We all have things we’ve wanted to get done for ages but are no closer to getting them sorted today than we were a year ago. It could be anything from writing a book, a blog, redeveloping your website or putting time aside to develop your business. The list of things we’d like to do but just aren’t doing is often long. If this sounds like you, it might be time you got yourself an accountability coach.

What is Accountability Coaching?

Accountability coaching is your business’ secret weapon.

Your accountability coach is a person who you hold yourself accountable to for achieving the goals you set yourself or that you set with them.

It involves partnering with a coach that will understand your vision, your goals and will discuss with you the steps and tasks that need to be undertaken to get to where you want to be. They take those list of unfinished or not yet begun tasks, they prioritise them and then work with you to develop a timeline to completion. Your accountability coach then holds you responsible for achieving those tasks.

Your accountability coach will get in touch with you regularly for coaching sessions. As you tick off the tasks assigned in the times allocated, you’ll get that instant gratification that everyone craves but that you seldom get when working alone on these small but important tasks. If you don’t deliver, you’ll usually suffer some sort of penalty. This generally varies between coaches and clients. Some pay a penalty fee, others make unique arrangements based on what motivates them the most.

Ongoing failure isn’t an option. Your accountability coach will work with you as much as is needed to get you to develop the new skills and habits to start working through your list. If, however, you are unable to meet any of your deadlines, no matter how much coaching and support, your coach will likely dump you. If you are not benefiting from their services, there is no point in continuing.

How Would An Accountability Coach Help Me?

Your accountability coach helps to end the frustration that’s building up inside you at not being able to get that list of wants and needs ticked off.

They are able to help you with whatever you need. From personal wish-lists to business development. Whether you want to get your books in order, lose some weight or get a novel written, the list of things your accountability coach can help with is endless.

Accountability coaching is all about helping you to achieve your measures of success while simultaneously developing new and more productive habits. These are habits that will serve you well long after you ever finish your coaching.

Finding The Right Accountability Coach

Take your time to find a coach that is a good fit. This needs to be someone that you can open up to. That you don’t mind sharing your hopes, dreams and aspirations with. Someone that you connect with, trust and respect.

At MBP, we offer monthly and quarterly business coaching but we aren’t accountability coaches. We leave that to the experts. One of the best accountability coaches that we have worked with is AJ Pipe. AJ is a specialist business owners accountability coach. She has run her own businesses so understands the obstacles you face to achieving your goals. Her flexibility and the ability to ‘rent her brain’ means that your coaching with her can change with the needs of your business month to month. Reach out to AJ here to start a conversation and see if she is the right fit for you.

 

Note: MBP will only be responsible for the terms and conditions for an engagement undertaken directly with MBP. If you undertake a new engagement with a separate firm or a related entity you will need to enter into your own contractual arrangements directly with that firm or entity. We will not accept any liability in respect to any work they may undertake for you.

Its a struggle for many business owners to find the time to work on their businesses rather than in it. If you’ve got limited time and want to get maximum impact, follow our top three weekend business planning tips below. Ideally, the process should take no more than an hour and should give you a solid base to set some goals and make some quick decisions about actions you can take in the next 30 days.

Tip 1: Look Back for Trends

Look at your previous financial information. Go back through your previous annual financial statements and your year to date data. Look at key items like revenue, gross profit and expenses.

The more data the better. Two to three years data will give you a simple trend, five years will give you much greater insight. If you’ve only been in business for a year, use last years budget versus actual.

Plot the year to year changes in percentage terms. If you use Xero, you can add in a formula to your Profit & Loss report to automatically calculate these key figures for you.

How have things changed over time? This is your trend. Use the formula above to make sure gross profit percentage is either holding steady or is increasing.

Is any change in revenue matched with changes in direct costs or overheads? Variable costs like purchases of stock should fluctuate as sales do.

Ideally, small percentage growth in gross profit should translate to larger gains in net profit (your bottom line). This is because your overhead expenses should be pretty static while your direct costs vary with sales levels. If this isn’t the case, look for outliers.

Is there an expense that’s throwing things out of whack? If one item seems to be a little out of control, it needs to be looked into as soon as possible.

Tip 2: Look Forward for Targets

Once you’ve established trends, use them to set targets.

There is nothing wrong with using a quick and dirty uplift to carry forward financial targets for the next month or so. This works well for the short term but for long term success, you really need to set aside the time to invest in your business with some well considered goals and targets.

