Creative Business: building your ‘pit-crew’
Creative professionals and companies will always need a ‘go-to pit crew’.
At MSPA, we’ve made it our business to build a network of trusted associates we can confidently recommend to our clients and prospective clients. I’m talking about brand designers, web developers, SEO consultants, printers, manufacturers, photographers, business coaches and other professional services.
I’ve recently made 2 invaluable creative business connections, so I’m delighted to introduce you to:
Keith Hall – Accountant specialising in working with creative individuals & businesses Partner at Cardens Accountants
I asked Keith how he can help you:
- I speak in plain English – I understand that you may not know your FRS (Financial Reporting Standard) from your EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) so I always speak in plain English and without the jargon.
- Fixed fees, not fat fees – When I start to work with new clients, the first thing I do is work out what services they need and want from me. I will then try to give them a fixed fee for this work and agree a monthly payment plan so that they know exactly how much they are paying for working with me during the year. Obviously, if they ask me to help with something that will cost extra but this is all agreed upfront. I know that some creative clients don’t like to deal with “the accounts” so I offer a service where we look after virtually all aspects of a client’s accounts and tax affairs. Other creative clients’ I have found like being in more control of their accounting – my fees reflect this so I tailor the package to suit exactly what you need.
- Proactive tax advice – with our fixed fees, I include all the help and support that clients should need. This includes all the meetings and phone calls that might be needed during the year, where I can discuss a client’s business and offer proactive tax advice. This would include looking at the raft of available creative tax breaks – Research & Development, Video Games tax relief, Film Tax Relief, High-end Television tax relief etc.
- I work with you – If you become a client of mine and want to drop in a bag of receipts each year for your year-end accounts, that’s fine with me. If you use the latest accounting and receipt tracking apps and cloud accounting software, that’s good for me as well. I work with you using the accounting records you are happy to keep and don’t force you to use “our systems”. You can also use as much or as little of the services offered as you need – think of it as ‘bolt-on’s’ to the key parts of advice and support you need from each year – this again is about working out exactly what you need and creating an accounting system around your business and lifestyle. I recently recommended to a client a receipt tracking app called ReceiptBank as they travelled a lot around the world ( they are a stage performer ) and this was great at recording all of those little receipts, in various currencies, that are often lost and took away the worry of keeping hold of the paper receipts – you just scanned the receipt and threw it away!
…and finally, some things you might not know that are useful to everyone who is self-employed.
- It’s possible to get tax relief on parking fines and get them treated as a business expense
- You do not need to keep paper receipts – electronic copies of accounting records are acceptable to HMRC
Secondly, all creative business owners will need specialist legal advice from time to time – sales, copyright, trademarking, intellectual property and those all important contracts with galleries, publishers’ and corporate clients. It’s so easy to be a bit ‘head in the sand’ around these matters – until you experience the sharp end of exploitation. Protect yourself before that can happen.
I met Nicholas Sharp from Swan Turton at an art industry event in January this year. Nicholas is a legal consultant for the visual arts.
I asked Nick how he can help you:
- My aim is to provide an expert, individually tailored, cost-effective service with fast response times. I offer special rates for artists and fixed-price quotes wherever possible so that everyone knows where they stand.
- The focus of the service is the review and preparation of contracts since they are central to all legal and business relationships. Contracts clarify expectations, identify issues that might otherwise be overlooked, and reduce the likelihood of future disputes.
- In addition to specialist contracts for the visual arts (artist/gallery contracts, commission contracts, agency and representation contracts etc.), I can also help with company and commercial law issues, charity law and intellectual property.
Who’s in your ‘Pit-Crew’? – give us your recommendations for the benefit of other creative businesses in the comments below.
Business referrals are good for everyone.