Bookkeeping Bites – Myth Busting!

Myth Busting! Well, with the added disclaimer of ‘true according to Government’s (Big G) guidance, today 😍😍😍
 
Myth busting #1:
 
“Claims for furlough staff pay will be offset against any deferred VAT liability”
 
Nope. No statement released to say this at all. Everything from Big G is pointing towards it being cash paid into your business account….. In fact, they go as far as asking you for your business’s bank account and sort code in the 7 bits of info when the business is registered on the claim portal…. 👍
 
Myth busting #2:
 
“Big G is paying my staff, because they are paying 80% of the salary”
 
Nope. Strictly speaking, they are, but they will not be paying any employee’s directly.
 
The process will be a simple (Ha!) two stage process:
 
Stage 1: Run your payroll as normal at the end of each affected month
Stage 2. Make the 80% claim for the furloughed staff wages via the soon (🤞) be launched online claim portal
 
You and we both know, that there may be a time delay between the claim and any business seeing the money. So, really, the emphasis is on the business to pay any wages at the end of each pay period, in lieu of a refund from Big G.
 
Myth busting #3:
 
“The information from Big G never changes, it takes ages to update us”
 
Nope. Simply. Not. True.
 
Big G is constantly updating its Corona financial support web pages… Great news! Unfortunately, it is not telling us what has been updated or when… So it is a case of reading all of the page again, to see what the changes are…
 
A good example of this is the #CoronaVirus job retention scheme (what most of us are calling the ‘Furloughing Support)…. Click on the link below to see the update guidance…… When you do, you will see it ‘LOOKS’ the same as it always did…. BUT! The content is different, we promise…..
 
And if it doesn’t make sense, well, drop us a line, we are always happy to help.
Stay safe, stay home, save lives.

Bookkeeping Bites – To Furlough, or Not To Furlough, That is the Question

So, just to keep us up to date on this new, much heard term. There has been some movement on FURLOUGHED WORKERS in the Corona Job Retention Scheme…..

The headlines are still the same for percentages and concepts… The new stuff is around dates & application methods, so here goes:

  • The funding will be open to all employers with a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, including charities
  • The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020, if applicable.
  • The Government are aiming to have the scheme up and running by the end of April 2020
  • Businesses will be able to apply via an online portal – size, shape and functionality still to be disclosed

There has also been some extension on the amount being offered… OK, so we are still at that £2500 ceiling, but now it is clear this is PLUS the associated Employers NI and minimum Employers Pension.. Get the feeling this is an extra carrot being dangled your way??

“Yes, you can. Oh, wait, no, you can’t”

We are starting to hear murmurings of a change of line on Directors and whether they can be furloughed…….  It seems the Government have kind of said “Yes, you can, but actually, no, you can’t’…..

Why? Well, yes, it seems you may be able to be furloughed as a Director, and continue to do some work….. if you can honestly say that the work you are doing is NOT GENERATING INCOME…….. Huh, now sure how many Directors can actually say that…. And on the flip side, how would HMRC prove the work you are doing is not generating income… So, there was your ‘no’ bit.

Yesterday, there was a line that if Directors agree to contact your customers, suppliers and business contacts that your business is suspended during the Corona Virus., then yes, you can furlough…….

You can see just from this one example, how much tooing and froing there is still to be done to iron this one out. Clear cut? I don’t think so.

We don’t expect this one to go away, watch this space for more developments.

Government Website – The Place to Check

Don’t forget, use verified information to keep up to day, check out for updates via this Government page link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Stay safe people, stay home and save lives.

Bookkeeping Bites – Free Money! Get Your Free Money Here!

Sounds too good to be true? Then it probably is… Let’s face it, if Del Boy came in to your local shouting such things, you would raise an eyebrow, to say the least… However, when our Chancellor starts to holler practically the same thing, well, there seems to be a more favourable response.

Not that I am saying Chancellor Rishi is akin to Del Boy. Anything but (next Prime Minister anyone?). Nevertheless, the message is the same.

It was less than a week ago in last Saturday’s blog (https://nowbookkeeping.co.uk/2020/03/21/bookkeeping-bites-the-chancellors-cogs-are-a-whirring/ where we started to detail the financial support available during this Corona pandemic. It seems like we have been over and under these new financial bars numerous times…. Whilst they were spinning!

And now, a week later, we are grappling with a newly released financial package for the self-employed…….

So, how does this look?

Putting it simply, generous, if you play ball with the Self-Assessment Tax Return system in the first place.

Our learned chartered accountant friends at On The Spot have released their, usual high standard blog in response to the recently announced self-employed support package.

Check out their blog in full here:

https://www.onthespottax.co.uk/blog/entry/2020/03/26/coronavirus-a-new-world-grants-for-sole-traders

Want the basic low down? To be eligible, you must be a self-employed individual or trading partnership and there is STUFF you NEED to have done, do or be… Here goes:

  • Have submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • Traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • Are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intends to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

And don’t forget this is for the self-employed with trading profits must also be less than £50,000…..

What will you get?

You will receive a (watch out for new lingo here) TAXABLE GRANT equal to 80% of the average of your profits showing in your income tax returns for the 2019, 2018 and 2017 income tax years (and Chancellor Rishi was quite insistent that even without the three years of tax returns, they ‘will take what you’ve got’)

To a maximum of £2500 a month, for three months. With the first payment being cited as being in June.

Doesn’t sound so bad, eh? Remember though, it is based on any profits recorded…. So, if you recorded a loss, you are out of luck, you really need to be investigating the other support on offer. Now.

How will you get it?

Well, it seems you won’t be scrabbling around for the old bits of past tax return paperwork or trying to remember where you saved your tax return PDFs…….. HMRC are going to do it for you, and will contact you IF you are eligible. From there you will have to apply.

They will contact you by letter. They will NOT contact you by email, text or ‘phone. Fraudulent scams are already around, so if you have anyone saying they are from HMRC via email, ‘phone or text, tell them to, well, DO ONE.

What happens now?

There are still lots of ‘HOW?’ questions flying about, and you know what we think about that…. Choose correct, verified information… Like our link above to On The Spot or the link below to the Government’s page on guidance for this support:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

The information stream is CONSTANT, which is a really, really GOOD THING. The Government has shown they are listening, and responding….  We have no doubt that the support announced will, in some way, help MOST, but not ALL.

The BAD THING about the constant information? They are SO HOT on updating information, they are not bothering to tell us when it is updated or new…… So, if you want to keep up, be like us, check every day.

We know WHAT…. Do We?

Earlier in the week, we really felt ‘We know WHAT, we don’t know the HOW’ but now we are feeling ‘We kind of know WHAT, but that WHAT is changing…….. Every day’

So, with that in mind, we say: Keep calm, remain patient, in time, it WILL be clearer.

Stay safe, stay home, save lives.

Bookkeeping Bites – The Chancellor’s Cogs are a Whirring!

Welcome to an extra, bonus blog edition!

There is no doubt about it, our Government means BUSINESS with the further measures they announced yesterday, to tackle the financial impacts of the Corona Virus.

Business community response to the most recent support, overall, seems favourable. Unless you are self-employed working from home, but more about that later on.

So, what do the most recent NEW support measures look like?

An excellent blog to read on these comes from our trusted accounting partners at ‘On The Spot Accountants’, which you can find at the following link:

https://www.onthespottax.co.uk/blog/entry/2020/03/20/coronavirus-without-the-gym?fbclid=IwAR2CBQrlU35g3KNtOf-wwbf025mHHptp2z4OXUifHvJobn69_QiZ7hQs6jk

Here are the summary points:

AUTOMATIC DEFERMENT OF SOME TAX PAYMENTS

  • Income tax payments on account scheduled for July 2020 (for the 2019.20 tax year), will automatically be deferred until January 2021
  • VAT payments due between 20th March and 30 June 2020 won’t be collected.

A cause for a breath of relief……. Well, a temporary one. Don’t forget, this is a DEFERMENT, not a CANCELLATION, and HMRC will be expecting receipt of these deferred payments by stated deadlines………

EMPLOYEE WAGES

If you are employer, there is a pledge to pay 80% of your staff wages in a bid to stop you laying off staff completely.  A positive, wise move to help businesses keep staff in a paid job whilst the business cannot operate……

Think also, the same staff will be on hand when the business starts up again – continuation of skills and personnel can only be a good thing for any business.

The slight catch is that the employee must not be working during the time the government is paying the 80% wages…. Easily done for many businesses in the current climate.

And also, the devil will be in the detail of how to claim this, which are yet to be released.

UNIVERSAL CREDIT AND OTHER GOVERNMENT PAYMENTS

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is not fresh news. However, the accessibility of Universal Credit (and other Government payments) for the self-employed is.

With an increased overall, yearly allowance and the ‘feel’ of more flexibility around receiving these, it will give some peace of mind. Again, the devil is in the detail and we will only really know the true accessibility of these, once people start trying to access the dosh.

Response to this measure seems to have been luke warm from the self-employed business community…. News items are already featuring self-employed workers who are stating this is leaving them ‘high and dry’.

There are also more than a few online forums with comments from such workers feeling very worried, concerned and well, left out.

All we can advise is that this is a CONSTANTLY changing situation, with updates being announced daily, sometimes twice / three times a day. Stick with it and lets see what this Government does in reaction to feedback from the self-employed.

IS WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD CORRECT?

There are already bits of information flying about on social media showing incorrect freephone numbers for certain HMRC services, exaggeration of the support measures announced or even downright fake news.

BE CAREFUL out there, try and source your information from trusted professionals…. And don’t ASSUME something will apply to you and your business… These are early days of announcements, anything could change….

If you are not sure, ASK.

Ask HMRC, below are the links to their Covid-19 help pages:

Support for businesses:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Support for employees:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

If you are not sure, ASK.

Ask your Accountant.

Ask on trusted forums where you know experienced and qualified contributors will be able to help.

And we are here for you too.

In It Together.

Stay safe and well people, until next time. Over and Out.

Bookkeeping Bites – Corona Questions

WE ARE IN IT TOGETHER

That has been our mantra of the week. As the reality of the Coronavirus starts to take hold, the reality for small businesses feels as threatening as the virus itself.

There are huge positives, we promise!! ‘What the devil are they?’ We hear many of you cry…..

For us, the positives were really exposed during a Corona focused question and answer session, held during our first ever online networking event with the wonderful Hampshire Women’s Business Group.

(By the way, this group is pretty special and is very easy to find on Facebook, just follow the link below…..

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hampshirewomensbusiness/

The biggest positive we noticed in this group was MINDSET…. And from seeing this, the main observation would be:

Be FLEXIBLE with your business model, stay FOCUSED on how you can adapt your products or services, and stay POSITIVE by looking at what part of this ‘thing’ YOU can CONTROL……

This is not us teaching you to suck eggs. Oh No. This is what the attendees to the online networking group were all doing, right now. Their business, their decision. Want to move online to deliver your product? Then you can do it. Want to offer a new service to diversify? Then you can do it.

Your business. Your decision.

For the Corona question and answer session held in the online networking group, our very own Teresa was on hand to explain all of the FINANCIAL HELP that will be out there for small businesses in these unprecedented times…  We offer a summary here for you of what you can access:

GRANTS

These will be big, (and we mean big) news. With two tiers proposed….

Are you a small business in business premises with a rateable value of £12,000 or less, and receive Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR)? If so, the Government have set aside £10,000 per such business as a GRANT….. The dishing out of these grants will be managed by the Council under which your business property falls, and they will be contacting businesses direct….

Are you in retail, hospitality or the leisure industry with a small business premises of a rateable value of between £15,000 to £51,000? Then there is £25,000 available as a grant for such businesses, again available from the Council under which your business property falls.

Not sure on your rateable value? It is shown on your annual rates bill, which for Winchester City Council, have just gone out. If you are still not sure, follow this link here, to find out more:

https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates

What about those small businesses that do not have business premises? Can they still claim these grants?’

A really good question that came up yesterday, and really important for all of those who use their home as their work base.

Putting it simply, the answer is NO. No business property, no grant. However, the Government have said they will do ‘whatever it takes’ to keep small businesses alive.

One such example is that if you work from home for your business, then you will be allowed to increase your calculations for home office use. This will help increase the expense of your home office in your annual Self Assessment Tax Return (SATR), meaning your profit will be decreased…..

Hello? Possibly pay less tax on a lower profit? ‘Yes please!’ I hear you all say.

TIME TO PAY (TTP)

This is another option available to ALL BUSINESSES. It is simple. It allows businesses extra time to pay for any HMRC tax liabilities……. It could help free up cash to keep your business running, instead of paying one lump sum.

Could someone call HMRC and ask to stop paying their current monthly payments for their Self Assessment Tax Return liability?’

Another good question from yesterday.

The answer is YES, YOU CAN CALL and ASK – talk to HMRC and they will talk to you.

FREEPHONE HMRC HELPLINE 

Don’t forget the FREEPHONE Covid-19 helpline number, set up by HMRC, and supported by 2000 HMRC employees, to help with ANY business related queries that are worrying you.  This number is:

0800 0159 559

You SHOULD call them if you have any concerns about your income… They may suggest applying for Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance or the New Style Job Seekers Allowance…. There is help out there…

This is an ever changing situation, with daily updates…. The next just this afternoon to focus on employees and protection of their income… As new information is released, we will be here to let you know how it impacts on you.

For more information on ALL of the support measures being proposed, follow this link to the HMRC website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-helpline-to-support-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19

The range of Government support being offered is vast, and quite frankly, impressive. OK, it won’t lighten the burden of the initial worry, but it may help in the long run.

ONE LAST BIT OF ADVICE FROM US?

The BEST THING YOU can do RIGHT NOW is prepare to get that 2019/20 TAX RETURN completed once the tax year has ended – so after 5 April 2020…

Why? Any downturn in income as a result of this unprecedented times ,may mean you getting a refund against your previous payments on account, and change your future payments on account

DON’T FORGET

We are IN IT TOGETHER. If you need a bit of virtual hand holding, we are here. If you need a friendly ear to speak to, we are here.

REMEMBER

Your Business. Your Decision. Stay Positive. Stay Safe.

Bookkeeping Bites – We Love Awards!

We are absolutely besides ourselves with excitement for being the headline sponsor at this year’s Hampshire Women’s Business Group Awards……. Our membership and affiliation with this local, Hampshire based networking group is long standing, regularly contributing to their online Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/hampshirewomensbusiness/ and attending the face to face networking meetings.

But, what is the worth of awards? Should you bother? How do you write a ‘don’t read any others, just give ME the award’ nomination?

The reasons for ‘Yes, you should bother’ are many, and it doesn’t take a whizz-brain to work them out.

There is the recognition of your expertise, the service you offer or the products you sell…. This in turn allows you to stand out against your competitors…… Which means you may see an upturn in your sales volume……

Of course, there is also the thought of a luxurious, sparkly, champagne fueled awards night for you and your staff to attend in anticipation of winning. Is there anything more motivation for your staff than a bit of industry recognition and position of kudos? Other than a hiking £20k pay rise, probably not.

Want to know more, then check out this article ‘9 Reasons Why You Should Enter Business Awards’ via the link: https://newhavenchamber.co.uk/9-reasons-why-you-should-enter-business-awards-2

Are there any reasons why you shouldn’t enter awards……? Well, there is the hassle of having to polish your shoes for the awards night, or diarise time to complete your nomination….. So, on reflection, no, not really.

So, now you know you SHOULD enter awards.. What about the entry? How do you make yourself stand out to be a player for the final award?

The answer really revolves around planning your nomination… Don’t rush it… Research the content for your nomination:

  • What do the judges want to see?
  • What is your mega story that matches what the category is awarding?
  • What evidence can you supply to support your entry?

Experts are out there to help, who really know their stuff… How about this as a starter: https://awards-list.co.uk/how-to-win-business-awards/

When it comes to us, our headline sponsorship enables us to encourage local businesses to shout about themselves, so they get the recognition they deserve. Which we love by the way.

Of course, if it is us you want to find out about, why we do what we do, then you can find out more at the ‘About Us’ section on our website https://nowaccountingservices.co.uk

After all, we like being seen and noticed too…..

Business of the Year Award – with headline sponsors, Now Accounting Services Ltd

Bookkeeping Bites – Bookkeeper or Accountant?

Bookkeeping Bites – Bookkeeper or Accountant?

It can be regarded as a dull introduction, but I always start with explaining the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant. It’s a question I get asked a LOT.

A bookkeeper is concerned with the fundamental transactions of a business – anything that creates a movement in cash or credit. The examples of these are receipts from shops, invoices from Suppliers, invoices to Customers, daily takings from a point of sale and most importantly the bank statements. These transactions are then recorded into a finance “system” for the business owner.

At Now Bookkeeping Ltd we have a wide knowledge of the various “finance systems” available to business owners – Spreadsheet (!), Sage (both accounting packages and payroll), Xero, Quickbooks Online, Moneysoft Payroll Manager, Quickfile, Concur, Agresso, BAAN, Manman. Some are very well known and some not very well known!

We recommend Xero and Quickbooks Online because they are very user-friendly to the most important person in the business and that is you the business owner.

The Accountant is concerned with the outcome of this record keeping. They will produce the financial reports of the company to the business owner and submit any legally required submissions. From here they can work with the client to offer business and tax efficiencies which are not possible if the record keeping is not up to date.

The lines can blur between the functionality of the two roles but if utilised correctly then the service they can provide can be a powerful control and cost saving tool.

Because the lines can blur there are some people that believe a bookkeeper is a cheaper accountant and that is certainly not the case.

A Chartered qualified accountant is registered, is insured and has to fulfil Continued Professional Education and a Certified bookkeeper is registered, insured and has to complete a series of Continued Professional Development. At Now Bookkeeping Ltd we absolutely embrace the importance of this as Teresa is a Chartered Accountant and I am a Certified Bookkeeper.

I hope the roles are now clearer to you and if you would like to discuss any bookkeeping questions or your business requirements please do not hesitate to contact me at Charmian@nowbookkeeping.co.uk