?  By being proactive clients don’t lose vital time when a catastrophe does strike.

There are also times when a business may need an extra pair of hands, but perhaps only for a couple of days, or even hours – maybe running a high profile conference or moving office, where the services of a VA could be invaluable.

Although some VAs work for clients all over the world, mine are based in the North East – after all people do business with people, and it has to be said you do have to develop a relationship with a client – it’s no good working alongside someone who you can’t communicate with easily, who perhaps thinks very differently to you, so I do have face-to-face meetings with clients.  If the client wishes I sign a confidentiality agreement, and I have a vested interest in that clients’ business so clearly I wouldn’t jeopardise my own business by being careless.  As a VA is running their own business they have a good understanding and empathy with their clients too.

The biggest advantage for a client using a VA is being able to spend more time on higher value tasks.  After all why would you struggle organising appointments, creating a PowerPoint presentation, maintaining your database when your To Do list is as long as your arm – these are all tasks which can be outsourced to a VA.  I have a client who records his interviews, we share the files in Dropbox, then I produce a document – he says it makes his organisation look bigger than it really is because he tells his clients “…and my secretary will type the minutes up”.

Another client said: “Great value primarily by enabling me to focus on growth and sales based activities, and not on administrative tasks.  I would say I am now at least able to spend 25% more time on high value tasks”.  The flexibility which working with a VA offers enables him to increase/decrease workload as the business necessitates.

So it’s clear to me that clients can focus on growing their business.  Working with a VA means:

  • You can develop a relationship with someone who is consistent and becomes more knowledgeable about your business
  • Someone who is always available, no matter where you are
  • Someone who values you as a client and has a vested interest in your success

There are many VA groups and societies and by linking in with them a VA can keep abreast of constantly changing technology, ask advice and questions – there’s always someone who’s been there, done that and got the T-shirt, which saves so much time. VAs can also pass on valuable information to clients too.

Coffee and tea are about the only drawbacks.  You’re on your own with that!  And you can forget the biscuits too, especially the chocolate ones.  I can always send calorie free photos – so much better for you.


by: Anne Williams, LinchpinPA



New Year – new accountant?

January 21st, 2014 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “New Year – new accountant?”

How difficult is it to change accountants? It’s as easy as 1,2,3…

This is a question we have been asked many times since we launched Clarand accountants. We have found that business owners think it will be a difficult, drawn out process that will possibly even incur additional costs, so unless there is a real issue with their current accountant clients just stay put. 

It is very easy to change accountants and there should be no additional costs in leaving your current accountant.

  1. All you need to do is contact your current accountant (by email is fine) and let them know that you no longer want them to act on your behalf.
  2. Your new accountant will write to your previous accountant as ask for “professional clearance”.  This is a letter that all accountants must send to ensure there is no reason that they shouldn’t take on the new client. Included within the professional clearance letter will be a request for all of the information relevant to the client.
  3. The old accountant will send all the relevant information to the new accountant, and then the new accountant can commence work on your behalf.

It’s as easy as that!  

Happy New Year

January 3rd, 2014 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “Happy New Year”

We hope that everyone has had a restful Christmas break and wish everyone a Happy New Year.

At the beginning of a new year it is a great time to not only detox your body (after the excesses of Christmas and the New Year), but is also a good time to look at your business and finances  – what positive changes could be made?  You may want happy and healthier finances, you want to achieve growth, start-up your own business, or just get a better grip on your finances – “out with the old, and in with the new”.

According to recent research carried out by SAGE, SMEs are placing more trust in their accountants than they have previously.  However, the research showed that 40% could get more from their relationships with their accountants than just having bookkeeping, and the managing/filing of their annual accounts.  Only one fifth use their accountants for advice and general business planning!

We work closely with all our clients and we hope that they consider us an integral part of their business.  Take a look at what your accountant actually does for you, the service they give you, their value added services, are you able to speak to them at times convenient to you, and their genuine interest in your business.

At Clarand we are very much looking forward to the year ahead with what it will bring us, and we are off to great start already.   We hope that you are looking forward to the year ahead and wish you a very prosperous and happy 2014!

Merry Christmas everyone!

December 18th, 2013 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “Merry Christmas everyone!”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their help and support over the last year, it has been very much appreciated. We hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Our offices will be closed from  20th December and will reopen on  2nd January 2014.  However, as always we are contactable on our mobiles.


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