Should you pay for the services of an accountant?

 

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I run my own business, and every year I’m asked to file my taxes. I sort out my books myself, as I don’t see the point in paying for an accountant to do it. However, my aunt runs her own business, and she pays an accountant every year, and she’s happy to continue doing that.

You may wonder why I am so averse to hiring an accountant, so I’m going to explain why:

 

I do my books weekly

Every time I get paid, I add the figures to my spreadsheet. This practice helps me to stay up to date with how much money the business has. I also add expenditures every time I have them too. If I need to see how well the business is doing, I just take a look at the figures, and workout the profit from there.

 

Accountants aren’t cheap

We all know that accountants can potentially charge a lot of money for their work. This is the main reason why I won’t hire one. I can use that money elsewhere, and I would rather not pay about $1,000 each time.

 

I usually have time to do my taxes

This is because I make the time to do my taxes. As soon as I know they need doing, I do them at the next available opportunity. My aunt hires Broadridge IMS to help her with other aspects of her business when her accountant wants to go over the books with her. As you can see, this means there’s a lot of expense on her behalf, but she’s happy with that.

 

Getting someone else to do my books is too personal

I’ve been running my own business for nearly 4 years, and it’s become quite personal. It’s something that I enjoy doing, and doing my books is a part of my job. The thought of an accountant looking at my incomings and expenditures seems a little too personal. I’m sure a lot of business owners feel this way, and can identify with this.

It’s good practice to do it myself

The very first time I took a look at my books and decided to do it all myself, it did seem a little intimidating. I had very little business experience, but I was willing to give it a go. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do the work, and it turns out that I could. I think being able to do the work that an accountant would ordinarily do is good practice. Knowing what needs to be done and when means that if I were ever to hand the reins over to someone else, I know what the job entails.

 

It’s entirely up to you whether you pay for the services of an accountant. I guess it depends on how mathematical you are, and how willing you are to give it a try. If you would like to make sure that everything is kept in order, and it will give have peace of mind, then perhaps hiring an accountant is the way forward

 

The top 10 investment tips

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When it comes to the world of investing, unless you’re a seasoned professional or you’ve studied investment, chances are you’re going to find things a little difficult. The world of investment can seem a little overpowering to new comers. This is why I’ve decided to give you a few tips, to help make life a little easier for you.

Please note that the tips I give you will not guarantee great results, they will just help you along your way a little bit.

The top 10 investment tips

1 Be prepared to watch investments lower in value

This obviously isn’t something that you want to hear, but it’s something that happens to everyone who invests. There are good times, and there are bad times in the world of investment, so be prepared for them. If you don’t think you want to risk watching your investments lower in value, then you may have to re-think your decision.

2 Invest in equities rather than in savings accounts

Equities usually outperform savings accounts, so it could be worth your while seeing what is out there, and what the returns are.

3 Don’t invest all your money in one venture

If the venture, business or market you’ve invested in goes into decline, you could potentially lose all of your cash. To avoid this, spread your money out and you’re more likely to have some cash left if something bad happens.

4 Invest as soon as you can

The sooner you start to invest, the sooner you will have reached your investment goal. Put some money away and you’ll have to add less to it in order to achieve that goal.

5 Be aware of what it happening out there

Watch and listen to the news, read newspapers and keep your eye on the ball. Learn about what is happening in the world of investment so you know how the economy is doing, and how it could affect all your investments.

6 Update your will

Update your will, or write one if you don’t have one already. This will ensure that you will leave your investments to your loved ones, in the event of your death.

7 Seriously consider each of your investments

Before you invest your hard earned cash somewhere, you should seriously consider each of those investments. Just as you would look hard for the Best Cook’s Knife, a good car and even your new home, so too should you seriously consider any investment that you make. Read the fine print, ask questions and see what your instincts tell you.

8 Learn when it’s time to withdraw your money

Unless you have your cash tied up for the next 5 years, you might want to be on the lookout for those times when you need to withdraw your cash. Sometimes it’s easy to tell when you’re about to lose money, so it’s essential you keep your eye on the ball. Withdraw your money when you can (You may have to pay a penalty if you withdraw early), and invest elsewhere.

