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.
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.
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.
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?