HINTS AND TIPS

The latest hints and tips from our blog.

Please note: The information contained in this site is provided for information purposes only and is of a general nature. It is not a substitute for specific professional advice related to your own circumstances. You are recommended to obtain specific professional advice before you take any action.

From sole trader to a limited company

What to expect from incorporating your business. With a new tax year almost upon us, many sole traders will be reviewing their business structure and considering whether it’s worth switching to a limited company. There’s no denying that incorporating a business proved...

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Clipping the wings of Phoenix Companies

A guide to measures which discourage ‘phoenixing’ of companies. Companies can fail for several reasons and, for the most part, these aren’t the result of wrongdoing by the directors. For this reason, it’s perfectly legal to start a new company after an old one has become insolvent.

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Spring Statement 2018

A spring statement with few announcements – Chancellor Philip Hammond has delivered his Spring Statement 2018, and on his promise to move away from two major fiscal announcements every year.

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Caseron Insider – April 2018

One million firms comply with auto-enrolment
Food & Drink firms bring in record £22bn in exports
Taxpayers reclaim £493m from HMRC
One in 15 face fines after missing tax return deadline

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Employee Benefits – What are the tax implications?

What to expect when providing staff with perks. Most employers choose to recognise the ongoing commitment made by their members of staff by providing various benefits and rewards. Whether that’s in the form of the Christmas party or it extends to benefits such as a...

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Cash basis for landlords

The default basis for landlords’ accounts. Traders have been able to prepare their accounts using the cash basis since April 2013, as long as they meet certain eligibility conditions. This option was extended to landlords running unincorporated property businesses...

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Caseron Insider – March 2018

One million firms comply with auto-enrolment
Food & Drink firms bring in record £22bn in exports
Taxpayers reclaim £493m from HMRC
One in 15 face fines after missing tax return deadline

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How to deal with late invoices

It happens more often than it should!  You get to the end of your month, quarter or year. Close it off and think you are done -and suddenly up pops a late invoice you have forgotten about. Your supplier forgot to bill you or you found the invoice or receipt in a pile...

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Devolution of tax powers within the UK

What tax powers are moving away from Westminster? It may feel like we’re living in increasingly uncertain times ever since the UK voted to leave the EU. That centred on most of the electorate’s desire to obtain more devolved powers from Brussels, but in reality,...

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Termination payments

New rules are coming into force on 6 April 2018. The tax treatment of termination payments can be complex, not least because a termination package typically comprises several different elements, which may be treated differently for tax and national insurance purposes....

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New UK GAAP: FRS 102 and FRS 105 Reporting Changes

The rules and accounting standards under which limited company accounts are prepared have changed. This article looks at what this means to you and how it could affect your end of year reporting. Before we dive into the detail, let us take a moment to remind ourselves...

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Caseron Insider – February 2018

Disincorporation relief to end in March 2018
Small businesses face skills gaps
HMRC stops use of personal credit cards to pay tax bills
Number of businesses soars to 5.7m

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HMRC Investigations

What to expect when HMRC comes knocking. Anyone whose business comes under the microscope of HMRC is usually in for a roller-coaster ride. HMRC has upped its game in recent years when it comes to probing businesses or sole traders who may be suspected of falsely...

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Giving to charity in life & death

How to include charitable donations in your tax planning strategy. Incorporating charitable giving into your tax planning strategy can be a useful way to reduce both your income tax and the inheritance tax (IHT) that will eventually become payable on your estate. As...

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Caseron Insider – January 2018

Disincorporation relief to end in March 2018
Small businesses face skills gaps
HMRC stops use of personal credit cards to pay tax bills
Number of businesses soars to 5.7m

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Year-End Tax Guide 2017/18

Personal allowances and reliefs – The personal allowance for the current tax year is £11,500. Non-savings income above the personal allowance is taxed at rates from 20% to 45%.

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Accounts for Limited Companies

Audits may be a thing of the past, but certain annual reports still apply. If you’re a business owner, you may be familiar with the process of submitting your accounts for official inspection by an independent body. This is known as an audit. You may also breathe a...

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Online Self-assessment

How to complete your self-assessment tax return online. For self-employed people, company directors and those receiving other sources of income, it’s the time of the year to send your self-assessment tax return. Self-assessment is the process used by HMRC to collect...

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Caseron Insider – December 2017

Chancellor freezes VAT threshold until 2020
Treasury delays abolishment of class 2 National Insurance
Claims for R&D tax credits hit record high
Autumn Budget 2017 round-up

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Autumn Budget 2017

Autumn Statement 2017 – Chancellor Philip Hammond said he’d take a “balanced approach” to his second Budget of 2017

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Patent Box

The patent box regime applies a reduced rate of corporation tax to profits attributable to qualifying patents and similar intellectual property (IP). Unincorporated businesses can’t qualify for the patent box. The patent box tax rate has gradually been reduced to 10%...

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Measuring business performance

What are the best ways to assess your firm’s performance? Changing market conditions make it more important than ever to measure your business performance on a regular basis. The impact caused by recent events, such as the vote to leave the EU in June 2016 and the...

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Tax Efficient Directors Salaries

Updated for 2017/18. We are often asked for advice on the most tax efficient way of paying yourself from your company.The official term is ‘profit extraction’ – how to get more money out of your business and into your pocket – legally of course! By far the most efficient way of taking money out of your limited company is to pay a combination of minimal Directors Salary plus a dividend and tax-free expenses. So how does this work?

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Timesheets for staff payroll

Do you have staff who work irregular hours? Should you implement a timesheets procedure to track their hours for payroll? This article will take you through 3 different options to keep track of staff hours.

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VAT and three-party transactions

A guide to the VAT implications of having three entities involved in a transaction. VAT can get very complicated when there are three parties involved in a transaction. This may happen in an agency situation where one party is arranging for the supply of goods or...

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Managing automatic re-enrolment

Once you've been running auto-enrolment for three years you'll need to re-enrol workers. Over the last five years, there has been a seismic shift in attitudes towards retirement saving. Auto-enrolment means workplace pensions are now regarded by many employees as a...

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Accounting for gifts

Bertie considers himself a lucky man – he runs a successful business that over the years has brought him great pleasure, some fantastic friendships and has kept him comfortably well off.

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Payroll issues for Employers

A guide for employers on topical payroll issues. Employers need to keep an eye on changes affecting payroll so all employees have the right amount of tax deducted under PAYE. This is a round-up of the latest payroll-related developments. Dynamic coding In July 2017,...

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The Family Home Allowance

Not everyone’s a winner with the recently-introduced residence nil-rate band. Rising property prices have left more families being elevated to millionaire status and dealing with the inheritance tax (IHT) implications that come with it. The Treasury collected £4.6...

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Caseron Insider – September 2017

High value dealers need to register for cash payments
Rising national living wage hits SME profits
Recruiters working harder to fill vacancies
Businesses urged to prepare for Data Protection Bill

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Buy-to-let property advice for landlords

A guide for individual landlords on the recent tax changes. Whether you own one or 50 let properties, you need to be aware of the tax changes that have already started to take effect – and which will accelerate over the coming years. Restricted interest For periods...

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Preparing for Making Tax Digital (MTD)

Making Tax Digital (MTD) will mean most businesses and taxpayers access their tax affairs online through digital tax accounts in the near future. But what impact will MTD have on your business? What is Making Tax Digital (MTD)? “Tax really doesn't have to be taxing”,...

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Caseron Insider – August 2017

High value dealers need to register for cash payments
Rising national living wage hits SME profits
Recruiters working harder to fill vacancies
Businesses urged to prepare for Data Protection Bill

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Reclaiming VAT on Amazon purchases

Cameron runs a small photography business, cash is tight so he has been hunting for bargains on Amazon instead of buying goods from a mainstream supplier. He wants to start vlogging and has decided that he will buy a GoPro to record his adventures. He's finding some...

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Lifetime ISAs

Incorporating the Lifetime ISA into your savings strategy. The past few years have seen several innovations in the savings account market. Gone are the days when savers only had cash and stocks and shares ISAs to choose from. Nowadays you can open specialist accounts...

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Planning your retirement

Whatever your age, it’s never too late to start saving for retirement. It’s more important than ever to start your retirement planning from an early age, however dull a prospect that may sound to younger generations. Putting money into a pension each month will...

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Salaries and Dividends

What combination of salaries and dividends should you take in 2017/18? As the owner and director of your own company, you can choose how and when to extract funds from your company. As almost all the funds you take out will create a tax charge in your hands, you may...

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What costs can I include in my R&D tax claim?

So, you believe that you have a project that might qualify for research and development (R&D) tax relief. Is it worth your while to make a claim? What costs will qualify? HMRC's regulation defines 4 types of qualifying R&D cost: Direct Labour Subcontract work External...

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How do I account for VAT on deposits?

Michael asked a question this week about how to post a deposit received from a customer into his Xero account, and whether or not he should account for VAT. As with many accountancy questions - it depends!! It depends on what the deposit is for. Deposits or...

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Caseron Insider – July 2017

Invoice financing – Other reasons for businesses turning down work included a lack of awareness of invoice financing (13%) and alternative finances available (8%).

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Will I pay tax on my sponsored car?

George is a self-employed golf pro who has been making a name for himself in the sport. He is also employed by a local golf club. He submits an annual self assessment tax return to disclose his sole trade and PAYE earnings to HMRC. He has been offered a sponsored deal...

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Corporation Tax Q&A

Avi is a small limited company business owner reaching his end of year and had a couple of questions on his end of year accounts. He is worried that he may be paying too much corporation tax. 1) What ways can you reduce a company's corporate tax apart from giving out...

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VAT after Brexit

What could happen to VAT after the UK has left the European Union? On 23 June 2016, the British public voted in one of the most important referendums of modern times. The public’s decision to leave the EU will have an impact on almost every aspect of economic life....

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How to Calculate Closing Stock from a GP Margin

Andrew is a small limited company business owner who is struggling to make sense of accounting for stock. He has heard that stock can be calculated from his GP (Gross Profit) Margin but he doesn't know how to to do that and has asked for our help. How to...

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R&D tax credits

A guide to the tax relief available to innovative SMEs. Research and development (R&D) tax relief for small companies provides an enhanced deduction for the costs of qualifying R&D projects. R&D tax relief for large companies is given as an expenditure credit in the...

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Capital Gains Tax Planning

A guide to capital gains tax and the reliefs available for 2017/18. When you buy an item with the intention of selling it for a profit, that transaction is treated as a trade and you should pay income tax on the profit you make on the sale. When you acquire an asset...

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9 Common VAT Pitfalls to Avoid

Whether you are newly registered for VAT or you have been registered for a while – be aware of these 9 common VAT pitfalls. These are the most frequent errors we see when we are reviewing small business VAT returns.

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Why register for VAT?

Updated 31/05/2017 You are legally obliged to register for VAT when your business ‘taxable supplies’ within a rolling 12 month period exceeds the VAT threshold.  As of 1st April 2016, the VAT threshold was £83,000. This increased to £85,000 from 1st April 2017. The...

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Your Responsibilities as a Company Director

A director has statutory duties under the Companies Act 2006 and these duties are owed to the company which is a separate legal entity in its own right, rather than the shareholders. General duties under The Companies Act 2006 The Companies Act 2006 sets out 7 general...

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Information required on a VAT invoice

In very simple terms invoices or receipts tell a customer what they have bought from you and whether it has been paid for or is still to be paid. What must you include on your invoice? Once registered for VAT, you must show the following details on any VAT invoice you...

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Why am I paying tax if I haven’t earned my tax-free allowance yet?

A recent question from an employee of a client prompted this article – they were quite surprised that in April of the new 2017/18 tax year that they had been taxed on their earnings, despite the fact that they had not yet earned the £11,500 that they thought they should earn tax-free! This may seem like a surprising misunderstanding of the UK PAYE tax system, but you might be surprised how often it comes up. So we thought we would explain it.

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Personal Tax Planning 2017/18

How individuals and families can save taxes in 2017/18. The UK tax system provides reliefs and allowances to encourage you to spend or invest in certain ways. Using those reliefs as they are intended is the fiscal equivalent of obeying the Highway Code. If you divert from that code, by parking incorrectly, you would expect a penalty. The tax system also imposes penalties to discourage bad behaviour.

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When are sponsorship costs tax deductible?

Updated April 2017 In some cases sponsorship is a great way to advertise your businesses. It is also about tapping into the passion of your target audience and having a story to tell. But when is it an allowable expense for tax purposes and when is it justifiable to...

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Invoicing whilst you are waiting for your VAT number

When you register for VAT there will be a crossover period between submitting your application for VAT and getting your VAT number from HMRC. You can’t charge or show VAT on your invoices until you get your VAT number. However, you will still have to pay the VAT to...

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Caseron Insider – April 2017

Lack of funds prevents business opportunities
National minimum and living wages rise from 1st April
Business rate revaluation takes effect
Important dates and changes for April 2017

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The Ins and Outs of Self-Billing

Updated 23/03/2017 Sometimes it would be much faster and more efficient if you were to enter your suppliers' invoices on your accounting system and send them a copy of their invoice afterwards! Well, you can do that if you have a self-billing arrangement with your...

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Self-Billing :: Raising VAT invoices with Xero

If you enter into a self-bill arrangement with a VAT registered supplier, there are certain conditions you will need to meet before you can raise a self-bill purchase invoice: you have to have a self-bill agreement in place with your supplier, see The Ins and Outs of...

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Caseron Insider – March 2017

Firms prepare for Making Tax Digital
Pensioners staying in work drives up retirement income
Late payment regulations support SMEs
Apprenticeship levy approaches

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Employee benefits

A guide for employees on the tax implications of accepting common employee benefits. Most employers provide a range of benefits in kind to their employees. You may be able to choose which benefits to take up, so you should be aware of the different tax and national insurance (NI) implications of each benefit you pick.