9 If you don’t want to invest just yet, don’t

Sometimes people make the mistake of investing just because they can. If you haven’t yet found somewhere good to invest your cash, don’t invest it. Wait until something better comes along.

10 Don’t believe everything you hear

You may hear some sensational news about a specific type of investment, but I wouldn’t get too excited. The media are great at exaggerating things, they do this because it sells. Don’t believe everything you hear, just assume that they might be right. Wait until you see the facts for yourself, before you do anything.

 

Use the above tips to help keep your money as safe as you can. Don’t expect great success, but do keep your eye out for those good money making opportunities.

The effect of free educational content

682013celebratescienceFree online educational sites are playing increasingly significant roles in classrooms and lecture theaters across the world. But what effect will this abundance of high quality, cost free educational resource have on the value of formal qualifications and the relevance of educational institutions as a whole?

It is a fundamental law of market dynamics that you cannot expect consumers to pay for something when a similar resource of the same intrinsic value is available for free. So now that it is possible to take the equivalent of a first year college economics course online in the form of short hour long videos, how long can traditional education models justify their existence?

How we fund education varies massively from country to country, state to state and even between individuals. However, these can be simplified into two discrete financial models, third party funding through the state or charities and private funding by individual consumers. Which system is morally and practically superior is the source of intense ideological debate, arguments we try to steer well clear of on the rapscallion blog! However what they both have in common is the need to adapt to the coming shift in how educational content is shared and accessed.

The rise of eLearning

Teaching sites such as Khan Academy, Duolingo and even Wikipedia were developed with the noble goal of spreading knowledge and information for free throughout the world. Now, such websites and the online courses are widely used by teachers in classrooms to support education and, in some areas, form integral parts of the curriculum.

Moreover the rise of internet leaning is not limited solely to the classroom. Vocational courses and training for a range of careers are increasingly offered online, at a fraction of the cost of conventional graduate study. The web based Evo Prep CPACE Workshop, for instance, drastically reduces the time and cost of becoming an accredited school administrator, in some cases cutting out the need for formal grad school training entirely.

But what is the net impact of this to the education market? You might think public funded education models would benefit from access to free resource and in one way you would be correct. However it raises significant questions regarding how best to streamline tax payers money. Should schools invest in smartphones and laptops for each student at the expense of teaching staff? For that matter, what is the role of conventional teachers when lessons are already neatly structured and delivered as pre-packaged online tutorials?

Privately funded tertiary education systems may seem immune as they provide accredited qualifications, which remain the currency of the labor market. But today the value of a degree certificate is even more subjective to employers than ever before. Certificates and accreditations from online sites, however informal they may be, are increasingly used to securing work and in the process devalue traditional certification.

The cost of everything but the value of nothing

In a world where the quality of education is no longer validated be the financial contribution of the tax payer or the consumer but by simply having access to a computer, laptop or smartphone we have to ask ourselves, what is the real value of learning? For those with an eye for finance, the reaction to this shift in the market will be fascinating to witness.

 

Risks in the financial world

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The world of finance is a risky one, with almost everyone involved making decisions that could potentially help a financial institution thrive, or make it fail.

Here are a few of the risks than most financial institutions need to consider:

Funding liquidity risks

Also known as ‘Cash flow risks’ this type of risk refers to the ability to pay the businesses bills, and fund the liabilities. Being aware of these risks can help any business to determine how they are going to fare in the future.

Market liquidity risk

Also known as ‘Asset’ or ‘Product risk’, this refers to the ease of being able to easily get out of a position. If for example, the business has to be sold in order to pay its debts, it may ultimately be sold for a lot less than its true value. What’s more is that owners of an asset may also decide to exit their position at a specific market price. If this were to happen, how would it effect the financial institution in general? Would it be able to keep going?

Raising capital

It can be difficult to raise enough capital, especially if you don’t have the right kind of access to financing. Those who are trying to grow and expand their business may find it hard to do. Some financial institutions will offer growing businesses money, but they will add a lot of interest to the loan. This action can prevent the business from making enough money to become profitable.

The chance of bankruptcy

It seems that there’s a bigger chance of bankruptcy these days, thanks to the flailing economy, bad auditing procedures, and other factors. If for example a business’s account has decided to ‘Cook the books’ and make the business seem more profitable than it really is, this could spell trouble. When the deliberate errors are uncovered, shares in the business are likely to drop, and this could result in bankruptcy due to poor reputation.

What’s more is people are businesses are being more cautious with their money, and this can result in a business not performing as well as it otherwise should. Bankruptcies have become more common since the onset of the credit crunch, and businesses have had to fold.

So what can you do to minimize the risks?

Unless you know how to manage a financial institution inside out, and you also have the time to do it, then you may need help from someone else. Hiring staff can be expensive, but making use of services from companies such as Broadridge risk management can make life so much easier. If you simply don’t know the risks, or you’re unable to concentrate on them then getting someone else to do the work could well pay off.

There are so many risks in the financial world, and although they occasionally pay off, a lot of them don’t. Knowing the difference, and preparing yourself for the risks can help tremendously. What’s more if you are aware of the risks, then you’ll make more informed choices, leading to a better outcome most of the time.

 

Is price indicative of quality?

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When we’re looking to buy something new, we often consider two factors: Price and quality. Sometimes we know that we can get what we pay for, but this isn’t always the case. We can occasionally come across an incredible bargain that can mean we end up with a great product that we paid little for.

So how can we pay less for a quality item?

The fact of the matter is that if we know how to do it, we really can buy a high quality item for a lower price. Here are some factors that you should consider, before you make that purchase:

Is the product priced higher because of the brand name?

When it comes to some products, you could be paying a little extra because of the products’ brand name. A lot of people know and trust particular brands, which is why the manufacturers get away with charging a little more. Did you know that many cheaper supermarket brands are made on the same production line as some of the more expensive brands?

 

Is there a cheaper model that’s exactly the same?

Chances are there probably is, or there’s likely to be a similar one. When it comes to buying ketchup for example, were you aware that a lower priced ketchup is made on the same production line as a very popular one? Let me explain why: The more expensive brand is quite thick, and it’s the thick ketchup that ends up being sold at a higher price. Any ketchup that has a less thick consistency automatically gets sold to supermarkets, who then label it as their own brand. So you see, you’re getting the same product, its consistency is just a little thinner.

 

Have you read any product reviews?

Sometimes, reading product reviews is the best way for you to find out which products are worth the extra cost. For example, the best 2 slice toaster may not be the most expensive one, read some reviews and you’re likely to find out which is the best.

 

Is there likely to be a sale coming up?

If you think there is likely to be a sale coming up, then it may be worth your while hanging on. If you don’t need to buy the best 4 slice toaster right now, then consider waiting a little longer as you could save yourself some cash.

 

How about compromising?

In the end, you may need to do a bit of compromising if you need to make the purchase pretty soon. If you want a good quality product that doesn’t cost the earth, I would recommend going for a middle of the range product. This is because middle of the range products are generally pretty good, without being overly expensive. Read some reviews, and you could find a middle of the range product is just what you need.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors for you to consider when shopping for a good quality product. I know that this may seem like a lot to think about, but the more you think about what you can do to save cash on something good, the more likely it is that you will.

Is it worth paying a little extra for the very best?

Oosterbeek-shopping--004Many of us are familiar with the phrase “You get what you pay for”, but some of us are so good at finding a bargain, that it may not always be true.

When it comes to shopping for groceries, it’s always a good idea to see what’s on offer, and if you can get a better deal elsewhere. This is what the good old British public has been doing of late, because we all know how important it is to get a bargain.

Should we avoid paying extra?

So should we keep our hands in our pockets and avoid paying extra for something? Does paying less always save you money, or could you end up losing out? The fact of the matter is that you have to know what you can pay less for, and what you really shouldn’t. If you’re doing up your kitchen for example, chances are you won’t want to spend very little on a washing machine, as the price usually reflects the quality. Sometimes, you do have to be prepared to pay a little bit more for something that you know will last.

But don’t cheap products last?

It depends what you mean by ‘Cheap’, for example, I recently bought a set of knives from the value range in my local supermarket. The knives looked ok, they didn’t look fabulous, but then again, they were ridiculously cheap. After a few weeks, we started to have problems with the knives, the blade would come out of the handle, and they didn’t cut very well. As you can imagine, this was a little frustrating, and by the time there was only one decent knife left, I had already bought some sabatier knives that cost a little more, but were obviously superior.

In this case, it was clear to see that spending more money worked out, as the product was better, and the knives are still going strong.

Take a chance

One of the best things you can do to determine whether or not something cheaper is indeed better, is to take a chance. Those cheaper shop branded cornflakes may be just as nice as the more expensive ones, so too may be the loaf of bread. If that loaf of bread or packet of cornflakes doesn’t turn out to be great, then you’ve not lost anything, and you can go back to your preferred brand.

 

Taking a chance with things like groceries is ok, but you have to be careful when you’re planning to buy larger items.

If you’re looking for a new oven for example, it may not be ideal to spend as little as possible if you want a good oven that will always work well for you. This is not to say that some cheaper ovens are not good quality, but if you’re looking for a high standard of manufacture and a product that lasts a long time, then you may want to think about paying a little bit more money.

5 Tips to Create Awesome Explainer Videos

In Car VideoI am going to share with you 5 ways to create awesome explainer videos that your sellers and buyers will want to watch, along with a few vital tips to ensure your marketing aims are reached with video.

Here are the first 5 steps to making great animated explainer videos that bring more sellers and buyers.

Know who your videos are for

Describe, define or remind yourself of who your perfect customer is. Take the time to write this down or discuss about your best client with your team prior to your video production. The clearer you can explain your target client the easier it will be to create videos that cover topics that are vital to them and how they would like to view what is important to them.

Know what they want to watch

Explain the best 10 question your target customers are interested in before you sell or buy a home. These questions could be tips your target customers would want to educate themselves on how to make a perfect buying decision. Make these videos as helpful and informative as easy and include a clear call to action that makes it simple to make buying plan.

Explain the best 10 topics that your target customers are interested in right now that are not openly related to selling or buying a home in your city. These topics could be related to trends or news or just common interest that you feel confident your target customer would want to see.

Get the video viewed by your target customer

There are lots of different unique promotional options to get your videos viewed online. All those promotional options fall into one or more of only 3 different categories. Those internet marketing categories are Vseo, Social video marketing or paid advertising of your video. The top way to make a plan about you should begin with getting your videos viewed is to go back to your explanation of your focus market and online the locations they are most likely to want to watch your videos.

Have a Clear Call to Action

One of the strongest problems I see in video promotion is a well produced video that has tons of views but no call to action. There are lots of different selections depending on your aims for your video, but each video should have a very unique call to action. I have had discussions with realtors that want to make a video and not add a call to action.

Hire an Expert Company to Make Animated Explainer Videos

Nowadays, lots of online companies help you to make animated explainer videos that improve your selling or traffic of the website. You can hire an expert company like Finch Media that make animated explainer videos. Animated videos are most attractive then camera video users want to view these types of video again and again. If you create creative video definitely it goes viral on internet. So hire an expert company to do this job.

Further Reading

Examples of great explainer videos

Quicksprout

5 things you should about debt arrangement schemes (DAS)

The Debt Arrangement Scheme, popularly abbreviated to DAS, is a government-backed debt management plan available to the Scottish citizens aimed at enabling individuals to repay their debts through a debt payment programme (DPP). Applicants who are eligible for the scheme and are approved to get one will get a reprieve from paying interests, fees and any charges on outstanding debts and be safe from any legal actions that creditors would take against them. In return, the creditor agrees to pay the outstanding debts over a reasonable time in instalments that suit them.

Since it was introduced in 2004, the DAS has been a very instrumental law that has helped many people repay their debts and protect themselves against court action. However, that is not all. There is a lot you need to know about DAS and although this post does not highlight all of them, it does focus on a few essential elements of DAS that you probably were not aware of. Read on to find out.

1. DAS is a scheme, not a payment plan

Before you jump on it and see it as a saviour from all your debts, understand that Debt Arrangement Scheme is just a statutory scheme and not a payment plan that just protects you from legal actions while you work to pay your debts. Applying for DAS is not the same as filing bankruptcy.

2. Interest and fees charged on your debt is frozen

Perhaps the second most important thing about the Scottish debt arrangement scheme after the relief of paying the much you can gradually is that once you are approved interest and other fees on your debts are frozen. Your creditors will freeze any interest and charges meaning that you will be set to clear your debts sooner than you otherwise would have.

3. DAS is flexible

When you have debts you have trouble repaying, your life will also be full of ups and downs, but the debt arrangement scheme is designed to be flexible enough to change with the situation. All you need to do when the times are hard or when you have things working for you is talk to your money advisor suggesting the changes you want to make.

4. You can take a break from the payments

When a time comes when things take a dramatic turn and your income slumps by more than 50 per cent, you can talk to your money manager about taking a break from making the payments for up to six months. This is understandable if you lose your job, go on a paternity or maternity leave or when you and your partner split.

5. Your creditors will leave you alone

While your creditors cannot take legal action against you for having difficulty repaying them as agreed, you will be happy knowing that they cannot demand payment from you as long as you are in the DAS register. The DAS register is accessible by all your creditors and they are required to desist from taking any action while you work on a debt payment plan.

You should also know that you can include your household bills such as power, water and telephone bills, mortgage, rent and other levies, including council taxes. This basically means that the Scottish debt arrangement scheme is an umbrella that will shelter you from the raid till you get back on track.

Planning for Financing your Wedding

Planning for Financing your WeddingThe wedding day is perhaps the one day, if there had to be one, when you want everything to be perfect; no detail missed, and nothing worse than it could have been; and because of this the cost of your wedding can reach dizzying heights if left unchecked and unplanned. In this article I hope to give some advice on how to keep your finances in check and not allow yourself to run into a huge amount of debt to start your married life.

Make a budget

This is extremely important in the planning stages of your wedding and preferably done in advance so that you have enough time to incorporate changes that happen, or any unforeseen event. Once you know your budget you can be much more disciplined and not allow yourself to be tempted by small nice things which will add up and add up. By doing this you will find good deals for the money you assign to the wedding.

Decide on the type of wedding

This is fairly connected to the previous paragraph and both will influence each other, the major factor in this is which one you decide on first, and which is more important to you. More likely than not, you will be more preoccupied with the type of wedding you want to have, and will work around that. Things such as how many people you want to invite are going to lead to things like how many people you are going to have to feed, and how many people you are going to have to employ to keep them all served and happy for the duration, which will lead to the size of the location having to be considered too.

This is just one part of the many things that you have to really plan for. One detail will lead to another and you will find that if you do not think of everything to the end you will encounter more surprises than you need to.

Consider all the details

As I mentioned above if you do not plan for everything, then things can go wrong because you will come across situations you simply were not prepared for. There are many details that have to be properly and carefully considered, and many of these will be things that you may have overlooked, like having a photographer to capture the whole event. This is a good example of when you give yourself enough time you can find a good photographer for a good price and that is very experienced such as Pauls Studio.

Getting the best for your money

Getting the best for your moneyIt’s so important for you to get the best for your money no matter what you do. Whether you’re buying your weekly shopping or you’re looking for a new car. You need to try to get a bargain because if you’re not careful you can spend more than you really need to.

I always do my best to save money or get the best for my money where I can. This can be easier said than done sometimes though. The good news is that if you follow these simple tips you could find yourself spending a lot less:

  1. Ask yourself if you really need it – If you walk past a shop window and see something you like, ask yourself if you really need it. This is what I do each time I see a new jacket for example. I think ‘Do I really need it?’ and think about how many jackets I have at home. I then give myself at least 3 days before I consider buying the item, if I still want it I go back and buy it. Usually though I forget about the jacket, and when I remember it a week later I realise I probably didn’t need it in the first place.
  2. Can you get it cheaper elsewhere? – It’s always worth shopping around, no matter what you’re looking for. Recently my sister wanted to buy an LED mirror for her bathroom and rather than buy the first one she saw, she shopped around. Doing this saved her £35 because she found it cheaper somewhere else.
  3. Wait until the sales hit the shops – If there’s something you need, why not wait until the sales hit your local shops? You can usually save a nice bit of money this way. Make sure you don’t buy something for the sake of buying. I’ve seen a lot of people go mad when a sale is on because they can get something quite cheap. Even though a nice new microwave is reduced by £20 it doesn’t mean you have to buy it if you have a perfectly good one at home.

The above 3 tips can help to save you a bit of cash and make you think before you part with it. Try not to impulse buy, and always try to plan your shops if you can. You’ll be grateful you did when you work out how much you’ve saved.