Bells Inc. Hamilton Stewart

agenda-analysis-business-budgets

A roundup of this year’s Budget

There are few headlines that pop up consistently in the media, almost on a daily basis. Brexit is one topic, while the other is the Budget and this one saw quite a bit of build-up again this year. The time finally arrived, earlier than usual and rather notably on a Monday no less, when the Chancellor unveiled his spending plans for the forthcoming year. Let’s take a look at what is in store for the immediate and medium term. An end to austerity The much trailed and long anticipated time seems to have finally arrived. After years of austerity, the Chancellor has put forward some good news for individuals and businesses. This is based on his projections that the growth forecast for 2019 has been increased from 1.3% to 1.6%, with additional...

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How secure is your paper trail?

Did we really say paper? Does anyone use that anymore? You would actually be surprised! We come across a still staggering number of companies which use paper for many of their processes, increasing their risk of something going wrong. This is why we are focusing on securing your systems this month, aiming to get more companies of all sizes to switch away from paper and increase their security. Why is paper bad? There will always be a need for paper. The completely paperless office may not a feasible goal for some, but it is possible to reduce reliance on it in many ways. The majority of security breaches and information leaks are through your own staff who unwittingly leave papers on desks, forget to pick up print-outs when they get distracted with...

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Everything you need to know about tax return deadlines

It is coming up to that time of year when you need to start thinking about your self-assessment tax return for the tax year 6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018. There are a few options available to you if you file a self-assessment with the HMRC, whether you do it yourself or have your accountant manage things on your behalf. This month we start to take a look at what those deadline options are and what you need to do, before you get too caught up in the return to work and school and even the run up to Christmas (yes, it will be here before you know it!). Deadline dates There are three key dates and you need to determine which one you are working towards:31 October 2018 if...

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Minimum wage laws encourage employers to favour younger workers

The national minimum wage, and the living wage, have been important components of ensuring that staff receive reasonable compensation for the work that they do. The national minimum wage first came into force in April 1999 with the National Minimum Wage Act of 1998. The national living wage was introduced in 2016, in response to calls for businesses to enable employees to earn enough to help them meet the actual cost of living.However, the minimum wage could be leading to companies inadvertently introducing age discrimination when they come to employ staff. Our focus in this month’s article is on understanding the issue and highlighting the things to look out for to ensure you are not discriminating unintentionally. If you need a refresher on the current minimum and national living wages...

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VAT: to register or not to register

VAT or Value Added Tax. An often mind-boggling area of tax for most organisations whether you are self-employed, run a business, or manage a charity. In this month’s article we break it down and simplify it with the headlines that every business owner and manager needs to know. Who does VAT apply to? VAT applies to all businesses or sole traders if their VAT taxable turnover exceeds £85,000 in any twelve-month period or for a period of 30 days or more. What is VAT taxable turnover? This is the total value of what you sell – whether goods or services – that is not exempt. More on exemption in a moment.If your goods and services are exempt (or out of scope) but you buy goods or services from other EU countries...

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Sole trader or limited company?

Have you been toying with the idea of going it alone? Leaving your job and becoming your own boss? It is not as wild an idea as you may think. An increasing number of professionals are going down this route and it is easier than ever to do it, whichever way you choose to operate. This month we take a quick look at the pros and cons of the two main options to help guide you into making the right decision for you and your circumstances. Sole traders A sole trader is someone who is self-employed and is the sole owner of a business. As the simplest business structure available, it is hugely popular and easy to set up. All you need to do is register via the gov.uk website for tax...

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What the new financial year brings

April is the time of change. Spring is finally in the air and the new financial year kicks in. We thought it would also be a good time to do a quick recap of what you can expect for the forthcoming financial year – are you likely to be better or worse off? There are a few changes happening this year and so it’s worth a quick look to see how they may affect you and your business. All changes come into effect from the 6th of April. The good news Overall the news is good when it comes to income tax, with almost all taxpayers being better off than before. The basic tax rate threshold rises to £11,850 and the higher rate income tax band of 40% doesn’t kick in until...

