Category Archive Accountancy

Using accounting software for record keeping

For many smaller businesses keeping financial records can be time consuming especially if there are many transactions during a month but by using accounting software record keeping can be made much simpler.

There are many bookkeeping software programs available. Several of them offer customers the ability to customise them according to their needs. This allows you to have a simpler or more complex system for payroll or inventory, as required. Before choosing what bookkeeping software would best suit your business, it is important to consider who the bookkeeping records are for. For example, will they be used by the management of the company or an external accountant as the detail that is needed may be different. Another consideration is the number of transactions there will be as some software is more suited to deal with a larger volume of transactions.

The benefits of using accounting software that most companies find is that it is easy to keep track of the financial state of the company and straightforward to enter transactions into the software either at the end of the day or as they occur. Reports can usually be generated detailing how the company is performing so that action can be taken immediately if profits are falling, or new investments can be made if the company is performing well.

Tax deadline is looming

For those of you that haven’t already submitted your 2019-2020 tax return, you only have a couple of weeks left to do it. The deadline for online submission is the 31st January and those that do not submit their return by this time will incur additional fines. Even if you have not made a profit or have earned below the tax threshold, you still need to submit your return. It may be that you use an accountant or book keeper to help you with your tax return. If this is the case then you need to speak to them ASAP as many are already fully booked and will struggle to get the submissions in on time.

If you do your book keeping yourself, work out all the figures you need to input first. This will allow you to do it in one go without having to keep saving it and going back to it. If it is the first time you have done it you may want to put all your figures in and print it off before you submit it. This will give you the opportunity to read over it and double check that it is all correct before you hit the button to submit it to HMRC.

Be sure to give your accountants plenty of time before HMRC deadlines

If you own your own business then you will need to submit certain information to HMRC at relevant times. If you are self employed then the self-assessment deadline is looming for January and you need to ensure that your accountants have everything, they need to complete it and submit it on time.

Depending on what information you give them, they may need a good few months to sort out all the information in order to submit your return. Some people just hadn’t heir accountants a box of receipts and bank statements, others will put it all on a spreadsheet and basically do a lot of the hard work. Often the accountants will charge a different fee depending on how much work they have to do. The advantages of using an accountant is that they may be able to spot error you have made and will also be able to advise you on ways in which you can possibly recue your tax bill. It is important to find an accountant you can trust and that is experienced in dealing with returns. Ideally, you should use someone that has been recommended to you or that you know has a great reputation in the industry.

Successfully promoting your independent accountancy business

Trying to promote any small business is a task that needs careful planning as it is important to get good value for money and obtain the best results possible within your budget.

One of the first considerations when promoting your business is which sort of web presence you are going to have, an essential for any twenty-first century business, either in the form of a website or a page on one of the social media platforms. Online is usually the first place potential customers will look for your accountancy business.

If you decide creating a website to promote your business is the most cost effective option you could either use one of the free applications that enable you to use a template to design and create your own website or you can employ the services of a web designer. The latter will probably give you a more professional looking site and can be developed to contain key words that will improve the ranking of your site on search engines. Many web designers will be able to advice you on search engine optimisation a valuable way of bringing clients to your site.

Promoting your accountancy business through social media is a lot cheaper and much simpler. It can be set up within a couple of hours and can be used to attract potential clients.

Do you need to use an accountant to do your tax return?

When you are self employed one of the main headaches for many people is completing your online tax return. It can be very confusing especially if it is the first time that you have had to do this. You make ask yourself whether you need to employ an accountant to file the return or whether you can save yourself the accountant’s fees and submit it yourself. The answer to this is not straightforward and is dependant upon a number of points.

Firstly, how complex are your accounts for instance are you VAT registered, do you employ staff, are you self employed but also employed and use the PAYE system or do you work from your home address. If the answer to these questions are yes, then using the services of an accountant will probably be advisable certainly if you are not a confident bookkeeper and are not fully conversant with current tax regulations.

If you are a sole trader with a small turnover it may be that using an accountant would not be financially prudent. There is lots of helpful advice online to help you to complete a tax return independently and the tax office will be able to give you further guidance if required.

Keeping on top of your accounts

If you are a small business owner you may find it hard to keep on top of your own accounts. You may find that you are so busy doing work or marketing that you have little time to keep your own accounts up to date. This means that you may get behind with payments or easily lose track of who owes you money. It is important to get processes in place to make your accounts as automated as possible. If you have people that you invoice a set amount to on a regular basis then you may want to set up a direct debit or standing order with them so you do not have to chase the money every month. Many accounting software packages will also let you create recurring invoices that can be done every week, month or year (for example) and then automatically emailed out. This can take a lot of the hassle out of accounting and keep your cash flow in order.  Do your research to find out which accounting software best suits your needs and is the best price as they can range quite drastically and you can end up paying over the odds for software that is more sophisticated than you need.

Making tax digital – accountancy advice

If you run a business whether that be self employer, partnership or limited company it is important to understand tax rules and regulations and ensure that you comply with them.

Making tax digital is probably a phrase that you have heard of although it may not be affecting you yet. If you are VAT registered then you will already be having to do your VAT returns through the new digital system.

Over the next few years more and more HMRC services will be using this system and you will have to adapt the way you do your accounting to include this. The accounting software systems such as Clear books, Sage and Xero already offer instant submission to HMRC for tax purposes. If you do not use one of these accounting software packages then it may be worth looking into them or another provider to find which one suits your requirements and budget.

You can find out all the latest information on making tax digital through the HMRC website or by contacting an accountancy firm who will be able to advise you of what changes are coming in to play and how or if they will affect you.

Using an accountancy firm

If you run your own business then you have the option of using an accountancy firm to manage the financial side or doing it yourself. Depending on how large your business is and how complicated may mean that you will struggle to do all the accounting yourself. You may have employees and therefore also have to manage payroll.

There are a huge number of bookkeepers and accountancy firms out there that will do as much or as little as you want them to do. You may wish to do all the accounting yourself but then have them audit you every few months to check that you are doing it correctly or you may ask them to manage the whole thing, so you literally send all your invoices to them for them to input. They can also manage VAT returns as well as personal tax and P11D’s. Obviously, the more work you ask them to do the more you will be charged, but this can often free you up to allow you to manage and run the business as you need to so can often pay for itself.  Why not get a quote and find out what an accountancy firm can do for you?