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Do I need an accountant for a small business?

You do not need an accountant for a small business, legally speaking – small business owners can take care of their finances themselves. However, it is very beneficial for many small businesses to work with an accountant; time is money for entrepreneurs. When an accountant takes care of bookkeeping, taxes, VAT etc., owners have more…

How to start a small business at home

Starting a small business from home is a dream for many people seeking freedom from the nine-to-five routine. It can offer a great deal of flexibility, financial independence and the opportunity to shape your own empire – without needing too many resources. As accountants working primarily with small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and start…

Are entertainment expenses tax deductible?

Entertainment expenses are not usually tax deductible for businesses in the UK. This means that you cannot claim tax relief for these expenses to reduce your tax bill, and you cannot claim the VAT back on expenditure either. However, there are circumstances that are not quite so clear cut. Taxation and VAT are complex systems…

Find a Local Bookkeeper: how to hire a good bookkeeper and accountant

“Should I find a local bookkeeper?” Many people want to know what to look for in a bookkeeper, and where to find them. When you are searching for a good bookkeeper and accountant, our advice would always be to keep it local. You bookkeeper and accountant will be an essential part of your business, keeping…

Read our April 2019 Newsletter

Joanne is top Kent business woman

Read all about our founder and director, Joanne Bell, who recently won Kent Business Woman of the Year 2019.

Making Tax Digital Bridging Software

If you are a VAT-registered UK business, you will be all too aware that Making Tax Digital came into play for VAT periods that began on the 1st April 2019. This is intended to be an overhaul of the tax and VAT system, making administration more effective, more efficient and easier for taxpayers. And it definitely…

Read our March 2019 Newsletter

Is claiming VAT back easy? Do you pay VAT on train tickets? Is there VAT on stationery? Your frequently asked VAT questions answered.

As a start-up business or small to medium sized enterprise (SME), navigating the value added tax (VAT) landscape can be one of the biggest challenges for you to overcome. We fully understand how challenging it can be – we work with businesses just like yours, each and every day. Many of our clients are first-time…

Read our February 2019 Newsletter

What is Making Tax Digital? An MTD guide for small businesses

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a new initiative from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), intended to make it easier for individuals and businesses to keep on top of their taxes and submit information. It is part of HMRC’s plans to become more digitally advanced – “one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the…

Read our January 2019 Newsletter

Joanne Bell is named as a Finalist for the Kent Women in Business Awards 2019

We are delighted that our Managing Director, Joanne Bell, has been announced as a finalist at the Kent Women in Business Awards 2019. Jo has been entered into the Leadership and Management category, a great achievement that we are all proud of here at Bells Accountants. This is the sixth year that the Kent Women…

Self-assessment deadline looming

Now that the holidays are well and truly over it is time to turn our thoughts to more practical matters. You have probably put it off for as long as possible but now the tax return deadline really is looming. Fear not, we are here to help! Read on for a summary of what the…

Finding the right accountant for your business – what to look for

You know you need to get some professional accountancy advice, but you have no idea where to start. Believe it or not, you are not alone. Accounting, bookkeeping, and financial planning can be complex areas, but with the right team in place you can rest easy that things are in hand and managed well. After…

A roundup of this year’s Budget

There are few headlines that pop up consistently in the media, almost on a daily basis. Brexit is one topic, while the other is the Budget and this one saw quite a bit of build-up again this year. The time finally arrived, earlier than usual and rather notably on a Monday no less, when the…

How secure is your paper trail?

Did we really say paper? Does anyone use that anymore? You would actually be surprised! We come across a still staggering number of companies which use paper for many of their processes, increasing their risk of something going wrong. This is why we are focusing on securing your systems this month, aiming to get more…

Take a look at what Bells Accountants have been up to over the last month

Everything you need to know about tax return deadlines

It is coming up to that time of year when you need to start thinking about your self-assessment tax return for the tax year 6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018. There are a few options available to you if you file a self-assessment with the HMRC, whether you do it yourself or have your…

Minimum wage laws encourage employers to favour younger workers

The national minimum wage, and the living wage, have been important components of ensuring that staff receive reasonable compensation for the work that they do. The national minimum wage first came into force in April 1999 with the National Minimum Wage Act of 1998. The national living wage was introduced in 2016, in response to…

VAT: to register or not to register

VAT or Value Added Tax. An often mind-boggling area of tax for most organisations whether you are self-employed, run a business, or manage a charity. In this month’s article we break it down and simplify it with the headlines that every business owner and manager needs to know. Who does VAT apply to? VAT applies…

Sole trader or limited company?

