Before we look at the many exciting updates to come out of this year’s Xerocon, we are delighted to announce that Taylorcocks won the 2017 Xero Emerging Partner of the Year Award! This award recognises the emerging Xero accounting or bookkeeping partner who demonstrates the potential to deliver increasing value-added services to their clients in 2018.
Xero Expenses One of the biggest complaints we received from clients was that its Staff Expenses system was clunky and inherently time-consuming. Well, we have some fantastic news for you. Xero has entirely re-written the Expenses module, and designed it to be not only user-friendly but also to save a lot of time. We will be reviewing this feature in detail in the next edition, but for now here are the highlights.
The new system will enable staff to snap photos on their phones/tablets and have them automatically read, and the data entered into Xero. You can then either Accept or Decline each one or in bulk. The app will have Geo-location, the ability to add labels, the ability to override manually and there will be a built-in mileage tracker! You will also be able to invite staff to just the Expenses App without them needing to have access to your Xero accounts. Now for the downside – this feature within Xero will no longer be free of charge and will have a small monthly fee per user.
Xero Projects is another pay per user feature that Xero has recently introduced. Projects lets you create and manage projects that can work with other parts of Xero, like invoicing and contacts. Add tasks and expenses, record time, and track the progress and profitability of your projects. It’s a fantastic project management tool for service type businesses.
CIS (Construction Industry Scheme) It’s arrived!! Over two years in the making, the CIS module has finally been released for Beta testing. It can handle both Contractor/Subcontractor roles and deducts the CIS from both Sales/Purchase invoices. The module also keeps track of how much you owe to, or are owed by HMRC. At present, it does not link to HMRC for either verifying subcontractors or filing the CIS returns. However, Xero assures us that by the time it goes on public release – expected within 120 days – the HMRC links will be live for both.
User Roles The user roles within Xero are getting a significant makeover. While this is going to improve the user interface substantially, initially there is not going to be a vast amount of change in the user levels available. However, Xero has promised some exciting changes in this area over the coming 12 months.
Credit Card Payments Would you like to accept credit card payments from your customers? After the eWay payment gateway sold out, the options available significantly reduced and the ability to add a credit card processing fee disappeared. The great news is that Xero will soon be re-introducing this functionality with the ‘Stripe’ payment gateway.
Xero Touch App The Xero app (available on both iOS and Android) is continually changing, and Xero’s latest change will allow you to create and send quotes from your phone or tablet.Find & RecodeOne of the most significant problems with the Find & Recode feature was that you could only search source documents. This was a real stumbling block if you used a lot of Manual Journals. Xero will soon be upgrading the feature to enable bulk recoding of manual journals, thus solving the issue.
Bank Rules The long-awaited Bank Transfer Rules have arrived! Within Bank Rules you will now see the option to select Transfer Rule. Once set up Xero will automatically select the correct Bank Account within Transfer and you will just need to click OK.
Xero Discuss enables us to communicate with you directly from within Xero, removing the need for lengthy email chains or potential miscommunication about data – linking to specific pages and invoices.
Business Performance Ratios One of the least used features in Xero is its Business Performance Ratios. You can use this feature to display up to eight of the most commonly used ratios. To access this feature just go to Reports/All Reports expand the financial section by clicking on the three dots, then select Business Performance. From here you simply need to put a blue star against the ratios you wish to appear on the Dashboard.
VAT Flat Rate Remembering to enter the Flat Rate Adjustment journal on Xero has always been a challenge for some of our clients. The great news is that Xero now does this for you! All you need to do is click on Settings/General Settings/Financial Settings and set the Flat Rate Adjustment Account to code ‘290 – Flat rate scheme – Gain/Loss’.
Sales Invoice Improvement Monthly client billing can take a long time. We already know that Xero can produce ‘Repeating Invoices’ where the invoice remains static every month. However, what about those customers where they are billed by the number of hours or the number of telephone calls? Previously you’d end up searching for the previous month’s invoice to find out the wording you used and the rates charged. Some of you will have realised that you can ‘Copy’ an invoice, but it still takes time.
Xero has now taken that pain away! Once you have typed in the customer’s name, you will see the words ‘Add Last Items’ appear just under the ‘To’ box. When you click on these words, Xero will automatically populate your invoice with the line items from the previous invoice. These line items can then be edited or tailored for your new invoice. No more searching, or copying invoices!
Paper tax return deadline reminder
The deadline to submit your self-assessment paper tax return for the 2016/17 tax year is 31 October 2017. All income received during the tax year running from 6 April to 5 April must be accounted for in your tax return. To report your income, claim tax reliefs or any outstanding repayments, you need to complete the SA100 form.
You might need to fill in more sections, known as ‘supplementary pages’, if you’re reporting other types of income. These include:
If sending a tax return for a business partnership, trustee or non-resident company there are additional forms to complete. These are available on the HMRC website. What you need
In order to complete your paper tax return, you will need:
Calculating your bill Once you’ve submitted your paper tax return by the deadline, HMRC will calculate the amount of tax you need to pay, as well as a payment on account for the 2017/18 tax year. If you owe less than £3,000 tax for the 2016/17 tax year, HMRC can try to collect the remaining tax from your wages or pension from 6 April via your PAYE tax code, but only if the paper tax return is submitted by 31 October 2017.We can help you with self-assessment.
Buy-to-let regulations fuel rent rises
Landlords are increasing rent prices due to the recent introduction of buy-to-let tax regulations, according to a study.
Estate agent Your Move analysed rental prices on around 20,000 properties and found the average rent in England and Wales rose by 3.1% in the past year to £874.
The rise in rental prices can be attributed to the recent tax changes affecting landlords, such as the mortgage interest relief and 3% stamp duty land tax surcharge.
Tax changes have also restricted the supply of new properties on the market, with a fall in housing stock levels pushing up rent prices.
Every region apart from the South West saw rental prices increase in the year to July 2017, with rents in the South West down 2.2% to an average of £667 per month.
Wales saw the biggest rise in rent over the same period, with prices up 4.3% to £595 per month.Other areas to experience average monthly rental increases of more than 3% in the past 12 months include:
Richard Waind, director of Your Move, said:
“We are now starting to see the real impact of the stamp duty revision, plus the additional tax changes which have hit landlords hard.
“The outcome has seen a decline in the number of rental properties on the market and this has had the effect of pushing up prices for tenants.”
Sole traders exposed to cash crises
Nearly half (41%) of self-employed people struggle to save any money each month, leaving them exposed to financial problems. Insurer LV= surveyed 9,495 self-employed workers and found one in three could not survive for more than three months if they lost their income. Nearly two thirds (62%) of respondents said monthly bills eat up the majority of their wages.
Furthermore, sole traders are more likely to be hit by unexpected costs (33%), such as home maintenance and repairs, compared to the national average of 28%.
Justin Harper, head of protection policy at LV=, said:
“It’s often the case that self-employed people lack the safety net of an employer’s benefits, such as sick pay.
“This means they risk having to rely instead on state benefits, which can involve a lengthy application and wait with no guarantee of any support.”
28% of sole traders were concerned about not being able to work due to an accident and 29% were worried about becoming unwell.
In circumstances where you are unable to work, there are protection policies available to help cover your costs.
Income protection pays out a tax-free percentage of your earnings, usually between 50% and 70%, until retirement, death or your return to work.
If diagnosed with a long-term illness or disability, critical illness cover can pay you a tax-free lump sum to cover your expenses.
Finance Bill 2017-19 round-up
The government has published Finance Bill 2017-19, containing a number of changes that will affect both savers and investors.
Many of the measures in the Bill were expected in April 2017 but were withdrawn due to the snap general election, which took place on 8 June 2017.
Most of them have now been reinstated with immediate effect, such as: • the reduction of the money purchase annual allowance from £10,000 to £4,000 • abolishing permanent non-dom status so those living in the UK for years pay tax on the same basis as UK residents.Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: “These motions now pick up where we left off and legislate for the provisions that were introduced and withdrawn due to time constraints [caused by the decision to call a snap general election].”Further measures
There were other measures confirmed in the Bill, such as the annual dividend allowance being reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.
The pensions advice allowance will enable savers to access £500 from their pension savings tax-free for regulated financial advice. This can be done up to three times before the age of 55.
In relation to Making Tax Digital, businesses with turnover below the VAT registration threshold no longer have to keep digital records until at least April 2020.
Regulations on digital record keeping for VAT purposes will not take effect before 1 April 2019.
With the build up to XeroCon in October, Xero have gone very quiet on the update front. Word has it that we can expect some rather exciting updates to be released at XeroCon so we will keep you posted.
So, what has happened in the past month?
1) Depreciation – There have been two main updates here. The first being that you can now easily roll depreciation forward for the months were there are no depreciable assets. Previously you had to create a dummy asset to achieve this. The second update is the addition of a Pool Detail Report, allowing for significantly improved depreciation reporting.
2) Auto-enrolment – The only real change here is an improvement to the on-boarding process for both the auto-enrolment and pension syncs.
3) Statutory Sick Pay – Again, a very minor change but a number of new statutory payment types have now been added, which should make your payroll process a little easier.
4) iOS – The iOS app has undergone quite a significant change, albeit to many minor features rather than one or two major changes. The most significant of these are the improvements to the dashboard – allowing you to view overdue invoices, unpaid invoices, approved expense claims and quotes sent. You can now also add / edit contacts with the app. The biggest improvement for us has been the integration of Xero contacts with Apple Spotlight.
Xero Tip of the Month
Multiple PagesYou can view multiple pages in your Xero organisation at the same time by using tabs: • To open a link in a new tab on a PC, right-click on a link and select Open a new Tab. • To open a link in a new tab on a Mac, hold down the Command key and click on the link.Do not use tabs to view multiple Xero organisations.
Multiple OrganisationsIf you need to view multiple Xero organisations at the same time, open each organisation in a different browser. For example, log in to your first organisation in Chrome and your second organisation in Safari.
If you don’t use separate browsers, your changes may be saved in the wrong organisation. Different browsers ensures that each organisation has its own separate data session.
Xero Add-on Review
Do you have a lot of recurring invoicing on Xero? It’s nice to know just how much your monthly billing will be worth across the next 12 months, especially if you’ve been winning a lot of new clients. Well, in this edition we will be looking at DonkeyBean.
DonkeyBean is a great, inexpensive, app that allows you to easily run reports looking at what your monthly billing will be each month. You can also drill down into this and see which repeating invoices are due to end soon. A very simple idea, that provides exactly the information you need.
High value dealers need to register for cash payments
Businesses accepting cash payments of €10,000 or more in exchange for goods are required to register with HMRC under money laundering regulations (MLR).
Recent changes to regulations mean that companies accepting cash payments on or above the threshold limit (or equivalent in sterling) will be classed as high value dealers.
Transactions that are considered high value payments include: • single cash payments of €10,000 or more for goods • several payments for a single transaction totalling €10,000 or more • payments of €10,000 or more divided into smaller amounts so they come below the high value payment limit.The types of businesses that may be classed as high value dealers include: • jewellers • dealers in cars, boats, art or antiques • builders • bathroom or kitchen suppliers • auctioneers and brokers.Registering
If your company is currently accepting or making high value cash payments then you are immediately obliged to register with HMRC under MLR.
There is a non-refundable fee of £100 when you first register and you must pay £115 for each of the premises you include in your application. You will not need to register under MLR if your business: • only receives payments for services or for a mix of goods and services where the value of the goods is less than €10,000 • only accepts large payments by credit card, debit card or cheque. We can assist with your business compliance.
Rising national living wage hits SME profits
64% of small businesses are seeing profits fall as a result of the national living wage (NLW) rise, according to research.
The NLW increased from £7.20 to £7.50 per hour on 1 April 2017.
Out of 835 businesses surveyed by the Federation of Small Business (FSB), 39% have put up prices to cope with the NLW increase.
Almost one in four (24%) firms either cancelled or downscaled investments, while 22% reduced working hours and 19% hired fewer employees.
43% of businesses increased wages in line with the NLW, suggesting the majority of owners are already paying their workers above the new rate.
Mike Cherry, national chairman at the FSB, said:
“Small businesses owners have demonstrated their resilience in meeting the challenge set by the NLW, with many cutting their margins or paying themselves less to pay their staff more.
“In sectors where margins are tight, small firms are resorting to more drastic measures to cope with the NLW. It is vital the NLW is set at a level the economy can afford, without job losses or harming job creation.”Dealing with the wage rise
Less stressful, but far from straightforward, ways to manage the costs of the NLW include: • increasing productivity • streamlining your processes • passing on additional costs on to your customers.Penalties
If you fail to pay staff the NLW, you will face a fine based on the underpayments.
The penalty for firms who do not comply with the NLW is 200%, although this will be halved if employers pay within 14 days. The overall maximum penalty is £20,000 for every underpaid worker.
Recruiters working harder to fill vacancies
Recruiters are finding it difficult to hire new staff due to increasing competition for highly skilled employees, a study has found.
Of 400 recruitment agencies surveyed by IHS Markit for the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), 40% found the availability of temporary staff had got worse in July 2017 compared to the previous month (35%).
In addition, 43% said it was the same for permanent staff (up from 41% in June).
This has generally resulted in permanent staff commanding better starting salaries, with earnings growth reaching a 20-month high.
Demand for staff in private sector businesses outpaced demand in the public sector over the same period, while the biggest increases in year-on-year demand for workers was felt in: • engineering (66% – up from 57% in July 2016) • accounting (65% – up from 56%) • IT (65% – up from 57%).Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, said:“It’s clear employers are having to work even harder to fill jobs as vacancies rise and candidate availability shrinks.
“Employers are not just struggling to hire the brightest and the best, but also people to fill roles such as chefs, drivers and warehouse workers.”
With employers facing stiff competition for staff, it’s proving more challenging to attract and retain the best talent.
There are ways, however, to attract new workers or retain your existing skilled staff. These include: • offering flexible working arrangements • investing in career development • providing additional benefits, i.e. attractive pension contributions, company cars, entertainment incentives • performance-related pay rises.Get in touch to discuss your business.
Businesses urged to prepare for Data Protection Bill
Individuals will be able to legally ask businesses to delete certain personal data under new proposals outlined in the Data Protection Bill.
The Bill forms part of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is due to come into effect on 25 May 2018.
The legislation will allow individuals greater control over their personal data, including the right to fully close accounts or data to be erased.
Some of the proposals outlined in the Bill include: • making it simpler for people to withdraw consent for the use of their personal data • allowing people to ask for their details to be deleted • requiring companies to obtain ‘explicit’ consent when they process sensitive personal data • making it easier for people to require firms to disclose the personal data they hold on them.Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:“This is a complex set of changes, so firms must be helped to get them right – and no small or medium-sized business working hard to adapt to the new regime should be hauled over the coals for unintentional mistakes in the early days.”
Businesses need to manage and secure data property or risk significant fines if they fail to protect data or suffer a breach.
Some steps you can take to prepare for GDPR include: • reviewing and updating your existing data protection policies • reviewing and updating your policies and privacy notices • use of up-front payments or taking down payments • having suitable systems in place to manage potential data breaches.Chat to us about how this may affect you.www.taylorcocks.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 0330 088 7111
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.
Welcome to our summer Xero update! In case you are unaware, Xero is a game changer for SMEs.
The many Xero add-ons can assist any business in creating exceptional, semi-bespoke IT systems. We guarantee that Xero and its add-ons will save most businesses time and money.
To discuss your requirements with one of our Xero experts, please call us on 0330 088 7111.
Not a great deal has happened to UK Xero over the past month as most of the significant enhancements have focussed on Australia and New Zealand. However, there have been a few minor changes:
1) Payroll – You now have the ability to produce EYU (Earlier Year Updates) in Xero. This means that starting with the tax year 2016/17, you can now make corrections to your employee’s prior year-to-date payroll figures. Once you complete the updates in Xero for one or more employees, Xero will submit the required changes to HMRC electronically. This capability closes a critical functionality gap with competitors and addresses a known customer need.
2) Invoicing – If you purchase Xero directly from Xero.com, you will now receive more advanced monthly invoices. These will give you the ability to click on a single button which pushes the invoice directly into your Xero. If you would like to purchase your Xero license directly through us, please talk to your Taylorcocks contact about the discounts we can offer.
3) 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.
Xero Feature of the Month
This month we are going to take a look at Invoice Reminders. This great little feature automatically reminds customers/clients that they have an outstanding invoice.
You can set the feature to send up to 5 reminders for each invoice, and you can choose the number of days after the invoice date that each reminder is sent. Additionally, there is the ability to word each email differently so that they become progressively firmer as the invoice ages.
The feature also allows you to deselect reminders below a certain value from being sent. This feature neatly ensures that you do not look like Scrooge – chasing £0.05 for example – whilst also preventing you from constantly reminding someone that they have overpaid you!
To access this feature, please log into Xero and then go to Accounts / Sales / Awaiting Payment. On the ‘Awaiting Payment’ screen, click the ‘Invoice reminders off,’ option that appears at the top of the section. Alternatively, you can follow this link.
We understand that this feature will not work for everyone. If you want greater flexibility or more control, then please talk to us about the great Xero app called ‘Chaser.’ Chaser allows you to choose exactly what time such reminders are sent and on what day of the week. If you have multiple invoices outstanding with a single client, the system will automatically merge them into a single email, whereas the Xero free option will send a reminder for each separate invoice.
Bookkeeping on Xero
We all know how tricky it gets keeping track of expense receipts, and just how time-consuming it is entering purchases invoices into your accounting software. With ‘Making Tax Digital (MTD)’ on the HMRC horizon, it is only going to become more time critical and an increasingly tedious task. So, this month we are going to take a look at how taylorcocks can help you manage your expenses on Xero.
As part of taylorcocks’ services, we work closely with a number of Xero approved suppliers to ensure that expense and purchase invoices are managed efficiently but more importantly recorded accurately. We make use of the latest technology to ensure that all expenses recorded on Xero have a photograph of the receipt/invoice attached, so there is now no need to trawl through files looking for that one disputed invoice that’s always impossible to find. Now with a click of a button the invoice is available on screen at your fingertips.
We can even help you to download an app on your smart phone/mobile device so that you can take a photograph of your expense receipt and then dispose of it! HMRC no longer require you to keep paper copies of invoices and expense receipts, as a pdf version is accepted by HMRC as proof of expenditure.
For more information about how taylorcocks can help you with your bookkeeping needs on Xero, please contact one of our Xero experts.
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.
Have you valued your company’s properties?
You may be aware that UK residential properties worth more than £500,000 are subject to the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED).
Tax returns should be submitted to HMRC within 30 days of the date on which a property first comes within the charge to ATED for any chargeable period.
To establish whether your company holds property falling within the charge to ATED, you are required to undertake regular revaluations.
For property owned on or before 1 April 2012, a revaluation will be needed to reflect the value at 1 April 2017 of all properties owned by a:
Partnership with a company member
Collective investment vehicle
This valuation date will then apply to ATED returns for the 5 years from 1 April 2018.
HMRC can challenge your valuation and may charge penalties and interest if they disagree with the valuation.
As always if you have any questions please contact the tax team at Taylorcocks for further information.
Talk to one of our chartered tax advisers.
HMRC urged to extend executors’ inheritance tax deadline
Royal London is calling on HMRC to change inheritance tax (IHT) rules on larger estates to allow executors more time to pay complex tax bills.
Under current rules, the executor of a will can manage a person’s estate following their death by applying for a ‘grant of representation’ – otherwise known as probate.
The process involves valuing the estate, paying any outstanding debts or taxes and distributing the estate in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.
The deadline for IHT bills on an estate is six months after the person’s death.
However, research from Royal London states the majority of estates can take between six and 12 months to complete as larger properties or shares can be complicated and may need more time to be sold.
Helen Morrissey, personal finance specialist at Royal London, said:
“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.”
Other issues for the executor, such as lost paperwork or inaccurate record keeping, could cause further delays in paying tax bills on time so it is imperative to know your responsibilities.
Any outstanding taxes and debts must be reported and paid to HMRC. You will need your IHT reference number at least three weeks before completing your payment.
We can help with your estate planning.
Rejected contracts hit SMEs in the pocket
47% of small businesses lost out on up to £10,000 in the last year due to turning down work contracts and orders, according to a study.
Out of 501 companies surveyed by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, 26% rejected contracts worth up to £5,000 while 21% snubbed deals worth between £5,001 and £10,000.
Almost one in five (19%) turned away work because of unfair demands from customers, whereas only 8% rejected contracts due to lack of finance.
Out of those that turned down work due to lack of finance:
40% did not want to risk taking out a loan
28% approached traditional lenders but could not secure enough money
26% had their loan application rejected.
A further 34% invested personal funds into their businesses in the last 12 months.
Among start-ups, 50% invested their personal savings compared to 19% of established businesses.
Other reasons for businesses turning down work included a lack of awareness of invoice financing (13%) and alternative finances available (8%).
Firms dealing with unfair demands or late payments from customers could find invoice financing helpful.
There are two types available:
Factoring – providers purchase the amount owed by customers, making them responsible for collecting debt and carrying out credit checks.
Invoice discounting – you’ll receive a percentage of the value of your unpaid invoices but you are responsible for collecting payment.
Talk to us about securing finance.
Second payment on account deadline reminder
The second annual deadline to submit advance payments towards your self-assessed tax bill for the previous year is due on 31 July 2017.
‘Payments on account’ take place every six months – on 31 January and 31 July – and include class 4 national insurance contributions if you’re self-employed.
Each payment is half your previous year’s tax bill and payments are due by midnight on both dates.
Any tax left over after you’ve made your payments on account needs to be paid as a balancing payment by 31 January next year.
Those already registered for self-assessment with HMRC can check on any payments owed through their online account.
Payments on account can be made using the following methods:
debit or credit card
Failure to pay your tax bill by the deadline will result in interest being added from the date your payment is due. The current interest rate on late payments is 2.75%.
Digital accounting update
The way you pay your tax return will soon change under Making Tax Digital (MTD), which requires businesses, self-employed people and landlords to use digital accounting software to update HMRC on a quarterly basis.
MTD is due to be phased in from April 2018, although businesses with an annual turnover below the VAT threshold (£85,000 in 2017/18) are exempt until April 2019.
If your annual turnover is less than £10,000 you will not need to make quarterly updates.
It would be best to get in touch with an accountant to discuss how MTD may impact your reporting obligations.
Contact us to discuss self-assessment.
Businesses prepare for data protection changes
Businesses are preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force from 25 May 2018.
All businesses holding personal data will need to ensure their procedures are fit for purpose and compliant when the new rules take effect next year.
Those businesses found non-compliant may face fines of up to €20 million – or 4% of annual global turnover.
David Riches, executive director at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“The General Data Protection Regulation is intended to reflect modern working practices in the digital age and will strengthen consumer trust and confidence in businesses.
“With less than 12 months to go, there are procedures businesses should be reviewing to determine what changes may need to be introduced to be compliant.
“Businesses that are already vigilant about their data protection responsibilities won’t be unduly burdened by the new legislation.”
The BCC and Information Commissioner’s Office are urging businesses to prepare for the changes by taking the following steps:
holding information – organise the personal data your business holds, where it’s sourced from and who it is shared with
privacy – review privacy notices and plan for further changes
consent – review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes
data breaches – make sure the right procedures are in place to detect and report data breaches
data protection officer – designate a Data Protection Officer to take responsibility for data protection compliance.
Chat to us about how this may affect you.
0330 088 7111
Following Mike’s passing last year, I have been investigating ways to take the firm forward. The past 18 months have been a particularly difficult period and naturally service levels suffered. After a long period of exploring the various options, I am delighted to share with you today news of our merger with Taylorcocks, Chartered Accountants.
Taylorcocks have a number of branches in the south of England and, in particular, a similar sized office to that of Martin & Company, conveniently placed in the centre of Bournemouth. Please see more at www.taylorcocks.co.uk
Whilst building relationships with clients, to ensure needs and expectations are met, is their highest priority, they also offer specialist support in areas of taxation and other accountancy services adding greater value to the services we provide.
The merger will be completed in October and the Martin & Company operation will move into the Taylorcocks offices in Oxford Road. We will aim to make the transition as seamless as possible, with client affairs being dealt with, in the main, by the current Martin & Company team. Contact by phone and email will be the same to begin with, while we remain at 158 Richmond Park Road. The logistics of the merger will be dealt with in October and details of the postal address, new phone numbers and email will follow in due course.
All of us at Martin & Company are very enthusiastic and are looking forward to embracing the opportunities and enhanced service this merger with Taylorcocks will bring to our valued clients.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.