Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Nine days and counting

www.oakbookkeepingservices.co.uk  Your Reading based Bookkeeper

Only nine days left for completing the Self-Assessment Tax Return.  Many are asking if they need to complete a tax return. Ask yourself these questions. Do you rent a property out or have more than one lodger in your main residence? Are you a director of a company? Are you making or buying products to sell on?  If the answer to any of these is yes you should be completing a self-assessment tax return.

If you do not have your UTR or have not yet gone online for your Gateway Id then you may have left it too late as it usually takes about 10 days for the Gateway Id to come through.  If you are able to complete your assessment online don't forget if you owe tax this needs to be paid by January 31st. Leaving it till the 31st then saying you didn't realise is a bit like not being ready for Christmas.  We all know when it is but are still not prepared when it comes round the same time the following year.

If you have left it late or are unsure if you have to do one the best thing to do is ring the HMRC now and discuss the best way to resolve things.  It's still not too late to contact a bookkeeper or accountant to help you with your tax returns and they can ensure your penalties (if not completed by 31st) are kept to a minimum.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Cash Flow - staying afloat

oakbookkeepingservices.co.uk        Based in Lower Earley, Reading.

No matter how good a sales team you have, or if you have the best product ever invented, without good cash flow control your business is dead in the water.  Many a business has gone into insolvency because they had no hard cash to pay their invoices.  All it takes is one large payer to delay making payment to you, you then delay paying your creditors which delays your purchases being delivered.   
The best way to resolve this is to ensure your invoices are sent out straight away.  The number of small businesses that leave invoicing till the end of the week, month or ‘when I have time’ is astounding.  This is the one time when as the saying goes ‘time is money’.

 A lot of companies pay once a week or once a month. By delaying the invoicing you could miss a client’s payment run and as a lot pay on thirty days this can also delay when payment is made.

If you complete the work today leave your client with the invoice
Are you able to take immediate payment by credit/debit card?  More and more tradesmen now have mobile card readers to do this.

Offer a discount for early payment.
If you do not have time to invoice straight away see if your bookkeeper will do it.  Many will agree a cost per invoice and  can issue, post or email the invoice that day on receipt of the information from yourself.

Finally ensure they have several ways to pay so no excuses.  Bank transfer, cheque or debit /credit card.
Finally if you think you’re going to be paid late which will delay payment to your creditors notify them straight away and agree a date(s) for payment.  If they know when payment is being made this in turn will help their cash flow and they are more likely to keep trading wheras no payment will make them think you are next to go under and could stop deliveries.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

What are you offering?

oakbookkeepingservices.co.uk  Your local Bookkeeper based in Reading

Another High Street store went into administration this week. For small businesses this is a reminder that we need to have more than one string to our bow. HMV lost out as more and more of us buy online.   

This reminds us we need to be able to sell to more than one market.  For me this means not just doing month end accounts but offering credit control, Tax returns and later this year – Payroll, and offering these to small businesses and sole traders alike.  

Ask yourself these questions. How are you diversifying?  What will you do if your main buyer stops trading?  What are you doing to attract new customers?

Monday, 14 January 2013

Pension changes

oakbookkeepingservices.co.uk   Your local  Bookkeeper based in Reading.

The Government has announced a new flat-rate State Pension of £144 a week, which will be introduced in April 2017.  Pensioners will now only be able to get the full State Pension if they’ve paid NI contributions for 35 years, instead of the current level of 30 years.

As the Second State Pension will be phased out under the new system, everyone will be paid the same amount and there won’t be a choice to opt-out.  The self-employed will benefit from this as currently they are unable to contribute to the Second State Pension.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Child benefit opt-out date passed

oakbookkeepingservices.co.uk  Your local Reading based Bookkeeper.

"More than 250,000 high earners have already opted out of receiving child benefit but several hundred thousand others who missed a deadline to declare they will no longer qualify will now have to fill in self-assessment tax forms." According to BBC online.

Its too late now to register to opt out as yesterday was the deadline.  However it's a lot easier to fill in a self assessment form and pay it back in January 2014 than to try and get it back if your financial situation changes which in the current climate is a possibility.

Just make sure you don't spend it by setting up a standing order to pay it straight into a high interest savings account ready to pay back. 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Self-Assessment deadline looming

Oakbookkeepingservices.co.uk     Your local Reading based Bookkeeper

HMRC stated on twitter that 160 online Self-assessment tax returns were filed between 11.00 and 12.00 pm on New Years Eve.   This may be because there was nothing decent to watch on telly or maybe it was an excuse for some peace and quiet.  Whatever the reason they can start 2013 knowing it's completed and out of the way.

It is surprising how many leave it till the last minute and then panic as they have not got their Unique Tax Reference or online access sorted.  As the penalties that are applied by the HMRC can quickly mount up, as they are applied daily, it makes sense to sort it out now.

Make 2013 the year you take hold of your paperwork instead of it taking hold of you.  :-)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

www.oakbookkeepingservices.co.uk Your local Reading based Bookkeeper

Happy New year to everyone.  It's that time of year when most of us make resolutions for the year ahead whether personal or business.  If you have decided this is the year you are going to set up your own business then make sure you know what records you need to keep, what legal forms need to be completed (ie registering as self employed even if this is just a small business running alongside your normal employment) and what you can claim as expenses and allowances.

It makes sense to get your bookkeeper on board at the start of the business as this could save you time and money in the long run.

I hope 2013 will be everything you want it to be.