Member Since: 4th Oct 2006
24th Apr 2020
I would love to buy into that dream, and really hope that it might happen, but who knows how people will react once this lockdown is over. However given that people are asked to stay in their homes because of this rogue virus circulating, I personally think it will be a long time before any service industries where people gather will take off again. People are already twitchy and nervous in the supermarket queues, some masked up like something out of Star Wars because they are fearful of "what is out there and unseen". It will take a huge turnaround in public confidence before people will be happy to congregate again in any sorts of numbers. I may be wrong, but people react differently and its really hard to predict any sort of behaviour at the moment.
1st Apr 2020
Again - a sole trader or partners in a partnership could employ wives/family members and claim furlough relief. The difference being that they (depending on circumstances) may also be able to access the small business grant based on their profits, which a small business trading through a limited company cannot.
As for saving for a rainy day - that applies to everyone in business - not just companies, and rainy day funds only stretch so far.
1st Apr 2020
Such companies tend to pay more in corporation tax due to the disallowance of dividends for tax purposes. When you factor everything together for a company with profits at the limit suggested for the small business grants for sole traders and partnerships - there is not a lot of difference in the overall tax liability, it is just where it is paid. A lot of small businesses are run via companies for lots of different reasons, some to do with maintaining family ownership. They are as badly affected as sole traders and partnerships during the shutdown but seemingly are entitled to little or no help during this coronavirus pandemic.
3rd Jun 2014
Thank you notes and a little gift
I always send a card or letter of thanks and perhaps a small gift for referrals. They remember that more than getting a credit, or a sum of money. I was brought up to say thank you to someone doing you a good turn and I don't see why similar manners should not apply in business.
30th May 2014
Thanks John - absolutely spot on advice
It is so easy to forget to breathe properly and take time out to allow our minds to absorb and sort the events of the day. It is so easy to just do things on autopilot because your body and mind have learned the routine and it becomes a habit. Being mindful about what you do helps you realise just how much energy is wasted on things that really don't matter that much and how much tension you carry in your body. I began meditation in the 1990's and at the time people thought it was weird, cultish or only for the religious. Not so - being able to calm the mind is so good for you. Just imagine how good it feels to soak in a nice warm bath and soothe away the tension - for me meditation feels ten time better than that and it helps me refocus on what is really important. I also use a visualisation at the end of every day that helps the mind to let go of all the little niggly worries, thoughts and baggage that you pick up during the day, it is surprising what you store up and carry about with you without realising it. If you find it hard to relax and let go, find some peaceful music to lead you in, or think of a time when you felt really good and relaxed and draw on the feelings you had then. It is so important to let the mind take a rest from the everyday stress and worry. You would not leave your car running all night - it would be a shameful waste of fuel, so why let your mind run on and on wasting energy that could be put to much better use. Getting away from your desk for 10 minutes and resting your mind really does give you a boost to see you through a busy day.
26th Feb 2014
I wouldn't mind doing HMRC's work if HMRC recognised that we are doing their work and pay us for doing it - i.e in a similar way that Royal Mail pay Postmaster salaries or the LAA pay lawyers. Life is busy enough and fees hard enough to earn without taking on extra duties for no reward.
Until then I'll just get on with my own workload, thankyou.
25th Feb 2014
Paper 64-8's for me
The online authorisation process is a farce. Numerous times HMRC have advised me that codes have been issued and upon checking with the client they have not turned up, or the client has thrown it away thinking it was a piece of junk mail - I always warn the clients the code is coming through & show them a suitably screened out example of what to expect, but it still fails to pass their junk mail scrutiny. Paper forms are required by HMRC for various reasons and it is really frustrating to go through the online authorisation process only to be told at a later date that you do not have a 64-8 in place because the smug HMRC operator cannot see it on his/her screen. I agree with an earlier posting - the paper 64-8 system worked well until someone started tinkering with it - the online system causes all manner of time wasting and frustration - why change for the sake of it?
BTW - not sending 64-8's and SA1's in the same envelope and without a covering letter is a new one on me - I always send them together and always attach them to a covering letter and have not had any mishaps yet. I refuse to pay for additional postage just because HMRC employees want an easy life! It is bad enough that you cannot send forms for more than one client in the same envelope without having to separate down the contents even further. It reminds me of when SA was first introduced and agents in my area all got letters from HMRC district offices asking us not to staple return pages together or to include paperclips in the envelopes because it took their processing staff too long to unpick them! They never did account for the additional time wasted on sending back unaccepted incomplete returns because half the pages and additional information schedules had gone missing during their incoming post process and the additional costs incurred by agents having to replace them. Shameful.
4th Dec 2013
The main reason people are "increasingly availing Online Services" is because HMRC are forcing people down that route with insistence that most tax reports such as RTI, VAT, corporation tax etc are only submissible online. I wonder if people would increasingly avail themselves of HMRC's online services if there was any choice over the filing of such tax reports. It is the most frustrating site I have ever come across, half the downloadable forms are missing, the search engine is awful and when you do get a problem with HMRC Online Services the best you can hope for is a call back from the HMRC that more often than not never happens. Well done HMRC!
1st Nov 2013
Bit of a mix really
I don't charge fixed fees in the first year I do bookkeeping for the client - mainly because you don't really know what is involved until you have done the annual cycle. I do charge bookkeeping out at a rate lower than my usual charge rate - volume tends to make up the difference somehow. Work done at clients premises is charged by the day plus travel expenses. Some clients also have a very flexible idea of what bookkeeping means - some think it is anything to do with a peice of paper that happens to pass their way and some still like to retain a bit of control over their paperwork so not charging fixed fees in the first year allows me to get to know how the client operates and what they actually want me to do. Once we both know what to expect from each other we agree fixed fees for the work going forward. I do agree with the OP in that if I keep everything neat and tidy as the year progresses, the annual accounts become a dream job.
10th Jul 2013
Some good/some bad
The problem with checklists is that they need to be relevant to the work you are carrying out. I use the work programmes suggested by SWAT in their Practice Assurance manual and find them really useful in that you can see what has been considered and done and what is still outstanding. Also they act as an "aide memoir" of things you may need to consider about the client and help you to work through the file in a logical manner. What I am not a fan of however are checklists that check the checklists - some of the review checklists are really cumbersome unless you deal with fairly large jobs where you have two or three people involved. I do however quite like some of the HMRC toolkit checklists and use them on more complex matters more as a reference and review tool than a checklist I have to say, but they have proved useful in one or two areas. Good tax software should help with the basic computational matters and a quick sense check style review on the very small returns will usually iron out most issues. I try not to get bogged down in checklists, but I do use them and like them.