Is your bookkeeping “acting” up?

By Brian Munjanja

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You didn’t become a musician or an actor or a freelance performer to be able to sit there and do paperwork, did you? Unfortunately, as with all self-employed businesses, paperwork is a key aspect, and accounts and tend to run our lives at certain times of the year. Many of us struggle with the amount of work and others don’t really understand what has to be done?

So, what do you do if you are struggling?

Don’t shove it in a drawer and forget about it or say, “I’ll do it tomorrow!” Tomorrow never comes, and quite often those who put it off incur charges or you do your tax return in such a hurry that you don’t actually know what you’re doing.

What should you do?

Why not put aside 30 to 60 minutes a week to empty your pockets, purse or bag and find all the relevant receipts for that week? Log them in a spreadsheet or directly in your online accounting package, mark on the top they’ve been done and then forget about them. At Broadwing Accountancy, we provide templates for our clients that are fairly easy to use if you use Excel.

What do you do with those receipts?

Well, you could get something very simple like an expanding January to December file, and just put them in a plastic wallet inside those expanding files, label it up for that tax year, and there are your accounting records.

Do you use a car for business?

Yes, then you can claim a mileage allowance. At the beginning and end of each work journey, make a note of the mileage you’ve travelled. On a weekly basis, transfer this information on a spreadsheet, and you’ll be able to see what you can charge your business – 45p a mile or 25p a mile, depending on how many miles travelled that tax year.  It doesn’t take much each week, if you are disciplined to do it. What would you rather do? Sit there and struggle for days on end at the end of the tax year knowing the 31st of January deadline is coming up, or just do something simple like this?

However, technology is making things easier for us – there are accounting and other tools on the Internet that can take photos of receipts such as Expensify, Zoho Expense, Evernote, Google Expense/Google Photos, Smart Receipts or Receipts by Wave For Business. It wings its way off into a system on the internet, and then it comes back, and you can either download it all as a spreadsheet, or you can get it downloaded into an accounting system. The joy of an accounting system is that if it’s learned it once, you very rarely have to keep typing things in. With making tax digital, then you will need to be getting some kind of accounting system anyway like this.

Really, all you need for your accounting records, and if you’re struggling with paperwork, are plastic wallets, one per month for purchases, one per month for sales invoices, one for your bank statements, and make sure you have a separate bank account for your self-employed business, and just an expanding folder, January to December, and pass it to Broadwing Accountancyand we’ll take care of the rest!

 

If your accounts are becoming a bit of a “drama”, why don’t you contact Brian Munjanja at Broadwing Accountancy on01604 328328or email your questions to info@broadwingaccountancy.co.uk.

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