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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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Risks of Debt Among Financially Vulnerable People

The cost-of-living crisis is hitting us all, to some extent, but it’s hardly a surprise that the worst hit are the most financially vulnerable people. For many, the only way out seems to be taking on debt, which can lead them into a debt spiral it’s hard to break — and this is especially a risk over Christmas. Debt Patterns in 2023 Recent figures show that, on average, 22% of people in the UK have fallen
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Late Payments — What Difference Will the Autumn Statement Make?

Small businesses doing business with giant corporations have traditionally had no choice but to put up with accepting the customer’s payment terms — sometimes having to wait months before getting their money. This can leave their cashflow in a dangerous condition, even threatening their ability to continue trading. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, on 22nd November, addressed this issue. The measures he
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Director’s Loan Account — What Happens if the Company Is Liquidated

In my last post, I talked about the effect of liquidation on a company’s directors, mentioning that one potential problem arises if a director has a Director’s Loan Account with the company. So, what exactly is a Director’s Loan Account, and what are the dangers if the company is liquidated? What Is a Director’s Loan Account? A director is entitled to draw funds from the company as a loan, and
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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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Good News and Bad News for International Business

During the pandemic, SMEs worldwide assumed this was as bad as it got, and by this time things would have improved. In fact, 2023 seems to be even worse than the height of lockdown — in fact, the worst the economy has been since 2008. Strangely, though, this doesn’t appear to be causing gloom among business owners. A recent survey suggested that the vast majority of SMEs in the international business community are op
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Buy Now Pay Later — Flexibility or Debt Trap?

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) has grown massively over recent years, with options to defer payment being offered for everything from clothing to groceries. Used responsibly, this can be an effective method of obtaining credit to give flexibility in budgeting. However, it can also lead consumers into spiralling debt. The government promised to introduce regulation for the sector, but recent reports suggest they’re consider
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Business Insolvencies Soared in May

There have been many signs recently that the economy is in trouble, most obviously the most recent announcement of interest rate rises. Another troubling sign, though, has been given less publicity — a sharp rise in business insolvencies in May. What’s behind this, and what does it mean for you as a business owner? The Rise in the Figures Business insolvency figures have been rising for a while, but it’s been possibl
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