Organise Your Finances the More Efficient Way

Dear Client,

I hope you had a great week.

Last time I was in your inbox, we went through how you can discover your ability to create wealth. This week, I picked out a topic that I hope will help you get through the tax season without any hitches.

Do you sometimes look through your books and wonder how to put all your finances in order before the tax man rolls in? Do you find it hard to sit down to spreadsheets to organize your finances? If you do not have a problem organizing your finances, then congratulations, I’ll just be helping you do it more efficiently. However, if you are like many entrepreneurs I know who think of bookkeeping as a chore, then you can thank me later for showing you that bookkeeping does not have to be expensive, exhaustive or time-consuming.

Below, I will take you three steps to help you organize your finances the more efficient way

Step 1: Embrace Technology

There are numerous applications and technologies available today that are dedicated to helping you manage your finances. For instance, you can switch from manual data entry to simply scanning receipts to track expenditure by using Receipt Bank? Or that cloud computing services such as Xero Accounting can feed your bank statements into your accounting system so that you do not have to? Those systems nowadays cost as little as £20 per month, and they are designed to make your life easier. All you have to do is take advantage of them.

Step 2: Seek Help In Cost-Effective Ways

As an entrepreneur, having others help you will save you time, money and energy as you organize your finances. An easy way to get help is to have your spouse or children to handle the admin and bookkeeping tasks, so that you focus on building the business. You can pay them a salary that do not trigger much tax burden, and help reduce tax for you business the same time.  However, if you are solo, you can also now outsource bookkeeping in affordable way by hiring an accountant in India (or somewhere else in the world). Make sure you do try those freelancers first before you commit, so that you have the reliable person work for you. Also do consider protecting your data by having proper system and Non-disclosure Agreement.

Step 3: How and when to hire the right accountant for your business

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Hiring an accountant is an efficient way to organize your finances because a) you won’t have to worry about doing it yourself b) accountants will leave you free to build your business and c) the right accountant will not only get your finances in order but also optimize your tax bill. Wondering who the right accountant is? Here are the criteria: It is important to hire someone who thinks more like a business owner, rather than an employee; the ones who understand your vision and values; the ones who understand your financial pressure and work towards helping you achieve your financial goals.

I hope that today, you have taken away a lesson that will help you organize your finances the more efficient way. Don’t forget to tune in for more financial tips next week!

P.S. If you find this content useful, we do provide tailored professional advice on your personal or business tax matters. If you are interested, please book me in via the link so we can arrange a chat: https://hannah-xu.youcanbook.me

Discover Your Ability to Create Wealth

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a great holiday and are looking forward to trying out new opportunities this year!

As we move on to 2018, I just wanted to let you in on a few things. First, new year, new me, new us! We are rebranding our firm and the weekly LIVE show on Facebook. I will be showing up every Monday for a live chat on Facebook talking about subjects related to wealth building, so don’t forget to tune in each week! Simply subscribe to my Facebook page and look out for WealthAbility LIVE every Monday to get your weekly dose of interesting and motivating money advice from me (and a few other experts).

Number two, as we welcome the new year, here is a piece of advice I thought you would appreciate. It’s a little something on what I call the three pillars of wealth building. With them, you can discover your ability to create wealth.

So, what are the 3 Pillars of Wealth-Building?

For me, they are the tools you can use to not only create but also maintain wealth. I hope they are for you too.

1. Your Health

Your health is your ultimate wealth. When you are healthy, you can accomplish tasks that will help you build your wealth. Tasks such as decision-making, learning and even dealing with stressful situations. Keeping yourself healthy is essential to you and to your business.

2. Inner Work

Sometimes we find ourselves dwelling on what is going wrong in our lives. We blame ourselves for failed relationships and are afraid to talk to others about our work for fear they will learn of our failures. However, I have learnt from experience that when you appreciate your accomplishments and your potential to add value to other people’s lives, when you accept that you are not perfect and embrace your authentic self, you can look past failure and insecurity to set and achieve your goals.

3. Be Comfortable with the Numbers

Do yourself a favor this year. Learn to be as comfortable with your numbers (or at least knowing the basics of your finances) as you are with counting your hard-earned notes.  This does not mean you have to know all the details of finances inside out, just like a financial professional. But just the basics tools that is sufficient to look after yourself. It is just as it important to know how to look after your own health, feed your body with the right food, and when to seek out the doctor, it is essential to know the state of your finances and know when to seek out financial professionals for guidance.

Last Thoughts

I hope this dose of inspiration helps you discover your ability to create wealth this year. Stay tuned for more informational pieces next week!

P.S. If you find this content useful, we do provide tailored professional advice on your personal or business tax matters. If you are interested, please book me in via the link so we can arrange a chat: https://hannah-xu.youcanbook.me

How Cloud Technology Has Changed the Way Accounting Services Are Delivered

The rising of cloud technology has replaced a lot of labour intensive work. The old way of accounting, which focuses only on number crunching tasks, is going to be replaced by technology. But the new breed of accounting profession will look to interest their clients with the cause and prevention of high tax bills.

Cloud Accounting

Most of us might have been through some sort of technology change over the last couple of years. The digital accounting systems that used to cost thousands of pounds are now replaced by cloud accounting in as little as £20 per month. You do not need to install it onto your PC or on a laptop. You simply have a login and are able to look at your financial information. As it is cloud based, it is easy to sync it with your bank statements which will allow you to have direct bank feeds. All of these things have replaced a lot of labour-intensive work.

Entry-less Receipt Processing (e.g. Receipt Bank)

When it comes to accounting, in the past 5 to 10 years it has involved a tremendous amount of paperwork. Nowadays there are systems and apps like Receipt Bank that can help with the workload. Receipt Bank allows you to take a picture within the app on your smartphone and import it straight to the system. It also enables you to export it as an excel document from there. You do not have to input the name, category and amount as the system does that for you. It extracts the information and saves it as a draft, which you can approve eventually.

It is very handy as you do not have to keep the paper receipts once you have taken a picture of them as it is stored in the cloud. There is a study that shows that keeping physical copies of receipts is not good for your health as the ink on the receipts have a certain type of chemical in them. Receipt Bank not only saves you time and makes things easier, it benefits your health too. When you are digitally storing information, you must always keep in mind cyber security and data protection but in general accounting systems do have a certain level of security that they aim to maintain.

Benefits of Cloud Accounting

  • Most clients nowadays prefer to provide information via cloud accounting especially when it comes to bank statements. This is a benefit as you do not need as much space or storage as before. If some clients do send some paperwork, you can just store it temporarily and scan the document to store it in a cloud then send it back to the client.
  • Less space required and less storage means you do not need to spend much money hiring somewhere big. You can hire an open office and are able to still get the job done.

What System Should You Use If You Are Self-Employed?

When you become self-employed or start your own company you have to take care of your own tax and self-assess your accounts and your tax bill. This means you would need to keep track of how much profit you have made and keep track of your expenses so that you can run your business properly. Most people nowadays do own their own laptops or have access to one, it is very easy to pull out a spreadsheet to total all income and keep a note of all the receipts in order to categorise them etc.

Microsoft Excel is cheap and very easy to use, it is quite straightforward but the downside of it is that when you need to put out a report, it can be quite time-consuming as you would need to key in all the words and dates into the spreadsheet. Another downside of Excel is that if you have inputted data into the spreadsheet, anyone else can edit it and input other data which can eventually create errors and can be hard to track. With cloud technology, you can view what has been changed and can track who has edited it which makes things clear. You can always find out the root of a single mistake and are able to correct it.

There are several cloud technologies that you can use such as:

  • Xero
  • QuickBooks
  • KashFlow

Always go for the providers that are bigger, popular and have more recommendations because the smaller ones might end up being merged by the bigger providers.

When Is the Right Time to Start Using Bigger Providers Instead of Spreadsheet?

Spreadsheet is very straightforward to use, if you really want to keep track of your businesses it is more ideal to set up the company on a proper accounting system especially if you are planning for the business to grow. If you do not have a lot of transactions then you can take the time to get familiar with the accounting system. If you have a lot of transactions, you can outsource but you need to make sure you do have the knowledge and the wellness to know what is going on. If you are really serious about your business then it is important to have a proper system set up from day one.

There are people previously on desktop systems such as Sage and would like to transition. You can use a third-party system called Move My Books and you can take the Sage backup and use it to transition to Xero. It helps because you do not need to stress out too much, of course in the end you would need to double-check everything but if you take the right steps, everything should match perfectly.

Nowadays as long as your bank statements are synchronised with your accounting system and most things are automated then you are able to submit important information to HMRC or Companies House. All you or your accountant would need to do is just tweak the figures and then you are able to submit it which is less time-consuming. If you are doing your bookkeeping on Xero, you are able to submit your VAT Return straight from there which is very handy. Xero also allows you to customise your reports just to show you the numbers that really matter to the business. Just because a lot of the work that accountants have been doing has been replaced by technology does not mean that it will make all accountants redundant. It just means that is time for the profession to change the way that it delivers its service.

If Cloud Technology Replaced A Lot of Accountant’s Work, How Will That Change the Way Accountancy Services Are Delivered?

The idea is that cloud technology will automate most of the accounts and tax preparation work, the new breed of accountancy profession will focus more on caring about clients’ needs, help them ease their tension around cash flow problems and pay the right amount of tax through their proactive advisory services. Certainly, a cloud accounting system will make your life much easier. It also makes the accountants life much easier too and that means you can expect slightly reduced accountancy fees when you operate your business on a cloud accounting system.

What it really means is accountants need to change. They will no longer be paid for just adding up the numbers. Technology will do that. Instead, the accountant for the future will interest their clients in the care of their financial health, in tax saving, and in the cause and prevention of cash flow problems. Some accountants will make that change. Some won’t. Either way, it is a good thing for business owners.

If you find this content useful, we do provide tailored professional advice on your personal or business tax matters. If you are interested, please direct message the author of this article so we can arrange a chat.

 

Making Tax Digital: Are You Ready for the Quarterly Tax Reporting Duties?

Are you tired of working long hours to fund your tax bill?

There are a lot of people who may feel as though they would need to work more shifts in order to fund their next tax bill, this is a short-term solution but it is tiring as well. When you are working seven days a week for a month you will have an income surge and cash flow wise you will have a lot of cash coming in. On the other hand, your incurred tax liability from that particular month will be high which means that it will be added to your future tax bill. It is best to not be in this position because you will be going around in circles and you will end up working forever for the taxman.

But the upcoming new changes may help you stay on top of your money and predict your tax bills in time, so that ‘working for the taxman’ may become unnecessary!

The new movement is called ‘Making Tax Digital’.

What is ‘Making Tax Digital’?

It is the new quarterly reporting requirement that will be coming into play from April 2018, and most of the self-employed individuals and landlords will start the duty from that time. Previously, if you were self-employed and running a business you would file a tax return once a year. However, with the new changes taking place you are required to report the tax on a quarterly basis. This does not mean you have to pay tax every quarter, it is only a process to enable you to update your records on a quarterly basis. From the government’s point of view, they are looking to close the tax gap and by doing this they will have an idea of how much you are going to pay to them.

The Benefit of Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital should not be seen as a negative change that only benefits the government. There are a few positive outcomes from this change such as:

  1. Prediction of Tax Liability – It will allow you to have a prediction of your tax liability so that you can pay the liability by the deadline set and make sure you meet your payment deadline.
  2. No Errors or Omissions – It makes sure you do not end up having errors or having any omissions on your tax calculation.
  3. Enable You to Update Your Records – If you are keeping your records up-to-date on a quarterly basis instead of 9 months after your year end, you will have the prediction on your tax bill. This will allow you to put money aside which will enable you to meet the payment deadline. You will pay the tax easily and you do not have to end up working so many hours to make up this tax bill.

Timeline

The government has set a timeline for all the changes to take place:

  • April 2018 – If you are self-employed or a landlord and are earning over the VAT threshold, which is £85,000 for the year, it is likely that you have to prepare for the changes. You will start to do the quarterly reporting from April 2018 so it is worth paying attention to it.
  • April 2019 – If you are earning under the VAT threshold, the changes do not apply to you until April 2019. If you are VAT registered the same will apply but the changes should not make much difference to you as you file a VAT return quarterly already.
  • April 2020 – By April 2020, everyone including limited companies, will be taking part in the quarterly tax reporting.

Exemption: Businesses, self-employed individuals and landlords with turnover under £10,000 are exempt from this duty.

What You Need to Do

  • Check your Timeline – The first step you need to take is to check your timeline so that you can prepare for the quarterly tax reporting.
  • Keep your Records Up to Date – The second step is to look at your current record-keeping and if you are keeping your records up-to-date regularly. Most people that are self-employed are currently doing their 16/17 tax return, it is best to get that out of the way as soon as possible and once it is done you would need to update your records.
  • Consider the Best Record Keeping System for You – If you are using spreadsheets at the moment you can continue to use it as a record keeping system as long as you continuously update it quarterly. There are some online cloud-based software that you can also use that are very inexpensive and easy to use. It is automated as well so it can include your bank transactions which can simplify the process for you. An example of suppliers are Xero or QuickBooks, they are both good and are worth looking out for.