How can QuickBooks and Xero Cloud Accounting Software transform your business?

When you are running your own business, time is a precious commodity. How much time do you spend on keeping track of your company’s finances & Cash Flow position?

In today’s blog, here at Tulip Thistle Accountancy, we are going to make a case for how  Accounting Packages such as QuickBooks and Xero can help small to medium sized businesses to transform their financial management.

cloud software

As a business owner you want to focus on what you do best; serving the needs of your customers, building your company’s reputation & growing your business.

You need access to your business’ financial information when you want it and wherever you happen to be at that point in time. Providing 24/7 access is one key benefits Cloud Accounting Software such as QuickBooks and Xero offers, as you can work seamlessly from anywhere and on any device (desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone).

Your business dashboard gives you an overview of the key financial measures, including unpaid invoices, overdue supplier payments, bank balances, credit card statements as well as an up-to-date Profit & Loss position.

Have a look at the two short videos on my website (these videos can be found at the bottom of the page and are no more than 2 minutes long).

Cloud Based Accounting software allows you to create professional, fully branded invoices & quotes to your customers with just a few clicks, and the system will e-mail your documents directly to your customers. And because you can access this functionality from the associated QuickBooks or Xero App, you can invoice a client or send out a quote when & where it suits you.

QuickBooks and Xero packages make invoicing a straightforward & simple process and enable you to raise your invoices sooner, also resulting in your business getting paid quicker by your customers, improving Cash Flow!

Both QuickBooks and Xero packages offer extensive reporting modules, which can offer new insights into the financial management of your business. Bespoke reports can also be created to meet the specific needs of your business, for example to show profitability of different locations or individual products or services.

Switching to cloud based accounting software will also mean that all your financial information is automatically backed up and you will not have issues with outdated, non-supported software and IT costs for servers etc.

One of the really challenging jobs every month is often the Bank Reconciliation. With QuickBooks and Xero your financial information will automatically flow into the system from bank accounts and other sources (e.g. business credit card statements). The system will suggest matching transactions further simplifying the work.

If your business submits a VAT return, QuickBooks and Xero offer excellent VAT modules which automatically populate based on your sales & purchases/expenses. An added benefit of using a cloud accounting software package, is that you will be “Making Tax Digital” initiative compliant (requirements start in April 2019 for VAT registered businesses). See my earlier Making Tax Digital blog post for more details on this.

Payroll modules in QuickBooks & Xero packages are a “one-stop” shop and cover all aspects, including Auto-enrolment and also cover the automatic filing of “Real Time Information” required by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) .

To enable your business to capture all available efficiencies & process simplification opportunities available in these Cloud Based Accounting software packages, I advise spending some time on implementing and setting-up the system correctly. You can either do this yourself but if you need to migrate data from an existing system or, if you want to ensure the full potential of the system is realised, I would recommend getting some professional advice.

At Tulip Thistle Accountancy we offer a full installation & set-up service for QuickBooks or Xero, taking care of the move of your business to the new platform, including data migration from your existing system & full training for all staff involved. We can also offer all inclusive packages covering Annual Accounts, VAT & relevant Tax Returns.

Advanced Certification logo             xero-certified-advisor-logo-hires-RGB

If you would like to discuss how QuickBooks or Xero software can transform the financial management of your business or want to get a demonstration of these packages, please get in touch!

Contact us

Until the next time!

Photo self 2

Charles Donkers (ACMA), Tulip Thistle Accountancy

 

Disclaimer: 

The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Tulip Thistle Accountancy and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the blog or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the blog for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this blog.

10 handy tips to help you complete your Self Assessment!

At Tulip Thistle Accountancy, we are hard at work preparing our clients’ Self Assessment returns for the Tax Year 2016/2017 (which covers the period from 6 April 2016 – 5 April 2017). It is always a busy period and the deadline is fast approaching:  Self Assessment returns need to be submitted & any tax due paid by 31 January 2018 at the latest!

So in today’s blog our aim is to give you some advice how to make the completion of this year’s Self Assessment Return easier!

