2022’s mini budget update & what it means for you

2022’s mini budget update & what it means for you

Customer Journey

Here at Designated, we aim to help our clients succeed and to support this we are committed to sharing our expertise and experience. This week our team of accountants are available to help you make sense of last week’s budget and how it may affect you and your business 

If you’d like to have a more in-depth discussion with our finance team, get in touch with Vicky at: Vicky.garbett@designatedgroup.com 

Here is a quick budget overview from Vicky: 

The mini budget has come as a surprise to some, and a real shock to others. Reading all the newspaper coverage can cloud the raw details of the Government’s announcement, so here they are, with no fluff and straight to the point!

  • AIA will remain at £1,000,000
  • IR35 rules will be reformed, and tax codes will be reviewed
  • Income tax rate of 45% to be abolished next year, and income tax (lower threshold) to be 19p in the £1 from April 2023.
  • End of the 45p tax rate, paid by those earning more than £150,000, from April 2023.
  • 1p cut to the basic rate of income tax brought forward by a year to April 2023
  • No stamp duty to be paid on property purchases up to £250,000 and up to £425,000 for first-time buyers
  • Scrapping of the bankers’ bonus cap in a bid to boost the city
  • Reintroduction of VAT-free shopping for overseas tourists
  • Businesses based in 38 new ‘investment zones’ will have taxes slashed and will benefit from the scrapping of planning rules
  • Alcohol duty frozen from next year (estimated to be worth 7p on a pint of beer and 38p on a bottle of wine)
  • National Insurance contributions increase of 1.2% to be cancelled from 6th November 22
  • Cancellation of next year’s planned rise in Corporation Tax, will now remain at 19%

Designated are always here to support you, across all our services. Get in touch with the team to start your conversation. 

Phone: 020 7952 1460 Email: info@designatedgroup.com

 

How can a strategic business review help your practice excel?

How can a strategic business review help your practice excel?

360 BUSINESS REVIEW

When you are running your own business, how do you take a step back? To stop, evaluate, listen and learn from your customers and team?

Are the values and vision you hold dear, understood, and communicated to all your stakeholders and customers?

This is hard to do within your own business. Taking time away from the demands and stresses of “business as usual”, to pause and evaluate whether you are offering the best experience to your customers and your team, is important but also challenging. So how do you achieve this?

This is where a strategic business review comes into its own. Undertaking such a review will immediately help you to identify the strengths of your business, and pinpoint the weaknesses, creating an opportunity to highlight and rectify any problems before they become ingrained.

Most businesses conduct annual employee performance 360 reviews and find them extremely helpful with staff development and management, however, much greater value is to be had from running a whole business review, covering both your client’s and employees’ experience of working with your company. The process of looking at every aspect of your company, by reviewing each part of the structure from the top down, will reveal exactly how your business is perceived and identify any gap with your own view of how you want to be perceived.

What is a business review?

A business review evaluates key aspects within your business that are pillars of its success, through an in-depth audit and interviews with key stakeholders. The process is usually managed by an external partner, covering areas such as:

  • Business objectives
  • Vision, Mission and Values
  • Service offering
  • Key sectors
  • New business strategy
  • Marketplace perception
  • Your people – staff engagement
  • Client experience

The output of the review is a comprehensive report, providing evaluations and recommendations that engage your team, identify your ideal clients and ensures your brand messaging and values are woven throughout all of your company communications.

One of the benefits gained by a business review is the feeling of inclusion amongst your employees, while contributing to creating a more positive workplace.

The report

From the answers obtained in the interviews, the review of supporting documentation, clarifications and from research, an extensive report is produced, which addresses all the areas above and summarises your successes and challenges in each area and provides recommendations to improve, including, but not limited to:

  • Competitor analysis
  • A review of your brand messaging and story and suggestions on your messaging going forward
  • A full website audit
  • A review of all your communications, social media, marketing collateral, pitch/presentation documents
  • Development of user persona’s for your target audience
  • A ‘secret shop’ to experience your customer journey
  • Results from a staff engagement survey to inform Values and identify any areas for improvement

The report concludes with recommendations for all the key areas: – Business strategy, customer experience, your people, brand messaging and marketing strategy and activity. It will also provide a 3-month marketing plan that incorporates your Brand Strategy, which can be implemented at your own pace.

Tough read

Any review you undertake can be a difficult read, as it will enable you to uncover issues you were completely unaware of. The process and findings can feel quite personal as your business is your passion. The key is to thoroughly evaluate the results and make changes where necessary.

