Some days I get stressed and feel so busy I forget what day it is and lose my pen, and can’t find my keys and generally just experience what every busy business owner and even parents experience regularly. I may not have kids of my own but I understand that that is one of the most stressful jobs out there.
Other days, when I wake up before my alarm, it’s lovely and bright outside and I feel like I have slept well and I seem to find that time to appreciate what I do and how lucky I am to be able to do it.
I feel privileged with the trust my clients put in me, not only with their safe keys and bank details but also their personal lives.
Most of my clients I have built a solid foundation and become friends with. I am just as interested in getting to know clients’ as a whole package, after all those who embark on the journey of being in small business especially on their own put their whole life into making their dreams come true. I want to know they are ok, they are coping ok and that their dreams are on track!
I know there will always be cloudy days, and even rainy days and some people often just need a chat and a warm drink and the occasional loan of an umbrella to get them through those days, me included.
My clients’ trust me to make sure they file returns on time, that I can tell them what they need, when and how, and be able to answer all their questions – not always accounting related, and guide them in the right direction. I don’t always have all the answers, and I have to fight the urge to immediately feel inadequate in those situations.
What I will never promise a potential client is that I know everything, because simply I can’t. My chosen profession is vast, most people specialise because it is so vast and it is impossible to be an expert at everything.
What I can promise each one of my clients and my future clients is that I am very good at my job, and if I don’t know or haven’t experienced that situation I have spent my career building the tools and the resources and contacts to be able to offer the best possible, honest, reliable and timely advice that I can. So whatever question they may face I am the person they can turn to first, and I will help them through, and because of that I will add more experience to my tool kit.
Life and business is one never ending journey of education. I’m not done yet, and with each passing day and each passing problem I get closer to my dream and begin to dream more.
I also have days where I feel too sick or too swamped to want to work or know where to start. Bringing all that together and as I am beginning to expand. Now is the time I am really looking to make expansion plans.
KFH Accounts has been from day one the flexible alternative to a big corporate office. I visit clients in their own homes or places of work. I have met them for an early coffee before work, I have even had chats on parallel treadmills at the gym. I understand what running a business and having to work takes, and how difficult it can be to find time. I want to take the hassle out of bookkeeping and tax compliance and really will tailor my services to suit my clients.
However now has come the time that in order to continue this, I will be looking for office space, and I will soon after be looking to take on a member of staff. This will ensure I can offer the same level of service to all my clients but also have a more permanent base to work from.
I have been doing a bit of research on what my current clients have to say about offices and why they came to me in the first place. Apart from the joke that I am cheap, the flexibility and extra help is the main selling point. One client also said something that not only made me feel like I was on the right track in terms of approach to my business but also something I think could help many others that I know: “The best sales is not selling but listening, assessing and advising, to help”.
It won’t suit every client to have an accountant they can text after hours or meet for coffee every couple of months. Just like some clients like to keep their own books or do their own wages or pay their own invoices. Some clients want to give me complete control and I have bank log ons and passwords to everything.
It never ceases to amaze me just how much trust people put in me. That makes me incredibly proud, but also acts as an excellent testimonial, you can trust me with your finances, your passwords, your secrets and also to give you the best service for you. It’s not about making loads of money; it’s about providing the best service and helping my clients build and become successful themselves.
Bit of a technical one...
Heard the terms capital allowance, annual investment allowance, capital expenditure, depreciation, tangible assets? Wonder what it all means?
Well assets are things of value that you own. For example a car or a house.
For businesses and sole-traders they can also be simply a printer or a computer or tools that you use in your trade.
Assets are not something something you replace every year so this is what we class as capital expenditure. They are treated differently in your accounts and tax return to normal expenses.
Stripping away the jargon as much as possible: rather than the cost of a £300 computer being taken off your profit in the year you buy it, we estimate it will last you 3 years and so the expense is slit between 3 years. This is where we see the term tangible asset in your accounts on the balance sheet and the £100 per year will be seen as an expense against your profit and called depreciation.
This gives you a more realistic view of the profit you make each year. Obviously taking the hit of £300 in year 1 would show that you haven't made much in that year, distorting the ability to compare your profits year on year.
Hopefully that makes a little sense.
I hear you - but you spent the money you want it against your tax bill. The good news at the moment is that the Tax-Man thinks that this is fair too, so you get something called the Annual Investment Allowance - meaning on your tax return you get 100% allowance for this capital expenditure in year one (up to a preset limit). Anything above this limit is then written off over what the Revenue feel is a reasonable time and this is usually by applying a percentage that they set.
If you are not confused yet, I am impressed!
If you are, don't worry, it's your accountants job to understand and advise you and sort it all out for you. That's what we are here for!
KFH Accounts can help from advising the best way to deal with expenditure, whether it is capital or not and even the timing of capital expenditure you have in mind to take the best advantage of the HMRC annual investment allowance limits that may change each year.
Want further help? Give us a call, lets see how we can help you.
0800 978 8241
We provide full tax and accounts services on a fixed fee basis in the majority of cases.
One of the things I love more than anything about my job is getting to know all my different clients and their businesses.
I share in their excitement, love listening to their plans, take an interest in their lives. Why? Because your business is a reflection of you and what you put into it. That passion you had to make that jump into the world of business can be tangible and I thrive on it.
Recently I had an invite from a client to visit his new premises whilst he was mid refurb. To some this may sound a little boring or a waste of a morning, but even if it was a “come and see my new one man office and have a brew” I would have gone. This one however was a little more special and exciting.
A bit of background: I first met this client before his business began, around the time he was ready to put all his ideas into a plan; a plan ready to begin his journey as a business owner.
His enthusiasm from the word go was infectious, the ideas were exciting and I was so proud to take him on as a client. I really could not wait to watch it all unfold and grow. He had something different.
A lot of people will tell new start-ups, quite rightly so, that passion alone will not get you through the tough times – and it won’t. I think this particular client will agree.
Starting up can be slow progress, you put your all into it and often all your money too, and it can take time to see that turn back into income, especially an income that provides you will a decent living.
Where I’d like to feel like I was different to other accountants is I take an interest, I advise on a staged and planned move into fulltime business, ensuring you have thought about how you be able to pay the rent and finding a balance between investing your time in your new business and also being able to put food on the table. I try to tame the master plans into realistic expectations in this initial period.
At these times where you wonder if it is all worth it, I often find clients willing to open up and share their concerns. I respond as a friend not just a professional, the odd text or email reminding them how awesome the plans are, how sound the setup is, how far they have already come. I have been there and understand exactly how they feel, what they worry about and all the emotions they are experiencing and hopefully I can help provide that tiny bit of support and encouragement you need to feel like you are not alone and they can make it.
Back to the new premises – it was part of the dream to find a space to stamp the company mark on and operate from. The drive over there I struggled to find the accountant hat, I was so proud, so excited, so happy to see this guy’s dreams coming true and much sooner than I had expected.
Wandering round as he explained what he had done to the space, what he planned to do, the plans for the grand opening, how he was managing his money, I couldn't stop smiling.
We chatted about what he can claim for, what he needed to find receipts for, we even had time to change the username on his PC to something a little less embarrassing for him.
I said hello to his proud parents who were busy painting furniture and we chatted about how he could make the most of the space and possibly rent it out when he doesn’t need to use it. He got right on the case and used his contacts to look into it.
By the time I left there I was really happy, it was a day of no chargeable work for me but one of the best days of doing my job. That guy will make it and ultimately that is just as important.
The best bit, I get to see him continue on his successful journey and watch him grow from man with a dream to man living the dream.
The better I know you the better I know your business the better advice I can give.
For an approachable accountant that genuinely and personally cares about your business succeeding call: 0800 978 8241 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
My first bit of advice would be everything - at least initially.
Secondly - back it up if practically possible or save it somewhere secure.
Can you go wrong if you save everything? Personally I think not. Yes it may take a little longer to file things or go through them at the end of the year, but whether you are attempting to complete your tax return on your own or have the help of an accountant or tax adviser, the full picture means it is far easier to remember things at year end and ensure you include everything.
Personally I would rather have too much than be left with unanswered questions. From this complete picture comes better advice. The same applies if you should be subject to an enquiry from HMRC, what may be irrelevant or insignificant to you may be useful in that instance.
So as a minimum think about the following:
You must keep a list or record of ALL your business income, that includes cash, cheques, payments directly to the bank etc.
Keep all of your receipts, even emails, in relation to expenditure you incur. Don't forget the stationery you slip into the weekly shop at the supermarket - it's business keep that receipt!
Keep bank statements and notifications of interest. This also includes for personal accounts too - you will need the year end interest statement for your self assessment tax return.
Note down where you go for meetings in relation to the business (think postcodes), when you have to pick up or buy business supplies (that may be business travel too).
Keep all correspondence, from customers, from suppliers, from HMRC and the Bank. All helps complete that full picture of your business, it is not always all about the numbers.
Not all accountants will have the same advice on record keeping and will offer a checklist of what is legally required. For KFH Accounts though, the better we understand your business the better the advice we can give on record keeping, cost savings and tax savings. With experience and advice you will learn what you really don't need to keep, but to start with find yourself a box and keep everything.
However you record all the above has to fit in with you and your business. When it becomes a chore you can miss things and it may be time to consider some help, that's where we come in. We can advise on systems and help you set them up or help you keep them updated.
The best advice I can provide is keep it simple, keep it detailed and update it regularly.
If you are not sure where to start then give us a call and we can help point you in the right direction are just put your mind at rest 0800 978 8241
During the OMG final run up to the self-assessment filing deadline in January I had a number of clients apologising for their records, or even holding on to them for that little bit longer because they wanted to "sort them out a bit" or "make them better".
It would seem that everyone thinks that their books must just be the worst I have come across. I think we could all use a little improvement, me included. Whether your records consist of a shoe box full of receipts - ranging from petrol to dog food and everything in between - or you have visited a stationery shop and upgraded to a box file that just about closes; imagine the suitcase for a two week holiday in the sun, sitting on it hoping the zip will finally close and hope it won't then explode. You may even have a spreadsheet religiously completed every Friday evening, listing income and expenses but still worry it is not comprehensive enough. Or you may even run a super-duper all singing all dancing computerised accounts recording system, but lack that reassurance you are doing it right.
The one thing you all have in common is that you do have records!!
That is the biggest battle won, failing to keep records carries a hefty fine from HMRC; one we should all be able to avoid.
As you continue to trade year upon year, you will start to realise how much easier it is to remember things as they happen rather than months or a year later, and so naturally start to update your records more frequently. I find that the majority of clients do graduate to keeping records with attached notes or questions, or at least start to separate and keep the business expenditure rather than the weekly shop too, as they travel further in their business journey. Keeping records in whatever format and reviewing them regularly makes the year end process so much easier.
The worst records you can give your accountant is no records at all. Even incomplete records we can work with, If in doubt keep everything (yes including the weekly shop), note down anything you are not sure of, or just ask.
Personally when taking on a new client, I prefer to be given too much - this enables me to learn about you as a client and as a business. There may be things you can claim for the business you have overlooked, too much gives the full picture and better advice so please never worry.
Tax returns do not have to be filed in January, the tax year-end runs to the 5th of April each year. My tax return is submitted whenever practically possible before the end of that month. I have clients who send records in advance of this date, hoping to get a head-start, especially if they are expecting a refund. Adding the last few weeks to your records and return is much easier than remembering something from 9 months ago.
The most unorganised of shoe-box record holders can win the "I'm on top of this" award purely by being time efficient and thinking about the return at the end of the tax year and not leaving until the run up to the January deadline.
Let us help you plan your year-end now, It is never too early to enter the "I'm on top of this" awards, imagine those peaceful nights sleep knowing you have submitted your return before the adverts start haunting you on the TV an radio.
Not sure what records to keep? Contact us.
I can assure you that we have seen and not seen it all, you will not be alone, not be the worst and certainly won't be the first.