How can we help?

To best assist the hospitality sector we have redeployed our accounting staff, to help our sector through these difficult times.

We will handle:

  • Government Grants / Industry Specific Grants – Advice / administration to ensure you secure what you’re entitled to as quickly as possible.
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Advice / administration of employee salaries to ensure your staff get paid and you retain them long term.
  • Government Backed Loans – Business plan creation to assist loan applications.
  • Emergency cash flow reporting – To help you plan for the short / medium term.
  • General HMRC advice.

Please call us today on 01235-887430 for immediate assistance – We can get through this if we all help each other.

Running a pub can be an all-consuming, challenging profession. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed by day to day ‘plate spinning’ and forget the bigger picture.

Control is the principle that drives success – When you’re fully in control of finance, staff management, marketing, customer service and communicate effectively, your pub business is more likely to thrive.

  1. Control – Work ‘on’ the business not ‘in’ it

Focus on working on, not in, the business. Your role should be managing not ‘doing’, to allow you time and perspective to grow your business. It’s very easy to get caught up in the ‘day job’ and takes concerted effort to take a different approach.

  • Every hour spent on menial tasks is actually a cost to your business.
  • Your role should be focused on monitoring the bigger picture, spotting problems, identifying solutions and identifying opportunities for growth.
  • Recruit, train and delegate each and every task to a member of your team – Monitor closely to ensure delivery.
  • Use experts to manage areas where you lack experience or knowledge. They’ll provide practical guidance, saving you time and money.
  1. Financial Control – Watch the numbers

The daily running of a pub can be ‘all-consuming’ leaving little time to focus on financial management – Control of this area is critical. Reviewing your sales figures and bank balance on a weekly basis is simply not sufficient…

  • Find the right accountant (ideally an industry specialist) and use them in the right way – This will save time and money and help you grow your business.
  • An accountant should ensure compliance / avoid HMRC penalties – This is the absolute bare minimum – Avoid the anxiety of lurching from one VAT quarter to another!
  • Monthly Management Accounts  – Ensure your accountant delivers on time, in an easily understandable format –  Without this you’re working blindfolded, unable to spot problems and unable to take action.
  • Metrics – Ensure your Management Accounts highlight key industry metrics such as wet / dry margins and staff cost ratios.
  • Set time aside (each month) to review accounts, plan for the future and ask for help if you need it.
  1. Staff  – Attract, hire and retain the best people

Your staff play a crucial role in the profitability of your business. They heavily influence the customer experience and determine repeat visits / recommendations to others. Recruiting / retaining great people is a key challenge facing pub owners, so worthy of careful consideration.

  • Attract the right applicants – Evaluate requirements before you hire.
  • Conduct a comprehensive interview process – Use competency based questions.
  • Check references – Ideally verbal, to allow you to ask more detailed questions.
  • Carry out a comprehensive induction programme and set expectations.
  • Offer continual training / development to maintain staff engagement.
  • Hold regular staff meetings to keep staff abreast of the bigger picture.
  1. Marketing – Drive sales and customer loyalty

In today’s tough market, it’s essential to stand out from the crowd – Identify your ‘ideal’ customer profile and find the best way to attract them:

  • Pinpoint your offering – Get to know your customers, ensure your offering matches their profile  – If it doesn’t, change it!
  • Identify the most effective tools to market your offering, create a marketing plan / budget and follow it.
  • Ensure your pub has its own website – Draft in the experts to help!
  • Blog occasionally, to optimise your site for local clientele,
  • Use social media to build an audience – It’s free, immediate and easy to execute!
  • Create promotions that fit with your customer profile, to draw in new business.
  • Measure the results of campaigns and refine your plans.
  1. Customer Service – Stand out from the crowd and drive sales

There’s competition and a lot of it! Exceptional customer service is vital to ensure you stand out from the crowd, encourage customers to spend more, return and recommend you to others!

  • First impressions really do matter. Give customers a warm welcome and ensure housekeeping is second to none.
  • Upsell – Ensure staff are fully trained to maximise sales.
  • Prompt service – Don’t make it difficult for customers to spend money!
  • Gain feedback via social media, feedback cards or email – Train staff to gain verbal customer feedback and respond positively whether good or bad!
  • Use Mystery Shoppers to gain impartial feedback.
  • Stay calm when people complain. Diffuse situations with an empathetic, proactive approach.
  • Train staff on your complaints policy. Fully investigate and respond to all complaints and retrain staff if necessary.
  1. Communication – Get feedback, maximise relationships and maintain control

Effective communication is vital to maintain control, boost profitability and create a harmonious workplace – However, it’s significance often gets forgotten! – The manner (and regularity) in which you communicate with others heavily influences the success of your business.

  • Staff – Your team are the lifeblood of your business, they need to be managed and encouraged to achieve your goals. With open communication and regular reviews, staff are clear on their responsibilities. Communicating professionally and respectfully develops team morale and increases productivity.
  • Customers – Effective communication is essential to create customer loyalty – Really listen and understand customer needs. When communicating, be attentive, polite, and open to feedback.
  • Suppliers – Forge strong relationships with suppliers to ensure you secure competitive pricing and get the most out of relationships – Contacts such as your accountant / web designer should be seen as an extension of your team, treat them as such! Never feel hesitant to ask questions and draw on their expertise.

