Small Business Finance School

Finally understand the dark art of accounting!

Jump here to enrol now

You might think that your accountant studied at Hogwarts, but there are numbers even muggles can understand with the help of the Small Business Finance School – we can make the numbers you need to know in your business make sense.

We’re not saying you can’t add up or that you don’t know your times-tables off by heart (although let’s be honest, it’s a lot easier with a calculator), but when it comes to your profit and loss, balance sheet and a cashflow forecast we might have lost you... and let’s not get started on VAT and other tax things.

Let us explain...

We love accountants here at Small Business Finance School (in fact, one of us IS an accountant and married to another, and the other one of us is the daughter of an accountant). Family aside, we love ALL accountants because as business owners we know that if we don’t know what’s happening with ‘the money’, we don’t know what’s really happening at all.

But there’s a LOT of things to know, often questions you think as a business owner you should know the answer to and so don’t ask and instead nod "Uh huh" and "OK, great" but in your head you’re thinking:

Creditors? Debtors? Which one owes me money? Oh yes, of course I know I can’t just take out the money I need for my bills and holidays from my business **coughs** erm, yes I knew I had to charge VAT now... receipts, of course I have them all, and I think everyone has paid me that I invoiced, and I’m sure I can tell you right now what I owe in tax... and exactly when that’s due… pensions? Of course that’s all organised, er...

Don’t think we don’t know that sometimes it’s simply the case of ‘get someone else to do it’ and then it’s done when it comes to  your accounts (which of course is a better option than "Ignore it & it might go away"). But even then there are questions: Do I need a bookkeeper? Do I need an accountant? And what sort of accountant do I need (yes, there’s more than one type!)? Always questions...

And wouldn’t it be great to have a good idea about what’s going on so when you have a conversation about your accounts – with your accountant or your business partner, your team or anyone – that you really know what you are talking about. Nothing wrong with being smug now and then, if you ask us.

What people are saying already

Cat Townsend facebook pic

Talking with an accountant can make even the most experienced business owner feel like a complete numpty.

The step-by-step lessons in the Small Business Finance School - with Archna honing in on the important detail, and Lucy relating it back to the bigger picture - make it possible for every small business owner to feel more confident and in control of their finances.

The Small Business Finance School should be mandatory education for all wannabe entrepreneurs!

Cat Townsend

For some reason I get paralysed by fear by anything financial - even struggle to answer simple emails from my accountants. I'm sure they're very nice people but they terrify me.

All things tax bring me out in hives! I wish I'd had this years ago!

Dr. Libby Hodges

Libby Hodges
Sally Pepper

Lucy and Archna have managed to take what I find a dry subject and make it palatable!

The videos are easy to watch and short; enough to give you a good dose of information on the topic but not too long that your mind wanders off! Simple explanation makes it easy to understand and you can always rewind if you miss something.

When you feel you should understand what your accountant is saying but don’t, and feel awkward asking - this is for you!

Sally Pepper

I was really excited to find out about the Small Business Finance School, I work with a lot of small business owners and know this is an area they find confusing and sometimes daunting. Lucy and Archna have taken complex, and some might say dry, information and created interesting, informative classes that help you to get your head around the facts, the terminology and most importantly how to use them in your business.

Each class is easy to follow, in part because of the beautiful design of the programme, and flow charts and illustrations that bring the facts to life.

I was so impressed with the content of the course I am going to be using it to train my own team as well as recommending it to my clients. This really is the best finance for humans course I’ve seen.

Lynda Holt

Lynda Holt

We understand...

You’re good at what you do – brilliant, actually (let’s not be modest!)– and accountants are good at accounting. But if there’s a gap in your knowledge that stops you from really knowing what your accountant is up to, we’re here to fill that gap. Knowing your numbers will mean you’ll be making smart, informed decisions about your business because you won’t need to get your accountant to ‘work it out’ when you need to know (or worse, tell you when it’s too late). Chances are it will also mean you get paid more when you know what you can and can’t keep, and when.

We know that sometimes it feels like you've been 'sent to the headmaster/mistress' for being naughty, when you've made mistakes or just don't understand the rules for your accounts, tax returns or other filing you're supposed to have done... there is a lot of paperwork to keep on top of, and it's it not your Thing it's not your Thing! And yes, we know we're all grown-ups but it can still feel like we're being told off **hangs head in shame**

You’ve watched enough Dragon’s Den (one episode will do!) to know that it’s always about ‘the numbers’. But what are these elusive numbers you need to know? And why are they so important?

Here are answers you’ll get from the classes in Small Business Finance School

  • How to know if what you have is a business (it might not be!)
  • Profit: what it is and where to find it
  • Cashflow (working out what money is coming in and when...)
  • What type of business you should be: Sole Trader? Limited Company? Partnership?
  • Being a Director: what you need to sign and do
  • Getting paid: what money can you ‘keep’ or ‘take out’ of your business
  • How to get paid: salary, dividends, benefits, etc.
  • Tax: corporation, personal, which is which and when and what to do and why
  • To VAT or not to VAT (that is the question!)
  • Get filing: who needs to know what and when (who being HMRC in most cases)
  • Day-to-day actions: invoices, suppliers, bank account transactions, payments
  • Keeping records: Excel or software, plus other ‘bits’ to make it easy
  • Expenses: what's allowed, what's not allowed and how to record them
  • Official accounting stuff: profit & loss, balance sheet and management reports
  • How to choose an accountant that’s right for you (or a bookkeeper, or both)
  • Employing people: payroll, contracts, National Insurance, pensions, paying for time off
  • What to do every day/week/month/quarter/year to keep your eye on the ball and in control of your business

A lot of know how to give you confidence, more importantly, all VERY useful to know in running your business better. And of course, let’s be honest, one aspect of running your business better is about you being better off financially (we’re not going to beat about the bush on that one).

