Subscribe now to Forecourt Trader Magazine
  • Forecourt Trader

Retail » Money talk

Money Talk: Preparing for very interesting times ahead
10 October, 2019

In general, accountants try to stay away from looking at politics and world events. We tend to leave those matters to economists, who like to speculate on the eventual effects of what they call 'macro' events right down to the 'micro' level ie particular business sectors and consumers. However, unless you've made a conscious decision to avoid reading or listening to news reports for the last three or so years, you'll perhaps have noticed that we're living in rather 'interesting' times and that a lot of world events apparently seem to be coming together in the near future, with the distinct possibility that they will have a direct impact on your business.

Money Talk: The big squeeze that's affecting supplies across the board
09 September, 2019

There's been a common theme emerging over recent months in one conversation after another with independent fuel retailers: the word 'pressure' crops up quite regularly, but one very experienced retailer simply called it 'the squeeze'. He described a slow, inexorable process whereby it seemed that his options in how to run his business were continually narrowing on all sides.

Money Talk: Time for a reality check of your stock and the start of a routine
06 August, 2019

Money Talk: Can anyone say, with any confidence, what the true price of loyalty is?
09 July, 2019

With the recent major changes involving fuel brands and their associated loyalty schemes, many consumers might be forgiven for being confused. After the shake-up we now have: Esso associated with Nectar (having dropped Tesco Clubcard); BP offering BPme Rewards (having dropped Nectar); and Shell going with Go+ instead of Drivers Club. Meanwhile, Gulf has something called Oomph, Tesco, of course, continues with Clubcard, and Texaco with Star Rewards although the latter is also now associated with Confused.com rather appropriately, perhaps.

Money Talk: Family-run businesses have advantages... and disadvantages
07 June, 2019

It often seems that we live in an age of multinational mega-corporations which control so many familiar trading names, to the extent that it's easy to forget that in reality a large proportion of small/medium businesses are still basically family-owned and run enterprises and this is particularly the case when it comes to petrol retailing. Of course there are the oil companies, and they certainly fall into the 'multinational mega-corporation' bracket; then we have what are still euphemistically described as the 'Indies' in reality now dominated by a dozen or fewer very large companies who between them own a great many forecourts, both in this country and increasingly abroad. But at the grass roots level of petrol retailing, there are still many hundreds of sites operated by families.

Money Talk: Why planning ahead makes good business sense
06 May, 2019

It's very easy to sympathise with the view that planning ahead is basically pointless. Technological and social change seem to happen at an ever-increasing pace and to threaten the basic way in which our industries work, and indeed in how our lives are organised. As if that didn't make it difficult enough, there are all the stresses of the present: rising costs, increasing competition and customers expecting more for less every day. And, of course, the future rarely turns out as predicted anyway. Those of a certain age will have grown up with the notion that by the year 2000, we would have human colonies on the Moon and that we'd be piloting egg-shaped flying cars. But nobody predicted the internet, the iPhone, or that we'd still be crawling along crumbling roads in egg-shaped SUVs burning diesel or carrying half-a ton of batteries.

Money Talk: Were you aware that Minimum Wage Rates have risen again?
08 April, 2019

Being very busy people, you may have missed the fact that on April 1, the National Minimum Wage/Living Wage rates were raised again. For the record, the rates that you should now be paying are:

Money Talk: VAT returns are changing very soon: is your business prepared?
11 March, 2019

You may have heard the phrase Making Tax Digital (MTD) a few times in the last couple of years. Admittedly not the catchiest of terms, so far it hasn't had much impact outside the accounting journals in fact it's hardly caused much in the way of comment even in the business sections of the mainstream media. But all that is about to change in particular as far as the vast majority of VAT-registered businesses are concerned. Because from April 1, those businesses will face a change to how they produce and file VAT returns.

Money Talk: Don't worry, it's only the auditors and they offer genuine benefits
11 February, 2019

A year on from the meltdown at Carillion, quite apart from the immense fallout in practical terms, one consequence is that serious questions have been raised about the role of that company's auditors. The same questions have arisen after almost every subsequent corporate failure the latest being at Patisserie Valerie, where the company's owners discovered a large hole in their balance sheet just months after the annual accounts were signed off by their auditors. The powers that be have taken notice: the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which is responsible for regulating auditors, is currently investigating several of the large audit firms involved in recent corporate failures; the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking at the dominance of the 'Big 4' accountancy firms in the UK; and there have been suggestions that the FRC itself may face a shake up.

Money Talk: Honesty is always the best policy, especially when it comes to HMRC
11 January, 2019

There's a saying that there are two people with whom you should always be completely open and honest: your doctor and your lawyer. Of course, we'd add accountant to that select number particularly at this time of year. That's because while much of the business world seems to go into semi-hibernation for a few weeks in January, this is always a very busy month for accountants; dominated primarily by the need to ensure that clients' personal Self-Assessment Tax Returns (SATRs) all get filed by the 31st at the very latest. Naturally most accountants would prefer not to have all the SATR work in the last few weeks before deadline day, but there are always a few clients who just don't provide the information until the last minute or after.

When a major car manufacturer like Ford predicts that sales of its electrified cars will outnumber petrol and diesel models by 2022, does that ring alarm bells about the possible speed of change for forecourts?