Accountancy Firm Warns Local Businesses Are Losing Out On Property Potential

LEADING accountancy firm, RSM have warned that businesses right across Northern Ireland are losing out on major cost savings and productivity gains by not reviewing the potential of one of their greatest assets – property.

The company said that despite the steady upturn in property values, many hard-pressed businesses could be benefiting from cost-saving gains of up to 30% and enhanced productivity benefits by taking a more strategic approach to their property assets.

RSM said that by taking action now, many companies in Northern Ireland would be better equipped and better financed for greater growth potential.

Richard Weir, Director of Specialist Services – Property at RSM Northern Ireland, said: “Whether owned or leased, property remains a critically-important asset for the majority of businesses in Northern Ireland and having a clear understanding of the issues surrounding this vital asset has the potential to save many business owners and managers not only significant amounts of money but time.

“Taking a strategic approach to property matters now will also ensure they can put their business and their growth potential on a firm footing.”

As part of its new advisory service, LifeCycle, in which it provides companies with advice tailored to every stage of their business life cycle, RSM says that property owners should seek to review their assets by considering the following checklist:

1. Fit for purpose

Consider the changing nature of your business strategy and ensure your property and its location remains suitable for customers, staff and suppliers. Many business in Northern Ireland have changed or completely altered their business model since starting out, which means their current base may be unsuitable for their needs.

2. Consider alternatives

Carry out an annual review of your property to ensure it continues to fit with your business or investment objectives and potentially consider alternative options such as leasing, buying or building a property.

3. Unlock potential

Is there an opportunity to sublet or sell under-used space or units or change working and operational practices to reduce the amount of space required?

4. Rates 

Thousands of businesses in Northern Ireland will be affected by the current rates review, not all positively. The time is now to review your current and anticipated future bills so that you can assess whether the property you own or operate in now is working well for your needs.

5. Energy efficiency

Energy costs in Northern Ireland are among the highest in Europe. Take time to review your monthly and annual usage and consider energy and time-saving measures, in addition to grant support and the cheaper fuel sources available, to cut costs significantly.

Richard Weir added: “Making sure you have the right premises and that it works well for you on all levels is one of the most important tasks many business owners and managers have to face. However, few have the relevant experience or knowledge to draw on to make sure they are getting the best from their assets.

“RSM’s multi-disciplinary team of Chartered Surveyors and Accountants seeks to gain a thorough understanding of your business needs and then carefully considers the key factors that will enable you to put together a plan of action.”

The firm, which is part of the RSM International network and has over 25 years’ experience in advising and assisting clients in all stages of their growth, launched its LifeCycle business programme earlier this year.

The partner-led service offers customers advice on everything from early stage essentials such as company incorporation, taxation, company pensions, business health checks, management accounts, payroll and annual accounts, right through to creating business plans, negotiating funding offers, property acquisition plans, business expansions, succession planning and property disposal.