Five tips to grow your beauty salon’s financial muscles

You may be the best beauty salon in town but how are you with your salon’s finances? If you are like most salons then I am guessing your financial management is ok but could be so much better if you had a little help. Here are five tips to take your salon’s finances to the next level. 

1. Streamline with a salon management app

Nothing wastes time and money like a complicated booking or inventory system. It can also frustrate customers. The right app can save you time, hassle, paper, and money. But which app to use?

Today, there are a number of great beauty salon specific apps; we cover two below.

  1. Phorest is an Irish company that has taken on the world. They provide a booking system, inventory management, staff management, customer management, and even a customer loyalty scheme. They also have an online store feature that will take your products to the web. 

Customers can make bookings directly from their phone and can even pay through the app. The app is specific to your business.

As the salon owner, you can use your phone to oversee bookings, sales, inventory, etc. across all your locations with a range of reports.

Phorest offers three service packages with the price provided through a personalised quote. They provide help with setup, lifetime training, and strong customer support.

  1. Fresha is another popular choice (previously called Shedul). It has similar features to Phorest. It does not have an online store capability but has strong analytics and reporting. 

The customer app is not specific to your business but does allow new customers to find your salon through a salon search by location.

Fresha is free to use but to unlock more advanced features you need to upgrade to FreshaPlus which charges a small percentage per online booking. 

2. Integrate your apps with your accounting software

Once you have chosen a salon management  app you can make your life so much easier by integrating it with your accounting software. Integration may be a little tricky to set up at first but once set up it will save you time on data entry and will minimise mistakes. Your accountant should be able to provide guidance with integration.

3. Track your key numbers and set goals

Like any business to improve you need to measure your key statistics. For a beauty salon, key statistics include average customer spend, frequency of visits, and product and employee margins.

The good news is that once you have one of the apps from tip one, many of your key statistics will be easy to collect and track. Other statistics like margins will require more detailed information but a good accountant will be able to help you with those.

Once you are measuring your key statistics, the next step is to set yourself a goal for each statistic.

You can set your goals by: 

  • Basing it on past performance;
  • Talking to friends from other salons; and by
  • Talking to an accountant experienced in the beauty industry.

4. Apply the right VAT

VAT can be complicated because it can differ between your products and services. For example, the VAT for beauty salon services is 13.5% but the VAT for cosmetic sales is 23%.

Your accountant should be able to advise you on the correct VAT across your range of products and services. They can also help you configure the VAT in your accounting software. It is best not to get on the wrong side of the Revenue Commissioners!

5. Accountants: Hire an advisor not just a tax filer

Accountants are not just for tax time. As already discussed in the previous tips, a good accountant can help you in many different aspects of running your business from VAT, to goal setting, to integrating your management app with your accounting system.

A good accountant is like a personal business advisor. They are invested in you and your business and are a partner in your success. When they help you increase your profit it is a win-win.

Simple CGT Calculator

How to pay your tax bill

The revenue have added a few new ways to make it a little more convenient for tax payers to make payments

You can go the traditional route and post a cheque Collector-General’s Division ,Sarsfield House, Francis Street, Limerick. I generally wouldn’t recommend this as it doesn’t provide a proof of payment like some of the other methods and the cheque may get lost somewhere along the way. Also cheques generally cost more than other payment methods.


Laser or other debit card , When you hit the payment screen on the revenue there is a drop down for “Debit Card Payment”

How to pay your tax billOnline Banking – A new addition to ROS this year allows Bank of Ireland and AIB customer to pay their tax bill using online banking

ROS users may also set up a ROS debit instruction allowing them to make a payment directly from their bank account to the collector general. This is very simple to set up and can assist with cashflow planning as the user decides when to make the payment.



CPD Galway

If any accountants, solicitors, bankers or insurance agents would like CPD this Winter Finance Training are running a Financial Crime and Anti Money Laundering Seminar in Galway on November the 29th. Speakers are Derbhail McDonald is the Irish independent legal affairs correspondent and author of the book Bust.
Kevin Prendergast is the corporate compliance manager at the office of the director of corporate enforcement.
Gert O’Rourke is a highly experienced financial trainer who has trained global banks on anti money laundering
Ralph Smith is a practicing accountant and member of the association of certified fraud examiners
Phillip Cox from the special investigations unit at the department of social and family affairs.

For further details CPD Galway

Dejargonificationing: Vendor Viability

Theres lots of jargon thrown around the world of business, and even more thrown around in IT. So the software business is drowning in it.

Im going to attempt to de-mystify some of the common phrases that are cropping up around the world of SaaS. Im starting with an easy target: vendor viability.

How viable is the vendor? In other words, is the company youre buying your software from going to be around in a years time? What about in five years time?

The barriers to entry in the software as a service world are very low. Any half decent web developer can put together a web application, make it available on a subscription basis and make a professional looking web site promoting it then lose interest or run out of money in a few months time

In the old world where you bought your software on a CD, this didnt matter too much. Youve got the software so if the company you bought it from disappears then you wont get support or upgrades, but you still have the software you bought and can continue using it (although even that isnt a given with some of the recent shenanigans).

With SaaS, its different. You access the software on the providers server so if the provider disappears, so does your access to the software (and your data).

One form of insurance against this happening is anescrow agreement. The software provider gives all of their code to a third party and if said provider goes out of business, the third party releases the software to previously agreed companies (usually key customers). So the theory is that you can set up your own servers to run the software. Fancy doing that? Unless youre a techie, I doubt it very much.

The reality is that there are no guarantees that any company thats around today will be around in a years time, never mind five. Having said that, there are steps you can take to minimise your chances of getting burnt:
– does the vendor have a sustainable business model? (hint: giving software away for free isnt sustainable)
– are they making profit or do they at least have good financial backers? (or better still, both)
– do they have many customers?
– are they growing?

To further hedge your bets, you need to make sure youre regularly getting your data from your SaaS provider in a format you can access without their software.

If youre reading this from the perspective of a SaaS start-up, then provide the functionality to provide these backups. And automate it so its one less thing for customers to worry about or have to remember to deal with. With KashFlow you can set the system to automatically and regularly email you a backup of your accounting data in a format that can be opened in a spreadsheet or imported directly into Sage.

A side note here; the vendor may well be here in 5 years. But will the product? In just the accounting software industry alone weve seen big companies (Microsoft, Iris, Intuit, etc) withdraw software products with very little notice. They can get a way with that with desktop software, but its not acceptable in the SaaSworld.

If there are any other pieces of jargon that you want busting, let me know using the comments below.

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This entry was posted
on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 at 12:06 pm and is filed under Cloud Computing / SaaS, Small Business, Technology.
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Multi-tenancy – what is it, why should you care?

diagramIm continuing on my jargon busting mission.

Todays target: multi-tenancy and its allegedly inferior sibling, single-tenancy

What do they mean, and why should you care? Ill try to answer the second part of that question first from the perspective of you being a SaaS startup, and then from the perspective of a Customer.

What is it?

Desktop software was designed to be installed on your computer and only accessed by you and therefore only contain your data. So you are the single tenant. The only person living in that application/database. This is single tenancy.

Software thats designed from the ground up for the web is designed to be used by lots of people. One application/database, but lots of people using it. (for the techies amongst you, I really do mean one database, not one instance of a SQL server but with multiple databases running in it). This is multi-tenancy.

It does seem that single-tenancy comes in two flavours: one set of code for the application (ie, one set of files serving the app), but multiple databases OR multiple sets of code as well as multiple databases. The former being only half as evil as the latter.

Why should you (a SaaS startup) care?

If youre not using the multi-tenancy model youre not getting even half of the benefits of operating a SaaS business model.

Would you rather have just one database/set of files to maintain, or one db/set of files for each individual user?

When it comes to support issues, do you want to have to consider whether or not the user has the most recent version of everything in their personal installation or would you rather everyone had the exact same thing?

When you have to roll out an upgrade, would you rather one single schema/file set to update or one for each individual customer.

