How to start up a business – advice from accountants

As the provider of the business start up services Peterborough entrepreneurs trust, we’re ideally placed to give advice to those wanting to start their own business. Here are our top four tips, and how we can help you going forward.

Do your research

Before you proceed with your business idea, you need to do your research. While your family and friends have maybe all sworn that you have a brilliant product or service to offer, you need to do some really detailed research. Is there a gap in the market? What kind of prices are other businesses in the field offering? Are there going to be any other similar businesses in your immediate area? Once you have some answers, you can then move forward.

Put together a business plan

You need to put together a business plan if you are going to secure investment or a loan from the bank. The plan needs to contain objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. The plan will help you to clarify your business idea, and spot potential problems and act before they develop. It will also help you to establish your goals, and keep track of your short and long-term progress. Putting together a plan isn’t as daunting as it sounds, and there is plenty of help out there if you’re struggling.

Work with a trusted accountant

Key to finding success as a small business in Peterborough is finding a great local accountant. Luckily for you, we are here to help. We’ll take on all the hard work of looking after your accounts so that you can grow your business. If you can’t decide between trading as a limited company or a sole trader, we’ll advise you on which is more suitable for you. We’ll also tell you how to keep accurate records – or keep them for you if you prefer. Finally, we will also ensure that every box is ticked and that you meet all of the necessary statutory requirements in all areas of your business.

See what financial help you qualify for

It’s also important to remember that there is funding for small businesses available from the Government. Some of these might not be advertised, so it’s worth digging around and enquiring to see if you can get the money that you need. The UK Government website lists a wide range of financial support for businesses, with different options available depending on region, number of employees, business stage, and industry. We’re familiar with a lot of the support provided to businesses in Peterborough, so will be able to provide advice on those if that is something that you are interested in pursuing.

Find out more today

To find out more about the business start up services Peterborough entrepreneurs recommend, please do get in touch with the team at Linda Carr Accountants today.

We believe that every business owner deserves time to talk about their idea and their goals, and we are on hand to help you realise your dreams and grow your business. So, give us a call today – and we will take things from there.

In-house vs External Accountant: Which is best for your business?

Here at Linda Carr Accountants, we provide external accounting services for a wide range of clients. If you were wondering whether to take on an in-house member of staff or outsource that role, here’s why it could be a great idea to work with the accountant Peterborough business owners trust.

It will save you time

Hiring an in-house accountant may seem like the natural next step for your business – but firstly, you should consider if you have the time. Not only are you going to have to go through what could be a very lengthy recruitment and interview process, but you will have to spend time training your new member of staff. An external accountant, on the other hand, will be ready to begin when you are! They are able to hit the ground running right away, saving you weeks, if not months, of company time.

Lower costs

A lot of people worry about the cost of outsourcing their accounting, but working with an external accountant can actually be a really cost-effective decision. Hiring an in-house accounting professional will cost so much more than an outsourced accountant who has exactly the same level of experience. You will also not have to worry about things like pension contributions and sickness pay. Our accounting rates are some of the most competitive in Peterborough.

An accountant with experience

When you are looking for an accountant for your business, it can be hard to find someone who has the necessary experience within your particular sector. That all changes when you decide to outsource those services! As one of the most in-demand accountants in Peterborough, we have worked with a really diverse group of local businesses, gaining experience in a number of sectors. We also know Peterborough incredibly well, giving us a unique perspective on the challenges and benefits of trading in the area.

No concerns about cover

One of the challenges of keeping everything in-house is making sure you can keep things running smoothly if a member of your team has to take time off – sometimes at short notice. When you outsource your accounting, you can be sure that that will be taken care of, and that someone will always be on hand to offer support and guidance. So, there’s no need to worry about finding sickness or holiday cover again!

Ideal for remote working

Many businesses have made the switch to remote working over the last 2 years, and have made the decision to move to smaller premises and have a more streamlined team of staff in the office. Outsourcing your accounting means that you can continue to do so, as your accountant will not be joining you in person. Of course, they will be on hand to meet with you if you have any concerns – giving you the best of both worlds.

