BYBlog

Has Brexit affected your business?

We have certainly found that Brexit is affecting our  clients lives. We have clients who previously invested overseas but are now investing in property or art in this country instead.

We have had over 100 new client enquiries since Brexit. There are many people who have previously looked after their own accounts who now want the reassurance of a professional looking over those records.

We live in a time of uncertainty where nobody knows how our exit from the European Union is going to affect business and our daily lives. Keeping things close to home can only be a good thing.

We can’t comment on the long term affect of our decision to leave the EU. As a team, we believe that this is best for Britain but many people disagree and the level of unrest caused by that remains to be seen,

As always we recommend that if you are self employed you should retain the services of a “shit hot” bookkeeping firm who can guide you through the mire that is 21st Century Britain.

Free accounts template spreadsheet

One of the questions we are asked most often is for a cashbook or small business accounts spreadsheet for those businesses who do not need or want to be set up on accounting software. We have created this free accounts template spreadsheet which you can download and use to keep your own records in your business.

Small business accounts

Please feel free to use this for your own personal bookkeeping but do not distribute, sell or misrepresent our free accounts template spreadsheet.

We love creating spreadsheets to make your lives easier and if there is a specific type of document you would like, please use the Contact Us link to tell us what you’d like to see.

Please enjoy your free accounts template spreadsheet.

Mac bookkeeping? We have the solution

Challenges for small businesses using a Mac

It’s likely that if you’re a Mac fan and user, you’ll have high expectations for the way your accounting software looks and performs. But when we talk to small businesses, it’s clear that while Mac users love their Apple products, they’re not as affectionate about their financial software. So why is this such a common sentiment?

Software that is just a lift and shift from PC to Mac doesn’t leverage the power and design that’s at the heart of Apple products. As a Mac user, you probably remember that moment when you first booted up your Mac and thought “Ahh”. And it’s that emotion that’s often lacking while using accounting software.

It’s no coincidence that the instant ease of use and logical user interface of Apple products have won countless awards. So when Mac users are confronted with software that doesn’t apply human logic to the design or functionality, financial tasks become painful. Accounting software on a Mac should ‘just work’.

Mac versions are often lacking in features

Most financial applications are designed for a PC first and then ported over to a Mac as an afterthought. As a result, Mac users are often left with feature lacking versions and poor customer support which is typically focused on PC usage. In many companies, customer support don’t fully know about or understand the Mac platform to help with in-depth questions.

It’s also common for Mac software versions to also have lots of unnecessary features. This can mean you end up getting a bloated suite of complex and confusing tools instead of what your small business really needs.

Make it a priority to go with software that doesn’t tack on features for the sake of it, and gets the balance of simplicity and usability just right. You should have everything you want and need, and no more.

My client struggled for 15 years to find a good accounting solution for the Mac. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was an answer and it was available online.NEAL COOGLER, ALL ABOUT BUSINESS SERVICES

Software should be cross-platform compatible

If your software isn’t cross-platform friendly, you risk wasting huge chunks of time using workarounds to collaborate with your financial advisors. For example, if you use a Mac and want to share data with your PC-using accountant, you’ll need to export data files to them saved in a Windows format. Even at this stage, you’ll often run into compatibility issues.

In the meantime, while your accountant is looking at your data, you won’t be able to make changes to it because you can’t merge their changes into your existing file. It’s only when they’re finished with the file that you can re-import it. In many cases, the software won’t work on all browsers either, which makes for a poor user experience.

Business apps should integrate with your software

Often Mac accounting software has a limited range of business applications or apps that integrate with it. But if you’re a Mac user, you’ll no doubt be used to having a variety of products that play nicely with your Apple devices. For example, you might already be using Basecamp, project management software that runs in the cloud, and encourages collaboration online. As well as being easy to use on a Mac, iPad and iPhone, Basecamp also integrates with several other apps.

If you’re in the creative industry, Adobe Creative Cloud may be the way you share files, give feedback or save settings across devices. Evernote is another handy online tool that lets you collect and find everything that you need, and collaborate with colleagues online.

All of this considered, it makes sense to look out for financial software that is also flexible enough to allow a range of apps to integrate with it. As your company grows, this will make it much easier to manage all aspects of running your business. For example, you could integrate invoicing, time tracking or job system apps with your financial software. Online tools like Harvest, make time tracking simple for small business – and they’re Mac-friendly. Harvest is time tracking software that lets you see real-time data to keep projects on time and in budget.

Software needs to be simple and frustration-free

Apple design their products so that they are super simple to use. The financial software you choose for your Mac should be just as easy. You should get one consistent, magical experience, whether you’re on a Mac, iPhone, or an iPad. For example, if you’re out and about and need to send an invoice, you should be able to do it on your iPad with minimal effort. It should be as easy as a few taps and you’re done.

With one version for all devices and browsers, doing business becomes much more pain-free and fun. Like an Apple product ‘just works’, your online software should too.

Accounting software on a Mac: Seven points to consider

  1. Intuitive and beautiful design matters
    The simple, aesthetically-pleasing form and function of an Apple product is what makes many Mac users loyal for life. So when it comes to your software, don’t skimp on this all-important aspect. Often small business financial applications are bloated with far too many under-used features that only get in the way.
  2. Installation has to be easy
    Just like how a Mac works straight out of the box, your small business software should be easy to start using. With cloud software, there are no installations or downloads. You just log in online at any time, from wherever you are. Updates and upgrades are done automatically, and are free.
  3. Great customer support is important
    As a Mac user, you are used to outstanding customer support. So it makes sense to choose software with the same level of excellent service, who won’t cut corners on training staff for Mac usage. No matter how complex your problem is, you should have a qualified person answering your questions. Look for companies that produce guides, videos, tutorials and forums to help you with day-to-day business tasks.
  4. Have all your business data in one place
    Organising your files on a Mac is as simple as ‘drag and drop’. So consider financial software that works in the same way. When you can drag and drop and attach source files to your invoices, bills, transactions, fixed assets and contacts, your company documents can all live in one place online. Some software will also allow you to email files straight into your accounting application.
  5. Collaborate more with your team
    A core belief at Apple is that “collaboration is essential for innovation”. Follow their lead, and ensure that your financial application takes collaboration seriously. Look for software that lets you have as many users as you want, at no extra cost. This will help you collaborate with your accountant or bookkeeper and get the advice you need, when you need it. Your business will be in a much better position to innovate and be successful.
  6. Use online business tools that integrate
    Apple products have a huge range of third-party applications that all work seamlessly together. So don’t restrict your business growth by using software that won’t integrate with other apps. Your small business will benefit and run smarter when you can integrate apps with your accounting software to manage all aspects of it from one place. For example, if you’re an online retail business, you could use use cloud-based applications to stay competitive and enhance your customers’ experience.
  7. Stability and security is key
    Macs are secure and stable, and not as susceptible to the viruses or hacking that some hardware is prone to. In the same way, the best online accounting software heavily protects your sensitive financial data. Companies that store your data in offsite servers ensure that your information is protected with the highest level of security. All data is encrypted to the same level as your internet banking.

Make business fun again

As a Mac fan, you’ll have a deep-seated appreciation for software that puts ease of use and beautiful design first. Naturally, this means you’ll gravitate towards software that also reflects those qualities. So why not choose a product that not only delights you, but makes business and life easier?

When you’re having fun, and excited about using your accounting software, you’ll be much more in tune with your financial situation and in a better position to grow. And that’s got to be good for business.

Tax year 2016/2017 – changes

We are now in the 2016/2017 tax year and many changes have taken place.

If you are employed and over 25 your minimum living wage is now £7.20 per hour – see my previous post for more information.

FOr those who are self employed the amount you are allowed to earn before paying tax in this year is £10,800 and next year will rise again to £11,000.

If you have previously paid your class 2 national insurance contributions by direct debit this will change and they will be calculated and paid along with your self assessment tax and your class 4 national insurance.

More information on the changes can be found on the HMRC website here

A new tax year has dawned 

A new tax year has dawned 

If you’re self employed you’ll be aware (or should be!) that the 2015/2016 tax year has just finished.

Your SA100 self assessment tax return is not due to be submitted until 31st January 2017 but can be sent any time before then. If you have tax to pay you will need to know before January what the bill will be.

We advise that you use a qualified and licenced professional to calculate and submit your tax return. We are up to date with all recent changes to legislation and regulations and can ensure that you are claiming all allowances correctly.

Contact us for a no commitment and no charge chat.

Marriage Allowance

A little publicised marriage allowance has been introduced by HMRC which could mean that the average married couple could be better off by £212 per year.

This is called Marriage Allowance and must be applied for. You can apply here.

Basically you can transfer £1,060 of your personal allowance (the amount you can earn before paying tax) to your partner and this will reduce their tax liability by up to £212 for the tax year. The lower earner must have an income of £10,600 or less but you can visit the HMRC page to find out more information and apply for marriage allowance.

The higher earner has to be earning between £10,601 and £42,385.

Your application is completed online with HMRC’s marriage allowance application page and if the application is successful it will be backdated to 6th April. If you are employed or receive a pension the allowance will be given via a change in tax code. For the majority this will be to 1166M meaning that you will have £11,600 of personal allowance. If you are self-employed the marriage allowance will be given when your self assessment tax return form (SA100) is submitted.

Marriage allowance continues each year unless you notify HMRC of a change in circumstances or either party cancels it.

Bruton Young Bookkeeping can point you in the right direction for advice on a variety of financial matters. We have a panel of financial advisors and accountants that can assist with financial advice. Contact us for more information.

National Living Wage April 2016

From 1 April 2016 workers aged 25 and over will be legally entitled to a new minimum pay rate of £7.20 per hour, called the National Living Wage (NLW).

As an employer you’ll need to check which staff are eligible for the new rates and update your payroll in time. Do you need help with this process or with running payroll for your staff?

HMRC are running a number of free webinars to give you more information about the Living Wage (NLW). For more information see the HMRC living wage website here

Bruton Young Bookkeeping can advice you on how to implement this and its impact on your bottom line profits, also how to minimise this impact. Contact us for more information.

HMRC SA100 Self Assessment Payments on Account

I have been asked many times recently to explain to clients and friends how HMRC’s payments on account system works when submitting an SA100 Self Assessment Tax Return.

It is probably best explained by way of an example – see below

SA PoA

If you would like an editable version of this file for your own use please use the contact us link and send us a message requesting the editable file.

There is also more guidance from HMRC here

 

The assumption is that as time moves on your business will increase its profits. Once you have payable tax of more than £1,000 then you become liable to make payments on account. These equate to half of the previous years tax liability.

So for example, if you have a tax liability for 2014-2015 of £2,000 you will need to make payments on account towards 2015-2016 of £2,000. These payments are made in two parts, half in January and half in July. Obviously these are then deducted from the bill next year and new payments on account are calculated.

We are happy to explain these figures in more detail and personalise them to your own liabilities if necessary. Just contact us!