Bookkeepers Reading Berkshire (RG1): According to the Companies Act, if you are a sole trader, own a small business or run an online store in Reading, you're entirely responsible for keeping accurate, "true and fair" accounting and financial records for a minimum of six years. Failure to produce such detailed records may leave you facing a hefty fine and potentially Company Director disqualification. It can pay to employ a professional accountant or bookkeeping service to conduct this for you, since according to Accounting Today over 40% of small business owners spend at least 80 hours each year doing their bookkeeping, which is a substantial investment of time, and might be better spent on your main business activities.
It's time to contactin Reading for guidance and advice, if just the thought of tracking assets and liabilities, producing balance sheets, creating profit, loss and financial statements or writing ledgers fills you with a sense of panic.
BOOKKEEPER OR ACCOUNTANT?
"Precisely what is the distinction between an accountant and a bookkeeper?" Is a question that is asked by a lot of people in Reading. In former days it was normally looked at as to be beneath the qualifications, skill set and experience of an accountant to do bookkeeping, but because of improvements in software over the past 10 yrs or so, many bookkeeping tasks will now be taken on by accountancy companies in Reading. To keep their bookkeeping services in line with a typical, it is now common practice for many accounting firms to have a fixed rate for these services. This is good news for business owners in Reading because it gives a wider variety of competition within the marketplace and can make the cost of your bookkeeping cheaper than initially thought.
When you're looking at the differences between an accountant and a bookkeeper, the most notable one is the standard of qualification and training that is necessary for each of these disciplines. Anwill, at the very least, hold an accounting degree, and should have also had specialist training in fiscal and business management, and taxes. While in Reading will certainly have a decent understanding of such procedures, they may not necessarily have the same levels of experience and training in this field, or hold these qualifications.
A BOOKKEEPER'S RESPONSIBILITIES
The bookkeeping process in simple terms, is to record the day by day transactions of any business in Reading. This could include, but isn't limited to;
- Recording invoices received and ensuring payment is completed punctually.
- Monthly reconciliations and reports.
- Ensuring double-entry bookkeeping and accounting practices are followed at all times.
- Logging of all financial incomings; electronic, card and cash payments included.
- Payroll services.
- VAT recording and submissions.
- Highlighting any discrepancies in the financial accounts and rectifying them.
- The billing of clients for work completed or goods.
Whilst it is dependent on the type of service you are interested in, if you are willing to carry out the bulk of your own bookkeeping work, a professional bookkeeper may just be needed to periodically double-check your figures. At the bare minimum this should really be done monthly, to enable the quick identification and rectification of any mistakes or problems. So long as you're able to stay on top of your monetary transactions without compromising your everyday trading tasks, this option can be the most economical solution.
It is fairly likely that if you are thinking of hiring a bookkeeping company, you are currently fretting over the financial recording side of your business in Reading. A professional bookkeeper will be able to offer assistance with everything from invoicing, creating expense reports and stocktaking, to linking your accounts with the most up-to-date computer software to allow the seamless sorting of financial data.
The efficient reconciliation of cash flow with accounts payable is one of the most crucial aspects of good bookkeeping practice. Which means that instead of paying an outstanding bill immediately, or waiting on an overdue notice, which most small businesses in Reading are guilty of at some time or other, your bookkeeper will prioritise the payment of bills to times when your finances are in good shape. This does not just keep you in favour with suppliers and those who supply services to you, but also ensures your business or enterprise is on a sound financial footing. Sadly, this is just one of those juggling acts that can be hard to accomplish when you are mainly focussed on the streamlined running of your daily business operations.
Having somebody who's unconnected to the business cast an unrelated eye over your financial affairs, is another good thing about using an experienced bookkeeper in Reading if you are a sole trader, or for your small business. It could be that business patterns and trends that you have overlooked will thus be brought to the fore. A situation where a keen eyed bookkeeper flags up an area where profits are plummeting, or spots a new opportunity which may be lucrative, is not at all an uncommon occurrence. For ensuring the growth of any small business in Reading, it is vital that such key performance indicators (KPI's) are spotted as early as possible.
If you send out invoices in your business operations, having to chase up a late payment can be fairly uncomfortable. If that phone call or visit to your clients is done by a person from outside your normal business situation, it is possible for most of that awkwardness to be taken away. If you have a persistent late or non-payer there are legal options a professional bookkeeper can employ to help to clear up the issue before the situation ends up in a claims court proceeding.
SOLE TRADER'S BOOKKEEPING REQUIREMENTS
If you're a sole trader the requirements for bookkeeping, as set out in law, are quite straightforward. A sole trader is expected to keep a record of expenditure and income on a month by month basis and save all receipts and invoices. It is still recommended that you hire the expert services of a bookkeeping company, although this may at first sound simple. When preparing your tax returns, a professional sole trader bookkeeper in Reading will be happy to advise you on what your bonafide business expenses are, and ensure these are claimed back from HMRC. This might include rent and bills if working from home, consumables, promotional advertising, items such as computers and stationery. If you'd like to get more comprehensive advice, and learn how your small business can grow in the future, talk to a trusted bookkeeper.
BOOKKEEPING FOR ONLINE TRADERS
There are certain niche areas in bookkeeping where a specialist may be essential. You will require a bookkeeper in Reading who understands online payment procedures, cross-border and international taxes, exchange rate transfers and multi-currency processing, if you manage an online store for instance. Overseeing stock on a 24/7 basis is also a crucial concern, if the same shop sells goods that you produce or hold, as I'm sure you'll appreciate the internet doesn't sleep, therefore nor should your bookkeeping software or services.
A virtual office can also be supplied in conjunction with bookkeeping services. This is beneficial in enabling a sole trader or online only business to have a postal address and phone service to provide a physical link with their customer base. If this sort of service could be helpful, it is definitely worth discussing, although this option won't be provided by all Reading bookkeeping businesses.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS
A certified bookkeeper in Reading does not need to have a degree and a great many qualifications in this sector are at Certificate and Diploma level. Qualifications can be obtained through further education colleges and universities but there are also an ever-increasing selection of courses available online.
There are two key training and certification organisations representing bookkeepers:
The AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians): With fully trained members being able to use the letters AATQB after their name, the Association of Accounting Technicians or AAT provides a training schedule with advanced qualifications. This then entitles them to become a registered AAT bookkeeper and guarantees a standard of service which is backed up by the organisation. If an AAT bookkeeper has a complaint filed against them or is found to have contravened the code of practice they will be subject to disciplinary and tribunal processes to safeguard the values and integrity of AAT membership.
The ICB or Institute of Certified Bookkeepers: The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers or ICB is the largest organisation in the world and offers accreditation to certified bookkeepers, together with reference material and training to keep their members up-to-date.
By visiting their websites, it is possible to check out the qualifications of any bookkeeper in Reading on the register of AAT or ICB members. It is generally a good idea to implement this check, before employing any local bookkeeper in Reading.
What Are the Main Advantages of Using a Bookkeeper in Reading Rather Than an Accountant?
The following are some reasons why you may choose to use a bookkeeper in Reading, rather than an accountant:
- Affordability: Bookkeeping services are generally more budget-friendly in comparison to accounting services, meaning that they are an inexpensive option for small businesses, sole traders and start-ups.
- Availability: Bookkeepers are generally more accessible and ready to answer questions and provide support in comparison to an accountant, who might only be reachable during specific times.
- Expertise: Bookkeepers often have a more specialised focus on day-to-day financial transaction management and record-keeping, which can make them more efficient and effective in these tasks.
- Customisable Services: Bookkeepers can provide customised services that are tailored to a business's particular needs, whereby accountants whose approach may be more general.
- Time: By choosing to outsource bookkeeping, small business owners can save a bit of time and concentrate on other vital areas of their business like sales and marketing.
It is important to note that althoughoffer some amazing services, they might not have the same level of expertise or qualifications as an in aspects such tax preparation or financial planning. In cases like this, seeking the specialist services of an accountant might be essential.
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Reading Bookkeeper Tasks
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Bookkeepers Near Reading
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