Successful businesswoman launches bookkeeping business in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Ina Cooke gained most of her business experience in the graphic design/print industry and has run several very successful graphic design & print businesses. During her successful career Ina has both lived and worked in her fair share of places, which has without a doubt contributed to her experience and enthusiasm for her new venture. Originally from Ireland, Ina grew up in England before moving longer term and spending the next 37 years in The Netherlands. Ina made the decision to move back to England to an area she knows and loves ready to start the next chapter. Having owned several businesses, Ina understands the ups and downs that come with owning a business. She wanted her next business venture to be something that was a change of industry but would benefit from the knowledge she had already gained and so after looking at options, Ina invested in Rosemary Bookkeeping. Bookkeeping is something Ina understands from a business owners’ point of view and knows that bookkeeping often falls to the business owner but that is not usually the best place for it to be. As an outsourced bookkeeping provider Ina is passionate about helping other business owners free up their valuable time to focus on their business while she can focus on their books. Good bookkeeping can make a valuable contribution to any business, with monthly reports and regular bookkeeping, it makes it much easier for any business owner to see where their business is profitable or not and make changes quickly as well as keep track of cash flow and on top of Making Tax Digital VAT submissions. Rosemary Bookkeeping is supported by a national network of bookkeepers with its head office based in Leicester, so all Rosemary Bookkeeping clients can be assured of backing and ongoing support. With her experience and the Rosemary Bookkeeping network behind her, Ina believes she is in a good position to become one of, if not the leading bookkeeper in the Portsmouth and Isle of Wight area. “I wanted a business that I could grow and make successful and help other business owners, as well as enjoy my time with family and friends more, and Rosemary Bookkeeping gave me that opportunity”, said Ina Cooke, owner of Rosemary Bookkeeping Portsmouth and Isle of Wight. Over the next 5 years Ina wants to build a successful business by building relationships with local businesses in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, as the business grows, Ina’s aim is to bring in more locally based staff and expand in to other areas to provide bookkeeping to more business owners; for now, her enthusiasm is focused on Portsmouth & Isle of Wight

bookkeeping Portsmouth and Isle of Wight

Ina Cooke gained most of her business experience in the graphic design/print industry and has run several very successful graphic design & print businesses. During her successful career Ina has both lived and worked in her fair share of places, which has without a doubt contributed to her experience and enthusiasm for her new venture.

Originally from Ireland, Ina grew up in England before moving longer term and spending the next 37 years in The Netherlands. Ina made the decision to move back to England to an area she knows and loves ready to start the next chapter.

Having owned several businesses, Ina understands the ups and downs that come with owning a business. She wanted her next business venture to be something that was a change of industry but would benefit from the knowledge she had already gained and so after looking at options, Ina invested in Rosemary Bookkeeping.

Bookkeeping is something Ina understands from a business owners’ point of view and knows that bookkeeping often falls to the business owner but that is not usually the best place for it to be.

As an outsourced bookkeeping provider Ina is passionate about helping other business owners free up their valuable time to focus on their business while she can focus on their books.

Good bookkeeping can make a valuable contribution to any business, with monthly reports and regular bookkeeping, it makes it much easier for any business owner to see where their business is profitable or not and make changes quickly as well as keep track of cash flow and on top of Making Tax Digital VAT submissions.

Rosemary Bookkeeping is supported by a national network of bookkeepers with its head office based in Leicester, so all Rosemary Bookkeeping clients can be assured of backing and ongoing support. With her experience and the Rosemary Bookkeeping network behind her, Ina believes she is in a good position to become one of, if not the leading bookkeeper in the Portsmouth and Isle of Wight area.

“I wanted a business that I could grow and make successful and help other business owners, as well as enjoy my time with family and friends more, and Rosemary Bookkeeping gave me that opportunity”, said Ina Cooke, owner of Rosemary Bookkeeping Portsmouth and Isle of Wight.

Over the next 5 years Ina wants to build a successful business by building relationships with local businesses in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, as the business grows, Ina’s aim is to bring in more locally based staff and expand in to other areas to provide bookkeeping to more business owners; for now, her enthusiasm is focused on Portsmouth & Isle of Wight.

bookkeeping services

bookkeeping

As a small business owner, you will probably take on a lot of additional tasks, especially in the infancy of your business. Bookkeeping is usually one of the tasks you may take on yourself.

If you are not a bookkeeper by nature or by trade, it is easy to pick up bad habits as you find your way through the ins and outs of bookkeeping. If you pick up bad bookkeeping habits it can cause problems, you will do bookkeeping poorly and this could have financial implications for you or your business.

So; what should you be doing to avoid some common bookkeeping bad habits?

Updating your books on a regular basis

It sounds simple but many business owners do not update their books as regularly as they should. It can be a time consuming task but not doing this regularly can be the start of where things go wrong in a business.

If you don’t update your books regularly, it is much harder to keep track

If your books aren’t up to date, you won’t be able to see what is happening financially in your business. This could lead to missing up or downs in the business and that could cost you.

It is really important to set aside time regularly to keep on top of your books.

Keeping track of dates

As a business owner, it is vitally important to keep good track of dates, it is easy to get side tracked with ‘happenings’ within the business and miss a deadline. With your bookkeeping there are a lot of dates you should keep track of that includes: Invoicing dates, VAT submissions (especially with Making Tax Digital), chasing payments, when bills are due.

Write all dates down on a calendar or better yet set a digital calendar reminder and give yourself plenty of time to sort any additional paperwork etc

Always record small transactions

Small transactions can often be overlooked or maybe they don’t seem important enough to worry about but over a year those small transactions can add up. You should record every transaction you make, no matter how small it is.

If you don’t account for small transactions here and there, when it comes to the end of your accounting period your books will not balance and you won’t know where a portion of your income has gone. To fully understand how your business is doing financially, you need a record of every incoming and outgoing.

Keep track of every invoice or bill you send

You may be fantastic at the work you do and have an abundance of customers but any of your customers don’t pay you on time, it will affect your cash flow. If too many customers don’t pay you on time, it will affect you cash flow more than your company will cope with.

Keeping track of your invoices and the payment dates and chasing any late payers promptly will help keep money coming in when it should and help keep your cashflow constant.

Don’t be afraid to chase people that owe you money, if you have provided the service or goods ordered at the agreed price they need to pay you at the agreed time. Remember its business not personal.

Reconcile your accounts

You should reconcile your books on a regular basis, this means cross check your books with your other financial records so you can make sure everything matches. Compare your books to your bank statements, receipts, invoices, PayPal transactions etc.

If you do this regularly, any error or missing transaction is easier to find and resolve than if left you a long period of time.

Get in the habit of Looking at your financial reports regularly

Whatever kind of bookkeeping or accounting software you use, reporting functions are available. You can even run basic report from books kept on spread sheets or there are your bank statements etc. but there is no point in having these functions and availability if you don’t look at them regularly.

Set time aside on a regular basis to spend time looking at your reports. There are a variety of reports available for your books and each has different information that will be useful to you to help you make decisions about your business.

You should examine the same reports over a period of time, this will help you evaluate how your business is growing or not or how profitability is improving or not for example.

Learn about key bookkeeping concepts

Bookkeeping is likely not your trade or your passion but if you are managing the bookkeeping yourself, it is vital to have a basic understanding of common terms, formulas, and reports. If you don’t understand these things, you are likely to make errors that could be costly.

It would be a good idea to get to know some accounting basics and learn common accounting terms at the very least. If you understand the parts of your accounting, you will be able to manage your books much more effectively.

Get someone else to do your bookkeeping – Like a bookkeeper!

If this just isn’t for you or you just don’t have time, it really is time to consider hiring a bookkeeper. Outsourcing your bookkeeping can be cost effective and very beneficial to even the smallest business. That way, you can focus on your business while your bookkeeper can focus on your books.

bookkeeping

Why should I outsource my bookkeeping

Do you remember why you ventured into the world of running your own business? It could be a multitude of reasons; wanting a better work life balance, realising you could earn more money working for yourself than someone else, a desire to spend your working day doing what you love/choose, rather than what others asked you to do? Whatever the reason, you took that big step and decided to make a go of it yourself.

Most people who choose to set up a business for themselves opt for an industry where their skills and passions lie and that’s a big part of what makes a business succeed. Well, that together with a lot of hard work and some good customer service, sales & marketing.

How often do you sit and reflect on your choice to go in to business yourself? Despite the hard work, are you happier where you are now? Is your work life balance better? Are you spending more time doing what you choose?

As a new business owner, it is common to find yourself undertaking many tasks that you factor in, such as; sales, marketing and probably bookkeeping because well; taking on another member of staff just might not be feasible. Do you find yourself regularly spending your evenings doing your bookkeeping? Or do you allocate some of your working week to do it?

Have you thought about why you are spending your time doing the bookkeeping? If you are allocating time every week to get on top of your receipts and invoices, how much time does it take you? Have to calculated that for the year? If you added it all together and calculated the cost based on your hourly rate, it will probably work out at more than you think… Why not give it a try?

Obviously the amount of bookkeeping required in each business will differ depending on the industry and size. A consultant providing professional services is likely to have much fewer transactions than a restaurant owner, but whatever your industry you should be keeping on top of your income and outgoings on a regular basis to help manage your business finances and cash flow.

Many new business owners will do the bookkeeping themselves to save money and keep staff costs down, but doing it yourself can be a false economy, for every hour you spend on your bookkeeping, could you be achieving something more valuable with your time?

The benefit of outsourcing your bookkeeping is that, you get the bookkeeping done by someone who’s priority and talent is bookkeeping, leaving you to focus your efforts on your own priority and talent. Allocating work to the best person for the job is better all round for every business.

When you outsource, you only pay for what you get, you do not have to worry about an employee and filling their time to make it cost effective and with a bookkeeper you pay bookkeeping rates not accounting rates.

So maybe the question isn’t ‘Why should I outsource my bookkeeping’, maybe it’s why am I doing the bookkeeping myself?

If you would like to chat about how Rosemary Bookkeeping can help you sort out your books and assess your business finances during these difficult times, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

bookkeeping

bookkeeping

How Rosemary Bookkeeping Coventry have managed the bookkeeping for our clients over the COVID 19 crisis….

The COVID-19 lockdown has been a challenging few months so far for most, for Rosemary Bookkeeping Coventry, it was no exception. Although fortunate enough to not have to close like many businesses, a lot of changes needed to be implemented to be able to continue to provide bookkeeping services where required and operate safely.

Caroline O’Brien from Rosemary Bookkeeping Coventry explains how they managed changes within their business, operations & services to enable them to continue to operate and provide bookkeeping for their clients.

Continuity of service

When lockdown was first announced, we sent a Business Contingency statement out to all of our clients to inform them of our short term action plan.

Caroline then spent a considerable amount of time studying all of the various government support packages available, so that she was in a good position to give accurate and valuable advice to her clients.

It was important for us to keep in regular contact with our clients and be proactive, we sent various emails to each of our clients to direct them to the most useful and user-friendly sites with links to support packages most appropriate to them. We also suggested that any VAT registered clients could defer their VAT liability submitted during lockdown to the new deadline of 31.3.21.

About 20% of our clients were forced to close due to lockdown measures, one has already reopened, we are hopeful that others will be able to reopen soon, as more lockdown measures get eased and we will be here for them when they need us.

Meeting expectations

It is important to us that we continue to meet the needs of our existing clients. We are able to provide bookkeeping services remotely most of the time but do have some clients that for various reasons require us to be on site. For the clients that need someone on site, we confirmed that, if we did need to go to site, we could remain socially distanced at all times. We provided cleaning wipes for our staff so that they could keep their work station clean and hygienic. Adhering to social distancing guidelines meant we were able to ensure that the work for this client was not adversely affected.

Obviously, some businesses have been adversely affected by the lockdown measures. I have been undertaking detailed cash flow forecasts where clients have been concerned about cash flow problems and/or to help them decide if they wanted to apply for any of the government loans or grants available.

Because we use cloud based industry approved software, in most cases we are able to work remotely, this has made it easy for us to continue to provide our bookkeeping services with very little or no interruption.

Keeping things going

On the whole, we were able to continue to provide our bookkeeping services through the last few months of lockdown, we had one client that we were not able to work for, for a period of time as they closed mid-March. However, in the second half of May, they re-opened and utilising their required security and VPN access we were then able to resume work for them remotely.

Customer service

When we could see that a lockdown was likely, we asked one of our on-site clients to set up VPN access so that we could continue to cover all aspects of the job remotely. For those clients with whom we have regular monthly meetings in person, we have been able to hold remote telephone meetings instead.

It is also important to provide our clients with useful and helpful information. So we utilised social media as a method of maintaining contact and used it to post about the government support available.

Moving on

As lockdown measures ease, we will work remotely as much as possible whilst the government advises and to help keep everyone safe. However, if there is a pressing need to go on-site for a particular reason, we will ensure that we do this in a socially distanced and hygienic way.

If a client does request that we start to work in their office again, we will ask them to confirm that they are COVID-19 secure and share their COVID-19 method statement to ensure everyone remains safe.

Due to the flexibility of Rosemary Bookkeeping, our ability to increase capacity and our good relationship with local accountants, a new client was passed to us in May from one of our local accountants. This new client had a large backlog of bookkeeping which we processed, cleared and passed to the accountant to complete the accounts and we look forward to the ongoing relationship we have started.

Our priority here at Rosemary bookkeeping is to focus on the bookkeeping so that our business owner clients can focus on what they do best and grow their business. Now more than ever it is important for business owners to spend time in their business looking at ways they can move out of lockdown in a strong and positive way. We are here to keep their books in good order whilst they do just that.

If you would like to chat about how Rosemary Bookkeeping can help you sort out your books and assess your business finances during these difficult times, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

Belinda Whitaker

Belinda Whitaker explains her strategy for surviving Coronavirus, read more in this fantastic article on Total Swindon click here (credit Fiona Scott Media Consultancy).

plan for surviving coronavirus

 

If you would like to chat about how Rosemary Bookkeeping can help you sort our your books and assess your business finances during these difficult times, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

connected

Being on lockdown, stuck in your house, restricted movement, social distancing, whatever you want to call it isn’t easy for a lot of people but luckily for us, in this day and age, we have a wide range of technology at our fingertips to help us stay connected. 

 Staying connected is important for us on a personal level to help keep away the boredom, help keep us motivated and help keep a closer eye on our loved ones that are now out of reach. Video calls are most definitely a great option for keeping in touch with people. 

Staying connected for business is going to be vital for many as more and more people are migrated to home working; getting access to apps, software and resources will help us work effectively and efficiently and well; just make the day easier. 

Here’s a good but not exhaustive list of software and Apps you could try to keep you connected for work and socially. 

Video Calling Software

Facetime – available on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and even newer Macbooks 

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204380 Facetime is a nice simple tool to use to video call loved ones but it is also a nice easy option for one to one video meetings. 

WhatsApp is popular for group chats but also have a video feature where you can video call individual people or groups of people, WhatsApp is available for Android, iPhone on Mac & Windows PC so is very accessible for lots of users 

https://www.whatsapp.com/ 

Zoom is designed for video conferencing and makes keeping in touch from a personal point of view but is especially handy for business use with several options & plans 

https://zoom.us/ 

Skype – Skype has video conferencing available and you can chat to more than one person at a time and share your screen, this makes it good for personal use but also. Works well for businesses use too 

https://www.skype.com/en/ 

Microsoft Teams – This is more than just a chat or remote meeting solution, Microsoft teams allows you to set up teams, have chats, hold group video calls, share a calendar and share documents within the teams, it is designed for teamwork. 

https://products.office.com/en-gb/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software 

Handling documents 

Big businesses might have fantastic IT resources, but if you are a smaller business it might be harder to manage your documents between your teams.  

I wouldn’t want to suggest one over another but a few options to help you keep running more smoothly are: 

Microsoft teams – as above, it is not just great for keeping in touch, it also has the power to share documents and update them live without the need to email things backwards and forwards. 

Dropbox – This is more of a file-sharing option, you can give authorised people access to a Dropbox folder so you can access the documents within. If you have to work with personal data you will need the business version to help you be GDPR compliant 

https://www.dropbox.com 

Google Drive – This is a file-sharing platform and they have both personal and business packages available 

https://www.google.com/drive/ 

Huddle – a cloud-based project management solution that helps project teams in businesses 

https://www.huddle.com/ 

Receipt Bank – a pre-accounting tool often used by accountants and bookkeepers but can also be used by businesses to log receipts digitally. 

https://www.receipt-bank.com/uk/ 

Smart Receipt – Turns your phone into a receipt scanner and expense report generator with Smart Receipts! You can track receipts and lots more 

https://www.smartreceipts.co/ 

Expensify – claims to be the world’s leading application for expense management, receipt scanning, and business travel. Take a picture of your receipts using SmartScan and go from there 

https://www.expensify.com/ 

 

There are loads of tools out there to help make things just a little easier… all at your fingertips. 

wellbeing

With many of us perhaps feeling concerned, stressed or panicked by the current situation, we’ve put together a few ways of looking after your mental wellbeing during these challenging times. The below is not medical advice but aimed to help a little as you face life’s current worries.  

Connect with people

If you are in self-isolation, you may start to feel just that, isolated. What better opportunity than now to re-connect with old friends, keep in touch with family and check in with your nearest and dearest. Video calls are a great way to stay connected but why not brighten someone’s day by sending them a hand-written letter? Also, a lovely thing for your children to do as part of their homeschooling.   

Help Others and Offer Support

Being there to help others can be a mood boost for both parties. Local support groups can offer suggestions as to how you can help your local community. Maybe a phone call to an elderly resident is needed or perhaps you’re able to pick up medication for someone who is self-isolating. Little actions can go a long way.  

On a larger scale, the NHS has implemented a campaign for “NHS Volunteer Responders.” This is “a new group that will carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions. They will be used by healthcare professionals to make sure people who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) are able to stay safe and well at home.” You can see if you are eligible to help via the following website: https://www.england.nhs.uk/participation/get-involved/volunteering/nhs-volunteer-responders/ 

Relaxation techniques

Colouring In – Not just for kids! Adult colouring-in has taken off in a big way in the last few years. It’s a great way to practice Mindfulness and switch off from the world around. You can print out designs to colour in at homehttps://www.justcolor.net/ or even colour in digitally on your computer or phone. https://colormandala.com/ 

Yoga / Meditation – you can join in live via various online classes or YouTube have tonnes of instructional videos for everyone, from beginner to pro. Yoga can massively help with your mental wellbeing. 

Reading – why not take a moment to switch off and escape the world around you. Reading is great for focussing the mind and also a great way to begin an effective sleep routine.  

Sleep Routine

Maintaining a good sleep routine is always important but with many now having a less structured day, perhaps it’s time to focus on this. It’s easy to fall into the trap of staying up a little later and snoozing the alarm clock a few more times when your daily routine is not so rigid.  

If you’re having trouble sleeping, the NHS website offers some top tips: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/sleep/ 

With daylight hours increased last Sunday now is the ideal opportunity to set a new sleeping pattern for the Summer months.  

Exercise

Current NHS advice permits “one form of outdoor exercise a day, for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.” It is also important to remember to maintain a 2-metre distance from others when outside. So, how does exercise boost your mood? Physical activity causes the brain to release endorphins. These are chemicals which, in simple terms, cause you to feel happier and improve feelings of well-being.  

If you are unable to go out at the moment, why not participate in an online exercise class. From circuit training to ballet, there is something for everyone! 

Remember to take into account your own fitness levels and health/medical conditions before embarking on an exercise regime. 

Content is based on the Government’s health guidance and COVID-19 measures at the time of writing. Please refer to the government website to ensure that this information is current.  

If you have concerns regarding your mental health and wellbeing, further information, help and support can be found by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ 

information

There is information everywhere you look about the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, sometimes it is difficult working out fact from fiction so we have collated a variety of reputable links that will be kept up to date with reliable information.

Health Information & Advice:

Advice for the public from the World Health Organisation

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Health advise from the NHS

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Government Advice for Employees, & employers (Dept for Business Energy and Ind Strategy)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19

NHS online self-assessment

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 if you think you have symptoms.

COVID 19 Official Infection Rate Stats England Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland

COVID-19 Cases Update (Public Health England)
https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/f94c3c90da5b4e9f9a0b19484dd4bb14

Information about Financial Support:

Government Guidance for employees (Dept for Business Energy and Ind Strategy & Public Health England)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

Government support for businesses affected by Covid 19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Banking Group Solutions for businesses affected by COVID19

Lloyds
https://www.thebfa.org/expert-advice/lloyds-banking-group-ready-to-support-uk-small-businesses-impacted-by-covid-19/
HSBC
https://www.thebfa.org/expert-advice/hsbc-uk-announces-package-of-support-for-customers-affected-by-covid-19/

Stay up to date using a reliable source to keep yourself, loved ones, customers and everyone else safe.

positivity

In these unprecedented times, you, like many others around the world may be feeling a little low in spirits. Things may seem a little gloomy but there are rays of positivity shining through.  

I’ve put together a little blog on some of the lovely things which I’ve seen in the last few days in the hope of sharing a little happiness.  

Rainbows Pictures Springing up in Windows 

The trend started online, following the closure of UK schools on Friday 20th March.  

With the view of “spreading hope” the rainbows also provide a lovely bit of positivity for when you are out and about during your daily exercise. If you’re out for a walk / run / cycle, see how many are around in your area.  

Balcony Singing, Italy

You’ve more than likely seen some of the balcony singing taking place throughout Italy recently.  

Here’s one of the best video’s I’ve seen of music bringing people together, boosting morale and staying positive.  

Fortunately for my neighbours, I won’t be recreating this anytime soon! 

 

 

Connecting More  

 Last week I downloaded the “House Party” app. It’s essentially a video call app with function for multiple participants. It’s less formal than other video calling platforms such as Microsoft Teams and really simple to use. My family all enjoyed a drink and a catch up together on Mother’s Day via the app with extended family from further away too. Something which we most likely wouldn’t have done without the social distancing measures in place. Somehow, I think we all feel the need to connect even more with people at the moment.  

Support for our NHS workers 

On Thursday 26th March, Lincoln Cathedral will glow blue as a mark of support to our amazing NHS workers: 

This will be followed by the Nationwide “Clap for our Carers” campaign at 8pmWhereby, people across the UK can clap from their gardens, front doors and balconies to show their support and give thanks to doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists and other NHS staff, working tirelessly to help those affected by the coronavirus. 

Supermarkets are already showing their gratitude to NHS workers such as in this clip from Tesco in Swansea, where staff applauded and gave flowers during designated NHS staff shopping hour. 

 

And finally, a brilliant video of staff at Basildon NHS keeping themselves motivated in these challenging times… 

 

 

 

clean home

Whilst many people are at home now is the perfect time to give your home some TLC. Below are some hints and tips to make sure your home is clean and looking its best for you and your family. 

Decluttering

It’s quite amazing how much stuff we can collect over time and it’s equally amazing how reluctant we can be to give it up. We like to go by the one year rule… if you haven’t used, worn or looked at it for a year, it needs to go. We know there are some items that you simply can’t get rid of so why not look to put them into storage for safekeeping? 

Grab yourself a box or a bag and start loading your old and unwanted items into it. 

Dusting 

Next, take a microfibre cloth and work your way around the room, top to bottom, picking up as much dirt and dust as you can. Your microfibre cloth should do the hard work for you, even better when it’s a little damp, so move quickly and wipe over all your surfaces. 

Vacuuming 

When you’ve finished with the microfibre cloth, pick up your vacuum and work your way around the room again. If you couldn’t reach an area with your cloth, your vacuum should have a better reach. Use all the extra tools at your disposal to pick up the hidden and hard to reach dirt. 

Sofa Cleaning

Regular vacuuming of your sofas should make this job even easier but with the vacuum cleaner on full power, run the crevice tool all over your suite and remove the cushions and get right down into the hard to reach areas. 

With some help, lift the sofas up and run the vacuum cleaner or a microfibre cloth underneath to pick up the hidden dirt. It’s only a very quick job but cleaning underneath sofas really does help to make the room feel cleaner. 

Kitchen Cleaning

If you have a dishwasher, utilise its power and place everything you can inside to give them a really good clean. If you can’t wash certain items in the dishwasher, place into hot, soapy water whilst you tackle other jobs.  

To tackle the fridge and any nasty stains or odours that have collated in there, grab an old toothbrush and toothpaste and get scrubbing. The chemicals in toothpaste are great for cleaning stains and marks leftover time and the toothbrush allows you to reach those tricky areas. Rinse the fridge well and if odours remain, chop a lemon in half and place one half at the top and one at the bottom – they’ll soon clear up any nasty smells. 

Bathroom Cleaning

Tough limescale in the bathroom may take time to clean but with pre-planning, you can clean your bathroom overnight, whilst you sleep! For showerheads and taps that are turning green, fill a bag with white vinegar and tie it tightly around the showerhead or tap and leave it overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and take a toothbrush to the stain and it should just wipe off. 

These hits and tip will make sure your home is looking its best and smelling beautiful.   

homeschooling

Well, this is different! Being a fulltime working mum, homeschooling wasn’t something I had planned for and if you’re here reading this, I doubt you did eitherBut here I am and I’m trying my best to keep some normality as much as I can considering what’s going on in the world right now. 

I have two children, one of Primary School age and one in Secondary School, my challenge is to keep them entertained and somewhat educated while I work full time, from home (mostly) 

Keep To A School Day Routine  

To keep disruption to a minimum and help keep the kids focussed on their schoolwork, try sticking to a school day routine as much as you can. 

We are starting school at 9am each school day, and Ive found a fantastic YouTube channel ‘The Body Coach’ who are streaming live PE videos each school day. Take a look here – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ 

What better way to keep the kids active and get them ready for learning? If you want to know why exercising in the morning is so beneficial, this is a useful read: https://www.myactivesg.com/read/2018/2/6-reasons-why-morning-exercise-is-important-for-your-health 

Scheduling The Kids Day 

Most schools have provided a good number of online resources, so why not structure your learning day/week into a school timetable. Evidence shows that children do best when they can follow a routine, this will also make it easier for you to keep on top of things.  

  MONDAY  TUESDAY  WEDNESDAY  THURSDAY 
09.00 – 09.30  PE  PE  PE  PE 
09.30 – 10.15  MATHS  MATHS  MATHS  MATHS 
10.15 – 10.30  BREAK  BREAK  BREAK  BREAK 
10.30 – 11.45  ENGLISH  ENGLISH  ENGLISH  ENGLISH 
11.45 –  13.00  ART/CRAFT  ART/CRAFT  ART/CRAFT  ART/CRAFT 

 

Shhhh… I’m thinking of doing the Science bit at the weekend so I can have some fun too! 

Don’t forget, it’s also important to allow time for the kids to have fun and to entertain themselves, all work and no play is going to make this a long journey and well, we’ve got work to do too. 

If you are looking for more inspiration from an education point of view, below are some other links to a wide range of websites with homeschooling ideas. 

https://www.homeschooling-ideas.com/home-school-ideas.html 

https://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/education-1071/home-education-873/653184-ideas-homeschooling.html 

https://www.edplace.com/blog/homeschooling/lesson-planning-and-ideas-home-education-days-across-the-uk 

https://www.homeschool-activities.com/ 

https://www.theschoolrun.com/home-education-step-by-step

Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained 

Are you looking for ways to entertain the kids that isn’t YouTube or computer games? 

Make the most of your garden or outside space, we all need some fresh air and sunshine, yes, it is out as I sit here writing this, stuck in the office and looking out of the window. As we all need a bit of a break from work and learning, I thought I’d also share a range of websites with ideas for fun things to do, so here you are: 

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g1389/diy-kids-activities/  

https://www.toucanbox.com/activities/fun-things-to-do-at-home-with-your-kids 

https://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/best-indoor-kid-crafts-activities.html 

https://www.verywellfamily.com/absolutely-free-activities-for-kids-2997490 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/ 

https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/gardening-children-schools/family-activities/Activities 

YouTube Channels: 

  • Crash Course Kids 
  • Science Channel 
  • SciShow Kids 
  • National  Geographic Kids 
  • Free School 
  • Geography Focus 
  • TheBrainScoop 
  • SciShow 
  • Kids Learning Tube 
  • Geeek Gurl Diaries 
  • Mike Likes Science 
  • Science Max 
  • SoulPancake 

 This isn’t going to be easy by any means, I’ve already needed to remind my kids that this isn’t a holiday but hopefully, this will help keep you sane that little bit longer and at least give you some ideas to help you through it.  

My Own Personal Favourites;  

  • Home economics – Teach them how to make a cup of tea, for me of course, as I’m busy working!
  • Science – How washing up liquid removes grease from the saucepan and other cooking utensils
  • Mechanical Engineering – How to operate a hoover, the kids always think it’s a hard job! 

Written by Vicky, Commercial Marketing Manager and Full Time Mum 

social distancing

With all that’s going on in the world now, everyone needs to understand what the differences between Social Distancing, Isolation and Quarantine are.

There is a difference between each of these terms and we’ll explain the difference below.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing should be practised by everyone, whether or not they are exposed to the virus.

Social Distancing includes avoiding handshakes, crowds and staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from people.

Working from home/Remote Working has been recommended by the government when possible and if showing any symptoms, you should be self-isolating.

What is Isolation?

Isolation is for those who have been either diagnosed with COVID-19 or showing symptoms of the virus.

Isolation serves as a deterrent to keep the infected away from the healthy in order to stop the spread of the virus. This applies to anyone living with someone showing symptoms, anyone with an underlying health condition or anyone over the age of 70.

What is Quarantine?

Quarantine is the restriction on the movement of people, which is intended to prevent the spread of disease. Preventing the movement of those who may have been exposed to a COVID-19, but do not have a confirmed case.

This is the current situation in countries like Italy & Spain to which they have issued a nationwide quarantine and restricted everyone from leaving their homes as much as they can.

Here are a few small graphics that we’ll be sharing on social media as well that you can share if you like:

Social Distancing Isolation Quarantine

 

wash

Proper hand hygiene is the number one way to reduce the risk of infection and it’s important to wash your hands frequently and properly, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

wash

Here is the proper way to wash your hands as recommended by NHS:

How to Wash Your Hands Correctly

  1. Wash your hands under warm running water
  2. Apply soap and rub palms together to ensure complete coverage
  3. Spread the soap over the back of your hands
  4. Make sure the soap gets in between each of your fingers
  5. Grip the fingers on each hand, ensuring you cover each finger with soap
  6. Rub both thumbs into a clenched fist
  7. Press fingertips into the palm of each hand
  8. Rub your knuckles on the opposite palm
  9. Dry thoroughly with a disposable paper towel

Other Tips on Hand Washing

Your hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds, of which you can keep track of by singing Happy Birthday twice.

An acceptable alternative to hand washing is to use an alcohol-based sanitiser, with at least 60%. When possible, wash your hands using the above method as this is more effective against viruses.

Do I really need a Bookkeeper

Do I need a bookkeeper? Well, for me at this moment in time, I personally do not, why? Because as I am employed full time and have no other income that I need to account for. But; once upon a time my situation was different. Before I worked where I work now, I like about 5.7 million other people every year made the decision that starting my own business was my next step.

Do I really need a Bookkeeper

I know from experience that starting a business from scratch is not easy, from the practicalities of where do I run my business from? What business bank account should I get or do I even need a business bank account? To, should I be a Limited business? How do I register as a Limited business? And where is my registered address going to be? There is so much to work out, it can be overwhelming for some and possibly ignored by others.

Like many other new business owners I found my feet, made a list and worked my way through all of the things I thought I needed to get my business up and running. I decided I wanted to have a limited business to make sure I kept business and private lives separate. I found three local accountants, did some research and had appointments with them all before deciding which one was best for me, this is important, it is likely that you are going to have a very long relationship with them. I used the accountants address as my registered address because I wanted to keep my business and private life separate, then registered with Companies House… everything was coming together well.

My business got off the ground, we gained clients (the most important part) and the business grew nicely but let’s face it, running a business is a learning curve, we all know (or think we know) what we are good at, taking that to running a business doing it is quite different. There are so many things you find out that you need to be doing, and because you are a micro, small or start-up business we all try to keep costs down to a minimum. Like many other start-up’s and small business owners, I did most if the admin and back office stuff (I am going to call it stuff because well, I am great at what I am great at, it doesn’t make me great at ‘stuff’) myself because that is what I thought was the most cost effective option. – We all like to save money right?

Anyway; my business was growing well and we had our happy clients but after a number of years, I made the decision that I didn’t want to work for myself any longer and one of the main reasons was that I had found myself spending most of my time doing jobs that I didn’t actually want to do, jobs that were not part of what I wanted to do as ‘my’ business. I am pleased to say that my company is still growing nicely and in safe hands with a family member as Managing Director but, I am pleased I stepped away to spend more of my time focussed on doing the jobs that I love.

As part of my current ‘Job’, I work with lots of small and medium sized businesses and have also worked with Rosemary Bookkeeping; as someone that has had a small business, I realise how valuable their services would have been to me as a business owner. I knew I needed an accountant, as was a priority but I did not understand how beneficial it would have been to have someone doing my bookkeeping for me. It never occurred to me that outsourcing some of the admin and day to day ‘stuff’ would have been such a huge benefit to me as a business owner, I just thought I was doing the most cost effective things. If I had known, I would have spent less time doing my bookkeeping and more time on what I love and maybe, just maybe I would have chosen to stay in my business?

The Bookkeeping isn’t the only service that as small business owners we find ourselves tied up doing, there are lots of other things too. Is it time to evaluate how effective and efficient your time is? Would your time be better spent doing something else, like talking to customers, selling your services, creating a bit of artwork or doing whatever it is that you are great. Why not consider outsourcing the rest of it to someone great at it?

So; Do I really need a Bookkeeper? No, I am still employed full time and have no other income that I need to account for, what about you?

What to see how a Rosemary Bookkeeper can help? Have a look here

Here at Rosemary Bookkeeping Newbury & Basingstoke, we are proud to support and share the amazing achievement by our very own April Fost.

April set herself a challenge at the start fo the year to complete 12 running events through the year. The events were varied and included the particularly challenging Snowdonia Marathon in October.

Aprils story…

“So I started the year with a goal to run 12 events, this was my challenge, for those who know me I said I would NEVER run a marathon…..Yet I have decided not only to do a marathon but a wonderfully hilly one as my first. This is in memory of my Nanny Emmie who sadly passed away just over 3 years ago after a battle with Alzheimers and Dementia. I hope she would be looking down proudly, but more likely she would be thinking are you absolutely crazy, but then I definitely got some of my crazy from her :-D”

April’s 12 events were:

1. Rough and Tumble – 10 mile – Trail 
2. Burghclere Fun Run – 5k – Trail/Rd 
3. Winchester – 10k – Road 
4. Windsor/Eton – 13.1 mile – Road 
5. Hi-5 Swings & Smiles – 13.1 miles 
6. Jurassic Coast – 10k – Trail 
7. Hurstbourne Tarrant – 5 mile – Trail
8. Farnham Pilgram – 13.1 miles – Trail
9. Winchester – 13.1 miles – Road 
10. Oxford – 13.1 miles – Road 
11. Snowdonia – 26.2 miles – Road 
12. Arundelle – 7 hour timed event – Ultra 31.5 miles – Track

And she raised a total of £920.00.

Read Aprils story here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/april-fost

Alzheimer's Society

New bookkeeping business has been launched in the North Kent and Isle of Sheppey area by local businessman Grant Dye.

Grant is very experienced in Finance and Accounts and has previously been a Senior Financial Business Partner, managing a team of up to 5 employees. He has also been a Financial Controller for a small start-up company amongst other roles in the industry. Grant is ACCA & AAT qualified and recently became a Member Firm of IFA and IPA and regulated and supervised by the IFA for compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering (AML). He also holds a Practising Certificate as an Associate Tax Advisor (ATA).

After being in the finance & accountancy sector for 30 years, Grant decided it was time for a change and after researching demand in his local area and business options available, Grant made the decision to invest in Rosemary Bookkeeping North Kent and Isle of Sheppey.

“I felt like I had the right skills and experience to go into bookkeeping, but felt that I needed the support and know-how of Rosemary Bookkeeping franchise, in running my first business,” commented Grant.

Grant plans to build strong long-term relationships with other local businesses and become the go-to bookkeeper for SME’s in his area. His ultimate goal is to support the local businesses in their bookkeeping so that they can focus on those skills that make their business great.

Grant’s 2-year plan is to grow his business allowing him to employ people locally, which will, in turn, assist in the continued growth and development of his business.

“The whole process of purchasing a Rosemary Bookkeeping franchise was slick and well organised. The team at head office are always there with advice and their expertise are second to none,” added Grant.

The benefit of being part of a franchise is the additional support from Head Office but also the support of the other excellent Bookkeepers in the network, our clients know their books are being processed intelligently and efficiently using our fantastic Quality Checked Rosemary System.

“We are delighted to welcome Grant to the Rosemary network, we absolutely feel that Grant has all the expertise and experience required to provide an excellent bookkeeping service to his clients, and to grow a successful business with Rosemary Bookkeeping”

New bookkeeping business has been launched in the Exeter area by local business woman Alison Convery. After spending 15 years accounting for corporate finance, specifically within the IT industry Alison decided it was time for a change, so she packed up and moved down to Devon with the family for a better life. With the move also came the decision to start a new business venture and that’s where Rosemary Bookkeeping came in. “I wanted to be able to work for myself to ensure I had a more suitable work-life balance as I have a young family, and wanted to the flexibility to be able to do the school runs and take days off during school holidays to spend time with the family,” commented Alison. Alison originally came across Rosemary Bookkeeping at the National Franchise Exhibition last year, got all of her ducks in order and purchased the Rosemary Bookkeeping Exeter franchise to help local businesses with their bookkeeping. “My goals for Rosemary Bookkeeping Exeter are to help as many local businesses as I can in and around Exeter with their bookkeeping, ensuring they are happy and satisfied with every aspect of our service. Having a young family myself, I understand the importance of part time work for mothers and I want to be able to build a team of bookkeepers around this aspect.” added Alison In a previous role Alison managed a team of 9 employees, therefore being well equipped to build a successful team of bookkeepers within the Exeter area. Watch this space, the bookkeepers are coming your way! “Alison is a fantastic new addition to the Rosemary Network, with her warm and vivacious personality, I know she’s going to do exceptionally well! Adding to this, the expertise Alison brings with her as a qualified chartered accountant are second to none,” commented Sujay Patel, Rosemary Bookkeeping Brand Manager

New bookkeeping business has been launched in the Exeter area by local businesswoman Alison Convery.

New bookkeeping business has been launched in the Exeter area by local business woman Alison Convery.  After spending 15 years accounting for corporate finance, specifically within the IT industry Alison decided it was time for a change, so she packed up and moved down to Devon with the family for a better life. With the move also came the decision to start a new business venture and that’s where Rosemary Bookkeeping came in.   “I wanted to be able to work for myself to ensure I had a more suitable work-life balance as I have a young family, and wanted to the flexibility to be able to do the school runs and take days off during school holidays to spend time with the family,” commented Alison.  Alison originally came across Rosemary Bookkeeping at the National Franchise Exhibition last year, got all of her ducks in order and purchased the Rosemary Bookkeeping Exeter franchise to help local businesses with their bookkeeping.  “My goals for Rosemary Bookkeeping Exeter are to help as many local businesses as I can in and around Exeter with their bookkeeping, ensuring they are happy and satisfied with every aspect of our service. Having a young family myself, I understand the importance of part time work for mothers and I want to be able to build a team of bookkeepers around this aspect.” added Alison  In a previous role Alison managed a team of 9 employees, therefore being well equipped to build a successful team of bookkeepers within the Exeter area. Watch this space, the bookkeepers are coming your way!  “Alison is a fantastic new addition to the Rosemary Network, with her warm and vivacious personality, I know she’s going to do exceptionally well! Adding to this, the expertise Alison brings with her as a qualified chartered accountant are second to none,” commented Sujay Patel, Rosemary Bookkeeping Brand Manager

After spending 15 years accounting for corporate finance, specifically within the IT industry, Alison decided it was time for a change, so she packed up and moved down to Devon with the family for a better life. With the move also came the decision to start a new business venture and that’s where Rosemary Bookkeeping came in.

“I wanted to be able to work for myself to ensure I had a more suitable work-life balance as I have a young family, and wanted to the flexibility to be able to do the school runs and take days off during school holidays to spend time with the family,” commented Alison.

Alison originally came across Rosemary Bookkeeping at the National Franchise Exhibition last year, got all of her ducks in order and purchased the Rosemary Bookkeeping Exeter franchise to help local businesses with their bookkeeping.

“My goals for Rosemary Bookkeeping Exeter are to help as many local businesses as I can in and around Exeter with their bookkeeping, ensuring they are happy and satisfied with every aspect of our service. Having a young family myself, I understand the importance of part-time work for mothers and I want to be able to build a team of bookkeepers around this aspect,” added Alison

In a previous role, Alison managed a team of 9 employees, therefore being well equipped to build a successful team of bookkeepers within the Exeter area. Watch this space, the bookkeepers are coming your way!

“Alison is a fantastic new addition to the Rosemary Network, with her warm and vivacious personality, I know she’s going to do exceptionally well! Adding to this, the expertise Alison brings with her as a qualified chartered accountant are second to none,” commented Sujay Patel, Rosemary Bookkeeping Brand Manager

Bookkeeper & Bookkeeping services in Bromsgrove & Kidderminster

Having worked in finance for 15 years and a CIMA qualified accountant, Fiona Perks decided to take the leap into running her own bookkeeping business, which with the help from Rosemary Bookkeeping, became a reality.

Rosemary Bookkeeping Wyre Forest

“I can’t wait to get started and help local business to get their books organised,” said Fiona.

One of the main reasons that Fiona wanted a Rosemary Bookkeeping franchise was because she wanted a better work-life balance, especially with a young family at home.

Fiona is motivated and very keen to grow her business and hopes to be able to offer flexible working options in the Wyre Forest area.

“I received nothing but positivity when in talks with Rosemary Bookkeeping at the start and everything just naturally fell into place”.

Sujay Patel, Rosemary Bookkeeping Network Support Manager added;

“I’m excited to see Fiona kicking off her Rosemary journey with a potential client already in the pipeline.”

If you’re looking for a bookkeeping specialist in the Wyre Forest area, contact Fiona Perks today at fionaperks@rosemarybooks.co.uk.

Find your local Rosemary bookkeeper here.

ServiceMaster has over 300 franchisees operating in close to 700 licensed areas under its brands, including Merry Maids, ServiceMaster Clean, Rosemary Bookkeeping, TruGreen Professional LawnCare and Furniture Medic.  Rosemary Bookkeeping has been recognised as a leading franchise opportunity in the Elite Franchise Top 100 franchises in the United Kingdom.

Last Calls For Making Tax Digital! Everything You Need To Know

It’s April, and you know what that means!

No, we’re not talking about Brexit. We’re talking about Making Tax Digital. Yes, after years of discussions and prep time, the deadline is here. If you’ve not got yourself sorted and ready, you’ve not got long to get organised and ready to submit your VAT returns digitally. If that sounds familiar, don’t worry – you’re not alone. We’ve come across plenty of business owners who aren’t ready yet, but there is still time to get your house in order. To help out, today, we’re answering some basic (and not so basic) FAQ’s around Making Tax Digital, so you can meet the deadline feeling fully prepared and in the know.

Last Calls For Making Tax Digital! Everything You Need To Know

What Is Making Tax Digital?

Making Tax Digital is the name for the HMRC scheme designed to get all VAT registered businesses to submit their VAT returns online, instead of by paper. MTD has been in the making a while now, and just like Brexit, the deadline is fast approaching. The idea is simple – if you are a VAT registered business, with a turnover above the current VAT registration turnover threshold of £85,000, you now need to be using an online accounting system to track and manage your VAT. These online accounting systems can then link directly into HMRC’s digital platform, and you can upload VAT returns quickly and simply, once a quarter. You can find out more about what Making Tax Digital is by reading this blog.

Will I Be Affected? 

If you run a business that is VAT registered or has a turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000, then you will need to get on board with MTD. In essence, this means you will have to:

  • Keep your records for VAT digitally
  • Submit your VAT returns to HMRC via MTD approved software 

Can I Opt In Even If I’m Not VAT Registered?

If your business is registered for VAT but earning below the VAT threshold, you have two options. You can continue as you are, or you can opt in to the MTD scheme straight away. If you choose to opt in, you have the security of knowing your software is compatible and you have all the systems you need in place ready for when you do have to join MTD, keeping you compliant from the outset and ready for the switch.

What Software Is Compatible?

Because businesses need to log their VAT returns digitally, they need to be using an accounting platform that is compatible with HMRC’s systems. In the beginning the list of HMRC approved software vendors was pretty small, but now as the deadline gets closer more and more platforms are getting accredited. The odds are if you’re using one of the major platforms (like Quickbooks, Xero, Sage, Freeagent, Kashflow or Clearbooks, you’re already using an accredited piece of software, so you don’t need to do anything. You can find a full list of approved accounting software here.

What Information Will I Need To Keep?

If this is your first time for VAT, then there are a few things you need to know. Essentially, you will need to keep a record of the sales and purchases your business makes so that any VAT outputs and inputs can be calculated for each return period (normally every quarter). These records need to include the transaction date and the rate of VAT that applies to the invoice in total. That means that your accounting software must be able to:

  • Keep the required records in digital format
  • Maintain and store the digital records for up to 6 years
  • Produce a VAT return from the digital records
  • Provide HMRC with the VAT return informational digitally
  • Be able to receive information about the business compliance records digitally

If you’ve invested in an accounting platform that is MTD approved, then you will have all of these covered.

It might be the eleventh hour, but it’s not too late yet. You can still do everything you need to get ready for the MTD deadline – but you do need to act now. At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we can support you in choosing the right accounting system, train you on how to use it and even help you import all of your data, so you are ready to go when the deadline comes. From there, we can also support you with information, advice and ongoing support packages to help keep your business digital and running smoothly. To find out more, just contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

Written by Rosemary Bookkeeping Reading

MAKING TAX DIGITAL

Part of the government’s plan is ‘Making Tax Digital’, and by introducing this, it is set to make it easier and more simplistic for businesses to run properly. It will help them keep on top of their finances, and ensure they get their tax right the first time.

HMRC has a huge ambition to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrators in the world. Underlying changes are being made through Making Tax Digital as the tax system will be working differently by transforming tax administration. It will help by making;

  • It easier to file correct tax returns
  • It more effective
  • It more efficient

 

MAKING TAX DIGITAL

Making Tax Digital for VAT Registered Businesses

VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover will be required to use the Making Tax Digital service to digitally keep records and submit their VAT returns by using appropriate software from 1st April 2019.

There will be a small minority of exceptions for VAT-registered businesses who have more complicated requirements. HMRC engaged with business owners and listen to any concerns they may have about their businesses being ready for Making Tax Digital. The decision has been made to delay mandation for them customers until 1st October 2019.

Top MTD Facts

Fact 1

Some agents and businesses are providing updates and keeping digital records to HMRC as part of a ‘live pilot’ to develop the Making Tax Digital service for Income Tax. If you are either a landlord or a self-employed business, you are not required to use this service as yet, however, you can keep your business records digitally and send Income Tax updates to HMRC by voluntarily using software instead of filing a Self-Assessment tax return.

Fact 2

Most customers want to get their tax right but the latest tax gap figures reveal that too many are finding this hard. Digital records have improved the accuracy, and along with the support built into a lot of software products and the fact that information is forwarded directly to HMRC from the digital records; the amount of tax lost to these avoidable errors will be dramatically reduced.

Fact 3

One of the biggest concerns highlights to HMRC about MTD was about the pace in which this is implemented. In July 2017, the government announced that the pace of mandation would be slowed down and that Making Tax Digital will not be compulsory for taxes other than VAT, until at least April 2020.

In March 2019, the government then announced that they would focus on helping businesses to transform, and therefore will not be Making Tax Digital for any new businesses or taxes in 2020. The roll out date is yet to be confirmed.

It’s can be a worrying time but as a Bookkeeper, I feel, these changes are going to make it much easier for businesses to manage their information and finances.

Written By Neeta Patel (Rosemary Bookkeeping Northampton)

If you would like to chat about how these changes could affect you, feel free to get in touch, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

Top tips to finding a great Bookkeeper

Deciding to outsource your bookkeeping is a big decision. You’ve decided that it will be cost-effective but now you need to find the right Bookkeeper for you.

Top tips to finding a great Bookkeeper

Here are my top tips for what to look for when outsourcing your bookkeeping;

1 – Referrals

Without a doubt, this is the best way to find a great Bookkeeper. No matter how many pretty adverts you come across, there is nothing more reassuring than a personal referral from someone who has experienced their services. This is worth its weight in gold. It’s also worth noting that networking is great way to build a relationship and get to know your local Bookkeepers.

2 – Has knowledge of Accountancy

This is a bonus, but it is certainly an advantage if a Bookkeeper has any experience in accounting. It makes life easier as they will know exactly what an Accountant needs so there won’t be any messing about when it comes to filling your tax returns.

3 – What software do they use?

It’s important to know what software your potential Bookkeeper uses as it will need to be suitable for your business needs. Although you will not be the one uploading the information, knowing that a Bookkeeper is up to date with the latest and best software is one thing less for you to worry about.

bookkeeping software

4 – Value for money – That does not mean cheap!!!

A Bookkeeper is traditionally a more cost-effective way to manage your books than leaving it all down to your Accountant. However, it’s important not to look for the cheapest service available as that could end up being a costly mistake. A good Bookkeeper will be reasonably priced and affordable for a small business, however, they have expenses to pay too, such as software. If they are far cheaper than the competition, there may be a reason.

5 – Experience

Everyone has to start somewhere but as a small business owner, you want to feel confident in the ability of your Bookkeeper. Even if they are new to being self-employed, experience in the industry will always hold an advantage.

6 – No obligation advice

A good Bookkeeper will offer you a no obligation meeting to discuss your needs. A great Bookkeeper will do a free health check on your books to help you decide if you really need one!

7 – Trustworthy and honest

It’s not easy to establish this from the beginning which is where personal referrals help. But you can get a feel for someone and it’s important to feel comfortable with your Bookkeeper and sense that they are trustworthy. It’s worth looking at reviews and testimonials for extra reassurance.

Ultimately, you won’t know how good a Bookkeeper is until you start working with them, but these tips should help you make that decision. Happy hunting!!!

Written By Neeta Patel (Rosemary Bookkeeping Northampton)

Outsourcing is actually a very realistic option for business owners so don’t be scared. If you’re still not sure, Rosemary Bookkeeping are more than happy to come and help you find out about making tax digital or just do a 1-2-1 health check with you and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself if you think you could benefit with no obligation, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

need a bookkeeper

need a bookkeeper

I often get asked this question. Afterall, most small businesses don’t want or need any extra expense in their business so, is it really necessary to outsource this particular task or would you be better off, doing it yourself?

