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Easter Bunny Competition Time!!!

12th March 2018
12th March 2018

Easter bunny competitionWho couldn’t resist one of these Easter Gold Bunnies?

To be in with a chance of winning one, all you’ve got to do is head over to our Facebook page here, like our page if you haven’t done so already, then like and share our competition post.  Make sure you do so before the deadline on Monday 26th March at 10am.

Good luck!!!

How to be better at business networking

6th March 2018
6th March 2018

There are so many business networking groups that it will soon be possible to spend all your time in networking meetings and never do any actual work!  Some groups have training sessions on how to become better at networking – which isn’t any help for people new to the group, or looking to explore different groups to find which works best for them.

Here’s a quick list of the top 10 principles which apply to all business networking events:

  • Practise your introduction to make it concise and impressive
  • Be different, as being unique makes you interesting to others
  • Be prepared to give, not just take – helping others is important
  • Integrity, trust and reputation are critical
  • Target your activity – not everyone at a networking meeting is your potential customer
  • Plan what you do, don’t just go with everything offered
  • Make sure you follow-up after the meetings
  • Be positive – negativity is not good!
  • Be focussed – networking is marketing, it is about selling your products or services
  • Remember there’s more to life than networking…

There are all sorts of resources online to help you develop your networking skills – but this article is different in looking at networking from a psychologist’s perspective, rather than a networking group’s point of view – which is, after all, aimed at getting you to sign up to their group!

And the most important quote?    “The key to networking well is to ask open-ended questions and give other people the chance to talk about their work or the pressures they face” – because then they will tell you what they need, so you can solve their problem.  Simple, really….

Stamp Duty on Shares

10th August 2017
10th August 2017

Did you know you have to pay Stamp Duty on shares?  When you buy shares and the price you pay is greater than £1,000, and the purchase is recorded on a stock transfer form, you’ll need to get the form stamped by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and you must pay Stamp Duty (SD).

Share transfers valued at £1,000 or less

If you buy stocks and shares for £1,000 or less you don’t normally have to pay any SD and don’t have to tell HMRC about the transaction, but you need to:

  • make sure the first exemption certificate on the back of the stock transfer form has been completed – you don’t need to complete this certificate if you don’t pay anything for the shares
  • send the stock transfer form and the share certificate to the registrar of the company you’ve bought shares in – whether you paid anything for the shares or not

The address of the registrar is on the share certificate. The registrar will issue you with your own share certificate.

Share transfers for more than £1,000

If you buy stocks and shares for more than £1,000 you will normally have to pay SD and you’ll have to send HMRC the stock transfer form for stamping, along with your payment.

Calculating how much SD to pay

The amount of SD you pay is based on the ‘chargeable consideration’ you give for the stocks or shares. The chargeable consideration can be:

  • cash
  • other stocks and shares
  • debt

You won’t have to pay SD where the consideration you give is not chargeable. You pay SD at the rate of 0.5% of the value of the chargeable consideration, rounded up to the nearest £5, on each document to be stamped.

Completing a stock transfer form

When you complete a stock transfer form you should give all the details of the sale including:

  • the shares being transferred (the quantity, class and type, for example 100 Ordinary shares, ABC Limited)
  • the consideration
  • the buyer
  • the seller

If the transfer is exempt from SD, or no chargeable consideration is given for the transfer, you need to complete one of the certificates on the back of the stock transfer form. The certificate you need to complete depends on the facts.

If you’re unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to contact us.

How to make Crowdfunding work for you

25th May 2017
25th May 2017

Are you interested in how to make crowdfunding work for you – many businesses would say you should be!

Make crowdfunding work for youA lot of businesses have found it difficult to get funding from banks – which has always been the way it’s been done.  Increasingly, businesses are beginning to look at crowdfunding as a viable alternative.  Originally used mainly by charities to fund small projects, crowdfunding has developed fast.  There are now many different platforms, all offering slightly different packages.

For many, this may appear daunting.  When you’re looking for funding, you need confidence that you’re going down the right route.  A new website – CRUCIAL Crowdfunding – is being launched at the end of May which aims to make crowdfunding simple, by showing you how to make the most of the many opportunities available.

Barwell’s have teamed up with Third Sector East to put on a workshop to help people through the process.  If you’re considering growing, or needing investment at any time in the near future, come along to this FREE workshop where we’ll look at:

  • which type of crowdfunding is best for you – debt or equity, donation or reward
  • how to choose which of the many different platforms around is most suitable for your project
  • planning your critical pre-campaign period so you are able to make the most of the campaign itself
  • managing the campaign itself so you are best able to secure success

The workshop takes place on Wednesday 7th June, 2pm till 4pm, at the KLIC building in South Lynn.  Places are free but limited, so you need to book to reserve your place – go here to book.

 

It’s a social thing…

20th April 2017
20th April 2017

Social media is everywhere these days and it’s a great marketing tool to boost your business audience – not to mention it’s free!

Due to the informal nature of social media, users are more likely to share posts, like and add comments and ask questions. This is a great way of building relationships with current clients and potential new businesses.