And heres the biggie:infrastructure

So you can get lots of installations on one server. Lets be generous and assume one server can support 1000 instances of of your application and database. Customer 1001 is going to cost you a fortune as you will need to bring on a new server for it.

As your customer base grows the cost of your hardware (whetherleasing or buying) rockets, as does the time cost inmaintainingthem. With a multi-tenancy model you dont have this issue. Weve generated 100k+ revenue per month (thousands of users) from a single server costing 1k a month. You just cant do that with the single-tenancymodel.

Why should you (a customer) care?

Thats simple it costs the vendor a lot more to run a single-tenancy model. Guess who, ultimately, is going to cover that extra cost? And when you have support issues, youre going to get them resolved much faster (for all the reasons stated above) by a multi-tenancy vendor than a singe-tenancy one.

I didnt choose to rhyme, rhyming chose me

You will find lots of web-based applications that have a single-tenant arrangement. The supplier of the software has a whole list of reasons that they chose this model, but the truth is that they didnt choose it. They came up with the list of reasons AFTER having the model (or architecture as we like to call it) decided for them.

The most common reason that they have this model forced upon them is because they took a product designed at first for the desktop and have then shoe-horned it into working on the web. The company didnt know if this whole SaaS stuff would take off, it was a bit of a gamble. So to minimise the risk they decided not to write an application from scratch but instead use what they have.

A short-sighted and cheap way for them to dip their toes in the water.

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This entry was posted
on Thursday, October 7th, 2010 at 1:29 pm and is filed under Cloud Computing / SaaS, Programming, Technology.
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Why are cheap airlines so cheap

Below is an infographic from The graphic shows how low cost airlines like Ryanair make their savings. One of the key metrics is the passengers per employee. If you can find and use metrics like that in your business you will greatly increase your management information. Improved management information can assist decision making and ensure continuing success. If you require any further information on analyising your businesses performance please do not hesitate to contact Do My Books Galway Accountants

Galway Accountant- Why are cheap airlines so cheap

Galway Accountant- Why are cheap airlines so cheap

Advantages of a limited company over a sole trader

This is a common issue for entrepreneurs, Should they operate as a sole trader or limited company. From a purely tax point of view if your company profit is larger than you need to live on a Ltd company is the likely to be the most tax efficient option.

The savings would work as follows, 
Profit for yr €1.2M
Drawings required to live off €200K (These will be taxed as income tax either option)
Remaining Profit €1M

Taxed as a sole trader
€506K income tax (approx)
Remaining Profit €494k

Company option (again using €1M remaining profit)

€1M @12.50 % = €125k corporation tax due

Remaining Profit €875k

BUT funds are stuck in the company , final step is to ultimately liquidate the company and pay CGT on the increase in your share holding

Current CGT Rate 25% 

So remaining funds of €875k @ 25% = €219K

Remaining Profit €656K

Saving €656k-€494k = €162K

There is also better scope for sheltering pension contributions using a company and you can get limited liability. 

Disadvantages include increased compliance costs, Solicitors, Accountants ect.

This technique would be used as part of a long term tax plan and would in the real world is not that as simple as above as capital gains rates may change ect.

Voluntary liquidation comes with its own issues you may not be allowed operate as a director for a time afterwards all of which would have to be researched before embarking on this.

This blog post is from an Accountant based in Galway if you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to email

Disclaimer: This blog post is my opinion and should not be treated as tax advice.

Bookkeeper Galway

At Domybooks our core business is Bookkeeping. Below I have listed our the main  services this covers.

  • Processing of VAT returns
  • Recording purchase invoices
  • Preparing sales invoices
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Sundry Reconciliations
  • Accounting data entry
  • Payroll preparation
  • Processing of expenses
  • Debt Collection

Outsourcing your book keeping to an expert can save you time and money allowing you to focus on your business.

If you would like to speak to Domybooks about outsourcing your business please do not hesitate to email

This is the Blog of an Accountant based in Galway providing Bookkeeping services and accountancy software