We hope these pointers have been helpful in focusing your efforts to drive your business forward.

If you have further questions do get in touch with Fairmile and join our Facebook Group, helping business owners get more from their pub and connect with like minded people –

Choosing a specialist Licensed Trade accountant, can make a huge difference to your pub, bar or restaurant – Here is a list of things you should expect to ensure you maximise your return on investment:

Smooth transition – The process of changing accountant should be seamless, not time consuming. Once you have given notice to your current accountant (if applicable), your newly appointed accountant should manage this process in its entirety, processing relevant documentation and keeping you regularly informed without taking up your valuable time.

Efficient data collection – This should be prompt and efficient – You should expect clear guidelines on information required of you – Your accountant should help you to create a system to ensure records are complete and be pro-active in gathering this data, saving you time and hassle.

Regular management information – You should receive prompt and accurate management accounts, in a clearly presented, understandable format. Your accountant should be available on the phone to talk things through if required.

Benchmarking and commentary on results – Your accountant should offer valuable commentary, allowing you to understand how your business is performing in comparison to similar sized businesses. They should deliver margin analysis on different areas of your business and share proactive ideas to help you improve profitability.

Hassle free payroll – It is crucial that your accountant manages this key task, giving clear directions on what is required. Ideally, you should only have to provide details of your employee’s working hours, tips and holiday by a specified date – They should handle the rest.

Industry Information – The pub trade is fast changing with many challenges for owners. A pub specialist should be up to date with developments in the Licensed Trade enabling you access to industry information and an understanding of how developments might affect you or your business.

Links with stocktakers – Stocktaking is a vital part of the accounting process – It is often not included as part of an accountants standard service, but they should be able to recommend a reputable firm who can help you in this often overlooked area.

Supplier contacts – A pub specialist accountant should have links with relevant recommended suppliers and be proactive in sharing these – Giving you access to competitive deals, enhancing profitability.

Advice on cost savings – Using an accountant should always be considered as an investment resulting in you saving money and increasing profitability. Your accountant should be able to identify specific areas for improvement. Ideally, they will also have links with cost reduction specialists who can offer a full audit of your business.

Business planning and support – Whether you need help in producing an initial business plan for your brewery, or making adjustments to an existing business plan, your accountant should be able to offer strategic advice and support you through this process.

These are just some of the things to consider to ensure you get the best out of your accountant and effectively grow your pub business…

For further tips on choosing the right accountant, download our free guide now!

The new payroll year begins on 6 April 2019 – There are several important regulatory changes taking place in early 2019 that will have lasting impacts on employer payroll.

Here’s a quick guide to any changes you might need to make to stay compliant.

If you require further support or advice Contact Fairmile here to find out more about our competitively priced, fixed fee payroll services.

Minimum and Living Wage Increases

Every April the minimum and living wages increase – Employers need to ensure their employees are receiving at least the minimum hourly rate for their age.

The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour to which most workers aged 16 to 24 are entitled. The minimum wage for workers 25 and over is called the National Living Wage.

The hourly minimum wage a worker is entitled to is dependent on their age and whether they are an apprentice.

Employees aged 25 and over must be paid at least the National Living Wage whilst employees aged under 25 must receive at least the National Minimum Wage.

It’s a criminal offence not to pay your employees the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage, so check the table below to ensure you’re on the right track…

Rates as of April 2019

Using spreadsheets to keep your books and filing VAT via the HMRC portal will be a thing of the past as of April 2019.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a government initiative to move taxation online, affecting most businesses from 1st April 2019.

Registered businesses will have to maintain digital VAT records / submit returns to HMRC through MTD compatible software.

Making Tax Digital – The Benefits

  • MTD in relation to VAT shouldn’t present problems for the majority of businesses – Nothing fundamental has changed as most UK businesses already report / pay VAT quarterly.
  • It’s easier to submit returns via online accounting software

Who is Affected From April 2019?
If you’re VAT registered, or close to the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) and don’t use digital accounting software / currently submit via the HMRC portal, you need to start preparing for MTD now…

What Does This Actually Mean?
You will no longer be able to prepare / file VAT in this way – It’s critical you prepare to avoid HMRC penalties.

  • Put simply, if you calculate VAT manually and submit (via the HMRC portal) and / or send to an accountant to submit, you’ll need to select MTD compliant software and use to calculate / submit VAT returns directly.

What Do I Need To Do?

  • Software selection – Ensure software is MTD compliant – Please see below for guidance – We can help you select the best software and guide you through migration. Contact us here
  • Bookkeeping – Ensure you’re confident to prepare accurate VAT returns – This is critical for both compliance and tax efficiency – if you get it wrong you could lose out financially and or be subject to HMRC penalties – It’s worth drafting in the experts! Contact us here

Let Fairmile Do The Hard Work For You….

