How Can An Accountant Help With My Accounts?
It is almost always best for a professional accountant to take care of this side of your company (Hint: you can find one here). Depending on the number of transactions, outgoings, overheads and clients your business has, things could soon get pretty complicated and balancing the books could be overwhelming, taking time away from your work.
- Full Account Production and Submission
- Management Accounts
- HMRC & Companies House Compliance
- Audits and Investigations
Even with online software, having assistance is still beneficial and can save you time and money.
As well as compiling and submitting your annual accounts, there are various ways in which an accountant can help you including:
- Accuracy and Compliance: A thorough and accurate record of everything makes analysing the finances much clearer. All the data will be HMRC compliant
Standards: Your accounts must meet International Financial Reporting Standards, or those of the New UK Generally Accepted Accounting Practice
- Tax Payments: Filing the wrong information can be expensive, even if it is just a mistake. HMRC issue fines and penalties if the tax return information is incorrect and you underpay, but you could also risk missing any expenses and allowances the business is entitled to claim back and therefore overpay tax. Having an accountant in place can help you get things exact and check over automatic software calculations
- Timeliness and Frequency: An accountant can give you advice on how often you should be compiling accounts, and ensure you always have them filed on time. For instance, if you have had a boost over the past year compared to last, they may suggest you increase the frequency of accounting
- Recommendations: A professional can advise changes to improve the cash flow of your business. Whether you are now found to be over the VAT threshold compared to last year, they think registering will help you anyway, or you need a review of pay and expenses, an accountant can offer advice
How Does It Work?
Your dedicated accountant will compile all of your accounts on your behalf, based on your bookkeeping (which they will also check over to ensure it is all in order). If you have online bookkeeping in place which makes a lot of the calculations automatically, this can save a lot of time for both parties involved. Accountly’s partners work with Xero – a state of the art bookkeeping and accounting software solution.
Once this is done, you will be able to view the accounts to look over. If you’re happy with it all, and after any amendments are made, the information can be used to produce a tax return. This can be done by yourself, or on your behalf.
A copy of your accounts must be sent to all shareholders, people who can go to the company’s general meetings, Companies House and finally HMRC as part of your Company Tax Return. The latter two may have different due dates, so an accountant can ensure they are done when needed.
What are Annual Accounts?
The majority of businesses are required to produce a set of accounts at least once per year – known as ‘statutory accounts’ – which helps to form the basis of every tax return.
This allows HM Revenue and Customs to ensure that the correct amount of tax and charges are being paid and calculated.
The accounts are based upon the bookkeeping of your business, and as long as these are all correct, the necessary calculations can be made to transfer them into reports.
Not only are there legal obligations, but having thorough and complete accounts in place can also help your business out financially. You can see the areas where you are losing money, where you are undercharging customers and margins are slim, and where your business is doing well.
A huge amount of information can be taken from your accounts, which can assist you in improving the future forecast and making some essential changes.
When are Accounts Due?
Annual accounts are due at the end of your company’s financial year, so this can vary widely.
Even though they are described as annual, accounts can actually be performed as often as required for your particular business.
Small companies which have quite simple accounts and outgoings may wish to keep things minimal, whereas larger scale operations with lots of overheads could want to increase their statements to monthly.
A business is described as ‘small’ if it has at least two of the following three criteria (correct as of 2019):
- £3.26 million or less on its balance sheet
- An annual turnover of under £6.5 million
- 50 workers or less
These companies will likely only need yearly accounts. Anything more, and monthly or quarterly may be the best option. If you are a micro-entity, you may be able to submit a basic analysis of your accounts – an accountant can let you know what is needed.
Most online accounting software has technology which creates the accounts automatically and allows you to send them to HMRC when ready at the click of a button.
What Must be Included?
Even though every business is different, there are some essential pieces of information which must be in any constitutional, statutory accounts:
- Balance Sheet: The value of everything owned by your company (assets), what you owe and what is owed to you
- A Profit And Loss Summary: Sales your company has made, any running costs, and the loss or profit made for the period of the latest fiscal year
- Comments: Any notes regarding the accounts
- Reports: One from the director and one from an auditor (if applicable, based on your company size). You may be exempt if you are a micro-entity
- Confirmation: The name and signature of the director on the balance sheet, to check everything has been overseen