A Financial Controller in a hi-tech small business writes about the trials of running a finance department...
Expenses spreadsheets consigned to the bin
Cataloguing CP’s box of paperwork took me nearly all day. Not only were there receipts that had been paid for in cash or on his own personal credit card, there were also receipts for costs paid for out of the company’s bank account. That meant I had to check the “last four digits” on every single card receipt to see whether it was an out-of-pocket expense or a business card payment. I finished that boxful feeling seriously tempted to add a box of paracetamol to my own expenses, to get rid of my raging headache.
I will apply for a P11D dispensation for him and CD, as well as for me, of course. But we still need to track expenses even if we don't have to tell HMRC about them.
For on-going expense management I decided to have a look at ReceiptBank as recommended by “Gameplan” here on AccountingWeb (thank you, whoever you may be). It really does look fantastic to start with, and I like the fact that it can integrate with lots of different software packages for accounting, and that it automatically analyses what nominal code a cost should go into, based on the supplier’s name.
That’s not bombproof, of course. For example it doesn’t know that a receipt from The Grey Horse could be entertaining employees rather than clients and therefore allowable for tax and VAT. But it’s certainly a very good start. I signed up for a trial account and showed CP and CD how I could photograph my Ryman’s receipt on my iPhone and that was all I needed to do to record my expenses.
“Wow,” said CD. “You mean we won’t have to fill in spreadsheets and give them to you for approval?”
“No you won’t,” I said. "It'll all be done automatically so long as you photograph ALL your receipts on the Receipt Bank mobile app."
“I’m off to download that app now!” he beamed and vanished, with me shouting after him, "Don't forget to claim the cost of that as an expense too!"
For accounting, I’m kicking Xero’s tyres. I like the expense management approval process that “Goffey” mentioned here (thank you to you too). What I’m finding very peculiar is that Xero doesn’t seem to have a set time for the free trial to expire by. I log in and it says "Pay when you're ready"! I suspect they might stop me using some of the more advanced functionality – like filing VAT returns – until we’ve paid?
But first I need to get a payroll system set up.
I’ve registered the company with HMRC as an employer. I do like their new online registration site. That’s a real improvement on what we had in my early practice days when you had to send in sheaves of paper.
But of course with RTI coming in any minute now, I need to find some online payroll software and it would be brilliant if it could talk to Xero…