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digital tax for individuals

6 benefits of hiring an accounting firm for your business

As part of having your own business, it is expected that you manage the accounts to balance the books. While this is something that many business owners take on as part of their ownership duties, as your business grows, it can be somewhat difficult to stay on top of as the accounts can often become exponentially complex. There are many reasons why you should hire an accounting firm for your business, which will not only save you money but save you hours and hours of wasted time trying to understand those difficult numbers. When wondering ‘why hire an accounting firm’, you should see it as an healthy investment and something that will benefit you in the long run.

1. They save valuable time

As a business owner, or a manager of a business, your role will often consist of a variety of different tasks that will take up a lot of your time. It is often due to this that it becomes hard to have control over all aspects of the business. The business account is one of the most important areas of a business and ultimately determines whether the company is in a loss or a gain.
By hiring an accounting firm for your business, you can put your trust into someone else to take care of this crucial aspect of the business, ultimately meaning that you will save a lot of time and worry.

2. They are the tax experts

Tax returns may seem straightforward but, as many of us can relate to, they often are much more complicated.
There are a variety of ways that you can reduce your tax bill, as well as submit your tax returns, and as a business owner, it is unlikely you have the time or the expertise to utilise such methods. This is where a qualified accountant can be your knight in shining armour.
Accountants are experts in all aspects of taxation and they know the best way to slash your tax bill and free up additional funds for you to reinvest as you see fit. By hiring an accountant, you will manage things in a much-controlled manner.

3. Efficient in terms of cost savings

As part of the role of an accountant, they are in charge of managing the finances for a business and will often notice where money is being unnecessarily spent. It is fairly common for businesses to just accept expenses as part of their monthly outgoings and won’t review whether what they are paying for is necessary.
This is where your accountant would notice this outgoing and flag it to ensure you aren’t overpaying for resources or services.

4. Offer financial advice

Accountants are knowledgeable about all aspects of business, meaning that they are able to offer advice about everything from financial acquisitions to day-to-day business operation. As they will see your financial statements and numbers on a daily basis, they will know the best recommendations to make based on the financial situation of your business.
They can offer advice and tips on cost-cutting and help surge your growth and offer long-term benefit advice.

5. Can rescue you from accounting issues

It takes years to qualify as an accountant, which says something about the complexity of the job. It isn’t something that any of us could start doing on a whim and be a huge success at as we don’t have the extensive knowledge that accountants have.
It is often when people who don’t have the knowledge attempt to do such accounting tasks that mistakes happen. An accounting mistake can be extremely problematic as they could end up costing you thousands of pounds in revenue and might even be the end of your business. This makes it even more important to hire an accountant that you can trust with the finances of your business.

6. Knowledgeable on the software

Not all of us are wizards when it comes to technology; quite frankly a lot of us struggle when it comes to dealing with innovative software and this is what makes accountants even better!
Accountants know all aspects of software, especially the parts that are confusing and hard to understand. Especially with the surge of popularity for digital accounting, accountants can help you reap the advantages of new financial technology.

Why hire accounting firm like Kirkwood Wilson?

Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are proud to say that we are a local accounting firm who are on-hand to support our clients through every aspect of their business. We are here to help, whether you are looking for business advice or assistance with some financial queries.
As experts in digital accounting, and digital accounting software like Xero, we are here to facilitate your every need regarding your business finances. So if you’re wondering “why hire an accountant for your business”, we say hire Kirkwood Wilson and see how we can benefit your business.

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What to consider when choosing your accountants

It is important to bear in mind that choosing an accountant that is right for your business is not always an easy process; after all, as you will be handing over your finances to this accountancy firm, it is essential you choose a company you can trust. Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we thought we would help you with this process and advise on some things to consider when you are choosing an accountant.

