Wednesday, 16 November 2011

"Credit Check Potential Customers" says Business Link

"If you don't know a potential customers credit history, there's a risk of being paid late or not being paid at all."

That's not just the view of ukdata.com but some rather good advice from Business Link.

I'd actually say that it's worth checking any business that appears in your supply chain as the cost of getting insightful, up-to-date credit and financial information is far lower than not being paid for your products or services.

And so that you never miss a thing about the companies that matter to you, our free monitoring service will update you via email of any filing or credit changes.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Marks & Spencer & Jaguar Land Rover

Not just any fall in profit and sales, this is a Marks & Spencer fall in profits and sales (08/11/2011). I know the new tag line is “Your M&S” but I just couldn’t resist!

The retailer blamed a “challenging economic environment” for its 8% drop in sales for the six months to 1 October 2011 compared to the same period last year. With clothes lines and other products in decline, food remains the only area of growth.

You can view our latest credit report and financials for M & S here.

With much more encouraging news, Jaguar Land Rover announced (10/11/2011) that they are to create 1,000 at their Land Rover plant in Solihull. This represents a plant workforce increase of 25%.

In September the company announced that they would be creating 750 new job at a new factory near Wolverhampton building low-emission engines.

To see our latest full report for Jaguar Land Rover click here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

New Company Incorporations for October 2011

Nice short post, just passing on the latest figures from Companies House in terms of newly incorporated companies across the UK for October 2011.


England & Wales

October

Last Year

% Change

35,659

30,861

15.5

Scotland

October

Last Year

% Change

1,826

1,604

13.8

Northern Ireland

October

Last Year

% Change

452

306

47.7

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Insolvency Update from ukdata.com


The UK insolvency service on the 4th November published its insolvency statistics for the third quarter of 2011.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, there were 4,242 compulsory liquidations and creditors’ voluntary liquidations in total in England and Wales in the third quarter of 2011. This was an increase of 0.1% on the previous quarter and an increase of 6.5% on the same period a year ago.

This was made up of 1,203 compulsory liquidations, which are down 6.6% on the previous quarter and up 5.7% on the corresponding quarter of the previous year, and 3,039 creditors’ voluntary liquidations, which are up 3.1% on the previous quarter and up 6.8% on the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Sunday Times Top 100 Food List

For those of us that are partial to a bit of “pucker tucker”, The Sunday Times Food List, featuring the UK’s top 100 restaurants was a mouth-watering read.

Sadly, the ukdata.com budget has not allowed me to dine at any of these fine establishments but looking down the list, I was surprised at how many restaurants I recognised. More to the point, I was reminded about the number of food based TV programmes that had made some of the chefs’ house-hold names.

Furthermore, a rummage through the books on kitchen windowsill confirmed a love for food even if Nigella or Ainsley hadn’t made it into the top 100.

So here’s the top 10 taken from The Sunday Times Food list, published on Sunday 30th October 2011:

Position

Restaurant

Food List Score

1

The Ledbury, Notting Hill

9.81

2

Le Manoir Aux Quat’saisons, Great Milton

9.74

3

Gidleigh Park, Chagford

9.74

4

Le Gavroche, London

9.72

5

The Waterside Inn, Bray

9.70

6

One-o-One, London

9.69

7

Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Auchterarder

9.67

8

Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh

9.65

9

Pied a Terre, London

9.64

10

The Fat Duck, Bray

9.62

Naturally, it wouldn't be a ukdata.com Blog post without us re-arranging the top 10 by their latest credit scores (as of Monday 31st October 2011)

Position

Restaurant

Credit Score

1

Le Manoir Aux Quat’saisons, Great Milton

91

2

Gidleigh Park, Chagford

91

3

The Fat Duck, Bray

90

4

One-o-One, London

90

5

Pied a Terre, London

88

6

Le Gavroche, London

78

7

The Waterside Inn, Bray

78

8

The Ledbury, Notting Hill

75

9

Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh

76

10

Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Auchterarder

63

It seems that Raymond Blanc and Le Manoir restaurant in Oxfordshire comes out best overall with the top-spot for credit score and an admirable second in the food list. A quick look at the full financial report for Blanc Restaurants Ltd (http://issuu.com/ukdata/docs/blanc_restaurants_01728000?mode=window&viewMode=singlePage) shows a rather appetising turnover of £13,818,000. All of a sudden, I’m wishing I had paid more attention in Home Economics!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Community Enterprise Reaches the High Street

We have both ends of the business scale here. One is a massive food manufacturer with brands that most of us have on our shelves and the other is a small community baker based in Dunbar.

First up is Premier Foods, better known for such store-cupboard favourites as OXO, Hovis, Mr Kipling and Bisto, to name but a few. They warned at the start of October 2011 that its full-year trading profit will fall below expectations. The UK’s biggest food manufacturer described current trading as “disappointing” with both sales and market share having declined over the last 12 months.

In the same week an article about a small community bakery in Dunbar, East Lothian caught my eye. Three hundred local residents have all invested a small amount of money in an attempt to revive their high-street. They hope to provide a new source of employment and training eventually developing a wholesale market as well as sales through the shop.

Now some of you will argue that Premier Foods has a raft of investors but I think we’re missing the whole point of why Dunbar Community Bakers can be successful. It’s about delivering a quality product to local people who care about what they are getting and who will actually use the product.

If you look down the list of executive directors for Premier, do we really believe that David Beever or Charles Smith are coming home and cracking open a jar of Loyd Grossman’s Thai Green Curry?

I wish them well and hope that we can see more social enterprises making it onto the high-street. As an aside, one of the 5 key priorities that the new chief executive of Premier, has identified is agreeing a refinancing plan. I wonder if he can learn something from a lesser known Scottish bakery?

You can check out Premier Foods latest financials at http://issuu.com/ukdata/docs/premier_foods_05160050?mode=window&viewMode=doublePage and if you want to monitor any credit/filing changes visit http://ukdata.com/company/05160050/PREMIER-FOODS-PLC

Friday, 14 October 2011

Valuing a Company Using Its Abbreviated Accounts

You’re probably aware of the requirements for filing at Companies House [http://blog.ukdata.com/2011/09/to-file-or-not-to-file.html] and certainly with smaller companies, you have limited data to make any informed financial decision.

For those who want to value their own business or are looking to purchase another can look at the assets and liabilities to come up with a figure. A solvent company should be able to shut down all its operations, sell any assets, and pay creditors. The cash remaining establishes a floor value for the company. This approach is known as the net asset value or cost method valuation.

Watch out for weak performing companies that have strong tangible assets as this will skew your calculations.


Friday, 7 October 2011

How does ukdata.com Calculate Risk Score

We’ve had a few enquiries this week wanting to know about how the risk scores are calculated. We do have some pretty extensive help pages on ukdata.com at https://ukdata.com/help but just to answer this specific question, here’s what we do.

Companies are analysed over a 12 month period, hence why for newer companies we can’t always append a credit score. The below listed variables are run against our entire database of companies.

  • Age of Company
  • Company Size (separate calculations are used for SME’s and large PLC’s)
  • Financial Performance (figures from Companies House)
  • Age of Company Accounts
  • Ratio Analyses
  • Auditor Comments
  • Director History
  • Group Influence (if company is part of a group)
  • Demographics
  • Industry Insolvency Trends
  • Number, Value & Frequency of CCJ’s
  • Time Critical Filings

We are then able to assign an appropriate risk weighting and through statistical analyses generate the credit score.

Given the current economic climate, we are now applying SIC code insolvency statistical analyses to ensure successful businesses in certain sectors maintain their credit score.

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Coolest Brands (and their credit scores)

http://www.coolbrands.uk.com/ this week identified the top UK brands that we apparently think are the coolest, most aspirational and, well…cool!

The brands are chosen by an Expert Council (much to my daughter’s joy, ‘Jessie J’ is a member) and just to dilute things down a bit, there are 2,000 members of the British public. 1,500 brands are short-listed and then distilled down to 500 brands who are awarded ‘CoolBrand’ status.

So the Top 10 coolest brands were:

  1. Aston Martin
  2. Apple
  3. Harley Davidson
  4. Rolex
  5. Bang & Olusfen
  6. Blackberry
  7. Google
  8. Ferrari
  9. Nike
  10. YouTube

Thing is, ‘cool’ is very subjective and personal and therefor by default hard to define. The voters aren’t given a definition of cool but asked to consider style, innovation, originality, authenticity, desirability and uniqueness.

