Bookkeepers: Whether you run a small business, are a sole trader or operate an online store in the UK, you're responsible for keeping accurate, "true and fair" accounting and financial records for at least 6 yrs as stated by the Companies Act. You might face thousands of pounds in fines, and possibly Company Director disqualification, if you cannot produce these records. According to Accounting Today magazine over 40% of small business owners spend over eighty hours annually on their bookkeeping, so whilst you can perform these financial records yourself, it can pay to use a professional bookkeeping service or accountant to do them instead.
The time has come to contact a bookkeeper in the UK for guidance, if you're filled with a sense of dread simply thinking about compiling balance sheets, tracking assets and liabilities, creating profit, loss and financial statements or writing ledgers.
BOOKKEEPER OR ACCOUNTANT?
The very first question many folks ask is "Just what is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?" The fact is that although in the past the process of bookkeeping, was considered to be beneath the skill set, experience and qualifications of an accountant, because of significant improvements in software over the past 10 years or so, most accountancy firms in the UK area will now take on bookkeeping. It is currently common practice for many accounting firms to charge a flat rate for bookkeeping services based on a typical bookkeeper's fee. Since it generates a wider variety of competition within the industry, this is good news for small businesses in the UK, making the cost of their bookkeeping much more affordable than it previously was.
The level of qualification and training required is the main difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant. At least a degree in accounting with additional training in the field of taxation and other business and financial management, will typically be held by an accountant. Whilst having an understanding of these disciplines, a bookkeeper in the UK may not have the same levels of training and experience, or hold these qualifications.
A BOOKKEEPER'S RESPONSIBILITIES
Put simply, the bookkeeping process is the recording of the day to day financial transactions of any business enterprise in the UK. This could include, but isn't limited to;
- VAT recording and submissions.
- Monthly reconciliation and reports.
- Recording of all financial incomings; cash, electronic and card payments included.
- Payroll services.
- Highlighting and rectifying any discrepancies in the financial accounts.
- Billing of clients for goods or work completed.
- Documenting the receipt of invoices and making certain that payment is completed promptly.
- Ensuring double-entry bookkeeping and accounting practices are observed.
Whilst it is dependent on the extent of the service you are looking for, if you're willing to carry out the majority of the bookkeeping work yourself, a professional bookkeeper might only be needed to periodically double-check your records. This should be done on a monthly basis as a bare minimum, as this will allow any mistakes or problems to be discovered and amended speedily. This trade-off can sometimes be the most economical if it's possible to stay on top of your day to day trading and financial transactions.
Whatever the circumstances are with your small business, if you're currently considering hiring a bookkeeper in the UK, it's fairly likely that you could be struggling with the process of recording your financial data. A professional bookkeeping company will help you out with everything from generating expense reports, invoicing and stocktaking, to linking the latest computer software with your accounts to seamlessly process all of your financial data.
Being able to reconcile cash flow with accounts payable, is an extremely important aspect of a good bookkeeper. This means that rather than waiting on a final notice, which many small businesses are guilty of, or paying an outstanding bill right away, your bookkeeper will prioritise bill payments to a time when your accounts are buoyant and in good shape. This not only keeps you in the good books of suppliers and those people who supply services to you, but also makes sure that your enterprise or business is financially secure. This is a juggling act that can be hard to perform on your own when you are primarily focussed on the operation of your company.
Using a qualified bookkeeper in the UK, for your small business or if you are a sole trader also gives them the chance to cast a fresh eye over your business. This independent appraisal can enable them to notice business patterns and trends that you may have disregarded. A bookkeeper identifying a brand new opportunity or flagging up an area of the business where profits are falling, is not at all unusual. For the long-term growth of any small business in the UK, it is vital that these key performance indicators (KPI's) are spotted early.
It can often be embarrassing to chase up a late payment if your business gives out invoices. If that telephone call or visit to your clients is done by someone outside your business bubble, it's possible for most of that embarrassment to be removed. There are legal procedures a bookkeeper can use, if you've got problems with a persistent late payer, and these can help to clear up the issue before the situation winds up in a claims court proceeding.
SOLE TRADER'S BOOKKEEPING REQUIREMENTS
There are some relatively uncomplicated sole trader bookkeeping requirements, that are laid out by law. In essence, sole traders must save all invoices and receipts, and keep records of income and expenditure on a monthly basis. Now, this doesn't sound too tough does it? Yet, it's still recommended that you retain the expert services of a bookkeeper to make certain that it's all done right. So that you will be able to claim back any genuine business expenses from HMRC, a professional sole trader bookkeeper in the UK will be happy to advise you on what you should do. This may include printer ink, items such as computers, bills and rent if you work from home, stationery goods and advertising. To learn how they can help your small business to prosper and grow, speak to your local bookkeeper for more in-depth advice and guidance.
BOOKKEEPING FOR ONLINE TRADERS IN UK
Certain small businesses that work in niche areas, might need to employ a specialised bookkeeping service. You are going to require a bookkeeper in the UK who is familiar with online payments, international and cross-border taxes, exchange rate transfers and multi-currency processing, if you manage an online store for example. If you hold or produce the merchandise that you sell with that store, then it is going to be a crucial priority for your bookkeeping software or services to manage your your stock on a 24/7 basis, since the internet never sleeps.
It is also possible to establish a virtual office, that can be utilised in conjunction with your bookkeeping service. This is valuable in enabling an online only business or sole trader to have a phone service and postal address to provide a physical connection to their customer base. Not all UK bookkeeping companies will be willing to provide this solution, however it's worthwhile talking about the possibilities if it's something that could be of benefit.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS
Many of the bookkeeping qualifications are at Diploma or Certificate level, and it's not necessary for a certified bookkeeper in the UK to have an accounting degree. There are a selection of courses available online, although bookkeeping qualifications can still be obtained via further education colleges and universities.
There are 2 primary training and certification organisations which represent bookkeepers:
The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers or ICB: The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers or ICB is the largest in the world and supplies accreditation to certified bookkeepers, in addition to training and reference material to keep their associated members up-to-date.
The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT): Entitled to use the letters AATQB after their name, a fully trained member of the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) will have undergone a training schedule and advanced qualifications in bookkeeping. They are then able to become authorised AAT bookkeepers, which assures their customers a level of service which is backed by the association. To protect the trustworthiness of the AAT membership, if a bookkeeper who is a member of the AAT is found to have contravened the code of practice or has a complaint against them, they can be liable to disciplinary and tribunal processes.
By going to their respective websites, you're able to inspect the qualifications of any professional UK bookkeeper on the register of AAT or ICB members. It is generally a good idea to implement this check, before hiring the services of any bookkeeper in the UK.
Bookkeeping UK - Outsourcing Options
All businesses in the UK should understand the significance of bookkeeping. It helps business people monitor their payables/receivables, the sum total of their liabilities and assets, the money left in their bank, and so forth. With the business owner having to deal with the concerns and issues of running a business, the task of carrying out the bookkeeping is often outsourced to a bookkeeping company or freelance bookkeepers in the UK.
If a company in the UK hires a bookkeeper in order to join their ranks, the company will need to spend a substantial amount of money in training the person for the purpose of doing the bookkeeping tasks. In addition to that, there is no guarantee that he or she will stay after the training is completed. In that case, the company stands to lose a considerable amount of money. Apart from that, businesses will have to look for ways and means to provide benefits and incentives to keep the employee there. These are a few of the reasons behind business organisations enlisting the services of professional bookkeepers and bookkeeping companies in the UK.
With the advent of new technology there is no need for business owners to stick to a freelance bookkeeper who may continue with outdated accounting practices. Again, they are not under pressure to hire and retain some in-house bookkeepers. Bookkeeping outsourcing is becoming increasingly common in the financial domain. One will find a lot many companies offering financial bookkeeping services catering to all kinds of clients and industries in the UK. A majority of these companies promise and deliver quality service. It assumes importance for a business to look into the track record of these UK bookkeeping companies when it comes to hiring a third party company for bookkeeping purposes.
The business owner in the UK can look for the following options with the bookkeeping company that offer outsourcing services. Check and find out how much savings he can enjoy by outsourcing the bookkeeping work. Since the expenses related to hiring and training the in-house staff is a great concern, it would be wise on the part of business owner to focus on an outsourcing company that can offer good savings. Try to get first hand information regarding the systems and methods employed by the company involved in bookkeeping services. It is very much important to get quality accounting services and greater security for your financial data. By quality, one means reliable, precise, and real-time bookkeeping data delivered within the set time. In short, the company that offers bookkeeping services in the UK should have a well protected system that can be relied on and trusted.
UK Bookkeeper Tasks
Most bookkeepers in the UK will be able to provide you with the following services: bookkeeping for restaurants, double-entry bookkeeping UK, QUOTE FORM provided. We'll be in touch with information just as soon as we are able.in the UK, small business bookkeeping in the UK, bookkeeping for societies UK, bookkeeping services, independent bookkeeping services in the UK, bookkeeping for small business UK, letting agent bookkeeping UK, bookkeeping for payroll, Quickbook bookkeeping services UK, Xero bookkeeping, landlord bookkeeping UK, bookkeeping services for tradesmen, personal tax returns UK, off-site bookkeeping, Sage bookkeeping services, bookkeeping services for limited companies, partnership returns, management accounts UK, mobile bookkeeping services, bookkeeping services for shops, tax return preparation, bookkeeping for pubs, bookkeeping and accounting services in the UK, bookkeeping and accounting, bookkeeping services for the self-employed UK, invoice processing, PAYE & wages in the UK, bookkeeping services for organisations, and more. Listed are just some of the duties that are accomplished by local bookkeepers. UK providers will tell you about their whole range of services. If there are other UK bookkeeper requirements that you need but cannot see here, you should list them on the
- UK Tax Preparation
- UK Wages PAYE and CIS
- UK VAT Returns
- UK Double-Entry Bookkeeping
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- UK Payroll Services
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- UK Credit Control
- UK Profit and Loss Reports
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- UK Sole Trader Bookkeeping
- UK Tax Returns
- UK Cash Flow Analysis
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