Your questions - answered!
When should I contact a bookkeeper?
As soon as you set up your business, you will need a bookkeeper to help get your books up and running efficiently. This is particularly important if you intend on becoming VAT registered in your first year or anticipate a turnover of over £85,000 in your first year. VAT Returns should at least be reviewed by a professional, to ensure you are not claiming in error and are paying what you are legally obligated to.
What does a bookkeeper do?
A bookkeeper will organise and analyse your financial data on a REGULAR basis throughout the year, so that you have the information to help you make smart decisions about your business on a timely basis.
Making digital copies of your documents (scan/photo) for accounting software, uploading these documents to accounting software, analysing invoices, purchases and expenses in to their relevant nominal codes, bank reconciliations, purchase ledger reconciliations, sales ledger reconciliations, credit control, VAT returns, Payroll, and the list goes on.
I can complete as many or as little of these tasks as is required, within a bespoke package.
How does a bookkeeper differ from an accountant?
A bookkeeper is responsible for regularly filing the paperwork for a business, often carrying out payroll and VAT returns. The important transactions that happen throughout the year.
We communicate regularly with clients and complete a majority of the jobs that an accountant would do at the year end, but on a monthly basis rather than after the accounting year. This means that your data is up to date. If you used cloud software, You can go online and look at your Income, Expenses, assets and liabilities in order to come to decisions such as: Taking out a loan, taking on an employee or subcontractor. Without the up to date analysis, you would not have this information to hand.
An accountant usually will create journals at the end of the accounting year in order to compute the corporation tax due. This includes: Asset depreciation, deferred taxation, stock valuation, accruals and prepayments – Balance sheet items. The accountant will pull together all the information acquired by the bookkeeper, adjust where necessary, and use this to create reports such as: Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement.
In short, an accountants job would be very hard without a bookkeeper. Both roles overlap a fair bit and one is very reliant upon the other.
Why do I need a bookkeeper?
A bookkeeper will record business transactions using your bank statements and invoices, receipts and cheque stubs etc on a frequent, usually monthly or quarterly, basis. This will enable you to have a clearer understanding of your financial position NOW, rather than up to 9 months after your accounting year is up! (As you would with a traditional accountant). This enables you to make smart decisions for your business’ future operations such as:
•Cutting back on unnecessary expenses
•Taking out a hire purchase agreement rather than purchasing hefty machinery or vehicles. (If you are low on immediate funds)
•Negotiating better credit terms with suppliers (to improve cash flow)
•Tightening up on your debtor controls – for example, by shortening their credit term from 60 to 30 days, if cash flow is an issue right now.
Without regular bookkeeping, you would be unprepared for these situations and would not even know there was a problem until you review the accounts with your accountant, often many months after it is too late to do anything positive.
This is about being proactive, forward thinking, trying to improve your business operations ready to grow over the longer term.
What makes a good bookkeeper or accountant?
Obviously, skills, qualification and experience are very important.
However, almost equivalently important is the way your bookkeeper/accountant makes you feel.
Do you feel reassured after speaking to them about your business concerns?
Do you have a clearer understanding of where your business stands financially and ways in which you can Improve?
Do you feel comfortable picking up the phone to speak to them?
Does the language they use allow you to fully understand, or do they baffle you with accountancy terminology?
Does it feel as though they genuinely care and want to help you?
I am a qualified accountant. This means that I can create and submit tax returns. I also enjoy the data input throughout the year that comes with a bookkeeping role. I offer a broad spectrum of services so that you can pick and choose what you need. I love to be in regular contact with my clients, to really understand their business concerns and triumphs and to help them strengthen their finance function – which is KEY to growth.
My aim is to ensure all my clients know that I care about them and their business.
Whether this be by checking in with emails, phone calls, or just going the extra mile to help them in times of need.
What is the best accounting software for my business?
There are a handful of softwares I frequently recommend, depending on the size of the business and what they need to put through the software:
1)Xero: Brilliant for small to medium sized businesses. This intuitive software comes with a free automation tool called Hubdoc. The Xero app is brilliant. Allowing business owners to look at and edit their transactions on the go.
Add ons for this include: expenses, CIS, Payroll and Xero Tax.
Depending on what you need packages range from: £10/month to £30/month
2) Quickfile: This has a lot of very good time saving features, such as quick invoicing. It is also free up to 1,000 ledger entries, and then only £45 for the entire year after that.
3) Free Agent: Very good for sole traders or small businesses. Good for bookkeeping. Not designed for medium to large businesses. Free Agent ranges in price from £9.50+VAT to £14.50+VAT per month.
4) Quick books: I personally don’t love this software, but it has its positives. I will work with Quickbook is this is the software of choice for the client, but I don’t recommend it above the other 3 mentioned.
Quickbooks costs between £12/month+VAT and £30/month+VAT, making it the most expensive of the 4.
If you would like to discuss your options for software, and even have a quick demo booked in, please book my FREE 30 MINUTE STRATEGY CALL
How can I make my bookkeeper/accountants job quicker?
Time = Money.
Here are some important tips in order to help shave hours off of your accounts or bookkeeping and lower your bill:
1.BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT: Never mix business and personal transactions. If you do this, it will cost you more in
Bookkeeping fees, as it will take much longer to analyse the transactions. You do not want an overdrawn Directors Loan
Account if you are a director as this can attract a tax charge at 32.5%. If you currently do this, it is not too late.
Open up a business account and start using this account ONLY for business. Also, try to avoid making purchases
For business out of your personal account.
2. KEEP ORGANISED: Keep separate folders for: Sales, Purchases, Tax records, VAT Returns, and file this data by
Chronological (date) order. This makes it a lot easier to analyse. Even better than this, download:
3. AUTOMATION SOFTWARE: Receipt automation tools: for example Hubdoc or Dext.
These are designed to cut down the manual labour involved in getting invoices and receipts in to your accounting
Software. You simply use an app on your phone, or your scanner, to take a photo/copy of an invoice. This is picked up by
The automation software. Often it fills in a lot of the data from the receipt automatically. Then there may be one or two
Details left to fill in. This is then fed through to your accounting software, ready to be reconciled!
Where there is a photo attached, this provides your digital trail of evidence to satisfy HMRC.
No need to turn up to the accountancy office with a huge cardboard box full of paper work anymore!
4) CHEQUES: There will be times when you really need to pay by cheque (possibly) but this outdated
And slow way of paying for things, can be a nightmare, and a time consuming one, for accountants to reconcile. Due to timing differences. If you want to keep your accounting fees low, pay by BACS or DD.
Please, do away with the cheques.
5) COMMUNICATION: Probably the MOST important: Please, communicate efficiently and timely.
When your bookkeeper or accountant contacts you by email, please respond within a day or two, not a month or two: and please return our calls. It is very hard to complete accounts without our questions being answered.
If you want your accounts sorted out in time, you must answer queries quickly.
How do you charge for your services?
I do not generally charge by the hour. I charge per service and per transaction.
This ensures that any fluctuations in the time taken to complete a job, do not impact on the client’s cost.
I find it is helpful for a client to know what they are going to pay on a monthly basis, just as they would for their
their Netflix subscription. This means there are no nasty surprises.
Due to my experience in the accounting and bookkeeping world, I know the value of the services I am providing,
Without the need to calculate by the minute.
A price will be set for a tailored annual package and this will be paid as 12 monthly amounts by Direct Debit.
This can include everything from bookkeeping to company accounts, to enable you to spend a smaller amount each
Month as you earn, rather than being lumbered with one larger bill once per year.