By Michelle Quince, Senior Accountant at Hive Business
It’s that time of the year again. Put up the mistletoe and warm up the mulled wine because it’s going to be a holly, jolly Christmas!
Before we do that though, just take just a second and spare a thought for accountants at this special time of year. HMRC kindly set their regime up with a deadline of 31st January so Christmas falls at a bit of an inconvenient time for both you and us! It’s all hands to the pump as we squirrel away making sure that your tax returns are filed, and you know exactly how much tax to pay at the end of January. With it being busy in the office and with all the necessary Christmas preparations at home, things can get a little fraught during this most wonderful time of the year.
That got me to thinking, how can we make the process as effective as possible for both you and us during the busiest time of year? So today, I asked everyone at Hive a question… what would help in the run-up to 31st January?
Organisation is key!
We’ve recently moved the Agile boards into the accountancy team’s office. This visual prompt will help everyone stay on track. We also have a target set up which helps the team maintain visibility of the overall goals along with work plans and monitoring will enable us all to keep on top of the busy period ahead.
When our clients send in their records early it means no surprises for them later down the line when they’re paying on 31st January! Send your records in as soon as possible after the 5th April. If you’re consistently sending your records in during December/ January we can help you review your record keeping process.
Take your bookkeeping seriously – for directors of limited companies, failure to keep adequate accounting records can lead to a £3k fine from HMRC and disqualification as a director so it’s important that you pay attention to your business finances. We’re here to help you meet your responsibilities so feel free to ask for advice when you need it.
With HMRC moving towards “Making Tax Digital”, it’s going to become even more important to keep on top of your business finances. Xero and its automation has made this task a lot easier in recent years and having up-to-date books helps us to better advise you on any business matters that may arise.
Finally, try to keep accurate bookkeeping and records – the number one priority is to make sure your bank is fully reconciled within Xero. In addition, if you mention something in the year-end checklist, please provide as much detail as you can so we don’t have to bother you unnecessarily.
Keep in touch – we spend a lot of time reviewing what you send us and pulling together all that’s required by HMRC so when we do have questions, please try and get back to us as soon as you can. If you don’t understand anything, please pick up the phone and speak to us as there are never any silly questions.
Discuss your plans with us before you do anything. The world of accountancy has changed and we can help you with business decisions, whether it be the most tax-efficient way to buy a new CT scanner, how to add a profitable surgery to your practice, when to buy a new practice or even how to formulate your exit plan. Having an impartial, third party like ourselves to advise you on these matters is invaluable but we need to know about these sorts of things before you sign on the dotted line. Please let us be one of the first people you call before making any material business decisions.
Keep your drawings in line with your dividend plan – for directors of limited companies, at the start of each tax year we are able to advise you on a dividend plan… please try and stick to it! We know life might get in the way sometimes but there are consequences of deviating from the plan which can result in unexpected tax liabilities.
We hope you have a wonderful festive season!