Self Assessment Clock v4

Tips & hints to complete your Self Assessment Return:

  1. Don’t leave it to the last minute! Rather obvious perhaps but unless you are a pro (and if you were,  you probably wouldn’t be reading this…..), your Self Assessment is likely to involve some “iteration”. You are probably going to find you are missing a piece of information, or you may need to ask for advice at some stage. Much nicer not to have to come to that conclusion at 23.45 on the 31st January, as well as better for your blood pressure and overall health. Similarly phoning HMRC Self Assessment helpline in January  requires  stamina, a sense of humour & plenty of time (trust me on this one…..)! In addition the HMRC Self Assessment website will be heavily used in the last few days ahead of the final deadline with all possible associated issues (stability, time taken to file etc.)
  2. Get organised! Before you sit down in front of your “electronic device of choice” (if you had wanted to file a paper return, you should have done so by 31 October last year, and therefore digital is the only option at this stage I’m afraid), check that you can log-on to your government gateway account*, think about all the bits of information you will need & gather them all together, e.g.**:
    • evidence of income from employment or pensions (e.g. P60, P45 & possibly P11d for any benefits in kind not processed by your employer through Payroll)
    • evidence of Savings Income received (e.g. Interest from Banks & Building Societies, Dividends from stocks & shares etc.)
    • Details of any Property income (buy-to-let, holiday lets etc.)
    • Other UK income such as employment lump-sums. redundancy pay-outs, share schemes, life insurance gains & income from settlements or trusts)
    • Any chargeable gains or losses (have you sold any shares, property or other investments? You may have to pay Capital Gains Tax if it exceeds the annual allowance of £11,100 in the 2016/2017 Tax Year)
    • Details of Expenses you have incurred relating to your job & any allowances you want to claim for (e.g. Gift Aid contributions & any Personal Pension contributions not deducted from your salary), as these will reduce you tax bill
    • Income from self employment or partnership (Trading Income). Remember Capital Allowances & your Annual Investment allowance as these can reduce your tax bill
    • Any gifts received or made by you
    • More “exotic” items such as Foreign Income, Residency, as well as Venture Capital & Investment Schemes deductions etc.
  3. Did you know that you can deduct fees or subscriptions to some approved professional organisations, if you have paid them yourself? Please note that you must have the membership to do your job, or it’s helpful for your work. Attached link allows you to check whether your “professional organisation or learned organisation” is HMRC approved
  4. if you have used your own vehicle on business for your job and you have not been reimbursed by your employer, you can claim a tax deduction of 45p/mile on first 10,000 business miles and 20p/mile for business miles above this threshold. If your employer has reimbursed mileage at lower rates than these official HMRC rates, you can claim the difference as a deduction
  5. Even if you have gifted or transferred an “asset” for free, these are seen by HMRC as a “disposal” and you may still need to pay Capital Gains Tax on it (if the gain exceeds your Annual Allowance of £11,100 in the 2016/2017 Tax Year). You incur Capital Gains Tax on the gain you make when you sell an “asset”, including
    • most personal possessions worth £6,000 or more, apart from your car
    • property that is not your main home
    • your main home if you’ve let it out, or used it exclusively for business or it’s very large (house & ground larger than 5,000 m2 (0.5 hectare), or just over 1 acre)
    • shares that aren’t in an ISA or PEP
    • business assets
    • Self Assessment v4
  6. You can ask HMRC to reduce any “Payments on Account” that have been calculated for the following tax year.  For example if you expect your income to be lower in the next tax year (e.g. you have chosen to work less or you have lost a big customer etc.), or if you had a large one-off income or gain in the last tax year
  7. On the Self Assessment Return only fill in the boxes that apply, don’t fill in “0” or “nil”. Leave blank or empty otherwise
  8. You can use ‘provisional’ or ‘estimated’ figures if you can’t recreate all your records (e.g. if they have been lost or destroyed). ‘Provisional’ means you’ll be able to get paperwork to confirm your figures later. ‘Estimated’ means you won’t be able to confirm the figures. You must use the ‘Any other information’ box on the tax return to say that this is what you’re doing. In addition you may have to pay interest and penalties if your figures turn out to be wrong and you haven’t paid enough tax.
  9. Once submitted make sure you get a “submission reference/ID” &  retain an (electronic) copy as proof!
  10. Remember to Pay HMRC by 31 January 2018 at the latest, to avoid late payment fines & interest charges. HMRC must have received any Tax Payable in “cleared funds” (important for payment by cheque), by that date.

Where can I get some help?

  1. HMRC’s Online Self Assessment Guide
  2. I have already mentioned HMRC’s Self Assessment helpline; here is the telephone number:   0300 200 3310.  Remember to have your Unique Tax Reference (UTR, a 10 digit number) as well as your National Insurance number ready to hand.

If you prefer to have a professional complete you Self Assessment Return on your behalf, why not get in touch & let Tulip Thistle Accountancy complete this work on your behalf?

Contact us

Until the next time!

Photo self 2

Charles Donkers (ACMA), Tulip Thistle Accountancy

* I am assuming you are already registered for Self Assessment with HRMC & have a ten digit unique taxpayers reference (UTR)

** please note this is not an exhaustive list

Disclaimer: 

The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Tulip Thistle Accountancy and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the blog or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the blog for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this blog.