COVID-19 Support for Small Businesses & Individuals

I hope you are all staying safe and well during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. I know these are difficult times, but the most important thing right now is your health and well-being. Hopefully ‘lockdown’ will start to ease soon and we can start to do the things we miss – for me it’s going to the coast with my dog – that’s the first thing I will be doing!

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The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. You may already know what help is available, but here is a guide:

Small Business Grant Funding (SBGF)

The government will provide Small Business Grant Funding to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. A grant does not need to be re-paid.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.  For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000. A grant does not need to be re-paid.
Please visit Charnwood Borough Council website here for further information.

Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality & Leisure

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
Please visit HMRC website here for further information.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC has set up a new online portal so that ALL UK employers, regardless of size, will be eligible for assistance where an employee has been designated as a ‘furloughed worker.’ HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The current plan is that this will be in place for 3 months, at which point it will be reviewed. This will be backdated to 1 March 2020.
Please visit HMRC website here for further information.

Deferment of VAT payments 

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the 31st March 2021 to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
Please visit HMRC website here for further information.

Time to Pay

Any business or individual that pays tax to the UK government and has outstanding tax liabilities will be able to apply for their case to be reviewed by HMRC, with a view to arranging a bespoke time to pay agreement. This applies to all businesses including the self-employed. HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.
Please visit HMRC website here for further information.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Employers will be able to reclaim up to 2 weeks of SSP payments per employee where those SSP payments related to Coronavirus. This applies to all UK employers with 250 employees or less as at 28 February 2020. The reclaim will not be via RTI, instead, HMRC will set up a new portal to facilitate this.
Please visit HMRC website here for further information.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The British Business Bank has launched a scheme to support businesses with a turnover of no more than £45 million per year. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan. This applies for loans of up to £5m in value and for up to 6 years. No interest will be charged for the first 12 months.
Please visit HMRC website here for further information.

Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. It will be available for 3 months, but may be extended. This will be the average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019. This is for self-employed individuals and partnerships.
Please visit HMRC website here for further information.

Mortgage and Rent Holiday

Tenants, as well as mortgage borrowers, can apply for a 3 month payment holiday. Interest will continue to be charged on any amount that they owe. The government has announced that the intention is that no one can be evicted from their home over the 3 months where this applies.
Please visit HMRC website here for further information.
I hope this is useful to you. Charnwood Bookkeeping is business as usual, although working from home. We are helping our clients through these difficult times.
If you are worried, or want any help with your business finances, please call us on 07903 329763 or contact us. We are in this together!
Take care and stay safe.
Jo

Happy One Year in Business!

Wow! Charnwood Bookkeeping has been trading a whole year! Where did that time go?

Sorry for not being very social lately, there is a very good reason – I have been too busy! It’s exactly one year since I launched my bookkeeping business, and it’s the best career move I have ever made.

It’s been quite a journey, starting with no clients and ending with almost a full book of clients. I’ve met some amazing people who have been in business for many years, or who are just starting out in a new venture.

My first major client was a local, long running, family business, who I still work for today. I work alongside their accountant and work onsite two days a week. They use Sage software, which is integrated with another operating system. My first challenge was to bring their books up to date and correct lots of errors. They are a great bunch of people and I really feel like part of the family business.

My second client was the first fully remotely. They are a UK distributor for a German manufacturer. I use QuickBooks software, which was new to me and I am still trying to get to grips with it. This client has EC acquisitions and sales and QuickBooks is quite a challenge with multi-currency and VAT returns. I’ve learnt QuickBooks is more suited to straight forward businesses. Even though I work from home, I have regular contact and meetings with the team in the UK. I really like the people which makes it all worth while.

My third big client is another long running family business. I work onsite three days a week and they also use Sage software. This clients books had been neglected for some time so I have really enjoyed sorting everything out. I do more than Bookkeeping and also get involved in the operation side of things. I work with two brothers and they have commented that I’m a ‘breath of fresh air’. Again, I really like the people I work with and look forward to going to work.

As well as these three major clients, I have helped numerous other Sole Traders and Partnerships in the last year. I helped people starting out, to get a bookkeeping system in place. I even designed a website for one client, which isn’t really my specialist area, but I like to help as much as possible. I am currently working with a husband and wife partnership who are completely new to the UK taxation systems. Unfortunately they have learnt the hard way and have been faced with penalties for late filing. I am working with them to ensure they never pay a penalty again!

I started the year with trepidation but I now love every minute of my job. Becoming an ICB bookkeeper and going self-employed is the best decision I’ve made in my career. I am so passionate about helping people and local businesses. People often overlook their business finances, or simply don’t have the time. I love working with numbers and I’m jolly good at what I do! I look forward to working with new and existing clients in my second year.

Jo

Making Tax Digital (MTD) in 2019

Making Tax Digital (MTD) in 2019 – Is your business ready?

 

I am sure you have now all heard of Making Tax Digital (MTD), but I would like to give you a guide on who this affects and what you need to do….

 

MTD is an overhaul of the UK VAT system which replaces manual processes with digital ones.Making Tax Digital (MTD)

 

Who this affects depends on the size and type of business that you operate.  HMRC is doing a gradual roll out of Making Tax Digital, starting with Making Tax Digital for VAT.  The first businesses to be affected will:

 

  • be VAT registered

  • have a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85k) when MTD begins.

 

Businesses who are already exempt from filing their VAT returns electronically, are also exempt from Making Tax Digital for VAT, unless they choose to take part.  They can do this by informing HMRC in writing.

 

Over 96% of businesses affected by MTD need to start following the rules from the beginning of their first VAT period, starting on or after 1 April 2019.

 

This includes businesses whose revenue exceeds the VAT threshold during the year, so keep an eye on your turnover.  It is worth knowing that once you have gone over the £85k threshold, you will always be required to follow the rules for MTD, unless you deregister from VAT.

 

Businesses complying with MTD for VAT will need to keep and preserve their VAT records in a digital form.  They will need to file their VAT returns quarterly (or more frequently), using HMRC-recognised software fo MTD.

 

A big change like Making Tax Digital is bound to bring some uncertaintly.  However, Charnwood Bookkeeping uses MTD software like QuickBooks, so meeting your tax obligations will be a simple and transparent process.  That means less time worrying about your taxes and more time growing your business.

 

Contact us for a chat on how we can help your business move painlessly to Making Tax Digital.

 

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and a successful 2019!

How QuickBooks Online Can Help Your Business

Your Guide To QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online (QBO) is Intuit’s push into the cloud accounting future.  Like Xero, QBO sees the value of the cloud in its lower costs, mobility and powerful integrations.  The target users for QuickBooks Online are small to medium sized businesses and they are not yet targeting the larger businesses with their more complex requirements.

 

QuickBooks Online

 

QBO is designed to handle all of the basics accounting and financial needs of a small to medium size business, from quoting right through to invoicing and reconciling bank transfers.

 

Being cloud based, like Xero, you can access QuickBooks Online anywhere as long as you have a reasonable internet connection, also meaning that you can share your information with others in real time.  This is highly beneficial for accountants and bookkeepers who like to keep abreast of daily business activities.

 

QuickBooks Online User Interface

A big reason to move from old (outdated) accounting software to a new package is to improve the user experience: the QuickBooks user interface is simple and intuitive.  Navigation via the side panel makes it easy for users to find what they want and the dashboards provide a high level view of the business at a glance.  Vibrant colours and a money bar indicating various stages of receiving or making payments all help to create an easy to use and enjoyable experience.  Layout is logical and well-structured making it simple to learn where things are.

 

QuickBooks Online Transactional Functionality

QuickBooks Online features ticks all of the same boxes around processing transactions as its main competitors.  It provides quick and easy creation of quotes and invoices to be sent to your customers as well as pay now functionality for invoices sent to customers through integrations with the likes of PayPal.  The invoicing and quoting functions allow you to get paid more quickly, but also allow you, as business owner, to track the progress of all outstanding invoices in the system in real time.  The money bar is a simple, yet powerful tool to help you assess what future cash flow to expect, what has been paid recently, as well as who is overdue and needs chasing.  This makes reviewing your accounts simple and pain-free.

 

Purchase orders operate in much the same way as quotes and invoices.  Purchase orders for goods can be created and emailed to suppliers directly and converted into a bill once an invoice is received.

 

Expenses are also simplified with a snapshot of receipts being able to be captured in real time as they occur using the mobile application.

 

The quoting, invoicing, purchase order and expensing functions manifest the framework for the rest of the QBO system.  Customising all of your documents with your logo and layout allows you to stay on brand with your customers and suppliers.

 

QuickBooks Online Live Bank Feeds

The simplicity and ease of use of the transactional functions is amplified when combined with the live bank feeds feature of QuickBooks Online.  Live bank feeds connects your accounting software to one or many of the bank accounts or credit card accounts used by your business.  Previously, reconciling transactions in your accounting software had to be done manually by finding the same transaction on your bank statement.  Ultimately, this is time consuming, labourious and prone to error distracting you from the important issues within your business.  QBO’s live bank feeds lets you reconcile both sets of data (from QBO and from your bank account) in real time with the simple click of a button.  Recurring payment data will be captured and remembered by the system to simplify future processes.

 

QuickBooks Online Inventory Management

For those in the retail, wholesale or manufacturing industry, inventory management is a must.  Similarly, if you are a service business keeping parts, then controlling stock is crucial.  QuickBooks Online has a basic inventory feature to its higher end package allowing for inventory to be created and tracked.  Basic product costing and stock management is available, but for more detail you are better integrating your QuickBooks package with the likes of one its inventory management partners.

 

QuickBooks Online Reports

Financial reporting in QuickBooks Online is simple with a range of standard reports broken down into the various areas of your business from accounts receivable, accounts payable and expense reports.  Each can be customised to suit your criteria and are able to easily be exported to Excel for you own manipulation.  Graphical representations are a real bonus to simplify the presentation of information for the end user.

 

QuickBooks Online Mobile App

A key part of the attraction to any cloud based application is the power of mobility. Being able to assess and transact within your business when you aren’t at the office or in the store is to be expected these days. QuickBooks Online has a mobile application for iOS, android and tablet that can be accessed on the go at any time.

 

Work can be conducted offline, for when you don’t have access to the internet and any changes made will be updated once you’re back online. The applications are stable and mirror the user interface of the browser app so that you feel right at home.

 

Emails with quotes, invoices and purchase orders can be sent on the go from your mobile or tablet meaning you can get more work done when you’re out on the road. Mobility is a consideration that has been well researched by QBO to provide a class-leading solution.

 

QuickBooks Online Security

Your financial information and customer’s data security should be a top priority when deciding on a new accounting package.  QuickBooks Online provides bank level security for your data with secure hosting of your information following best practises for the banking industry.

 

Backups are automated with no need to store your data externally for peace of mind.  QuickBooks does provide the option to export any or all of your data at any time, meaning you can always access your valuable information in any format that you want.  QuickBooks Online has an uptime figure of 99.8% with multiple backup servers ready to step in to keep providing an ongoing service to your business.

 

QuickBooks Online Plus

The Plus Package is QuickBooks Online top level package with all of the features included.  On top of the essentials plan, the most obvious upgrade is inventory tracking and access for multiple users.  In addition, you have access to budgeting functions that were previously unavailable, more in depth reporting, greater scope for categorising transactions and time tracking for employees.

 

***** QuickBooks Online Plus comes standard with all of our bookkeeping packages *****

 

QuickBooks Online Integration & Add Ons

The accounting system is one component of running most businesses in the modern day.  Regardless of your business or industry type, there will undoubtedly be other systems that could enhance the productivity of your business. These can include job management software for trade and field service firms, time tracking or point of sale for retail or hospitality and project management for those businesses offering professional services. QBO sits at the heart of an ecosystem of applications that can all be integrated seamlessly into your accounting system.

 

This means transactional data from business operations can be handed across and reconciled against your bank data in an instant or stock level can be passed across to be accounted for.  A big positive of QuickBooks Online is its integration network.

 

Charnwood Bookkeeping is a QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor

All of our bookkeeping packages come with QuickBooks Online Plus as standard, however you can use the software of your choice, ie. Sage or Xero.  The price for Sage and Xero is higher and will suit more complex or larger businesses.QuickBooks Gold ProAdvisor

 

Software training and support is included in our bookkeeping packages.  We will also transfer any data from your old accounting system and get you up and running quickly.

 

If you would like to learn more about QuickBooks Online or our bookkeeping packages, please contact us for a FREE, no obligation, consultation.

5 Star Reviews *****

“Thank you for our 5 star reviews!”5 star reviews

 

I want to share a recent 5 star review from my lovely client Katheryn.  Sorry for being ‘anti-social’ lately, it was a very busy summer!

 

I can’t say I loved the heatwave and I’m happy I can now sleep properly.  However, it was a great summer.  I took on lovely new clients and it is a pleasure to work with local businesses.  I’m working with sole traders, new business startups and limited companies.

 

Are you a sole trader?  I can help do your bookkeeping or help you get set up on a simple bookkeeping system.  I can also help with your Self Assessment tax return for 2017-18.  Provide your income and expenditure by the 31st October and you will get a 20% early bird discount.

 

Are you starting a new business?  I can give you support in setting up your new business.  I can help you get set up on a simple bookkeeping system and help you with your marketing.  I can also explain your legal obligations as a business owner and what is required by HMRC.

 

Are you a limited company?  I can do your bookkeeping alongside your accountant.  I can work on your site and use your existing bookkeeping system ie. Sage 50.  I currently have two limited company clients where I attend their premises two mornings a week.  Outsourcing your bookkeeping will save you time and money.

 

It really is my pleasure to work with local businesses and provide valuable support.

 

Jo

Honoured to be one of the #ICB100Women

I am honoured to be one of the inspirational #ICB100Women.

#ICB100Women.  In 1918 the Representation of the People Act gave (some) women the vote in GB and N Ireland. Throughout this centenary year ICB will be honouring 100 inspiring and influential women bookkeepers.#ICB100Women

 

Here is my story 🙂

 

Jo Finch AICB suffered a life-changing injury, leading her to seek new self-employment opportunities…

 

Jo has loved working with numbers since she was 17 years old and has worked in finance departments for thirty years, specialising in cash forecasting for multi-million-pound companies. Jo became a mother in 2005 and returned to work part-time but needed more flexibility as a single mother of two children. She left the corporate world and started a catering business, delivering healthy lunches to offices. However, at the end of 2016, Jo broke her elbow in a fall, putting her out of work for ten months and leaving her with limited mobility in her arm. She was forced to shut down her limited company, but she was determined to start another business with a similar work/life balance.

 

Jo did the annual accounts and corporation tax returns for her catering business and while she has many years experience in bookkeeping, she wanted to gain the necessary qualifications to become a certified bookkeeper. She came across one of ICB’s Accredited Training Providers, Ideal Schools, and from the initial phone call, she knew they were the right training provider for her. Jo studied ICB’s Level II & III qualifications, as well as the Self-Assessment Tax qualification.  It took her four months to gain the qualifications and Jo achieved a Distinction in Levels II and III and 100% in the SAT examination.  Jo says that SAT exam was the hardest qualification she has ever done, and she is extremely proud of this achievement.  She also had an excellent tutor (Eszter Petrinovics), who Jo believes is a true credit to Ideal Schools.

 

Jo set up her bookkeeping practice in April 2018, which was both a challenge and an achievement. As she was out of work for ten months after her injury, she had to do a lot of budgeting to run a household and study at the same time. Jo also designed and built her website herself and has since taken on her first clients. She particularly enjoys rectifying errors in people’s books and training people on how to use bookkeeping software.

 

Jo says,

 

“If you are doing a job that doesn’t inspire you, change it.  Do something you are passionate about and believe in yourself. Even though my injury was traumatic, if it hadn’t happened I may not be where I am now.  I am back in business and I’m stronger than ever!”

 

 

5 reasons to be a Self Assessment Early Bird

Do you keep ignoring your Self Assessment tax return?

Your tax liabilty won’t go away and neither will your worry.  You will benefit from filing your Self Assessment early and here are 5 reasons why:

 

1.  Plan ahead to help your cash flow

If you complete your tax return in July, you have until the 31st January 2019 to pay any tax owed.  That’s six months to budget, plan and manage your cash flow.  “Fail to prepare – prepare to fail”.

2.  Peace of mind

Don’t lose sleep worrying about your tax bill.  Ignoring it won’t make it go away.  Planning ahead gives you that feeling of relief.  Give yourself time to come to terms with your tax liability and allow more time to make adjustments.

 

3.  Get quicker tax refunds

The earlier you submit your tax return, the earlier you’ll receive any tax refund because HMRC is less busy processing returns. Unlike the deadline for payments, HMRC doesn’t wait until January 31st to refund you!  If you have a holiday planned, this could be extra spending money.

 

4.  Avoid last minute stress

There’s nothing worse than panicking at the very last minute because you’ve mislaid important receipts and invoices. Not only will this add to the already stressful experience of filing your tax return, but it might also mean you’re unable to deduct allowable expenses because you can’t find the receipts.  Filing early will avoid all this stress.

 

5.  Avoid any penalties

Filing early is the chance to address any problems with your tax return and therefore avoid HMRC’s late filing penalties. With a minimum penalty of £100, you should always file your tax return even if you can’t afford to pay the tax bill.

 

There is another benefit for filing early – we give great early bird discounts!  The best is a huge 40% discount if you submit your details to us by the 31st July 2018.  It’s really simple to do (we like making things easy) – simply give us a call, or send an email and we will send a Self Assessment Questionnaire.  It doesn’t matter where you are in the UK, we can handle everything remotely.

 

We are here to make your life easier!

Keep Cool and Hire a Bookkeeper

Is your bookkeeping making you hot and bothered?

“KEEP COOL and HIRE A BOOKKEEPER”

 

British summertime has arrived!  Hurrah!  However, in true form we will be moaning it’s too hot – well I know I will be.  I love the sunshine, but not the heat – maybe it’s my age?