Find out more today

If you want to find out more about the accountant Peterborough clients recommend, then get in touch with the team at Linda Carr Accountants today. We will answer any questions that you may have so that you can move forward with total confidence.

What Do Our Tax Advisory Services Entail?

If you have been looking for outstanding tax advisory services in Peterborough, you have found the perfect team for the job! Here at Linda Carr Accountants, we provide tailored tax advisory services for a wide range of clients in and around Peterborough. Want to find out more about what those entail? Here’s everything that you need to know!

What are tax advisory services?

First of all, what are tax advisory services? To put it simply, tax advisory services are there to help you minimise any losses related to tax. Paying tax is unavoidable, and comes into play in almost every facet of our business and personal lives – but there are a number of ways you can lessen your tax burden.

Who can we help?

If you are trading as a limited company, corporation tax poses a significant cost to your business – and we are here to make sure that you pay exactly what you need to. We will be able to take full advantage of reliefs and tax opportunities in your sector, ensuring that you are benefitting from the money-saving schemes that have been provided for you. You may not know about all or any of these, which is why it’s a great idea to leave the hard work to us. We will liaise with all relevant bodies on your behalf, keeping your best interests in mind at all times.

If you are filing a Self-Assessment and want to make sure that you are paying exactly what you owe and not a penny more, we will be able to assist you with that too. Our team of accountants are able to advise clients on income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax, and will quickly be able to spot areas in which you can save.

Working within the law

Is it legal to seek tax advisory services? Absolutely! We’re not helping our clients to avoid paying tax – we are just ensuring that they pay what they owe. Our accountants are very experienced, and their knowledge of UK tax laws is second to none. Any advice that they provide you with can be followed in full compliance with all UK laws, giving you total peace of mind. We are just here to make sure that you don’t pay anything that you don’t have to, making it much easier for you to grow your business or personal wealth and continue to find success.

Find out more today

If you want to find out more about us and our tax advisory services in Peterborough, please get in touch with a member of our team without delay. We will answer any questions that you have, giving you all of the information that you need to proceed with total confidence. We work with all kinds of clients, and will tailor our approach to suit your needs. Contact us today, and we’ll take it from there.

Finance Tips for Starting your Own Business

As the home of the business start up services Peterborough entrepreneurs recommend, we are very experienced when it comes to guiding new businesses to success. Here are our top financial tips for starting your own business.

Decide on your business structure

One of the first things that you do should be to decide on the structure of your business. This will have a huge impact on your business, so think carefully. Below are the options available to you:

• Sole trader
• Partnership
• Limited liability partnership (LLP)
• Limited company
• Not-for-profit organisation

It’s a good idea to consult a small business solicitor when deciding on the right structure for your business, as they will be able to offer a professional, unbiased opinion and break down all of the legal jargon associated with the options available to you.

Draw up a business plan

If you haven’t done so already, it is time to draw up a business plan. This is different to a business model. Having a great idea is one thing, but showing that you know how to build on that is essential to your success starting out. Investors and lenders will want to see a detailed business plan before they give you any funds. There are lots of great resources out there to help you write a business plan, and many of them are free.

Look for government funding

It’s a good idea to see if you are eligible for any grants. The UK Government is committed to helping people get their businesses up and running, and there is a wide range of grants and other financial assistance measures. Some of these will be dependent on the area in which you are based and what field you are in. There are also loans available for those who have been unable to secure funding from a bank or similar mainstream provider.

Get insured

Don’t forget insurance! Starting a business isn’t just a matter of launching one day – you need to make sure that you are full insured in all the appropriate areas. If you employ staff, then you need to have employer’s liability insurance, and if you have any business vehicles then you need to have commercial motor insurance. Public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, and other kinds may be required too. If you’re not sure, speak to a qualified financial advisor with experience in the field.

