A new resolution for 2019: Keep your accountant’s cheques in check

Hands up who’s returned to work in January to be greeted by tax assessment reminders and the prospect of year-end reconciling looming? Anyone made a new year’s resolution to get their books in order and keep on top of monthly money admin?

Even with the best of new year’s intentions, many a small-business owner has struggled when it comes to running a tight financial ship – invoicing, cash collection, credit control, payroll and bookkeeping all take time and patience to implement, and when the bulk of your days are dedicated to building a business and cultivating clients, it’s no wonder a lot of us turn to the services of an accountant to take on the burden.

Don’t panic-buy!

I had coffee with a friend recently, who really got me thinking about this. She was somewhat in a state of shock when I saw her, having just received a bill from her accountant which had left her reeling. As a business owner, she’d called upon accountant’s services to get her VAT returns to the taxman. Very sensible, and worth the fee - I’m all for accountants where they really are the experts. The trap my friend had fallen into, however, is panicking about all the other financial admin she deals with throughout the year, and assuming her accountant was the best person to handle all of that too. She threw all her bookkeeping at him or her, and voila: a whopping great bill for a Christmas present.
I’m not sure whether my friend wanted to hug me or hit me when I pointed out that as a Virtual Assistant, I could have handled all of her regular financial tasks, for a fraction of the cost…

As a virtual PA with many years’ experience in office management for a successful consultancy company, I am supremely efficient in:

  • Inputting purchase invoices and receipts
  • Raising sales invoices
  • Managing credit control and cash collection
  • Reconciling your bank accounts at the end of each month and sending you a report on how your finances stand
  • Producing monthly profit and loss statements to keep you up to date.

Yes, I am one of those people who genuinely loves a spreadsheet! (It takes all sorts…)

I’ll keep your regular monthly financial processes in perfect order, so that you always feel in control, and have flawless records to hand over to your accountant when you really do need him.

Logical records at the click of a button

Quite apart from avoiding the nasty shock of a big bill, enlisting my help ensures you’ll have up-to-date, easily-accessed and logically-kept records which you can dip into at the click of a button whenever you need to check a transaction or monitor your cash flow. Without having to spend hours on financial admin yourself, when you have bigger fish to fry.

Accounting on cloud nine

I’d also advise you get yourself a basic accounting software package. There are some really intuitive cloud-based accounting packages out there now; simple to navigate, with all sorts of features depending on your requirements. I can help you get this set up, then if you (or rather I!) input into this software all year, not only does it make it easy for you to look things up or monitor performance, it makes your accountant’s job infinitely easier when you come to year-end. And if his job is simpler, your bill is smaller. In fact, if you’re VAT-registered, it’s not just easier and cheaper, it’s going to become an HMRC requirement from 1 April 2019 to use online accounting software to submit your VAT returns. For more information about Making Tax Digital go to https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/making-tax-digital-for-vat.

So, everyone is happy! I get to bury myself in bookkeeping and pursuing payments; your accountant gets complete, accurate and accessible information to work with on the jobs you really need him for; and you can stop panicking and concentrate on your business, safe in the knowledge you’re ticking all HMRC’s boxes, but my fees won’t bleed you dry.

New year’s resolutions 2019 sorted: books balanced, with your bank account still buoyant.