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Business Health Check – How much are you paying your accountants?

These past 12 months have been difficult for all of us, particularly those who have been working hard to keep their businesses up and running despite the economic downturn brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The one thing all businesses need at the moment, whether an SME or a multinational, is some reassurance that things are improving and that we’ll soon be able to get back to focusing on the things that matter the most. With restrictions lifted there is a collective sigh of relief happening in the business world, but this is no time to rest on our laurels; there is no better time than now to undertake a thorough business health check to make sure that your company is in the right position to take advantage of opportunities. We review below what a small business health check entails and how it could help you. 

What is a business health check?

A business financial health check is a service that works to assess how ‘healthy’ and successful your business is, in relation to where you want it to be. 

This kind of service is a great way to find out whether your business is on the right track, as well as understanding the type of growth that you could potentially achieve and some of the things you may need to consider in order to work towards that growth. 

A business health check is also a great way of finding out whether your company has potential resale value, and what you could do to improve its market value – if and when you decide to part with it. Even if you’re not looking to sell, a business that is attractive to buyers is usually a healthy business with potential future value, and something that we all want our companies to represent. 

Some of the things we would consider when undertaking a business financial health check include: 

  • Ensuring that you have a strong strategy for growth and development that aligns with your business plan and your vision for the business. 
  • Testing your understanding of who your customers are and how you will work to increase their conversion to new products and their spend year on year.
  • An assessment of your profits and sales year on year to ensure that the business is growing. 
  • Reviewing the people, systems and processes that underpin your business. We would look at how you currently utilise these resources and whether there are efficiencies that you could make in order to reach their full potential. 

Why do you need a small business health check?

A small business health check is a great way to understand how your business is performing using the perspective of a fresh pair of eyes. We may spot things that you are too close to see, or that you simply don’t have the time to review. Any areas in which we find any potential problems can then be addressed, and we will provide advice  on how you can improve your business to achieve your planned growth. 

A small business health check can be particularly valuable for SMEs, who often have neither the time nor the internal resources to spare for such a review. If you are already paying for an accountancy service, it may be time to ask yourself whether you are really seeing value for your spend; are you getting the advice you need to move your business forward? Are you paying a monthly retainer for little in return? 

The business health check from Kirkwood-Wilson Accountants

We understand the importance of making every penny count when you are growing your business, whatever size you are now. That’s why our team offers impartial advice as part of our overall accounts service. Our business health check-ups help you to understand where your business is at financially, as well as what you need to do to secure sustainable growth. 

As a family business, we understand the importance of having people around you that you can trust, and how much it means to know that there is someone there to support you through both good and tough times. That is why, through the difficulties of the past 18 months, we have made sure that we have been available to support our clients to help them make the best choices for their business. Can you say the same of your accountant? 

Choose Kirkwood Wilson Accountants to support your business growth<

We offer three standard packages which are made up of a range of accounts, payroll and personal tax services, alongside our expertise in business planning. This is to ensure that you can pick the level of support that best suits your business needs.

We put each team member through a training programme to ensure that they fully recognise the importance of working together to provide a package of support for your business’ growth. When you work with us, we not only just complete your annual accounts, file your financial statements and complete payroll, but we also provide business advice as part of your small business health check. 

Find out more about how we can help you Why not visit our accountancy packages page to find out more about our available services and how we can integrate business health checks to make your business work for you? If you’re interested in learning more about how a tailored accountancy package could work, then speak to one of our team at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants to find out more about the services that we offer. Call us today on +44 (0)1704 546 000 or fill in our contact form and someone will be in touch shortly.

Etsy Accounting

How to turn your hobby into a side hustle

If you’ve assumed that your hobby couldn’t possibly make you money, think again. Whether you’re a wild swimmer who wants to guide beginners in the wonder of taking a dip in the wilds, or a crochet fanatic who fancies selling your wares online; from teaching grunge guitar to sketching pampered pooches, there is the potential for money to be made from just about anything. Provided you have access to the right audience and a way of reaching them, you can work creatively to carve out a living from your spare time – whilst doing the thing you love most. We look below at how to turn your hobby into a side hustle and the kinds of choices you have in terms of starting up side hustles from home.cf

Something you love vs something you’re good at

Any business thought leader worth their salt nowadays will tell you that one of the key aspects of starting and running a successful business is the importance of that intersection between the thing you are passionate about and the thing you are good at. Let’s not pretend otherwise; running a business can be hard work – even when it is successful, even when you love what you do. Therefore, when you’re thinking about setting up a side hustle from home, be sure to look for something that gives you purpose; there is good reason that when people talk about how to turn your hobby into a side hustle, they’re specific about the ‘hobby’ part of the equation. If you choose what you do for fun as well as some extra cash, you’re far more likely to make a success of it.

