Keeping Your Books in Order

May 2, 2019

Looking after your finances can be stressful, but with some planning it’s possible to make the task easier to keep on top of. In this blog, we detail how best to go about the process.

Should I hire an accountant?

If you struggle with any of the following, then you should consider hiring an accountant:

  • Filing your tax returns correctly
  • Keeping records of invoices and expenses
  • Dealing with the bureaucracy of running a business

In these situations, a good accountant can save you money. Especially if your business begins to grow and things start to get more complicated.

What can an accountant help with?

Accountants can help you file tax returns, keep on top of invoicing and expenses and provide guidance when working on complex financial documents. As such, accountants can make a big difference to your business, even if it’s just for a couple of hours every so often when you need it the most.

How much will an accountant cost?

According to Accountancy Age, typical costs for an average UK accountant will be around £35 per hour for basic services, such as working on a return, but for more complex work such as tax planning you could pay £150 an hour or more.

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Where can I find an accountant?

You can search for an accountant by location on the Institute of Financial Accountants website. All accountants have to be chartered by a regulatory board before they can offer their services to business. As such, it’s relatively straightforward to find a suitably qualified individual.

Are there any cheaper options?

There are cheaper options available, including a number of computer and mobile based systems. Programs like QuickBooks and Xero allow you to send unlimited invoices, calculate and file VAT, manage bills and run payroll operations. These systems still offer a comprehensive solution and are almost always cheaper than bringing an accountant on-board.

Can I look after the books myself?

Of course. Many sole traders take care of the books for themselves, but you have to be confident that whatever you do is legally compliant. Mistakes can be costly and could result in a financial penalty from HMRC.

Is there training available?

Yes, and it’s free. If you’re planning to handle the books independently it’s best to attend an HMRC workshop. The workshops give a great introduction into getting to grips with VAT and how best to navigate the Construction Industry Scheme.

Upon completion, HMRC will provide attendees with a free payroll solution on CD-ROM, which has everything you’ll need to meet your employer filing duties. The courses are high-quality and can really improve your understanding of running a business.

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