Bookkeeping Bites – The BRIGHTEST of the (Small) BUSINESS STARS!

Today we have been shining the light and sprinkling star dust over those small businesses in the Hampshire area who have been nominated for an award in Hampshire Womens Business Group awards for which we, at Now Accounting Services, are headline sponsors.

Looking through the selection of businesses that have been nominated, we are far from the big shot, corporate world, and very close to the niche, solo-preneur businesses, that really forge new paths and offer creative ideas to customers.

We have cafes, furniture, wedding and crafts specialists, along with environmentally focused gems and charity based children’s cape makers 😍. There are herbal remedies, crochet crafters and legal bods too.

We have it all, super businesses, with super people and super services and products…. All up for being rewarded for their super hard work. 

Why not take a look at who has been nominated at the link below, and why not cast a vote or two whilst you are there?

Fly for the STARS ladies, we are so proud to be with you ❤️❤️❤️

Bookkeeping Bites – So, Who Gets the Dosh?

We are getting to the nitty gritty, aren’t we?

We have had the breaths of relief as various financial support packages were announced by Chancellor Rishi….

We have had the ‘Hmmmm, I wonder how this will work?’….

Now, RIGHT NOW, as our brains are turning to the end of month liabilities any business has, such as paying staff, suppliers and rent, we are starting to say:

‘So, where IS the dosh?’

Where I am seeing this most is with small businesses who rent a smaller part of a larger building, in either serviced offices, workshops or storage space. When the support of the Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) grant of £10,000 was first announced, many of these businesses would have thought

‘Phew-weeeeee, thank goodness, something for my business to claim’

However, it turns out, not so simple.

Many serviced office, workshops or storage spaces, are, as you would expect, small (that is the attraction of them after all, small = affordable)… They are also part of a larger building….

Some of them also pay their rates direct to the landlord, either separately, or included in their overall monthly rental price. Key word there? LANDLORD. No mention of the BILLING AUTHORITY.

Picture of the word 'problem'


And there, friends, lies the problem…….

In the ‘Grant Funding Schemes – Small Business Grant Fund / Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund – Guidance for business’ document, published by the Government in March, it is quite clear who will will receive ANY of the rates relief Corona grants.

From their own sweet mouth:

“Who will receive this funding?

21. The person who according to the billing authority’s records was the ratepayer for the property on the 11 March 2020.”


Putting it simply? If the landlord is the ratepayer, they are the grant receiver.

All is lost? Not really…. Possibly not…. Maybe not… If you have your boxing gloves on and are in for the long haul…

This same guidance, the same section, it does go on:

“22. Where the Local Authority has reason to believe that the information that they hold about the ratepayer on the 11 March 2020 is inaccurate they may withhold or recover the grant and take reasonable steps to identify the correct ratepayer. The grant is for the ratepayer and any money paid may be liable for recovery if the recipient was not the ratepayer on the eligible day.

23. Landlord and management agents are urged to support local government in quickly identifying the correct ratepayer. “


Translation: if you believe you have a case where you can prove you are the actual ratepayer, then tackle your billing authority….. Perhaps good to speak to your landlord first though…..

There is also the angle to consider of the LARGER building from which the SMALLER spaces are rented out… If it is the LARGER building that is listed as the property for rates, then it is UNLIKELY that the larger building will have a rateable value UNDER the £15,000……

What does this mean? Rateable value larger than £15,000 = no £10,000 grant.

So, what can you do?

1. Familiarise yourself with the guidance. Light read it ain’t, but it is where all of the operational implementation will be taken from, so if you are in the know, you are armed.

The link to the full guidance is below:

2. Check whether your business premises is listed as an individual smaller business property with the billing authority (and therefore possibly eligible for the SBRR grant) or whether it is the larger building you occupy that is listed…. Do this by using the link below to the rates valuation webs page:

3. OPEN COMMUNICATIONS and give your landlord the BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT…

They are navigating this thorny minefield as much as the next person, and most probably, in the ideal world would love to see all of their small business tenants receiving £10k (after all, you stay in business = they get rent)… Find out what the situation is with the rates before heading off to the billing authority, see if you can WORK TOGETHER on this.

4. FINALLY, approach your situation with RESOLVE and PERSEVERANCE.. Nothing with any local billing authority gets resolved quickly, even in ‘normal’ times. So, at the moment? With a tonne of extra ‘Corona’ work to get through? Expect it to take a little longer……

For example, my partner’s business received his letter last week from his billing authority, for which I completed the online registration form straight away. We received a confirmation email for the submission and since then…… SWEET FA…

Now I am not saying that from a derogatory sense, I get it, I get the delay, but quick it ain’t for getting the grant. And his business IS the rate payer. It DOES have a rateable value of £12k and DOES gets full SBRR.

So, if you are raising a less than easy query to resolve, then expect, possibly, a delay in response.

Stick with it people, hold your resolve, we WILL see the other side.

If you want to check out our other blogs, please go to our most recent ditty, via the link below:

Bookkeeping Bites – Stand By Your Gate!

Well, what we actually want to say is STANDBY YOUR GOVERNMENT GATEWAY ACCOUNT!!

There was an interesting ditty from Big G today regarding the claim portal for the #CoronaVirus Job Retention Scheme (nattily abbreviated to CJRS…… We call it furloughing).

The most interesting part is that Big G is hoping for the claim portal to be LIVE by the 20th April 2020…

(Please give them some leeway on this, it is a mammoth task to achieve, so I think we should be open to forgive if there is a little delay… 🙏)

The other interesting part is that if you use a PAYROLL BUREAU to process your payroll (e.g. any payroll bod external to your company….) then it may be, and we are saying MAY, that they will not be able to access the claim portal, and you, as a business owner, will need to do the claiming….

A bit tricky considering most business owners use a payroll bureau because they don’t want to do payroll (fair enough) so therefore the payroll bureau holds all of the information they need 🙈

So, stand by your GOVERNMENT GATEWAY accounts!!! It may be that you, as the employer, will need to apply for a different type of PAYE access or reference number to be able to do this…. And if you do, there is a process to follow, and guess what? It ain’t quick……

What we can say is that accounting bodies and lobbyists (yes, the latter do exist ❤️) are trying hard to get this clarified, and as soon as we know, you will too 🤩🤩🤩

Stay safe people, stay home, save lives #InItTogether

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:

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 ( 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:

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:

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:

Here are the summary points:


  • 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………


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.


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.


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:

Support 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


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…..

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:


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:

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.


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.


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:

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.


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


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.


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 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:

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:

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

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