Buying Assets For Your Business. What You Should Know.

When business owners start to think about investing in business assets, such as a new vehichle or some tools or machinery, it’s a great time to talk to your accountant or bookkeeper, depending on what sort of advice you need. If you feel confident in making your own decision, once given the options by your bookkeeper, then don’t pay for the higher accountants fees this time! However, bear in mind that your bookkeeper isn’t qualified to advise you what you should do, only what you could do. Professional bookkeepers with Self-Assessment qualifications and all professional accountants will know all the latest rules on what capital allowances can be claimed against tax. This is really important because HMRC are forever moving the goalposts as they update the tax system, so it makes sense to scrutinise the timing of the investment, which can make an enormous difference to the amount of money you could save by simply delaying the investment, or perhaps buying it a bit sooner than originally intended. Secondly, there are different rules for capital allowances depending on things like the environmental rating of the asset, whether it’s new or second hand and whether you once owned it privately. This is a complex area of the tax system so don’t assume you have all the knowledge necessary to make the best decision.

And remember folks, absolutely anyone can call themselves an ‘accountant’ or ‘bookkeeper’, even if they have no professional qualifications, and ……….. get this, even if they’ve been in prison for embezzlement. Yes, that’s crazy but true, and it does happen! So, make sure you protect yourself and your business by choosing a professional, which means someone registered with one of the professional bodies. That way you know they’re competent, of good character, insured and qualified. I’m proud to be an Associate Member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.

In a pickle with HMRC?

Are you in a pickle with HMRC? If so, I certainly won’t judge you, but I would like to help. We can’t all be good at everything. I’ve always been pretty good with numbers and am great at staying on top of paperwork and administration, however I’m a hopeless driver and I have no sense of direction at all, so If you’re good at these, things then I’m in awe of you.

It can’t be nice knowing that you’ve been fined by HMRC, and once they start adding interest and further penalties, the balance owed (and your stress levels) can go through the roof! The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand as things can only get worse.

I Have an Agent’s account with HMRC and can speak to one of their advisers on your behalf. I’ve known them to be quite forgiving (honestly), especially if hold your hand up and say “I went wrong, but I want to put it right now and stay compliant in the future”.  HMRC will respect you for trying to sort things out, and they’ll help by agreeing to a payment plan that you can afford. They might even waive a portion of the penalties, depending on your circumstances, and you’ll certainly stop the fines accruing even further.

Call me on 01803 363089 to speak in confidence about your situation. We can get things sorted I promise, and I can help you to stay on the right side of HMRC in the future by putting in place the support you need. The Torbay Bookkeeping Practice is here for you, and initial consultations are free of charge, strictly confidential and without further obligation.

25% off QuickBooks Online and my Fees for just one lucky person. Is it you?

I’m so proud to have achieved QuickBooks Online Advanced Certification, that I’m offering my next new client a whopping 25% off my fees. This is a One-Off. Will you be the lucky one? All you have to do is sign up for my services and choose this amazing software, which is compatible with HMRC’s Making tax Digital.

*Note terms and conditions apply. Call me on 01803 363089 for more info.

What do bookkeepers actually do, compared with accountants?

People often ask me ‘what exactly is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?’. The answer depends on the qualifications held. A ‘level two’ bookkeeper does ‘data input’, meaning they record figures in an accounting system. This may be on paper, in a spreadsheet, or better still, accountancy software such as Xero, Sage or QuickBooks Online. A ‘level three’ bookkeeper can take things further by producing year-end accounts plus a variety of management reports. They might also run their own bookkeeping practice and/or hold additional qualifications in self-assessment, software-consultancy or payroll for example. Unlike level two bookkeepers, who must work under supervision, they are expected to be able to work independently. What about accountants though? They start off by gaining qualifications in bookkeeping, but they take things further still by becoming qualified to give business advice, and that’s the crucial difference! I’m always careful to let my clients know that I can’t advise on their business performance or strategy, but I can provide the period-end accounts, so that their accountant can provide this service.

One great advantage of emergent, digital, cloud-based, accounting technology is that business owners, accountants and bookkeepers can collaborate from the same accounting platform, and this means that business owners only need pay the higher fees of the accountant where it’s really needed. Like many bookkeepers in practice, I work from home which means lower overheads for me and competitive fees for my clients.

Whether you choose to use an accountant, a bookkeeper or both, do make sure that they belong to one of the recognised professional bodies. you’re a lot safer that way because you’ll know they are insured, regulated and qualified. Anyone can call themselves a ‘bookkeeper’ or an ‘accountant’ and there are plenty of rogues out there, believe me!

Call me on 01803 363089 if I can help in any way with your bookkeeping or accountancy-software needs.

FREE Tax Return, FREE Year-End Accounts and FREE Digital Accounting Software anyone?

How would you like a Bookkeeping & Accounting package that features a FREE Tax Return plus FREE Year-End Accounts and FREE Digital Accounting Software? No, this isn’t too good to be true! I work from home which means low overheads, and as a ‘Quickbooks Online Pro-Adviser’ and a ‘Certified Xero Adviser’, I can obtain competetive discounts from these leading Accountancy Software Providers, which I’m happy to pass on to you.

