Frequently Asked Questions
How can my accounts influence decision making?
Keeping accurate accounting records provides good information and insight on the performance of your business. If you interpret this correctly it will help you identify where you are doing well as well where there is room for improvement. Your accountant can help with providing the information as well as explaining and navigating them with you.
How do I improve on my last year’s accounts?
The first thing is to understand your accounts, this is where we can help. Keeping good financial records allows you to analyse the data and work out where things have gone well. Think about how these could be improved. If there are areas that are not so good, what can you do to change them? Look out for costs you are incurring where there is little or no return or benefit to the business.
We can help you make sense of this and put you back on the map and design a route to success.
I’m not a numbers or spreadsheet type of person, can you help?
We are often at our happiest looking at a screen full of numbers or creating a spreadsheet. We recognise though it is not for everyone. We can help by translating the financial data (numbers) into something you do understand. We take the time to get to know our clients and how we should approach this for each client.
Unfortunately, you cannot hide away from the numbers, it is an essential part of being in business to ‘know your numbers’. The better you understand them the better your business will be! We can help you navigate your numbers.
Is it easy to change accountants?
It is probably easier than you think.
There are some administrative procedures to go through and we would help you through the process.
Have a chat with us and see whether you think we would be a good fit for you.
Once you have decided to move you need to let your current adviser know. We will then contact them to obtain your previous records and other relevant information, also advise HMRC that we are now acting as your agent. If you have a subscription to a cloud based accounting system, such as Xero, through your current adviser, we will ask them to switch it over to us.
We will then review the records to ensure they are accurate, and update and identify any potential tax savings and cost savings you could achieve.
Arrange a call today.
Can we work with spreadsheets or my preferred accounting software?
We are happy to work with any software that you use and spreadsheets that you complete. We will review the current setup to make sure it works well for you and provides the information that we need too.
We will provide recommendations of how the processes you have in place could be improved. In some cases, this could involve significant change, even to a product that we believe would suit your needs better. Where we can, we help you streamline your processes to save you time, so that you can focus more on the parts of your business that you love to do.
There are Government/HMRC plans to Make Tax Digital (MTD) in the near future for all businesses and individuals, some are already here, MTD for VAT for example. Being prepared to change is something all business owners need to be ready to do.
How can you help me reach my goals?
The financial affairs of your business are crucial to achieving your goals, not least any financial goals.
Being financially sound does lead to being a successful business.
It is also an important dial on your navigational dashboard to achieving personal wellbeing. That is not to say that money can buy you happiness, far from it, but rather it’s about the importance of having enough for what you need. Everyone’s goals are different, but we all need to feel supported, to know that we can provide for our own needs and loved ones, now and in the future. Being financially sound alleviates the anxiety and worries of how you will provide day to day, so that you can respond to what each day brings, and be the person you are designed to be.
If you share with us your personal goals and ambitions we can help you find the relevant information within your accounting records, so that you will know when you will reach a specific goal. It gives you a holistic view, from which we can help sign post different avenues and opportunities for exploration that align with your journey and goals in business and life.
Arrange a call today.
I’ve always found accounting stressful and time consuming – how can you help?
We hear this from many clients, it often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, the more you put off dealing with your accounts the more stressful it becomes. Doing a little often is usually less stressful.
We will review your current procedures and see if we can simplify these for you and highlight the most important aspects, so if you have limited time you can see the essential information. There may be some areas where you would prefer us to deal with it for you.
Remember that it is your business, and the more you know and understand about the business the more likely you are to find the path to success.
When do I need to pay taxes?
It does depend on whether you are a company or an individual:
- For a company you need to pay corporation tax based on the profit for the year shown in your accounts and is usually due 9 months and 1 day after the end of the accounting period. For example, an accounting period that ends on 31 March 2021, the corporation tax would be due 1 January 2022.
- For an individual you may need to make payments on account these are due 31 January before the end of the tax year, and 31 July after the end of the tax year. If you owe more tax than you have paid on account then the balance is due on the following 31 January.
There are also other taxes:
- PAYE & NI – generally paid monthly although in some cases it can be paid quarterly.
- VAT – generally paid quarterly although in some cases can be paid monthly.
What are your fees?
The fees are specific to your set of circumstances.
To give you an idea of the range of costs you can expect from us:
- Personal Tax Returns: For the majority of our clients the fee is less than £1,000 plus VAT. It can range from £190 plus VAT, all the way to £8,000 plus VAT.
