There are very few big updates to report at the moment, as Xero are holding a lot back to release at Xerocon, their cloud accounting event being held in London in October.
1) status.xero.com – Following a brief, and also very rare unexpected period of downtime on 13th July, Xero are promoting their live status website, which documents any known issues with the software and updates on progress to resolving. Should you not be able to access Xero, or are having issues with a certain aspect such as payroll, it is worth checking this website to see whether it is a known issue affecting others too.
2) Xero Subscription – Whether you buy your Xero license through us or pay it directly, you should be made aware that Xero has now introduced a 30 day notice period, meaning that you will still receive one invoice after cancelling.
3) Office 365 integration – Xero is now integrated with office 365, and in the next few weeks are about to launch further improved features. If you are an Office 365 user, you can quickly follow up on emails directly in Xero. So go ahead and initiate a new quote, send an invoice or attach key documents to a contact record – all without having to switch screens. With Xero + Office 365 working together beautifully, information on outstanding quotes, tasks and jobs is on hand when you need it.
Xero Tip of the Month
Do you have a number of duplicated customers or suppliers on your Xero, or old accounts that are no longer used? Do you have the contacts you have had to rename to ‘Do Not Use’ to ensure invoices are put on the correct account?
This does not need to be the case. From the contacts screen you can merge contacts, which brings all the transactions from each account into one place. You can also archive contacts you no longer need, which will help prevent misallocations.
Keeping your sales and purchase ledgers tidy helps improve cash flow, as it ensures you are not paying invoices twice in error, and can keep on top of the debts you are owed. Bookkeeping on Xero
Over the past few years, Xero have significantly improved the reporting side of their software. To new users, the number of reports often make it seem basic, especially when comparing to more traditional software such as sage. However, each report is very flexible and often they can be viewed in a multitude of ways. The reports that have ‘new’ written next to them are particularly flexible, with a whole host of options and filters, to ensure you can view exactly what you are looking for. As always, these reports are also easily exported to excel, google docs and as a PDF.
These reports are particularly good for your day-to-day bookkeeping requirements such as viewing outstanding debts. They are a little more limited for trying to manage a business from a higher level, for viewing where the strengths and weaknesses lie within your business and for monitoring your Key Performance Indicators.
If you are keen to see how your debtor days are impacting on your cash, how you are performing against last year or your forecasts, or how your stock levels are a risk to the business, then just ask your account manager to demonstrate TCVision to you.
TCVision is a piece of software developed for and by taylorcocks. It links seamlessly with Xero to report all your financial needs, from KPIs to Forecasts, from Profit & Loss accounts to Cash Liquidity. As it is cloud based, and with a live link to Xero, all the financial information you need to run your business is at your fingertips, wherever you are in the world! We can even report on non-financial data such as customer numbers or website visitors, and track them against your finances.
For more information about how taylorcocks can help you with your reporting needs, please contact one of your relationship manager or one of our many specialist Xero advisors.
Bring your accounting into the cloud! For more information about TCVision and our online accountancy offering, visit our website or give one of our Xero experts a call on 0330 088 7111.
HMRC take a step back on quarterly updates
Due to various comments and technical issues raised, HMRC have announced that they are shelving the original Making Tax Digital timescale which planned to introduce quarterly updates for businesses and landlords.
Rather than Self Assessment, HMRC are focusing on VAT. They are introducing mandatory digital record keeping and quarterly updates for businesses above the VAT threshold from April 2019.HMRC have commented that they are continuing to work with the software industry and agents to implement Making Tax Digital for Business. However, business owners and landlords can breathe a sigh of relief that they can continue submitting tax returns annually, for now.
Sick pay valued over other benefits
Self-employed people would prefer to receive sick pay than any other statutory benefit, a study has found.
FreeAgent and The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) polled 900 micro-business owners and found 76% do not currently offer sick pay and other benefits such as maternity leave, holiday or redundancy pay.
Attitudes towards statutory benefits varied depending on business structure, with sole traders more likely to value sick pay compared to those working through their own limited companies.
Furthermore, 35% of self-employed people have no plans to fund their own retirement.