But then, I’ve looked into the definition of cool and got the following:

cool [kool] Show IPA adjective, cool·er, cool·est, adverb, interjection, noun, verb

1. moderately cold; neither warm nor cold: a rather cool evening.
2. feeling comfortably or moderately cold: I'm perfectly cool, but open the window if you feel hot.
3. imparting a sensation of moderate coldness or comfortable freedom from heat: a cool breeze.
4. permitting such a sensation: a cool dress.
5. not excited; calm; composed; under control: to remain cool in the face of disaster.
6. not hasty; deliberate: a cool and calculated action.
7. lacking in interest or enthusiasm: a cool reply to an invitation.
8. lacking in warmth or cordiality: a cool reception.
9. calmly audacious or impudent: a cool lie.
10. aloof or unresponsive; indifferent: He was cool to her passionate advances.
11. unaffected by emotions; disinterested; dispassionate: She made a cool appraisal of all the issues in the dispute.
12. Informal . (of a number or sum) without exaggeration or qualification: a cool million dollars.
13. (of colours) with green, blue, or violet predominating.
14. Slang . a. great; fine; excellent: a real cool comic. b. characterized by great facility; highly skilled or clever: cool manoeuvres on the parallel bars. c. socially adept: It's not cool to arrive at a party too early. d. acceptable; satisfactory; okay: If you want to stay late, that's cool.

(I’m pretty sure than Ferrari don’t consider themselves to be ‘dispassionate’, ‘not exciting’ or ‘unresponsive’!)

Anyway, the point of this post was to offer up something much more tangible than the concept of ‘coolest’ and look at some good old-fashioned numbers. So here is my Top 10 Coolest Brands re-ranked by current credit score – enjoy!

Credit Score Position

Cool Position

Company

Current Credit Score

1

2

Apple

97

2

9

Nike

95

3

5

Bang & Olusfen

94

4

3

Harley-Davidson

91

5

4

Rolex

91

6

6

Blackberry

87

7

7

Google/Youtube*

86

8

8

Ferrari

85

9

1

Aston Martin

81

*Youtube - Google does not break down revenue across its products.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fraud Time Again - IZETECH Ltd


So once again somebody’s been playing with their magic crayons.

You’ll notice the out of data logo, poor grammar, even worst punctuation but the finishing touch must be the approval by the Metropolitan Police. As we know, the Police are always approving companies for trustworthiness!

Please don’t fall for this rubbish. We will help verify a company, you don't even need to buy a report or be an existing client. We will always provide advice free of charge.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What sort of credit account person am I?

I think I've identified four different types of credit account person. Each has their own challenges and priorities which influence how they go about getting and using financial information for the good of the business.

1. The Ambitious Credit Account Person: “I need to provide more strategic direction and add value to other departments with the company.”

Chances are they’re looking to climb the job ladder, it’s about taking actions that get noticed (in a good way) and impress the boss. How about getting full reports on all the prospects you’re currently chasing or monitoring your competitors for credit or filing changes?

2. The Under Pressure Credit Account Person: “I need to find new ways of managing costs and maintain performance.”

Most businesses are keeping an eye on costs with an increased pressure on all of us to do more with less. Managing the sales ledger, invoicing, payment chasing, distribution management, staff demands and you want me to run credit checks with our current supplier!

3. The Frustrated Credit Account Person: “My current system is not providing what I need in terms of options, information and functionality.”

Must be awful to be in a job where you don’t have the tools to do the best job you possibly can. With suppliers and customers being a bit more cautious, there is a need to increase the amount of credit checks that you run. Even if it’s somebody you have dealt with for a long time, businesses change, people move on and we’re only as good as the people we employ.

4. The Relaxed Credit Account Person: “I don’t think we need to change anything, we’ve always done it this way.”

Great I guess if you’re business is static and doesn’t really change much but in reality, if credit scores are changing then the risk to your business is changing.

