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Online Apps Drive Award Winning Client Care

We are absolutely thrilled and humbled to have won the Herefordshire Business Award for Professional Services Business of the Year 2018, and we genuinely believe our online apps drive our award winning client care.

This award takes pride of place next to our Accounting Excellence Client Service Firm of the Year 2017, and they both mean so much as happy clients is what it’s all about!  And numbers, we like numbers.  You can find out more about these awards here.

Online Apps Make for Award Winning Client Care

We moved to Xero in 2012, and this opened up a whole world of opportunities around working online. The next app we discovered after Xero was G Suite, and then Practice Ignition, Receipt Bank and GoCardless.

The rest snowballed from there, and we now use over 50 different apps to run our business, and to provide the best possible service to clients.

How does working online help with client care?

There are many ways that working online helps us look after you better, and provide extraordinary service:

Instant access

By using online apps that we can access (securely) any time, any where means that we can look after your needs wherever you are, or wherever we are.

If you’re stuck up a mountain and having trouble sending a Xero invoice out, we can log in,  see the same data and help you out.

If you want a quote for work you’d like us to do, we can produce a proposal via Practice Ignition on our phones, you can view and accept it on your phone.

You want us to complete a reference for a mortgage – we can log into Xero and prepare up to date figures (no wasting time with data backup and restoring!)

Time savings

Having instant access means that we haven’t got to make our way to the office to get anything done, or to your office for that matter. We can start work immediately, even in the floods or snow!

We make sure that the online apps we use are as integrated as much as possible, so that they talk to each other. This means huge time savings, and no double entering of data.

You snap a photo of a receipt in Receipt Bank – in less than 5 minutes it’s in Xero – BOOM!

Customer hasn’t paid your invoice – Chaser sends out automatic chasers when you’re busy  – YES!

We also make the most of automations, whether these are within the online apps we use, or we have built them ourselves. So things happen automagically in the background.

Our mantra:  If you’re doing it manually – automate it!

Giving it back

If we’ve found an amazing app or automation we will share it with you. If it saves us time and makes us smile, it is going to do the same for you!

Where we save time by automating our work, this is more time we can spend talking to you, and working on your business.

Ready to Automate?

Have a look at some of the amazing apps we work with, and get in touch if you’d like to be a client of ours, or if you’re ready to automate!

Thank you for reading!

Sharon

 

 

Professional Services Business of the Year

 

Kinder Pocock are an approachable cloud-savvy firm of accountants based in Herefordshire but supporting businesses on the move.

We specialise in Security, Design and Indie Hospitality businesses.

 

@KinderPocock

01432 273400

Contact Us to see how we can help

 

 

 

 

 


Get Cash in the Bank Quicker

So you’ve done the work, you’ve sent your invoices out (via Xero of course) now how do you get the cash in the bank quicker?

I’m going to show you how you can do that, without spending a great deal of time, and without upsetting your customers or clients.

But first:

I’m going to assume you’ve done all the sensible things like getting your invoices out as soon as you’ve done the work, and followed the advice below:

Send your invoice as soon as you’ve done the work

Make sure you’ve agreed fees/prices and terms before doing the work

Make sure you’re sending your invoice to the right person

Send your invoice online (not in the post)

Add a “Pay Now” button to your invoices (more here)

What next?

So we have 2 great ways to get the cash in the bank quicker

Solution 1: Good old credit control

Credit control constitutes chasing your customers effectively to get them to pay.  Everyone dreads doing it, and who has time for it anyway?

Well, although we would always advocate chasing customers for payment, we don’t suggest you spend any time doing it.

Chaser is an amazing Xero app that does all the chasing automagically for you!  It sends reminders before the invoice is due (genius!) when the invoice is late, medium late and very late!  What’s more we can help you to completely customise the whole process, so that your customers think it’s you doing the chasing.

Chaser has amazing results, but don’t take our word for it!  Here’s Chaser’s blog on our lovely clients Signs and Labels‘ experience of moving to Chaser. When we started looking after Signs and Labels they were using desktop accounting software, and had £27k of old debtors. Things needed to change!

Step in Kinder Pocock, Xero and Chaser and 6 weeks later their £27k was down to £5k!  They’ve been using Chaser now since June 2018, and absolutely love the difference that Chaser has made! The cash is in the bank quicker, and they’ve saved about 4 hours per week on admin.

Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about Chaser, and help in getting set up.

Solution 2: Get paid by Direct Debit

Apps like Chaser are amazingly effective, but what if I told you you could get your invoices paid on their due date, every time? True story, another favourite app of ours is GoCardless. When linked to Xero GoCardless does a number of cool things:

It sends a DD mandate out when it sees you’ve invoiced a new customer

It looks at Xero every day and collects payment based on the invoice due date

It deposits payments into your account within 4 days of collection

I know right?!

A Match Made in Heaven!

Chaser and GoCardless are both awesome solutions but what if you got them to talk to each other?  Imagine your world:

Chaser sends a reminder to a customer

Customer clicks on the invoice

Customer clicks on the GoCardless “Pay Now” button

Customer pays this invoice via GoCardless and sets up a DD for next time

Chaser thanks customer for paying!

Genius! We absolutely love automations like this, and the icing on the cake is being able to share them with you. Our credit control and getting the cash in the bank now takes no time at all, and it will be the same for you too.

Thank you for reading! Please get in touch for more info on Chaser and GoCardless.

 

Sharon

Professional Services Business of the Year

 

Kinder Pocock are an approachable cloud-savvy firm of accountants based in Herefordshire but supporting businesses on the move.

We specialise in Security, Design and Indie Hospitality businesses.

 

@KinderPocock

01432 273400

Contact Us to see how we can help


Award Winning Client Care from Kinder Pocock

Kinder Pocock awarded Professional Services Business of the Year at the 2018 Herefordshire Business Awards

Well this was a huge surprise!  We were absolutely thrilled to be nominated for these awards, and to be finalists in our local business awards means so much, let alone actually win! Even more amazing is that we were finalists in the Professional Services Business of the Year in 2017, and won the Practice Excellence Client Services firm of the year in 2017 too.

Super thrilled that our very own Jo was also a finalist in the Employee of the Year category –  she is our superstar!

The awards were held on Friday 5 October 2018 at the Three Counties Hotel, Hereford, where Team Kinder Pocock mingled with the great and the good of the Herefordshire Business Community.

It was a fabulous night, and great to share time with clients, colleagues and our friends, including Kinetic Six, who were finalists for the Best Use of Technology,  Send Cake who were finalists for New Business of the Year, and our Twitter BFFs The DM Lab, who not only sponsored the Small to Medium Sized Business category, but were finalilsts in the Creative Business category.

So Why Enter Awards?

This is a good question, why do we put ourselves through it? It’s amazing to be a finalist in any award, but also incredibly nerve wracking, and like a huge punch in the gut if you don’t win (yes, yes, it’s the taking part that counts, and to be a finalist is something we are immensely proud of). Here are some previous award wins and finalist achievements of ours. So why would we put ourselves through it?

Here’s some sensible reasons:

We get nominated, or a client or colleague tells us we should enter

Our clients say amazing things about us. This gives us the confidence to enter, using their very own words in our applications!

It keeps us on our toes, and accountable to the wider business community

It is a huge moral boost for the whole team, and I think Kelly’s tweet from the award night sums this up!

Awards nights are a lot of fun, and a great night out for the team, and to meet up with colleagues and peers.

A Huge Thank you to our Amazing Clients!

This is truly what it’s all about. This award is in recognition of our client care, and we wouldn’t be where we are without having the privilege to look after you lovely lot! We really do put you at the heart of everything we do. We have weekly team meetings and daily catch ups to make sure we’re looking after you, and managing your requests. On a weekly basis we look at what we’ve done for you that you have told us is extraordinary, which not only gives us ways to constantly improve our award winning client care, but is a great motivational boost for the team. We also look at things you might not be so happy with, so that we can put things right as soon as possible, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Client Happiness Survery

A key component of our Client Care process is our Client Happiness Survey. This is a quick questionnaire that takes less than 5 minutes to complete.  This keeps us on the ball and tells us that 92% of you would recommend us to others. If you’d like to complete our Client Happiness Survey please click here. And here are some lovely things our clients have said:

“Kinetic Six would not be where it is today without Sharon Pocock as our accountant and trusted advisor. She has helped us evolve from a startup led by ex-military chaps with little business experience into a successful company operating in several global markets” Shaun Leavy | Kinetic Six Ltd

“Very pleased with the service and support that we receive from you guys, all the staff super friendly and efficient – nothing is ever too much trouble – well done guys” Nick Nash | International Solutions Ltd

“We both commented as we left how good it is to have a ‘team’ behind us whose knowledge far exceeds our own and understands what we are doing. “Claire and Nigel Brown | NR Brown Farriers Ltd / Forge PR

And a Huge Thank you to the Herefordshire Business Awards Team

This is the second year of the awards, and they have already become hugely respected, and a key date in the Herefordshire Business Community calendar.  Rich, Kerry, Rich and Kim you are amazing!  I hope you are putting your feet up this weekend!

Thank you for reading! If we can help you with anything, or you’d like to become a client of Kinder Pocock, do get in touch. In the meantime you can read about some of our previous award wins, or finalist status here, including Practice Excellence Client Service Firm of the Year 2017, and Sharon’s Xero MVP Award in 2016.

Sharon

 

 

 

Awards_Practice-Winner-Client-Service-Firm

Kinder Pocock are an approachable cloud-savvy firm of accountants based in Herefordshire but supporting businesses on the move.

We specialise in Indie Hospitality, Security and Design.

 

@KinderPocock

01432 273400

Contact Us to see how we can help

 

 


How to Charge VAT on TakeAway Food

If you’re running a restaurant, bar or cafe, and regularly sell takeaway food, you will need to be up to speed on how to charge VAT on TakeAway Food.

We are going to be running a series of blogs on issues for indie food businesses, so do get in touch if there’s a particular topic or issue you’d like help with, or would like us to feature.

There is very detailed guidance on VAT on takeaway food from HMRC, which you can read here, but make sure you have a few hours spare, and have a degree in HMRC jargon!

Alternatively, read on for a lighter guide:

So firstly, let’s get a few things straight about VAT on TakeAway Food:

Look away now if your business is not registered for VAT. You don’t need to worry about VAT at all at the moment. If you’d like a chat about VAT and whether you should be registered, give us a ring on 01432273400 or get in touch by email.

If you don’t sell takeaway food, you can also look away now!  If you’re thinking about it, then do read on, as it may affect your decision!

What counts as takeaway food?

HMRC’s definition is any food or drink purchased to consume off the premises.

You have premises and sell takeaway food

If you serve food and drink on the premises (not to take away) then you have to charge VAT on everything, simples.

Examples of premises are:

a whole restaurant area

an area with tables and chairs in a retail complex, for the use of customers only

an outdoor area with tables and chairs, for the use of customers only

seating area in a supermarket, providing food and drink

stall in a sports stadium, amusement park etc with facilities for use of customers

Basically any area with tables and chairs specifically for the use of your customers

If in doubt, check with us or HMRC (choose us, every time, let us deal with HMRC for you!)

The easy bits

Hot take away food is most likely to be standard rated for VAT (the current standard rate is 20%) but there are certain tests (more below).

Hot take away drinks are standard rated (20% VAT).

Cold take away food and drink is usually zero rated for VAT. Unless it’s usually standard rated (this includes things like crisps, sweets, bottled water etc). Bottled water is standard rated! Crazy but true!

Tests for 20% VAT on hot take away food

OK so this is the not so fun bit, and I’d strongly suggest you get some advice on this.  The rules are quite long-winded, but here’s the straightforward bits.

