FORMA:
Small Business accounting & Consulting

If you're just starting a business or looking to save time and money, we can support you with accountancy, virtual office services and bespoke financial consulting services.

Are you just starting or already operating?

Services tHAT Help you start, operate & Grow Your Business

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Contractor Accounting Start Bundle Notepad

Start Bundle

From £50/mo

Free company registration, tax-efficient pay roll and free accounting software to track your expenses and invoice your clients.

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Contractor Accounting Expand Bundle Rubiks Cube

Operate Bundle

From £95/mo

Dedicated personal accountant, accounting software, all VAT and annual company filings and self assessment included.

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Contractor Accounting Grow Bundle Megaphone

Grow Bundle

From £125/mo

Professional address, pro-active reviews with dedicated accountant, all filing requirements, and self assessments for two directors.

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Contractor Accounting Laptop

Outsourced Finance Function & Consulting

Enquire for Pricing

We combine a deep knowledge of small business accounting with a premium consulting service to build a bespoke package of support for your accounting, cashflow, profitability and financial strategy.

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Business Accounting Consultation

Free

Advice on getting started, switching your accounting provider or outsourcing your finance operations.

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Features & FAQ's

Package Features

Package

Start

Operate

Expand

Fees

Support

Company Registration

Accounting Services

Personal tax

Pro-active accounting services

Virtual Office & Virtual Services

Partner Services

Day to day support

Outsourced Finance Function & Financial Consulting

We combine a deep knowledge of small business accounting with a premium consulting service to build a bespoke package of support for your accounting, cashflow, profitability and financial strategy.

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What Accounting Software do you Support?

We support all mainstream accounting software - Xero, QuickBooks and FreeAgent. We also provide our own free accounting software through a partnership with Pandle.

Our software comes with an Android and iOS app and also provides integrated bank feeds to automatically pull in all of your transactions. Read more about Pandle below.

Pandle Accounting Software
How is Forma Different?

Dedicated Accountants
We make sure you get a named qualified accountant that understands you and your business. There's no middle men, inefficient communications or misunderstandings with support teams.

World-Class Technology
We use the best technology on the market to provide an integrated, efficient and customer focused operating model. We don't have to worry about legacy systems and how much duck tape we have.

Premium Partnerships
We try and test all our partner services for value, onboarding times and service quality. We offer partner services that we genuinely think are the best in the market.

Built by Contractors for Contractors
After paying huge penalties for missed filing deadlines, 2X more on insurance referred by an accountant and having to wait 3 weeks to set up a business bank account, we wanted to build something that was efficient, competitively priced and simple to use for contractors.

What Happens Next?

1. Buy a Package or Speak to an Advisor
You can buy one of the packages above. We offer a money-back guarantee if you decide to leave within 30-days.

If you're unsure then you can book some time with an advisor here.

2. Speak to your Dedicated Accountant
You'll speak to your dedicated accountant - not an account manager or general back office support. You can go through your preferences of how you'd like your account managed, your company and VAT details and getting your accounting software set up.

3. Get started with your Accounting Software

You can download the Forma Accounting app for iOS or Android and login to your online dashboard so you can start sending invoices straight away and automatically pull in all your banking transactions.

4. Add Company Details/ Registration
We'll need your company details or we can register your Limited Company for you for free.

5. Take Advantage of our Partnerships
We have selected key partners to help out with a business bank account, insurance and business software.

Speak to an Advisor

You can book a convenient meeting time with an advisor using the link below or give us a call on 0203 411 1004.

Schedule Call

Are you readyfor a free accounting consultation?

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Build Your Custom Support Package

Unsure where to start? You can find everything you need from accountancy support to the right bank account.

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Man selecting a Forma Small Business Accounting package on his phone

We Built a Service
we wanted to use

Chris Andreou Forma COO

Chris

After managing a Virtual Office service to 150,000 customers Chris wanted to build the bundled services he knew people needed

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Charlie Bailey Forma COO

Charlie

An £850 fine, overpriced insurance and an inefficient accounting service led Charlie to co-founding Forma.

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Christian Faires Forma Small Business Accounting Director

Christian

After running a £4M+ a year accounting service Christian wanted to find ways to improve efficiency and service quality

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Hugh Hudson Forma

Hugh

Hugh saw how companies in his 40k sq. ft. office space needed support for a range of business services and wanted to find a way to consolidate everything in one place

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Do you provide services that help businesses?

We're always looking for new partners, offers and services for our network of 3,000+ businesses.

Become a Forma Partner

When do you need an accountant?

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:

  • Do I have sufficient accounting knowledge and abilities? 40 percent of small business owners find that financial management is the most challenging part of running a business. So if you find yourself struggling with accounting concepts and bookkeeping systems, bringing in an accountant may be your best option.
  • Do I have time to do my own accounting? As your company grows, you may find that you’re spending increasing amounts of time managing your finances. But are you the best person to do this, and could the time be better spent on scaling your business?
  • Am I facing compliance and tax issues? If you’re faced with complicated sales tax issues, or are up against a HMRC tax investigation, it’s best not to wing it without an accountant.    
  • How much help do I need with my business accounting, and what value can they bring? Do you require a full-time accountant, part-time help or periodic consultations? Will you benefit from having an accountant help out with financial analysis, meeting your tax obligations and data management? Once you’ve identified your requirements, you can then choose an option that best meets your small business needs.
  • Am I in the process of forming my company? During the company formation process, you’ll need to make decisions that can have a long-term impact on your business—such as choosing your legal business structure, conceptualising your business plan and setting up an accounting system. An accountant can provide insightful advice, leaving you better placed to make a well-informed decision.

Selecting an accountant

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re selecting an accountant:

  • Look for relevant experience: Seek out an accountant who’s experienced with working with small businesses. It’s a bonus if they’ve worked with businesses who are of a similar business structure, size, revenue and industry. It’s also beneficial if they’ve worked with larger clients, as that is an indication they’ll be able to manage your accounts as your business scales.
  • Ask for recommendations: Your personal network is a valuable source of information. Reach out to friends and family who are small business owners, as well as your connections on social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook.
  • Do your research: There are a few things to look out for when you review a candidate’s LinkedIn profile: their past testimonials, qualifications and experience, as well as their personal connections (keep an eye out for candidates who have a strong personal network). Before you engage an accountant for his or her services, do a background check by asking to speak to businesses they’ve worked with.
  • Ask about their communication processes and reporting frequency: Regular communication is key—you want your accountant to review your finances and offer advice on a regular basis, and not just to provide support during tax season.

When do you need accounting software?

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:

  • Your business is growing
  • You need faster access to information
  • You’re spending increasing amounts of time on manual, repetitive tasks
  • You’re facing an increase in manual errors
  • You lack technical accounting skills
  • You lack a proper accounting system
  • You’re not able to comply with MTD requirements (if applicable)

Accounting terms you need to know

Cash flow: Cash flow refers to the total amount of money that is moving in and out of your business.

Balance sheet: 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.

Profit & loss (P&L): The P&L is a financial statement that shows how much money your business has made or lost.

Dividends: 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.

Year end accounts:

At the end of a business’ accounting year, limited company directors are required to file the following...

  • With HMRC:
  • Company tax return (CT600)
  • Annual statutory accounts
  • Director’s report
  • With Companies House:
  • Statutory accounts (full, abbreviated or micro)

Director’s loan account (DLA): 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: 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: 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.

Self Assessment payments on account: 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.

P11D form: The P11D form is a tax form that records employment benefits that the employees and directors of a company have received across the year.

When you need to…

File for VAT

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.

File your Self Assessment

Online returns must be filed by 31 January. Paper returns are due earlier, and must be filed by 31 October.

File your company accounts:

As a limited company director, you’re required to file the following:

  • Annual statutory accounts: For your first year of operation, you need to file these accounts within 21 months of your date of incorporation. For subsequent years, these accounts must be filed within nine months of your Accounting Reference Date (ARD).
  • Company Tax Return (CT600): This should be submitted 12 months after your accounting year-end.

Unlike limited company directors, sole traders aren’t required to file accounts with a public body.

Pay yourself:

As a sole trader, you don’t take a salary in the traditional sense; instead, you’ll pay yourself through sole trader drawings from your business.

If you’re a limited company director, you may pay yourself through taking a salary, dividends and pension contributions. Dividends may be distributed at any time or frequency across the year, as long as there is sufficient profit in your company.

Advanced accounting

Improve your cash flow

‘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:

  • Stay on top of your accounts receivable: Late payment is a common problem faced by all businesses, but small business owners can be the hardest hit. It’s critical to stay on top of your accounts receivable, so that you’re better able to minimise delays in receiving your payments. Steps you can take include following invoicing best practices, structuring your payments by milestones and requesting for deposits if you’re fulfilling large orders.  
  • Optimise your accounts payable: Keep your cash flow healthy by maximising the potential of your accounts payable. Steps you can take include building positive vendor and supplier relationships (this is key to improving problems like late payments), as well as taking full advantage of payment terms.
  • Keep a close watch over your cash flow: Blaine Bertsch, CEO of financial forecasting tool Dryrun advises small business owners to update their cash flow projections “every time something happens in their business that affects their cash flow”.
  • Avoid expanding too rapidly: Small business owners should guard against overly quick growth, as this can create pressure on their cash flow. Business owner Tim Berry shares about his experience on Entrepreneur.com, where his business experienced doubled sales and nearly went broke.

Holiday pay

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

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.

Taxes

We have a wide variety of small business tax advice with guides on allowances and requirements whether you're self employed or running a limited company.

Business Tax Guides

how can we help you?

Whether it's about starting your business, finding accounting support, switching accountant or setting up a Virtual Office, we're here to help.

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