As a small business owner, you’re always on the lookout for ways you can save money. Therefore, deciding whether you need to get an accountant can be a difficult decision—as that’s an additional cost that you’ll incur.
But managing your business financials well is central to your small business success—and that’s something that an accountant can help you out with.
If you’re still on the fence about this, here are questions that can guide you towards making a decision:
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re selecting an accountant:
Should you stick with your current accounting practices—or is it time to implement a new way of handling your accounting? Here are the signs that indicate it’s time to make the switch to accounting software:
Most businesses need to submit their VAT return quarterly (this applies even if you don't have VAT to pay or reclaim). The deadline for submission is a month and seven days after the end of a VAT period.
Online returns must be filed by 31 January. Paper returns are due earlier, and must be filed by 31 October.
As a limited company director, you’re required to file the following:
Unlike limited company directors, sole traders aren’t required to file accounts with a public body.
Cash flow refers to the total amount of money that is moving in and out of your business.
The balance sheet shows how much a business owns (assets), owes (liabilities) and the amount that is left over for its owners (owner’s equity) at a point in time.
The P&L is a financial statement that shows how much money your business has made or lost.
Dividends are a payment of profit that a limited company distributes to its shareholders. It is the money remaining after all business expenses and liabilities, as well as outstanding taxes (including VAT and Corporation Tax) have been paid off.
At the end of a business’ accounting year, limited company directors are required to file the following...
A DLA is is a record of all transactions between the company and its directors. It records not just the money owed by the directors, but also the money owed to them. At the end of the financial year, the amount is recorded in the balance sheet either as an asset or liability.
Benefits in kind are benefits provided to a director or employee that aren't included in their salary or wages. These can be assets or services, such as company cars, private health insurance or non-business travel and entertainment expenses.
Self Assessment is a tax return form that businesses need to submit to report their annual earnings to HMRC. The term ‘self assessment’ refers to the fact that it’s the individual’s responsibility to work out how much tax they should pay.
Payments on account are advance payments for your tax bill that are spread out across the year. You'll need to make two payments each year, and these are due on 31st January and 31st July.
The P11D form is a tax form that records employment benefits that the employees and directors of a company have received across the year.
Holiday pay is calculated based on a week's pay. The calculation will vary, depending on the kind of hours an employee works (fixed hours, shift work with fixed hours or no fixed hours) and how they are paid for the hours. We’ve elaborated more on this, as well as payment for overtime and commission in a separate article.
Entrepreneurs' Relief is a scheme that reduces the amount of Capital Gains Tax payable when you dispose of (sell) shares in your business. You pay a reduced tax rate of 10%— instead of the usual rates—on the first £10 million of gains. There isn't a limit to the number of times you can claim.
‘Cash is king’ is an adage that holds true—particularly when it comes to small business finances. Even profitable companies are faced with the threat of closure, if negative cash flow becomes a regular occurrence.
Keeping a firm grip on your cash flow is key, and we’ve outlined a few tips you can implement: