Accounting

How to Simplify Invoicing and Get Paid Faster

good invoice get paid faster

For any small business, making sure invoices are paid can be a big job in itself. If they’re not managed properly, payments can be consistently late, and your relationships with clients might suffer as a result.

Even more significantly, you’ll struggle to keep cash moving smoothly through your business. No cash, no business. (more…)

How to Choose the Best Online Accounting Software for Your Business

choosing best online accounts package for your business

Small business accounting software has changed massively in recent years. Thankfully, the advent of cloud computing has consigned the days of buying book-keeping software in a box and installing it on your own computer to history.

Nowadays, start-ups and small business can choose from a whole host of online accounts software packages. The technology helps to ease the pain of book-keeping and accounts for small business owners and provides a range of other benefits too. But with so many different web-based accounting solutions out there, how do you choose the right system for you and your business? (more…)

A Guide to Setting up and Managing Payroll for Employers

What new employers need to knoa to set up payroll

If you’re starting to employ people in your business, mastering payroll is going to become an essential part of your business. Get it wrong and you risk unhappy employees and potential penalties from HMRC.

There’s a lot more to it than simply paying staff money. So we’ve put together this guide to help you get it right and stay in line with what HMRC expects. (more…)

A Startup’s Guide to Cloud Accounting

online accounts for start-ups

From IT and recruitment, to marketing and sales, it’s safe to say as a startup you have a million and one things to do to get your business up and running.

Finding time to devote to accounting and financial matters isn’t always at the top of a startup’s list of priorities. Nonetheless submitting annual accounts is mandatory for any business and being on top of your  finances will help your new business succeed so it’s something you want to get done quickly and efficiently. (more…)

How Using ‘Simplified Expenses’ Can Save You Time if You’re Self Employed

claiming expenses when you are a sole trader and simplifies expenses for the self employed

Wrestling with your accounts is certainly not the highlight of working for yourself, but getting your finances right is an important part of being self-employed.

Claiming business expenses can help you to cut your tax bill but, knowing what, and how much you can claim for isn’t straightforward. Fortunately, HMRC allow the self employed to use ‘simplified expenses’ to claim certain allowable business expenses without having to make complicated calculations. (more…)

15 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Accountant for Your Small Business

Hiring an accountant - what to ask

For many small businesses, finding an accountant is both crucial and a bit daunting. It seems, at least from afar, that accountants are pretty much all the same and yet most small business owners know in their heart of hearts that is not the case.

While selecting an accountant can be a vexing process, especially if you are a new business startup, it’s much simpler if you approach it systematically and ask the right questions. So to help you find the ideal accountant for you and your business, here are the 15 questions you should ask before hiring an accountant; (more…)

Profit and Loss (P&L) Accounts – A Guide for small business owners

Guide to profit & loss statement

When you’re trying to work out how well your business is doing, one of the most powerful tools in your financial arsenal is your profit and loss account (P&L).

This is a simple set of figures that will give you a summary of what your business has spent and sold, normally in a 12 month period.

Crucially, a P&L statement will tell you how much profit or loss your business has made so it’s useful to have a good grasp of it.

Here’s an overview of Profit & Loss Accounts for a small business owner.
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Benefits in Kind: What you need to know about the new salary sacrifice rules

Changes are coming to the way benefits in kind are taxed – employers and employees should prepare themselves for the future.

Millions of British employees receive ‘perks’ from their employers: ‘benefits in kind’ (BiK) which include anything from childcare vouchers and mobile phones, to medical insurance and company cars.

Whether administered in addition to an employee’s cash remuneration, or as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement, these benefits may or may not be taxed, and may exempt employers from their National Insurance Contribution obligations.

By saving on income tax and NIC for employees (and NIC for employers), salary sacrifice schemes have, until now, represented a ‘win-win’ arrangement for British businesses. However, things are about to change. (more…)

A Guide to Bookkeeping for New Business Owners

Guide to bookkeeping for new business owners

If you’re in the midst of starting a new business, then the bookkeeping requirements are unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind. At this stage there can be far more pressing things for you to think about.

