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2017 – The Year of Cloud Accounting

2017 – The Year of Cloud Accounting

A leading US commentator on technology recently commented that “if you choose not to embrace the cloud you are retiring in five years”. Scary stuff, and it is not just the preserve of our transatlantic colleagues, this is also happening across small businesses in Europe. So why is cloud accounting for small firms now garnering […]

Stay on the right side of HMRC Business Record Checks

HMRC Business Record Checks programme is designed to ensure that small business owners are keeping their records up to date. HMRC wants business owners to pay the right amount of tax at the right time.

HMRC Business Record Checks

Don’t put off the paperwork - keep your books up to date

The most important thing you can do is to make sure that your business books are updated regularly. This isn’t just because HMRC require you to, but it’s also essential to know where you are in your business. When your records are up to date, not only can you pick up on crucial information quickly. You can also easily respond to any HMRC enquiries without the stress of searching for scraps of paper!

To make sure your books are up to date, ensure that:

  • your bank account balance matches the balance in your accounts.
  • you have issued and kept a copy of invoices for all money received.
  • you have copies of receipts for all costs in your business.  Remember that in most cases HMRC will accept scanned receipts instead of hard copies!

Online Cloud Accounting systems can really make the above three processes much more efficient and easy to handle.

Avoid accounting errors that trigger an automated HMRC Business Record checks

Unusual activity in your tax records or accounts could flag you up for HMRC review.

While some HMRC checks are entirely random, most are triggered by HMRC’s Central Risk team. They use sophisticated data mining tools to spot unusual activity on accounts, or trends in particular industries. For example, HMRC detects companies with activity that falls outside the normal parameters in their industry.

To keep HMRC’s systems happy, it’s important to keep your records up to date and as error-free as possible. If you’ve had a problem lurking in your books that you’ve been vainly hoping would just go away, now’s the time to ask your accountant for guidance or contact HMRC to sort it out. To keep the errors at bay and save time, try automating some of your day-to-day bookkeeping work..

File your tax and VAT returns on time

HMRC Business Record Checks are more likely to happen when your tax filings late. Making sure you’re staying on top of your tax obligations can help.

When HMRC is happy, you’re happy too!

One of the best parts about staying in HMRC’s good graces is that your business will benefit from tidy, up-to-date records. You’ll not only be ready if HMRC has an enquiry, but you’ll also know how your business is doing on a day-to-day basis.Otherwise you're waiting until the end of the month, quarter, or even tax year to find out about any problems.

 

5 ways cloud accounting will improve your life

Cloud accounting systems are revolutionary. How do I know? Well, my accounting practice has been using the cloud for a number of years, and we have shared this passion with many of our business clients. 90% of our clients now use cloud accounting systems too. We have seen firsthand how the cloud accounting systems impact our business clients’ lives. How? The cloud solution has reduced or eliminated redundant, time-consuming work that—let’s face it—is the bane of most businesses.work life balance

Mostly, cloud accounting allows greater access to real-time data, which increases engagement with businesses financials and assists in making decisions. You have probably seen or heard yourself about all the cloud accounting systems that are now available for you to utilise in your business, including Xero and FreeAgent. I would like to share with you some of the reasons clients and accountants love working in the cloud:

Multiple versions of data files are gone, and backup is automatic

No more version-control data files. No more time-consuming upgrades to that one computer that has the accounting software loaded on it, or large accounting data files taking up all that space. Plus, no more data backups required. Good riddance.

The files remains in real time, all the time. 

Even when you are working on the file, your accountant or bookkeeper can be working on the file at the same time. This allows the accountant to interact with you in real time and assist you with any questions about data entry or what the financials are reflecting. It encourages better communication and use of your accountant, who is your trusted adviser.

Data entry is so yesterday.

Why in this information age, when all transaction data is readily available in your banking system, should you have to manually re-enter it into your accounting software? What a waste of time and money! Cloud-based accounting systems allow you to upload or automatically bring “live feeds” of your bank account and credit card transaction data into your accounting stream. No keyboards touched; no download chore; no upload chore. Data entry time is drastically reduced. Speedy download of real-time data and working smoothly in intuitive software allow you to spend less time on administration and more time focusing on business growth.