Hiring staff

Last but not least, you need to think about how you are going to pay your staff if you are planning to hire any. Some people prefer to use freelancers, sub-contractors and agency staff while they are getting started. If you do decide to make the switch to permanent staff, then you need to ensure that you are able to do the following, as they are all required by law:

• Pay the minimum wage or above
• Enrol applicable staff into a workplace pension scheme
• Provide statutory minimum paid holiday and sick pay
• Provide paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave

As you can see, hiring permanent staff members is a big financial commitment! Be sure to seek the advice of your accountant to see how they can help you. Here at Linda Carr Accountants, we can help you to set up a monthly payroll.

How we can help

We have lots of experience helping first-time business owners getting to grips with their finances. Our ‘Every Penny Counts’ package covers everything you need to ensure that your company finances are in perfect order – and as it’s a fixed-fee monthly service, you will be able to spread the cost very easily.

To find out more about the business start up services Peterborough clients trust, please get in touch with us for a no-obligation discussion today.

The Ultimate Guide to Submitting your Tax Return

Questions about filing your tax return? You’re not alone! Millions of people complete the process each year, but it can still be confusing. As experienced providers of tax advisory services in Peterborough, we are here to help you make sense of your tax return.

Who needs to submit a return?

First of all: who needs to file a tax return? If you are self-employed or run a business, earn income through property, or earn money from savings and investments; you will need to file a return.

Those are just a few examples, and if you aren’t sure if you need to file a return or not, we recommend reaching out to HMRC to make sure that you are declaring your income in the correct way. We predominantly help local business owners and sole traders file their returns.

What you need to include

Once you have registered for Self-Assessment and the time comes to file your first return, the real work begins. If you have earned money from being a company director or from self-employment, then you will need to submit all financial information you have regarding this. Don’t forget to declare any other income – such as rental income from properties you own or overseas earnings.

You will also need to include details of the following in your return:

• taxed and untaxed income (dividends and interest)
• pension contributions
• charitable donations
• any benefits you have received e.g., State Pension

Dates to remember

Now that you know what to include in your return, you’ll want to know when you have to file it by. The good news is that the deadlines remain the same year after year, so the dates are easy to remember. You will need to:

• register for Self Assessment by 5 October (if filing a return for the first time)
• submit a paper return by midnight 31 October
• submit an online return midnight 31 January
• pay the tax you owe by midnight 31 January

If you fail to file a return or pay the tax you owe in accordance with the above deadlines, what are the consequences? You will have to pay a penalty of £100 if your tax return is up to 3 months late, and that will increase once those three months have passed. You will also be charged interest on all late payments.

We’re here to help

All of this may seem a little daunting, but we are here to help. We have years of experience when it comes to helping clients in Peterborough complete and submit their tax returns, and can make the process really simple and straightforward for you. Handing over the reins to someone else gives you two things: less stress, and more time. You will be able to dedicate your time to the things that matter to you, free of the distraction of worrying about your tax return. We are here to do all the hard work for you!

Keeping you and HMRC on good terms

Tax laws change all the time, but unless you are an avid follower of financial news you will probably miss some of those changes. Many of them won’t affect you – but getting caught out could be costly. Here at Linda Carr Accountants, we have extensive knowledge when it comes to all tax laws in the UK, and will work in full accordance with them to ensure that your return meets all the necessary criteria.

Our knowledge of current UK relief schemes also means that we will be able to spot ways to help you reduce your bill.

Find out more today

We will ensure that your return is filed well ahead of time, and that any tax you owe is calculated correctly and then paid in full. If you want to find out more about us and the services that we offer, then please get in touch today. We will answer all of your questions and tell you what your next steps should be.

Bookkeeping Services: What's Involved?

Have some questions about bookkeeping? As the provider of the bookkeeping services Peterborough businesses trust, we’re on hand to tell you everything you need to know.

Defining bookkeeping

First of all, what exactly is bookkeeping? To put it simply, bookkeeping is the task of keeping track of every financial transaction that is made by a business. This will be a process that runs from the opening of a firm right through to its closing – so it’s a job that you will need to allocate to someone you can count on to keep an accurate record that can be accessed and analysed whenever you need.