However, once your business is taking shape, you will need to start thinking about keeping up-to-date and accurate accounting records of your income and expenses. More than just a legal requirement, basic bookkeeping is an essential part of your ability to manage your business effectively.

But what kind of details are you going to need? (more…)

When should you outsource your payroll and what are the benefits of doing so?

One of the first things new business owners often say to me is how bewildering it can be getting their heads around all the different aspects of running a business.

From marketing and IT to tax and finance, it’s a case of having to quickly get up to speed on a huge range of things. For many small businesses the only way to make sure that everything gets done right is to outsource some of the tasks.

The type of functions that are frequently outsourced by small businesses are ones that either don’t add any value, or require specialist skills and knowledge that are not viable to employ someone to conduct in-house.

The administration of the company’s payroll is one such function. With a variety of outsourcing options available, from large established payroll providers to smaller competitors, outsourcing your payroll can offer a number of short-term and long-term benefits.

In this article, we look at some of the benefits of outsourcing your business’s payroll function and when is the best time to take the plunge. (more…)

Staying on top of your company accounts – Book-keeping Dos and Don’ts

Accurate bookkeeping is a necessary evil when you run your own business.

There are three reasons you need to be on top of the money coming in and going out. HMRC will need information from you at some point (whether you are a sole trader or run a limited company); you need to know if you have enough cash to get you through the month (cash flow); and finally it’s good to know whether or not you are actually making a profit!
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How switching from spreadsheets to cloud accounting can help small business owners

A staple of business life for decades, the spreadsheet was adopted on a mass scale in the late 1980s and 90s alongside desktop computers. The fact that it is still used today is testament to the fact that it really was one of the killer apps of its time.

Increasingly, however, in the age of cloud-based software and connected devices, the spreadsheet and PC-reliant tools like it are being rapidly overtaken by advances in technology, leaving legacy business users at a competitive disadvantage.

Switching from spreadsheets to cloud accounting software allows small business owners to access more up-to-date figures for sales and cashflow, and view analysis and reports on a broad selection of other essential business performance indicators.

With a wider range, and more current information to-hand, cloud accounting can help business owners to make quicker and better-informed decisions.
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Travel and accommodation expenses for the self-employed

Are you a self-employed individual? Do you have to travel on business, and does that travel ever entail an overnight stay away from your home?

Do you know exactly which of the travel and accommodation expenses you can legitimately claim back? If you get it wrong, you could pay too much tax, or worse still find yourself in trouble with HMRC for paying too little tax!

To help you get it right, here’s an explanation of the rules regarding travel and accommodation expenses for sole traders. It explains what you can, and can’t, include as legitimate costs in your business accounts. (more…)

Book-Keeping Basics Every Small Business Owner Must Know

Few people start a new business so they can do paperwork. Spending time adding up receipts or pushing invoices around a desk is nobody’s idea of fun – unless you’re starting up as a book-keeper or accountant!

Unfortunately it’s a necessary evil and something you need to stay on top of in your new business. Being disorganised and putting off paperwork just isn’t an option. HMRC will fine you if you’re late getting essential information to them. And the longer you leave it, the worse the problem gets. So here’s what every small business owner needs to know about book keeping.
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What is a balance sheet and how do you create one?

If you choose to set up a limited company when you start your business, there’s a lot more paperwork involved.

It’s one the downsides of going limited (the biggest upside of course being that you limit your liability should the business go under).

One of the many pieces of paperwork you will have to generate on at least an annual basis is a balance sheet.
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The self-assessment New Year hangover

It’s okay to have a hangover on New Year’s Day but don’t let the suffering continue into the year. January 31st has always been a key date in the small business calendar – it marks the deadline for submitting online tax returns.
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This Halloween, don’t be scared of your books

Are you tempted to duck under the bedclothes on the night of October 31st and try and shut out the “Ghosties and ghoulies and lang-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night”?

Is your business bookkeeping also something you try and hide away at the back of your mind and forget about?

Emily Coltman, ACA, Chief Accountant at online accounting provider, FreeAgent, gives her five top tips to help you lose your fear of bookkeeping.
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