Have you been toying with the idea of going it alone? Leaving your job and becoming your own boss? It is not as wild an idea as you may think. An increasing number of professionals are going down this route and it is easier than ever to do it, whichever way you choose to operate.…

The new rules on termination of payments taxation

April saw the introduction of a change in tax law with regard to termination payments. Part of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HRMC) aim to simplify tax and remove the ways in which the system can be manipulated, this is now in force as of the 6th of April. It affects both employees and employers…

What the new financial year brings

April is the time of change. Spring is finally in the air and the new financial year kicks in. We thought it would also be a good time to do a quick recap of what you can expect for the forthcoming financial year – are you likely to be better or worse off? There are…

The new minimum wage from April: what you need to know

It is that time again when the old financial year is nearly at an end and the new one is about to begin. This is also the time when a number of other government changes are implemented, and one of these is the annual change to the Minimum and Living Wages. We take the opportunity…

Don’t be a victim of the latest HMRC-related scam

It’s that time of year when you have just completed and filed your tax return and paid up on what you owe. Unfortunately, that means that it is also the time when there is an increase in phishing scams via email and social media, some of which can look genuine. We have had a few…

The Budget at a glance

The Autumn Budget was the Chancellor’s opportunity to set out the Government’s view of the state of the economy and to set the targets and goals for the near- and medium-term future. Presented at the end of November last year, many of the changes come into effect from April this year – although some were…

Setting up a payroll system: what you need to know

Your business has been going from strength to strength and it’s time to hire staff to help take on some of the work to help you meet your clients’ needs and fulfil the orders you have coming in. It’s an exciting time as it means that you are ready to grow the business. It can…

Click here to listen to Jo as a guest speaker

Why you should hire a bookkeeper

Bookkeeping probably sounds like something out of another business era. It conjures up images of a business owner or accountant in a back room somewhere trying to organise their receipts and invoices, surrounded by mountains of paperwork and pulling their hair out.

Why using an accountant is better than going it alone

Whether you are a limited company or sole trader, being at the front-end of your business is what you do best. You know your market, your product or service, and your clients. You know how to keep your clients happy and how to find new ones. You’ve probably taken advice on marketing and sales at…

Why using an accountant as a small business is crucial

Setting up your own business was a huge step and you are rightly very proud of having taken the leap to do it! The next steps are to focus on building up that business, getting new clients, and delivering on your promises to them. Hard work, no doubt, but fairly straightforward in theory. More and…

Why your business should use cloud accounting platforms

The management of generating invoices has revolutionised over the past decade. More and more businesses are switching to cloud platforms to manage their online accounting process, and are reaping the rewards. As a business owner, you might be a great entrepreneur, but the chances of you being a good accountant too are very rare. So,…

How should your accountant help with your business’s profitability and performance?

When it comes to your business your accountant can do a lot more than just calculate your tax bill for you. We can also help and guide you on all the following: Analysing trends and financial information within your business to help you ensure you are making maximum profits. Advising on all the ways you…

Tax Tips For Selling Assets Including Investment Properties

Your home – when you sell your main residence this is usually exempt from any capital gains tax. If you have two homes you have two years from the date you buy it to make an election that states it should be regarded as your main residence for capital gains tax exemption. Once you make…

Apprenticeship Levy

In spring 2017 the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing. Some employers will be required to contribute to a new apprenticeship levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers. We are introducing the apprenticeship levy on 6 April 2017. The levy requires all employers operating…

Scam Tax Rebate Emails

Here at Bells we have had a number of clients contact us to ask if an email they have received, seemingly from HMRC, is genuine. The email often has HMRC’s logo on it and appears quite official, usually stating that the taxpayer is due a refund and asking them to follow a link to claim…

Tax on Dividend

If you own shares in a company you may well pay yourself via a dividend. Previously, if you were a basic rate tax payer you were not required to pay any additional tax on dividends. As of 6 April 2016, you won’t pay tax on the first £5,000 of dividends that you get in the…

Zero Hours Contracts

A zero hours contract is generally understood to be a contact between employer and a worker where: The employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours and, The employee is not obliged to accept any work offered As of 2015 regulations removed The Exclusivity Terms, which used to prevent workers on zero hours contracts…

Changes to the VAT flat rate scheme from April 2017

HMRC are proposing to introduce a new category of trade to the flat rate scheme called a ‘limited cost trader’, this new category will use a flat rate percentage of 16.5%. The flat rate scheme was initially introduced as a simplified way of dealing with VAT, however many businesses make extra profit by being on…

The National Living Wage

As of 1st April 2018, employers will be required to pay their workers aged 25 and over a new minimum pay rate of £7.83 per hour, called the National Living Wage (NLW). The national minimum wage is still in place for people under the age of 25.

