Archives for Business

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The benefits of bookkeeping and online software training

We have talked a lot about online accounting systems and their benefits. They are no longer something that will ‘come in the future’ or something that only other businesses do, they are a very valuable tool that everyone will be using – if they are not already doing so. For a quick recap on what those benefits are, take a look at our previous article on the topic.

There is little use in moving to an online accounting system though if you don’t know how to use it or if you are not getting the full benefits from it for your business.  We take a look at how one-off and regular training can help you and your staff realise the full potential of such systems and keep your business running smoothly.

Why train your employees in accounting?

Particularly useful for small businesses, online accounting tools are easy to use as well as accessible and useful for all staff to be able to access. Instead of relying on a single person to manage all billing, ordering, and purchase order raising creating potential bottlenecks, what if anyone in the team or company could do that themselves? Even better, with easy-to-use online accounting tools, the process need not be complex or difficult. This frees up more specialised staff to manage the more complex processes, such as reconciling invoices with payments, making payments, and organising payroll.

Cross-training staff in other areas of the business also helps you to improve efficiency during busy times, holiday periods, or instances of staff illness. Things can continue to run smoothly during such times as staff pitch in to help without running the risk of doing things incorrectly, potentially creating more work down the road, or letting them pile up and risking taking much longer to catch up. By using the existing skills they have and taking into consideration any particular areas of interest they may have in terms of personal and professional development, you could be creating a team of people who can help each other out and ultimately benefit the business by keeping things on track during busy or difficult periods.

Many businesses run on a just-in-time basis or have to deal with numerous last minute orders. With trained staff able to handle any queries at any given time, the potential for lost business is minimised, while at the same time you are creating a reputation for a business that is responsive, agile, and able to deal with anything that comes its way.

Types of training

You need not fully train all staff in accounting or bookkeeping to reap the benefits. Consider the size of team you have and the likely demands on their time as the business develops or grows and determine whether it is best to offer training in particular areas – such as raising purchase orders or taking payments – or wider training for a smaller number of people in more specialised areas. This way you can also target your budget and training more effectively.

For more information on the benefits of cloud accounting and training options to develop your staff and business, why not talk to us at Cain and Beer? You can either give us a call on 020 3633 1340 or drop us a line at .

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Cloud Computing and Nature Concept

Cloud Accounting Software a Must for Making Tax Digital

The government’s vision of being one of the most digitally advanced tax systems in the world relies on modernising the tax system and making it easy for businesses to work with and therefore comply with their tax obligations and requirements. Making Tax Digital is being rolled out and the first step comes into force in April 2019 for business that have a turnover which is above the VAT threshold. This does not preclude smaller businesses from using the system, but they are not yet required to do so. So how does it work and what part does cloud accounting software have to play in making it happen?

Making Tax Digital is underpinned by four elements:

  • Using information more effectively
  • Real-time tax
  • A single financial account
  • Digital interaction between HMRC and businesses

Cloud-based accounting systems can help achieve all these in the following ways:

  • Real-time data. By being stored on the cloud, digital accounting systems offer the flexibility of storage and access of data from anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection and a device to access it from – e.g. a tablet, laptop, or even a mobile phone.
  • Onestop access. Cloud-based accounting systems will reconcile your invoices, payments, and orders and can even manage payroll for you. This automatic reconciliation means you do not have to go through your paperwork every so often and do it manually; this way the most up-to-date information is at your fingertips and can be submitted to HMRC at the push of a button. With quarterly accounting becoming part of Making Tax Digital, what could have introduced additional work without cloud-based accounting packages will actually make your, and your accountant’s life, much easier and with a lower margin of error.
  • Effective use of information. Whereas you now have to submit much of the same information year-on-year to HMRC when you file your tax return, using cloud-based accounting software this will not only be automatically submitted the first time, but will not need to be re-submitted unless something changes. An online HMRC account also allows you to keep an eye on what information they hold for your business and only update it when things change. Using systems that will ‘talk’ to each other – including banking details, other government departments, and employers – HMRC can access what they need without regular re-submission of the same data.
  • Digital interaction. You will be able to interact with HMRC whenever you want. No longer tied down to a set time each year, the link between your online accounting software and your HMRC account means that at the press of a button you can send or receive whatever information is required whenever you choose.
  • A single account. As the roll-out of Making Tax Digital takes effect businesses will be able to see all their liabilities and entitlements in one place – as they currently do with a bank account – saving everyone time and money.

If you would like more information on Making Tax Digital and how cloud-based accounting software can help your business meet its obligations, our tax specialists at Cain and Beer can help and advise. We are on 020 3633 1340 or at whenever you need us.

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VAT and bookkeeping

What VAT Scheme Suits Your Business Best?

Trying to decide the best VAT scheme that suits your business best can be a bit of a headache so hopefully, the following pointers will be of use.

If you just want to submit your VAT return once a year then ‘Annual Accounting’ is the scheme for you, you will have to make 10 equal monthly payments. The monthly payments are calculated by adding your previous year’s VAT returns together and dividing them by 10 or based on an estimated turnover for the year ahead. Once you submit your annual VAT return any balancing payment is then paid to HMRC or if you have overpaid, then HMRC will refund you.

If you are in arrears though it is highly unlikely that you will be able to join this scheme.

The positives of this scheme obviously are that you will be allowed to make monthly payments and it will cut down on administration.

If your business suffers late payments then maybe ‘Cash Accounting’ would be the best fit for you when filing your VAT returns. You only have to pay the VAT on the money you receive and reclaim it from amounts you pay out. That way, if some of your customers are slow payers then you wouldn’t have to pay over the VAT until you received your payment.

The advantages to this scheme are again that it helps reduce administration and that you don’t have to wait six months to reclaim VAT on bad debt relief.

There are other VAT schemes apart from the usual ‘Accrual’ scheme including ‘Flat Rate’ and ‘Partial Exemption’. The rules have recently changed on the ‘Flat rate’ scheme making it not so appealing. If you would like help with VAT then please get in touch with us by email calling us on 020 3633 1340 or you can contact us via our website www.cainandbeer.com.

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