A Small Sample of Projects

A few major projects completed over the decades of my career are outlined in the following sections.

Project 1: Designing Business Control Systems

After completing Chartered Accountancy, I joined a small company engaged in steel fabrication contracts, mostly steel towers for power lines. The control systems at the company were ineffective and I started redesigning key systems.

ACCOUNTING: There was just a cash book and ledger, and too many accounts. I reduced the number of accounts, categorized them under meaningful classifications like Contract Revenue, Contract Costs, Administrative Costs and Financial Costs. The cash book was converted into a columnar format with columns for each category. A journal was introduced to record accrued non-cash items.

As a result, we were able to get meaningful insights into operations soon after the end of each month.

BILLING: Deliveries under the different contracts were made by one department and billing for the deliveries were done by accounting department. There was a lot of confusion and one was not sure whether all deliveries have been billed.

I combined the Delivery Note and the Invoice into one document. When deliveries were made, the next Invoice Number was generated and the deliveries were recorded in the delivery part of the invoice.

Accounting department was now able to track all deliveries and bill for these.

PERPETUAL INVENTORY: Inventory records were not up to date and there was no way to check whether supplies were going missing.

I introduced a perpetual inventory system, checking actual inventories of operating supplies every working day with the book balance. This forced the store keeper to keep the inventory records up to date.

We were also able to evaluate year-end inventory quickly and prepare authentic financial statements.

Project 2: Business Fundraising

I was a kind of management auditor (Advisor to Chief Executive) with a business group that owned several manufacturing units. One assignment involved helping one of the units to raise substantial funding.

I created a complete financial model, with sensitivity analysis that showed projected operating results under different assumptions. I also had to substantiate the financial projections with industry trends, and convince the lenders that the computations were correct and complete.

A few millions in funding was raised from a consortium of premier lending institutions in the country after the above exercise.

Project 3: Digitalization of Businesses

I had left employment and was engaged as a freelance computer applications developer.

During a period of just over a decade, I designed, developed and implemented over fifty custom applications for several small businesses. 

The systems so delivered covered practically all key business result areas - Jobs Costing, Cost Estimating prior to RFQs, Inventory Control, Sales Analysis, Receivables Aging Analysis, Financial Accounting, Payroll, Financial Modeling, Production Planning & Reporting, and more.

My clients were more than happy so that I received a continuing flow of assignments for more than a decade. I discontinued the business as technology progressed and my development platform, MS DOS/FoxPro/Clipper began to get obsolete with the arrival of Windows OS and OOP.

Anyway, I gained high-value insights into varied activities involved in business operations.

Project 4: Creating a Top Ranked Website

After discontinuing the application development venture, I had picked up HTML and was soon developing web content for clients in different countries.

As an experiment, I created a non-commercial website in 2006. And soon found that it was ranking at the top of search results in all major search engines for relevant keywords.

The website discussed a topic that was trending at that time, and its pages attracted links from academic, government and even military websites. The good number of in-pointing links plus the fact that competition was not high at that time were the factors that led to the top visibility in search results.

I sold the website to a businessperson for a good price.

 Project 5: Press Release for a Professional Services Firm

My client was a real estate intermediary, who wanted to help a real estate entrepreneur promote real estate properties. He asked me to write a press release calling attention to a tax benefit that was not well known. I researched relevant tax provisions and created the press release reproduced below (that was in 2013). Incidentally, the press release had a good response, and my client became a tax consultant specializing in this area!

Use Your Plant & Machinery to save on the Tax you Pay

“The term, Plant & Machinery, includes fixtures on your buildings,” says [spokesperson] of [company]. “These fixtures might be eligible for capital allowances, even if they were created long ago.”

It is a surprising fact that many building owners are unaware of the substantial amounts they can save by claiming capital allowances on certain building fixtures that tax authorities classify as Plant and Machinery. Commercial properties that generate revenue, and pay tax on profits, can benefit in a major way by identifying the specific fixtures so classified, and claiming capital allowances on their value.

 Studies have revealed that owing to ignorance on the part of taxpayers, huge amounts of eligible allowances are remaining unclaimed. If you own any kind of commercial property, you could be in for a big surprise if you approach a qualified valuation expert who is also familiar with the provisions of the Capital Allowances Act 2001.

 The “Plant” part of Plant & Machinery can cover many surprising items, including toilets and kitchens, removable floor covering, emergency lighting, and much more. The key requirement is that the items should fall under the category of “apparatus used for carrying on a business.” Even expenditure on renovation and refurbishments might be eligible for deduction from your taxable income, thus reducing the income and saving you substantial tax money.

 You need to be aware not only of the bare provisions of the Capital Allowances Act but also of the complex interpretations given by courts to these provisions through decided cases to know the amounts you can claim. Additionally, you also need to be a valuation expert to put value on items that have become an integral part of the building.

 What lends urgency to the issue is that you might not be able to make “back” claims for expenditures incurred long ago unless you act quickly. The Finance Act of 2012 has introduced changes that effectively put a time limit on claims. Considering that eligible fixtures can even have a value that is 30% of the total building value, one can imagine the amount of tax savings one might be losing if claims are not made in time.

 Businesses in the UK have been affected by the economic recession in a major way. Anything that can reduce their cash outflows cannot but be welcome news to them. It is in this context that the tax-saving potential of Capital Allowances will interest the numerous small and medium businesses that are not yet aware of the possibility, or how to take advantage of it.

 It is important to emphasize that you need valuation expertise to make correct Capital Allowance claims. It is difficult to value fittings that have not been accounted for separately but have instead been included as part of the building construction costs. Tax authorities do not take kindly to overvaluation and excessive tax claims.

 On the other hand, if the items are valued in a way acceptable to tax authorities, and claims are made according to the formula they have prescribed, you can legally save substantial amounts in tax. Which SME will not welcome that prospect?

About the Author: [Designated company person] is the Managing Director of[live link to the company], who specializes in Capital Allowances. You can contact him at:  [phone number] or email him at [email address]

 Project 6: Business Plan for a Restaurant in UK

One client wanted to submit a proposal to set up a vegan restaurant in Nottingham, UK. I did a research about the the restaurant market in the locality while the client provided inputs about costs and selling prices. Based on these, I created a business plan in a standard format, supported by financial estimates, which are included under the next project.

Click the link below to review the business plan:

Business Plan Example

Project 7: Complete Financial Model for a new Venture

This financial model was created as part of the business plan outlined above.  The model estimates the following:

Anybody with editing rights to the spreadsheet can change the assumptions, and the changes will be immediately reflected in the main estimates above. 

 I have selected a very small project as the goal here is to indicate the financial modeling process, and also to minimize complexity. Please click the link below to review the financial model:

Financial Model Example

Project 8: Creating Display Ad and Social Media Post Copy

This was a graphic I created to be used as a social media post and display ad. The target group consisted of people who loved nature and softer colours, and the graphic caters to these preferences. The ‘tagline’ at the centre will attract the attention of the target group. It also includes a special offer and a Call-to-Action link

 Project 9: Small Business Consulting Services

While providing content development services to clients, I had to research and write weekly articles on business management for an online publication. This assignment lasted for over three years.

The research helped me consolidate my insights into small business management. For example, the research into Business Model Canvas led to a completely new perspective for analyzing business operations.

I was soon providing consulting services to small businesses. Most of these involved supporting clients in their fundraising efforts. The work generated insights into factors that funds providers consider while evaluating projects.

And that in turn led to deeper research into the factors that lead to small business success: