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10 Popular Accounting Services To Remember

10 accountancy services able accountants walsallAs you're looking for local accountants in Walsall, it's important to understand the range of services actually on offer. You may have one particular task in mind that they need to help you with, maybe your annual company accounts or some VAT advice, and not realise the other range of services on offer. Some of these you won’t need now of course, maybe later on, although some you may need to be thinking about and acting upon now.

One of the best ways to practically understand this is to have a consultation with an accountant (ideally free of charge) , and use the opportunity to explain the bigger picture in your and your business’ accounts to then narrow down what the accounting issues are. We’ve come up with a few areas of expertise to get you thinking about what to check with an accountant:

1. Bookkeeping

In short, this is keeping a record of what your income and expenditure is, which can then be used for whatever accounting services. It’s a task that can be straight forward to do yourself, although an accountant can first help to explain what the correct and most efficient procedure is for doing this, and secondly actually help carry out as it can be time consuming.

2. Preparing Accounts

What you mostly expect from an accountant, an official set of often yearly accounts for maybe statutory purposes, and maybe say year-ends for companies, and can include the two popular formats of profit-and-loss and balance-sheets.

3. Submitting & Filing Accounts

Once the set of accounts are completed these may need actually submitting to authorities such as HMRC and Companies House. This could be something you want to do yourself as it can be easier now with online accounts, however also something worth passing over to the accountant as a lot of the preparation is actually online as well (e.g. tax returns).

4. Tax Returns

Preparing your annual tax return, and then processing any payments or credits and changes. Even if you prepare the actual returns yourself, an accountant can help with the strategy and what costs/income can and can’t be included.

5. Financial Advice

This can simply be general advice on how to more effectively operate your accounts and business the most profitable way, including different legal entities to trade as, and whatever allowances can be included.

6. Payroll

Processing the salaries and other costs/expenses of staff and employees.

7. VAT Returns

If you’re VAT registered than you will need to prepare quarterly VAT returns of income and output VAT and process appropriate payment/credits, and deal with any queries resulting from.

8. CIS Subcontractors

Dealing with any accounts and tax implications for any applicable sub-contractors.

9. Overseas

If you have any overseas income and investments that need accounting for correctly, particularly for any tax implications.

10. Capital Gains Tax

Aspecific type of tax that can have large implications longer term, particularly when you look at what Capital Allowances are permitted.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but can help get you thinking of the possibilities.

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Make Sure Your Business Property Costs Are In The Accounts Correctly

property costs able accountants walsallSurprisingly a lot of businesses rent their property, rather than own the property freehold as you often find with people’s homes. There will often be a lease or licence in place with a landlord and rent or licence fee being paid for being able to occupy the building and trade.

This will evidently have an effect on the accounts of any business, particularly by the nature of it being rent or fee being paid rather than say a mortgage payment which is going towards their own freehold property as an asset of the business – this ‘rental payment’ will therefore need correctly accounting for both in any profit-and-loss plus any balance sheet of the business.

It’s also important to consider all the other associated property costs which a good local accountant can help advice on. Right before any lease starts there will be initial costs to consider whether survey or fit-out costs, or reduced outgoings through say a rent free period being agreed right at the beginning of the lease.

Check the Lease & Legal Documentation

During the lease you’ll need to carefully look at the running costs of the business in the property such as utilities, insurance, service-charge, and general repairs and maintenance. In commercial property the business often incurs more of these costs than in residential properties, which will need budgeting for.

Even at the end of the lease there will be exit costs including any outstanding repairs and dilapidations, and balancing service charges from the landlord which should go towards any shared costs in the building. On the plus side though, these could be credits due back if the service charge has underspent, or if you look closely into any insurance premium you’ve paid the landlord then you may be able to receive a credit back from the point of you leaving to the end of the policy.

The lease or licence taken by the business therefore needs carefully agreeing, using a combination of both property surveying and accountancy advice to help budget the true overall costs of the property and how they are accounted for.

Helpful Lease Templates

Here are a few standard lease templates that you can begin with, and although these can be free or have a small purchase costs to save legal costs in drafting from scratch, you still need separate property and accounting advice to then tailor these to your own requirements and accounts:

1. The Model Commercial Lease – a variety of lease templates for different types of property and businesses, free of charge.

2. RICS Small Business Retail Lease – this is through the RICS who are the regulatory body for Chartered Surveyors, who also provide a supplementary guide called Code for Leasing Business Premises.

3. Law Society Business Lease of Part – this is through the Law Society, and although there is a charge of £27.50 this is often used as a good bench-mark as produced from such an important organisation in the legal profession.

4. Meanwhile Lease – a little different, through a Community Interest Company.

Get The Right Accounting

Whatever property interets you have, make sure you're correctly accounting for it. With property beiung such a lareg cost and asset, then it's even more important to make sure you don't have ansy nasty surprises later down the line.

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Are Your Web Developments in the Correct Tax Bracket?

tax bracket able accountants walsallOnce upon a time HMRC used to consider websites as pretty much lumped in with marketing and/or IT costs however, in our ecommerce relevant times, now they're being categorised much more in line with their full finance generating potential.

In order to now correctly categorise costs incurred on your site you should be using your business accounts section when it comes to tax year end balance sheets i.e. profit-and-loss or expenditure.

If you're a small business then web development projects such as redesigns or initial start-ups probably won't be too effected by the new HMRC initiative although, it never hurts to know what's going on so always check with you accountant first to ensure you're staying in line with the tax man.

If you'd prefer to do your own research or you just want to know the essence of the new HMRC policy then check out the 3 step plan below and see how web developments may effect your financial future.

Step One

Capital-expenditure and revenue-expenditure are the 2 different accounting methods that you need to get a general understanding of prior to learning where your web developments fit in with your end of year tax statement.