A review can broaden your view of your company, clients, workplace and employees and steer you away from assumptions. It allows you to identify the improvement opportunities within the business and create a strategy to implement them.

The idea of any review can seem daunting and the results can be brutal and difficult to accept, but it can be a very useful way of identifying issues and weaknesses before they become a real problem affecting business performance. When managed properly, the results can lead to changes that ingrain best practices within every layer of the business and ensure that your employees and clients feel listened to and valued. The most important part of any business is the employees and ensuring they are all on board with the values and ethos of the business allows the company to develop and flourish in its given field.

 

If you would like to find out more about our Designated Business Review, please do get in touch:

Michelle Wheeler, Marketing Director, michelle@designatedgroup.com 020 7952 1460

Why is it important to understand your customer journey?

Why is it important to understand your customer journey?

Customer Journey
In today’s world, consumers are more informed than ever before. They have a range of tools to help them with decision-making when it comes to buying a product or service, which is why it’s important to understand how your company (brand) is perceived and the reasons why.

Company perception is driven by a range of different things for consumers and they will see and experience different things depending on where they are in their purchase or research journey.

For example;

  • How easy is it to find you on the internet or social media?
  • Do you look credible and trustworthy?
  • Can they find your contact details?
  • Do you answer the phone or emails?
  • How do you correspond with clients
  • What do others think about you?
  • If you’ve used them before have they remembered you?

So, customer experience is key to business success, because if you give the customer a positive experience then they will remember you and become an advocate for your business. A loyal customer is a more profitable one because they will promote your business free of charge and return to you in the future! If they have a poor experience, then they will tell everyone and anyone who will listen which can be very damaging, especially when it’s broadcast across social media.

That is why understanding the customer journey is so important. Knowing that all the customer touchpoints for your business are on brand and up to date and that your internal processes are set up to truly deliver a positive customer experience.

A typical customer will research and evaluate your company and your competitors before deciding whether to purchase a product or service. By understanding this journey, and the influencing factors that help with their decision-making, you can better position your product or service to meet their needs as well as deliver a positive experience throughout the process.

 

Typically, consumers go through 3 different stages before making a decision.

1. Awareness stage – a consumer is looking to solve a problem
During this stage, a consumer will be researching and looking for educational information about the problem they want to solve or the need that they have.
At this stage, consumers will be looking at these channels; Google searches so SEO is important at this stage, website, Google My Business, social media and any advertising.

2. Consideration stage – a consumer is considering options to solve the problem
During this stage, consumers will be reading what you offer on your website and competitor websites to see who offers what. They may also be reading articles and case studies. Most importantly consumers will be looking to understand what other people think of you so they will be influenced by testimonials either on your website or on trusted customer satisfaction websites e.g. Trustpilot etc.

3. Decision stage – the consumer evaluates and decides on the business that will help them solve the problem
At this stage, they will make contact with the company, either by email, telephone or through the contact form on your website. This is the stage where internal processes are key to ensure the consumer experiences a good customer experience and finds out any specific information they require. They are kept up to date and informed about the service or product they are interested in and feel valued.

Just as important as the 3 stages above, is the post-purchase/service experience, which is when you can really make a customer feel valued and turn them into a loyal customer. This is the time to ensure you have all the relevant contact details and GDPR compliance to make sure you can keep in touch with the customer in the future either through newsletters or emails.

Capturing customer satisfaction through surveys or testimonials is also important for your business. If they’ve had a positive experience then they will become an advocate and give you a good customer satisfaction rating or testimonial which money can’t buy!

What to do now?
So now is the time to review all the customer touchpoints for your business, and make sure that all your customer-facing marketing channels are up to date and relevant. Review your internal processes so that you understand what happens when someone gets in contact with you and how is it managed internally to ensure they receive a positive customer experience.

This is the customer journey and by understanding all of the elements that contribute to this, you will be able to successfully grow your business and ensure it is better than your competitors and deliver a positively memorable customer experience.

If you would like to find out more about how Designated can help with understanding your customer journey, please do get in touch:

Michelle Wheeler, Marketing Director, michelle@designatedgroup.com 020 7952 1460

Accountancy vs Bookkeeping

Accountancy vs Bookkeeping

Accountancy vs Bookkeeping

 

For somebody who doesn’t work in finance, it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between accounting and bookkeeping, as there are some administrative areas that can overlap depending on the structure of a business and how many employees it has working in its finance department.

However, while bookkeepers and accountants share common goals, they do support your business in different stages of the financial cycle.