What is involved in bookkeeping?

What are the key elements of bookkeeping? What does a bookkeeper need to keep track of? Well, to understand that, you need to look at what kind of financial transactions a business would be making. It’s generally accepted that a business’ main areas of accounting are as follows:
• Assets
• Liabilities
• Equity
• Revenue
• Expenses
• Costs

Whoever is responsible for bookkeeping in your business will record all transactions that relate to the above, helping to build an accurate picture of your company’s financial standing.

Investing in bookkeeping will allow you to keep an up-to-date record of your business’ income and outgoings, as well as the amount owed by you and your customers.

Is bookkeeping the same as accounting?

The terms bookkeeping and accounting are often used interchangeably, but there are actually a number of differences between the two. Accounting is the overall practice of managing the finances of a business, and while bookkeeping is defined as the recording of the financial activities of a business. So, you could say that bookkeeping is a type of accounting – but it’s a role that requires a great deal of skill and experience.

Why bring in the professionals?

Keeping an accurate record of your company’s financial transactions may seem straightforward at first, but when you factor in things like tax, assets, loans, and investments, it’s easy for the picture to become somewhat muddled. Accurate and up-to-date bookkeeping will allow you to keep a close eye on how much you are spending, and how much is coming in – helping you to balance the books more effectively.

If you want to outsource your bookkeeping, finding the right accountant is key. Luckily for you, we are the providers of bookkeeping services Peterborough clients trust. From established local names to brand new start-ups, we know how to keep an accurate, ongoing record that will tell you (and HMRC, if needed), everything you need to know about the financial well-being of your business.

Find out more today

If you want to find out more about us and the services that we offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today. We’d be happy to answer your questions and give you all the information you need to proceed with confidence.

Why Are Tax Returns Important?

Filing a tax return this year? Then why not let the experts at Linda Carr Accountants take care of your upcoming tax return. We help sole traders and individuals with their tax returns in Peterborough to ensure that they are completed correctly and on time. Read on to find out why a tax return is so important, and why you should take care to ensure that yours is filed correctly and on time.

What is a tax return?

First of all, what is a tax return? If you have only just started trading and this is your first time completing a return, you probably have lots of questions about the process. To put it simply, a tax return is what you complete to show HMRC how much income you should be assessed on for the appropriate tax year. It will also allow you to claim back any qualifying expenses and make claims that could reduce the overall tax liability. For Self-Assessment, the tax year runs from 6 April to the following 5 April.

Making sure you’re paying the right amount of tax

The main goal of a Self-Assessment tax return is making sure that you are paying the right amount of tax. You’ll need to show how much income you have earned during the previous tax year and include any appropriate deductions. This will help HMRC figure out how much tax you should be paying. Filing your return accurately is vital for keeping on the right side of the law, but also to make sure that you don’t pay too much tax either. Giving a clear and honest representation of your finances will ensure you pay what you owe, and nothing more.

Claiming back expenses

Filing a tax return will allow you to claim tax relief on expenses that you have incurred as a result of your profession. You’ll have to meet the following criteria to be able to make a claim, according to the current rules laid out by HMRC:

  • you must have used your own money for things that you needed to carry out your job
  • you must have only used these things for your work

Failing to file a return on time

Failing to file a tax return on time can be very costly, making it really important to make sure that yours is completed and submitted correctly every year. There is a graduated scale of penalties for those who don’t submit their return by January 31st. They are as follows:

  • One day late – £100
  • Three months late – daily £10 penalties for up to 90 days
  • Six months late – whichever is higher out of 5% of the tax liability or £300
  • 12 months late – whichever is higher out of an additional 5% of liability or £300

Along with that, you will have to pay interest on any late payments. Don’t assume that if you have no tax liability, you won’t have to file a return. Even if you have nothing to pay, you will still be liable for up to £1,600 in late filing penalties. So, it’s vital that you file yours on time.