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Investing in Small Companies

A beginner’s guide to investing in small companies and the available tax reliefs for doing so. Starting a business is rarely glamourous. Many of the globe-straddling behemoths of the business world had low-key beginnings. Both Apple and Hewlett-Packard were famously...

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Caseron Insider – February 2017

SME borrowing set to rise in 2017
Retired household income up 13% since 2008
Small firms pay above minimum pension contribution
Financial concerns affect worker performance

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Get up to Xero-speed

Get up to Xero speed. Xero is beautiful accounting software that puts your financials at your fingertips and allows us to work with you or for you on your business accounts. Here you’ll find everything you need to know to thrive with Xero. But, before you dive in…

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Trusts and tax planning

An introduction to the relationship between trusts and tax.

Trusts are a legal arrangement whereby assets are placed into the care of an individual who manages them for the benefit of someone else.

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How do you account for an overpayment in Xero?

Despite our customers best efforts to pay what is due – you may have a customer who has accidentally overpaid you.
It may be that your customer pays you just a few pennies more than you’ve invoiced for – or they may have paid you hundreds more. How do you account for it?
Regardless of which accounting system you use – the concept remains the same, the only difference may be the terminology used. As we are Xero accountants, we will use Xero to show you what to do.
There are a few solutions for this, depending on the circumstances and desired outcome:

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Employee benefits and rewarding staff

A guide to rewarding your staff and the tax treatment of employee benefits. Many of us do not really think about the commitment that employees make to their employers in terms of time. The average 9 - 5 worker with their 5.6 weeks of statutory holiday is likely to...

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Exporting for Small Businesses

Selling goods and services overseas for beginners.

Internationalising your client base can be an intimidating prospect for small business owners with no experience in trading overseas.

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How a FABULOUS FREEBIE will generate new sales

Whatever business you are in – you need sales.
You need income – not just any old sales, you need profitable, sustainable, repeatable or recurring sales.

In this article, we will show you how to use a Fabulous Freebie to get people on your list and generate new sales.

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12 tips to help you be your own best bookkeeper

If you have decided that you want to take care of your own accounts and do your own books – you need to watch out for the pitfalls and acquire some new skills!

Being your own bookkeeper can be very rewarding, save costs and can teach you much about your own business.

Here are our 12 top tips to help you set up and run your business accounts.

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Should you ‘do’ your own accounts?

I am often asked should I 'do' my own accounts or should I outsource them? Well, the answer is - it depends! Do you have the time, skill and inclination to do your own accounts? Can you afford to outsource it? Can you afford not to? What is the best use of YOUR...

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Use Xero Files To Workflow Your Business Finances

We know from our earlier article, that Xero files is a great tool for attaching any kind of file or document to almost any transaction - meaning that you have all of your documentary audit trail in Xero and all of your files close to hand should you need them. But...

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Using Xero Files to Manage Your Documents

Xero files is a great tool for attaching any kind of file or document to almost any transaction – this means you have your all of your documentary audit trail in Xero and all of your files close at hand should you need them.

In this article, we will show you how to get your documents into Xero Files.

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Caseron Insider – October 2016

Businesses pay £44 billion in corporation tax
Annual investment allowance
EU workers uncertain cover residency status
Tax-free childcare to launch in 2017
Paper tax return deadline approaches
The transition to digital

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What IS and IS NOT a VAT invoice?

If you are VAT registered, you must make sure you have a VAT invoice or receipt for your purchase to be able to claim the VAT back in your VAT return.

Do you know what evidence you need to keep to be able to recover the VAT on your purchase?

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10 Top Tips for using the Receipt Bank App

Receipt Bank is a brilliant time-saving and cost-cutting add-on to Xero. If you don’t use it already – then take a look at our introduction to Receipt Bank.

If you do use Receipt Bank – here are some top tips on how to be a Productivity Ninja with Receipt Bank.

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11 Steps to building an online course

A way of maximising your sales and revenue now is through the online market. There are hundreds of companies like yourselves putting all their knowledge online and selling what they know and helping people by creating an online course specific to the market and...

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Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Statutory Sick Pay is often a great cause of confusion for both employees and employers. However what exactly are the responsibilities of each party? What is each entitled to? When an employee is entitled Eligibility Before an employee is entitled to claim SSP they...

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Work from Home Allowance Calculator

Please make sure you have read our related articles before you start entering data into the calculator. The article will explain what you can claim and why. The rules are slightly different for the self-employed, directors and employees. Claiming a Work from Home...

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Implementing a (POP) Purchase Order Process

For most small businesses, sometimes placing an order can be as simple as calling your supplier and requesting goods or services or sending a quick email. But as your business grows, the need to manage purchasing will grow to. One way to keep on top of your purchases is to implement a proper purchase order process – automate and systematise your ordering process and empower your team, without losing control.

