Archives for Bookkeeping

New GDPR Rules for UK Businesses

Data protection rules across the United Kingdom and Europe are set to changeIf you run a small business and collect personal data from customers, then you need to know what’s happening.

The new set of rules is called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and it comes into play on the 25th May, 2018. Described as, “the biggest change to data protection law for a generation,” every small business must be up to date with this.

Many people are asking a very relevant question; what will these new rules mean for the way small businesses approach their online marketing? For sending marketing emails to promote their business?

An Overview of Data Protection

The aim of data protection laws is to stop non-regulated businesses misusing personal information and to make sure that businesses keep private information secure. Personal information can be anything from someone’s name, to their credit card number or other financial data.

Some examples of misuse include selling email addresses to spammers or sending unsolicited marketing material. Simply speaking, if your business collects personal information (which most businesses do) and misuses that information, or fails to keep it secure, then you could face a fine.

How will the new rules change the way my business does online marketing?

The aim of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to introduce a standard set of data protection rules across the European Union. In the United Kingdom, we already have a reasonably strict set of data protection rules in place. This means that small businesses that comply with existing legislation will not have to change a huge amount to make sure they comply with the new rules.

However, there are a couple of important changes which you will need to take into consideration, especially if you use the personal data you collect to send marketing messages to people. If you want to market your business to someone using their personal information, then you need to get complete permission from each person. For online marketing, that means asking users to tick a box, indicting they are happy to be sent marketing messages from you.

In the past, some businesses may have used a pre-ticked box and asked people to untick it if they didn’t want to receive marketing messages, but under the new rules this will not be allowed. If any disputes arise about whether someone has opted in to receive marketing messages, it will be down to your business to prove that they did. Ensure you keep a record of all the people who opted in to receive marketing messages. People who you contact will also have the right to ask you to delete any data you hold on them (regardless of whether that data is used for marketing), so consider this when updating your records.

What about my existing marketing lists?

If you are already marketing to people who actively opted in to receive messages from you, then you don’t have to ask them to opt in again when the new rules come into force. However, if they didn’t actively opt in, you will need to get complete consent from them, to continue sending messages. It is a good idea to be safe rather than sorry here and make sure you have this consent on record, before GDPR takes effect.

Can I send marketing messages without permission?

Yes, but they must be considered for a legitimate use. Marketing messages are allowed, only if they are considered a legitimate use of the data your business holds.

For it to be considered a legitimate use, there must be a clear relationship between your business and the person you send marketing messages to. For example, existing customers would except to hear from you. They may have recently purchased a product from you or they may have an account with you.

To ensure you are adhering to the new rules, it is best to obtain complete consent wherever possible.

What about physical marketing messages?

If you are sending out things like letters or special offers to people, then the General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) will also apply to this kind of marketing too.

What about Brexit?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into play in May, 2018. This is at least one year before the Brexit process is complete. That means whatever happens, there is a period where UK firms must comply with the new rules. It is also possible that the United Kingdom will decide to keep the new GDPR rules, even after Brexit happens.

 

“If your organisation can’t demonstrate that good data protection is a cornerstone of your business policy and practices, you’re leaving your organisation open to enforcement action that can damage both public reputation and bank balance. But there’s a carrot here as well as a stick: get data protection right, and you can see a real business benefit.” Information Commisioner, Elizabeth Denham.

 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a huge topic, so you can find out all the information you need here on the Information Commissioner’s Office website.

You can read the ‘12 Steps to Prepare for GDPR’ here. This has an updated and more focused guidance on the need to prepare for the new data protection rules which will take place from May 2018.

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5 Benefits of Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

When you started your business, did you do so with the intention of spending countless hours dealing with your finances? We didn’t think so.

As a business owner, delegation is key to the success of your company growing. Why? You need to concentrate on running your business and if you are doing the bookkeeping, social media, wages, recruitment and so on…how can you possibly manage everything? There’s an old saying, “You can do anything, but not everything.”

You should consider outsourcing your bookkeeping for many reasons, but especially due to the importance of keeping your finances up to date and let’s be honest; they are the experts in what they do.

