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Posts tagged "Business"

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 ….

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



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!

Cloud accounting – how can it benefit you?

November 27th, 2013 Posted by Archive 0 thoughts on “Cloud accounting – how can it benefit you?”

Cloud accounting is where the world of business is moving.   Most businesses already deal with the cloud, and accountants are getting there too.

“The Cloud” means that everyone will be working virtually and for many businesses, location is gong to become less and less important.  The same goes for accountants, no longer will your accountant need to be based in the same town as you, with Skype, Google +, etc and cloud accounting packages, everything can be done in real time and when its convenient to you, whilst still retaining the personality.  Therefore your choice of accountant can be driven by what is important to you – personality, experience, value added services and cost.

Fed up of sending backups and huge excel files for the year end to your accountant?  Fed up of then receiving a long list of year end journals for you to update your accounting software?  None of this need be the case with using a cloud hosted accounts package.   Both yourself and your accountant can access the package in real time, with your accountant being able to extract the information they need.

Same goes for any problems you come across during the year.   Your bookkeeper has a problem that needs resolving asap, they can call up their accountant, both look at the online data in real time and discuss the issue.   No need for the business owner to take a back up and send it to the accountant, for the accountant to then spend time restoring it and the time that is taken to deal with this.

Not working on the most up to date version?  Cloud accounting packages are updated via downloads – again everything is done virtually.

You can upload bank statements directly to many of the packages, reconcile easily, run bespoke reports, scan in receipts and know how the numbers of your business anytime and anywhere.

What about the costs?  Cutting edge, easy to use, low risk – sounds expensive?  Not at all – compared to traditional accounts packages the cost of many of the packages on the market is substantially lower.  In many cases they also include upgrades (which just need downloading) and they are backed up by the host provider.  Often the cloud packages are at the cutting edge of what is available on the market as they tend to move faster than traditional packages.

Speak to us about cloud accounting and the choices out there.  It makes sense – it saves time, deal with your accountants in real time, not just at the year end, bespoke reports, user friendly, download updates, secure and safe data. 

Check out our latest video sharing our views on cloud accounting with AccountingWeb:


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