Take your average annual growth that you’ve highlighted above when assessing percentage gains and trends. Carry this forward from the most recent period to the next for your revenue, direct costs and any other variable expenses. Keep your standard fixed overheads static or adjust by a small percentage to allow for inflation in phone, power and rent charges.

Break this uplifted budget down into monthly chunks. This will give you a month to month target for your financial performance. This then allows you to analyse how many products or services you need to sell to achieve those targets.

Tip 3: Set Actions for Quick Wins in 30 Days or Less

Once you know your trends over time and have used them to set targets, make a list of the things you need to do in the next month to make it happen.

Follow-through is where most business owners fall short. The effort put into your planning is wasted if you don’t set actions to take to work towards your goals and deadlines for executing those actions.

To avoid failing your plan, set some actions to take right now that will be easy to execute and have a big impact. These are the things you can do right now and will have an effect in 30 days or less. Its important to knock out these quick wins now so that you can focus on long term projects the next time you do a business planning session. Quick wins will also help to stop you from feeling like things are happening too slowly. Growth and development is

Some Simple Places to Look for Easy Actions and Quick Wins

Where can you streamline expenses and overheads to avoid eroding your profit gains while maintaining quality of product or service? Look for ways to save on phone, power and other overheads.Is there anything that looks out of control or not in keeping with the trends you assessed earlier? These expenses need to be managed quickly.

Can you get a discount by paying annually rather than monthly? Most subscription based things are a lot cheaper if you avoid financing them over the year and pay annually instead. This can have an impact on cashflow so you don’t need to do it all at once. Look for when things come up for renewal and start saving excess cash to pay them annually at the next renewal. This can have massive savings for things like software subscriptions, ACC and insurance premiums.

What marketing, events or networking opportunities are coming up that you could use to drive engagement and sales? Book yourself into some of these some of these.

Whatever actions you take, make sure they are in support of your short and long term business and lifestyle goals. Most importantly though, make sure you actually follow-through.

Invest in Some Professional Help

Outside support and guidance can be invaluable.

At MBP, our Business Advisors advocate our ‘three F’s’: Forethought, Forecast, Follow-through.  We run business planning workshops to help with your forethought. Our MBP Business Advisors also run cashflow forecasting and management sessions to help with forecasts. They also offer monthly or quarterly coaching sessions to help keep you on track and follow-through with your plan throughout the year.

If you need more active and regular one-on-one support, an accountability coach might be exactly what you need. We strongly recommend AJ Pipe as an independent accountability coach. AJ will “lovingly kick you up the bum” and offer you invaluable support to put your plans into action and will hold you accountable for those actions throughout the year.

If you’d like to discuss your options for planning, coaching and support, get in touch with the team at MBP today. We’d be happy to run through the results of you following our weekend business planning tips in a free Proactive Accounting Meeting.

The New Year is a time for setting goals and targets for the months head. Its also the best time to make sure you have the best people on your team to help you achieve those goals and targets. That makes it a great time to look for a new accountant.

Your accountant is one of the most important people on your team. They might not be the first person you’d consider. However, a having an approachable, proactive accountant can be the difference between success and failure.

When is it Time to Consider a New Accountant?

Any time is a good time to look at your options. Whether you want better results, better service or better value for money, its always a good time to look for your best fit.

If you aren’t happy with the services provided, don’t feel your treated properly or are not getting value for money, its definitely time to switch. No matter what time of year it is.

Take the Time to Find the Right New Accountant

Regardless of how long you’ve been with your current accountant, a new accountant could be the perfect match for you. Not all accountants are created equal and every single business is different. To get the best value from the relationship between you and your accountant, you have to be a good match.

For example, at MBP, we have a set of unwritten ‘clubhouse rules’. These aren’t anything hard and fast but are a way for us to get to quickly understand how a new business will partner with us. We use the term partner instead of client because its far more appropriate. We consider all of our clients to be our MBP Business Partners. As such, they get the best partner level service, direct access to the team and generous discounts on business products and services. If we don’t think a business will fit in comfortably or won’t be a good fit, we’ll refer them to another firm in our network who we think will be a better match.

Should You Look for a New Accountant with Fixed Fees?

Fixed fee accounting is a great way to ensure that you get everything you need at a price you’re willing to pay. Its also really easy on cash flow as you don’t get stung with any huge bills. The smaller monthly payments make cash flow management a breeze.