Here are our top 5 benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeping:

  1. Saves You Time: If you have your own business, you know there is never enough time! There is never enough time to do everything and often, not enough time to enjoy the rewards of running your own business. So, by outsourcing your bookkeeping, you can concentrate on running your business and maybe even enjoy some you time.
  2. Saves You Money: Outsourcing your bookkeeping not only saves you time, but it is also surprisingly reasonable price wise. We understand that money can be restricted if you run a small business; which is why affordable packages are available. Tailored to your needs and not ours, bookkeeping packages start from just £15 per month.
  3. Gives You Access to Expertise: All of our team are members of various professional financial institutions, and we are specialists in most areas of business. Whatever particular business niche your company operates in, we can provide you with excellent bookkeeping services that will really save you money. As a firm, we are incredibly proud to be recognised as the number one most recommended bookkeepers in the UK, out of 3,350 listed bookkeepers.
  4. A Team of People on Standby: We have a team of people available to match to your industry and size of business. The way we work enables everyone to work in the same way and this means our bookkeepers expertise can really benefit your business. If you need a question answering or a real conversation, you can just pick up the phone and we can offer our knowledge and expertise. So, you receive the best service possible, for a reasonable price.
  5. Keeping Up to Date: Your bookkeeping being up to date is important and if you haven’t got time, a week can quickly turn into a month and before you know it, receipts are piling up everywhere! The reality is, by having someone else do your bookkeeping, you never have to worry about it.

 If you would like to find out more about the benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeping, please get in touch with us by email , call us on 0203 6331340 or visit our website www.cainandbeer.com.

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Outsourcing Can Help You Save Money and Time

If you are a freelancer or a small business owner, then you must be enjoying the benefits of being your own boss without someone telling you what to do. But that means also taking charge of everything from your schedule to finances. Your operational costs might be low but there are things that you can probably outsource to increase overall efficiency.

 

Benefits of Outsourcing
Running a one-man show is fine, but there are not many who can do all aspects of a business brilliantly whether it is designing a website or keeping books up to date. The rule is, if takes you too much time to complete a task simply because it is not up your alley, consider outsourcing them.

 

Professional Expertise
One of the major benefits of outsourcing is you get a skilled individual who can do the job better than you. Among jobs which are outsourced, the most common ones are data entry, product research, customer support or bookkeeping. Outsourcing ensures you get the best people in their fields who can do the job way efficiently and effectively.

 

Lower Costs
Many companies outsource jobs to lower their operational costs. Although you will have to pay for a subcontracted job, this is something that you can recuperate because you will get quality results that you can use for the business. Bookkeeping for instance is a tedious yet very important aspect of an enterprise that provide valuable indicators of the health of a company.

 

Outsourcing the Risks
Whereas before, you would probably try everything and carry the burden of committing errors on your job, outsourcing can now spread the risks of a task. You don’t have to be accountable for mistakes in payroll management or bookkeeping, for example. The individual or company you hired will assume responsibility for blunders and will have the appropriate insurance.

 

Higher Productivity and Efficiency
When someone else does the job better than you can, he/she is essentially freeing valuable time that you can devote to the business instead. This will translate to higher productivity and efficiency for your enterprise. You can concentrate on stuff that matters such as customer or client expansion and development of growth strategies.

 

Taking Advantage of the Work Revolution
Outsourcing does not only make sense for big companies. Freelancers and small enterprises can exploit the advantages of outsourcing saving time and money that could be used to increase productivity and competitiveness by 10 to 100 times.

This piece was expertly written for us by Jenny Holt, Freelance Writer.

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Cash is King

When you start out in business one of the first things you should do is write out a ‘Credit Policy’ outlining your payment terms and the stages that you will use to make sure you have done everything to ensure you are paid to your terms.

Inform your client when you want to be paid and once you have supplied the goods or completed your work obtain either a signed timesheet or written confirmation that your client is happy with the service / products received. If you are dealing with businesses, it would be wise to check their credit rating before offering them credit terms. There are a lot of companies out there that offer credit check facilities.

This is the point when you should raise an invoice confirming the terms agreed; if you haven’t offered any credit terms then payment should be made to you straight away; happy days!!

However, if you have agreed that your client can take time to pay whether it is 7, 14, 30, 60 or even 90 days (if you can afford to offer that length of time) you should diarise a note to remind you. What should you do now? Ask your client to pay you: this may sound like a daunting task to actually ask for your money; but guess what, it’s yours!!

Your customer pays you on time and everyone’s happy but what happens if you don’t receive ‘YOUR’ money on time? Well this is where the next stage of your ‘Credit Policy’ comes into play and it may look something like this: –

  1. Contact your client and remind them that payment is due and request your money
  2. If payment not received within 3 days then send 1st reminder letter or email informing client that payment not received and that their remittance is required.
  3. Assuming payment has still not arrived a 2nd chasing letter or email goes to the client saying that unless payment is received in 3 days; you will consider taking further action.
  4. After 3 further days and still no payment you could send a final letter called ‘Notice Before Proceedings Under County Courts Act’
  5. Hopefully, the thought of legal action spurs your client into paying you.
  6. If your client doesn’t pay you by the date mentioned in your final letter, what should you do? Well you have informed them that you would be taking legal action so unfortunately, you have to take the next step and apply to pursue the matter through the courts. You may want to give them a quick call first to inform your client that you are serious and will be taking legal action if they don’t pay today!#

In most cases your client will pay you on time but you have to consider your options and what time you will give your client to actually pay you.

It is not recommendable to let your clients know that they have more time before you will take legal action because you are basically telling them that although your terms are 30 days you will allow them another 30 days before you will instruct solicitors or start proceedings yourself.

Always, always, always keep on top of your customers (debtors) and make sure you are paid on time; a lot of businesses fail due to bad cash flow.

If you would like help preparing a ‘Credit Policy’ or need some advice on bad debts or court action please get in touch by calling us on 020 3633 1340, emailing or via our website www.cainandbeer.com

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Software Training

Software Training

When you start out in business there’s a lot to consider and think about including how you are going to keep your books. Do you hire a professional bookkeeper? or do you try to do your own bookkeeping?

We would always advise that you take on a certified bookkeeper and turn your attentions to running and growing your business but understand that this is an extra cost you could do without when starting up.

If you do decide to your own bookkeeping; what software will you choose; should it be on your iMac, laptop or desktop computer and should it be internet based; how much will it cost, the list goes on. All key things to think about when deciding which accounting software is best for your business. Then when you have made your choice; how do use the software, what information does it give you

If you would like help choosing an accounting software package that is right for your business or you need training and on-going support, then we would love to hear from you. Full details of all our training and support packages are on our website but if you would like to talk to us about your requirements please call us on 020 3633 1340 or email us

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Really Good Bookkeepers are few and far between

Really Good Bookkeepers are few and far between

 

When a business owner decides the time is right to hire the services of a bookkeeper; where do they start? It is such an important decision to make and there are a lot people out there claiming to be bookkeepers. Also, do they ask the bookkeeper to work onsite or offsite and what software is best? So many decisions to make and all the company owner really wants to do is grow their business.

 

Bookkeeping is such an integral part of any business so it’s essential that an expert looks after the financial affairs no matter how big or small the company is.

 

Although price is always important it shouldn’t be the main factor; quite often the cheapest option becomes the dearest. It is also worth considering that a really good bookkeeper will take less time to complete an amount of work than someone else who is cheaper.

 

It is wise to ask around and speak to local business owners, accountants, banks and solicitors to see if they know of a reliable and efficient bookkeeping service.

 

Here are some pointers when deciding on the right person for your business: –

 

  • Check that they are registered with a professional body such as the (ICB) Institute of Certified Bookkeepers or the (IAB) International Associate of Bookkeepers.
  • They should also be compliant with the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules and regulations so ask to see their certificate of compliance.
  • Always, always ask them for at least two but preferably three references.
  • A bookkeeper will post sales invoices and receipts, supplier invoices and payments, bank transactions and reconcile the bank account(s) and produce the usual monthly financial reports.
  • An experienced bookkeeper should also be able to produce detailed management accounts which are an essential tool when needing to make financial business decisions.
  • They should, where possible, be able to offer support when a business owner needs to ask accounting questions.
  • A monthly or quarterly one to one review of the financials is also a very important rather than having to wait until the end of the financial year.
  • Good bookkeepers should also be able to process the payroll too which will quite often save the business money. Remember, choosing the right bookkeeper for any business is an extremely important decision and not one that should be made without thorough research.
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What Bookkeeping Records Should I Keep?

It doesn’t matter what type of business you run you still need to keep accurate records and maintain a decent filing system. Your bookkeeping filing system doesn’t have to be complicated though you can keep things very simple and ideally colour coded like the example below: –

 

RED FOLDER(S) – Sales Invoices & Credit Notes

BLUE FOLDER(S) – Paid Supplier Invoices & Credit Notes & Unpaid Supplier Invoices

BLACK FOLDER(S) – Month End & Management Reports, VAT, Petty Cash, Bank Statements

GREEN FOLDER(S) – Payroll, Staff Records

MAUVE FOLDER(S) – Business correspondence

 

Ideally keep your bookkeeping paperwork in alphabetical and chronological order so it’s easy to find. If you want to keep everything paperless and be kind to the environment then set up similar folders on your computer, laptop or hard-drive but make sure you have everything backed up. There are a lot of options available these days including the cloud.

 

Finally remember, you need to keep your financial documents and other items like insurance policies for at least 6 years. If you are a director and you don’t keep your accounting records, you can be fined £3,000 by HMRC and disqualified as a Director.

 

If you would like further advice about this please visit our website and download our FREE factsheet; or if you have any other bookkeeping issues please call us on 020 3633 1340 or email .

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Keeping Accurate Bookkeeping Records

Keeping Accurate Bookkeeping Records

When you run your own business it is so easy to get bogged down with all the paperwork that arrives through your door. Keeping on top of your paperwork can potentially take up a lot of your time, time that should be spent running your business or with your family.

However, you can’t ignore it, hoping it’ll go away because it won’t and it’s definitely not a good idea of just putting it into a shoe box for your accountant at the end of the year.

There are a couple of options to ensure your bookkeeping doesn’t pile up out of control and they are either, keep simple spreadsheets yourself or use a bookkeeper. Bookkeeping is an essential and integral part of running a business no matter what you do.

There are a number of factsheets to help you on our website and what’s more they are completely FREE to download by clicking here.

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Really Good Bookkeepers Are Few And Far Between

When you decide the time is right to hire the services of a bookkeeper; where do you start? It is such an important decision to make and there are a lot people out there claiming to be bookkeepers. Also, will they work at your premises or remotely and what software is best? So many decisions to make and all you really want to do is grow their business.  Bookkeeping is such an integral part of your infrastructure so it’s essential that an expert looks after your financial affairs no matter how big or small your company is.

Although price is always important it shouldn’t be the main factor; quite often the cheapest option becomes the dearest. It is also worth considering that a really good bookkeeper will take less time to complete an amount of work than someone else who is cheaper.

It is wise to ask around and speak to local business owners, accountants, banks and solicitors to see if they know of a reliable and efficient bookkeeping service.

Here are some pointers when deciding on the right bookkeeper for you: –

  • Check that they are registered with a professional body such as the (ICB) Institute of Certified Bookkeepers or the (IAB) International Associate of Bookkeepers.
  • They should also be compliant with the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules and regulations so ask to see their certificate of compliance.
  • Always, always ask them for at least two but preferably three references.
  • A bookkeeper will post sales invoices and receipts, supplier invoices and payments, bank transactions and reconcile the bank account(s) and produce the usual monthly financial reports.
  • An experienced bookkeeper should also be able to produce detailed management accounts which are an essential tool when needing to make financial business decisions.
  • They should, where possible, be able to offer support when a business owner needs to ask accounting questions.
  • A monthly or quarterly one to one review of the financials is also a very important rather than having to wait until the end of the financial year.
  • Good bookkeepers should also be able to process your payroll too which will quite often save you money.

To find out more about our bookkeeping services, workshops and training, please call Cain & Beer on , or email us at

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The Top 5 Things To Consider When Hiring A Bookkeeper!

Ask for Referrals

Ask your peer group if they can recommend a good bookkeeper to you; think of all the people you know in business; fellow business owners, accountants, bank managers and solicitors; the list is endless. Referrals are a great place to start when hiring a bookkeeper but make sure you consider the following points before making your decision.

Do they have Qualifications?

Did you know that anyone can call themselves a bookkeeper? True! but does that make them good? You know the answer to that question so check them out and ask to see their credentials; they should be members of the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) or the IAB (International Association of Bookkeepers). They should also have certificates for passing bookkeeping exams and by law they have to be compliant with the AML (Anti-Money Laundering) rules and regulations so check they have a certificate of compliance.

Ask for at least 2 References

A decent bookkeeper should be able to provide you with at least 5 references; so ask for the names and contact details and actually make contact with them. Bookkeeping is a very important part of running a business so it is key that you do your homework and check their references before making a decision.

The Duties they should perform as standard

Your bookkeeper should be able to raise or post sales invoices and receipts, post supplier invoices and payments, enter bank transactions and reconcile your bank account(s) and produce month end reports. On top of this a good bookkeeper will also be able to produce detailed management accounts to assist you to make financial decisions. You should also ask for a review of your figures at least once a quarter but preferably monthly so that you understand how your business is performing.

Don’t base your decision on price

Deliberately left for last because this is often the main criteria a business owner uses when taking on a bookkeeper!! By all means ask you wife, husband, sister, brother or next door’s cat to do your bookkeeping but please, please consider the above points first; the cheapest option will almost certainly turn into the dearest. You should expect to pay around £15 to £30 an hour based on a number of criteria including experience, qualifications and the level of tasks needed to be performed. A fixed fee is also an option which is usually based on the number of transactions being processed each month, quarter or year.

Hopefully, this has helped you but if you need any further help please feel free to call us on .

To find out more about our bookkeeping services, workshops and training, please call Cain & Beer on , or email us at

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Five Reasons To Choose A Certified Bookkeeper

Keeping on top of your bookkeeping is essential when running a business and knowing where you stand financially is key to your ongoing success. When considering whether to hire a certified bookkeeper or not the following 5 reasons may make your decision easier: –

  1. Saving Time

Running a business is time consuming and it can be quite hard fitting in everything that needs to be done including the bookkeeping. When business owners do their own bookkeeping it is probably left to the last minute, done late at night or at the weekend. The bookkeeping is also probably not up to a standard that an accountant can easily work with. Hiring a certified bookkeeper should ensure that the books are kept up to date and give the business owner time back.

  1. Saving Money

If a business owner lets their bookkeeping pile up and left to the last minute, they could incur late filing penalties. A certified bookkeeper can help a business owner stay up to date which in the long term could save them money. Systemised and accurate bookkeeping could also save money in accountant’s bills at the end of the year.

  1. Helping with Financial Management

A qualified bookkeeper should support a business owner throughout the year by not only keeping accurate records but also providing decent management reports. Management reports are a valuable tool for a business owner to stay in touch with their cash flow, identify areas where overheads could be reduced and make informed financial decisions.

  1. Organised Records

A qualified bookkeeper should organise the piles of paperwork into a structured and organised system. A business should always have a decent filing system with its sales and supplier invoices filed away in chronological and alphabetical order. The bank statements, month end reports and other business records including VAT, staff and payroll records should also be filed efficiently.

  1. Processing Expenses Claims

Quite often company owners and Directors will use their own cash or personal debit and credit cards to pay for business expenses. In a lot of instances these expenses get forgotten and don’t get claimed back through the business. A qualified bookkeeper will make sure that this doesn’t happen and will set up procedures to ensure that all claimable expenses are accounted for.

Not only is it a legal requirement for a business to keep accurate records but quite often it can be the difference between trading or going out of business.

If you need help with your bookkeeping, accounting staff training or just want some professional financial business advice then Cain & Beer would be delighted to hear from you.

To find out more about our bookkeeping services, workshops and training, please call Cain & Beer on , or email us at

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