Good bookkeeping is a foundation for small business success

The Real Business ClubRecently we have been running training for childcare organisations in Berkshire. One question that has come up has been about frustrations caused and time wasted when bookkeeping is not done well. For instance Payroll calculations and impact on staff pay and discrepancies. Another example was where a manager was still dealing with issues and frustrations relating to old payslips and inaccuracies from bookkeeping after a staff member left.

We also know many businesses where the business owner or a family member is doing their own bookkeeping. It is not really what they want to spend their time on! They are not sure if they are doing the right things! It is just plain STRESSFUL!!

From our experience here are some top tips for what makes an ideal bookkeeper

  • Up to date knowledge in finance – changes in the laws etc
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Reliable and consistent
  • Knowing your business and its needs and commitment to supporting this
  • Experience in specified areas eg that relate to the businesses sector
  • Good organisational skills including in using IT really efficiently
  • Good at problem solving and helping with thinking through issues
  • Approachable
  • Efficient time management that gets the finance information to you

Things are always changing in the finance industry

Changes can have so many impacts. Some changes are good to know because they can improve your cashflow or profit lines. Other things are essentials to know because laws have changed that need compliance. Things like:

  • Making Tax Digital – make sure your bookkeeper is getting you ready for changes that will have an impact.
  • Software and systems that can help your business be more efficient and be less hassle day in day out.

Record keeping Software – the options – helping you choose what is right for your business.

There will be a blog next month on software options and how using phone apps can make a difference

How can good bookkeepers help you and your business?

Protect you from finance risks by

  • Making sure you and your business is up to date with recent changes to HMRC/ Laws and Regulations
  • Updating you with a reliable overview of your business finances and cashflow
  • Help you see when things are going wrong and how to get back on track

Help your decision making and planning:

  • Give information for business decisions and growth for now and tomorrow

Make being in business more satisfying and enjoyable!

  • Efficient in your accounting needs so you have more time to run your business, stress-free?

FIRST STOP – Finance training for business owners and bookkeepers

The Real Business Club finance training will help! Here are some options

Feedback from business owners

“It helped me to understand everything from start to finish”

“The timelines on tax and planning were so helpful.”

“Learned a lot about National Insurance that I didn’t know”

Feedback from bookkeepers who attend training

“I can go back to my business knowing I am doing the right things.”

“Love the training – the discussions are so helpful.”

How about you and your bookkeeping?

If you are not sure whether your bookkeeper is doing the right things, if you have any doubt, then why not talk to us about either our training for bookkeepers or our bookkeeping services.

Contact Dawn Edwards on 07896 665104. Dawn trains bookkeepers and Accountants.

Finance training for bookkeepers

If you are not sure your bookkeeper is up to date why not invest in this – and be confident and sure?

Finance for professionals training BOOK here

Finance training for business owners

If you want to build your business and reduce your stress levels then try these!

Workshops cover a whole range of every day finance topics.

Finance for business owners BOOK here

Understanding Marriage Allowance

Millions of married couples and civil partners in the UK failed to claim their slice of £1.3 billion in marriage allowance cash in 2017/18, with many unaware of the tax break or forgetting to claim it.

Introduced on 6 April 2015, the marriage allowance is designed for couples where one partner pays the basic rate of income tax and the other is a non-taxpayer.

More than four million married couples and 15,000 civil partners are eligible to claim up to £238 in 2018/19, find out if you’re eligible for this tax break.

What are you entitled to?

Whoever does not pay tax in your marriage or civil partnership can reduce their personal allowance by £1,190 in 2018/19 and transfer it to their spouse or civil partner.

It’s possible for the tax paying spouse or civil partner to increase their tax-free personal allowance to £13,040 (£11,850 + £1,190) in 2018/19.

You may benefit from the marriage allowance if:

  • your spouse or civil partner has elected to reduce their personal allowance in 2018/19 and transfer it to you
  • you are a basic-rate taxpayer in 2018/19
  • you meet the residence requirements and have the right to claim a personal allowance
  • neither you nor your partner submits a claim to the married couple’s allowance (MCA).

Personal Allowance

You can choose to reduce your personal allowance if you’re married or in a civil partnership with the same person for the whole or part of the tax year at the time the claim is made.

You must also only be liable to pay income tax at the basic rate, dividend nil or ordinary rate or the basic or starting rate for savings after your personal allowance has been reduced by the transfer.

You must elect to use the marriage allowance within four years after the end of a tax year, and it will remain in force until you give notice to withdraw it.

However, an election made after the end of a tax year applies only to the year of election.

This is the easiest way for us to operate the allowance for you, as it can be made when your tax return is prepared and once we know your income and your partner’s for 2018/19.

Separation and Divorce

If you and your spouse or civil partner separate between the end of a tax year and the date your tax return is due, there’s a slight chance you’ll lose your eligibility for the marriage allowance.

Cancelling the marriage allowance normally takes effect from the next tax year unless the marriage or civil partnership has come to an end through:

  • divorce (decree absolute)
  • order of judicial separation
  • decree of nullity 
  • in the case of a civil partnership, a dissolution order, order of nullity or order of separation.

In these circumstances, the withdrawal of the marriage allowance can be backdated to the start of the tax year.

Death of a Partner

If your spouse or civil partner dies, it’s possible to make a backdated claim for the marriage allowance providing the deceased spouse or civil partner was eligible for it when they were alive.

A claim can be made for any tax year in which you were both alive, including the tax year of death, although no claim can be made thereafter.


If you have any questions…

The Real Business Club can help. Dawn is our tax expert, and can help you with any tax queries you may have as well as submission of your self-assessment. Call Dawn on 01189 680813 or email