Ask around

A famous adage that never goes out of fashion: ‘word of mouth’. This still stands as one of the most popular forms of referral in various industries. Many people rely on word of mouth recommendations as it is thought to be one of the most trustworthy sources of information, so ask your business connections.
If your business contacts are happy with their accountancy firm, they are likely to place you in the right direction. Some people find it easier to follow recommendations from people they know, so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open and see if any of your contacts can recommend any accountancy firms.

Do some detective work

No matter how many glowing recommendations you receive about certain accountancy firms, when you are choosing an accountant, you should be doing some detective work of your own. Hop onto Google and find their website. You want to look at the accounting services that a firm offers and see if it is suitable for you and your business needs.

For example, if your business operates through digital accounting software, you won’t want to pick a firm that hasn’t branched out into this service yet, as you will just end up back at square one.

Think local

When you are choosing an accountant, you want to think about locational factors.
Picture this: you’re sitting at your desk and suddenly you have a huge accounting issue and don’t know how to fix it. What do you do? Pick up the phone and try to solve it?
This kind of example is exactly why having a local accountant comes in very useful. You can just quickly pop round the corner and have your problem solved with a click of your fingers. By choosing an accountancy firm that is local to you, for example an accountants in Lancashire, you can rest assured that your needs will always be met and any worries will be eased immediately.
Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are happy to say that we strive as local accountants in Lancashire. Many of our clients are situated close to us and always comment on the assurance that they get knowing that their accountants are a mere few miles away.

The relationship with your accountant

As with any encounter or partnership in life, when choosing your accountants, you want to feel comfortable with them. When you make the decision to commit to an accounting firm, it is a decision that should not be taken lightly. You should be sure that you feel comfortable with the firm and feel at ease that your finances will be handled in the best possible way.
This is why it is important to ensure, when choosing your accountants, that you pick a firm that sets you at ease and stands out from the crowd. Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are proud to say that we work hard to ensure that each relationship we have with our clients is a deep and meaningful one. We want our clients to feel comfortable picking up the phone at any time and just giving us a call. After all, their commitment to us is what makes us strong.

To learn more about Kirkwood Wilson and the services that we offer, just get in touch with us today and see how we can help you.

Why is Xero better than its competitors?

Getting personal with your accountants

When it comes to choosing an accountant, finding a firm that can offer a personal touch is very important. Your accountants will be diving into all of the ins and outs of your finances and building a trustworthy relationship is an absolute must. Here at Kirkwood-Wilson Accountants we are so proud of the bespoke, personal service we offer to our clients. Read on to understand the importance of a client-accountant relationship and how to get the absolute most out of it.

Importance of client-accountant relationships

When choosing an accountant, finding a firm that will put their clients first has to be the top of your priority list. Accountants are there to guide you through the toughest financial decisions, whilst offering in-depth and relevant financial advice, so finding one you not only trust, but can build a good working relationship with is essential.

Accountants aren’t just for the end of the tax year. They can also offer financial advice for your business, making them a year round trusted advisor. For that reason, you will also want to ensure that you will have easy access to the experts within the accountancy firm.

Here at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we offer all the services you would expect from an accountancy firm but we also design and tailor our services around your unique requirements. Our team of friendly and approachable accountants will gladly go the extra mile, offering a personal touch, whilst ensuring that you receive a high quality accounting service. Something that all of our clients find invaluable.

How to get the most out of your relationship with your accountant

If you have been calling your accountancy firm only once a year, it’s time to make a change. Start checking-in once a month to really get the most out of your relationship with your accountants. By being proactive, instead of reactive, you can nip any accountancy errors in the bud, whilst keeping up to date with the changing financial landscape, laws, and regulations.

By switching to an accountants who offers a more personalised approach and leave you feeling like a valued customer, you will benefit in the following ways:

  • You will feel assured that your accounts are in the best hands, cared for by experts who truly understand your business goals
  • You will have your own unique package based on your business needs, giving you exactly what it is you require from your accountancy firm. This means that no time or money is wasted on services you do not necessarily require
  • You will feel supported in your business and financial goals and will not spend months dreading the end of the financial year.

Choosing an accountant

When it comes to choosing an accountant, finding one that treats you as a valued customer and not just a number is indispensable.

Kirkwood Wilson Accountants put together bespoke packages that allow you to receive the support you need regarding specific aspects of your business at a time when you need them. Providing that personal service is something we are truly passionate about and is the main reason why we have seen such growth across our business over the last twenty years.

Switch accountants today

If you are thinking of switching accountants, don’t leave it until the end of the financial year, start looking now. Kirkwood-Wilson Accounts offer a range of services including:

As a family owned business, we understand the unique challenges you will face and have the knowledge and expertise to support you in overcoming them. We also offer advice on commercial finance options that allow businesses of all sizes to achieve their investment goals by supporting your business’s growth and helping you maintain a healthy cash flow.

Switch accountants today and start benefiting from dynamic, effective, and client-focused accounting that you can trust. With Kirkwood Wilson, you know you are choosing an accountant that you can not only trust, but will be there to support you throughout the lifespan of your business.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme update

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update

Many of our clients await the details of the furlough extension and on Friday we received an update from the Chancellor. Please find below the government updates, it is important to note that from August onward the government scheme will slowly be tapered.

June and July

  • The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500, plus the employer National Insurance and the minimum pension contributions. This is very similar to the scheme since it commenced, however from 1 July the scheme has enhanced flexibility
  • The flexibility of the scheme from 1 July onward allows employers to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time, with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility has come in one month earlier than planned as it aims to get people back into work.
  • You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as your business needs, with no minimum time that you can furlough staff for.
  • Any working hours arrangement that you agree with your employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. We will need you to keep a track of these hours and arrangement as this information is needed for the furlough claim
  • Do not worry if your employees cannot return to work or you have no work for them as you can continue to claim as you have in prior months.

August

  • The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500.
  • But, employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed.

September

  • The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work
  • Employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500.

October

  • The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work
  • Employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500.

 

It is also important to note the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.

We will continue to support you during this crisis, and we will calculate all of the claims for you over the period of time. Whether this means your employees remain fully or partially furloughed we will handle this for you. We just wanted you to be aware of the scheme changes over the coming months as the employers contribution towards wages commences in August and increases gradually until the scheme is expected to cease in October 2020.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Improved flexibility

Late last week we were informed that the government are making changes to the furlough scheme one month earlier than originally planned.

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the furlough grant for their normal hours not worked.

We feel this new flexibility of the scheme can significantly benefit our clients as we have had many clients furlough employees and some that have been reluctant to do so as their business cannot run without them employees.

Are you one of those businesses that have struggled to pay your staffs wages but have not yet furloughed any of your employees because of the strict criteria that ‘your employee cannot conduct ANY work if on furlough’? If so, please do get in touch!

The scheme flexibility from 1 July, allows your staff members to work per your agreed shift pattern and the remaining hours not worked would be subsidised via the furlough scheme. This means that you would only pay out the hours you can afford for your staff to work, rather than running your business into the ground.

The government have launched this flexible scheme to support businesses and to protect the UK economy and we therefore advise where possible to use this scheme if your operations have been severely affected by the coronavirus crisis.

There are key dates to be aware of as the scheme closes to new entrants from 30 June. This means the latest date your employee can first become furloughed is 10 June.

Our clients that have previously made a claim through the furlough scheme will remain entitled to the reclaim from HMRC. This information is only crucial to the employers that have not yet furloughed any employees but do expect this crisis to continue to negatively impact the business operations.

We will be creating a separate blog based on the changes to the scheme as from August to October 2020, but for now please do get in touch if you feel the above applies to you and your business.

Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we do not want any clients to suffer financially any more than they already have, and this scheme could just be that extra support you need to get through these challenging months ahead.

