Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Mint in the News

A graduate internship programme run by the University of East Anglia is set to continue after exceeding its original targets.

The Project Evolve Graduate Internship Programme has been extended until the end of July after 198 placements were secured for students – surpassing a target of 170.

The scheme, which was due to draw to a close in March, offers local businesses the opportunity to secure a graduate to work on a specific project for up to 12 weeks, either full or part-time.

Insight into our bespoke MI dashboard

Earlier this year we launched our Insight service and are now pleased to provide you with a demonstration of the service through a video.

Please contact us for a free review of your Management Information and to discuss ways we can help you improve the information in your business.



Management Information FREE healthcheck

How effective is your accounting system for Management Information reporting?

Frustrated with Sage?

We have launched our FREE “Management Information Health Check” as part of our innovative research project designed to support local businesses.

Click here to find out more about our Free MI healthcheck or to arrange your free review, please contact us on or call 0845 805 7390.

We are happy to sign a non-disclosure agreement and work with you to see if we can help.

Management Information – do you pass the test?

MI or Management Information is vital to running, developing and growing a successful organisation.


So what is MI?

Management Information is the lifeblood of the business, or it should be. It should take the form of analysing both financial and non-financial aspects of the business and allows the user to quickly and easily understand the performance of the business or aspect of the business into which they are concerned or responsible.

Is your MI sharp and to the point?

How is it used?

Traditionally this took the form of quarterly or if we were lucky, monthly management accounts comprising of a Profit and Loss account, Balance sheet and in exceptional circumstances a Cashflow statement! The problem was that this information was often provided long after the event and performance dating back 2 or 3 months was irrelevant, especially in a fast moving market and economy. Times have changed and continue to do so. We no longer help businesses prepare the bare minimum of information to indicate the success or failure of recent months. Instead it is a rather interactive affair, whereby our clients can access data in a fast, timely and relevant way and presented in an interactive graphical and tabular format to ensure the end user understands the data being presented.

Who says it is important?

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Inflation! Is the cure more harmful than the cause?

Latest update RPI for February rises to 5.5%, CPI rises to 4.4%.


Wow – we expected inflation to increase in December, but by 40 basis points is slightly alarming, and a further 30 basis points in January!

With the Bank of Englands target firmly set at 2%, CPI is now running at 4.0%  (up from 3.3% in November and 3.7% in December). RPI has now reached 5.1%.

So how do the Government intend on “controlling” inflation?

The main controlling mechanism is through increasing the Bank of England base Interest rate, which has been at 0.5% since March 2009. The concern is that an increase in this rate, will impact many areas of the economy, which could push the UK back towards a recession… the double dip on its way?

The risks of increased rates will kerb individuals spending, thereby slowing the economy in general. As mortgage rates, loan rates and credit card debt will become more expensive, individuals will have less to spend. Businesses will see their borrowing costs increase, together with the potential for reduced sales as consumer demand falls.

Inflation has increased the most on areas such as Heating Oil (up 48%), Air travel (up 13.5%) and Petrol/Diesel (up 12.9%) in the last 12 months. These categories have a significant knock on impact to all areas of the economy. Undoubtedly transport affects almost all businesses and certainly all consumers. This all means that costs increase for businesses and for individuals, meaning less disposable cash. This together with the rising prices of products consumed, such as food & drink, mean that individuals will feel the pinch in 2011.

The big question: Is the cure more harmful than the cause?

If Inflation is left uncontrolled, it could push the country back into recession. If interest rates increase, it could have the same effect.

In our opinion – the Bank of England will leave interest rates static for the next 6 months, preferring that the economy’s self control mechanism will kick in. Now that VAT has increased, people will have advanced spending into 2010, thereby demand will now decrease. If demand dips, the economy will naturally contract, thereby bringing inflation under control. All this together with the natural contraction in the economy, we believe inflation will correct itself if left alone.

We have been assisting many of our clients with pricing strategies and decisions. If you require a full and detailed analysis of your pricing, profitability by product, forecasts or sales analysis, please contact us for a free initial meeting.

The Mint Wordle

Have you ever wanted an easy to use word cloud?

This Word Cloud provides a succinct analysis of the services we offer. We find them really useful for summarising our clients most important strategic actions.
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Cash Vs Christmas

Christmas is only 30 working days away – how will your business be affected?

Research suggests that October is the busiest month of the year with the highest volume of invoices being generated. With this in mind and many businesses continuing to experience cashflow challenges, the collection of cash on these invoices is vital to managing your working capital.

Christmas puts pressure on staffing levels with holidays, post-party headaches and festive emails along with an increase in personal contacts. These factors, combined with a general wind-down, may threaten the collection of cash. With only 18 working days in December, the pressure is high to collect cash from potentially your busiest month of the year.

6 tips to reduce the risk of bad debts:
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Working with Hethel

Mark is working alongside fellow Consultants as part of the Hethel Engineering Consultancy, delivering a range of specialist advice to organisations across East Anglia and beyond.

We provide a large range of services, from hands-on training, advice on cost reductions or problem solving for your business. With around 25 varied specialisms I am confident that we have the expertise to help your business or clients. Read more about Hethel Consultancy here…..

Sage Accounts: what is ODBC?


ODBC or Open Database Connectivity is a technical method of handling data between multiple programs. The good news is that it makes Management reporting that every bit easier and we have been working with several clients to enhance their management information.

We have successfully developed Management Information packs which integrate directly with Sage Accounts. Whereas in the past, numbers may have been keyed from a trial balance, which causes problems when those last minute changes occur.

The ODBC link between Sage Accounts and MS Excel has allowed us to take existing reporting structures and improve them by placing a link mechanism to Sage.

It can be used to analyse the following:

– Trial balance
– Debtors & Creditors
– Product Sales
– Costings
– Pricing

All data is simply refreshed from a toolbar within MS Excel, which automatically pulls through the data from Sage. Through a series of Macros and Mint reporting techniques, Management Information production is enhanced.

To Tweet or not to Tweet…

Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Bebo, Myspace, WAYN, ecademy….. There are over 175 social networking sites listed on Wikipedia, how do you use your time most effectively and not get lost on the web spending your valuable time talking to nobody?

To help your business networking, I have compared the use of LinkedIn and Twitter.-


Set up in 1997, LinkedIn has grown massively over the past 12 months. It has become an integral part of business relationships and allows users to log their relationships and to see mutual connections.

It can be used as a soft communication tool, which provides weekly updates summarising activity for all your connections, delivered to your inbox. You can easily browse other peoples friends and add them to your profile to build your connections. The site has an excellent testimonial section, whereby you can invite people to provide a short testimonial about you and your business, and provide recommendations for your connections.

Key points

  • Up to date contacts for all your connections
  • Find out and utilise mutual contacts
  • Use forums where groups can share experience and seek assistance
  • Develop relationships

Tip: Add the LinkedIn toolbar to your MS Outlook to synchronise all of your contacts with Outlook and keep them up to date. See

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