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I've started a business. What do I need to do now?

You have decided to start your own business and you are ready to go. This first thing you may decide to do is join a networking group. Get a logo made. Google how to get your first customers. All the fun things. But whilst marketing is understandably sexy and fun, there are a couple of finance things that you may want to research and get into place first. And then, once the finance is done, you can get back to the marketing and begin to grow your business....

May 3, 2018

What is a Directors Loan Account?

The first time most business owners hear the term Directors Loan Account, is when they sit down with their accountant to discuss their Limited Company year-end accounts. I know from taking client meetings myself, that us accountants don’t always explain what this account is or what it is made up of. So, just in case you felt a little bit too embarrassed to ask, I thought I would answer some questions you may have....

March 29, 2018

How can I withdraw money from my Limited Company?

You’ve decided to set up and trade through a Limited Company. It’s started to make money and that money is sat in the bank account. You now want to get paid. So, you can just take the money from the bank account, right? Not exactly....

March 22, 2018

What is IR35 and how will I know if it affects me?

IR35 in the name of the legislation that HMRC has created to crack down on contractors who should really be employees. If you have recently set up a Limited Company and your business has only one client, or maybe a portfolio with one larger client, you might have heard IR35 being muttered by your fellow freelancers. Whilst having one large client does not immediately equal IR35, it is always worth checking yourself against the rules to see if you believe you could be an employee in disguise. ...

March 3, 2018

If I work from home, how can I claim for these costs?

If you rent an office or workshop, then the figure you can put through your tax return is fairly straightforward. However, for a lot of small businesses, renting isn’t an option for either financial or practical reasons, so you may find yourself working from home. As your business is likely to be increasing certain household expenses, it seems unfair not to include these within your tax-deductible expenses. But as it isn’t as clear cut what is a business expense and what is a personal expe...

February 18, 2018

How to choose an accountant who isn't a little bit rubbish

There are times in our life when we want the best. We might want the best photographer for our wedding, buy the best car we can afford, live in the best house in our area, eat the best food and so on. But sometimes we don’t want the best. Sometimes we just want something that will do. Sometimes we just want something that isn’t going to be a bit rubbish. And that’s not a bad thing. There are plenty of times in our lives when we just want non-rubbish stuff. Let’s say you’re heading fr...

January 25, 2018

What are simplified expenses?

Keeping paperwork isn’t everyone’s strong point. And that’s okay. HMRC have realised this, and in an unusual attempt to help you claim some of the more complex expenses, they have created simplified expenses....

January 18, 2018

Sole Trade V’s Limited Company – Which one should you choose?

One of the first decisions that you need to make when you decide to start your own business, is whether to be self employed or trade through a Limited Company. Your initial response may be to ask around; see what friends or family do. Maybe even ask on a social media forum. But the problem is, the correct answer is quite personal to you. So, what could be absolutely right for one person, could be completely wrong for another. So, in an attempt to help you to decide, let’s start at the beginni...

January 16, 2018

Has my hobby become a business?

Just because you have made some money, doesn’t mean you have a business. And just because you’re making a loss or breaking even, doesn’t mean that what you are doing is a hobby. There is a grey and wobbly line that separates the two, but it’s important to know the distinction between them. If only for the simple reason that there are plenty of penalties and piles of backdated tax to be had should HMRC deem you to be trading when you’ve been hiding behind the façade of a hobby. So, wh...

January 5, 2018

What is a payment on account?

It’s January and your accountant sits you down and tells you your tax liability and it’s high. Way higher than you expected. Panic begins to set in. This can’t be right you say to yourself. They must have calculated it wrong.Welcome to the world of your first payment on account. ...

December 21, 2017

When will I have to start paying tax on my self-employment profits?

True or False: You won’t have to pay any tax until your income exceeds the personal allowance? This isn’t a trick question by the way. It is true. However, I wanted to start with this question because it is often believed that unless you exceed the personal allowance you will not have anything to pay when you submit your tax return. Unfortunately, that is not the case....

December 19, 2017

How do I claim for my motor expenses?

If you are self-employed and own a car, the chances are there will be some motor expenses which we can bring into your accounts to reduce your tax bill. Claiming your motor expenses can be a little trickier than most of your other business expenses, as it is highly likely that your car will have a mixture of both business and personal use. Because of this duel use, you cannot simply collect your receipts and offset them all against your profits....

November 29, 2017

What food and drink can I claim for through my business?

So, can you claim for that cup of coffee at a networking meeting or not? When you’re an employee, your day can be quite structured, and you may have found that your food and drink expenses would have been restricted to what you decide to have for lunch. As a business owner, food and drink becomes far less clear cut. You may be travelling to see clients. Having meetings in cafes. Grabbing a sandwich whilst you’re out on the road. It can be tempting to think that every food and drink purchase...

November 24, 2017

Xero v’s SAGE One: Which one is the best for your business?