The transition from hobby to business

It doesn’t have to be a landmark moment, with a website, business cards, employees, and neon signs all ready to go from the off. The transition from hobby to income can be gentle and kept within your time allowance and comfort zone. For example, if your hobby is something that you’re thinking of teaching, find someone that you know and trust who has an interest in dipping a toe in. If you make things that you want to sell online, test the waters by setting yourself up as a seller on a third part site like Etsy – there’s no need to have your own ecommerce store until you know that there is a real market and you’re happy with how your side hustle from home is progressing. And if you intend for your side hustle to remain just that, then it may be that you never scale up, you simply use your hobby to provide an additional income stream with no pressure for growth. When you’re thinking about how to turn your hobby into a side hustle, then, create a plan – but keep it realistic, with bite-sized tasks to work through. Rome, as they say, was not built in a day. 

The pitfalls of side hustles from home

The reality is that your side hustle is what you make it; it will take as much time and energy as you are willing and able to give. The return on that effort will be the result of a combination of creating a demand through your platform of choice, being able to charge enough to make a profit, your ability to create happy customers and, let’s face it, a little bit of luck. However, the one area where you must be properly informed is around the likely tax implications. It’s not as daunting as it may seem, but you must be sure to understand what is required from the outset so you don’t find yourself with unexpected bills further down the line. Here are some simple steps that you must take:

  • Set yourself up as a sole trader, partnership or limited company. That simply means letting HMRC know that you are trading – and it’s fine if you are already employed, you simply give them the full details. 
  • Keep records of what you sell, any invoices you receive and any additional expenses that you incur. 

You don’t need to register for VAT unless you expect to turn over more than £85,000 in a year (and for most side hustles that’s a tall order). At the end of your first year of trading you will submit a tax return online which uses the information from the records you have been keeping. 

Starting a side hustle from home is an exciting prospect, and a road that many people now choose to take. If you are worried about the financials, Kirkwood Wilson Accountants offer a range of services for small and micro businesses including sole traders, and would be happy to help or advise you on anything from your tax return to your accounting software. If you would like an informal chat then get in touch on 01705 546 000 or email us on [email protected]

What is the best accounting software for construction companies?

Construction businesses face additional challenges compared to retailers, the service industry and even manufacturers. Not only is their environment and customer base very fluid with work dependent on other parts of the supply chain as well as material availability and even the weather, but they are often working on many projects at the same time, each of which need a proportion of both direct and overhead costs attributed to them. If you are wondering which is the best accounting software for your construction company, read on to find out why it’s such an important question and how to go about answering it.

What are the challenges in accounting for construction companies?

Wherever your business is positioned in the world of construction – at the design stage, the main build or specialist services – whether a small sub-contractor or one of the larger contractors, keeping control over your finances is vital. The key challenges facing businesses looking for accounting software for use in construction companies are:

  • Large numbers of contractors and sub-contractors to manage
  • Temporary, contract and short time workers meaning that payroll can be fluid and complex
  • Equipment and tools, both owned and hired/leased
  • Purchasing for stock, for one-off builds and for multiple builds 
  • Staff and equipment used across multiple projects over any given timeframe.

What to look for in accounting software for construction

There are a few critical areas to consider when deciding on what the best accounting software is for construction. These include:

  • Finances on the go. Unless you take a laptop with you everywhere you go or are stationed in the office permanently, you need to be able to update your records on the move. The simplest way of doing this is through cloud-based accountancy software, which allows you to record, monitor and track details from an app on your phone. 
  • Recording of day-to-day transactions. This needs to be straightforward to make sure you maintain daily records regardless of your busy schedule. That means recording labour costs, material costs, accounts payable and accounts receivable as they happen.
  • Job costing breakdowns by project. Construction companies need to be able to allocate all expenses and monies received to a specific project, to ensure that you can track profitability, help you to quote for future work and to ensure the right level of information is available at the point of completing your tax return. 
  • CIS deduction calculations. The government’s Construction Industry Scheme can be a headache in terms of administration and tax returns. An automated way of tracking CIS deductions as you go takes away the hassle at the end of the financial year. 
  • Also required are standard features of any accountancy software such as the facility to track business expenses and allocate them (or a portion of them) to a project, and bank reconciliation. You may also want your accountancy software to handle payroll.

