Choosing the right Accounting Software
Firstly, if you haven’t already done so, you will need an online accounts system such as Xero, Quickbooks or FreeAgent.
The benefits of using an online system such as these are enormous. You will have the ability to create invoices very quickly and email to a customer, which will improve your cashflow. Bank feeds and automatic bank reconciliation which makes your bookkeeping that much easier, and we can both see your information in real-time simultaneously, which makes answering any queries so much easier; the list goes on…
You will also be future-proofing your business, as HMRC have introduced MTD – ‘Making Tax Digital’ which will make it essential to have an online software accounting package. As to which you should use, they all have their relative merits and we will make a firm recommendation as to which you should select, entirely dependent on what you need.
Some clients automate as much of the bookkeeping function as they can, using an App called Receipt Bank which eliminates time-consuming manually recording receipts. We will demonstrate its value in our meeting.
What Happens Next?
The First Few Weeks…
Becoming a client involves a great deal of initial set up work, some of which will need your involvement but the majority we handle ourselves.
We set you up on our internal workflow system, and create a secure email and document storage account – we don’t send sensitive information by email, but use an encrypted fully secure online system for clients.
We will need to complete some simple Anti Money Laundering checks and will tell you what we need – it can appear annoying, but it is the Law. If you have an existing accountant, we will send them a release letter asking for your records to be sent to us promptly.
We request authorisation codes to deal with HMRC on your behalf and upon receipt (these will be sent to you unless we are going to be your registered office) we will populate the HMRC system. This includes getting your Unique Tax Reference number, VAT, Payroll, Corporation Tax, and Self-Assessment. Once we receive the information from your old accountant, we need to double-check our understanding and input some of the data into our internal system.
All accountants work slightly differently, and therefore it can take a considerable amount of time to make sure we have everything we need and can identify any issues which are unclear or unresolved. This happens quite a lot, as all too frequently your relationship with your previous accountant has not been brilliant, which is probably one reason you are thinking of moving.
We will not rest until we are completely happy we have everything we need here, and all is in order! It is just part of our service and ethos.
We will set up your online accounts systems such as Xero, QuickBooks or FreeAgent. We will set up Receipt Bank too if you have opted for this. We will set up your Payroll to make sure we comply with the Real-Time Information (RTI) HMRC requirements.
You will be introduced to the member of the team who will be handling your day to day accounting activities, and they will be your first point of contact for anything administrative. However, you will always be able to contact either partners for any business advice at any time.
Now we have set up your accounts package you will be invited to come into our office and we will train you on everything you need. This normally takes around an hour but you’re not limited to this time as we’re not comfortable until you are. Our team are fully conversant with any of the software systems, so please feel free to contact them at any time with any queries.
What Happens Week by Week, Month By Month
If you are using Receipt Bank, your client manager will be able to keep an eye on what you are doing daily and ensure this is working correctly.
Questions and Queries
Every week we can monitor your online accounting system, to ensure all looks in order – one of the great attractions of these systems is we can both see the same information and you have the facility to pose questions and queries online, relating to an individual transaction. It is relatively easy for us to answer these when posted online in this manner.
Every payroll period you will need to send us the gross earnings for employees – we will calculate the deductions due for Income Tax and National Insurance, submit the required return to HMRC under RTI and tell you what payments need to be made, together with a link and explanation of how to pay HMRC online.
We will then create payslips for every employee and upload to your secure online document storage, which you can either print or email onto to your employees.
It is essential you make any payments under auto-enrolment on time, and this can be an onerous task. We handle this for you under our payroll service – we will calculate which employee is due what contribution every month and tell you in time for you to make the payments.
We will also monitor the three-year re-enrolment’ date at which point every employee who opted out, will automatically have to opt back in unless they select otherwise. It would be very easy to miss this and risk a fine, whereas we take care of this for you too.
Each quarter your client manager will calculate your VAT liability from the invoices you have created and the expenses that have been uploaded into your online accounting software via Receipt Bank or otherwise.
We will upload a draft VAT report to your online document storage where you can view and authorise the return. From here we will file the VAT return with HMRC and send you an email with a link to pay the amount due. If you prefer, we can advise on setting up a Direct Debit with HMRC to collect the VAT monies automatically each quarter.
Mid Term Review
We’re only happy when we know you are!
Hence a few months into our working relationship, we will talk about and review what’s going well, what could be improved and establish if you need any further help or advice. We really value feedback and are constantly striving to be the best we can be.
Company Confirmation Statement
Every year limited companies must submit a Confirmation Statement to Companies House – these used to be called Annual Returns. Essentially it is Companies House checking what if anything has changed within the structure of your company.
You only have 14 days from notification to complete this online statement, which is why we do this for clients to ensure you comply with the regulations and to remove this burden from you.
Two Months Before Year-End
Any tax planning needs to be done before your year-end, and about ten months into your year, we will both know what’s happened and your likely tax liability.
Our annual tax planning review will look at your options, explore what steps you can take to mitigate any liability, whilst ensuring you still meet your legal obligations.
We have various tax strategies we can use, depending on what works for you as we need to be careful that avoiding any liability doesn’t cause other issues within the business, such as cash flow problems.
We need to produce your statuary company accounts and file them at Companies House and HMRC. To start this process, we will transfer the data from your online accountancy software into our accounts production suite. Of course, we need all transactions to be accurately recorded.
From here we will make any necessary adjustments for tax allowances, then produce your accounting journals and draft accounts ready for us to meet up and finalise. We create a draft set of accounts and send to you using our secure online system.
We meet to discuss and check to understand, as we appreciate our terminology can be confusing, but we do want you to understand your numbers! We then produce a final set of accounts and these are submitted to HMRC. In addition, we submit a modified version of your accounts to Companies House under FRS rules. We will advise you what payments are due and by when.
If we work together, we will have all the above completed within four months of your year-end, thereby giving you plenty of time to prepare for any tax payments.
Personal Tax Liability and Returns
Now all the above is complete it’s time to assemble your personal tax return via self-assessment. We already have your self-employed profits, director’s salary, and any dividend payments; however, your tax affairs may be more complex. We will either send an annual questionnaire asking for any additional information or call you instead. Either way, we will ensure your tax return is correct and ready to submit, which once approved by you, we will file with HMRC.
By working together, we can ensure your return is completed quickly thereby giving you plenty of notice for your personal tax liability to help you make arrangements to pay.
We produce regular news articles on this website to keep our clients up to date with relevant news and information that you may have missed. Where we can and if it’s appropriate, we will introduce you to our fellow clients as we know how important joint ventures and collaboration can be.
We have a series of lunchtime seminars planned, and all clients are encouraged to attend as a great place to learn, and network too.
Rinse and Repeat!
We are now back full circle and start all over again 😊
All this can be provided to you by using one of our monthly accounting packages. We have typical prices available for Sole traders and Partnerships, Micro Limited Companies and Limited Companys. You may have questions, our FAQ page will answer many of them!
We would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our worth and would love to meet for a coffee and a chat.