Q) What exactly is ‘Digital Bookkeeping & Accountancy Software’?
A) Digital Bookkeeping & Accounting Software is very different to the old-fashioned software that used to sit within a computer only to be used at year-end to produce an historical record of your accounts. The newer software operates by giving each transaction its own website effectively. It’s a more dynamic system whereby you do the record keeping as you go and have an up-to-date picture of your business at any one time. You can see who owes you and what you owe to others, and when payments are due. You can also produce reports such as Profit & Loss’ or Balance Sheets at the click of a mouse, and you can track stock or compare regions, departments or accounting periods. Moreover, you can attach payment systems such as Paypal, Stripe or GoCardless and set up automatic email reminders for late payers. Research shows that these two factors alone mean you’ll get paid an astonishing 30% faster! Your accountant and/or bookkeeper can log in at any time to help you, and with live bank feeds half of the bookkeeping is done automatically without you having to life a single finger. Another great feature is that software updates happen automatically. There’s no having to go out and purchase a whole new lot of software because technology has moved on. I’m happy to provide demonstrations which can be part of your free consultancy meeting if that suits. If you’re a technology fan or you want to go paperless, you can run your business entirely from your phone, and that’s a real bonus because it means you can work whilst on the train or in the car between meetings. If you can get access to an internet connection wherever you are, then you’re ready to go.
Q) What if one of your three packages of support aren’t quite right for my business?
A) Don’t worry, we can negotiate a different package that’s just right for you and your business, or you can purchase a slot of my time if you prefer things that way.
Q) What if I want to do my own bookkeeping to keep costs down, can you still help me somehow?
A) Yes, I can. If you check out my website or Facebook page, follow me on Twitter or connect with me on Linked-In, you can benefit from free advice and support by reading my blogs and posts. I can also help you to choose, and get set up with software, and then teach you the basics before pointing you in the right direction for further study yourself. If you want, I can help you to programme the software (according to the patterns of your spending and income) to speed up the bookkeeping process, and at any time you can come back to me for further support, especially at year-end when the bookkeeping becomes a bit more challenging. I can help out just when you need it, without any further obligation if that’s what works for you.
Q) How do I know I can trust the Torbay Bookkeping practice and rely on your services?
A) Im an Associate member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, (http://www.bookkeepers.org.uk/), with Practice Licence Number 18410. As such, you can be assured that I have adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance, that I’m regulated by Codes of Professional and Ethical Conduct and that I have the relevant qualifications to demonstrate my competence as a Bookkeeper in Practice. I also have a specialist diploma in Self-Assessment (from the ICB) as well as an HMRC Agent’s Account so you can rest assured that it’s all being done officially and properly. I’m also a Certified Xero Adviser, an Advanced QuickBooks Online Pro-Adviser and I also have the Advanced qualification in Sage 50 Accounts. There are some dire stories in the press about business owners who’ve trusted rougue ‘accountants’ or ‘bookkeepers’ and if they’re not registered with one of the recognised Professional Bodies (See HMRC for an up-to-date list of Approved Bodies), it could prove difficult to get any come-back. Believe it or not anyone can call themselves an ‘Accountant’ or ‘Bookkeeper’ even if they have no qualifications or experience……. and even if they’ve been convicted of fraud. I read in the press about a bookkeeper who fleeced one of her unfortunate clients for almost £100K! She was imprisoned for two years and incredibly, she’s now back out and working as a bookkeper again (suffice to say none of the regulatory bodies will permit her to join them). The client’s problems and distress from the fallout lasted a lot longer than two years. It’s just silly to take risks when it comes to your business and finances, so don’t!
Q) Is the first hour of your time really absolutely free with no strings?
A) Yes, that’s right. You can use that hour to ask any questions you want about bookkeeping for your business or choose a software demonstration if you prefer. We can meet on Skype, over the telephone or in person. Whatever works for you.
Q) When will I have to start using digital software to comply with HMRC’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ rules?
A) If your business is VAT registered, and your turnover is above the VAT threshold, you’ll need digital software in place by April 2019. However, if you don’t want to have to change software in the middle of an accounting period, (and that isn’t ideal), then you’d need to have the system in place well before that. For example businesses who’s VAT period end-date & year-end date is June would need their software in place by May 2018 to be ready. The exact date depends on your particular accounting dates. Get in touch if you need help with this. If you’re not a VAT registered business then the earliest that digital software will be mandatory is April 2020. However, being ready before then is so much safer as it’s better to be dealing with new software when you’re not under pressure and facing the threat of penalties for non-compliance. Moreover, as mentioned above, if you want to be sure of not having to change software in the middle of an accounting period you’d need to everything in place well before then.
Q) Might I be exempt from Making Tax Digital or MTD?
A) Probably not. You can claim exemption on religious grounds, though you’d probably need to go to considerable lengths to convince HMRC that you really do qualify. If this is genuinely the case however, then there won’t be an issue. Secondly you can claim exemption if you’re going through the insolvency process, and I’m geniunely sorry if this is the case for you. Finally, you can avoid MTD if it’s ‘not reasonably practicable’ for you to use digital software. By this, HMRC mean things like there being no intenet signal due to remoteness of location, or you have a disability or are of older age and this prevents you from using digital software. As for how old you have to be to claim on the grounds of age, HMRC haven’t given a specific figure but I don’t think you’d qualify if you’re in your 60s or younger.
Q) Can I trust the security features of Digital Cloud-Based Accountancy Software?
A) I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on Information Technology because I’m not. What I can tell you though is that I only use leading Digital Bookkeeping Software companies which are used by thousands of other UK banks, accountants and bookkeepers, and that the security features are similar to what you’d have using internet banking with the leading High Street Banks. As long as you follow general online safety advice such as installing decent anti-virus software, setting up good, secure passwords and installing updates when they arise, everything will be secure. Compared with non-digital software it’s much safer because if your computer breaks down or you suffer a break in to your office, the consequences could be dire, but if everything is safely stored in the cloud, behind a series of passwords and 2 step verification, the thieves or scammers can’t touch your data no matter how much they want to get their hand on it.
Q) You haven’t answered my question. How can I get in touch to ask it?
A) Call the practice on 01803 363089, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoyed this Question & Answer Session. Have a great day everyone, be safe online and Happy Bookkeeping to you.