This year’s installment of the Intuit QuickBooksSmall Business Local Buzz is now sadly over, and we must thank all of you who took part. In the end, we had over 1,000 entrants, more than 66,500 votes and 280,000 views – we wish we could have given everyone a prize.

We do have a grand winner to announce. Of the 1,000 plus participants, we must congratulate The Open Hand Project for their achievement and their victory – £10,000 will be winging its way to you.

The idea for The Open Hand Project was born when Joel Gibbard, the founder of the company and an engineer by training, was studying robotics at the University of Plymouth. While there he made his first robotic hand, and learned about the inaccessibility of robotic prosthetic hands and knew he could use his skills to make a difference.

After University Joel launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds to develop a low-cost robotic hand. The development is now well underway and soon people will be able to wear The Open Hand Project’s hands as prosthetic devices.

We asked how he felt about winning Small Business Local Buzz?

“Overjoyed, it’s wonderful to receive recognition for your work and even better when you’re doing something you really love. Winning this competition has made me feel even more enthusiastic and motivated towards achieving my goals.

“This grant means that I can start to grow the business. It could really be the make or break contribution to the company because it means I can hire someone and move much closer towards selling products.”

Leading prosthetics can cost up to $100,000, but by using emerging technologies like 3D printing, as The Open Hand Project does, the cost can be pulled down to under $1,000, helping to reach a far wider audience.

The business has a clear humanitarian interest and shares all of its work online. No patents are filed and not only are designs shared online, but they are accompanied by instructions to help other people build the hands Joel designs. This helps the Project be far-reaching globally and prevent red tape and import taxes getting in the way of people receiving low-cost prosthetics.

So what would be the Grand Prize winner’s Number 1 piece of advice?

“Talk to people, give them the time of day and treat everyone with the same respect. You never know when you might need someone’s help or might find a situation where you can strike up a mutually beneficial deal. Everyone has valuable skills even if you or they don’t realise it at the time you meet them.”

Huge congratulations again to this year’s winner! We wish Joel all the best for the future, and thank you to all the small businesses across the UK that participated in the competition.

Final winners:

Grand Prize winner: Open Hand Project

What’s next?
1. on Twitter and Facebook to not miss the next campaign.

2. Download the Free Business Marketing eBook.

3. Try Intuit QuickBooks one month for free for your business to save time doing your accounting and managing your business.

Here are some happy faces of the winners so far. Read their stories and “like” to support small businesses.

To learn more about the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Local Buzz campaign see our other #SupportSmallBizUK blog articles, the launch or final press release.

We are delighted to announce the launch of Payroll within QuickBook Online today together with our friends from PaySuite. In keeping with Intuit’s belief that all small businesses deserve support, the product will be free for businesses with up to 5 employees, ensuring over 90%, or 4 million small businesses in the UK can benefit.

Managing Directors Rich Preece (Intuit UK) and Stuart Hall (PaySuite)

Managing Directors Rich Preece (Intuit UK) and Stuart Hall (PaySuite)

With the new tax year just around the corner and with the objective to make this year to your best year ever – we’re excited to share the news that we have one of the leading payroll solutions fully integrated within the new QuickBooks Online. This offers a seamless experience for small businesses when it comes to payday and gives them back control to do more of what they love.

Our overall aim is to keep the small business compliant and accurate – as well as their accountant and employees happy. Part of this commitment is working with a number of key home-grown partners to develop and deliver solutions, built from the ground up for the UK marketplace. PaySuite is our first major collaboration of 2014 and more great news for business owners will follow.

We are committed to UK small businesses and what better way to demonstrate that than working with one of the fastest growing payroll companies? This joined approach allows us to offer the majority of small UK businesses owners free payroll for themselves and up to five employees; leaving them free to focus on what they love doing.

How QuickBooks Payroll helps small businesses

QuickBooks Online users can now run payroll without leaving their accounting software. Every payroll function is available right inside the new QuickBooks so you never have to open another piece of software or sign in with a different password again. This seamless integration saves time and improves accuracy with automatic data flows, in-product PAYE calculations and RTI filing to HMRC. Payroll within QuickBooks Online is free for up to 5 employees and then £1 per month per employee.

How to turn Payroll on within QuickBooks Online

Be the first to try the new QuickBooks Payroll for your business. For more information visit the web, see the official press release or join our first webinar on April 15th that will cover the new product and how to easily access and run payroll within the employee tab of QuickBooks Online.