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Understanding Capital Allowances

Updated in July 2016 This guide looks at claiming capital allowances to minimise your business' tax bill. All rates and allowances correct at the time of publication. For the purpose of this article, a business may be a limited company, a partnership or a sole...

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Six tips to improve your short term cashflow NOW!

What happens when you have reached the end of the VAT quarter – you have had a really good month of sales but you have reinvested the cash generated in the business or drawn it out to pay your wages! You realise that you probably won’t have enough cash to pay your VAT liabilities in 5 weeks time. Opps! What can you do?

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The Importance Of A Good Call To Action…

Any real business owner and any good marketer knows that a call to action is one of the most important keys to building and establishing a business relationship with potential and current customers. But why is a call to action so important to your business? A call to...

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Podcasting – Part 2 – Uploading & Monetising

Uploading your podcast Put your RSS podcast feed on the internet Go to feedrunner and type in the URL of your blog and click I am a podcaster on the next screen, configure the elements for your podcast. These are the elements that directly relate to the podcast. Your...

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Podcasting – Part 1 – Planning and creating

Creating, promoting and distributing your podcast to reach an online audience of possibly millions is relatively easy. Podcasting is becoming more popular as many bloggers turn to internet radio shows to get their music/message out.

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Blogging Part 2 – Marketing & Monetising your Blog

Marketing your blog Brainstorm keywords for each blog post Keywords are the important words that relate to the topic of your blog, and specifically the new subtopic you cover each time you post. Choosing relevant keywords that people search for frequently will...

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Blogging Part 1 – Finding your inspiration

Making money through blogging requires a carefully thought out topic. If you have an existing blog with a small audience, be honest when considering whether the topic has broad appeal and that it isn't already being covered by other established bloggers. If it does,...

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Groupon – Buying & Selling Online

Groupon is an online deal website that provides printable or digital vouchers for daily deals offered by local businesses, and some international businesses, depending on what type of product you're looking for. The site itself allows you to advertise a physical...

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Youtube

Youtube is one of the biggest providers of an online platform for anyone to make money, all you need is a youtube channel, a personality, and content, simple. There are of course steps to building a following and getting the views on your video to monetize this as a...

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How To Earn Money Online: The Basics

Every day we hear of newer ways to make money. The newest, and probably the best way at the moment is through online platforms; these are things such as: YouTube Groupon Blogging Podcasting Affiliate Marketing Social Media Writing E-books There's a whole world of...

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Write an e-book – How to & More!

E-books are just book-format publications that are distributed electronically, rather than printed on paper. There's basically no cost to publish an e-book, pretty much anybody with an idea can do it. Take it easy on yourself. Unlike a paper-and-ink book, your e-book...

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Affiliate Marketing – Earn While You Tweet!

Affiliate programs provide you with a unique ID and marketing materials and then pays you a commission based on how much business you generate so trying to find a good affiliate marketing website is key. Most big websites you've heard of offer such a program. Since...

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How to Use LinkedIn as the Perfect Marketing Tool

Use your profile as self-promotion tool Use a professional and appropriate profile image and remember to keep all information relevant and up to date. This is essential, If not the most important thing on this list! Imagine connecting with someone you see as a...

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Linkedin – The Professionals Choice

Why should you use LinkedIn? It's simple really; LinkedIn is a social media platform created by professionals for professionals. It enables you to show off your skills, your work history, and any experiences you may have had through volunteering, or through life....

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How not to use Google+ as a Marketing Tool

Google+, although it may be a newcomer to the social media world, has really taken off as a service. However, it does already have its fair share of taboo's or what not to do's, so today, we're going to have a look at 7 of these: Forgetting to Mention people - When...

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How To Use Google+ As The Perfect Marketing Tool

Maximise your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Now being on Google+ will allow you to do this anyway (as it is Googles own product). However for this to work and become fully optimized for you, you will need to create communities and active discussions via your page....

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Why Should You Use Google+? Who is it for?

Believe it or not, the powerhouse in the world of search engines and the internet itself that is Google didn't have its own social network, until now, with the inception of its own product Google+. But why use it? Simple, as explained in the Introduction to Social...

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Why Should You Use Twitter? And Who Is It For?

Twitter, in a nutshell, is the busiest social media site available. This is what makes it so good because although it may be busy, if your content is good enough, and works well enough, it will show in the ‘moments’ tab to other users. Any stories you miss will show under ‘what you may have missed’ on a mobile device when the site is left. But there are more reasons than this, so listed below are six reasons why you should use Twitter in your marketing strategy:

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How to Use Twitter as a Marketing Tool

Twitter is the second largest social media platform behind Facebook, so what better than to try and market your company using both? Now we've already been and done an introduction to Facebook, so now it's Twitters turn! How to use Twitter as an active marketing tool:...

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Facebook Ads, What Are They? How Do They Work?

As we all know, paid advertising is becoming the way forward, long gone are the days of getting several thousand/million people to like your page and everyone who liked your page seeing your content. In the latest update of the Facebook news feed algorithm, It's been...

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How Not to Use Facebook as a Marketing Tool

Don't leave company's about section blank A preview of your 'about' section is shown underneath your businesses profile picture, and it's one of the first places people will look when they're scanning your page. Make sure you're about section displays relevant...

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Why Should You Use Facebook? And Who Is It For?

Facebook Why should you use it? Well, The main reason you should use Facebook is that it has 1.4 Billion active users And that was before 2016 rolled around, so imagine that growing by another 100-200 million, and think of the impact that could have on your business....

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How To Use Facebook As A Marketing Tool

Customer Service Customer service? On a post about social media? Madness! But it is very much relevant, as the majority of people who will see your page are either existing customers or prospects, so you still need to represent and uphold the company's ethos, just via...

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Social Media For Business: Which Platform Should You Use?

Choosing Which Social Media Networks you use: Social media is a valuable tool that allows you to open yourself up to a much wider and more varied audience than you would've been able to than with traditional marketing. There is a dilemma to doing this, though, which...

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An Introduction To Social Media

Social media is now becoming one of the biggest ways of companies advertising and putting their products out there for everyone to see. In times like these, following the crowd is okay, but to make sure you stand out from the crowd, use as many positive keywords as...

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List Building & How to Manage your Lists

Lists are the most important thing you as a business owner will need to utilise to maintain and run an efficient marketing campaign. There are four different lifts that you will need to build and monitor and these are as follows: Cold List Warm/Prospect List Existing...

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How your reviews and testimonials can boost your sales

Reviews and Testimonials may sound the same, but are very very different in how they look and come across in language…

A review is given on an individual product that your company offers where changes can be made, whereas a Testimonial documents any qualifications or particular qualities the company has…

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The Three M’s Of Marketing

The Three M’s of Marketing are going to be your best friend, and your lover throughout the planning and execution of your marketing strategy, why? Well because these will help you identify and plan your strategy. The M’s themselves stand for Market, Message, Media, and need to be in that exact order when planning….

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Who Is Your Who? And What Is A Customer Avatar?

So, we touched on this briefly in The Three M's - Now for an explanation, Who is your who? Your who is the person/people or business you are targeting with your marketing campaign. These are the people you've followed on Twitter, liked on Facebook, and connected with...

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Digital Marketing: An Introduction

Digital Marketing, What is it and how does it work?

Digital marketing is, in plain English, the use of online, and interactive technology to push your business and products into the customers eye, there are three main ways to do this:

Social Media
Google Ad Words
E-mail Marketing

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How Not to use LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool

So in the previous article, we looked at how to use LinkedIn as an effective marketing tool, so now let's take a look at 5 ways not to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool and get you those new connections: Don't blanket connect Do your research, make sure you have a...

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Are you getting the most out of your Profit and Loss?

This is often the most heavily viewed report in your accounts. Ideally, you should be looking to have a customised report which makes retrieving your valuable data as simple as possible. Your income and direct costs should be clearly displayed in order to keep an eye...

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UK GAAP: How will the change in reporting standards impact you?

The rules governing accounting standards are undergoing the biggest change in 30 years which impacts the way companies have to report their accounts. Goodbye ‘Abbreviated Accounts’ – hello ‘Abridged Accounts’. Here follows a very high-level guide to the new accounting standards that WILL affect your business.

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Claiming business mileage expenses

Claiming for fuel – how good record keeping can save you money.

If you are required to use your own vehicle for work, you can claim business mileage expenses from your employer for business mileage.

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Staff payslips – what are the rules?

Staff payslips – what are the rules? The Employment Rights Act of 1996 states that an employee has the right to a written pay statement. Our article will help you with the do’s and don’ts of issuing payslips to staff.

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Succession planning for a family business

There are more than 3 million family businesses in the UK, which between them employ more than 9 million people and contribute 15% to GDP.

Despite these successes, family businesses often experience difficulties when it comes to passing their businesses to younger generations. Our guide will help you consider those first steps to transferring a business to a family member.

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Social Media For Business: Which Platform Should You Use?

Choosing Which Social Media Networks you use: Social media is a valuable tool that allows you to open yourself up to a much wider and more varied audience than you would've been able to than with traditional marketing. There is a dilemma to doing this, though, which...

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Digital Marketing: An Introduction

Digital Marketing, What is it and how does it work?