- Corporate Tax Returns: Completed alongside the company’s accounts each year our fees start from £150 plus VAT, more complex cases can be up to £5,000 plus VAT.
- Annual Accounts: Required for all businesses whether sole trades, partnerships or limited companies. The fees vary due to complexity of the business and the quality of the records provided to us. The simplest sole trade start at £200 plus VAT with the most complex company at £10,000 plus VAT.
For other services, we will establish the support that is required and provide a bespoke quote for your unique business.
What records do I need to keep?
In a nutshell, you need to provide and keep all receipts.
We would always recommend keeping detailed records for all transactions.
Now, that doesn’t mean keeping boxes and boxes of paper records. We can work with electronic records and these are perfectly acceptable to HM Revenue & Customs, whether it is for a VAT review, or for claims of expenses against your business income.
If you are in business, we would suggest using a cloud based accounting software and we highly recommend Xero – it is very intuitive and you don’t need to be an accountant to use it!
You can also attach copies of all receipts to the transactions so you can keep paperless records.
If that’s not for you, then a simple spreadsheet will do, or an even traditional cash book.
We are happy to work with whatever records you keep. The better they are presented, will make our life easier, which will keep the costs down and give us more time to offer advice on how you can run your business more tax efficiently.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss this with us.
How does IS Accountancy store my information?
All physical records are stored safely in our office while we work on them, these are returned to you once we have finished with them.
Electronic records are ideal, we store these within our protected systems so we can deal quickly with any enquiries from HMRC.
When should I start working with an accountant?
It is never too early to discuss things with an accountant.
When you are considering setting up your business, there will be things you might not have thought about or taken into account.
An accountant can help you transform your ideas and develop a financial forecast and a business plan.
An initial meeting with us is free of charge, please give us a call to book a meeting.
What are the benefits of working with a Chartered Accountant over a Bookkeeper?
A Chartered Accountant tends to have a greater depth of knowledge and offer a broader range of services, in particular around tax and can advise on the overall circumstances/situation of the business.
A Bookkeeper will be able to assist with and advise on keeping the accounting records. Many will know areas of the allowable and disallowable expenses, and will also help with the completion of VAT returns and processing payroll.
There are many cases where we work with our client’s bookkeeper to deliver an overall better service to our client.
We are more than happy to work with bookkeepers and can offer free support with any matters that they encounter and wish to seek reassurance.
If you use a bookkeeper, ask them to contact us to find out how we can help them.
Can I do my own bookkeeping?
Of course you can!
It certainly helps you have a fuller understanding of your business and we can provide training and support to help you set up your accounting system. We offer a bespoke training package for Xero, whether that is the initial setup or sorting out any challenges that arise.
Do consider whether it is the best use of your time, energy and passion – you setup your business because you can deliver great services/products using your unique skills. Could you make the cost back and more by paying for a bookkeeper’s time and expertise instead?
Do you have a simple package I can start with and add to as I grow?
We have some templated spreadsheets that might be sufficient when you start out, especially as a sole trader. These provide you with a good grounding and insight of how to keep your accounts, and prepares you ready for the next level up, tailored to you.
We recommend Xero, a cloud based accounting system that offers a range of versions that suit different sizes and types of businesses, such as VAT or not VAT registered. From a starter version for a small number of transactions a month, up to the most sophisticated that offers full accounting systems including automatically handling foreign currency bank accounts and transactions. Even better you can move between the different versions as your business changes to the most suitable at that stage of your business. All without the loss of any company data.
We have clients whose turnover ranges from a few thousand to multi-million pounds, as well as from ten or twenty transactions a month to some that have thousands of transactions a month.
Xero also has a wide-range of additional features that come with a small additional cost, as well as hundreds of other software packages that can automatically interact with Xero. There is a solution just for you.
Please give us a call if there are any areas of your accounting system you would like to discuss with us and see if there could be a better option open to you.
How long do I need to keep my accounting records?
In the event of general enquiries from HMRC they can request information from up to 6 years ago, given that they generally have one year after a tax return has been filed, we recommend keeping 7 years of information.
For assets or investments, such as property, we recommend you keeping the purchase information as it will help when calculating the taxable gain (or loss) made when you come to sell at some point in the future. For property transactions, do keep the completion statement, details of any major changes made to property as these might help reduce the gain made.
In relation to Inheritance Tax, keeping records of ownership are important as well as any gifts that you have made during your life.