Accounting for construction companies: the solution

There is more than one option when it comes to cloud accountancy software, and finding the right solution for your business can be daunting. Xero is a great software application developed specifically for the construction industry. Not only does it work seamlessly on both PCs and mobiles through an app, making your finances easy to track and update wherever you are, but it ensures that your data is secure and backed up at all times. Most importantly, however, Xero has features that have been developed specifically for construction businesses, including running CIS calculations as you go, with each transaction automated so that you can get on with managing your business. You can also verify your subcontractors with HMRC directly and run monthly reports on your CIS subcontractor payments and deduction statements. Tracking codes within Xero allow you to track and report on specific projects to review progress, check against a budget and ensure that profitability is on track. In our view, Xero is the best accounting software for construction businesses, designed specifically with you in mind.

If you would like to find out more about working with Xero as the choice for accounting within your construction company, take a look at our dedicated page. If you’d rather have a chat with us then get in touch with the team at Kirkwood Wilson Accountants; we are a Xero Gold Partner with experience in working with companies throughout the building trade and would love to see if we can help you find the right solution for your business. Call us on 01704 546 000 or email [email protected]

Picture of working at home desk

Starting a side hustle – everything you need to know

According to a study by Henley Business School, two fifths of the working population of Britain already have a side hustle. Whether it’s intended as a financial top-up, a new challenge or a hobby that can earn you a couple of quid on the side, this kind of hustle is becoming the norm for us working Brits. If you have a great idea for a side hustle but want to know how it might affect you and your existing work life, or if you are looking for ideas on side hustles you can start today, fear not – we have you covered! 

What kind of side hustle should you consider?

The first thing you need to look at is whether your current employment contract allows for you to work outside of your paid job. Some businesses have no policy at all, some don’t allow extra work on top of your day job where others require you to proclaim any extra paid work – usually on the basis that they can judge whether there is a likely conflict of interest. So the first piece of advice? Don’t set up in competition with your current employer; they are bound to find out at some point and it won’t be taken lightly. 

Many business owners are starting to buy into the school of thought that says a happy employee is a successful employee – and if a side hustle makes you happy, well they are likely to be right on board with the idea. You may have to convince your employer that you won’t be falling asleep at your desk through overwork, but aside from that, there is nothing legally stopping you from starting a side hustle unless it is specified within your employment contract that you cannot. 

Side hustles you can start today:

There are so many options for side hustles, with the world of social media and ecommerce platforms making it easy to set up and start selling on a very small scale. The main question you need to answer is around your motivation; why you are doing it, and therefore which side hustle might suit you best. We’ve put together a list of some of the side hustles you can start today: 

Starting a side hustle for cash:

If your main motivation is to earn a bit of extra cash, take some time out to assess your availability and your skills. Popular side pursuits include:

  • Delivery driver – businesses like Deliveroo have plenty of side hustlers on their books, and for those of you working a 9-5 it could be ideal. 
  • Tutoring – if you have an in-depth knowledge in a particular subject matter, this is an ideal way to earn some extra cash.
  • Taxi driving – if you already have a vehicle, you could work just about any hours you choose on a casual basis.

Starting a side hustle for passion:

If you have a particular hobby or love of something that you need to cover the costs of, selling your skills or your output is a great way to fund it – and it may be that you can scale up over time and eventually give up the day job.

  • Etsy seller – if your skills and passion lie in craft, design and making things, artisan and quirky gifts fly off the virtual shelves here.
  • Dog walking – if you love animals but can’t keep one yourself, why not take advantage of other working Brits and walk their dogs while they are on shift?
  • Artworking – sketches, pencil drawings and paintings of people’s pets, children and homes are extremely popular nowadays. If you are artistic, this could be a great place to look at starting a side hustle.

Starting a side hustle to gain experience:

New out of college? Have some new skills but no experience to start a full-blown business? Freelancing in your field can be a brilliant starting point.

  • Marketing – if you have marketing skills or a recently earned degree, why not try offering social media services to those without the time or knowledge to spend on Instagram or Twitter?
  • Decorating – if you want to be an interior designer but have no client portfolio, start small and work on basic projects until you have some examples under your belt; once you earn people’s trust you can work your way up to larger projects. 
  • Gardening – whether you want to be a landscaper or an agricultural consultant, starting small with people’s chores will get your foot in the door and some testimonials onto your website. 