Who are we?

Lucy and Archna

Archna is an accountant, and Lucy works with small business owners. Archna works on the accounts of small business owners from her office at the Ministry of Magic (actually, it’s her accountancy practice office in Victoria, London), while Lucy works with small business owners on their Thing (sometimes on a boat) - helping them package up, market and sell what they do brilliantly. She spent many years marketing accounting software and so Archna was excited to find out that Lucy had been part of the team that launched Xero in the UK (the accounting software Archna uses which allowed her to win Cloud Accounting Firm of the Year). This is not an exciting thing to many people, so Lucy was delighted with this response and they are now good friends. Conversations about helping small business owners understand their finances better followed...and you can see what happened!

Why are we doing this?

Because it’s important, and because it’s unavoidable – if you have a business you will have to do your accounts (or at least have them done for you). And not understanding your numbers is doing yourself, your plans, your big ideas, and your bank balance a big disservice.

BUT we also know that (sorry fellow accountants) the topic is a bit boring. So we’ve done our very best to make it simple, easy to understand, entertaining and do-able. The more you know, the more you can work smarter.

We’ve bite-sized as much as we can, included checklists and simple-to-follow instructions–even some fancy ‘infographics’ where needed. Our simple aim is to make you confident about your financial conversations.

What Small Business Finance School ISN'T

Small Business Finance School isn’t a replacement for a great accountant getting to know your business. Your business finances will always benefit from the close eye of someone in the know to make recommendations on your situation (especially when it comes to taking money out and what tax to pay). For legal reasons (and we like to comply with these sort of things), we do have to state that we are not your accountant and cannot give you advice on your personal or business situation for tax, planning or other purposes in the Small Business Finance School. All answers will be ‘general advice’ or straight-up facts, and we won’t be able to look at your own set of accounts (but will help you know what to look for choosing an accountant or bookkeeper who can).

What Small Business Finance School IS

A set of classes, and supporting documents along with a forum for support (in a Facebook group) to answer all your questions about ‘what does this mean?’ when it comes to accounting and finance questions for your business. IT IS NOT A COURSE - there is NO HOMEWORK and you don't have to watch every class. It’s the ‘accounting know how for busy business owners who would rather be doing their Thing’ course you’ve been waiting for where no question is a silly question. A place where you can learn what's what, AND ask us to explain all the jargon, requirements, numbers, terms and reports you’ve not been quite clear on, so you can finally understand them and run your business better. The course is based on accounting principles and tax rules applicable in the UK.

List of Classes

Business Basics:

  • Business Structures
  • Reporting & Registration
  • Tax Overview


  • VAT Basics
  • VAT Registration
  • VAT Fundamentals


  • Tax for the Sole Trader
  • Tax for Limited Companies

Business Admin:

  • Record Keeping for the Sole Trader
  • Record Keeping for Limited Companies
  • Accounting Software

Official Accounting:

  • Statutory Accounts
  • Allowable Expenses for the Sole Trader
  • Allowable Expenses for Limited Companies

Business focus:

  • Cashflow forecasts
  • Management Information
  • How to choose an Accountant

Managing your Business:

  • Employee Accounting
  • Day to day numbers (& weekly, monthly, quarterly & yearly!)

Want in? JOIN US in the classroom!

Registration to the Small Business Finance School classroom is now OPEN from now until the start of half term (21st October) and you can get seated at your desk straight away with instant access.

We’ve got all the classes ready and waiting for you, and you can choose from diving in right away or following along with our 'lesson plan'. The lesson plan will send you an email each week (for 7 weeks) suggesting where to start and what classes to watch each week once term starts again, giving you a structure so you don't get overwhelmed and build on your small business finance know-how at a steady pace.

The classes are bite-size videos (from around 5 - 20 minutes depending on the topic), with supporting links and details. There is also a Facebook 'forum' for feedback, questions and whatever you need to know!

Get started now! The October intake is now OPEN

Full Price Small Business Finance School: £497

The classroom is ready for the new term!  Join us today and get clear and confident with your financial know-how – the classroom doors close on Saturday 21st October

(no VAT either as we’re a new Ltd company and not ‘there’ yet for that tax – and if you need to know more about that, definitely sign up for school!)

A quick note if you’re NOT in the UK

A lot of the course is general accounting theory and so applies wherever you are in the world, but all of the specific examples (for tax, compliance, etc.) are based on accounting requirements and principles in the UK. It may be possible for you to translate the theory for your local market but all examples and explanations are for UK sole traders and registered companies.

More about Archna


Qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and then head of finance for a venture capital fund. Has a decade of industry experience working in finance and with 100s of small businesses.

Now Owner/Director of Oculus Accountancy – a paperless award-winning cloud based accountancy practice in central London.

Speaker, trainer, award-winner, married (to an accountant), mum of 2, and Pilates practicer.

More about Lucy

Lucy Whittington portrait

Experienced marketer with in house experience spanning start-ups to international plcs, mostly (but not all) B2B software businesses (including Xero accounting software).

Owner/director of consultancy Inspired Business Marketing Ltd since 2005 working with a wide range of clients to market and sell what they do brilliantly.

Author, speaker, thinker, married (to a web designer), mum of 2, and seaside walker.