The simple answer is, there is no simple answer. It really does depend on you, your time and your business activity.

The fact is, anyone can do their own bookkeeping. You can even purchase accounting software to make it easy for yourself, but that statement is key to making your decision.

The question really should be, is it easy for me to do my own bookkeeping?

ledger

In many cases, a sole trader or small business will start off doing their own bookkeeping and manage to keep on top of it. The problem is, when you start to get busier, time is precious, and you need to decide how productive it is to be spending your time sorting out your receipts and invoices rather than concentrating on the activities that drive your business.

We often find that it’s one of those tasks we put off. We will put it in the diary or set time aside every month, but something will come along that we simply must attend to. It’s about priorities and bookkeeping, more often than not, falls into that dreaded “to do list”.

This tends to cause a small business owner much more stress in the long run. All of a sudden, time will sneak up on you and suddenly, that small pile of receipts and invoices has developed in to a messy pile of paperwork that will take hours to sort out.

If you are super organised and know, without a shadow of a doubt that you can allow this time every month, in theory, you should be fine but if you are like the majority of business owners, you may find yourself in a chaotic mess at the end of the tax year.

Ultimately, it’s about productivity. Is it more productive for you to be working on the things that bring the money into your business or sorting out your paperwork? You need to decide what that’s worth to you.

If you spent the time working on your business instead of doing your own books, what would that translate to in monetary terms? If it’s likely to be more than the small fee you will pay a Bookkeeper then the answer to your question is yes, you probably do need a Bookkeeper.

My advice would be to talk to your local Bookkeeper. Perhaps it’s someone that you network with and you’ve built a relationship with. If they are anything like me, they will do a simple health check on your books for free and will give you a much better idea of whether this is something you need to invest in now, or if it can be out off until a later date.

Of course, I’m always on hand if you need any further help or advice. Neeta x

need a bookkeeper

Outsourcing is actually a very realistic option for business owners so don’t be scared. If you’re still not sure, Rosemary Bookkeeping are more than happy to come and help you find out about making tax digital or just do a 1-2-1 health check with you and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself if you think you could benefit with no obligation, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

MTD

As of 2019, all VAT registered businesses will need to be using an accredited piece of accounting software to complete their accounting records under the Making Tax Digital rules due to come into force from April. For smaller, non-VAT businesses, you remain unaffected for now, but businesses that are registered for Value Added Tax  will need to use compatible accounting software to control and maintain their finances in order to submit their VAT return digitally to HMRC. For many, this means completely switching their records to a different piece of software.

MTD

Figure Out If You’re VAT Registered

Before we get into the tips to make your switch easier, let’s take a quick look at what a VAT registered business is. This will help you figure out whether or not you and your business is affected by the new laws. A VAT registered business is obliged to charge VAT on any relevant goods or services they sell/provide. They can reclaim the VAT that they pay on the stock they have, but if the VAT they charge exceeds the VAT they pay, then they have to pay the difference to HMRC. You must register for VAT if you expect your turnover to be more than £85,000 in the next 30-day period, or if your business had a turnover of more than £85,000 in the last 12 months.

Get Software That Is Certified

Looking at that figure, it’s safe to say that any VAT registered business is likely to have a lot of accounting work to do and would need a suitable platform to work from. A list of such software is available on the GOV.UK website. Some of the more popular accounting software includes Xero, Quickbooks, Freeagent, Kashflow & Sage. Though the full list is much more extensive.

Ask For Help

If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, it might be time to think about looking for a Bookkeeper to keep your books for you. If you’re VAT registered, you should probably already have another party keep track of things for you, and they will find the switch (if it’s necessary) much easier than you will. In the case of you or a member of your team still needing to switch software programs, have a chat to the company who provides the program, and see if they can answer any of your queries.

Know When It’s Time To Move

If you run a company with a taxable turnover above the VAT registration threshold of £85,000, you will need to switch to MTD (Making Tax Digital) compatible software in order to be able to file your VAT returns under the new MTD rules from your first VAT quarter after 1st of April 2019. The MTD pilot has been running since April 2018 and is already open to many VAT registered businesses and their third-party agents. Joining MTD sooner, rather than later, will help you prepare for any changes that you need to make.

Additional Help And Support

In the event that you still feel underprepared for the move, even after contacting an agent who may deal with tax for you, you can find more help and support for MTD on the GOV.UK website; which includes webinars and a video which explains MTD in more depth. Or, you could see your bookkeeper for some help and support.


At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work with small and medium sized businesses to take the pain out their bookkeeping. From helping you choose the right software to use, software supply, training and data migration, to a complete outsourced bookkeeping service – we can help. If you’re just starting out, or you’re looking to hire a bookkeeper to support you as you grow, we’d love to help. Just get in touch with us today for your free consultation.

Written by Rosemary Bookkeeping Reading

MTD advisor

At Rosemary Bookkeeping Newbury & Basingstoke, we are pleased to say we are Quickbooks Making Tax Digital Certified.

If you need to get ready for Making Tax Digital and don’t know where to start, what it means, or if it applies to you?

Get in touch today and we can arrange a free bookkeeping health check and see how we can help with Making Tax Digital.

MTD advisor

about making tax digital

about making tax digital

Making Tax Digital will change the way your business pays its taxes to HMRC. It is a scheme by the UK government to make it easier for businesses and individuals to manage their taxes. The first stage comes into play on 1st April 2019 and is called Making Tax Digital for VAT.

From that date, VAT-registered businesses (those companies with their turnover over the VAT threshold, which is currently £85,000) will be required to digitally submit their tax records to HMRC. They will no longer be able to do this via HMRC’s Government Gateway website.

What does that mean for businesses?

If you are VAT registered, then you will need to move to digital record keeping (i.e. use software to record all your VAT invoices and receipts). If you are not VAT registered, then digital record keeping is optional for the time being.

If you are VAT registered and do not yet use software to record your VAT information (invoices to customers and from suppliers) you need to start planning for Making Tax Digital. The implementation date is 1st April 2019.

My company uses spreadsheets for business records – what will that mean for me?

You can still continue to use spreadsheets to digitally record and store your business records. However, you will need to make sure those spreadsheets can digitally submit any necessary data to HMRC.

My business is not VAT registered and I don’t know if I will earn £85,000 this year. What should I do?

You will only be required to follow the rules of Making Tax Digital if your turnover exceeds £85,000 – the VAT threshold. You will need to keep track of your turnover over the last 12 months on a cumulative basis, and if at any point your total turnover exceeds £85,000 you will need to register for VAT.

What if I temporarily go over the VAT threshold?

If your business isn’t VAT registered and you do go over the threshold, you will need to comply with the requirements of Making Tax Digital. If your taxable turnover then drops below the threshold, you still need to continue complying with the legislation.

My business is under the VAT threshold, but I want to be part of Making Tax Digital. Is that possible?

Yes. Your business can choose to waive exemption if you wish to voluntarily follow the requirements of Making Tax Digital.

It’s important to note that “Making Tax Digital” is only coming in to play for VAT registered businesses in April 2019. For all other businesses, it comes into force in April 2020.

With this in mind, it’s a great idea to get started on digital bookkeeping so you are ready for the change. Starting early will help you to understand the workload involved and you will have plenty of time to decide if outsourcing to a well prepared Bookkeeper would be the best option for you.

Outsourcing is actually a very realistic option for business owners so don’t be scared. If you’re still not sure, Rosemary Bookkeeping are more than happy to come and help you find out about making tax digital or just do a 1-2-1 health check with you and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself if you think you could benefit with no obligation, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

ferrari

When it comes to carrying out your self-assessment, it’s hard to know what can and can’t be included as allowable expenses. Contrary to popular belief, the government want you to succeed in business so will allow you to spend on certain items in your business without having to pay the tax for them.

With that time of year of year fast approaching, I thought I would compile a list of items that may be included in your allowable expenses. This list is not exhaustive, and more information can be found at www.gov.uk.

In general, tax deductible items will come under the following categories;

  • Travel
  • Office
  • Stock
  • Marketing
  • Legal & Financial

Travel Costs

fuel expenses

Any business-related car or van use may be allowed. Things such as;

  • Vehicle insurance
  • Fuel
  • Hire charges
  • Repairs
  • Servicing and breakdown cover

You are not able to claim these charges for general use such as driving to and from work but if your vehicle is genuinely used for work purposes, these allowances may be available for you.

It can be difficult to calculate your use if your vehicle is used for both personal and business. In this case, refer to the “simplified vehicle expenses” form on the government website where you will find a flat rate for each circumstance.

Under travel, you may also be able to claim for;

  • Train
  • Bus
  • Plane
  • Taxi
  • Hotel rooms
  • Evening meal during a business trip.

If you are taking a trip but it’s for a combination of personal and business, you will need to calculate how much is used for business and only submit that amount as allowable expenses.

Office Costs

postage expenses

There are many items that can be listed under allowable expenses whether you work from premises or your own home. It’s a little more complicated when you work from home which I will explain later.

The type of things you can possibly include are;

  • Stationary
  • Printing costs (including ink)
  • Postage

You can claim for equipment such as computers, printers and software but this may have to be claimed under your capital allowance if you don’t use cash basis accounting.

With regards to premises, the following may be allowed;

  • Rent
  • Maintenance & repair
  • Utility bills
  • Property insurance & security.

If you work from home, you may be able to claim for a proportion of your utility bills, but you will need to work out what proportion is used for business and what is used personally.

Stock Costs

stock expenses

Your allowable expenses for stock may include;

  • Stock held
  • Raw materials
  • Costs incurred from producing goods

Marketing Costs

marketing expenses

Most businesses need to budget for marketing costs and this is taken in to account when it comes to allowable expenses. They may cover the following;

  • Newspaper adverts
  • Directory listings
  • Mailshots
  • Free samples
  • Website

You may also be able to claim for certain subscriptions. An example of these would be;

  • Membership to trade bodies or professional membership organisations
  • Subscriptions to trade or professional journals

Legal & Financial Costs

legal expenses

There are some fees that are essential in business and may be covered under allowable expenses. For example;

  • Accountancy fees
  • Solicitor fees
  • Bank, overdraft and credit card charges (If used for business)
  • Interest on business loans
  • HP interest and leasing payments
  • Business insurance such as Public Liability Insurance

Other items that may be covered are;

  • Uniform or PPI
  • Staffs salaries
  • Bonuses
  • Pension contributions
  • Benefits
  • Agency Fees
  • Employer NI contributions.

This is just a guide and more information can be found on the gov.uk website. The most important thing to remember is that you will always need to prove these expenses so remember to keep a record of all receipts and invoices.

By Neeta Patel – Rosemary Bookkeeping Northampton

Outsourcing is actually a very realistic option for business owners so don’t be scared. If you’re still not sure, Rosemary Bookkeeping are more than happy to come and do a 1-2-1 health check with you and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself if you think you could benefit with no obligation, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

Motivation

Making a difference is what motivates bookkeeper Neeta, as she celebrates the second anniversary of ‘taking the plunge’!

Rosemary Bookkeeping Northampton

If you take a look at what was happening in the news on Thursday, September 1st, 2016, you might struggle to find anything significant. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were exchanging their non-stop verbal blows in the campaign for the White House, the fall-out from the Brexit Referendum was continuing to gather pace, and, that, really, is about it.

But closer to home, one extremely significant event was taking place: on September 1st, 2016 Neeta Patel launched her business, Rosemary Bookkeeping, Northampton. It might have been one tiny step for mankind, but it was one enormous step for Neeta. Two years on, she has never looked back.

Rosemary Bookkeeping is a specialist bookkeeping franchise, and was precisely the opportunity Neeta was looking for, with her background in the accounts department of some big-name businesses including Homebase and Argos.

Now she is using her experience for the benefits of her growing list of clients, and is not just extremely fulfilled in her work, but is loving being in charge of her own destiny, and already thinking of expanding in the New Year.

“Having a good bookkeeper means a business owner delegates the managing of invoices, expenses, cashflow, and dealing with VAT returns, among other duties,” said Neeta. “That is what I love doing, and it means my client can concentrate on doing what he or she does best, and what they set up in business to do in the first place.

“Too many businesses fail because the owners are often so busy doing the day-to-day work, the administration gets forgotten about, there’s no one to chase up non-payments, and then there’s the annual panic when it’s time to submit tax returns.

“But that’s where someone like me comes in, and hopefully by doing that, I can play my part in helping businesses be organised and efficient behind the scenes, and through that, be in a position to grow, thrive and go from strength to strength.”

It was circumstance that led to Neeta buying in to the Rosemary Bookkeeping franchise, but since doing so she has never looked back.

“I loved working in the corporate world, and had a great experience with Homebase and Argos, and more recently with T-Systems in Milton Keynes,” said Neeta. “I worked my way up at T-Systems, but in 2015 I had the option of taking a redundancy package, and decided to take the plunge, spurred on, to be honest, with the desire to be more in control of my work-life balance, as the mum of a young son.

“I thought long and hard about what to do next, took lots of advice, and then came across Rosemary Bookkeeping at a Franchise Show,” she said. “It immediately appealed to me, and after meeting the management of Rosemary Bookkeeping at their headquarters in Watford (now owned by ServiceMaster in Leicester), I liked what I heard, and in July 2016 I went for it, with my official launch a few weeks later, on September 1st.

So why do you need a bookkeeper if you have an accountant? It is a question Neeta has been asked countless times, and finds it an easy one to answer.

“What I do is manage your books on a day to day basis, and ultimately have everything in order ready to deliver to your accountant,” said Neeta.

“It goes much further than that though: what I offer my clients, is the management of cash-flow, making sure invoices are paid, issuing useful reports, deal with VAT, make sure the money side of the business is well organised and in good shape, and that the books are all in good shape for passing on to the accountant for tax return purposes.”

Neeta has already built up a healthy client list that continues to grow, as more business owners learn of her services, and her abilities to keep them in good financial health.

“I love what I do, and take enormous satisfaction in helping my clients, and freeing them up to build up their businesses without the administrative worries that so often weighs many people down to breaking point,” she says.

“I’m looking to work with sole-traders, which I love doing, and also looking for small to medium sized businesses who I genuinely believe I can make a difference to.”

As Neeta celebrates the second anniversary of launching Rosemary Books in Northampton she looks back sure in the knowledge she did the right thing. And is now looking forward to many more anniversaries ahead!

For more information about Neeta, and Rosemary Bookkeeping Noethampton, go to www.rosemarybooks.co.uk/northampton, or call her on 01604 422314.

building a business

building a business

According to statistics published in 2017, about one-fifth of business startups fail in the first year and about half of all employer establishments fail within five years. Only about one third survive ten years or more.

If you are thinking of starting a small business, get the right processes and steps in place to make sure you are one of the third:

1. Manage your cash.

The main reason small businesses go bankrupt is lack of cash, not lack of profits. It is vital for you to really understand how your cash flow is being effected.

2. Track your Data.

Tracking your data properly will help you make strategic business decisions. Set and track your key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your business. Understanding why things go up or down, will help you to make key decisions to help you grow your business.

3. Financial Planning.

You should develop a financial plan based on your company strategy and make sure you monitor your performance against your plan regularly to ensure you stay on track.

4. Understand your margins.

Many small businesses only understand their bottom line, and not how individual products and or services contribute (or take away) from the bottom line. It is vital that you know how profitable each of your products or services are to ensure your business is as profitable as possible.

5. Have a strategy for recruiting and retaining talent.

Having the right talent is vital for building a successful business. Take some time to think about your companies culture, and what you want the culture to be. Clearly define the job role and specifically target potential candidates, when you have the right people make sure you have a strategy in place for keeping them. It takes work and investment to get the right talent, make sure they want to stay.

6. See what in going on online.

In todays word, your business is always visible to your potential clients and customers. People are more reliant on reviews from their peers than ever before and leaving reviews has never been easier. Be the first to know when a customer gives you a bad review, or someone raves about your business online. Make sure you are in a position to use whats happening online to your benefit.

7. Engage in marketing that gives you ROI.

Many small businesses don’t understand marketing and why would they, unless their business is Marketing? Marketing can be done for free or it can cost you money, it is important to monitor results from your Marketing efforts to measure performance and ROI (Return on Investment). You can start by networking with local businesses and local business owners, find out what works for them, it might be something that works for you? When you talk to new customers always ask them how they heard about you. Learn what works, and what doesn’t, and repeat your successful marketing promotions. Don’t spend money if you aren’t going to be able to measure the results.

8. Talk to your customers.

Every business should talk to its customers, it is valuable information knowing  what they like or don’t like. You could talk to them in person or send a customer satisfaction survey. People like to talk, and people like to be asked for their opinion. Sometimes negative feedback may not be the nicest to hear, but it’s important to hear and listen so you can understanding how you can make your business better for your customers.

9. Know your competitors.

It really doesn’t matter what your business is, you will not be alone, there is always a competitor. Find out about both your direct and indirect competitors. You always need to keep an eye on your competition, understand what they are doing, how they market, what their pricing is, etc.

10. It’s not just about the money.

Your are in business to make money which is absolutely fine but it is worth considering that customers also like to buy from businesses they feel have ethics and passion. For example people are often willing to pay more for items made from fair-trade materials. Think about giving free advice or helping charities to give back to your local community.

accountant or bookkeeper?

This is a question I often get asked when I tell people what I do. Many people assume they are the same thing and I can understand why. The two terms are often used interchangeably. It can also be confusing because there are bookkeepers that provide accountancy services and accountants that provide bookkeeping services. Many business owners don’t realise that these are two separate roles and, quite significantly, priced differently.

What’s the difference between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant?

To make a clearer distinction, I will explain what the differences are between a bookkeeper and an accountant and how each can help your business.

Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions, and is part of the process of accounting in business. Transactions include purchases, sales, receipts and payments by an individual person or a company. A bookkeeper will conduct this process.

HMRC also refers to bookkeeping as ‘record keeping’.

The theory is, behind every transaction on your business bank account, there is a piece of paper. The bookkeeper will process the paperwork and allocate or code them to appropriate ledgers – sales ledger, purchase ledger, general ledger. They are responsible for the day to day financial transactions of a business, making sure that the ledgers are balanced.

A bookkeeper will update a business’ books regularly, usually once a month. At the end of the financial year the bookkeeper will have brought the books to trial balance stage, at which point this will be sent to the accountant who will then use this information to produce financial statements.

A bookkeeper can perform other tasks such as raising invoices, payroll, credit control and VAT returns. As mentioned above, some bookkeepers will provide a full accountancy service.

Why should I use a bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping should be done little and often. Depending on the volume of paperwork involved, this can be done weekly, monthly or quarterly but more commonly it is done monthly. For a business owner that is running a business and doing many other things, bookkeeping tends to be one of those things that gets left behind as soon as you get busy. If this happens you should seriously consider getting yourself a bookkeeper. If you fall behind on keeping your books up to date, it can cause numerous problems.

A bookkeeper will keep your books up to date and ensure that if anything is missing it can be picked up straight away instead of at the end of the financial year. They will provide useful reports that help you keep track of your business performance, and will bring your attention to something that needs to be dealt with straight away. Generally speaking, bookkeepers are cheaper than an accountant.

Accountant

An accountant generally takes over where a bookkeeper leaves off. They will use the information provided by the bookkeeper and prepare adjusting entries to record expenses that have occurred but are not yet entered by the bookkeeper, for example if a supplier invoice hasn’t arrived on time prior to closing the books, or if wages in relation to the current month won’t be made until two weeks later, etc. Other adjustments to the accounts include the calculation and recording of depreciation. After making the adjusting entries, the accountant prepares the company’s financial statements, such as a profit & loss account, balance sheet, cashflow statement, etc.

An Accountant will also perform other tasks such as setting up a Limited Company, Tax returns, compliance, advice and business strategy. As mentioned above, some accountants will provide a bookkeeping service. In an accountancy practice an employed bookkeeper is likely to perform this task.

Accountants generally will have a professional qualification through an accounting body. Accountants will go though years of studying and training to obtain a qualification and they will be bound by code of ethics and subject to disciplinary procedures should they breach their professional membership conditions.

Why should I use an accountant?

Regardless of the size of your business, and unless you are an expert in tax or finances, you should get yourself an accountant. They will provide your business with a great deal of essential support. You can seek help with budgeting and forecasting cashflow from an accountant as well as credit control and just general financial advice. They can offer you up-to-date information on any general or legal enquiries.