Digital accounting with Kirkwood Wilson

Digital bookkeeping made easy with Xero accounting

Choosing an accountant that uses Xero will open your business up to countless bookkeeping opportunities, from allowing you to access valuable pieces of information within a click of a few buttons to enabling employees to preview performance measures. Read on to find out more about Xero Accounting.

How to use Xero Accounting

Finding an accountant who uses Xero doesn’t have to be difficult. If you require an accountant with experience of using Xero accounting systems in your industry, then look no further than Kirkwood Wilson Accountants. We’ve got Xero gold partner status, are highly skilled in Xero accounting, and all things digital accounting related.

So how will Xero accounting work for your business? Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we’ve compiled the following list of examples for how to use a Xero accounting system:

  • Log into Xero to view real-time information on cash flow.
  • Make informed decisions on improving the efficiency of your business
  • Xero accounting will help you get one step ahead with Making Tax Digital (MTD).
  • Say goodbye to missing sheets of paper, with Xero accounting system you can store information in one simple place.
  • Add in customisable quotes for each task or transaction so you can easily identify transactions.
  • Effectively manage clients, including invoicing, reporting and keeping contact details.

Benefits of choosing an accountants with Xero bookkeeping

If you’re a small business owner, you might be thinking that a good way to save money is by completing your own accounting yourself. This can include late nights invoicing and getting to grips with tax returns. In some situations, rookie errors can occur.

Choosing an accountant with a strong knowledge of Xero is the surest path to effectively integrating
a Xero digital accounting system into your business. They can explain the necessary steps needed to streamline your bookkeeping.

Here are just some of the benefits of choosing a Xero gold partner, like Kirkwood Wilson:

  • Limit the chances of any ‘rookie’ errors, Xero accounting system helps digitise your accounts and invoice digitally.
  • Your accountants will help you to set up your Xero accounting system and talk you through the necessary processes.
  • Your accountants will help you to ensure you never miss a tax return deadline.
  • Your accountants will provide you with useful information about how to streamline your invoicing payments, helping with cash flow.

Get a Xero accounting system from Kirkwood Wilson Accountants

At Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we’re dedicated to helping businesses streamline their accounts and a Xero accounting system is perfect for the job. With a click of a few buttons, businesses can access their digital bookkeeping activities and gain valuable insights on cash flow quickly and easily.

Whether on the way to a business meeting or out of the office on leave, employees can access the Xero accounting system from anywhere with an internet connection.

So if you’re on the lookout for a digital bookkeeping system and an accountant who can advise on a Xero accounting, Kirkwood Wilson Accountants can show you how Xero accounting can work for your business!

Why not speak to one of our expert Xero accounting system accountants today by calling us on 01704 546 000?

Working from home during Covid-19

It’s work, but not as we know it

I sit at my desk as I write this blog, my computer on one side of me, my printer on the other side. The window slightly ajar, I can hear the song of the birds in the trees. My phone buzzes and yep, it’s a client getting in touch as they do each quarter to find out the dreaded VAT bill.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a normal day for me. I guess to some degree it is. I mean, the content of the day in many ways remains the same as it did 8 weeks ago. I still speak with Caroline more than I do the majority of my family members, the staff still groan when I make a cheesy joke mid-conversation, and I still use Xero like it’s going out of fashion.

The difference is I do it all from home.

COVID-19 has arrived in the country like some sort of bullet train and we’ve all had to adjust to this ‘new normal’ whether we like it or not.

At Kirkwood Wilson, we actually began working from home before the lockdown was announced. Dan and I spent time ensuring that we had enough WiFi dongles that everyone could get set up at home. We even had a trial day where we each tested the systems we’d be using at home so we could be certain it would be very much business as usual.

And that’s exactly what it is for us: business as usual. Yes, the scenery is different but we work as efficiently as we ever have.

Questions about Benefits-in-Kind have now been replaced with queries about the various Coronavirus help schemes introduce by HMRC. VAT returns are in the majority filed and our focus is very much on completing the furlough claims for March and April for our clients. Year-end accounts have, for the last week or so at the very least, taken a sensible back seat whilst we concentrate on transferring payroll schemes from our old systems to the new Xero Payroll software.

We have never been busier nor needed more by our clients, but I truly believe we’ve excelled in challenging circumstances. The staff have pulled together in ways I don’t think any of us could have imagined. We have an incredible team at KW and each one brings something unique to our incredibly cohesive unit. Twice weekly meetings on Zoom now start our Monday and Thursday mornings in the best way possible.

Microsoft Teams has meant that we can still keep our juniors’ knowledge expanding on a daily basis and allows us to connect with our clients to get year-end meetings boxed off and accounts out of the door. Clients remain informed of tax liabilities well in advance of their deadlines.

Clients will be missing the sound of Ash or Jo’s friendly voices as they would usually pick up the phone and pass you over to one of the staff should you have a query for us. We’re now contactable by mobile phone and I for one can vouch that my phone’s been taking a beating with phone calls the last few weeks.

What that’s meant though is for the client, everything appears seamlessly integrated with our former methods of working. The client experience, in our opinion remains as high, if not higher than ever and we really do believe this period is laying the foundations for the practise to move forward in the best shape possible.

The ‘new normal’? More than likely not forever. I for one think this will usher in a new way of working for everyone, and one in which adaptability becomes the new buzzword.

Working from home

Kirkwood Wilson logo

Update on Kirkwood Wilson and our responses to the Coronavirus pandemic

First of all, and most importantly, we sincerely hope that you are keeping in good health and managing to cope day to day with the restrictions currently in place. This pandemic certainly brings home the fact that health is the most important factor in our lives!

I thought that it would be useful to update everyone on how we at KW are coping with the crisis.

I am truly grateful that we made the important decision to move all of our operations onto ‘the cloud’ some time ago. As a result of this, we were simply able to leave the office and work from home with a very minimal amount of disruption.

We are managing to keep everyone working and have not had to furlough any of our team and, as long as our clients keep the work flowing in, then we will be able to continue with this approach. We have regular Zoom meetings with the entire team so we all know exactly where we are up to and what’s happening with you, our clients.

Here’s an update on each team:

Accounts

All of the accounts team are managing to keep on top of all of their bookkeeping, VAT and year end workload. Fortunately, 90% of our accounts clients use cloud-based software so we can carry on as normal. In other cases, there is always an innovative solution to retrieving data electronically!

All of the team are accessible on their mobiles and we have spent the last two weeks reassuring our clients, helping them plan their cashflow and advising regarding the various grants and schemes available.

Whilst we appreciate that, for many clients , the monthly bookkeeping load will reduce, we still have to prepare and submit VAT returns and year end accounts.

We intend to press on with this work so that we keep as many clients as possible up to date with the statutory duties.

Payroll

Payroll has undoubtedly been our busiest department and we would like to thank our clients for being patient whilst we have been answering the hundreds of emails requiring specific advice.

We are currently completing the payroll year ends and then we will be starting the April month ends and coping with the two short weeks for the Easter break!

Please let us have your payroll information as soon as you possibly can (this might be relatively easy if all of your team are furloughed!).

Tax

We have just started the new tax year and Ange, Julie and Kirsty are raring to go! Please let us have your tax return information as soon as possible so that we can look at your payments on account and help you with the self employed grant claim, where appropriate.

For some clients, the thought of having to pay for the tax work might deter them from providing the information. We are always happy to accommodate a payment plan to suit your needs and please talk to us about this if it is a concern.

Ad hoc work

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you simply need some advice or someone to talk to about your finances. We are here to help and we definitely won’t be raising any extra fee notes where clients need to chat.

We are all in this together and the more clients that we can help to survive this crisis, the better we will feel in the long run.

