Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Specialist Edge: Pension Changes (Richard Escott from the Alan Boswell Group)

Richard Escott - Mint NorwichWe welcome Richard Escott from the Alan Boswell Group to share his specialist knowledge on new pension rules. Richard writes…..”Subject to Royal Assent, the new pension rules in the Finance Act are very attractive indeed, compared to the previous rules, and those expected, as far as ‘high earners’ are concerned.

Each individual with sufficient earnings will be able to invest up to £50,000 gross (paid £40,000 net of basic rate tax relief at source), and will be able to achieve income tax relief at their highest marginal rate. It was expected that relief would be restricted to the 40% rate even for 50% tax payers.

In addition, individuals can pay extra to make up for any shortfall in the previous three tax years between what was actually paid and £50,000. For example, an individual who had not paid anything at all since 6 April 2008 would be able to pay up to £200,000 in the current tax year if they had earnings to support it, and had an existing pension in place throughout that period. For employees such as directors, the opportunity to reduce salary or bonus, and have a corresponding employer pension contribution remains and has the additional benefit of saving both employee and employer National Insurance. Employer contributions must also qualify under the ‘wholly and exclusively’ rules for business expenditure generally.

One negative change is that the Lifetime Allowance will drop from £1.8m to £1.5m from April 2012 although those with particularly large pension pots can keep the limit at the £1.8m level, making an election before 5 April 2012, and ensuring that they pay no pension contributions whatsoever after that. Any excess pension value over the Lifetime Allowance suffers a punitive tax charge so careful planning may be required for some.”

Richard would be delighted to review your pension strategy. As a fee based adviser his advice would be independent and uninfluenced by provider commission. For more details, please contact Richard on 01603 218065 or email

Summer Solstice

Mint Norwich - Summer SolsticeToday is the longest day of the year, caused when the earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun. Did you know that today the equator will receive exactly twelve hours of daylight; there are 24 hours of daylight at the North Pole and 24 hours of darkness at the South Pole! Read more here.

The longest day is unlikely to give any direct benefts to your business, however according to reports, the improved sunlight throughout the Summer is supposed to improve health and productivity by boosting Vitamin D levels.

Gadgets galore!!


We are embracing technology here at Mint.


We have been experimenting with ways in which the new Ipad2 can be used effectively in business.

We firmly believe that technology has an ever useful presence in business, not only for staff to use, but for business owners to monitor and control their organisations.


From Internet Banking (including business banking apps) to full blown Mobile Analytics we use them all in our business and with our clients.

We recently developed our Mobile Analytics service, see here. We work with the business owner and key management to develop methods to extract or amend existing Management Information into a suitable format. It is then uploaded to the web and delivered to either your Apple Ipad or Iphone.

The end product is fully customisable to your business and really does allow you to walk away from your business with all of the key information available at a click of a button and in a graphical drillable format.

We have also been using Mailchimp for our newsletters and their new app (Chimpadeedoo) allows people to sign up to our enewsletter using the Ipad. We also use Numbers and Quickoffice, not to mention BBC iPlayer and the ability to use the Ipad as a fantastic promotional tool, through the ability to watch our video.


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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