Our tax return services

If all of the above sounds somewhat daunting, you will be glad to hear that we are here to help. We have plenty of experience when it comes to completing and filing tax returns and have helped a wide variety of clients in Peterborough. Whether you are completing a return for the first time and want to make sure that everything is done correctly, or you have simply had enough of doing it yourself every year, we will be able to do the hard work so that you don’t have to. Whilst we are completing your tax return, we will also conduct a free review.

Contact us today

If you want to find out more about us and our tax return services, then please reach out to a member of our team today. They will be delighted to answer your questions and help you in any way that they can.

How Accountants Register Companies for VAT

Looking into registering for VAT? As the home of the VAT services Peterborough businesses recommend, we are here to help. Here’s what our accountants will do for you, as well as all the benefits you can expect from registering for VAT with us.

Is it the right time to register for VAT?

One of the first things your accountant will do is check that you are eligible to register for VAT. Currently, any business with annual sales of £85,000 or more should be VAT registered and filing VAT returns every year. We will take a close look at your accounts and give you an honest answer on if registering for VAT is the right move for you right now.

If you do decide to proceed, we can take care of the whole process for you. With our help, there’s so much less for you to worry about – as we’ll do all of the hard work for you.

The benefits of VAT registration

There are a number of benefits of registering for VAT, such as:

  • Opening yourself up to opportunities with companies who only deal with VAT registered businesses.
  • Being VAT registered allows you to claim back the Input Tax you paid when buying goods. However, you’ll need to be aware that this is not applicable to all purchases.
  • Any customers/clients who are also VAT registered will be able to reclaim the VAT you have charged them. This will make you much more attractive to a wider range of customers.

Your dedicated accountant will talk through all of the benefits of registering for VAT with you, so you can proceed with total confidence.

Early VAT registration

Your accountant may ask you to consider Early VAT registration. What is this? Well, it’s when you are bringing in less than £85,000, but may benefit from being able to access the rewards associated with being VAT registered. Doing so before you hit the threshold could help you to earn more money, as you will be able to claim back all VAT you pay on purchases you make for your business.

Special VAT schemes

When we register you for VAT, we will let you know if there are any special VAT schemes that you could benefit from. The schemes currently available to UK businesses are:

  • Retail schemes
  • Second-hand schemes
  • Flat rate scheme for small businesses
  • Annual accounting scheme
  • Cash accounting scheme
  • Tour operators’ margin scheme

We’ll know which scheme is most suitable for your business and will be able to tell you about what you could stand to gain from them.

Leave it to us

When people ask us how accountants register companies for VAT, we have one answer for them: with great attention to detail. You can be sure that we will handle your registration in full accordance with all current rules and regulations. We’ll remind you that the day you register for VAT is the day you must start charging it on your goods and services, and we will also be able to take care of your quarterly VAT returns for you as well. In our hands, the process of registering and then tackling all of your ongoing VAT-related concerns is so straightforward.

Get in touch today

If you want to find out more about registering for VAT, please reach out to the provider of VAT services Peterborough businesses trust today. We’ll be able to advise you on the best way to proceed and will provide tailored support at every stage of the process.

How To Choose The Right Tax Accountant

No matter what your business entails, choosing an accountant should be high on your list of priorities. If you are based in Peterborough and are looking for an accountant, then we have the ultimate guide to choosing the right tax accountant for you.

Location, Location, Location

Finding an accountant who is based near to you can be handy when it comes to communication. If you live locally then Peterborough accountants – such as ourselves! – can help guide and support your business. Consider how you would prefer to communicate with your accountant before taking the first leap. Are you someone who prefers to communicate through online accountancy platforms, email or phone? If so, then your accountants’ location may not be so important. However, if you prefer face-to-face meetings and the bonus of being able to discuss your finances in person then location is key.

When To Hire An Accountant?

Hiring an accountant should be one of the first steps you take when starting your business. In fact, some people even hire an accountant before their business has launched in order to advise on registering with the relevant tax authorities and start-up information. We’ve found that many local people looking for accountants find this a helpful starting point in their early business journey.