Hot food is 20% VAT if one or more of the 5 following tests are met:

1. it’s been heated for the purposes of enabling it to be consumed hot

2. it’s been heated to order

3. it’s been kept hot after being heated

4. it’s provided to a customer in packaging that retains heat or in any other packaging that is specifically designed for hot food

5. it’s advertised or marketed in a way that indicates that it’s supplied hot

So if it’s hot because you’ve just baked it (think sausage rolls, muffins etc) but usually served cold it will be zero rated.

I just don’t get it

It’s not straightforward, is it?  My suggestion would be to apply each of the tests above to your specific takeaway menu, then it will make more sense.  For instance – hot baked potato: think through the 5 tests above, do you think you could say yes to more than one of them?  I think you could say yes to all 5 tests for a baked potato.  Still don’t get it? You need to come and talk to us!

OK how on earth do I make sure I’ve got this right?

To get it right you need to make sure:

a) you’re charging the right amount to your customer and

b) you’re declaring the right amount on your VAT return

We’d always recommending automating this bit, and using EPOS software that links into your accounting software (we love Xero by the way). It would be a nightmare to try to calculate and record every sale as you made it, and would massively slow down your serving times.

How do I get my EPOS/till system to record the correct price and VAT?

Firstly you can add all of the food and drink products that you sell into your EPOS, adding the correct VAT rate where you know it.  You know what I’m going to say – do your research or get advice on the correct VAT rates before entering all your products into your software!

The best EPOS software will allow you to put different prices for products that you serve on the premises or takeaway. That way you can choose the correct one when you sell it.

If your EPOS software doesn’t have a feature to add a different price you will have to add a separate product for each takeaway item, with the correct price and VAT.

At the end of each day, your EPOS will send the correct sales and VAT information to Xero, so that this information is ready and waiting on your next VAT return.

And what are the best EPOS systems?

We’re always reviewing and researching the best apps out there, so stay tuned for a product comparison blog.  In the meantime, the EPOS solutions that offer separate takeaway prices are Kounta, Nobly and IntelligentPOS. However, we are currently checking how these integrate with Xero, as they’re not ideal at the moment. We’re also Vend Partners, which does have a great integration with Xero, but more specifically suited to small shops, not hospitality businesses.

If you’d like more help on EPOS solutions, please get in touch, and keep checking back on our blog for more info.

 

I hope my blog has made a bit more sense to a very confusing VAT issue! We’re always here to help if you need us.

Thank you for reading!

 

Sharon

 

 

 

Awards_Practice-Winner-Client-Service-Firm

Kinder Pocock are an approachable cloud-savvy firm of accountants based in Herefordshire but supporting businesses on the move.

We specialise in Indie Hospitality, Security and Design.

 

@KinderPocock

01432 273400

Contact Us to see how we can help

 


Xero is down – what do I do now?

Xero is downYou may have been affected by Xero’s recent outage on 12 September.  Unusually Xero was down for about 7 hours.  In this post I’m looking at what you can do if Xero is down.

Xero was down from around 6am BST and back up by 1.30pm BST.  During some users had intermittent access, but on the whole it was a stressful time for a lot of people around the world.

 

It is worth pointing out before I go any further that this outage was incredibly unusual for Xero, and shouldn’t give cause for concern.  We’ve been using Xero for over 6 years, and have never experienced an outage like this from Xero.  Even when they migrated across to Amazon Web Servers (AWS) we experienced very minimal down time.  So if you’re new to Xero, don’t take this as the norm.

We’re sorry – really sorry

Shortly after the outage was resolved, Xero released a blog titled “We’re sorry – really sorry”   which explains what went wrong and how they went about finding it and fixing it.  A change had been made to their network configuration, which caused the problem, but have a look at their blog for more info.  I love that Xero did this, it shows that they’re human and kept us up to date and informed.  Throughout the downtime there were also regular updates on their Status page.