Like us – Barwell Accountants

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms.  We regularly post on our business page technical articles about current accounts and taxation topics. These prove popular and often encourage contact from both existing and potential new clients.

With a vast number of clients and contacts following us on social media, they are able to keep up to date with topical issues and updates within our firm in an informal manner. In the same respect, we regularly share, repost and interact with other businesses and their posts, as we believe supporting each other is essential.

Social media isn’t all about selling your firms products and services but a great way to raise brand awareness and connect with communities keeping your firm in people’s minds!

Non work related topics are regularly shared so that our clients can relate to our friendly approachable nature both inside and outside of the office. We love to share our hobbies and interests with the world; we regularly bake and love to share our results.

We also sponsor a local football team, Wisbech St Mary under 10 Purples, and their achievements are a common feature on our posts.

Social media is a great marketing tool as it allows updates to be posted daily if necessary without followers feeling bombarded with information, as they may via email or post.

Follow us – @BarwellAccts

Twitter is our other main social media outlet.  We find tweets are great for interacting with others, keeping our tweets lively and topical. Interacting with businesses and individuals on a one to one conversation or with a group is a great business tool for short and quick updates.

We use social media for many reasons, it’s a great way of building on current and starting new relationships with other businesses. Statistics from 2016 say that there are 38 million UK social media users, therefore the opportunities are endless.

Over the last year we have worked hard to monitor our statistics of interactions and activity online. This is very important and allows us to understand our market.

So please come and find us, link with us and join in!  Follow us on our Facebook Barwell Accountants page, and come and talk to us on Twitter – we’re @BarwellAccts.

We’re re-branding – to Barwell Accountants

21st March 2017
21st March 2017

Every business faces changes during its life and we are no different. We have been running for about 8 years now and have enjoyed the journey. We have established lovely offices in the Boathouse and have moved within the building several times as we have needed to adapt to our growing needs.

Some business changes are very subtle and not announced to customers and the public. However, some changes are more formal and noticeable and need to be expressed to the wider world.

Rebranding is a very public change to the business and is often used to show the changes a business is going through. This can be to modernise or adapt to changes in the business objectives.

We are no different, we have been through a lot of small changes over the early years of our business. This year we are looking to make a major public change to our business – we are changing our company name. This is a major change on the outside world but every other part of the business is staying the same. We are at the same offices, with the same team, and offering the same service to all our customers. We are continuing to look after our current customers and grow our business, always happy to meet new customers.

Our new business name will be Barwell Accountants. We have chosen the name to relate to Nickie Barwell, our owner director, and to highlight what and who we are – a local, friendly, approachable practise of accountants working on accounts, taxation, payroll and book keeping for our customers.

Our name change is probably subtle but something very important to us and have been preparing for this since the beginning of the year. We began the process by looking at all our options on name changes. We all discussed our potential name options, and as a team decided on the new name. Firstly, we had to make sure the name was available with Companies House, and the domain and website options were free. From there we looked at the logo and artwork we use. We all really liked the current colouring and fonts so didn’t feel a change was needed there.

We chose a period of transition using both names on our social media pages and emails, to ease the shift.  From this April, we are Barwell Accountants.

It’s Review time

15th February 2017
15th February 2017

It’s now our quieter time of year in the world of accountancy and tax, and a time when I like to review the past year, and more importantly, look forward to the next 12 months.

I start this process by looking over the work we have performed over the last year and looking at it from a simple view of turnover, costs, number of accounts and tax returns we prepare. I compare this to the previous year. I also keep a record of new clients I have seen in the year so I can schedule the additional work we will have to complete in the next twelve months. It is useful to feel I have evaluated the performance. As this helps me to feel prepared for what might happen in the next twelve months, planning the flow of work and the staffing requirements.

Following on from this I like to have time with my team individually and as a group, to discuss their feelings about the last year and lay down plans and actions for the next. We set targets for ourselves as a business and individually.

I like to include everyone on the discussions as we all have different views on things and although the final decisions are with me, I like to know everybody’s opinions and ideas. We all add value to our team and we all have something to contribute.

I like to consider our weaknesses and look at ways to limit if not preferably remove them.

This time of year is exciting for me and I really look forward putting into place all the new ideas and plans we have. I find it important to support all my team members in their job roles and help them develop their positions.

We try to spend a bit of time away from the office when having these types of meetings, allowing us to focus on each other away from the distractions of everyday office activity. We can concentrate on each other and spend the time more productively.

We have been through a lot of changes over the last year within the business, growing our office space and changes in our team while some of us have had babies. Now we are feeling refreshed and ready to take on the next year. We have lots of exciting changes happening and will keep you all updated on these over the following months.

Accounting Periods – an introduction

28th November 2016
28th November 2016

Your accounting period is important as it defines when your profits are assessed for tax purposes.

You are taxed on your accounting year ending in the tax year (6 April – 5 April). So for the tax year ended 5 April 2016, anybody with an accounting year end of 30 April 2015 to 5 April 2016 will have those profits assessed in that tax year. If your business has a 30 April year end, you are effectively nearly a year behind those with a 5 April year end !

