Even though each year, businesses swear that next year will be different and organisation will be at the top of the agenda, it’s not so easy when you’ve got client meetings, deliverables and other business development plans in the diary. Inevitably, January becomes the must-sort-the-taxes-out month and is awash with receipt rifling, shoebox deliveries and spreadsheet sorting.
Although, as we all know, submitting accounts and paying taxes is a legal necessity, staying on top of our financial forecasts and actual incomings and outgoings also helps you to foresee any cashflow problems and obtain a realistic, informed and healthy outlook on how the business is doing.
Here are three handy tips to help you stay on top of your accounts and make sure organisation remains a priority:
Treat Your Accounts Like You Would A Client
It’s great to set aside a specific day and time each week to go through your income, mileage and purchases and then neatly have a week-by-week tally of how much you have made in turnover and profit. However, what you may find often happens though is that maintaining this weekly habit is often the first entry on your to-do list to slip if a customer lead, call or deliverable comes in. Maintaining this routine, or re-scheduling at the very least, is a crucial part of your business development. It will ensure you stay on top of any changes or developments within the business itself. Be strict and make sure your business accounts are a weekly occurrence.
2. Get to Grips With Numbers
You don’t have to be a mathematician to do your own business accounts, but it’s important to roam a careful eye over them after each submission and before you submit them to the taxman. When it comes to inputting your numbers into Government Gateway, just one rogue figure can change the outcome of what you owe. Input all your numbers into an Excel spreadsheet first, so you’re aware of any unexpected amounts to be collected from HMRC before you click submit. Make sure you go through all of the pages with corresponding receipts, bank statements and invoices to ensure you don’t pay more than what you need to.
3. Get an Accountant
And if all of these just take up too much time or induce too much stress and frustration, then why not get an accountant? With the above said, sometimes it just does not make good business sense to turn down business meetings, negotiations and potential contracts. Doing so on a regular basis could certainly have a detrimental impact on the growth and reputation of your business. It is, at this stage, that it may be wise to take on an accountant to manage your accounts and submit your tax return. Good business people know when to outsource, based on skill sets or the prioritisation of time. Knowing what your assets as a business are and how your time is best spent, will indicate what is the best use of your time and if, or when, you should hire an accountant.
Remember that failing to submit your tax return to the HMRC on time can result in a fine of £100, along with a further £10 per day for every day that it’s late. So make sure that the 31st January is a key date in your diary this year. And for 2017, consider the above tips for a tax submission that is high on the agenda and low on stress.
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