Welcome to Enterprise and Business Gateway's Book Keeping and Accountancy Month.
For the month of September, we are going to look into all of the things you might want to consider for the book keeping and accountancy requirements of your business.
Week 1. Book Keeping - How you can 'Do It Yourself'
Week 2. How to choose a suitable practitioner for the trickier stuff
Week 3. The pro's and cons of online book keeping software and
Week 4. Your commonly asked questions.
Our resident ACCA qualified Accountant and Business Adviser Liz Pirrie (as pictured above) is here to help, and she informs us that the 21st of September is St Matthew’s day and St Matthew is the Patron Saint of Accountancy (which we don't think is geeky at all Liz...). So what better month to have Enterprise Accountancy Month.
At Enterprise and Business Gateway we help over 2,000 businesses start up over Grampian and Tayside regions each year. One of the first challenges start up businesses are met with once they begin trading, buying stock and equipment, and providing clients with a product or service - is tracking all business transactions in the form of book keeping.
Unless you have experience of previously running a business or have done some training in book keeping, accounting or finance - this new requirement of skills can come as a bit of a shock to the system. Many start up businesses burry their head in the sand, or more likely, under a huge pile of receipts and invoices.
Some people have a natural flair for keeping financial records, holding on to receipts, tracking financial income and outgoings for the business as well as keeping neat and accurate records from the start.
Today's Book Keeping and Accountancy blog post looks at DIY Book Keeping - when and how you can do your own book keeping and the systems that you can utilise to prevent you getting into a muddle.
As with many professional services, it is a great idea to use a trained practitioner to undertake book keeping work for you. This can be a significant cost at the outset of your business. However, unlike Accountancy, book keeping can be done by the Business Owner without any in-depth training. It's for this reason that many online portal style book keeping software systems have been created; for people who don't speak 'Accountant', but do want to understand their business figures better.
If you are not much of a fan of reading blog posts and would rather have some practical advice in person, we run free book keeping workshops in all of our regions, and you can book on these here
DIY Book Keeping Systems
There are many online book keeping systems that are very easy to use, and require little or no training. Some of the most commonly used Book Keeping software systems are noted below - they all vary in price and features, but the common features are as follows:
They are accessible from online devices and from your computer - when you have internet connection.
They form an online secure access portal that more than one person can access if required - i.e. you and a business partner or your Accountant.
You can upload transactions directly from your bank which should save you scanning in bank statements or worse entering in transactions manually
You can raise professional estimates and invoices and track their progress/payment
You can monitor a continuous profit and loss account of your business
Some will provide an estimate of your Personal Tax, VAT and Corporation Tax Liabilities
They can save you time by cutting down on administrative tasks, such as expense claims, recurring transactions and recurring customers.
They can highlight important calendar dates for your business, such as when your next VAT return is due to be filed with HMRC
Customised reports to let you know what you or your shareholders want to know about your business
Many of these software systems will work with other applications such as Paypal, Timesheet processing apps, and client relationship management (CRM) systems.
Most offer a free trial for at least a month, so give it a go and see if it works for your specific business.
Things to bear in mind with DIY Book Keeping
One important thing to bear in mind when completing your own Book Keeping , regardless of the system you use, be it online, offline or good old fashioned pen and paper, is that the information you get out, it only as good as the information put in.
It can be extremely frustrating when your cash book does not match your bank statement or you don’t have as much cash in your safe as you think you should have. This can happen, because without the assistance of a trained practitioner you may have neglected to include such things as;
Taking account of What your specific VAT Accounting dates are
Correct treatment of credit notes and refunds
Dealing with transactions that are not run of the mill such as paypal accounts and foreign currency transactions.
Book Keeping Systems Available
- Kashflow - Online accounting software for small businesses owners www.kashflow.com/
- Sage - Business Software www.sage.co.uk/
- Quickfile - Free Online Accounting Software in the UK www.quickfile.co.uk/
- Clearbooks - Small Business Bookkeeping www.clearbooks.co.uk/
- Freeagent - Small Business and Freelancers www.freeagent.com/
- Xero - Xero small and medium-sized businesses, as well as for personal finance: http://www.xero.com/uk/
- Spreadsheet such as Microsoft excel You can either create your own spreadsheet or your accountant may have a template that you can use.
- Pen and paper. Most good stationers will sell accounting books that you can use such as the simplex accounts system.
When choosing which system you are going to use it’s worth having a chat with the accountant that you are planning to get to do your year end accounts and tax return. They may have a preferred system that would make the process easier and, hopefully, cheaper for you.
If you would like to chat to someone about your business, and where it's going, along with any queries or issues you might be having with book keeping, finance, marketing, selling for your business, then please give us a call
Aberdeen: 01224 289725
Or check out our workshops on the Business Support section of this website hereBack to blog