What’s more, by opting to use either Xero or Quickbooks Online you’ll be ready for HMRC’s Making Tax Digital, and you’ll have

real time information at your fingertips to inform your business decision making. Moreover, you can invite yout Accountant or Trusted Advisers to log in to the software and drill down to transaction level or view reports. Choose from one of the three pricing options or call the Torbay Bookkeeping Practice on (01803) 363089 to negotiate a more bespoke package or an hourly bookkeeping rate if you prefer.




£45/Month *


£75/Month *


£100/Month *

Choose either Xero or QuickBooks Online Digital Accounting Software, then select one of the three Packages, or phone the Torbay Bookkeeping Practice on (01803) 363089 for a Bespoke Package or hourly rate. Our basic package, the perfect solution for sole-traders with few transactions who simply want to be HMRC compliant and ready for Making Tax Digital. Our popular package, featuring unlimited telephone support plus bookkeeping for up to 500 monthly transactions.  

Our comprehensive solution, which takes care of everything and gives you an Enhanced Management Reporting facility plus bookkeeping for up to 1000 monthly transactions.

Live Bank Feed  


Accountant Log-in  


Mobile Phone App


Free Free Free
Support Telephone & Email Telephone & Email Telephone & Email
Transaction Processing Up to 100

per month

Up to 600

per month

Up to 1000

per month

Monthly Management Reports




Year-End Profit & Loss + Balance Sheet  









One Tax-Return


Free Free Free
QuickBooks Online or Xero Accounting Software Free Free Free


* Terms and Conditions apply

Is your email really from HMRC?

Around half of people in the UK report that they’ve been targeted by scammers pretending to be from HMRC. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself when you receive an email that appears to be from HMRC. Firstly, be on the look out for shoddy grammar and spelling mistakes, and check the email address that the message has originated from. Scammers often have poor use of the English language, and they use email addresses which are similar to the official one but don’t quite match. For example tax1@hmrc.
Secondly, beware of the content of the email. Often online thieves will try to trigger certain emotions such as hope or fear to distract you and tempt you in. For example they might promise a tax rebate, or pretend to be from the compliance team and suggest that you need to cooperate with them in order to avoid fines and other penalties. Beware of messages that tell you to take action ‘urgently’ or within a short time period as this is often another clue that someone is trying to steal your data.
Thirdly, if the email asks you to reply with personal details or business data, be very suspicious as HMRC would never ask you to reveal any data in an email that should be kept secure. Also, check over the email address that you’re being asked to reply to, and be on your guard when opening any attachments. Scammers have been known to include links which lead to a fake HMRC ‘home page’ that looks almost identical to the genuine HMRC one, and attachments can contain nasty viruses which are purely designed to obtain your financial data.
If you’re ever suspicious of an email pupporting to be from HMRC, you should forward the message to HMRC’s phishing team at If you think you’ve already been the victim of a scam you can also contact HMRC’s security team at They will be able to offer you help and guidance to overcome the data breach.

So, you’ve heard of ‘Making Tax Digital’ or ‘MTD’, but what does it mean, who’s affected and what are the main benefits?

To answer the first part, ‘MTD’ simply means keeping business and records digitally and updating them electronically through the daily process of recording business transactions online. This will revolutionise the way people interact with HMRC because rather than submitting an annual tax return containing historical data, individuals will each have their own ‘live’ tax account which is continually being updated as information flows automatically between bank accounts, bookkeeping software and HMRC.
To answer the second part, all but a tiny minority of businesses will have to comply. Exemptions are available for people with religious objections, for people unable to participate due to age or disability and for those without an internet connection. Initially all VAT registered businesses with turnovers above the VAT threshold will have to comply, with other businesses being affected soon after.
And finally, what benefits might be expected from the new system? Well firstly, people will always know where they stand when it comes to tax as the picture will be an ongoing one rather than a snapshot after the event. They will have all the relevant information in one place such as the amount of tax already paid and the amount of ongoing profit on which tax will be due. They’ll be able to see their liabilities and assets in one place, in real time, which will help with business planning and budgeting. No longer will people be wondering how much tax they’re liable for at year end, and there shouldn’t be any large build ups of tax owed back to them by HMRC as tax information is collected and processed in as close to real time as possible. Moreover, the fact that your financial information will be online rather than held inside a single computer, means you’ll benefit from able to collaborate more effectively with your accountant or bookkeeper as you discuss transactions from within the software itself. It’s my belief that once people get used to the new way of doing things, they’ll wish it had happened years ago!
You’re welcome to call the Torbay Bookkeeping Practice on 01803 363089 to arrange a free consultation and demonstration of Xero and/or QuickBooks Online digital accounting software to help you get ready for MTD.

Onwards and Upwards.

It’s been a busy few months for the Torbay Bookkeeping Practice which I’ve enjoyed tremendously. I’ve picked up a few more clients over the Christmas and New Year holidays, and January was a hectic month doing tax returns, which was a welcome opportunity to try out my new Agent Services Account with HMRC. I’m hoping to expand my client base during the early part of 2018 and I’m looking forward to seeing which types of businesses I’ll be working with. Thanks to all those who’ve supported me during 2017.

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