Vale Accounting are the North of England arm of RCS, arguably the leading specialist accountants for the independent retailer in the forecourt and convenience industry in the UK. RCS have five accountants covering the UK from the Cornwall to Scotland and everywhere in between, so wherever you are based RCS are sure to be able to help.
All five RCS accountants have a wealth of experience in the forecourt industry and are familiar with many of the leading EPOS systems, we don't just say we are accountants who specialise in forecourts - we are accountants who can help you get the most from your back office software. Starting life in 2002 as a division of Arciris (developers of the Prism back office system, probably the most well known system in the UK industry) meant that we were all very well trained on Prism, which subsequently led to us being given Level4 access into Prism and Iridium. Needless to say our clients benefit greatly from our Prism knowledge and access level, it's an often commented fact that our clients log less support calls with the Helpdesk!! Though now independent from Arciris (and its future guises - Torex, Micros and Oracle) we have continued to maintain a strong relationship with them and have been an approved installer of their ArcPost (the software that links Prism to Sage) software throughout.
RCS are also the approved accounts support team for CBE Software and are now helping retailers up and down the country by integrating CBE's WinRetail back office software with Sage accounting software.
Whatever back office system you have (we have clients on many platforms including Prism, Point4 EMS, CBE WinRetail, HTEC Retail Controller, ITS and other symbol group systems) our aim is always the same, to improve the efficiency of your bookkeeping, to save you time, and to improve the accuracy of the information coming out of the software, to help you plan the future of your business. Our clients aren't the big corporate plc groups, they are the small independent retailers with anything from 1 to 50 sites.
If you want an accountant who understands your business, your industry, and possibly most importantly, your back office system, you should talk to RCS. Visit the RCS website for details of the accountant covering your area and our contact details - www.retailaccountants.co.uk.
NEW - Making Tax Digital (new legislation coming April 2019)
You've probably heard of the new legislation coming into force from April 2019, called Making Tax Digital (MTD). The initial requirement affects VAT registered businesses and involves businesses filing their VAT returns electronically through commercial software. At present VAT returns can be filed by keying in your box 1 to 9 figures into the VAT return page on the Government Gateway, but this page will be closed from April 2019 and going forward you will need to submit the VAT return from within your bookkeeping software, be that Sage, Xero, Quickbooks or whichever software you are using to maintain your records. Cloud software such as Xero, Sage One, and Quickbooks Online are already equipped to file VAT returns, but if you are using Sage 50 Accounts you will need to ensure you have upgraded to version 24 (2018) or later as earlier versions are not compatible with the new Government Gateway software. Sage 50 Accounts is the most popular bookkeeping software used in the industry and has been for a fair number of years. One of the main reasons for this is that the till systems that are able to export sales and purchase data, create export files that are compatible with Sage 50 Accounts but not other systems. It was a bit of a viscious circle, most businesses were using Sage 50 so the till companies developed the links to Sage 50, but most businesses were using Sage 50 as this was the software that the till companies could link to!
We have been actively working with EPOS companies over the last couple of years to put solutions in place to ensure their customers (the retailers) are able to upgrade to the latest version of Sage 50 Accounts to ensure compliance with MTD. The biggest issue we had was with Oracle's Prism as this is now legacy software so was not being updated, yet we would say it is still, probably, the most used EPOS software in the UK. Prism links directly to Sage 50 Accounts, but only up to version 20 (2014) which meant that it would be non-compliant with MTD. We have therefore been working with a Sage developer to create a piece of software that will take the accounts export file from Prism and enable it to be imported into Sage 50 Accounts version 24 (2018) and newer. This software is now available both to our accounts clients and other Prism users in the UK, ensuring they can be MTD compliant come April 2019. Other EPOS companies such as Point4, CBE and HTEC export their sales and purchase data via Sage 50 Accounts format csv files which can be imported into the latest versions of Sage.
As time goes on we have heard of more retailers wanting to move away from Sage 50 Accounts (now called Sage 50c Accounts) to a cloud based product such as Xero or Sage One. This has been difficult to adapt for as the export files traditionally produced by the main EPOS companies have always been in the Sage 50 Accounts format, but the formats required for the cloud softwares are very different and not as easy to work with. We have however begun developing a suite of spreadsheet solutions to convert existing export files into cloud compatible import files. We have also started work on developing Sales Reconciliation spreadsheets that can generate export files for importing into the bookkeeping packages mentioned above. These spreadsheets are aimed at retailers who are using till software that does not generate an accounts export file (such as some of the symbol group software). Using day end reports from the till and the cash counted you can reconcile your sales position before pressing a button to export a csv file which you can then import into your MTD compatible bookkeeping software.
Case Study 1
Our client has a convenience store in West Yorkshire (strong symbol branded) and was previously paying his accountant £220 per month for weekly payroll for 9 staff, quarterly VAT returns (actually done by the client's bookkeeper) and quarterly management accounts (never actually produced). After 2 years with his previous accountant he received an additional invoice for £3,000 to cover the year end accounts, tax returns and correspondence with HMRC. His average monthly fee was therefore £345 plus VAT.
Our service to him includes the weekly payroll, VAT returns, monthly management accounts, annual accounts, tax returns, all HMRC correspondence, ongoing telephone support as required plus half a day per month onsite visit from one of our accountants. Our fully inclusive fee is £255 plus VAT per month. Obviously the big service difference here is the monthly visit from your accountant. We don't just call in to say hello (although we have done that on occasion as well) but we actually look to improve the system and the day to day work done by the client.
The client uses Prism and Iridium as their EPOS solution but they were not getting anywhere near their money's worth from it. Their previous accountant had no idea how it worked and stayed well clear. Their Prism system was already linked to Sage when we took over but in a way that hindered the bookkeeper rather than helped her. Since taking over we have changed the Prism to Sage link to suit the bookkeeper's working practices and changed the way stock invoices are posted to Prism to improve the efficiency of the back office system. After allowing our initial system changes a few weeks to bed in we started to analyse the perfomance of the shop. Our initial findings suggested that the gross profit margin was around 4-5% below the level we would hope to achieve in that location/scenario. We ordered a stock take to clean out the system then we got to work on repairing the profitability.
We have now started to see improvements in the profitability with a 2% improvement in gross profit margin as a result of refinements in the stock control system. Ongoing steps include looking at improving turnover levels through cross selling, the use of price-marked goods and benchmarking against other successful retailers. As an added bonus to the improved profitability, the stock control refinements have resulted in less stock being carried which helps cash flow enormously, and keeps the bank happy!
Case Study 2
Our client owns a petrol filling station with a small convenience store in North Yorkshire. The forecourt is branded by a large oil company but the shop is not branded by any of the symbol groups.
Previously our client was charged £450 per quarter for a 1 day onsite management accounts visit plus £3,000 per annum for the annual accounts and tax return. The previous accountants were not familiar with the back office software so prepared the management accounts simply from the bookkeeping software (Sage). They were not familiar with the forecourt industry and thus did not offer any consultancy.
We took over in 2005 and got to work analysing the systems and profitability. We assisted the client when his fuel supply agreement was due for renewal using knowledge gained from other clients. The new fuel agreement helped us to increase profit by 2 pence per litre with no noticeable drop in volume. We also worked on improving the shop margin position.
Since taking over the net profits of the business have increased from an average of around £28k per annum to an average of just over £75k in the 3 years to the end of 2010.
On top of this our fees are substantially less, we visit the site every month for half a day and prepare management accounts plus the VAT returns. We also handle all HMRC correspondence and prepare the annual accounts and tax returns. In other words we handle all their accounting requirements. Our fees are £175 plus VAT per month and £600 plus VAT for the year end accounts, an annual saving of £2,100.
We don't operate with strict hours although we generally work from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
41 Prince Rupert Drive
Tel: 01423 359855
Fax: 0870 762 5529
Making Tax Digital
In response to the new Making Tax Digital (MTD) legislation that comes into force from April 2019, we have started developing software solutions to help our forecourt and convenience retail clients become compliant. This involves creating the required electronic link between their Daily Sales Reconciliation procedures (be it done on their till/EPOS system or on spreadsheets) and MTD compliant accounts software such as Sage 50c Accounts or Xero.
You can contact us on the following telephone number if you have any queries or wish to make an appointment, and don't forget your first appointment is free of charge:
Tel: 01423 359855
Alternatively, please use our contact form.