Book-keeping

How To Keep Accurate Business Records

How To Keep Accurate Business Records

Poor management of the finances of your business can lead to failure. It is crucial that you have proper management of your business finances for success. Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 20% of businesses don’t make it to year one. Further to this, only 30% businesses will remain in business after their launch.

The most common reason blamed for business failures is more finance management. Many businesses do not have someone that takes on the role of looking after the finances. Other businesses don’t adhere to best practices and fall behind with managing the cash flow and business finances.

In this blog post we share some top tips to help you keep accurate business records. This is an important part of proper business finance management. Not only will these tips help you manage your business finances properly, but they may also lead to small business growth too.

There is accounting software out there that will help you automate as much of the bookkeeping process as possible. This includes the processing of receipts and digital storing financial records too. This will enable you to document the amount, time, place and business purpose of each transaction, with ease.

Generally speaking, your business records need to include three things. These are receipts, expenses and fixed assets.

  1. Receipts

The receipts are the income that you receive from your business. These records include the rolls from your tills, any deposit information, your receipts book and all invoices.

  1. Expenses

You need to keep records of the costs that you incur to run your business. These include things like cancelled cheques, documents reflecting proof of payment or electric funds being transferred. Credit card receipts, account statements, credit card receipts and invoices.

Top Tip: you may want to consider downloading a receipt scammer onto your smart phone. These apps will automatically map the content of the receipt and place it in the defined sections of your chosen accounting software.

  1. Fixed Assets

Your fixed assets need to be included in record the annual gain or loss when you sell products or services. These include asset documents such as purchase and sales invoices., closing statements and other documents that identify the payee, amount of proof of payment or electric funds. Fixed assets also include credit card receipts, statements and invoices.

 

If you need advice or support to help keep accurate records for your business, call our team of friendly accountants now. We will be only too happy to help you, and your business.

What To Look For When Buying A Business

What To Look For When Buying A Business

Buying a business is a really exciting prospect. However, it can be daunting knowing where to start. Not only is it a huge decision, but it’s also a big commitment too. You need to put a lot of thought into buying a business and it’s a decision that certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly.

As accountants in Peterborough, we have helped people just like you buy and sell businesses. Below we have put together a few of the things that you should look out for when buying a business. If possible, we would always recommend that you speak to a professional accountant, like our team, to help ensure you are making the right decision and your finances are in shape for the deal.

  • Documents

It’s important to ensure that you have all the right documents. There are a number of documents that need to be in place before you enter a sale of contract. This will include documents like a head of terms. These will often be drafted by a broker to form the basis of the sales agreement. This means that they need to be correct from the start. It’s a good idea to put a confidentiality agreement in place too. This will enable you to carry out due diligence on the business that you want to buy.

  • Research

Once the documents are in place, you need to start some in-depth research. Find out why they are selling the business in the first place. Check if there are any issues around the business that could or do raise concerns. It’s important to ensure that the business has the proper contracts in place too. Take the time to check if the business is involved in any disputes and if these may cause issues for you in the future.

  • Professionals

This is where it’s a great idea to bring in the professionals. For example, an accountant can check and confirm that the business valuation is accurate and worth what the seller claims. A solicitor can draft a share purchase agreement for you and advise on more complex issues. As the buyer, you will be responsible for preparing this sale purchase agreement. A solicitor will help to ensure that you are both covered legally and that the seller delivers what they promised for the price that was agreed.

  • Third Parties

To be able to run the business effectively you may require third party approvals or consents. These need to be transferred to you or obtained before the transaction can be completed. One example of this is if the business has a regulator or bank loan charges that may need to be discharged.

  • Companies House

Once the sale of the business has been completed, it is your job to ensure it is properly documented. This can be done by lodging transfer documents at Companies House. This will ensure that the shares are transferred to you, as the new owner of the business. There may also be other post-completion formalities that need to be managed. This includes things like stamp duty payments or post completion accounts for example.

If you are considering buying or selling a business, call our team of experienced accountants in Peterborough. We can help ensure the value of the business is realistic and help you with some of the documents and due diligence, alongside your other advisors. Always exciting times whether you are considering buying or selling, to meet your forward financial objectives.

What Is Working From Home Relief?

What Is Working From Home Relief?

During the pandemic and lockdown, with the coronavirus restrictions, many of us found we were working from home. While this may have meant saving on transport and fuel to get to and from work, costs did add up elsewhere. For example, many households found that their utility bills were rising as a home that was previously empty during the day now needed heating and computers/laptops were running throughout the working day.

If you have been working from home during the pandemic, you may be entitled to a small amount of relief for these additional household costs. This is known as the working from home relief.

HMRC have stated that additional costs such as heating, metered water bills, house insurance, business calls or a new broadband connection could be included in the working from home relief. However, other household costs which remained the same, such as: mortgage interest, council tax or rent, could not be covered by the working from home relief.

How Does The Working From Home Relief Work?

If you have regularly worked from home during the pandemic, then you can claim for each applicable week. There are two ways in which you can do this. It is possible to claim £6 per week, from 6th April 2020. This can be done without any evidence of these extra costs.

However, if you know that the additional weekly costs are over £6 a week, it is possible to claim for the exact amount of extra costs. To do this, you will need evidence for these figures. This could include bills or receipts.

What Does The Working From Home Relief Mean For You?

The working from home relief will reduce the amount of tax that you have to pay. It’s important to note that the amount of relief you receive will be the based on your tax banding.

For example, if you are on the Basic Tax Rate of 20% you will get a weekly relief of £1.20 for every £6 claimed. For those of the Higher Tax Rate of 40% you will get a £2.40 weekly relief on the £6 claimed per week. Those on the Additional Tax Rate of 45% will get a £2.70 weekly relief on the £6 claimed, for each week it is claimed. Of course, if you need to claim more than £6 a week, the weekly relief will change accordingly.

 

If you want to know more about the working from home relief and how you can claim for it. Call our team of friendly Peterborough accountants now.

Why Accounting Is Important To Your Business

Why Accounting Is Important To Your Business

Most businesses aim to see an increase in business activities year on year, but how do you track how you are actually performing?  This quickly demonstrates how important accounting is for a business. Timely and accurate accounting is important to businesses, helping the business owner run their business smoothly, and have management over their cash-flow and other key performance indicators.

In this blog post we share just some of the reasons that accounting is important to your business. If you have not yet looked at the accounting solutions of your new business, call our team now. We are your friendly and local accountants in Peterborough, ready to help you understand your business accounting.

  • Accounting is essential to help you understand your own business. If you don’t keep track of your business accounts you don’t know what your income and expenses are, if you can afford new equipment, afford that new member of staff or if your business is even making a profit.

 

  • Good business accounting ensures that your business is organised. Working with a local accountant to regularly complete your accounts will help you see where your business is at all times, and how much money you have available in the business.

 

  • It doesn’t matter if you’re a huge limited company or a self-employed sole-trader, accounting is important because it gives you a year-end report, providing necessary information to pay your taxes and provides the essential information for Companies House and HMRC. It is also a great report to look over and see how the business is getting on, comparing one year with another and tracking business performance.

 

  • Accounting is important to your business because it helps make decision making easier. By looking at your accounts with a reliable, understandable accountant you can see how to run your business, the stock you need and how much money you have for business growth, new equipment, employees or profit extraction to you, the owner.

 

  • If you are applying for business loans or buying new equipment on finance , you will need to clearly show your business accounts and ability to service debt. This information will also be required if you choose to sell your business in the future. The business accounts will allow others to see if your business is a good investment and if lending money to you or your business is a sound investment.

 

  • You can look over your business accounts throughout your accounting year with your accountant to measure the performance of your business. There are lots of accounting ratios and key performance indicators that you can use to measure the success of your business. We will help you understand the best ratios for your business, so you fully understand your business, performance, areas for improvement and its successes.

 

Need help with your business accounting? Call our friendly team of accountants in Peterborough now.

Bookkeeping Tips For A Successful 2022

Bookkeeping Tips For A Successful 2022

As we come to the end of 2021, we are already looking forward to the next year and what steps we need to consider to make it successful. For many businesses, finances are inherently linked with levels of success, and whilst there is always more to life than profits, having a stable framework and plan relieves a huge amount of pressure. Maybe you have no idea what’s going on with your accounts and you close your eyes in fear when the tax bill comes through as you have no idea what to expect?

One of the best ways to get your finances in order is to improve your bookkeeping skills. If you really want a great start to the new year, then have a look at our bookkeeping tips for a successful 2022. Don’t forget, if you do need any help with your bookkeeping business accounts then give us a call. Our team of professional and experienced accountants in Peterborough are ready and willing to help you.

So, here are our bookkeeping tips for a financially successful 2022.

  • Prepare To Organise

Getting organised in business isn’t as easy as you might think. You need to prepare how you will organise your business records, so you can get start the year on a sound footing. This can actually be a really exciting and rewarding thing to do. We all feel  proud when we successfully introduce steps to be more organised. The more organisation of your business or personal accounts, the easier it will be to keep on top of your cash flow and feel in control Think about folders, files or filing cabinets. Have somewhere to store invoices, receipts, documents, suppliers and more. Everything in your business that involves money, needs to be organised in a place that you can easily find. It is perfectly acceptable in our digital age to keep electronic records, along as they are readily available and retained for 6 years following the respective tax year end.

  • Work / Life Balance Financially

Many of us set New Years Resolutions for a better work life balance, but you need to balance the work finances and personal finances too. Separate your work finances from your personal finances. Keeping finances separated reduce the risk of losing track of where you money is going and reduces the risk of mistakes and confusions in your financial records and Tax Returns too.

  • Use Software

Trying to do all your own bookkeeping can be tricky and leaves room for mistakes. You are great at your skill and sometimes we have to think in a relative way and a task that you find really frustrating can often be handled really effectively by your trained advisor. HMRC has pushed more and more businesses into Making Tax Digital, we must embrace the benefits of the technologies and that they potentially save you time and deliver higher quality information when you really need it.  Bookkeeping software can make things a lot easier. You are able to streamline your bookkeeping process, and this will reduce the risk of making mistakes with your accounts too, and your financial records are now typically available to you through web based solutions anywhere you are and at any time of day or night.

  • Monthly Checks

A monthly check is a great way of staying organised and keeping on top of your cashflow and business accounts. As you review your monthly business records double check for mistakes, and make sure you have completed all tasks It’s a really good idea to put time in your calendar to block out an hour to review your accounts at the end of each month. These monthly checks will save you time in the long run, and potentially a lot of stress too. Self-review is extremely valuable and business owners should allocate dedicated time in every week to work on their own business, it is quite common to keep delivering for others and not taking that time for you, but by reviewing your finances regularly you are able to influence decisions in your business far earlier than otherwise may be possible.

 

If you need any help with your bookkeeping or business accounts, then call our team. We are here to offer advice, guidance and wider financial support you might need.

Christmas Gifts for Employees

Christmas Gifts for Employees

Christmas is coming and it’s likely to have been a tough year for many people, their business if they operate one and their teams. As normality returns, there are still some ongoing challenges such as social distancing, masks, lateral flow tests and more. So, you may be wondering about how you can reward your employees with Christmas gifts as a thank-you for their hard work throughout the year.

This blog post will tell you lots about Christmas gifts for employees and what you need to know. If you have any further queries about your festive finances or Christmas treats for your team, just drop us a line. We will happily give you more personalised or in-depth advice.

  • Cash Bonuses or Vouchers

If you were to give your employees a Christmas present in the form of cash, then this would be taxable as earnings in the normal way. This means it would be subject to both tax and national insurance. This also applies to vouchers that can be exchanged for cash. The employee will be taxed on the full value of the voucher.

Non-cash vouchers that are exchangeable for goods and services only will also be taxable. They must be reported on the employees P11D form. Class 1 National Insurance will normally be needed to be deducted through payroll. It is essential your payroll manager or accountant is aware of this so it can be reported correctly to HMRC.

  • Christmas Gifts

If you choose to give your employees a seasonal present such as a bottle of bubbly, a box of chocolates or similar, then this needs to be below the value of £50 per employee. It is then classed as ‘trivial’, and the employee will not be taxed. If the Christmas gift was to exceed this amount, then it will be taxable and HMRC will need to know.

  • Third Parties

If your employees do a great job, they may be given a gift from a third party. As long as the value of the Christmas gift does not exceed £250 in cost, then this is not taxable for the employee. If it is over this amount, then it is taxable and HMRC should be aware.

  • Christmas Parties

Staff entertaining can be an allowable business cost where this solely relates to your employee’s. The expenditure must be wholly and exclusively for the purposes of your business and does not necessarily need reporting to HMRC if the event is open to all your employees, be annual, such as a Christmas party (or Summer BBQ for example) and cost £150 or less per person. The allowance can be split across a number of events, as long as the combined costs does not exceed £150 per head.

  • Director benefits

A close company is one that is run by 5 or less shareholders. As a director you can receive trivial benefits up to a value of £300 in a tax year without the necessity to report these to HMRC or pay additional income tax or National Insurance on the benefit.

Remember receipts should be kept for all trivial benefits and the annual allowance can cover benefits provided to a family member or a member of your household and still be exempt.

If the exempt limits are exceeded, even by a small amount, the total value of the benefit – and not just the excess – will have to be taxed through the payroll or reported on a form P11D.

Are you still unsure of the best way to thank your employees for their hard work this Christmas? Give our team a call. We can talk through some options with you that offer the best outcome for you and your employees.

The Key Points Of The 2021 Budget For Businesses

The Key Points Of The 2021 Budget For Businesses

Earlier this month the Chancellor for the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented the 2021 budget. It looked at tax and spending budgets for the year ahead. The 2021 budget also included support for the financial burdens of the pandemic.

But, how does the 2021 budget affect your business? That’s what we look at in this blog post.

Coronavirus Business Support

  • Furlough has been extended until the end of September 2021. Employers are expected to contribute 10% towards furlough payment in July and 20% in August and September.
  • The support for self-employed people has been extended until September. Access to these grants has been widened and around 600,000 more people are eligible.

Taxation Changes

  • There are no changes to the rates of income, national insurance or VAT.
  • Personal income tax allowance has been frozen at £12,570. This will also be the rate it is frozen at from April 2022 until 2026. The higher rate income tax threshold has also been frozen. It has been frozen at £50,270 and will stay here for the same period as the personal income tax allowance.
  • The corporation tax on company profits is set to rise from 19% to 25% in April 2023. Rates will be kept at 19% for around 1,5 million smaller companies that have profits of £50,000 or less.
  • There are no changes to inheritance tax, lifetime pension allowance or capital gain tax allowances.

Business Support

  • There will be a tax break for firms to ‘unlock’ £20bn worth of business investment. Firms will be able to ‘deduct’ investment costs from tax bills. This will reduce taxable profits by 130%.
  • The VAT rate for businesses in the hospitality industry will stay at the reduced rate of 5% until September. In September there will be an interim of 12.5% VAT rate for the following six months until it returns to the normal VAT rate.
  • The business rates holiday for firms in England will continue until June. After this time there will be at 75% discount.
  • Restart grants will be available for shops and other businesses that were forced to close. This is up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential outlets due to reopen in April. £18,000 is then available for gyms, personal care providers and other hospitality or leisure industry businesses.

If you’re not sure how the 2021 budget affects your business or finances, contact our team of friendly accountants in Peterborough. We will discuss anything you need to be aware of and recommend any grants you could be legible for too.

Do You Know Where Your Limited Company Registered Office Details Need To Be?

Do You Know Where Your Limited Company Registered Office Details Need To Be?

When you become a limited company, you need a registered address for your business. In this blog post we look at what a registered address needs to be. We also look at where you need to display your company address, as a legal requirement.

The Elements Of A Registered Address

There are three elements that make up your registered address as a limited company. Firstly, your company number. This is the number you are given when you register at Companies House. Secondly, your address. This is your registered business address for your limited company. And finally, the place. By this we mean England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, if you are a UK limited company.

Your registered office address is the address that is used for all correspondence from Companies House and HMRC. It is also the address used for serving any legal notices and similar. That statutory registers and records are also kept there for inspection.

How To Stay Compliant With Your Limited Company Registered Address

While this all may sound relatively straightforward, there are things you need to do to stay compliant with your limited company registered address. We have listed some of these below for you. However, if you do have concerns about the registered address for your limited company, give us a call.

  • The registered address of your limited company doesn’t have to be the principle place of your business. Some business owners prefer to use a local accountants office address as their limited company registered address. This is a service we can offer here at AK Bookkeeping.
  • If you move location, then you need to inform Companies House. This will ensure that your records can be updated.

As your local Peterborough accountant, we can provide you with the registered address your limited company needs. This will ensure that all your statutory documents are dealt with promptly and professionally. By using our address, it also protects the confidentiality of your home address.

Should You Apply For The Fifth SEISS Grant?

Should You Apply For The Fifth SEISS Grant?

You may have already received an email from HMRC about the fifth SEISS grant that will be available to apply for later this month. You may feel that business is on the up, but could this extra bit of money could really help the business? Maybe business is down, but not as badly as it was? So, should you apply for the fifth SEISS grant?

The criteria to be eligible for this grant is pretty much the same as the fourth grant. Your self-employed profits, for 2019 / 2020 need to be lower than £50,000 and they cannot exceed 50% of your total income. Alternatively, the same £50,000 and 50% tests can be applied against your average profits and total income over the four fiscal years up until 2019 / 2020.

You don’t need to have applied for the previous four grants to be able to apply for the fifth SEISS grant. However, you will be required to confirm that your business has continued to be negatively adversely affected by Covid-19.

The amount that you can claim with the grant, depends on how much your turnover has been affected by. If business has been affected and reduced your sales by more than 30% then the grant will be 80% of the average profits of the business. However, this is capped at £7,500.

If your business has been affected negatively by less than 30% then the grant will cover 30% of your average profits. This will be capped at £2,850.

If you are not sure if you should apply for the fifth SEISS grant, then why not call our team of local accountants. Applying for this grant should only be done if you have noticed that business has been significantly down on previous months or years.

It is important to note that acceptance of this grant could make applying for a mortgage or other funding harder in the future and do not overlook that the SEISS grants that you have applied for will also be included in your next accounts and will be part of your taxable income. HMRC may seek a repayment of all or part of the SEISS grants if they assess that you did not meet eligibility at the time you claim each tranche of funding, and may therefore need to be repaid at a later date.

Here at AK Bookkeeping we are here to help you. If you are self-employed and not sure if you should apply for the fifth and final grant, let’s have a chat. We can talk through the pros and cons of applying for the grant and look at other finance options too.

For more information contact our friendly accountants now; we are here to help.

Five Improvements For Your Business Cash Flow

Five Improvements For Your Business Cash Flow

Good control of your cash flow is essential for the successful growth of your business. It’s important, as a business owner, that you understand how much cash is going in and out of your business. However, it is also important that you make improvements where you can that will help improve your cash flow.

We have put together five improvements for your business cash flow below. Have a look at our ideas and give them a go. See how much they can help you improve your cash flow, if even in the short term.

  1. Accurate & Timely Invoices

Everyone makes mistakes, however even the smallest mistake on an invoice can be used as an excuse by a client to delay payment of the invoice. Make sure that your invoices are sent on time and double check that they are correct, so your clients have to pay on time.

  1. Speed Up Payments

It’s possible to cut down the amount of time you spend waiting for payment, by offering an incentive. A discount as small as 1% or 2% for clients that pay within 2 days of receiving the invoice increases the chances of speedier payments and money in your business account sooner.

  1. Review Your Assets

Look at the assets in your business. Are they all being used? Do you have a large printer with all the bells and whistles that is just not being used? Then why keep it where it takes up space and gathers dust? There could be another business down the road that are willing to pay good money to take it off your hands.

  1. Chase Outstanding Invoices

Many business owners are scared to chase for money they are owed for outstanding invoices, for fear of causing client upset. Make sure you put time aside to chase your debts regularly. But make sure you keep it friendly and polite too. That way you’ll get paid and keep the client.

  1. Understand Clients Payments

Ask clients when they expect to pay your invoice. Then use this information to manage your own credit control function. For example, if a client pays all invoices on 30 day terms, there is no point chasing for payment after 7 days. It also means you can work your invoices around the time they do their payment runs.

 

If you are concerned about the cash flow of your business, then please call our team of accountants in Peterborough, where we can discuss your requirements and suggest suitable recommendations for your business.