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Welcome to our Summer newsletter! 


CAROLINE BOARDMAN CONSULTING business news and current offers.

CLIENT FOCUS: Catherine Mackey Travel Counsellor. Catherine answers some questions, including how she's been looking after her customers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

3 TOP TIPS for the quarter.

Visit my website to learn more about me & CBC.

CBC business news and current offers

Welcome everyone to our newsletter. I'm Caroline, I've been running my accountancy practice now for almost 2 years. I'm a friendly, family-focussed accountant based in Urmston near Manchester. I started working for myself to fit around the family, I didn't know how valuable a skill that would become, as that is exactly what we have been doing here at CBC for the last 2+ months. 

I am so glad that I followed clients feedback and started a newsletter earlier this year, it has meant that throughout the Covid-19 situation, I have been able to provide quick updates on all of the available business support to you all. 

What’s been happening?

  • I've been keeping up to date with ALL of the COVID-19 government support for businesses and communicating this by email, on my Facebook page, in my favourite Facebook groups and on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
  • I've been processing furlough claims the last 2 months for clients (at no extra charge). May and June claims have been paid.
  • I have helped all clients get ready for the SEISS cash grants and all have been paid already.
  • I have helped clients to successfully apply for the Bounce Back Loan
  • I have run 2 training webinars in collaboration with FreeAgent. The next one is on Thursday 2nd July 2020. This is for brand new users. These are free training sessions. Please come along if you think this is for you. Find out more on the event page of my Facebook page
  • I have been communicating even more about the annual tax investigation insurance which is now available for £100 per year. This can be paid £10 per month June to March if you prefer. Let me know if you are interested in this, this will cover the time I would spend to help you get everything together for a tax inspector in the event of a tax investigation.

See what clients say about Caroline Boardman Consulting.


Catherine Mackey Travel Counsellor.

A wise fellow Trafford Woman in Business* said recently that over these past months “everyone has realised they need an accountant and a travel agent”, well then who better to have as my client focus in this Summer edition than Catherine Mackey, Urmston’s own Travel Counsellor. 

Catherine is your woman if you want to book a hassle free holiday.

I asked her a few questions about what she’s been doing for the last 3 months and as a travel expert who has already travelled a lot, where would she go if she could go anywhere right now.

1. How have you been coping during lockdown?

The past three months have been a challenging time for all of us at home and at work. By the end of February, the impact of Coronavirus was starting to affect travel on a global scale. As March progressed more and more countries closed their borders, and FCO travel advice was changing hourly, leaving many people's current and imminent travel plans placed in jeopardy.

My immediate concern and focus were my clients who were overseas and becoming being rapidly impacted. I worked alongside my wonderful Travel Counsellors 24/7 duty office, working to find a way to get them all home with the minimum amount of stress (to them, not me!). 
Calling customers who are in their ‘holiday bubble’ and advising them that they need to return home as soon as possible is not something I ever want to have to do, but I did breathe a huge sigh of relief when my last customers returned home, safe and well, from destinations including long-haul clients in California, Las Vegas, Mexico, and India.

2. Once they were all home, what was next?

    My attention then turned to those due to depart later in March and into April and May. I spent many hours speaking to my customers, advising them of all the different possible scenarios as well as continuing to provide up to date and accurate travel advice. 

    This advice was, and still is, constantly evolving as the world's countries and respective travel industries do their best to navigate their way through this unprecedented situation in the best way they can for their employees and customers.

    With official guidance and supplier policies changing frequently, I haven’t always had the answers right away, or been able to give the answers people are wanting, but I have always been accessible and always at the end of the phone, message or email - which is something that many parts of the travel industry have certainly struggled with. 

    In my office I have been monitoring every single supplier policy daily for every one of my future bookings, providing advice not only to my own customers but also those that have not booked with me struggling to get answers elsewhere. 

    I take pride in the fact that I am always available to speak to you and I am still happy to provide any advice to anyone who is having a hard time contacting their providers and help as much as I can.

    3. How has your working day changed?

      For me, my working day has not changed dramatically (apart from now having my husband and three daughters under my feet all day!) as I work from home anyway and am able to continue to be available to my customers as usual. 

      I’ve been working tirelessly to keep my clients informed with clear, honest, fact-based advice, and be as caring as I possibly can, understanding that people's work and financial situations are also impacted, not just their holiday. 

      Where possible I’ve moved final payment dates, reacted quickly to re-arrange bookings and refunds, trying to be as proactive as I can. 