Professional accountants understand the nuances of dealing with the tax authorities, the correct format to submit information to HMRC, and are generally for more able to deal with tax enquiries should they arise. If you need advice on anything from the expenses you can offset against Corporation Tax, or whether or not you have enough retained profit to declare a dividend legally, an accountant would be able to answer these queries with ease. Taxation is a large business expense and an accountant can effectively minimise these costs.

The distinction between accountant and bookkeeper keeps changing as accounting software and other software evolves. For many years, companies used the title of accounting clerks for employees doing the tasks formerly performed by bookkeepers. The accounting clerks are usually supervised by an accountant.

Remember both are professional roles in their own way.  If you looking to employ or outsource you should be looking for someone with a suitable qualification or experience. Bookkeepers and accountants can be certified through professional bodies. Make sure you seek someone that can explain accounting jargon in plain English!

Rosemary Bookkeeping provide an outsourced bookkeeping service for small and medium sized businesses. If you would like more information about outsourcing your bookkeeping, contact Neeta Patel:

Tel: 01604 422314
Email neetapatel@rosemarybooks.co.uk

 

question

If you run a business of any size, you’ve probably used accounting and bookkeeping software at some point. Accounting software makes it easy for you to track your business’s financial health and monitor the way money moves in and out of your business. You can use it to create invoices, track expenses and generate a variety of reports that can help you asses your business performance and inform key decisions. But with so many options out there, how do you know which is the best one for you? We have a few tips to help you make the right decision for your business.

decisions

Cost

Since this is usually the first thing people think about (particularly if you’re starting out), we thought we’d address this first. Accounting software’s all vary in cost and billing model, so it’s important to find something that fits in with your budget and needs. Some will demand a high upfront cost to buy desktop software (though this is rare now), while most will work on a Software as a Service model and sell you a license on a monthly subscription. You can usually choose from multiple billing plans, ranging from £10 to £40 a month and even higher, and there may be an annual payment option that offers a discount for bulk payments. Ultimately the cost will be determined by what level of functionality you need. So look at what’s included in each package, and compare the prices of those, not just the cheapest or most expensive options from each supplier.

Features

Depending on the needs of your business, you might need some extra functionality, so it’s important to remember to check what’s included and what isn’t. Accounting software can help you see a bigger picture of your business and make day to day tasks much easier – but you should only pay for that if it’s going to be useful to you. Here are a few features you should look for in your bookkeeping and accounting software:

Basic Accounting: Most small businesses can make do with accounting software that offers basic functions like invoicing, income and expense tracking, financial report generation, and customer management. However, if your business sells more than just a few products, you may also want software that tracks your inventory, manages vendors and assists you with purchase ordering. Or, if your business provides services, you could want functionality that makes it easy to track time and invoice billable hours.

Time Saving Automation: If you’re raising a lot of invoices every month, or your expenses tend to be in the same place for the same amounts all the time, automation features could save you a lot of time. Automate recurring invoices, reconcile your accounts with the click of a button or automatically create purchase orders for new stock when your levels dip.

VAT Preparation: Do you want to make you (and your accountant’s) life easier, and have your bookkeeping software help with compiling your VAT data ready for the HMRC returns? If so, check that your chosen programme can do the correct VAT calculations and VAT reporting. It will also need to be compliant with the upcoming ‘Making Tax Digital’ requirements due to be introduced for most VAT registered businesses in April 2019.

Add-On Services: Do you need any extras, like payroll services or payment processing? These usually come as an added subscription charge, but might save you money compared to buying them elsewhere.

Third Party Integration: Can your bookkeeping software integrate with the programmes and services you already use? Can you set it to bring in data from your bank account, CRM, POS, inventory software and e-commerce platforms? Or will you have to do all of that manually?

Usability

When you’re comparing bookkeeping and accounting software, it’s important to ask yourself how you plan to use it – since this will affect your choice. Will it just be you using it, or will you need multiple users to have access? For example, many people will give their accountant and bookkeeper access to their software to help stay on top of things. Or if you have a finance department, you may want full access for them, but limited access for sales team who only need to raise invoices. If you own more than one business, you may also want to choose accounting software that supports multiple small businesses under one account with no additional costs – or else the subscriptions will add up quickly. And finally, where and when will you be using it? Some business owners are happy to simply stick to a desktop software version, however, more commonly now, they want to be able to check their books on the go. A lot of providers will offer mobile apps as well as cloud storage of your data, so you can monitor key information and get core tasks done no matter where you are. This will influence whether you opt for a cloud-based provider, or a desktop one.

Our Top Picks

Of course, as bookkeepers ourselves, we have our preferences when it comes to software. We work with all sorts of platforms and packages, but there are a few we see time and time again:

Xero: Xero is widely acknowledged as one of the top pieces of cloud based accounting and bookkeeping software – especially if you’re working on a Mac. Xero is great if you’re just starting out, or if you need your accounting to be simple and straightforward every month, but is designed to grow as your business does. We like that it’s affordable, easy to use, offers a ton of add-on features and integrates with hundreds of third-party business solutions, many of which you probably already use. There is also a 24-hour email and live chat support function, so there’s always someone there to help you.

FreeAgent: Unlike a lot of bookkeeping and accounting software products that limit your transactions unless you purchase a more expensive package, FreeAgent supports unlimited users, clients, invoices and transactions for one monthly price. It’s also a cloud-based piece of software, and comes with a built-in project management feature that makes it perfect for keeping track of billable hours and expenses. As a FreeAgent partner, we recommend it for freelancers, consultants and other project-based businesses.

QuickBooks: One of the most popular accounting software packages out there (and for good reason), QuickBooks works for all types of small businesses. With three different small business plans to choose from, plus a separate plan for the self-employed, freelancers and contractors, it’s got something for everyone. Both new start-up businesses and bigger, established businesses have benefitted from its range of features, which cover basic bookkeeping to advanced accounting and business analytics.

Sage: Sage is one of the bigger brands, and it’s been around a lot longer than most. Sage Business Cloud Accounting has two plans for small business owners, starting with invoicing, expense management and reporting, and building up to the creation of quotes, estimates, tracking and inventory management. It’s most popular with retail based businesses due to its ability to integrate with POS systems, or businesses with large finance departments thanks to its support for multiple users and payroll systems.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work with small and medium sized businesses across the Reading area to take the pain out their bookkeeping. From helping you choose the right software to use, software supply, training and data migration, to a complete outsourced bookkeeping service – we can help. If you’re just starting out, or you’re looking to hire a bookkeeper to support you as you grow, we’d love to help. Just get in touch with us today for your free consultation.

10 Bookkeeping Basics You Need To Know

As a business owner, you’re probably a master of doing what it is your business does. Most small business owners and startups are. But being able to deliver an amazing service and run a team aren’t the only elements to running a business. In fact, you could be a fantastic business owner, but still flunk basic bookkeeping. But if you, the business owner, don’t understand the different types of ‘accounts’ used to organise your finances, then measuring the success or failure of your business is almost impossible. Even if you outsource your bookkeeping to someone else, you still need to understand a few basics to stay on top of things. After all, as a director it’s your legal duty to understand the state of your business, and to provide oversight to ensure things are being done correctly. So without further ado, here are the basics of the 10 most common types of bookkeeping accounts for a small business that you should know.

10 Bookkeeping Basics You Need To Know

Cash

It doesn’t get more basic than this. All of your business transactions will pass through your bank accounts – sometimes shown in the accounts as ‘Cash at bank and in Hand’. This account is very important. We ensure that each bank is kept as a separate account in the bookkeeping software, including one for Petty Cash and if necessary one for Till Receipts. all are reconciled to ensure the accounts are always in line with the bank statements or till reports.

Accounts Receivable

If your company sells products or services that aren’t paid for immediately, you have ‘receivables’ that you need to track. Accounts receivable is basically all the money you are owed by customers, which makes keeping it up to date crucial for chasing overdue payments and sending accurate invoices.

Inventory

Products you have in stock to sell are like money sitting on a shelf and must be carefully accounted for and tracked. The numbers you have in your books should be periodically updated by doing physical counts & valuation of inventory on hand. This will help you notice right away if something isn’t right and keep everything balanced.

Accounts Payable

No one likes to send money out of the business, but it’s much worse if you have no idea where it’s going and what you have left. But it’s less painful if you have a clear view of everything, which is what your accounts payable is for. Good bookkeeping helps ensure that you make timely payments, and more importantly that you don’t end up paying early. Having a good grasp on this could also mean you qualify for discounts with your suppliers for paying early, so it’s worth knowing about! 

Loans Payable

If you borrowed money to buy equipment, vehicles or pay bills, then this account tracks that loan, including interest payments and due dates. This is usually more important for startups to follow, though established businesses looking to grow may also need to take out and monitor loans.

Sales

The Sales account is where you track all incoming revenue from what you sell. Recording sales in a timely and accurate manner is critical to knowing where your business stands.

Purchases

Your purchases accounts are where you track anything you buy for the business, such as raw materials or finished goods for sale. This is also where you would include any costs of outsourcing that was essential for a sale, or is part of your service offering. This account is used to calculate the ‘cost of sale’, which in turn impacts your bottom, line, so it’s important that it’s accurate and up to date.

Overheads & Expenses

This is the catch all term for the other costs of running a business that are directly related to the sale so don’t fit into the ‘cost of sales’ category. This includes things like your rent, bills, and any fees for professional services fees you might use. If you aren’t sure if an expense falls into the cost of sales category, it probably belongs in here.

Payroll Expenses

This is the biggest cost of all for many businesses. No matter how much you beg, few people want to work for nothing.  Keeping this account accurate and up to date is essential for meeting tax and other government reporting requirements. Shirking those responsibilities will put you in serious hot water.

Retained Earnings

The Retained Earnings account tracks any of your company’s profits that are kept in the business and are not paid out to the owners as Dividends. Retained earnings are cumulative, which means they appear as a running total of money that has been retained since the company started. Managing this account doesn’t take a lot of time, but it is important to investors and lenders who want to track how well the company has done over time.

Many business owners think of bookkeeping as an unwelcome chore.  But if you understand and make effective use of the data your bookkeeper collects, bookkeeping can be your best friend, helping you run your business more effectively. At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we specialise in providing outsourced support for small business owners, tailored to whatever they need. Whether that’s some training and one-off help on using the right software, ongoing support or even a fully outsourced service. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, please just get in touch today.