We’re looking forward to hearing your experience with our online payroll product.

Let’s turn it on – together!

Share the news

The new tax year is here! We wanted to understand what the new tax year means to businesses like yours so we hit the streets of London to interview eight business owners to find out their plans.

Q: Does your financial year coincide with the tax year? Have you considered changing this to make your financial planning easier?

For more established businesses like Steven’s their financial year coincides with the tax year. Some newer businesses like David’s are considering moving their financial year as they grow because they think it will make their financial planning easier.  We also spoke with William who thinks that it’s preferable to run on different dates because it’s easier to work with his accountant – the accountant is avoiding peak season, which can mean lower fees.

Q: Are you aware of the new tax laws that are due to come in after 6th April? Do you know how they’re going to affect your businesses? 

Steven mentions the changes to Limited Liability Partnerships and Nicky is aware that “something is happening” in relation to payroll. However, the vast majority of businesses were not aware of the changes. Ben, for example, has just started trading so he’s decided to find an accountant to ensure that he’s up to date.

Q: How do you feel about the new tax year?

Nicky, a photographer, is looking forward to the new tax year and is expecting her business to grow after a couple of difficult years for her industry. David is very positive about the new tax year and is looking to hire and expand his business.

Q: Are you likely to take on new employees during the next tax year?

After several years of recession and low economic growth, businesses are feeling much more optimistic and confident about the future. As a result, many businesses are planning to hire. David, for example, is looking to grow and to hire between 5-7 employees next year. William is also looking to hire a “significant” number of new employees.

To support your businesses in the new tax year again we’re currently offering a discount up to 70% off QuickBooks Online to help you to make this year to your best year.

Over to you – what are your plans for the new tax year? What does it mean for your business?

Update 18.04: All winners have now been selected. Congratulations to 11 outstanding businesses and the inspiring grand prize for Open Hand Project.
Update 14.04: The 5 final winners have been selected and will now be announced one by one this week (after confirming the final details with each one). Grand Prize to be announced before Friday 18.04.
Update 06.04: The submission period for new entries and the collection of votes finished on 04/04. We’re now selecting the final 5 winners – incl. the grand prize and will announce them this and next week. Stay tuned.

More than 1000 businesses entered and it’s amazing to read through all the passionate and inspiring stories on the platform. You are all winners, really! Each and every one who had the courage, perseverance and passion to build their own business deserves highest respect and all our support. We read through all! entries and it was really hard to only select 11 out of all these entries. The jury selected the following and final 11. Congratulations to each one! You can read their stories on the blog:

Final winners:

What’s next?
1. on Twitter and Facebook to not miss the next campaign.

2. Download the Free Business Marketing eBook.

Here are some happy faces of the winners so far. Read their stories and “like” to support small businesses.

To learn more about the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Local Buzz campaign read our other #SupportSmallBizUK blog articles or have a look at the official launch and final press release.

Marie & Tricia from Quarry Accountancy after winning

Marie & Tricia from Quarry Accountancy after winning

As the competition enters its final straits, it is time for us to announce the fifth winner of Small Business Local Buzz, Quarry Accountancy.

Quarry Accountancy Ltd was set up just over 12 months ago by Marie and had been run part time between her employed work and looking after 2 young children. In March 2014 Tricia Vickery joined the business and they decided to convert the company into a Community Interest Company. They have changed their business name as part of this process to My Support Partner C.I.C.

The business offers support services to small and medium sized businesses and also offers money management services to people accessing social care. The profits from the business are then reinvested into the business or used to support other local community projects that help maintain the independence of elderly and disabled people.

They told us that the £1,000 grant could not have come at a better time, having only been discussing how much they could afford to spend on marketing and branding the very morning they received the call. They now intend to use the money to get advice and professional input into their branding, marketing strategy and website so they can launch the new business.

So, what makes Quarry Accounting special?

“We feel our business is special as it uses the skills we have to not only support companies,” they told us, “but support more vulnerable people in society who can often be the target of financial abuse.”

Working closely with small businesses, Quarry Accounting is aware of what kind of advice would be helpful to small business owners:

“The best piece of advice we would give is to assess where your time and skills are best spent and get help with the other areas. If you spend all your time trying to learn how to build a website you’re not out there trying to get more business in.”

Congratulations once more to Quarry Accounting – worthy winners of £1,000 that will help them grow their new brand!

To learn more about the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Local Buzz campaign see our other #SupportSmallBizUK blog articles, the press release or enter with your business.