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Advice on book keeping for a small Ltd company

My partner and I have set up a limited company and I'm looking for advice on book keeping

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Hi, my partner and I have set up a limited construction company (expected first year turnover will be approx 60k) and I will be responsible for book keeping, invoicing, paying salaries for 3-9 people, and day to day paperwork. We will not beVAT registered in the first year. We will employ an accountant to do everything else. I do have experience of book keeping (but in a different field many years ago), can anyone recommend:

Any courses that would help me brush up on my knowledge?

The best accounting software to use?

The best way to use the services of an accountant (monthly, yearly. ... ? What they would cover....)

Many thanks in advance,

Lisa

Replies (30)

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By memyself-eye
18th Sep 2020 10:53

You should appoint an accountant first and work out with them the type of 'books' he wants/needs: ie. Horse before the cart.

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By frankfx
18th Sep 2020 17:12

memyself-eye wrote:

You should appoint an accountant first and work out with them the type of 'books' he wants/needs: ie. Horse before the cart.

Husky before sledge, in some parts.

Your accountant gauge your past experience, and help you make a joint informed decision.

60£ turnover may mean volume and range of transactions will be narrow.

Therefore need to attend any formal course offline or online may be of little value.
Accountant mentoring you will give better return...IMHO.

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By memyself-eye
18th Sep 2020 10:54

Opps.... did I say 'him'! Could be 'her' of course.

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By AWeb72
18th Sep 2020 16:51

There's more than "him" or "her" nowadays I think. But I'm too long in the tooth to keep up with trends.

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By seandrowe
18th Sep 2020 11:07

As already mentioned, before starting you should appoint an accountant. Dealing with paying subcontractors in the construction industry is dealt with differently from normal staff, under CIS by HMRC. If you do not get registered and deal with this correctly the fines can mount up very quickly.
The accountant can do as much, or as little as you want, but would suggest at this level of turnover you probably cannot afford to pay them any more than for advice on getting systems set up and then your annual accounts and corporation tax return.

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By Bo Peep
18th Sep 2020 11:07

Start to engage an accountant now - you made find they can steer you towards bookkeeping resources/support as part of their fees. Sounds like you'll need them for accounts preparation and corporation tax submission at the very least.

Look at Xero for bookkeeping. You'll also need to consider how you pay staff: https://www.gov.uk/payroll-software - most of these are free/small cost for up to 10 employees. All the best with it.

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By NYB
18th Sep 2020 11:33

A good accountant needn't be pricey. But you will "lean" on him/her. They will support you and point you in thre right direction. There is a lot to keep on top of. Some of it can be challenging even for an expert. Payroll is not just feeding in amounts each month its understanding what sits behind it. Furlough has been an absolute pig even for experts. Same with CIS. The more I could outsource the better & leave your time to get on with your business.

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By tom123
18th Sep 2020 12:01

One thing to think about - chances are your previous experience was using software installed on your PC or a network, (such as Sage Line 50) - together with sending files to/from your accountant.

Things have moved on such that cloud based is much more common.
These systems can load your bank statement automatically.
Passing information to your accountant is much more 'real time' under that situation.

Thanks (1)
Replying to tom123:
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By JD
19th Sep 2020 13:43

Be careful to not over sell it Tom.

Most cloud packages will download transactions from your bank, but you still need paper/pdf statements to correctly reconcile (unless you use QBO in Canada) and the patience of a saint to reconnect to the bank feed multiple times, before you are told to re-authorise due to open banking rules. That is of course providing the client is disciplined enough to use a dedicated bank account in the first place. The concept of automatic statements and time saving, these systems are not

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Replying to JD:
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By Paul Crowley
20th Sep 2020 03:21

New user used automated bank feeds
Three times the number of entries because of numerous corrections. Unless client is a good bookkeeper, first attempt as correction either wrong or just doubles the error

That client previously had superb spreadsheets

Convinced herself that MTD ......

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By Paul Crowley
18th Sep 2020 12:27

Auto enrollment and pension
So much to learn

As above talk to the accountant to avoid the problems
Do not wait until you have the problems

Problem avoidance takes so much less time than fixing the problem.

Statistics odd as 9 employees but only £60 turnover

Thanks (1)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
18th Sep 2020 12:38

Paul Crowley wrote:

Statistics odd as 9 employees but only £60 turnover

That's what I thought too.
OP: what will your total wage bill be in year 1?
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Replying to Red Leader:
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By Lisa788
18th Sep 2020 16:29

Sorry I should have been clearer. The majority of the work will be undertaken by my partner to begin with, but as and when jobs require we will use self-employed trades people (I.e. bricklayer, plasterer ...) but no one will be employed fulltime by us for now.

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Replying to Red Leader:
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By Lisa788
18th Sep 2020 16:30

Sorry I should have been clearer. The majority of the work will be undertaken by my partner to begin with, but as and when jobs require we will use self-employed trades people (I.e. bricklayer, plasterer ...) but no one will be employed fulltime by us for now.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By John Isabel
18th Sep 2020 13:21

Paul Crowley wrote:

Auto enrollment and pension
So much to learn

As above talk to the accountant to avoid the problems
Do not wait until you have the problems

Problem avoidance takes so much less time than fixing the problem.

Statistics odd as 9 employees but only £60 turnover

To be fair they do say 3-9. I took it to mean starting low, and growing. Could be part time, etc. Not really a factor worth picking holes in when (as freeloaders go) this OP has put together more than the usual minimal brief.

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By John Isabel
18th Sep 2020 13:19

You are 'probably' right not to register for VAT immediately - but might not be .