So which one you, or more interestingly, did I forget somebody?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Estimating Turnover

Companies House states that companies of a certain turnover, balance sheet and employee size do not have to file full accounts. So, is there a way of finding out the turnover of a small or medium sized companies?

You can certainly get there with a best estimate and by applying a bit of common sense. However, there are some factors that you may want to consider:

· Betting shops and consultants have very few trade debtors

· Seasonal businesses will have debt and stock peaks and troughs

· High end retailers (e.g. jewellers) will have a high stock value

· Supermarkets tend to have high stock, low trade debtors, and small profit margins

The trick is to compare apples with apples and apply the same rules for all the companies you’re looking at. This way, you’ll get a feel for where one company is in relation to another. Of course, a company with assets of £50,000 is likely to have a higher turnover than one with £5,000 of assets. Outward physical observations about a company (e.g. staff numbers, premises, cars, advertising) are social factors that can give an indication of where a company is in terms of the perimeters you establish.

There are three key areas that you can look at to start building an estimated turnover figure:

1. Total Assets

2. Trade Debtors

3. Stock

The roughest of estimates starts with Total Assets. Having looked at many abbreviated accounts, and having the advantage of knowing what the turnover of a company is, asset values x 3 or 4 seems to be about right.

Trade debtors pay every 70 to 90 days, which is the equivalent to 4 or 5 times per year. Therefore, multiplying the Trade Debt by 4 or 5 gives you an indication of gross sales or turnover.

Stock has to be sold, so you have to decide of a reasonable inventory turnaround based on the nature of the goods and services being sold. If it’s 60 days, then you know that the stock is turned 6 times a year. Multiply the stock value by 6 to get another indication of turnover.

Whilst it’s not ideal in terms of getting an exact figure, it is a great way of seeing how companies rank against each other. And whilst people are always keen to rank by turnover, other available measure can be a better indication as to the health and profitability of a business. Cash at Bank, is a personal favourite of mine. If that’s showing a steady increase, chances are their sales are increasing and their spending is controlled.

Friday, 9 September 2011

To File or Not To File.

Sometimes the information you want is just not available.

Frustrating, I know but when it comes to a company’s annual accounts, we’re only as good as the information supplied to Companies House. (The fact that our website is easier to use is a handy side benefit.)

So what are the filing requirements for UK Ltd companies? First off, under the Companies Act, all companies, even if they are not trading, must file accounts at Companies House each year. The only exceptions to this are small, medium sized or dormant companies, who can if they want, file abbreviated accounts. However, there are no exemptions for public companies (PLC), banking, insurance or shipping companies and their subsidiaries regardless of size.

The next logical question is what are the criteria that define a small, medium or large company? This varies depending on when your company’s financial year started. For those with financial years before 6th April 2008, two of the following three criteria have to be met:

Small Company

Medium Company

Large Company

Annual Turnover

Not exceeding £5.6m

Not exceeding £22.8m

More than £22.8m

Balance Sheet Total

Not Exceeding £2.8M

Not Exceeding £11.4m

More than £11.4

Employee Numbers

No more than 50

No more than 250

250 or more


For those with financial years after 6th April 2008, the definitions change slight, but there is still a requirement to meet two of three following criteria:

Small Company

Medium Company

Large Company

Annual Turnover

Not exceeding £6.5m

Not exceeding £25.9m

More than £25.9m

Balance Sheet Total

Not Exceeding £3.26M

Not Exceeding £12.9m

More than £12.9

Employee Numbers

No more than 50

No more than 250

250 or more


Having sorted the definitions of small, medium and large companies, the following table gives you the filing obligations:

Small Company

Medium Company

Large Company

Balance Sheet

Abbreviated Balance Sheet

Full Balance Sheet

Full Balance Sheet signed by a Director

Profit and Loss

Not Required

Abbreviated Profit and Loss Account

Full Profit and Loss Account.

Turnover

Not Required

Not Required

Yes

Auditor Report

Not Required

Special Auditor Report

Yes and signed by the auditor

Director Report

Not Required

Yes

Yes and signed by an officer of the company

Notes to the Accounts

Not Required

Yes

Yes and group accounts if appropriate


Hopefully this helps. As an information provider, we’d like all companies to supply all the information but as this is unlikely to happen, we’re just work with what we have.