We do hope you enjoy reading the articles in this edition.
A brief synopsis of the articles can be found below. Click on the read more links to download a pdf to your device.
Scaling up your business
How do you scale up your business and take it to a new level? Mark McRae provides this thoughts on organic growth vs growth via acquisition/merger; upskilling your team and exploring collaboration opportunities (p2) >read more
Martin Aitken work with Business Gateways in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West Lothian providing accounting, tax and getting investor ready/fundraising advice and support. Business Gateway is actively seeking SMEs and social enterprises with expansion and scale-up plans.
If you have a business investment project, or if you are looking to take your business to the next level, get in touch with us and we will introduce you to Business Gateway - it may make the difference between the project going ahead or remaining on the drawing board. Email: Mark McRae, Director
Cloud vs hybrid cloud: what's best?
Many businesses are starting to realise that having all their data in the cloud may not be the best option. Mark Tenby, Director provides his thoughts on storing data on public clouds vs a mix of on-premises and private cloud environments (p3) >read more
How to raise your prices without losing customers
The cost of running a business goes up every year, but when was the last time you increased your prices?
Many business owners and managers worry that if they were to increase prices, they would lose customers. However, a customer will often be willing to pay a higher price if they feel they are getting value for their money >read more
Brexit - what now for businesses that trade with the EU?
There is still uncertainty around what Brexit will mean and planning for a “No Deal” scenario seems sensible right now given the new Prime Minister's vow to deliver Brexit 'do or die' by 31 October 2019 >read more >Brexit planning checklist
There's further guidance available on www.gov.uk/brexit and a Brexit Support Grant, funded by the Scottish Government (£2,000-£4,000) is available to help SMEs in Scotland manage a wide range of Brexit impacts. You can apply on www.prepareforbrexit.scot
Don't be put off by the grant application process
It may well be the missing piece that will help you to achieve your growth objective as well as securing the funding to make it happen >read more
Martin Aitken & Co client, Cloud Cover IT, has collected £324,000 in funding to develop its Smart Factory software solution. £154,069 came from Scottish Enterprise in Regional Selective Assistance and Innovation Grant funding and UK Steel and Business Loans Scotland have contributed £85,000 each in funding.
Cloud Cover IT director Lance Gauld said: "We are obviously over the moon to have secured investment funding from Scottish Enterprise to bring our Smart Factory technology to life”. Euan Ferries, Martin Aitken & Co added, we were delighted for Lance and the team. It is really satisfying to see a good Glasgow-based business, servicing a truly global client base, being supported to reach the next stage of their scale-up journey. More power to their elbow” >read more
Angels with bagpipes
David Grahame, executive director of LINC Scotland, the business angel group, provides an insight into the world of business angels operating in Scotland.
Who are the business angels, who needs them, how much funding do they have available, what kind of business can get access to this investment? >read more
Deal or no deal - it pays to plan
When it comes to any type of succession, it is best to plan and be aware of the various scenarios that could play out. Not many people choose to take a leap into the unknown where financial consequences are uncertain – positive or negative >read more
Download our succession planning guide which outlines our 5 step succession planning process then get in touch to arrange a consultation >download pdf
When it comes to funds, the best advice is personal
The recent problems with the suspension of dealings in a heavily promoted UK equity income fund have exposed the blurred line between advice and guidance. According to the Investment Association (IA), there are around 3,500 funds on sale in the UK. The IA sorts these into over 30 individual investment sectors, although about 10% are listed as being in the unclassified sector.
Faced with such a large choice, understandably many private investors want some help in making their fund selections. The assistance they receive has come under the spotlight following the recent suspension of trading in the Woodford Equity Income Fund >read more
Cash is still King
Cash flow will be the biggest challenge in the early part of business journey. Unless you have been in the fortunate situation of using crowdfunding, or have a significant amount of investment at the outset, managing the cash position of the business will prove to be the biggest task as you grow the business >read more
Digital accounting software has significant advantages over the traditional ways of bookkeeping. Here are 10 good reasons to make the change >read more
Beating late payments
How quick are your customers paying you? What are your debtor days? How much cash is tied up in short term trade debtors? These are 3 points to consider in relation to your sales ledger and which can have a pendulum effect on the cash flow of any business >read more
Have you recently made a breakthrough?
If you have been undertaking R&D to develop new products, processes or services and incurred costs you may be able to make a R&D Tax Credits claim.
Many companies often think that the R&D Tax Relief Scheme will not apply in their situation or they are sceptical about the potential benefits available to them and view the application process to HMRC as not worth the effort.
The reality is often very different >read more
Managing difficult people
Managing difficult people can be time consuming and emotionally draining. You can’t reason with an unreasonable person. However, there is usually some underlying reason that is motivating them to behave in a difficult manner >read more
Managing employees who have a side hustle
A side hustle is defined as a secondary business or job that brings in, or has potential to bring in, extra income. It is particularly popular among millennials, who tend to start a side hustle as a hobby or in order to explore a new challenge. Millennials tend to have different attitudes towards work and technology.
They are used to being able to work from anywhere, using a smartphone or a tablet. A recent study suggests that 25% of employees in the UK are running at least one business project alongside their day job >read more
Inheritance Tax (IHT) - FAQs
Who pays it? What is the threshold? What is the Residence Nil Rate Band? What is the seven year rule? What can I do to tackle my IHT liability? >read more
Now it is your turn to try - which of the following statements is true and which is false?
(1) A donation to a charity or a qualifying political party can count as a gift that is exempt from inheritance tax - true or false?
(2) Inheritance tax may be paid on gifts totalling more than £325,000 if the person who makes the gifts dies within seven years of making them - true or false?
(3) A person can give as many gifts of £250 as they want in a year and not be subject to inheritance tax, as long as each gift is to a different person - true or false?
(4) Inheritance tax may be charged at 40% on gifts to individuals given by the deceased in the three years before their death - true or false?
(5) A gift can be the difference between the value of property and the actual price that the buyer pays - true or false?
(6) Inheritance tax will always be payable on gifts over £3,000 given in the seven years before death - true or false?
(7) A gift up to £1,500 to a niece or nephew getting married is always tax free - true or false?
(8) A married couple or civil partners can leave up to £950,000 to their children without paying inheritance tax - true or false?
How did you get on?
58% answered five or more of the questions in HMRC's survey correctly, while just 37% gave themselves a confidence rating of over 6 out of 10 on answering the questions >answers on the back page
IHT Relief for Businesses and Farms
There is currently a very generous 100% relief from inheritance tax for passing on businesses and farm land during lifetime and on death.
The rationale for Business Property Relief (BPR) and Agricultural Property Relief (APR) is to enable businesses to be passed on without the need to sell off assets to pay the IHT due on the transfer >read more
ICAS Top 100 Young CAs
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) has announced the Top 100 Young Chartered Accountants (CAs) for 2019 and we are delighted to announce our rising star, Craig Keating (pictured with Jayne Clifford, Director) recently promoted to Assistant Manager has been included in this year’s emerging talent list. >read more (back page)