Julia Kermode, chief executive at the FCSA, said:
“For many people who work for themselves, self-employment is a career choice and those who choose it know this way of working does not come with statutory benefits.
“However, it is clear from our research that many have not made appropriate provisions to cover benefits that employees receive.“The government should find a way of offering additional benefits, specifically to those people who want and need them.”
“We are seeing more estates than ever subject to inheritance tax and larger estates can take a long time to wind up.
“Many executors may have no idea they could be responsible for finding the money for a large tax bill before money in the estate is available.”
Savings for self-employed people
Compared to full-time employees, self-employed people don’t have access to benefits or employer pension contributions to support their savings.
However, there are options available. You can save up to £40,000 per year tax-free into a pension, while you can save up to £20,000 a year into an ISA.
Lack of funds holding back start-ups
Almost half (40%) of aspiring entrepreneurs cited lack of funds as the main barrier to starting a business, according to research.
Out of 1,500 people surveyed by Yell Business, 51% thought about starting their own business but barriers such as risk of failure (25%) and not knowing where to start (23%) were preventing them from doing so.
However, the study found 40% of businesses were started on under £500, while 32% were formed on £250 or less.
Further findings: • 93% who started a business recorded a profit last year • 85% considered their business to be successful.Mark Clisby, marketing director of Yell Business, said:
“As our research found, the current catalysts for taking the leap and starting a business include inheriting funds and being made redundant.“Hopefully, the positive revelations around low start-up cost and high success will give the inspiration needed to entrepreneurs so they don’t wait for scenarios like this to happen to them.”
Loans for start-ups
Government funding can help individuals who are unable to obtain investment, mentoring or support to launch their business.
The Start-Up Loan scheme is available if you’ve been trading for less than 12 months. The size of the loan is determined by the direction of your business plan.
There are other regional funding opportunities for start-ups depending on your eligibility, which can be accessed via thislink.
Important changes to PSC reporting
Changes to the people with significant control (PSC) register have come into force.
All companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are required to identify and record the people with ‘significant control’ over their company.
Previously, a company or LLP would make changes to the PSC register as part of its annual confirmation statement submitted to Companies House.
As of June 2017, all PSC changes must be directly reported to Companies House and not via the confirmation statement procedure.
Instead, companies and LLPs must internally update their PSC register within 14 days.
The new 14-day filing period does not apply to companies and LLPs who filed their PSC registers before 26 June 2017.
However, those with outstanding updates to their PSC registers following the filing of their annual confirmation statements on or after 26 June 2017 will be subject to the 14-day deadline.
Identifying people with significant control
Companies need to identify and record on their PSC register, all individuals (Persons with Significant Control) who meet one or more of the following conditions: • owns more than 25% of the company shares • owns more than 25% of the voting rights • has the right to appoint or remove a majority of directors on the board • has significant influence or control over the company • has significant influence or control over a trust or company that meets one of the other conditions.Companies will also need to include the following details for each PSC: • name • address (both residential and service) • country of residence • nationality • date of birth • date the person became a PSC • which of the five conditions they meet • any restrictions on the disclosure. Get in touch to discuss PSC registers.
Businesses prepare for data protection changes
Businesses are preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force from 25 May 2018.
The PPC sets the standards for best practice for businesses and suppliers chasing overdue payments and invoices, ensuring everyone is paid on time and offered clear guidance on procedures.
Suppliers to the government have willingly committed to pay 95% of invoices within 60 days and are working towards making 30 days the norm for deadlines.
It is estimated SMEs are collectively owed more than £26 billion in overdue payments.
Philip King, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Managers, said:
“The PPC allows suppliers to raise a challenge if they feel they are not being treated fairly by a signatory, and such challenges are proving successful – not only in delivering payment, but also in further improving practices and processes.“It’s vital businesses feel confident and have certainty they will be paid on time, as well as having a route to challenge if they need to.”
Handling late payments
If a business has unpaid invoices, it may not be able to pay its suppliers on time.
Several actions can help reduce the impact caused by late payments. Some of these include: • ensuring all transactions are under a contract which sets out payments and penalties • charging interest on late payments • use of up-front payments or taking down payments • discounts for prompt payments.