Digital marketing is, in plain English, the use of online, and interactive technology to push your business and products into the customers eye, there are three main ways to do this:

Social Media
Google Ad Words
E-mail Marketing

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The Three M’s Of Marketing

The Three M’s of Marketing are going to be your best friend, and your lover throughout the planning and execution of your marketing strategy, why? Well because these will help you identify and plan your strategy. The M’s themselves stand for Market, Message, Media, and need to be in that exact order when planning….

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Pre-Submission – VAT Return Checks

Before you file your VAT Return, you will need to review it carefully to make sure that it is correct for the period.

Print, laminate and reuse our handy pre-submission VAT checklists to make sure you haven’t missed anything before you file your VAT return.

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Effective Credit Control in 12 Easy Steps

You can trade without making a profit, but you can only run out of cash once. Cash is the lifeblood of the business, so it must be treated as such Effective credit control can be achieved by implementing procedures to ensure regular review and persistent chasers....

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Credit Control Letter Templates

These are the email templates that we use in our practice with our own clients using Chaser Where the following fields have the following meaning: = your company name = your customers first name = is the invoice number being chased = is the outstanding amount of the...

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New Customer Form – MS Word

Use the New Customer Details form to collect the details you need when you set up your new customer. Our form is set up in Word so you can download it and edit as you see fit using the button on the right. You can issue the form to your new client in Word format, or...

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Step 2. Setting up Your Short Cut to Xero

Frustrating isn’t it when you have to keep typing your email address into Xero when you want to log in!

Well, actually you don’t have to. You can set up this quick and easy browser shortcut to your Xero account.

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Bonus: Messy supplier account reconciliations

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try. You just can’t reconcile that supplier account in Xero to the statement that the supplier has sent to you. So what do you do?

This article focuses on the reconciliation of a messy supplier account, as this is a common problem we help our clients to resolve. The same process can be applied to messy customer accounts.

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Salary or dividend? Updated for 2016/17

What’s the most tax-efficient way to pay yourself in 2016/17? Owner-managers and contractors often pay themselves in a combination of salaries, bonuses and dividends. A common strategy is to draw a salary of around £8,000 while also extracting profits from the...

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Issue Invoices Promptly & Correctly

Tip 1, in our series of how to improve your business cashflow.

The sooner you issue your invoices, the sooner you can expect payment.

This sounds really obvious, but you may be surprised to learn how many people leave it until the end of the month, or later to raise their invoices…

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Travel and subsistence: a changing framework

The system of employee benefits and taxes for those who travel for the purposes of work is undergoing change. It’s the end of dispensations for employers and the end of lucrative travel and subsistence claims for freelancers.

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Overdrawn directors loan account?

So despite your best efforts to stay on top of your directors loan account – you find yourself overdrawn at year end.

Does it matter? Unfortunately yes, but why? And what might it cost you?

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6 Perfect Project Management Tools

A project management tool is absolutely key to keeping organised and on top of all your work and keeping track of it al in one place, with this it can speed up how tasks are done, the tools themselves can be a godsend for employers as it allows you to keep track of your companies work, and keep on top of what work employees are completing, and not completing

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Inspirational icon resources

Icons can make or break your website. If the icons look good it enhances the professionalism and sales appeal of your website, as with anything there's a tonne of icon websites that showcase different styles of icons, some allow full customization, others are basic...

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8 Fabulous Colour Picker Resources you Didn’t know you needed!

Colour pickers are easily one of the best tools available to web designers and business owners on the internet, as they give you the choice and control over what colour scheme you use for your business, The feature image for this article is a screenshot taken from Coolors showing the way they let you identify which colours you need, Coolors is just one of the 7 resources covered in this article, but for me is the best, but don’t let me do all the hard work for you, get colour matching and see which colour match resource brings you your ideal colour scheme…

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5 Incredible Image Formatting Resources

Image formatting resources will really save your life when it comes to web page or e-mail loading times, as the size of the image determines how many extra seconds it’ll take to load, one way to reduce these is to use the resources below, which will really give you and edge on your competition when it comes to people visiting your sites, so take a thorough look and have a play around with them and see how you get on best with them and which ones work for you

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4 Delightful Design Communities

Design communities, yes they’re a thing, a very good thing, I’d say 75% of people who are involved with design communities are professional artists or art critics,

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6 Useful Youtube Design Tutorial Channels

Youtube is for more than watching hilarious cat videos and learning how to talk to giraffes... It also has a very good design tutorial side to it that diversifies itself across several topics of design, from cartoons to serious blueprint designing, so it offers a lot...

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8 Valuable Vector & Illuminating Illustration resources

Vectors are a simplistic and flat 2-dimensional image created using polygons to maximise the use of shapes, which in itself will allow your website to load quicker as shaped images are read quicker then block photo images, whereas if you combine the two the website reader will load the vectors followed by the blocks and will speed up the block scan speed. SO following on from that point, below are the best 8 vector image and illustration sites to get yourself started to a simplistic easy business based project.

