Tweak Your Biz » Finance » Saving Money In Your Office And In Your Business

Saving Money In Your Office And In Your Business



I have worked in businesses and offices since 1989 and before that I was brought up in the family hotel business. Always being accountancy minded I am forever looking for ways to save money for businesses and for myself. Especially these days when everyone is feeling the pinch. So I thought I’d suggest some ways to save money with some office and business expenses. A lot of these are probably obvious but if it just helps one person then I’ll feel I’ve achieved something.

Employees and Bonus Savings

If you want to give your staff a bonus – be it Xmas time or as an incentive for targets reached – then use One-4-All cards from the post office or online. Currently you can pay up to €250 per employee per annum using these cards and it’s tax free. If you were to pay the employee a net bonus of €250 it would normally cost the company €577 once you add the taxes on. Using the One-4-All card it just costs the business €250. Please note this example is for Irish companies only – perhaps your country has a similar scheme you can tell me about in the comments below.

Ensure you keep the receipt and which employee it refers to for accountancy and tax purposes or you can’t claim them. These vouchers can be spent in 5300 outlets in Ireland at the moment. Perhaps ask your employees for cost saving ideas and reward the best ones with €50 One-4-all vouchers – they can have up to 5 each a year then – and you may get some good ideas for the business too.

Virtual Services

If you are just starting off or don’t want to have the overheads of employees and an office then use a Virtual Office provider – they can receive your post, answer your calls and emails, be your secretary, PA, right-hand man or woman, do your bookkeeping, sales, adhoc duties and much more. You can pick and choose which services you need and it can grow with you as your business grows. At the beginning you may need to be on the road a lot or in meetings so it is handy to have someone back at base so to speak.

Related: The Virtues Of The Virtual Office, An Interview With Samantha Clooney

Telephone

Shop around for a good telephone provider – there are good deals to be had out there and don’t just fall for the clever sales spiel that some will give you. If you can, do a spread sheet for comparison so the best that suits you stands out.

Personally I use www.U.tv and for just €9.99 a month on top of the normal rental I get free Irish and UK landline calls. My mobile is on a deal to get free calls to Irish mobiles. So I know which phone to use to get free calls and never receive an “outrageous” phone bill. Skype and other VOIP services are very cheap too – but make sure they work clearly for you before going down that route.

Advertising

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on advertising when you’re starting off or if you don’t have the money.

  • Social media is free – it just uses up your time and you need to be prepared to spend time on it. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ are great ways to spread the word of your business. Write a blog and become an expert person that people refer to.
  • Write press releases – or get someone to do them for you – and highlight something unique and interesting about your business.
  • Run competitions on social media (within their rules) to get people talking about you and spreading the word.
  • Attend networking meetings – making sure you have cards and/or brochures ready to hand out. You may not meet anyone there who needs your services but people will now know about you and mention to others if they are looking for your service.

Office Equipment

Don’t just opt for a cheap printer as inevitably the ink cartridges will cost you a fortune and if used a lot will probably need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Shop around for the best options and think longevity and cost of ink cartridges rather than thinking this is a cheap one so I’ll get this – as I have learnt to my own cost.

Buy second hand furniture for your office. If your office is only being seen by yourselves then why go for the top of the range? And sometimes even second hand looks absolutely fine. Often there are Office Clearance sales and you can get computer equipment cheap too.

Stationery and Other Business Expenses

If you are Vat registered always get a Vat receipt when you buy your stationery or cleaning products for the office. That makes them cheaper as you can claim the vat back – and they are a business expense which you can offset against profits. This applies for any other business expenses too. Think how much the Vat is on everything and consider it like a refund when you’re doing your Vat return. Make sure it’s a valid Vat receipt though.

Related: Help Prevent VAT Fraud – Get Your Invoices Right

Often it is cheaper to buy in bulk or when something is on special offer. If it’s something you know you are going to use then it doesn’t matter if it’s not used for a while – you bought it when it was cheap so it’s a saving in advance.

Speaking as an accountant please keep those receipts folks. How do we know that €59.99 was spent on stationery and not a toy for your child. No receipt = no business expense and no Vat claim back either.

Archive your paperwork every year or sooner if you have a lot. Use treasury tags and take your filed paperwork from the ring binders keeping it together and in order using the treasury tags. Use a file divider or similar at the top and bottom to keep it neat and write what the file is on the front page. These can be boxed easier and use up less storage than the ring binders. And hopefully the ring binders are good to go for another year so you don’t need to buy new ones.

I hope the above proves that you don’t just have to dive straight in to a swanky office and everything looking like Google office’s younger cousin with a receptionist just waiting to take calls. During the start of your business you can probably be working from home, using a Virtual Office as mentioned. Keep it simple and cheap – don’t’ spend the money until you start earning it and know that you can afford it.

If you have any more suggestions for saving money in your business I’d love to hear about them.

Related: Top Ten Tips For Managing Your Books

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Image: “Hand adding a stack of coins to savings“/Shutterstock



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The Author:

Sian Phillips is the Managing Editor of TweakYourBiz.com and a Moderator on Bizsugar.com. Sian is also the accountant for her clients Henparty.ie, (Dragons Den winner 2009), Clearwave.ie and Comserv.ie. With over 20 years’ worth of experience in business and accounting Sian provides help to the SME sector. The other half of Sian’s day is spent working in the Social Media space; writing blog posts and conducting interviews for TweakYourBiz.com, plus writing for clients globally about Social Business and Accounting. She is a qualified Accountant with an Honours Diploma in Journalism too. http://www.tweakyourbiz.com

Add Your Comment

  • Elish Bul-Godley

    Thanks for that very relevant post during these austere times- I suspect the last paragraph belies a need for a blog on how to archive effectively too and file for that matter.

  • http://www.denisefay.com/ Denise Fay

    Sian – every small business or start up should read this. I see so many businesses who spend a lot of money on different items and don’t collect receipts.

    A lot of great points here and I’ll definitely share this.

    Take care,
    Denise

  • Samantha Clooney

    Sian, I’ve shared this with every group I’m involved with!! It’s so important for people to see this! I totally agree on the office equipment!! It’s not always the best idea to go for the cheapest!! Oh I learned this the hard way!!!

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie/ Sian Phillips

    Thanks Samantha – I’m so glad you’ve shared it with people and it will hopefully be a help

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie/ Sian Phillips

    Thanks Denise for sharing and hope it helps some people. You won’t believe how many people forget to keep receipts. I personally look at them as money – the business expense and the vat back. Like throwing money away.

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie/ Sian Phillips

    Thanks Elish. I have done a post on keeping accounts “tidy” for the accountant but can’t remember if in TYB or mine. I shall dig it out :)

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    I think Sian did one of those blogs somewhere :) I did “Top 10 Tips for Managing Your Books” here last year http://tweakyourbiz.com/finance/2011/09/02/top-ten-tips-for-managing-your-books/

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    Nice practical post there Sian – the One-4-all cards are a great way of paying a small tax free bonus, I’d forgotten about that, thank you!
    ~ Helen

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie/ Sian Phillips

    Here’s the one I did –
    http://tweakyourbiz.com/finance/2011/09/16/dont-delay-or-you-may-pay/ I also linked to yours, Helen, in my post as it’s really helpful

  • http://www.biz2credit.com/ william james

    I think business owner should take care of company employees in term of finance as well as health wise. Because if your employees are satisfied with their salaries and health wise they give quality work for company.