Speak to an accountant now, get on board with them, as they may be able to advise you on some matters before you get a year down the road and they have to poitn our (too late) where you went wrong.

It also helps to be able to take your time appointign an advisor. If you do it now, they will probably nudge you at year end, etc. If you wait then you probably wont get round to it until your accounts need filing and then you may find your first choice doesnt have time to do it, or the firms you like view you as a last minute charlie/pain in the next and bump a few quid on the fee. Worst case you could end up with some shark who charges a monthly 'subscription' service and wants a whole year for accounts plus 3/4 of an annual fee up front (by all menas make Standing Order payments for cashflow - another good reason to engage now - but try and find a proper accountant who bills on completion of work or you might find yourself tied to a sausage factory because it's never a 'good time to leave'.

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By NYB
18th Sep 2020 13:34

And go for a small firm where you wil be treated as a person rather than a "fee". Larger accountants will shove you to the back of the queue to be dealt with by a junior. Will leave your job til last and never be available to talk to you. A good relationship with your accountant is worth its weight.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Sep 2020 14:09

Any CIS subcontractors to be engaged by this company ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Lisa788
18th Sep 2020 16:25

I'm not sure at the moment, we are yet to start our first job and I'm just trying to get as organised and informed as possible. But it is likely in the future.

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Replying to Lisa788:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Sep 2020 16:36

Lisa788 wrote:

I'm not sure at the moment, we are yet to start our first job and I'm just trying to get as organised and informed as possible. But it is likely in the future.

Oh ? At 16.29, you posted that you'd be using self employed tradesmen.

Things change quickly.

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By Paul Crowley
18th Sep 2020 16:58

Call a local accountant. Half hour on the phone would have this sorted. CIS scheme needs to exist before a payment is made to a subcontractor
Plastering and bricklaying sounds like CIS
Very expensive to get this wrong

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By Cheshire
18th Sep 2020 17:28

Lisa788 wrote:

Hi, my partner and I have set up a limited construction company (expected first year turnover will be approx 60k) and I will be responsible for book keeping, invoicing, paying salaries for 3-9 people, and day to day paperwork. We will not beVAT registered in the first year. We will employ an accountant to do everything else. I do have experience of book keeping (but in a different field many years ago), can anyone recommend:

Any courses that would help me brush up on my knowledge?

The best accounting software to use?

The best way to use the services of an accountant (monthly, yearly. ... ? What they would cover....)

Many thanks in advance,

Lisa

So very many builders wives acting as bookkeepers get this so so so very wrong. Pay for some help, it will save you all sorts of bother, especially with your comment about 'staff'/self employed tradesmen.

Then maybe spend some time helping out at an Accountants who deals with builders. If one will take you on.

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Replying to Cheshire:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Sep 2020 17:37

Cheshire wrote:

So very many builders wives acting as bookkeepers get this so so so very wrong. Pay for some help, it will save you all sorts of bother, especially with your comment about 'staff'/self employed tradesmen.

Then maybe spend some time helping out at an Accountants who deals with builders. If one will take you on.

And if Lisa's husband is successful enough to need to register for VAT, don't forget the oft-postponed Domestic Reverse VAT charge which, one day, won't be postponed.

Life will get difficult for builders. They'll need support.

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Replying to Cheshire:
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By Paul Crowley
18th Sep 2020 18:31

Concur
I do so much more damage repair on construction industry clients than all other sectors put together.
My agenda with new before trade for construction would have software relegated to meeting three.
Just write on paper statements (yes get paper statement) the purpose of every payment and every money received item.
Yes within 2 weeks of getting the statement, not once a year
Yes Purpose, not WHO you paid. Gitknows means nothing to me

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By Paul Crowley
18th Sep 2020 23:03

Aside
For entertainment only but real true figures from a company that buys and sells cars
Sage trial balance

Debtors £331,000 True figure zero
Bank account asset £102,000 True figure overdrawn
Balance owed on credit card £140,000 True balance £5,000
Loan balance(borrowing)shows as asset £324,000 True figure do not know but definitely liability
Car sales £1,186,000
Car purchases £352,000
gross profit on selling cars £834.000 Apparently selling cars bought at auction at more than 3 times cost

Result
Ignore rubbish records, start from scratch from bank statements

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Sep 2020 21:00

Aye.

Been there. Done that.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
18th Sep 2020 22:16

Oh they should have done it on Quickbooks! Haven't you seen the adverts?

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By Paul Crowley
18th Sep 2020 23:04

If you want to be efficient find an accountant
Accept his suggestion on easiest way to keep simple records.

Do not create a clever complicated spreadsheet, cos he already has numerous simple versions that he can email to you, having selected the most appropriate

Do not think every hour you spend on it saves him an hour

I usually, with co-operative clients write up the first three months on a spreadsheet in about half an hour

I dread all software from first time users who do not understand double entry

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By Robyn
19th Sep 2020 19:00

Oh it is so nice to see someone asking for advice before they start and not when it is already too late. Depending on what accountant you go to some have software deals included with prices. Also some banks offer free software as well. Once you have an accountant they should be happy to give advice and help and or training on software and take it from there. I usually give some initial free training on software as this makes my job so much easier at the year end.

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By DJsy
21st Sep 2020 16:35

Get a BAS appointment with a local accountant (they are free for this exact kind of thing).

Scheme details here: https://www.icaew.com/about-icaew/find-a-chartered-accountant/icaew-busi...

Full list of providers here: https://find.icaew.com/

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