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7 Beautifully Brilliant Background Resources

Background images can do one of two things, they can either entice the prospect in, or drive them away, and unfortunately, it’s entirely by chance as to whether they like it or not, but there are ways of telling what images will bring the customers in and what’s driving them away, and that’s using specifically built resource sites which will show what kinds of backgrounds are trending and which ones aren’t so these are definitely something worth looking at and paying attention to.

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9 Texture resources that will transform your projects!

Textures and patterns are used as an alternative to a background image, This can help extensively if you have plenty of text, or information and infographics to use as having a background pattern or texture will keep you focused on what information is in front of your...

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Reimbursement of Expenses Policy

Reimbursement of Expenses Policy  Employees and consultants who perform duties for xxx are eligible for reimbursement of expenses under HM Revenue & Customs guidelines. xxx will reimburse expenses submitted in line with these  regulations:   Employees may reclaim an...

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Bonus: Getting your chart of accounts right

The chart of accounts is a list of all the accounts used in the general ledger of your company. It creates the roadmap of your financial transactions. Getting this right (first time) will really help you know your numbers.

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Understanding dividends

A guide to how dividend taxation will change from April 2016. The chancellor George Osborne wasn't exaggerating when he said he was undertaking a "major and long overdue reform to simplify the taxation of dividends" in his Summer Budget speech. The current dividend...

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The Directors Loan Account

Generally, there are no tax implications when a sole trader or partnership puts cash in or takes cash out of a business. A company, on the other hand, is a separate legal entity and any cash assets held by the company belong to the company and not the director/s. Any...

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Christmas Opening Hours

Thank you…

For being such wonderful clients and friends and allowing us to share in your journey in 2016. We wish you happiness, success and of course sustainable profits, healthy balance sheets and positive cashflows for 2017!

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Top Tips For A Website That Sells

If you run your own business, then you have probably invested time and money into creating your own website. Possibly, quite a lot of money but are you getting value from it?

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Dealing with overwhelm

You are overwhelmed, you have so much to do that you are paralysed and don’t do anything - or it feels like you don't do anything. Having so much to do that you don't know where to start is a common challenge that many of us face in today's fast-paced and digital...

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Goal Setting

In order to know where you want to be, you must understand where you are now and what the gap is in between…. A goal is a dream with a deadline.  Napoleon Hill   What is your motivation? Why did you start your business? What drives you, what gets you to take action?...

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6 Ways of overcoming your businesses cashflow problems

A guide to overcoming your businesses cashflow problems and tackling late payment. More than any other factor, a business is defined by the balance between the money coming in and the money going out over any period of time. Ideally, the scales should be tipped in...

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Can’t I just claim for the fuel receipt?

Claiming for fuel - how good record keeping can save you money. When and how can you claim for fuel costs in your business? If you are driving a company car, it's likely that the fuel costs are covered by your company and you are paying a taxable benefit in kind on...

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Understanding Accruals

What are accruals? It has been a long-accepted accounting principle that revenue and costs should be recognised as they are earned or accrued, rather than when their cash value is received or paid. Income and expenditure should be matched with one another where...

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Turning objectives into actions

Turning Objectives into Actions An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.  Ralph Waldo Emerson  We have set our goals and turned them into objectives. Now we need to work out what actions we need to take, and who is going to take them in order to achieve our...

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Turn goals into objectives

The difference between Goals and Objectives A goal is a general statement, a broad outline, it’s open ended and helps set the scene. For example, ‘I want to earn more money this year’   Well, earning a £1 more than last year achieves that goal so it’s not going to...

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Basic Accounting Concepts

The purpose of this article is to give you an introduction to the basic accounting concepts. Essentially what you sell, less what you buy equals your profit. Single entry or 'cash' accounting The smallest and most simple business may be accounting on a 'cash basis'...

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Understanding debits and credits

Debits and credits can sometimes seem confusing but you will need a basic understanding of how debit and credit transactions affect your accounts to be able to understand your business reports and spot any anomalies. The concept of double entry accounting dates back...

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Is profit or cash more important?

A question we are often asked - is profit or cash more important. Both are important of course, but for a business to survive it needs cash first and profit second. A balanced approach and clear objectives should focus the company on delivering:  1. Effective and...

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Funding growth

The business is growing slowly but surely, you have a great sustainable and profitable customer base providing you with a comfortable income, good relationships with suppliers and a happy team working for you. You realise you are ready for the next step but realise...

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Understanding Prepayments

What are prepayments? As we learned in the article Understanding Accruals - it has been a long-accepted accounting principle that revenue and costs should be recognised as they are earned or accrued, rather than when their cash value is received or paid. If payments...

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