Bookkeeping is more administrative, recording financial transactions. Accounting is more subjective, giving you insights into your business’s financial health based on the information provided by bookkeepers.

If you’ve ever wanted a clear definition between accountancy and bookkeeping, keep reading.

What is a Bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping is a legal requirement for all businesses of any size to carry out, and it refers to the recording of the financial transactions of a business, whether a sole trader, a partnership, or a limited company.

A bookkeeper will record all transactions either manually or within an ERP system like XERO and keep copies of all invoices, receipts and evidence of these incomings and outgoings.

The role of a bookkeeper will include:

  • Recording financial transactions
  • Posting debits and credits
  • Producing invoices
  • Preparation of financial statements (balance sheet, cash flow statement, and income statement)
  • Maintaining and balancing subsidiaries, general ledgers, and historical accounts
  • Completing payroll

What is an Accountant?

An accountant has expert knowledge surrounding taxes and accountancy. A business needs to consider more than just the in’s and out’s calculated by a bookkeeper, the right accountant will guide and act as financial business partner, ensuring all allowable expenses are claimed and all decisions are tax efficient to not only the business but the owners, directors, and partners.

The role of an Accountant will include:

  • Preparing adjusting entries (recording expenses that have occurred but aren’t yet recorded in the bookkeeping process)
  • Reviewing company financial statements
  • Analyzing costs of operations
  • Completing income tax returns
  • Aiding the business owner in understanding the impact of financial decisions

Designated Accountancy Services

All business owners want to have complete control of their business finances and have an up-to-date view of their financial performance. Our team of Designated accountants are experts who work with you on a flexible basis, whether you need support one day a month, one day each week or more.

Designated is a Xero Bronze Partner and our finance team are Xero certified advisors, trained by Xero to deliver you the best financial support.

Do you wish you had answers to questions like these?

  • How much tax will I need to pay next year?
  • How much profit did we make last month?
  • What do you mean by Tax Digital?
  • Am I managing payroll in the most effective way?

If so, then our Accountancy services may be your solution, please get in touch:

Vicky Garbett, Head Of Accountancy vicky@designatedgroup.com 020 7952 1460 

Top social media trends for your 2022 marketing strategy

Top social media trends for your 2022 marketing strategy

Social Media Trends 2022

Your customers are already searching, liking and sharing their favourite products, brands and services on social media—and they’re spending more time on these sites than ever before. But this activity doesn’t stop at consumer products, they are using social media in all aspects of their lives. 

Investing in social media marketing can help you grow your business thanks to its cost-effective advertising, smooth eCommerce capabilities, and the ability to give your brand a way to engage with your customers in a  human way. 

If it’s not easy for them to find you online, they can easily become frustrated and find another provider that better serves their needs.

Social media has become an essential part of the marketing mix, with more than three billion people worldwide spending over two hours a day socializing on social networks and messaging apps. Your business can tap into this pool of potential customers to increase user engagement and gain new leads—but you need to build a social media strategy that accurately reflects your business’s goals.

That’s why looking to the experts for their social media top tips and trends can be a great place to start as you begin to build your marketing and social media strategy. 

Hubspot recently shared their top to trends to look out for in 2022 and beyond

  1. TikTok will dominate the social media space.
  2. Reaching new audiences will become the number one social media goal for businesses.
  3. Companies will make more dedicated social media hires.
  4. Augmented Reality will become consumers’ preferred way to try-on products and interact with brands.
  5. Businesses in the B2B space will increase their investments in Instagram and Twitter.
  6. Influencer marketing will mature in 2022.
  7. Social advertising will become more sophisticated.
  8. Businesses will invest in more long-form and short-form content, as well as live audio chat rooms.
  9. Social selling demands will grow.
  10. Consumers will crave snackable content.

 There are many social media trends reports circulating but they all seem to share the same ideas, this is interesting when many brands have written off platforms like TikTok, seeing them as a fast-growing pandemic fad or influencer marketing as low return on investment. 

As marketers, it is interesting to be part of an industry that is constantly evolving, and with now people more than ever using social media to inform their purchasing decisions, it has never been more important to ensure you’re making the most of the tools and platforms available to you. When social media isn’t prioritized, organizations miss out on the 

opportunity to optimize platforms and turn them into revenue generators. 

If you’re looking to reach new audiences, trial new platforms, increase your paid social investments or create snackable content to share your story, then our marketing team which includes experts within the social media sphere can help guide you through the process. 

 

April newsletter

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