Updates are going up on our Facebook page, so please ‘like’ and follow us to keep up to date.

Finally, we would like to wish you a happy Easter and all of our best wishes in these difficult times.

Take care

Caroline and Dan

Small Business Grant Funding

The Small Business Grant Funding can now be claimed for online, please use your local councils website to access the relevant portal.

The below link will help you find which local authority you come under if you are unsure:-

Find your local authority

The details required to make the claim are as follows:

  • Company Name
  • Company Number
  • Address of Premises
  • Business Rates Account Number *
  • Property Reference Number *
  • Property Description *

*Can be found on your rates demand letter

Business Bank Account Details

You will also need to know the rateable value of the property, if you do not have a rates demand letter available, please use the link below to obtain this information:-

Find your businesses rateable value

The small business rates grant is £10,000 for businesses with little or no business rates.

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme is also now open for applications which provides business in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant up to £25,000 per property.

Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 may be eligible for a grant of £10,000.

Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 may be eligible for a grant of £25,000.

Please ensure you are claiming for the correct grant.

We have received feedback from clients who have made their claim that the processing time for these claims are 7 days. Once the claim has been approved the amount will be within the business bank account within 7 days of your local authority approving the claim.

We are unaware whether these timings will alter due to the level of applicants, therefore we advise you to apply ASAP. This should help you obtain the business grant within the next week or two to support your cashflow needs.

What is Furlough and how can I implement it for my Payroll?

An employee furlough refers to a temporary leave or modification of normal working hours for a specific amount of time. It’s a leave of absence given to an employee with the promise that they will still have their job once the leave is over.

There are numerous reasons why employers implement a furlough employee policy, such as plant shutdowns, seasonal work, company reorganisations and reduced demand due to COVID-19.

Don’t rush into implementing an employee furlough policy without talking to your lawyer or HR specialist first.

If you decide that putting employees on furlough is the best option for you and your employees, then you need to prepare a notification letter. Your furlough notice letter should contain the following:

  • Address – This is a formal letter, a furlough notice should clearly state the date, employee’s name, and their address
  • Purpose – State the purpose of the letter. Get straight to the point. Include the employee’s position, department, reason for the furlough, and information about any changes to employee benefits. It is advisable to tell the employee that this action does not reflect dissatisfaction in job performance
  • Detail – Explain what a furlough is, determine the length of the furlough, and communicate employee benefits during this period to employees
  • Future communication – Offer a way for the employee to keep in touch. End the letter on a positive note.

An example of a furlough letter to your employee

Here is an example of the kind of letter you might send to your employees (feel free to copy this);

(Send to employee’s address or email. Note you should discuss and record employee agreement to be Furloughed before you send this letter)

Dear [Employee name],

NI NUMBER AND / OR PAYROLL NUMBER

The purpose of this letter is to formally notify you that your position as [INSERT] on the [XXX DEPARTMENT] is being closed temporarily due to the downturn in business as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Your last official day of work will be [INSERT DAY]. Your salary and benefits will continue at their current level during the Furlough period. Please understand this action in no way reflects dissatisfaction with your job performance.

The length of this furlough is [insert future date or unknown currently].

We will provide regular information as the current Pandemic unfolds and when we return to normal working routines.

A Furlough is a short-term paid temporary leave of absence at 80% [AS APPLICABLE] of current salary. The furlough period and provisions may be changed or terminated at the sole discretion of the Company, and does not create any employment contract, express or implied.

During the furlough period, your pension and other benefits will continue [IF APPLICABLE].

Thank you for your contributions to the business and if I can help in any way, please contact me.

Yours Sincerely,

[insert signature]

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS AN EXAMPLE ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON UNTIL YOU HAVE CONFIRMED CONTENTS WITH YOUR LAWYERS AND / OR HR SPECIALISTS. WE RECOMMEND SEEKING HR ADVICE WITH ALL EMPLOYMENT MATTERS