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Mixed Forecasts from London Businesses

After a year that’s been bad for both businesses and consumers, it might be assumed that business forecasts are going to be negative. However, a survey of London businesses late in 2023, gives mixed signals. Most expect difficult times in the first half of 2024 — but a surprisingly large number also expect to increase their profits this year. Fears for Economic Activity in 2024 In a survey of 500 London-based b
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Small Businesses Are Confident About 2024

The Federation of Small Businesses reported that, for the 4th quarter of 2023, 40% of small businesses reported a fall in revenue, and confidence had also plummeted. Which makes it more surprising that, according to research by three separate organisations, optimism is high among small businesses for 2024. Expectations for Growth in Turnover In a recent poll by lender Iwoca, 47% of small businesses were expecting an
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Are IVAs Being Mis-sold? The Insolvency Service Investigates

An IVA (individual voluntary agreement) can be an invaluable resource for any individual person facing mounting debt. It offers the chance to protect yourself against action by creditors, and to structure repayments in an affordable way. However, like any financial product, there’s the potential for abuse. The Insolvency Service has announced that it’s investigating whether IVAs are being mis-sold. What i
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Business Loans and Personal Guarantees

Loans can be essential for the growth of small businesses, and as long as they’re managed carefully, they’re entirely positive. Investing for growth is a way that SMEs can lead the economy out of its current stagnation — but there’s a problem. Banks are increasingly asking directors of small businesses to provide personal guarantees for loans, often putting their homes on the line. The Federation of
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Company Liquidation — How Does It Affect a Director?

In any time of economic uncertainty, there’s likely to be an increase in companies going into liquidation. The recent collapse of Wilko has focused our attention on this issue, and no doubt many company directors are feeling nervous. The position of a director of an insolvent company can be problematic in certain circumstances. In general, however, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. Insolvency fo
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Pay Attention to a Company’s Cash Flow Before Making a Decision

There are various reasons why you might need to examine another company’s books. You should certainly do so if you’re considering investing in the business, but you may also want to get a better idea of their finances before offering credit. But what should you be looking for? Turnover? Profit? Or is it better to look at cash flow? Why Is Cash Flow Important? Profit and turnover each give only a very partial picture
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Do You Need to Pay HMRC First if You’re Insolvent?

If a company enters into any form of insolvency, whether it’s a company voluntary arrangement, a pre-pack administration or a restructuring plan, it’s likely that one of the major creditors will be HMRC. It’s often believed that any taxes owed have to be paid first, before any other debts have to be considered. However, the situation is far from simple. Some recent cases have supported HMRC’s claims, while others hav
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Are Supply-Chain Delays Killing Your Business?

Business owners generally focus most on the sales that bring in the income, rather than on their suppliers. That’s understandable, but it can also be short sighted. Recent research by retail bank Aldermore has found that well over half of SMEs have suffered supply-chain problems in the past year — and this has cost a total of £1.9 billion. Why Are There Supply Chain Delays? Disruptions to supply chains have been goin
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FCA Ban for Debt Packagers Charging Referral Fees

In these times of financial stress, large numbers of people, both consumers and small business owners, are seeking debt advice. A good deal of the advice out there is excellent, but there are exceptions. There’s been concern expressed for some time about the referral fees charged by debt packaging companies and whether this creates bad advice. It seems that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) share this concern, an
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SMEs Are Targeting Growth in 2023 — But There Are Challenges

With rampant inflation and a cost-of-living crisis in progress, it would be easy to assume that businesses would be consolidating and cutting costs. While some may be, though, the attitude where SMEs are concerned looks surprisingly optimistic. There are challenges, however. So, should you go for growth or concentrate on playing safe? SMEs Planning for Investment A recent survey by retail bank Aldermore has revealed
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