If you’re a start up in the opening years of trading, the rules differ.  Take as an example a business which commences trading on 1 January 2015 and chooses to prepare accounts to 31 December each year. It starts to trade in the tax year ended 5 April 2015 and under commencement rules, it will be assessed on the period from commencement to 5 April, which in this case would be 1 January 2015 to 5 April 2015.

For the second tax year (year ended 5 April 2016), there is an accounting date ending in the tax year which is at least 12 months in length, ie year ended 31 December 2015 so that becomes the basis period. However, you will notice that the profits from 1 January 2015 to 5 April 2015 are taxed twice as they form part of the basis period for both of the first 2 tax years. These become what is known as the overlap profits and relief is given for these when the business ceases or if it ever changes its year end.

Let’s change this by using the example of a business commencing on 1 January 2015, but instead choosing to prepare accounts to 30 June each year. Once again, the first tax year is the period from 1 January 2015 to 5 April 2015. For the second tax year (year to 5 April 2016) there is not an accounting date ending in the year which is at least 12 months long, as at 30 June 2015 the business had only been trading 6 months. In this scenario the 12 months from commencement of trading are the basis period, ie 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015.  The third tax year then reverts back to the usual rules of the year ending 30 June 2016.  The overlap profits here are 1 January 2015 to 5 April 2015 which are taxed in the first 2 years, then also 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2015 which is taxed in the second and third tax years!

We will continue this topic in our next article, but if you need any help understanding when is the best accounting period for your business, do get in touch.

Cloud accounting – what’s it all about?

2nd November 2016
2nd November 2016

Many of us use the cloud without realising it’s always the cloud. So what is this thing called “the cloud”?

Think about when you use internet banking – every time you access this data, you’re using the cloud. The cloud is a platform to make data and software accessible online anytime, anywhere, from any device.

Many software companies making cloud based software and accounting packages are certainly embracing this. You can use cloud based software from any device with an internet connection. Online accounting means small business owners stay connected to their data – and their accountants. Cloud software is often monthly subscription and doesn’t need to be installed on each pc.

The cloud is one of the most secure ways to store information. If your laptop is stolen, or damaged, no one can access your data unless they have a login to the online account.

In addition to this, if you invite users to view your data, you can control the level of access. This is much more secure than the old-fashioned way of emailing your files or sending out a USB stick with your data on it.

Cloud based software companies ensure the security and privacy of your data.

The beauty of this software is the flexibility it gives you to run your business from the office, home, or on the go. You can be confident that you have an up-to-date picture of how your business is doing, no matter where you are.

Software updates can be developed and delivered faster and more easily in the cloud. This means you don’t need to worry about installing the latest version and you’ll get access to new features instantly. With cloud accounting software, you have the option to run your business remotely, from anywhere in the world. And when data is fluid and accessible, the possibilities are endless.

More of our customers are moving to cloud based options for their accounting and other software. We have found it to be extremely useful allowing us access to accounting information so much more quickly and easily than traditional routes. We have found that most software providers are providing a variety of monthly subscriptions to suit the size and range of businesses.

We are happy to help you consider your current accounting software so please contact us if you want to discuss this in more detail.

Book-keeping Tips

18th October 2016
18th October 2016

Software, spreadsheet or manual records, which is the best for you? Depending on the size of your business and your capability, which system is best for you? This is always something you should think about. Are you going to be completing the book-keeping for your business or are you going to give this to your accountant?

As there are so many questions to think about when you first set up, we’ve put together a few tips on the basics you need to complete for the successful running of your business.

Invoicing

Keep up to date on invoicing your customers, and do this as you do the job, weekly or monthly. Make sure that you provide payment terms and methods on your invoices as more people are paying online so you are likely to be paid quicker. If you are VAT registered you need to make sure you clearly mark this on your invoice and show your VAT number. You will need to show the gross, VAT and net on your sales invoice. If you are producing zero rated invoices state this.

Whether you use software, spreadsheet or manual bookkeeping, always mark customer invoices as they are paid to you. You should always know who owes you money so keeping this up to date is vital.

Purchases

You need to get an invoice for all goods as you purchase them. Record them on your own system, and if you are VAT registered, remember you need to separate the net, VAT and gross. Mark them as they are paid so you know who you owe money to.

Where there are any purchases of fixed assets or large repairs, mark clearly on your bookkeeping so they can be dealt with correctly in the accounts at the end of the year.

Bank

The bank needs to be reviewed and reconciled on a regular basis to see who is paying you, who you are paying, and what your cash flow is.

A weekly reconciliation would be recommended to keep it all up to date, and reconciling the bank will, in turn, help get all customers and suppliers up to date.

If you are using software, you can record all re-occurring entries like direct debits and standing orders to keep your book-keeping time down.

Whether you use a manual or computer system, as long as you keep this up to date you will have a better understanding of your business – especially if you are VAT registered as you have to complete VAT Returns as required.

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