Think twice before diving in

Whether you have the skills is just one of the questions you need to consider. You should also think carefully about the impact of starting a side hustle on your mental health, your family and your physical health. Increasing a 40-hour week to a 60-hour week with a side hustle you love may just be the outlet you need to fulfil your artistic or social needs. However, if you are simply putting in the hours to pay the bills, you may find that it pushes you over the edge of exhaustion. Starting a side hustle should prove both rewarding and financially worthwhile, and getting that balance right can be challenging. 

What about the tax implications?

Assuming that you set yourself up as a sole trader, provided you keep records of what you earn and what you spend as you run your side hustle, you should have nothing to worry about. You do need to declare your business to HMRC once you start trading, and you need to do this by 5th October following the tax year – however, the sensible thing to do is to register as soon as you can to avoid any fines. Once you have registered as self-employed (you can have this status as well as being an employee of a different business), HMRC will require you to file a tax return by the 31st January following the end of the previous tax year. 

Basic sole trader businesses are not complicated to run or file a return for, and you shouldn’t let it put you off starting a side hustle. If you are concerned about the financial, accounting or tax side of the business, then you can employ a local accountancy firm who will help you in just those areas in which you need support to ensure that you don’t end up in difficulties. 

If you would like advice in starting a side hustle and want to be sure that you’ve covered the financials properly, get in touch with Kirkwood Wilson today and we will be happy to work with you in ensuring that you get your new business off to a great start.

Accounting Services

Why your small business needs an accountant

You might be mistaken into thinking that as a small business, you are able to manage your own accounting and bookkeeping. However, as with any business, whether small or a start-up, the aim is always to grow. By enlisting an accountant, you can focus on the growth of your business whilst they handle all the paperwork. Read on to find out more about why your small business needs an accountant.

What do we mean by small business?

Of the 5.5million registered businesses in the UK, over 99% of them are classified as a small to medium-sized business. These small businesses and start-ups cover a whole range of useful and luxury goods, or services and experiences. However, small businesses have a number of defining characteristics that help to identify them as a small business. 

To be legally identified as a small business, your organisation must consist of less than 50 employees, with a turnover of less than £10,000,000 annually. A micro business is a little bit smaller than that, with less than 10 employees and a turnover of less than £2,000,000 annually. 

What a small business accountant can do for your business

In the UK, company accounts must be submitted to Companies House every single year, regardless of whether your company has been active or dormant in the last 12 months. Your accounts must be registered with Companies House within 9 months of the last Accounting Reference Date, also known as the ARD. This is usually the anniversary of the last calendar day of the month your company was registered. So, for example, if your business was registered with Companies House in January, your accounts must be filed with Companies House in the following September. 

If you run a small business, or you are self-employed, an accountant can bring considerable advantages. We’ve listed a few of the top ones below. 

An accountant helps you handle growth

As a small business, your aim is likely to be that you want to grow your business sustainably. By hiring an accountant, they will be on hand to help you handle these growth transitions, such as hiring new employees or moving to new locations. Your small business accountant will be on hand to look after the finer details of your businesses growth, such as payroll, employee tax management, property taxes, utilities and so much more. This frees up a considerable amount of your time to run your business.

To improve your cash flows

The old saying goes, “cash is king” and in business, this couldn’t be any more true. Cash is the fuel that will keep your business running and without proper control of your cash flow, you cannot make the critical business decisions necessary to keep your business running. 

Having a good small business on hand will help you to ensure that you have good credit control and cash management policies. For example, say your business offers services or goods on a 30-day payment term. By hiring an accountant, they can work to keep your business on top of your finances and ensure that you have good credit control with your customers paying on time. 

Reduce your workload

Understandably, you will want to focus your time on the day to day running of your business rather than spending your precious time and resources on bookkeeping and compliance. This is where an accountant comes in handy.

Let’s say, for example, that you run an Amazon business dealing in technology. Business is booming and you need to ramp up your resources to keep up with demand. This is where an accountant that specialises in accounting for Amazon sellers will come in handy. They can handle all of the day to day running of your business bookkeeping whilst keeping up to date with tax and company compliance. 