Capital-expenditure takes into account buying something of value that has the potential to create the same value or change in value in the future. For example: buying a motorbike gives you something of value that can again be sold but probably at a depreciated price over time.

Revenue-expenditure basically includes costs that are incurred that are necessary to do business. You won't see much value in them after they've been used and will just take your income in order to produce your yearly profit-and-loss margins. For example: buying the petrol required to help your motorbike get you to work and back.

By recognising both of the above methods you can then deal with them individually and incorporate the results into your final figures to show on the overall balance sheet.

Step Two

After you've learned the difference between revenue and capital expenditure you can divide your web development costs between both. As HMRC perceives your site as an asset that holds value and may increase value in the future this will fall into the capital-expenditure bracket and become known as enduring assets. This is especially appropriate if the expected net income for your site comes in higher than the development and design costs.

If you've only tweaked or added to certain parts of your site or just spruced up the overall feel then you're probably more than likely to have fallen into the revenue-expenditure section as the general asset of your site hasn't changed, you've just incurred costs due to day-to-day running and maintaining your site.

Step Three

Differentiate between both capital and revenue expenditure costs and decide which will change the way you calculate your taxes in months to come. Best advice if you're unclear about which category your website designs fall into is to talk to an accountant or a recognised bookkeeper.

Note: In general HMRC only consider redesigns and web development projects to be considerable when they top the one thousand pound mark or when there's a remarkable increase in online sales boosting overall business profits.

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Accountancy's Popularity & 3 Emerging Trends

accountancy career able accountantsRecently we have found ourselves recommending accountancy to people as a career choice. If you’re OK with numbers (not even particularly loving them, just accepting of and working with them), then this is actually a great option – the training is plentiful, and the work will always be there, including on a flexible basis.

Then we came across the survey results from Randstad Financial & Professional recruiters who estimate that a whopping 80,000 new accountants are needed by 2050. Running this on a calculator, this averages out to around 2,222 every year or 6 a day.

To be technically correct though, these are ‘qualified financial professionals’ that are required in order to satisfy the increasing long-term demand. They detail how the nature in which people work will change as a new younger generation emerge into working like with new technology and working habits.

The report suggests, “tech-oriented Gen Y and Gen X clients will increasingly expect to interact with their accounting professionals digitally and virtually, using online and self-serve customer support in addition to traditional methods. They will also expect faster and even real-time responses to their requests.”

If you’re looking for a career, this is seriously worth looking into - or if you’re a business, it’s worth finding and developing a good working relationship with an accountant or ‘qualified financial professional’. Whichever side of the fence you fall, here’s 3 emerging trends to prepare for according to this report:

1. Cloud computing – information will not only be on computers, but stored in the virtual online ‘cloud’. This means easy access anywhere with all kinds of devices from PCs to smart phones to tablets. The information can be whatever you need and presented into whatever user-friendly format works best.

2. Automation – routine and administration task will become more automated, meaning an emphasis on routine, cost reductions, and the administration side rather than tonnes of expertise. Outsourcing is bound to increase involving freelancers and other businesses at the back-end of the work.

3. Expertise – at the other end of the scale, greater skill will be required in wider financial and business areas, not just pure accounting. Clients will need to make sense of accounting solutions, and know how it integrates with other area like business development, logistics, and personnel. This is actually where the real accounting skill-set will be – making sense of all the streams of data and stats in the real-life business world.

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5 Ways To Improve An Accountant's Cost

accountants cost able accountants walsallWe’ve been involved with local accountants through clients and the bottom-line determinant of which particular accountant and service to use is cost. Understandable, particularly in these hard times and when dealing with financial experts like accountants, however care must be taken as to what the true cost ends up being.

We’ve therefore come up with 5 areas of cost to carefully investigate in order to make sure you receive the most value from the lowest cost (also applicable to other business types):

1. VAT – simple, but can be an unexpected 20% on the cost that you hadn’t factored into the equation. This depends both on your own business’ VAT status and that of the accountant. So best case scenario is where you are resisted for VAT yourself so if another business charges you VAT on their service then you simply claim back in your VAT return. The worst case scenario is where you’re not VAT registered and therefore if you instruct a firm who needs to charge VAT then you get hit with this extra cost which you can’t claim back, in which case it may be worth looking at an often-smaller independent firm or sole trader who does not need to charge VAT in the first place.

2. Free Consultations – a lot of firms now offer a free consultation to start off with, maybe an hour or so, to go through with you face-to-face or maybe over the phone what your issues are and offer some general advice. A definite opportunity to look into, although two words of caution – firstly make sure you receive some helpful advice back rather than just an opportunity to sell their generic services (they need to be applied to your situation), and secondly that you don’t end up paying higher fees afterwards or being locked into a contract (yes the idea of this is to encourage you to be a client, but only on a ‘normal’ basis afterwards).

3. Credit terms – this is to do with when you need to actually pay their fee invoice once generated, often within 30 days. This can be a great help cash-wise, particularly if the accounting advice is leading to say a tax credit which may be coming from HMRC the following month which will help pay the accountant’s invoice then as well. Double check this payment-period both in their written T&S’s but also chat through if you plan to be a little late or you may receive uncomfortable credit-control action from then.

4. Frequency – clarify how often they will charge you, typically in just one invoice at the end of the instruction but firstly check when the ‘end’ is (for example when they have finished work or when you receive confirmation from an authority like companies house or HMRC), and whether any interim charges will be made throughout the instruction.

5. Incentives – check if there are any ways to incentivise your accountant to secure the best possible savings and value for you, maybe by agreeing an additional fee based upon actual savings secured, or a general bonus. They should of course have your best interests at heart anyway so this often doesn’t need expounding too much on smaller instructions, and make sure that whatever is agreed is confirmed in writing.

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