Fixed fees, no surprises.

At MBP, we have a range of fixed price packages built for every business. From sole traders to rental property investments, end of year essentials to monthly management reports, we have every solution you need at a fixed fee.

A Proactive New Accountant Will Highlight Potential Issues

Time seems to pass faster than ever in the modern world and in business it seems to fly even faster. Gone are the days when you can afford to only see your accountant once a year to discuss things that happened months ago. To not only stay ahead of the competition but to maintain your financial position in the face of increase competition, you need a proactive accountant.

A proactive accountant doesn’t just sit back and wait. They get stuck into your books throughout the year. At least bi-monthly they will review how things are tracking, and if anything jumps out to them as an issue. This gives you an invaluable opportunity to benefit from outside eyes looking in, holding you accountable and giving you any necessary nudges..

Often, business owners get stuck in the day to day. With a proactive new accountant, that isn’t an issue. You can get stuck into doing what you love while they focus on making sure the big picture is still working.

Is it Difficult To Shift to a New Accountant?

Moving to a new accountant is as easy as having a cup of coffee. In fact, you can sit there and have a cup of coffee while we get it all sorted. The team at MBP do all the heavy lifting, including handling the divorce with your old accountant.

You won’t notice any interruptions and before you know it, you’ll be all moved in with your new accountant and their team.

Make The Move To Modern Accounting With MBP

The team at MBP aren’t your old accountants. We don’t just meet with you once a year, we’re there by you all year long, through it all. With fixed price packages and unlimited communication, you never have to be afraid of getting a bill for a simple phone call or a quick query over email. Our team are here to support you and your business on your path to success.

We leverage the power of the best accounting software and tools available to streamline our services. This means we invest more time in dealing with our clients direct. Unlike old firms, we’re able to give you timely monthly reports, KPI tracking and business coaching in real time.

If its time for a new accountant, get in touch with the team at MBP. We’ll schedule a proactive accounting meeting to see exactly what your needs are and how we can tailor our services to give you everything you need and nothing you don’t.

It’s the word small we’re talking about today when discussing small business marketing ideas. Small in cost, small in time spent, and small in quantity. You could be forgiven for thinking we’re only going to help out small businesses by sharing these fab marketing ideas – and you’d be right!

There’s a big difference in not only the quantity, but also the type of marketing a small business needs to do. Sure, the big guys do it well (think McDonald’s and The Warehouse), but if smaller businesses copied them, things could go poorly rather quickly.

So, being the helpful bunch of accountants and business advisors we are, we’ve put together a great list of twelve marketing ideas specifically for small businesses, like yours!

12 Exceptional Small Business Marketing Ideas

You won’t have to blow your budget or head out of your comfort zone to try these top 12 marketing ideas:

  1. Create great content for your website – you could pay for advertising to send traffic to your site, or you could write such awesome content search engines ranked highly and people shared with their friends. Ads will only send you website traffic when they are turned on; turn them off and the traffic stops too. Great website content is there 24/7, even years later.
  2. Hunt out the ad promos – often major advertisers such as Bing and Google offer discounts or promotions for their services. If you’re going to pay for ads, you might as well get them with a discount.
  3. Host contests – there’s nothing like giving something away to draw in the crowds. You can run the competition via social media and use it to attract the type of customers or clients you want to attract. Be warned that you may attract the professional competition enterers, who are just in to win and not to learn about your business.
  4. Email marketing – some people swear by it, and others avoid it like the plague. Research shows that it does work well to make sales and keep your business at the forefront of a customer’s mind though.
  5. Give out branded balloons – find a suitable event and then give out balloons filled with helium, which are branded with your business details — cheap and unusual
  6. Keep active on social media – if you’re a social butterfly, this will probably be easy for you. If not, then it can be like pulling teeth. On the same platforms your target audience are using, publish regular content including blogs, promotions, and photos of your business.
  7. Push your USP – your unique selling proposition or USP is what sets you apart from your competition. Make sure everyone knows it.
  8. Join online networking groups – yes, it’s mixing with other business owners, but as you build relationships with them, they are more likely to recommend your business to others, or purchase from you directly.
  9. Set up a referral system – target your existing customers or clients by offering them a discount if they refer someone new to you. It’s a win-win.
  10. Create videos – be they unboxing of your products, an instructional video or showing a product’s features, videos are always well received.
  11. Host a webinar – there are many webinar platforms you can do this free through. Use it as a time to demonstrate your skills and knowledge, not a sales pitch.
  12. Partner up – it may not make sense to partner with your competition, but why not join forces with businesses who offer complementary products or services? By promoting each other’s stuff, you increase your visibility.

Remember that if you get stuck, asking for help is one of the best things you can do! Our friendly team are here to help, and if we don’t know the answer, we’ll find someone who does for you. Don’t be shy, get in touch with the team at MBP today.

If you’ve got a couple of spare rooms, renting them out is a great way to make some extra cash. However, how you rent them out can make all the difference and can even be the difference between paying a large tax bill and no tax at all. It all comes down to whether you are renting to a boarder or flatmates. therefore, we’ve drawn up this quick guide to give you a run-down of the key facts you need to know.

What Is A Boarder?

A boarder gets a lot more than just a room. Generally, the boarder pays a fixed amount each week. This covers the room, power, phone, internet and all other overheads as well as food. The food provided might be all breakfasts and dinners with lunches sorted by the boarder at work or school. It just has to be more substantial than snacks or morning tea. The bills and food are all covered by the fixed weekly payment, not split like they would be with a flatmate.

For Example:
You have an international student staying with you for a semester. The student is paying you $250.00 per week. This covers their room, three meals a day, power, internet and use of the rest of the common areas in the house with all furniture provided. Regardless of fluctuating power and grocery bills, the student pays the same weekly amount. Therefore, this international student is your boarder.

What Is A Flatmate?

A flatmate is not the same as a boarder. A flatmate generally rents a room, furnishes it with their own furniture and then pays a share of the other bills like power and internet. Flatmates can share food costs or split the grocery bill but unlike with boarders, there is not one person providing all of the food and preparing the meals as a part of the weekly rent.

For Example:
You rent a three bedroom house. You have a spare room so you get in a friend to help share the costs. They pay a third of the rent, power and phone. You all split the grocery bill and take turns cooking dinner. Your friend is your flatmate, not your boarder as you are not providing all of their meals for them and they are paying utilities on a variable split basis rather than all included in the one weekly charge.

How Do I Rent Out My Rooms And Pay No Income Tax?

If you are renting to flatmates, you will have to apply the actual cost method and declare all income and deduct a portion of all overheads. If you have a heavily leveraged house (large mortgage) then this may result in a loss. From April 2019, this loss is not tax deductible so will not result in any refund but will also not trigger any tax liability. The loss will be ring-fenced and carried forward to apply against any future profits from the rental.

If you are renting to boarders, you may be able to completely avoid any tax liabilities or obligations on the income. As long as your boarder rent is below the maximum standard cost, as calculated by the IRD, then you can earn that board and pay no tax on it. If you have a house with very low overheads (low or no mortgage) then this can be a profitable enterprise. The boarder income thresholds are outlined in the section below.

Based on the below standard cost method, you could rent out three rooms to boarders and earn $750.00 a week ($39,000.00 per year) completely tax-free.

Boarder Income Thresholds

The IRD annually calculates the national average standard cost for running a household. This standard cost takes into account the cost of food, heating, power, transport and includes an amount for outgoings such as rates, insurance, mortgage interest cost, and repairs and maintenance.

  • Boarders
  • First Boarder
  • Second Boarder
  • Third Boarder
  • Fourth Boarder
  • Standard Cost (per week)
  • $266.00
  • $266.00
  • $218.00
  • $218.00
  • Total (per week)
  • $266.00
  • $532.00
  • $750.00
  • $968.00

The above standard cost rates are for the year ended 31st March 2018. The IRD will publish inflation adjusted figures for each financial year so keep an eye on your changing tax-free threshold regularly.

Note:
If you have five or more boarders you are unable to use the standard cost method. You must us the actual cost method and return all income received in your IR3. You will need to keep records for all income declared and expenses you deduct.

Hopefully you have found this quick guide helpful. If you would like to have a more in-depth discussion about your options, feel free to get in touch with the team at MBP for a free consultation.

This advice is general in nature and should not be relied on as a recommendation. The information was accurate at the time of publication but may now be out of date. Every situation is unique and requires tailored advice. Get in touch for a free consultation by emailing mailbox@mbponline.co.nz or call us free on 0800 86 85 86.