      I’ve re-scheduled family holidays, honeymoons, school trips, cruises, and more. 

      I’m so happy for my clients when their travel dreams are still there to look forward to, where moving to new dates has been possible.

      For my customers who have bookings in place over the next few weeks, I am working closely with them, exploring the different potential scenarios, and doing everything I can to get the best outcome for them. 

      I also continue to work with those whose travel plans have been cancelled to arrange refunds, or a financially protected credit note if they prefer. 

      Cash refunds are frustratingly taking much longer than everyone would like, but this is simply down to the physical strain that the industry is under, and not an underhand tactic as some people assume.

      Martin Lewis "money-saving expert" recently ranked Travel Counsellors as the no.1 travel firm for cancellation refunds!

      4. What are the positives to come out of this situation?

        Nothing has impacted the travel industry like this has but thankfully there are positives! 

        After the initial shock of no one booking anything at all for the first month or so, in the last couple of weeks enquiries have started to come in again, and new bookings are beginning to happen. 

        I'm getting an increasing number of enquires for milestone holidays such as Big Birthdays, Anniversaries, Weddings/Honeymoons etc. 

        Many are keen to book sooner rather than later, to ensure their dream trip is booked before the predicted price increases happen. 

        Having an amazing trip ready and waiting to look forward to is one sure way to get through these tough times! 

        And I am here to help everyone through the enjoyment of planning your adventures as I always have been. 

        If ever a time has highlighted the benefits of my service, it has been the last two months and I can’t wait to get back to doing what I love and do best.

        Get in touch with Catherine if you need a holiday!

        5. And finally, what holiday have you been dreaming of whilst in lockdown?

        I have loads of favourite places. I love everything about Asia, and my number 1 favourite destination in the world has to be India. I love its vibrant diversity, history, religion, culture, food and the craziness. I am confident that we will fly and sail again!

        *Helen Calvert of Clear Day was the wise woman.

        See more from Catherine and her favourite travel destinations.

        CBC Summer tips

        Tax tip

        With so many of us now working from home, this is a good one.

        HMRC has changed its practice to allow employees to claim a flat-rate deduction of £6 for each week they work at home to cover additional household costs such as heat and electricity.

        Did you know that as an employee you can claim a deduction of £6 per week from 6th April 2020 for working from home? (£4 per week before that date).

        For ease of administration HMRC are now allowing employees to claim this without having to justify the figure (amendment to the guidance on 15th May 2020).

        Employees who complete a self assessment tax return can make a claim for their home working costs under the section in that form titled “using your home as an office”.

        Most employees are not required to submit a tax return, so they can claim the tax deduction for homeworking expenses either online or by post on form P87, or by phoning HMRC on 0300 200 3300.

        NB. Employees include directors.

        "as an employee you can claim a deduction of £6 per week from 6th April 2020 for working from home"

        Check if you are eligible to claim.

        Money saving tip

        This is still my no. 1 money saving and accountancy related tip, The Mettle banking app has been launched. This is a challenger bank, similar to Starling but is associated with NatWest and RBS so has the free FreeAgent License included. That’s free business banking and free accounting software! No catch.

        “METTLE - Free business banking and free accounting software”

        Check out the Mettle banking app here.

        FreeAgent tip

        Time tracking

        Do you want to keep track of the time you spend on a particular contract for a particular client, on a daily or weekly basis? To use the Time Tracking module in FreeAgent, you have to set up a project to record time for. The project in FreeAgent corresponds to your contract.

        Time is tracked against different tasks within the project. 

        Tasks can be set as billable or unbillable. You can also enter a set billing rate to use when you track the time you have spent on the project, which is then used to create invoices within the project. Until you do this, any unbillable hours will show with a cost of £NIL

        You might also want to set a budget of hours that you're going to spend on this project.

        Once you've tracked time against a project, you can then add that time to an invoice so that you never forget to charge your customers for your time!

        The best bit is, you can time track via the phone app too, so do it on the move!

        "enter a set billing rate to use when you track the time you have spent on the project,"

        See how easy it is to track your time on FreeAgent here

        Words by Caroline Boardman with assistance from Lisa Clennell.


        Amazing illustrations by Victoria Lysaght of TeaCup Doodles.

        Caroline Boardman Consulting Limited

        Company number 11554381

        6 WESTMORLAND ROAD, Manchester
        United Kingdom

        Visit my website for more information.

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