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The new minimum wage from April: what you need to know

It is that time again when the old financial year is nearly at an end and the new one is about to begin. This is also the time when a number of other government changes are implemented, and one of these is the annual change to the Minimum and Living Wages. We take the opportunity this month to review those changes to help you prepare for the fiscal year ahead. What are the Minimum and Living Wages? These are set by the government and apply to hourly rates of pay. The rate that staff receive will depend on their age and whether or not they are an apprentice. The Minimum Wage applies to all those paid hourly who are of school leaving age – in other words if you will be...

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Don’t be a victim of the latest HMRC-related scam

Don’t be a victim of the latest HMRC-related scam

It’s that time of year when you have just completed and filed your tax return and paid up on what you owe. Unfortunately, that means that it is also the time when there is an increase in phishing scams via email and social media, some of which can look genuine. We have had a few of those brought to our attention already and it prompted us to raise awareness of the most common ones to make sure you do not fall victim to any of them. HMRC itself has taken the unusual step of raising awareness as well, even including images of what some of those scams look like. Full details can be found on HMRC’s website, but read on for a quick summary of what to look out for and what to do if you receive a message.

The Budget at a glance

The Budget at a glance

The Autumn Budget was the Chancellor’s opportunity to set out the Government’s view of the state of the economy and to set the targets and goals for the near- and medium-term future. Presented at the end of November last year, many of the changes come into effect from April this year – although some were immediate – and there are winners and losers in all camps. This month we have set out a quick re-cap to help you plan your year and your budget, and let you figure out what you can do with any spare cash you may have left over.

Setting up a payroll system what you need to know

Setting up a payroll system: what you need to know

Your business has been going from strength to strength and it’s time to hire staff to help take on some of the work to help you meet your clients’ needs and fulfil the orders you have coming in. It’s an exciting time as it means that you are ready to grow the business. It can be a little daunting though if you have not done this before, and your legal obligations will change as you take on more and different responsibilities; you will now be an employer and will need to consider all the legalities that come with that.

Why you should hire a bookkeeper

Why you should hire a bookkeeper

Bookkeeping probably sounds like something out of another business era. It conjures up images of a business owner or accountant in a back room somewhere trying to organise their receipts and invoices, surrounded by mountains of paperwork and pulling their hair out.

Why using an accountant is better than going it alone

Why using an accountant is better than going it alone

Whether you are a limited company or sole trader, being at the front-end of your business is what you do best. You know your market, your product or service, and your clients. You know how to keep your clients happy and how to find new ones. You’ve probably taken advice on marketing and sales at some stage in your business’ life. When it comes to accounting this is not the place to try to save money. In fact, investing into hiring an accountant to help you run your business is what will lead to saving you money.

Why using an accountant as a small business is crucial

Why using an accountant as a small business is crucial

Setting up your own business was a huge step and you are rightly very proud of having taken the leap to do it! The next steps are to focus on building up that business, getting new clients, and delivering on your promises to them. Hard work, no doubt, but fairly straightforward in theory. More and more people are doing it, with a record number of new business start-ups registered last year.

Why your business should use cloud accounting platforms

Why your business should use cloud accounting platforms

The management of generating invoices has revolutionised over the past decade. More and more businesses are switching to cloud platforms to manage their online accounting process, and are reaping the rewards. As a business owner, you might be a great entrepreneur, but the chances of you being a good accountant too are very rare. So, it is most likely that you would find bookkeeping to be a gruesome task, especially while trying to earn brand popularity for growing your business.

Bells Inc. Hamilton Stewart, Surrey

How should your accountant help with your business’s profitability and performance?

When it comes to your business your accountant can do a lot more than just calculate your tax bill for you. We can also help and guide you on all the following:Analysing trends and financial information within your business to help you ensure you are making maximum profits. Advising on all the ways you may be able to save tax. Monitoring your debtors and even providing a credit control service if required to ensure that your cash flow is not suffering due to late paying customers! Assisting you to prepare a cash flow forecast for the bank or for your own reference to ensure your business is properly funded. Producing monthly management accounts so that you can track your business’ financial performance and ensure you are on track. Producing...

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Some of the packages that we know inside out include: