Bookkeepers Basingstoke Hampshire (RG21): Whether you operate an online store, are a sole trader or run a small business in Basingstoke, you are responsible for keeping "true and fair", accurate accounting and financial records for at least 6 years in accordance with the Companies Act (2006). If you cannot produce this information you face a hefty fine and possible Company Director disqualification. There's a significant time investment involved with keeping such financial records yourself, and it can be more economical to use a professional accountant or bookkeeper, because according to Accounting Today magazine over 40% of small business owners spend at least eighty hours each year on their accounts.
If you're overcome with a sense of terror merely thinking about the possiblility of producing balance sheets, preparing profit, loss and financial statements, tracking assets and liabilities or writing ledgers, then the time to get in touch within Basingstoke for assistance has arrived.
BOOKKEEPER OR ACCOUNTANT?
"Precisely what is the distinction between a bookkeeper and an accountant?" Is a question that is asked by most people in Basingstoke. In the old days it was often deemed to be beneath the experience, qualifications and skill-sets of an accountant to do bookkeeping, but because of substantial improvements in software over the past ten years, many bookkeeping tasks will now be undertaken by accountancy firms in the Basingstoke area. To keep their bookkeeping services in step with a dedicated, it's now quite common for accounting firms to charge a set fee for these services. Since it offers a wider range of competition within the marketplace, this is good news for small business owners in Basingstoke, making their bookkeeping costs more affordable than they previously were.
When considering the big difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper, it is the standard of training that's needed for each of these disciplines. Typically holding a degree in accounting, a professionalshould also have had further training in tax law and have qualifications in fiscal and business management. Although in Basingstoke will invariably have a fair grasp of such skills, they may not hold these qualifications or levels of experience and training in this field.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A BOOKKEEPER
The recording of day to day transactions (financial) of any business enterprise in Basingstoke, describes the process of bookkeeping in the simplest of terms. This may include, but isn't limited to;
- VAT recording and submissions.
- Payroll services.
- Documenting invoices received and making sure that payment is completed by the due date.
- Recording of all financial incomings; card, cash and electronic payments included.
- The billing of clients for work completed or goods.
- Highlighting any discrepancies in financial accounts and rectifying them.
- Monthly reconciliation and reporting.
- Ensuring accounting and double-entry bookkeeping practices are followed at all times.
If you're happy to do the vast majority of your bookkeeping work yourself; a bookkeeper may only be needed to double check your figures every once in a while. This should be on a monthly basis as a bare minimum, since this will allow any mistakes or problems to be uncovered and amended speedily. If it is possible to stay in control of your day to day financial transactions and trading activities, this trade-off can sometimes be the most affordable option.
Whatever the circumstances are with your company or business, if you're seriously considering hiring a bookkeeper in Basingstoke, it's fairly likely that you might be fretting over the process of financial records and tax returns. Offering assistance with everything from producing expense reports, invoicing and stocktaking, a professional bookkeeping company will also be able to help you link your accounts with the latest software to enable the seamless processing of your business's financial data.
An extremely important aspect of a good bookkeeper is being able to reconcile cash flow with accounts payable. Which means that rather than paying off a bill immediately, or waiting for a final notice, which most small businesses are guilty of, your bookkeeper will prioritise bill payments to times when your accounts are buoyant. Along with keeping your business or enterprise on a secure financial footing, this also maintains your good standing with service providers and suppliers. This is a juggling act that you may find hard to perform as an individual when you are mainly focussed on running your business.
Having a person who's not affiliated with the business cast an eye over your financial transactions, is another added advantage of employing an experienced bookkeeper in Basingstoke for your small business or if you are a sole trader. Business patterns and trends that you may have disregarded might be pinpointed by this type of dispassionate appraisal. A situation where an intelligent bookkeeper flags an area of the business where profits are plummeting, or identifies a new opportunity which could prove lucrative, is not at all an uncommon occurrence. These key performance indicators (KPI's) are essential in the growth of any enterprise in Basingstoke.
If you give out invoices in your business operations, having to pursue late payments can be fairly uncomfortable. Some of that awkwardness can be taken away by having somebody outside your normal business situation visit your clients or make that phone call. There are legal options a bookkeeper can employ, if you have a persistent late payer, and they can help to clear up the situation before the issue ends up in a claims court proceeding.
SOLE TRADER'S BOOKKEEPING REQUIREMENTS
The legal requirements for bookkeeping if you're a sole trader, are relatively straightforward and basic. It's stated that a sole trader should track income and expenditure on a monthly basis and keep all receipts and invoices. It's still recommended that you retain the expert services of a bookkeeping company, even if this might at first sound simple. When dealing with your Self-Assessment tax returns, a specialised sole trader bookkeeper in Basingstoke can advise you on what your bonafide business expenses are, and claim these back from HMRC. This may include advertising expenses, printer ink, rent and bills if you work from home, stationery goods and items such as laptops. Speak to your bookkeeper for more in-depth advice and discover how they can help your small business to prosper and grow.
BOOKKEEPING FOR ONLINE TRADERS
Specialistare needed now and again for certain bookkeeping niches. If you manage an online store for example, you'll need a bookkeeper in Basingstoke who is familiar with international and cross-border taxes, online payment procedures, multi-currency processing and exchange rate transfers. If that same shop sells goods you hold or produce, then controlling inventory on a 24 hours a day basis is a huge priority, after all the internet doesn't sleep, so nor should your bookkeeping software or services.
Together with bookkeeping services, it's also possible to establish a virtual office. This allows an online only business or sole trader to have a postal address and phone service to offer a physical link with their clients. It's definitely worth discussing this possibility if it is something that could benefit you, although not all Basingstoke bookkeepers will provide this option.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS
Many of the qualifications in the field of bookkeeping are at Diploma and Certificate level, and a certified bookkeeper in Basingstoke need not hold a degree. Although there are an ever-growing range of bookkeeping courses available online, qualifications can still be obtained through further education universities and colleges, if that's the chosen route.
There are basically two principal organisations that offer certification and training to bookkeepers:
The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB): The ICB or Institute of Certified Bookkeepers is the largest bookkeeping organisation on the planet and provides accreditation to certified bookkeepers, along with reference material and training to keep their associated members up-to-speed with the latest trends.
The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT): With fully certified members being able to use the letters AATQB, the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) provides a training schedule with advanced qualifications. They're then entitled to become authorised AAT bookkeepers, which promises their customers a decent level of service which is backed up by the association. Bookkeepers who are affiliated with the AAT can can be subject to tribunal and disciplinary processes if a complaint is filed against them or they are found to have broken the code of conduct. This helps to protect the trustworthiness of the AAT.
By visiting their respective websites, it's possible to check out the qualifications of any professional bookkeeper on the register of AAT or ICB members. Before retaining the services of any local bookkeeper in Basingstoke it is recommended that you carry out this check.
What Are the Main Advantages of Using a Bookkeeper in Basingstoke Instead of an Accountant?
There are a few advantages to using a bookkeeper rather than an accountant, including:
- Time Savings: By choosing to outsource their bookkeeping tasks, businesses can save a bit of time and concentrate on other areas of their business, such as sales and marketing.
- Accessibility: Bookkeepers are usually more available to answer questions and provide support on a regular basis than an accountant, who might only be available at certain times of the year.
- Affordability: Bookkeeping services are usually more budget-friendly in comparison to accounting services, meaning that they are a cheaper option for small businesses, sole traders and startups.
- Specialisation: Bookkeepers have a more focused expertise in day-to-day financial transaction management and record-keeping, leading to greater efficiency and effectiveness in these tasks.
- Customisable Services: Bookkeepers often provide customised services that are tailored to a business's particular needs, whereas accountants whose approach may be more general.
That being said, it's important to note that whilecan provide invaluable support, they may not have the same level of expertise or qualifications as an in certain areas such as tax preparation or financial planning. In these cases, it may be necessary to consult an accountant when more specialised services are needed.
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