Certificated Accountants

One of the first things to find out is are the accountants you are looking at hiring certificated. Accountants who are certified or chartered will likely come with a wealth of experience under their belt and can grow with you as your business expands and develops. Hiring a professional accountant in the early days can save time and resources down the line.

Building rapport

It is important to choose an accountant who has all of the correct qualifications, but what else should you consider? Well, your accountant could be with you for years to come, so finding one with a good mix of professionalism and approachability will serve you well in the long run. You should feel as though you can talk to your accountant with ease. A good accountant will work with you to deliver the very best for you and your business.

Word Of Mouth

Word of mouth is a powerful tool. It is worth asking your friends and family if they have an accountant and who they would recommend. Try to delve into how they find working with their accountant firm and what their strengths and/or weaknesses are. This gives you a good starting point on which to base your own research.

What Can They Offer You?

Lastly, what services can an accountant offer you? Along with finding out rates and information about the firm, it is always good to ask what services they provide and how these can benefit you. You should look for Peterborough accountants who can do everything from payroll and tax returns to bookkeeping and accounts. Many accountants offer a wider range of services that can be discussed in your initial meetings. If you need something specific don’t be afraid to ask!

Hopefully this article has been helpful when it comes to choosing the right tax accountant. If we can be of any further assistance, then please contact us at any time for more information.

Payroll: Why it’s Important to Seek Advice from Professionals

Payroll: Why it’s Important to Seek Advice from Professionals

 

In business, there are some things that are fine for you to tackle yourself, and some where you could really do with professional advice. As the provider of the payroll services Peterborough clients love, we’ve seen first-hand how much of an impact impartial, professional payroll advice can be.

Here’s how your company could benefit:

Take Advantage of Years of Expertise

When you seek professional advice, you will be able to benefit from the knowledge of an accountant with expert knowledge. We are fully briefed on all UK laws and regulations, and will be able to ensure that your company is complying with all current rules. Payroll has become more complex over the past few years, and the introduction of things like RTI (Real Time Information) means that it’s so important to get everything right.

No More Mistakes

Overseeing the payroll of a company is quite a complex process, and it’s really easy for mistakes to be made. That’s no reflection on you and your abilities – but it does show why it pays to always seek professional advice. We are famed for our attention to detail, and we will quickly be able to spot any mistakes. Nipping these in the bud as quickly as possible will ensure that they don’t become costly for your company in the long run.

Everyone Paid on Time

When it comes to payroll, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that people are paid on time, every time. Even the slightest issue can set you back, and that can set in motion a chain of events that sees your staff waiting longer than they should for their wages. That’s where we come in. We’re used to working to deadlines, and we’ll ensure that everything is in order well before payday.

We Can Liaise With HMRC For You

There’s nothing more annoying that having to get in touch with HMRC. That’s why it’s a great idea to come to us for advice. We may be able to give you the help that you need without you even needing to contact HMRC in the first place, such is our expertise. If you still need some clarification from them, we will be able to liaise with them on your behalf. We’ll know what department to reach out to, ensuring that your problem is solved as quickly as possible.

Saving You Time

Dealing with payroll can be a hugely time consuming process. If you let us take on that responsibility for you, you will be able to focus on the things that matter to you. That’s not to say that you won’t be involved at all. We’ll still reach out to you regularly and ensure that nothing proceeds without your confirmation. We’re just here to do the hard work so that you don’t have to, leading to a much lighter workload for you as you take your company forward.

The Payroll Services Peterborough Customers Recommend

Here at Linda Carr Accountants, we have a wealth of experience when it comes to the smooth running of a company payroll. We have worked with a wide range of businesses in Peterborough, and have developed a reputation as an accountants you can trust. Whether you are an established company or a brand new start-up, we will work with you to ensure that your payroll is taken care of and that everyone is paid what they are owed.

Get in Touch

If you are curious about us, then please do get in touch with our payroll services Peterborough team today. We’d be delighted to answer any questions that you have about our payroll services, and we’ll be able to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible.