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Detailed Business Plan
Accolade Office- europe

Please accept that repetition of information from our Outline Plan is inevitable. This Detailed Plan contains some commercially sensitive information and therefore is password protected; available to bona-fide prospective investors only. There is NO non-disclosure agreement; just an expectation of your respect for confidentiality.

Accolade is proposing to raise funds from the issue of additional share capital under their existing, approved Enterprise Investment Scheme. This will fund growth from being a 'little local' office product dealer into a large, international on-line supplier.

Internet trading now enables small firms to outsmart those dinosaurs who waste money on salesmen and mail marketing. From being a little local company in an area of urban deprivation, Accolade has transformed into a sophisticated UK web trader. 

In effect, this E.I.S. is an investment in a NEW that happens to have been trading for more than 35 years! So there's less chance of 'cash burn'.

An E.I.S. permits an investor to participate in running a business and to receive reasonable remuneration for this. Accolade would welcome relevant assistance when directed towards achieving profitable returns and growth in share value.

An investor cannot be 'connected' to a company by owning more than 30% of it. A trading relationship is allowed, providing transactions are not on preferential terms.

For instance, an investor purchasing office products for their business could buy from a stationer in which they hold less than a 30% shareholding. This could be on 60-day credit, or even a consignment stock basis, if those terms were available to other customers. Prices paid would have to be competitive to ensure compliance.

It is therefore possible for a minority shareholder to be paid as a Non-Executive Director of a supplier to their other business...and to benefit from EIS tax reliefs.

The Accolade EIS started in 2003 was for 'Friends & Family' only and came about during a period when I (David Arnott, Principal Shareholder) was suffering from heart disease. EIS subscribed funds, along with my own savings, kept Accolade solvent whilst I recovered from bypass surgery and during my full recuperation.

Whilst recovering, I identified a dramatic increase in web trading...year upon year... within our traditional market sector (business to business office supplies or B2Bos). I foresaw the need to adapt to this new form of trading and planned accordingly.

As a result, Accolade has developed unique websites that are significantly faster, better and larger than those of any competitor. *See hyper-link to website below. 

To achieve this, in 2005 I employed a student from Edinburgh University who has since graduated First Class Honours in Computer Science. At the same time, I deployed a long-serving, senior member of staff to supervise replacement of our aged computer hardware, software, broadband and phone communication systems. 

Both Stevens (Holmes & Guthrie) have created a superbly coordinated back office and web trading system based on our trade standard platform, BlueSky Horizon.

Thanks to a super-fast internal search engine, more than 41,000 products feature naturally high on Google Search. Our portfolio contains >57,700 popular items. This high Google SEO ranking is enhanced by our unique product descriptions & images.

You'll notice that this website consistently appears on Page 1 of Google for the search string 'Enterprise Investment Scheme'...without the aid of costly Adwords!

Similar search engine optimisation is projected onto 'Google Product Search' to ensure that this no-cost advertising drives rapid expansion of our customer base. In addition to the already huge selection of products available, there is a parallel range of codes that can be on 'Special Offer'. This allows us to promote cut-price items to potential customers whilst protecting our profit from existing accounts.

In previous years, Accolade has had a Gross Profit Margin in excess of 40%

Margin management is achieved by a Band Discount structure that spreads all 57,700 products over 32 Price Bands from Cost +15% to Full Retail. With such small steps it is possible, over time, to migrate customers to a level of profitability appropriate to their trading pattern. For instance, if they take 60 days to settle their account, the price they pay slowly moves up. If they buy multiple items on every order their discount increases. With such small increments, transition is easy. Each customer needs a Login, so only sees prices relevant to their own account.

Recruitment of additional staff is essential to cope with the flow of new business that can be generated simply by 'turning on the Google Product Search tap'.

Having attracted new customers, the Accolade websites provide user-friendly benefits such as related products (Family) and cheaper alternatives (Friends). 

To make re-ordering quick and easy, we provide a specific category Search facility that shows customers only those products that they have bought in the past.

Accolade's objective is to establish a long-term relationship with first-time buyers. 
Having been a regular supplier to thousands of Glasgow based customers over 32 years, we can now advertise our superb service to a national audience.

Purchasing out-with normal Office Supplies Trade channels enables Accolade to maximise the profit on every line of every no cost to our customers. We buy from European distributors to bypass the cartel operated by UK wholesalers. Frequently we save more than 75% off the inflated prices charged by Spicers & Vow (the only two UK based wholesalers of office supplies). 

Toner cartridge manufacturers offer incentives to Accolade as a trader who stocks. This enables us to heavily discount OEM supplies to attract new customers. We also supply high-quality Tinto brand replacement cartridges, guaranteed to be as good as the overpriced products made by Original Equipment Manufacturers. 

Operating from our own low-cost warehouse allows Accolade to break-even on the price charged for shipping products to customers, even on international orders.

Cash received from online customers is immediate; either by BACS or Credit Card.

Payment to suppliers is mostly on 55 or 60-day terms making for a positive cash flow. This is further enhanced by debtor funding for 28-day credit accounts approved by Clydesdale Invoice Finance, Accolade's bank for the past 20 years.

Having been established for more than 30 years, Accolade has credibility in the eyes of both customers and, crucially, manufacturers who are very supportive.

Our award-winning status enhances a long-established reputation for reliability. We hold a National Training Award and a Fit for Work Award for Positive Employment Polices Towards Disabled People presented by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Arts, Business & Guide Dog accolades show our commitment to community affairs.

This tax-efficient investment opportunity is in the latter stages of implementation.
Significant investments, both in cash and effort, have been made throughout the last 7 years to bring this project to launch stage. A pilot exercise last September proved that the marketing concept worked. But it created more orders from new customers than could be efficiently processed by existing staff and Partners.

To ensure compliance with HMRC EIS Rules, funds subscribed for new shares will immediately be utilised in the development of Accolade Partnership Limited. There is an immediate requirement for additional staff to fully exploit this opportunity. That's why our previously 'Friends & Family' only EIS is now being more widely advertised.

Looking out for investor interestsA key component of the Accolade E.I.S. is having a credible EXIT strategy for investors. Having been an employee owned company since 1999, there are strong incentives for staff & franchisees to purchase maturing Enterprise Investment Scheme shares.

Whilst HMRC Rules prohibit any pre-arrangement for the realisation of EIS shares, Accolade expect that there will be a ready market for these after 3 years. High dividend earnings, coupled with our existing employee-ownership structure, will be an essential part of enhancing the share value of Accolade Partnership Ltd.

Recently, Tax Tribunals have decided against two taxpayers, resulting in EIS relief being withdrawn. These HMRC cases (Skye Inns and Benson Partnership) illustrate why it may be prudent to invest in a company that has a 'weather-eye' open to all matters pertaining to Enterprise Investment Schemes. For example, Accolade's Employee Ownership pre-dates our Enterprise Investment Scheme by four years.

The current Principal Shareholder will be 65 in 3 years time, so an outright trade sale is also a possibility. Were this to happen, it may inhibit re-cycling of shares. 

Link to Accolade website (opens in a new window)

An Enterprise Investment Scheme is by far the best way of exploiting tax breaks

^-<-< Use this Form or the 'Contact Us' page for more information about our EIS

EIS relief takes the edge off your tax bill

Inaccessible Pinnacle 
Sgurr Dearg 
Isle of Skye 

Photo taken by Bill Gray, 
Managing Director @ Accolade, 
Sunday May 1st 2011

"He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
That puts it not unto the touch, 
To win or lose it all."

Extract from 'My Dear and Only Love' written in 1643 by James Graham, Marquis of Montrose.

Original text & images are Copyright to Accolade Office- europe Limited © 2015

Original images have been pixellated with a pattern that makes them identifiable as the unique copyright property of Accolade Partnership Ltd. © applicable within all legal jurisdictions, worldwide.

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An Enterprise Investment Scheme is an appropriate venture for UK income tax payers who can self-certify being a sophisticated investor.
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