Finances: understanding business with Robert Simpson


Table of Contents


We all need it. 

We never have enough of it.

And we want to make sure that all of our businesses are making it. 

Often, your business finances can seem like this huge and incomprehensible task that we try to ignore. We caught up with Robert from Avonmead Chartered Certified Accountants to see how we could get a better grasp on what’s going on…

Start by understanding your business

A key step towards getting familiar with your finances is understanding your business. If you haven’t already, come up with a target market, think about what their need is and then work out what you can offer them. It doesn’t have to be “all singing and all dancing” you just need to identify what the problem you’re trying to solve is.

This helps you understand how your business should be structured and what sort of systems you need in place to manage your finances.

Get a free consultation with an accountant

“You absolutely don’t have to be an expert in tax, but you should definitely speak to someone who is” 

Good accountants will typically sit down with you to learn about the specifics of your business and ask questions to. Talking about money can be scary, but it’s so important to ask questions to get a better understanding about it. 

They’re usually pretty friendly (after all, accountants are just people too!) and you can usually find one like Robert who just wants to help.

Find the software that helps you to manage your business

There’s lots of software out there, much of it is free, that can help you to manage your finances and forecast ahead. You can use systems that will integrate with your bank account so it can pull your transactions out to give you a live, up to date view of what’s going on. 

It’s really important to invest in the right software though, so when you meet with an accountant, ask them about what would be best for your business.

Keep it simple

Take small steps – you don’t need a 5 year forecast and business plan if that stresses you out. Ask yourself what you want to achieve and have key milestones to achieve. If a 5 year forecast is too much, try a 1 year forecast, or even 30 days. If you continually revisit what you want to do every 30 days, then it breaks down this process into smaller and more manageable chunks. 

A lot of startups can fail because they’re too ambitious – sometimes it’s better to focus on making achievable steps. If you make sure these are aligned with your finances, then you can gradually build up to setting larger goals and milestones.

Stay on top of your processes

One really key area is around keeping on top of what your customers/clients owe you. Credit control is really important and quite often that comes back to you being on top of your paperwork. 

Many small businesses fail because they aren’t paid on time. If you’ve provided a service to another business, you need the correct processes to invoice them and make sure you put the right information on the invoice; so that they know who to pay and how to pay them! You can even use software to automate something like this, meaning you can spend less time chasing invoices, and more time doing what you do best.

Be aware of deadlines

Obviously, for all business owners, there are deadlines for declaring and paying taxes. If you’re self-employed, the deadline for that is the 31st of January. If you leave this till the last minute, you run the risk of ending up with missing documents or invoices. This could result in a higher tax bill or penalties for submitting inaccurate records – something that none of us what.

Remember that you don’t have to be an accountant…

Anyone can look at forecasts and think about cash flow, it’s not something you need a qualification for. In fact, a lot of us do this in our everyday life when it comes to managing bills and income. We’re used to thinking about saving money to go towards a holiday, it’s very much a similar approach with a business. You have to consider whether you’re going to invest it back into your business or whether you’ll draw it out.

Avonmead is an established Chartered Certified Accountancy Practice with offices in the heart of Birmingham and Bristol. They offer a range of Accountants services such as bookkeeping, tax, cloud accounting, back-office outsourcing, management reporting and business plans to clients in the UK. By placing technology and efficiency at the forefront of their service offering, they support start-ups, established businesses, freelancers, individuals and contractors. They believe in honesty, transparency and professionalism, and therefore place these values at the heart of their business, which is why they offer fixed monthly price services and no hidden fees!
Should you require any assistance then Robert’s details can be found at

PAPER Arts offers support for young creatives on how to build a creative career and navigate Bristol’s art scene. For more information about the work we do, please email [email protected]

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The future of paper arts

A Statement from the Board of Directors


Like many organisations, PAPER Arts has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, on appointment of a highly skilled CEO, we made the bold decision to review our business model and begin a process of research and development in order to shape a new service and to better support creatives in Bristol with professional development, networking and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Throughout the pandemic we have proudly supported creatives in Bristol, with a focus on young people from St Pauls, our Creative Employment programme hosted over 20 sessions and we welcomed 17 young people to feed into our research and development proposal. 

However, the last 18 months have been a huge challenge, while we’ve been able to successfully deliver a plethora of projects since our inception seven years ago, we have been unable to secure the funding necessary to realise our ambitious plans for the future and to provide our organisation with much needed financial stability.

As a result, it is with a heavy heart that the current PAPER Arts team, made up of Grace, Kate, Katy, Lau and Amie will no longer be able to continue in their roles. Our small team has delivered a substantial amount of value to the community we serve and the Board of Directors are endlessly grateful for the skills and professionalism they bring with them each and every day. We are proud to know and work alongside such talented individuals and believe that the arts sector is a better place with them in it. 

The ideas generated by this team are inspiring and hopeful and the Board of Directors wholeheartedly believe in the importance of supporting the creative community in Bristol.

As September ends and the seasons change PAPER Arts will be going into hibernation in order to survive this adversity. Our voluntary Board of Directors will spend the coming months considering the future of PAPER Arts, the role we can play in the arts sector in Bristol and how we can sustainably move forwards. We don’t know what that will look like yet, but as soon as we are able to share more with you we will. 

In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns or if you would like to speak to someone about the future of PAPER Arts please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] – Kirsten Cree, one of the Board of Directors will be monitoring this inbox. 

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