 

I’m guessing after a long day at work, you will be looking forward to getting home and having a long cold drink.  Especially all of you working outside and going a golden colour (jealous).  While us office workers just get to look outside and count the minutes until hometime.  Are you planning a BBQ or the evening in a beer garden?

 

The heatwave is forecast for at least two weeks – enjoy every minute of it.  Don’t spend your evenings and weekends working on your accounts – leave that to me.

 

“You run the business – let me take care of the books”

 

I work with all types of small to medium size businesses, including sole traders, partnerships or not-for-profit organisations.  You can be confident Charnwood Bookkeeping will provide you with a professional, friendly and efficient service.  You can even pay in affordable monthly instalments, to help with your cash flow.

 

I  am happy to help with one off bookkeeping or an on-going working relationship where I do your bookkeeping every week, month or quarter.  Contact me to arrange a FREE, no obligation, consultation.

 

Enjoy the sunshine 🙂

 

40% Discount on Self Assessment Tax Returns (ends 31st July)

Do you need to file a Self Assessment tax return for 2017/18?

Self Assessment Tax is a complex and ever changing area in which a tax payer tells HMRC about their income. Paper tax returns have to be submitted to HMRC by the 31st October following the end of the tax year whilst online returns are due 31st January following the end of the tax year.  Preparing even the most straightforward tax return can be complicated.  We can take the worry away!  We will complete your tax return, calculate your tax liability and file online as your agent.

 

Early Bird Discounts are available for bringing your information in earlier!  Not only will you pay a reduced fee, but also get more advance notice of any tax liability or more time to spend a tax refund!

 

Get our very best early bird discount!  Submit your income details to us by the 31st July to receive a 40% discount.  Contact us now and don’t miss out.

 

Find out more about our Self Assessment tax services and the savings to be made.

 

Self assessment

Outsource and make your ‘secret sauce’

Why outsourcing your bookkeeping can help you and your business growth.

Running a small business demands time and energy — sometimes more time than hours in the day, and more energy than you can physically muster.

 

Although outsourcing and delegating may seem intimidating at first, this can be incredibly beneficial to your business operation.  When you can focus on what you do best, or the tasks requiring the most effort and time, both you and your business will be at the most productive.

 

Outsourcing bookkeeping

‘Outsourcing’ refers to any task, operation, job, or process that could be performed by employees within your own business, but instead you contract to a third party — someone on the outside. Far from handing over the reigns and losing control, it’s a way of capitalising on the strengths of other professionals to perform the tasks involved with running your own business.

 

Common tasks that you can outsource include graphic design, marketing, social media management and of course bookkeeping.

 

In addition to buying back your time, outsourcing can also offer the following benefits:

 

  • Reducing overheads by decreasing the need for immediate office space for back-end operations

  • Creating staffing flexibility by bringing in or letting go of additional resources in accordance with cyclical change of demand

  • Ensuring skill in your staff mix by employing exactly the right people to perform specific tasks, rather than battling to manage them yourself

  • Ultimately, outsourcing will save you time and money!

Making your ‘secret sauce’

Before you make the leap to outsourcing, you should consider what your own time is worth, what your weaknesses are, and what’s most important to your business.

 

Knowing how much your time is worth makes outsourcing decisions practical and straightforward. If your time is worth £50 an hour, for example, you can save £20 an hour by hiring a graphic designer who charges £30 an hour to develop your letterhead. Furthermore, a graphic designer will do a better, faster job of graphic-design-related tasks than you or another industry specialist. This is a double saving.

 

Identifying your weaknesses is likely a harder exercise. After all, many small business owners enter into the small business sector because they are passionate about or talented in a specific area. Taking stock of your skills and pinpointing the tasks that you are either not terribly good and/or don’t enjoy can make the decision to outsource those tasks much easier. Put your energy into the things you love and are good at and let someone with the right skills and experience handle the rest.

 

Finally, set aside some time to determine what is unique about your business and what gives it its competitive advantage or potential for profit. These are the tasks that you want to retain for yourself. Seemingly inconsequential tasks for a manager, such as one-one-one customer service, may not be inconsequential at second glance. If your business thrives particularly on the rapport it develops with customers face-to-face, this might be an area in which to focus your own energy. Only delegate or outsource tasks that will not compromise your point of difference.

 

So, think of outsourcing as just another resource available to you as a progressive, responsive business operator. Think first, plan wisely, manage welland put some zing back into your business.

 

Contact us to discuss how outsourcing your bookkeeping can help your business growth.