Yes yes but that doesn’t help me if Xero is down

Quite right.  So let’s get onto what this blog is all about.  I’m going to talk about what to do when you realise it’s down, and then steps you can take during the downtime, and once Xero is back up:

First steps:

The most important thing is to check Xero’s status.  This is for your own sanity – rather than keep trying to get Xero to work, find out if there really is a problem, or if it’s just you.

Check Xero’s status page, and keep this open and refreshed.

Bookmark the status page for future reference.

There’s also another step you could take which is to check the website “downforeveryoneorjustme” this is really useful, and immediately tells you if it’s you that’s the problem or the website you’re trying to access.  Keep this one bookmarked too!

But I can’t do any work! What do I do?

OK, take a deep breath, it’s great to be online, and we encourage it and it’s how we choose to work, but hey what if you can’t actually get online?  It’s easy to panic and go into a spin, but keep calm, take a deep breath, go and get a cup of tea. Now, it’s likely that Xero won’t be down for long, so what can you be getting on with in the meantime, that you don’t need Xero for?  Here’s some ideas:

Have another cup of tea

Plan your day and week

Call your customers

Clean the office

Go for a walk

Plan your next 12 months and book in a strategy session with us

Phone a friend

Sort out your paperwork (you could take a look at Receipt Bank if you’re fed up of shuffling supplier invoices and receipts)

Plan your holiday (not while the boss is watching though!)

Have an update with your team

Go to the gym

Research those apps you haven’t had chance to yet

Write a blog

Review your website

Book your next holiday

Take the day off with your kids

Book on that Xero training course you’ve seen (run by yours truly)

What else can you think of?

I really do need to get onto Xero

If you really need to get things done in Xero, list out all the things you HAVE to do right now that you need Xero for.  Here’s some suggestions, and workarounds:

I need to pay people today

So you’ve got to run payroll either for your staff, or for your clients’ staff. You can’t do this without processing the pay in Xero.

Or can you?  Could you pay them what they had last week or month for now, and then process the payroll when Xero’s back up?  Can you work out how to do it manually? You can google payroll calculators, and HMRC has it’s own payroll calculator too.

I’ve got to pay suppliers

Can you tell them Xero is currently down, but won’t be for long?  We’re all human, and things like this happen.  Have they emailed or posted you a statement, or can you call them to check what you owe? It’s always good to connect with your suppliers and customers, all helps for a better relationship, and when was the last time you called them? Chances are that they are also using Xero so understand your predicament.

I have to get invoices/orders out

We don’t want to stop you getting orders and invoices out, as this could affect your business, customer relationships and cashflow, but Xero is never down for long, so you may be able to do them later.  It’s also worth trying Xero’s app. Some users were reporting being able to process invoices and bank reconcilation via the app.

Failing these do you have a backup plan? Can you recreate orders or invoices in excel? I realise this could take time so consider whether it’s worth getting on with something else until Xero is back up.  Call your customers if you can, explain there’s a problem but you’re dealing with it – it shows you’re human and gives you chance to talk to them.

Xero’s back up!

Brilliant, we’re back up and running.  Before you crack on and rush to get into Xero, have a final think about your priorities.  It’s easy to just charge in, but remember you may have lost time to make up, so it’s important to use the time you have left well.  What do you need to do now, and what can wait until tomorrow?

Make sure you notify everyone in your organisation that Xero is back up and running, and if necessary help them to plan their time and what they need to do.

What if it happens again?

If you’re worried about this happening again, what backup plans can you have in place?  This could also be a useful exercise incase you have no internet at all.

Have a list of tasks you can get on with without being in Xero or online

Think about what you have learned from this experience, and what you could do differently next time

Consider an online backup service like Backupmybooks

We also use Spanning to backup or G Suite account which is managed by Appamondo

I hope this has helped you, do bookmark this blog to refer to if Xero or another online solution you use goes down again.

Thanks for reading!

Sharon

 

 

Kinder Pocock are an approachable cloud-savvy firm of accountants based in Herefordshire but supporting businesses on the move.

We specialise in Security, Technology, Design, Indie Hospitality, Indie Retail.

@KinderPocock

01432 273400

 

Contact Us to see how we can help