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In a previous blog I outlined the potential benefits of adding an apprentice to your team. The apprenticeship scheme has been boosted by George Osborne approving an increase of  £250m a year to boost workforce skills during the economic recovery.

This represents an increase of 50 per cent on the amount of money set aside by Labour for apprenticeships. Our young apprentice has passed her first exam on the AAT accountancy qualification and is gaining confidence with each week. As an employer I can highly recommend the apprenticeship programme as it is paying real dividends for both parties.

It would be wonderful to see a 17 year old progress through the exams and be a fully qualified accountant in three to four years . There is no reason why this can’t be achieved.

For reference the link is attached http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/ and if you want to talk it through with us please call Haxton, Chartered Accountants for West London.

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With the government making cuts left right and centre and legislation likely to increase the strain on businesses, Haxton believe that keeping a close eye on the numbers is more critical than it has ever been.

Budgeting and analysis is nothing new, and has always been common business sense, but the economic environment is changing so rapidly, especially post recession. Businesses need to adapt to the times.  We are entering an age of austerity, meaning that every possible angle needs to be explored and exploited.

On Track is a new Haxton service from Haxton, designed to keep businesses ahead of the game. Also, we want our clients to make BRILLIANT business decisions, anchored to accurate and complete financial data.

We are very excited about On Track and as a client (or future client), you should be too. It’s a simple but powerful process which brings structure to business planning for small and medium enterprises. It ensures your resources are concentrated on improving profits and increasing returns on investment.

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The Sage 2010 Pulse survey questioned 321 accountants and 325 senior decision makers at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).  Here are some of the key findings:

• 60% of business owners want sound business advice.  Interestingly, 38% of businesses named accountants as their most trusted source for business advice. This is nearly a 20% increase in two years and puts accountants way in front of management consultants.

• 63% of business owners want accountants to be cost effective.  This is up a massive 70% in two years and must be a result of tougher market conditions.  This is such a big jump that we have written a report about cost effectiveness of accountants.

• 42% of businesses want more regular contact with their accountant with tax planning being the most popular service. Regular contact by phone and email seems to be the key with 42% of businesses owners wanting this.

• 48% of businesses owners thought their accountant could deliver more insights into the performance of their business to support decision making.  Interestingly, there is an increase of 30% of business owners who want business planning advice.

I’d welcome your feedback on these numbers and will be discussing them with clients and comparing them to our 2010 survey.

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I felt it was time to have a more strategic focus on practice development at Haxton and together we will be looking at how can Haxton deliver more value to clients.

As well as one-to-one conversations I intend to do this in an open way by using the blog on our new Website.  Not only will our review include an analysis of what we do but how we do it.  Specifically, we will be considering:

• The role of advanced tax planning

• What new technologies can we and clients use to improve collaboration?

• How can get provide structured support to improve the clients’ business results?

The process is going to be an evolution not a revolution and we welcome input from our clients.  One of the initiatives will be a firm wide survey and I’ll report back the findings.

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We have a new website! In fact, you are on it!

This blog is one of the new features. Older clients may observe that the website has a similar feel to the old one (it does) but may not be familiar with the new content. So whether you’re new here or a Haxton regular, feel free to have a browse and familiarise yourself with some of the new features.

This blog is the quickest way for us to keep you up to date with current affairs. We’ll break news about Haxton products and people, pass on interesting information from other resources or comment anything that is likely to interest you. You can subscribe or use RSS.

If RSS is not something you are familar with this may help www.whatisrss.com

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