I’m not naive enough to think that Xero is the right accounting software for everyone. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all accountancy package. There never will be. However, as someone who works exclusively with Xero, it’s important to me that you only use it if it works for you. Otherwise, it’s going to be like trying to get a round peg into a square hole every time you attempt some bookkeeping. And that’s not the point of investing in accounting software. You don’t want to ...

November 23, 2017

Self-employed: What expenses can I put through my tax return?

I don't normally do videos, but if you're in a rush, here is a 2 minute video that powers through some of the things you can claim. Below it is my blog which goes into a little more detail....

November 22, 2017

Rebrand: Why things are looking a little different around here

When I started Loud and Clear Accounting, I had 12 years accountancy experience and approximately zero years’ experience of running a business. Now, you don’t need to be good at numbers to see that my experience was pretty heavily weighted towards a particular skill set. If I was going to show you what that looked like in pie chart form, it would just be a coloured in circle. There would be no pie. So, I would love to pretend otherwise, but the past 18 months have been a massive learning c...

August 25, 2017

Poor cash flow: Are you simply spending too much?

As soon as you become a business owner, you immediately become very popular. This is because everyone makes two assumptions about you. The first is that you have lots of money. The second is that you are prepared to spend that money on making your business a success. Clearly you do need to spend some money on your business to achieve. I'm sure there are stories of entrepreneurs' who have made their millions by spending absolutely nothing, but it's probably safe to assume tha...

April 27, 2017

Is living in the red harming your businesses cash flow?

So many of us see dipping into our overdraft as a natural part of running a business. There's no shame in having an overdraft or even using that overdraft. After all the banks are quick to offer you one when you first set up your account and it is incredibly handy to have if cash flow is tight. All you need is one customer to delay settling an invoice for a couple of days and that could be your pay run in trouble. What's the harm in going into the red for a couple of days, paying your s...

April 6, 2017

Could stock be causing your cashflow problems?

Have you ever looked at your bank balance and wondered where all the money has gone? The way cash flows through our businesses is rarely a surprise. After a while you can easily memorise the regular direct debits, the wages, the loan repayments and the client retainers. You learn which customers pay quickly and which ones make you wait. The same often goes for your own relationship with your suppliers. Equally, you often know which months are tight. These are the months where the annual ...

March 2, 2017

Cashflow nightmares: the slow payers, bad payers and the non-payers

You're in business, you're making sales, you're busy and everything is going great. Everyone wants to work with you. Your reputation is sturdy. Competitors copy you. You've recently taken on more staff and now have a larger office. Look up success in the dictionary and there will be a big picture of you. Do you feel successful though? Are you able to go home and close the door on work or does that month end payroll keep you awake at night? You see the pile of invoices on your desk ...

February 9, 2017

Never, EVER, be ashamed or embarrassed to have problems with cash flow

Starting up a business takes a lot of work and with that comes a shed load of pride. No one wants to defiantly walk away from employment only to return a couple of months later with nothing but an overdraft to show for it. No one wants to be working long hours to pay back a loan from a failed dream. No one ever wants to be sat in an empty office or shop wondering if today is the day when you admit that it's over. However, 20% of new businesses will fail in the first year and 50% within ...

January 26, 2017

13 bookkeeping tips for when you think you’re too small for these things to matter

No business is too small for a bit of bookkeeping. However, when you're just starting out it can be hard to know what you need to do. Or even, what needs to be done. So here are my quick fire, tip 13 tips for anyone new to record keeping....

January 13, 2017

How you can use Xero to apply a marketing mindset to your finances.

Your business has two primary functions. The first is to attract customers and the second is to turn these customers into cash. I know it all sounds very cold; there's no hint here of your passion or your goals but ultimately that is what every business is trying to do. This means that when you start a business a marketing hat is glued to your head. You can never take it off. Ever. It doesn't matter if you are writing an email or speaking to someone who could know someone else who may at s...

January 12, 2017

Is a disinterest in your finances keeping you in the dark and stopping you from growing your business?

As we roll into 2017, the theme is always New Year resolutions, goals and targets for the upcoming months. "2017 is going to be our most successful year ever" the entrepreneurs' cheer in unison. Hurray! Probably the most popular goal is to grow your business. The question is how and the answer is to get more customers. It's all wonderfully simple and we all go out and buy some advertising, maybe do a couple of networking meetings, go home and then the vast majority of us will go back to ...

January 5, 2017

I have Xero, so why haven't I got real time information?

Real time information. This has been the buzz word in accountancy and bookkeeping circles for a couple of years now. Pretty much every article or blog on the subject will try to tempt you away from your beloved excel spreadsheet or your tried and tested desktop software such as SAGE. Get on the cloud, we cry. Then your business will have real time information so you can see exactly how you are doing at any moment and at any place. This is better than simply looking at your bank account eve...

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