I don’t want to do admin - I want to fit boilers

No one goes into business with a burning desire to fill out spreadsheets - but keeping on top of your admin is an essential discipline. Fail to do so and the consequences can be severe, especially where the taxman is concerned. Fiona Fraser, director of Fraser+ Accountants explains: “As a small business it’s vital to do your book-keeping as you go along. Burying your head in the sand is not an option. Keeping up to date gives you the power to plan properly and the time to spread out the costs of what you may owe.”

It’s January 31st, where did I put those receipts

The January 31st deadline for filing your tax return is imprinted in the minds of every small business owner and self-employed trader. In the days leading up to it panic often sets in. But, it needn’t be that way. You can file your return any time from April 6th. Fiona explains: “I tell all my clients to file as early as possible. Being landed with a tax bill in January so soon after Christmas is no one’s idea of fun.” Peter Bryer of PJ Bryer Heating And Plumbing adds: “Ensure everything is up to date - so you can answer any question the taxman may have.”

To VAT or not to VAT? That is the question  

Registering for VAT is compulsory if your turnover hits £85,000. Overnight you’re obliged to add 20% to your bills. So it’s understandable that some installers try to avoid going over the threshold - by asking customers to pay merchants direct for equipment. But Andy Baxter of High Efficiency Heating has a warning for anyone considering that approach. “Don’t do it,” he says, “It’s illegal. You’re defrauding the taxman.” He continues: “There are plenty of benefits to being VAT registered - it lets you offer finance and you get better deals from manufacturers.”

Your accountant should save not cost you money 

Your relationship with your accountant is potentially the most important element in ensuring your business functions properly. “The role of a good accountant,” argues Fiona, “is to use their expert understanding of the tax landscape to benefit their clients.” Being self-employed, it’s vital to know what expenses you can and can’t claim for so don’t be a stranger: Benefit from your accountant’s expertise by checking in with them regularly to ensure you’re operating as efficiently as possible. 

The tax landscape is a challenge to navigate. That’s why you need support you can trust and rely upon. Get the right accountant in place and their advice could end up saving you considerable sums of money.