They provide valuable business advice

When you choose the correct accountant, they will also be able to serve as a valuable resource for business advice. Carrying with them a wealth of knowledge and experience from dealing with companies and clients from all walks of life, an accountant will be well versed in most of the problems and challenges you may encounter in your business. 

As a result, they are a brilliant resource for sound boarding ideas off and providing valuable business advice. For example, imagine you have a small food takeout business that is booming in popularity. So much so, that you consider opening a new location in another town. Your accountant will be on hand to help advise you on the potential challenges and pitfalls you may face as a business owner looking to expand, to help eliminate some of that risk. 

They help you to process payroll

Businesses with employees need to operate payroll effectively and in-line with proper payroll regulations to ensure that employees are treated fairly and legally. By not complying with payroll regulations, your business could face huge fines and backdated tax bills that may ultimately lead to the collapse of your business. 

By hiring an accountant to handle payroll for you, your business will not fall foul of payroll regulations, leaving you with one less thing to worry about. 

To help measure your businesses performance

Oftentimes, business performance is neglected by small business owners, as is setting timely and measurable business objectives. It has been suggested that approximately 90% of startups fail because they fail to keep on top of their objectives and measure these against their performance. However, an accountant will help you to understand your business’s performance that will enable you to effectively plan your business growth moving forward. 

They keep you up to date with tax and compliance regulations

By hiring a business accountant, they will help you stay up to date with the very latest in tax legislation and other regulations. In doing so, your accountant will help you from falling foul of legislation that may affect your business and cash flow should you encounter large fines and tax bills. 

As an example, perhaps you are struggling to keep on top of your accounts and taxes, with HMRC stepping in due to large unpaid corporation tax bills. In this instance, your business will most likely incur large fines and backdated tax bills. However, by having a small business accountant in place, you can avoid this issue altogether as they file your company accounts annually and calculate your tax bills. 

Find a small business accountant

You can see why it is so important to find a small business accountant to help you grow your business, whilst also managing your accounts and ensuring that you keep up to date with the latest tax legislation and compliance. 

When you are looking for a business accountant, it is important to not just consider the cost to your business. You need to also consider the service they are providing and how good their customer service is. It is vital that you feel comfortable enough to be able to have frank business discussions with your small business accountants about the future of your business and they must understand the nature of your business to help you operate effectively.

Consider all of these factors when looking for your first small business accountant and watch your business flourish with their support.

Accounting and Bookkeeping Services

The importance of bookkeeping when selling on Etsy

During the past year, the percentage of retail sold through ecommerce platforms like Etsy rose from less than 20% to well over 35%. In the course of a single year that’s a phenomenal change, and it’s thanks to the entrepreneurial, open-minded makers and crafters who were able to take up that challenge and move their goods online during the toughest of conditions that we have been able to continue to send beautiful gifts and treat one another even in the hardest of times.

However, along with the creative side of doing business online comes an aspect that some of us are less keen on – accounting. It will do you no favours to simply stick your head in the sand when it comes to bookkeeping, so we take a look at the importance of bookkeeping for Etsy sellers, what support is available, and what you can expect from an Etsy accountant.

Why is bookkeeping for Etsy sellers so important?

Bookkeeping for any business, large or small, ecommerce or face-to-face, is important because it allows you to keep track of day-to-day financial transactions like sales and purchases. However, what sets apart the kind of business done over ecommerce platforms like Etsy is the speed at which these processes take place; goods are bought and shipped in a matter of hours in many cases, with purchases then immediately made to maintain stock levels. Below are just some of the reasons why bookkeeping is so important for Etsy sellers:

Keep track of income and outgoings

In order to understand what money you are making and spending and to keep a control on that expenditure day-to-day, you need to ensure that you are keeping track of those movements. Software such as Xero is designed specifically with bookkeeping for Etsy sellers and other ecommerce platforms in mind; it integrates directly with ecommerce stores so that the tracking of finances is smooth and automated, and you can access that information at any time and from anywhere via an app. 

Manage cash flow

As a small business, cash flow is equally as important as – if not more important than – profit. Whilst one of the key reasons for being in business is profitability in the long-term, if your cash-flow doesn’t enable you to pay your suppliers or workers, you won’t stay in business very long. Bookkeeping allows you to keep control over your cash flow, make sure that you are receiving money when you expect to, purchase stock only as you need it and pay your suppliers at a time that gives you the best chance of success.

Analyse successes and capitalise on them

Bookkeeping, for Etsy sellers just like all other small businesses, helps to inform you of what is going right and where you could improve. If you track when you sell goods, how much profit you make and from which product lines into which market areas, you can start to track what works for your business and what you should do more of. If you choose to work with a management accountant, Etsy, combined with the information from your cloud accountancy package, will provide them with all the data they need to be able to analyse which areas to invest in, expand on and promote, as well as enable you to forward plan for the future. 

If you are looking for an Etsy accountant who can support you in growing and managing your business, Kirkwood-Wilson Accountants are experienced in bookkeeping for Etsy sellers; we are Xero Gold Partners and can support you in the set-up and installation of a cloud accountancy tool as well as providing you with accountancy services to fit your needs longer term.

If you want to feel like you are in control of your business but with the support of an experienced Etsy accountant, get in touch with us for a chat about your business on 01704 546 000 or email [email protected].

Accountant working at desk

Selling online? Why you need our ecommerce accounting services

Setting up your own online business is exciting! Finding out what works for your customers and watching your turnover grow over time, not to mention the many benefits in terms of managing your own time and making your own decisions, can be exhilarating. However, the idea that we have to suddenly become experts in every area of business – from marketing and sales to accounting and employment law – can be daunting.

The most effective way to run a business is to try to understand the basic requirements of every area of your business, match those with your own abilities, and outsource the bits that don’t fit with your skills, your time or your passion. The great thing about ecommerce accounting services is that, done properly, you can choose exactly which areas of your finances you want to outsource and keep the rest for yourself. We take a look at some of the benefits of using an experienced ecommerce accountant and how we could help your business grow.

How do you start your own ecommerce business?

Before we get down to the benefits of using an experienced ecommerce accountant, we thought we better start with the basics. How exactly do you start your own ecommerce business?

Firstly you need a product or a service. Once you have this, there are plenty of tools online to help you get set up to start selling across a range of platforms, including Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. 

One of the most important things to consider when setting up your own ecommerce business, is to get everything you need in place from the start. We are seeing more and more ecommerce business men and women who are supplementing their full time job with income from their ‘side-hustle’. With this comes the potential for nasty tax bills in the future, especially if you’re already close to the higher-rate tax threshold in your ‘normal’ job.

Organising an ecommerce accountant from the very start can not only help you avoid expensive tax bills, but they can also help you with business advice including cash flow management, setting budgets and giving you the tools you need to help your business grow. 

The benefits of using an experienced ecommerce accountant

Now we understand the importance of having that accountancy support right from the start, let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of having an experienced ecommerce accountant in place for your business.

Keep control of your finances

We’re not suggesting you hand over your accounts (and therefore your financial control) to someone else. Quite the opposite, in fact. We believe that all business owners should feel completely in control of their finances, whether you are running a multi-million pound manufacturing business or a sole trader ecommerce business selling handmade goods from your kitchen.

One of the great advantages of employing ecommerce accounting services which are designed specifically for businesses like yours is that, when used properly, you have access to, and total control over, your own business’ finances. 

Have full visibility of your business’ finances

One of the fantastic changes that accountancy has seen over the past decade is the development of excellent cloud accountancy packages which can be fully integrated with your ecommerce store and provide you with the tools you need to run your business and your finances seamlessly. 

We recommend that you choose a package like Xero, which provides an app so that you can manage your finances on the move, as well as giving you a solution that will track sales, costs and inventory so that you can take care of all your key financial aspects in one place. You can then choose how much intervention and support you want from your ecommerce accounting service provider, and that’s where ecommerce accountants like Kirkwood-Wilson come into our own; our expertise in digital accounting combined with experience in supporting small business owners of ecommerce sites means that we understand just how much flexibility you need. 

Create your own financial support package

It may be that you’re looking for ecommerce accounting services that will support you from the outset, assisting with setting up your cloud-based accounting software and helping you to integrate it with your ecommerce platform to ensure that the data is correct and the outputs are providing you with the right level of support. 

We did exactly this for our client Mad Fashion, who moved from manual tracking of stock, sales and costs to Xero, which fully integrated with their existing ecommerce site to take the pain out of their financial tracking. You can read more about how we supported them as a Xero Gold partner in their case study.

However, you don’t need to go all-in; Kirkwood-Wilson Accountants offer ecommerce accounting services that are completely tailored to your needs. Not only are we a Xero Gold partner and therefore well placed to help you set up digital accounting, but we also offer a range of basic accounting packages that can be adjusted to fit your needs and the needs of your business. 

Choose ecommerce accounting services you can trust

If you are looking for an ecommerce accountant, we will work with you to understand the level of support that your business requires and make sure that you receive just the right amount of back-up and advice to give you the best chance of growth – without breaking the bank. 

To find out more about our ecommerce accounting services, get in touch for a free consultation on 01704 546 000 or email [email protected]

Money tree growing

How ‘Help to Grow’ Can Help Your Small Business

This March sees twelve months since the pandemic took a grip of the UK. Over the last twelve months, thanks to three lockdowns, tier systems, and life-saving rules and regulations, the UK economy has taken a battering. Fortunately, the government has stepped in time and time again with lifelines for workers and small businesses. The latest action is the ‘Help to Grow’ scheme which aims to help small businesses learn new skills, reach new customers, and boost profits.

A bleak economic situation

Three lockdowns over the last twelve months has taken its toll on small businesses throughout the UK. Hairdressers have been shut for the better half of twelve months and the hospitality industry has suffered greatly, with pubs in the North West having been closed since the end of September. 

The situation is, quite frankly, taking its toll on the economy, but thanks to the government, the situation is not as bleak as it possibly could have been. A generous furlough scheme has seen employees be able to claim 80% of their salary while their workplaces are closed and self employed business owners have been able to claim grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

However, the government needs small business to bounce back – and fast! With Boris Johnson recently announcing the roadmap out of lockdown and brighter days on the horizon, small businesses need all the help they can get in order to be ready to reopen. Enter the Help to Grow scheme.

What is Help to Grow?

Help to Grow is a programme funded by the government that aims to help small and medium sized businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers, and boost profits. The twelve week programme which will start this June will be delivered by business schools who have all the knowledge required to support small business leaders to develop their strategic skills.

Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, the Help to Grow programme will combine a practical curriculum, with 1:1 support from a business mentor, peer-learning sessions, and an alumni network.

How much does Help to Grow cost?

If you think Help to Grow will be a great way for your business to increase productivity, improve performance, and cut costs, you can simply register online to sign up. The scheme is subsidised by 90% by the government, so Help to Grow costs only £750 to attend.

Who can attend Help to Grow sessions?

Help to Grow has been designed with business leaders in mind, therefore participants should be a decision maker or member of the senior management team within the business. For example, you could send your Chief Executive or Finance Director. 

Sadly, charities are not able to register for Help to Grow. However, there are other initiatives available for businesses such as these. 

Who can attend Help to Grow sessions?

Suitable for UK businesses from any sector that have been operating for more than one year, Help to Grow can help your small business in a number of different ways.

  1. Improve business performance

With key modules covering financial management, innovation, and digital adoption, by the end of the programme participants will develop a tailored business growth plan to lead their business to its full potential. This in turn should help your small business improve its performance, increasing profitability!

  1. Help you save time

Help to Grow will advise you on all things digital, including digital accounting software which can help you save time in the day to day running of your business. More time saved means more time to grow your business and profits – which can only be a good thing!

  1. Cut costs

With staff costs, rent and business insurance rates, one thing is certain: running a small business is costly. The Help to Grow scheme will help advise you on areas where costs can be cut, giving you the opportunity to grow in other ways, perhaps by expanding your team or putting money into developing new products.

Find out more about Help to Grow

Find out more about the Help to Grow scheme, including whether your small business is eligible and how to register by visiting the Help to Grow campaign page on the government website. 

An update for self-employed people from Kirkwood Wilson

Please note, this article is applicable to self-employed people only. If you trade through a Limited company you cannot claim this grant. However, you may know people for whom this may be relevant. Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we want to keep you fully updated on all coronavirus support schemes.

The UK Government has extended the support available under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for self-employed people affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). A third grant will cover the period from 1‌‌ ‌November 2020 to 29‌‌ ‌January 2021. If you’re eligible, you’ll be able to claim the third grant at any time from 4‌‌ ‌December 2020 to 29‌‌ ‌January 2021.

The rules on who is eligible to claim are different to those for the previous SEISS grants. However, you still need to have submitted a Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019 showing self-employment income in order to claim (unless one of the existing exceptions applies).

This article informs you all about claiming the third grant. A fourth grant will also be available from February 2021 to April 2021. We’ll tell you more about that nearer the time, including how much it will be and the rules for claiming.

How much is the third grant?

The third grant will be based on 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single taxable instalment capped at £7,500.

Am I eligible to claim?

To make a claim for the third grant, you must meet a number of conditions, and make an honest assessment about whether you reasonably believe your trading profits will be significantly reduced due to coronavirus.

As previously, the third grant will also be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance and must also be reported on 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment tax returns.

As before, to make a claim for the third grant, you must:

  • Be self-employed or a member of a partnership. You cannot claim the grant if you trade through a limited company or a trust
  • Have traded in both the tax years 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020.
For the third SEISS grant you must also:
  • Either be currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand, or have been previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus
  • Declare that you intend to continue to trade, or restart trading, and reasonably believe that the impact on your business will cause a significant reduction in trading profits
  • Only claim if the reduction in profits is caused by reduced business activity, capacity or demand, or inability to trade due to coronavirus. Reduction in profits due to increased costs (such as having to buy masks) does not make a business eligible for the third SEISS grant.

When deciding whether the reduction is significant, you’ll need to consider your wider business circumstances.
HMRC expects you to make an honest assessment about whether you reasonably believe that your trading profits will be significantly reduced compared to what you would otherwise expect to achieve during this period.

Your business must have been impacted on or after 1 November 2020, and you must keep evidence that shows how your business has been impacted by coronavirus, resulting in reduced activity, capacity or demand, or a temporary inability to trade.

How do I claim?

If you’re eligible for the third grant, you can claim on GOV‌‌‌.UK at any time from 4‌‌ ‌December 2020 to 29‌‌ ‌January 2021, by searching ‘Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension’.

Making a claim online is easy using your Government Gateway account. You can do it on a smartphone and it only takes five minutes. If you’re unable to claim online, or feel you would like more support, you can call the HMRC helpline on 0800‌‌ ‌024 1222. It may take longer to complete your claim over the phone.

You don’t need to work out your grant, HMRC will do that for you. Once you’ve submitted your claim (confirming that you meet the eligibility criteria) HMRC will use the information in your previous tax returns to calculate the grant you’re entitled to. They will then pay the money directly into your bank account within six working days.

As always, if you need any help at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and contact our Tax Department on 01704 546000, and we will help wherever we can. Please be aware though that you must make this claim yourself, we are unable to do this for you.

HMRC extends CGT 30-day reporting period

HMRC extends CGT 30-day reporting period

Introduced in April 2020, there is a new requirement for UK residents to report and pay capital gains tax (CGT) on disposals of UK residential properties. This is a new requirement for UK residents as non-residents have had an obligation to pay this since 2015. In our latest article, the team at Kirkwood Wilson provide some guidance on reporting disposals to HMRC, specifically through their online system.

More information on the CGT 30-day reporting period

As of the 6th April 2020, HMRC introduced new rules regarding the reporting of CGT, Capital Gains Tax. These new rules were regarding the disposals of UK residential property and required both UK and non-UK residents to comply. As of the 6th April 2020, any gains of residential properties should be reported within 30 days.

As part of these new rules, individuals are required to register for their own Government Gateway account and set up an online account.

Reporting CGT

UK residents are now required to report gains on UK residential property, only in circumstances where tax is due. This can include:

A deemed disposal
A gift of a residential property
Or a disposal of a principal private residence that does not qualify for full relief.

It is important to note that the requirements for non-residents are wider and apply even where no tax is due.

On 19 August 2020, HMRC upgraded the system to allow gains on second and subsequent disposals to be reported online.

Previously the system could only be used for the first disposal in any tax year and subsequent disposals had to be reported on a paper return.

The system now also allows capacitors (those holding power of attorney) and personal representatives to report gains.

HMRC and CGT 30-day reporting

As stated by HMRC, due to coronavirus (Covid-19), they did not issue late penalties to any transactions completed between 6 April and 30 June 2020, provided the gain was reported and any tax due paid by 31 July 2020. Anyone who completes the sale of a property from 1 July 2020 onwards has 30 calendar days to report and pay the tax due.

Transactions completed from 1 July 2020 will receive a late filing penalty if they are not reported within 30 calendar days. Interest will be charged if the tax remains unpaid after 30 days for all transactions from 6 April 2020.

Kirkwood Wilson and financial advice

So, to sum up, any gains of residential properties since 6.4.20 should be reported within 30 days.

Here at Kirkwood Wilson, we are happy to help with any financial worries or concerns. If the announcement of the 30-day CGT reporting has confused you or is something you require some support with, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.