  • If you’re a Fairmile client – Don’t worry – We have it covered, you don’t need to do a thing – The software we use is HMRC compliant and we’ll integrate new technology introduced by HMRC – You won’t spot the difference!
  • If you aren’t yet a Fairmile client – We’re here to help migrate to digital software such as Xero and support you with bookkeeping to ensure both compliance and tax efficiency – We’re also offering a Free Xero Software account for 12 months to all new clients. Please contact us for us for more information.

Managing your pubs finances is one of the most critical tasks you face on a daily basis. Get it wrong and the impact to you, your business, your staff and your suppliers could be devastating.

Most pubs utilise the monthly services of a book keeper and the annual service of an accountant. This combination usually results in an incongruous, generic service with very little specialist industry insight. This is both inefficient and expensive and results in a purely one way relationship.

A preferable option would be the selection of an accountant that can offer combined services for a fixed monthly fee. The ultimate would be a licensed trade specialist who understands all industry nuances and can advise across the areas of finance and business relevant to you, such as margin analysis. They will also be able to draw on their experiences of similar businesses, thus adding meaningful value and insight that could directly impact your profitability.

With a great accountant in place, you will have the peace of mind you need to be able to focus on what you do best – Running a successful pub

So, consider the following:

1. Is your accountant qualified? Take the time to check this out with the relevant accounting bodies.

2. Does your accountant have an in depth understanding of your industry sector? Do they really appreciate the nuances of the pub trade and are they aware of your specific needs?

3. Do you regard your accountancy fees as good value for money? Do they offer an all-inclusive fixed monthly fee (with no hidden extras) so you always know where you stand?

4. Do your accountants make your life easy in the way that they request information from you, making things simple and giving you clear guidance?

5. Does your accountant feel like a part of your business, adding measurable value, directly helping you make more money?

6. Are your accountants pro-active? Are they always looking for ways to enhance your profitability? Suggesting creative solutions to solve your problems and pain points?

7. Do your accountants provide you with a “bespoke service” that suits your individual pub rather than their business model?

8. Does your accountant communicate with you in a way you understand (no jargon) regularly meeting you to ‘translate’ the detail and meaning of your accounts?

9. Does your accountant minimise your bill tax rather than just “counting beans”? Do they use their expertise to save you money in this fundamental area?

10. Is your accountant customer service focused, timely and approachable?

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, these ten questions should help you consider the key benefits an accountant should be able to offer to ensure that your pub prospers.

The key to getting the best deal from your accountant – Consider the service as an investment, not a cost. You need to ensure the value provided is accurately reflected in their fees.

1. Selecting the right accountant – Ensure your accountant is the right match for your business. For a small company, choosing a large accountancy firm isn’t necessarily the wisest move – Why pay ‘corporate’ fees when you could benefit from a smaller practice? Research several firms to find the best match avoiding unnecessary costs.

2. Industry sector expertise. Identify an accountant that has specific experience within your industry sector. This will enable them to offer informed, specialist advice and add value helping you maximise profit.

3. Understand and maximise the value they can add. Be clear on your priorities when you select an accountant – Ensure that they can offer sound advice in additional areas that are important to you – For example, strategic business planning to help achieve your goals. Other than benefitting from sound financial advice, be sure to utilise your accountants’ connections – Accountants specialising in your industry sector should be able to recommend trade contacts offering favourable rates or perhaps they work in partnership with other relevant businesses that can also assist you in saving costs.

4. Negotiate the right fee structure. Time based billing is the traditional, but out-dated method of charging – Accountants advocate this, as it rewards inefficiency. It also leaves the customer with a sense of uncertainty. Fees should be simple and transparent: Insist on a fixed fee, for a specific period of time. Eliminate uncertainty and avoid nasty surprises for emails, letters, phone calls or visits. Ensure you can spread the cost monthly allowing you to manage cash flow more effectively.

5. Brief your accountant. Invest time in briefing your accountant so they really understand your businesses current requirements and future plans, enabling them to give well informed, proactive advice and prevent them from working ‘in the dark’ only delivering a generic service.

6. Set Expectations. Your accountant will summarise Business Terms in a Letter of Engagement. Make your expectations clear from the outset too: Describe the level of service you require – For example, how quickly you require queries to be resolved and accounts to be processed, formalise this in writing and don’t be afraid to set the bar high, superior customer service should be a priority.

7. Build a relationship with your accountant. Communicate regularly to get the best possible value from the relationship. Schedule telephone meetings to review your business’s performance, so you can better plan for the future. Become comfortable interrogating the information that is delivered and ask questions if things are unclear, utilising the information to boost your profitability. Inform them if your plans or direction change: Your accountant needs to be an extension of your business enabling you to prosper.

8. Provide information in a timely and organised manner. If your financial affairs are well organised before you start working together, you will undoubtedly save money in fees and help your accountant deliver a more pro-active, focused service. If you work in a methodical way, it will allow more time for your accountant to think strategically about your business, hence adding further value.

For further tips on choosing the right accountant, download our free guide now