We are already one week into 2018 but what did 2017 bring us that we can celebrate and learn from?
Personally I can celebrate the commitment my team have to our clients and their professional and friendly approach to the work they do. I have a team of people who are good at what they do and work well together.
As a team we have celebrated Karen achieving her Levels 1 and 2 payroll qualifications enabling her to provide payroll services to the increasing number of employers who use our payroll and auto enrolment services.
As a business our client numbers grew steadily over the year giving us the opportunity to work with some different types of business giving us some new knowledge and different challenges. We have provided lots of training on both Xero and Sage and have provided additional bookkeeping support for more complex aspects of their business. We have been called in to cover vacancies and to train people to use bespoke software in their new role.
Over the year we learned a lot too. We tried lots of new software to find ones which could be beneficial to our clients. We discarded those we felt were not appropriate and learned to use and implemented those we felt would add value to clients. We found new software that we wanted to use for our business too.
Personally I continued to learn that recruiting the right person takes a lot of luck. Finding the right person has certainly been challenging over the last two years but for me it is a learning process and each time it doesn't work out I learn a little more about what and who works well for us. We start 2018 with a new employee who, I hope, will enjoy the challenges of the work we do.
We learned that whilst people don't necessarily want support with their accounts they do want help to understand what they are supposed to do. New business owners particularly don't know what they need to know about setting up in business and are worried they might miss doing something. Finding the right information can be daunting so we have had one to one consultations with them to give them guidance on the basics of setting up in business and keeping records. For 2018 we are going to offer these consultations as a seminar in a small group setting enabling new business owners to interact with others and build a relationship with people who have the same or similar questions as they do.
We also learned that whilst we understand the numbers in our clients' accounts, not everyone has the same understanding. So our second seminar in 2018 will be to help business owners understand terminology and the numbers that are important in their business.
We learned a lot about MTD (Making Tax Digital). Over the next 2-3 years almost every business will be required to submit information to HMRC online. Initially it will be VAT returns followed by quarterly reporting of income and expenses. More and more businesses will need to move from preparing their accounts annually to preparing them quarterly and using software rather than paper or a spreadsheet to do so. Business owners will need to be much more organised. Accounts software is becoming more user friendly and it will become much easier to keep records and know how your business is doing if they are kept up to date regularly.
Finally we learned about GDPR and how that will impact businesses. We are already reviewing our own processes so that we are compliant with this new data protection legislation from May this year.
Business is always changing and it is important to celebrate achievements as well as review what has been learned and implement changes based on learning.
2018 is a New Year with new challenges, new achievements and new learning and I am looking forward to what this year brings us as a business and as a team.