Business owners can make better decisions. 

Old-fashioned software that requires you to manually do your own bookkeeping puts your business at a disadvantage because your accounting data is lagging behind reality. A modern business needs information that is real time and always up to date. How else can you make effective business decisions? Now you can access your live accounting data from anywhere, from any device with an internet connection—it’s total mobility.

It offers mobility, flexibility and a better lifestyle.

You can see your business account balances, outstanding invoices, overall cash position and much more from anywhere 24/7 as long as you can access an internet connection. These days, you can run your business from an iPad or similar tablet device and mobile phone as most cloud accounting systems have apps you can download to the device. This translates into a more flexible lifestyle while running your business. You can have certainty over the financials and banking even when you are not physically present in your business. So go on—call that travel agent now.

Come fly into the cloud with Cloud Accounting (NI). Who ever thought accounting software could be so good?

Evolution of the Modern Bookkeeper

Collaboration with BookkeeperBookkeepers and accountants who offer bookkeeping services will need to adapt to change in order for the role to survive

One of the most startling developments in accountancy I have seen over the last 20 years is how the role of bookkeeping has changed. Bookkeeping has moved from a key service offering from accountants to many more clients choosing to ‘do the books’ themselves. This is mainly due to technology and the increase in computer literacy among all generations, clients have become more confident about using accounting software packages themselves.

But is the ease of bookkeeping making the role redundant, and is there a place for it in the modern accounting world?

As with every area of accountancy in the changing, increasingly technological world, the message from responding members was simple: You need to adapt to survive.

So What are the Challenges for bookkeepers?

Cloud accounting packages such as Xero, Kashflow & FreeAgent are being developed that don’t require the user to have a detailed knowledge of debits and credits.

Apart from technology, regulatory simplification has played a part in aiding clients to do their own bookkeeping.

The new cash basis accounting will simplify things further for bookkeepers and clients when it comes in, but some members are still apprehensive of the regulatory change. The cash basis for VAT and SA returns also means some businesses clients no longer need sales nor purchase ledgers, especially as a lot of businesses don’t offer credit anymore, they get payment up front or on delivery by BACs or credit card and have no use for a sales ledger.

 Utilising Bookkeeping Skills

Good bookkeeping is worth its weight in gold. It requires knowledge and skills; good bookkeepers can never just be replaced by a cleverly designed spread sheet

Using methods like cross collaboration in the cloud and providing clients with ‘ownership’ of their accounts in a limited way, provides scope for the bookkeeper to retain the prestige of their skillset.

The members of Cloud Accounting NI have found that giving clients an ‘ownership’ of their accounts through such a system gives clients and accountants a different outlook on bookkeeping.

 Cloud accounting and Cross Collaboration opportunities

There is a place in modern accountancy for bookkeeping, but appear to offer services that perhaps a traditional bookkeeper might not have previously. Bookkeepers have the opportunity to produce monthly management accounts for clients within five to seven days, and provide an ad hoc bookkeeping services for when businesses whose in-house bookkeepers struggle. Cloud helps with this, and bookkeepers can use remote access via Skype in extreme cases to provide client support.

While Cloud Accounting technology may be reducing fees and workload on the number crunching side, it's given many bookkeepers and accountants the opportunity to do more beneficial and enjoyable work and reduce the size of the business to a much more comfortable level.

In short, the successful bookkeeper of the future will be one who has created collaborative alliance with Chartered Accountants to provide a full service to both their clients to the benefit of all parties, simply by logging in and accessing the same information, real time, from any device, anywhere in the world.

If you want to join our alliance, and discover how we have helped bookkeepers increase their charge out rates by, on average, 40% while giving them, on average 33% more time to find additional clients or spend time with their family, then contact Richard Graham at Cloud Accounting NI. The best contact is 07868 663 538.

CLOUD ACCOUNTING LLP

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ONLINE CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

BELFAST ADDRESS
Catalyst Inc,
Titanic Quarter
Belfast
BT3 9DT
+44 2895 219365


LONDON ADDRESS
New Broad Street House
35 New Broad Street
London EC2M 1NH
+44 207 971 1002

Name: Cloud Accounting LLP
Email address: richard@cloudaccountingni.com
Phone: +447868663538