Six Things to Consider When Buying a Business

There can be many positives to buying a business, rather than building one from scratch. It can save a lot of time and effort on your part if you are taking over systems, processes and even a customer base that is already established and working. Buying a business can be very risky though, and here…

MINIMUM WAGE CHANGES IN APRIL 2018

  Age Group Apr-17 Apr-18 Increase National Living Wage (25+) £7.50 p.h. £7.83 p.h. 33p/4.4% NMW(21-24) £7.05 p.h. £7.38 p.h. 33p/4.7% NMW(18-20) £5.60 p.h. £5.90 p.h. 30p/5.4% NMW(16-17) £4.05 p.h. £4.20 p.h. 15p/3.7% Apprentice NMW £3.50 p.h. £3.70 p.h. 20p/5.7% Accommodation Offset* £6.40 per day £7.00 per day 60p/9.3%

All about Apprentices Under 25 – Abolition of Employer’s NIC

As of April 2016 apprentices under 25 years of age were no longer required to pay (employer) NIC or secondary class 1 contributions on earnings up to the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL) – which is £43K per annum, or otherwise known as (AUST) Apprentice Upper Secondary Threshold. This is a significant benefit and the objective…

What are Childcare Vouchers?

Childcare vouchers are a government initiative aimed at helping working parents. Parents can receive up to £243 per month of childcare vouchers from their employer, free of tax and national insurance. Most childcare vouchers are provided through salary sacrifice, which means the employee’s gross salary is reduced by the amount of the childcare voucher, before…

Do you have to pay employees sick pay and for how long?

There are two different types of sick pay one is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and the criteria for this is: Earnings have to be at least £112 per week before tax Employee has to be sick for at least 4 days in a row, and SSP is only payable from the 4th day of sickness…

Is it illegal to pay employees cash?

Paying employees cash is not illegal, you can pay your employees via various methods via online banking, cheque or cash. However, you must be aware of the tax and NIC implications of how much you are paying an employee and all amounts still need to be reported to the HMRC via Real Time Information. For…

Do I need an accountant?

Ultimately the answer to this question is that it is up to you. Legally you are not required to have an accountant you can submit your own accounts or tax return but we would encourage you to consider all of the following points before you make that decision: 1. Recognise your strengths and focus on…

Employers Guide To Auto Enrolment (or work place pensions!)

Under the Pensions Act 2008, every employer in the UK must put their staff into a pension scheme and contribute towards it. This is called ‘automatic enrolment’. Auto-enrolment of workplace pensions has actually been in existence in the UK since 2012, initially targeting the big employers. Now it is the turn of small and micro…

Brexit – How will it affect your payroll?

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals has indicated that they are not yet aware of any direct changes to payroll regulations caused by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The truth is that we do not yet know what impact this will have on payroll regulations. The payroll industry is continually bombarded with changes…

Setting Up A Limited Company – Things to Consider!

Your business name – When registering a limited company you are not allowed to use a name that is in use by someone else. Your registered office – This is the address that your company is registered at with Companies House. This means the address will be available on public record. If you currently work…

Tax on Dividends Is Changing!

How do things work now? You can pay yourself from your limited company in two ways, via salary or dividends. Most directors pay themselves a small salary topped up with dividends. Dividends are paid after Corporation tax has been charged, they are paid out of money that has already been taxed once. Currently there is…

Runner Up in the Kent Women in Business Awards 2016

Bells Accountants have received the title of Runner Up in the Kent Women in Business Awards 2016 for the Customer Service Category. This huge event brings together some of the most influential and successful professional females in Kent. It is an honour for us to be given this accreditation. This is an amazing acknowledgment to our company and…

Finalist in the best Customer Service Category of the Kent Women in Business Awards 2016

Bells Accountants can proudly announce that we have been nominated as finalist in the best Customer Service Category of the Kent Women in Business Awards 2016.   We’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who nominated us and good luck to all the other inspirational business women who were nominated.  Winners…

Bells Payroll Services

We are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new website for our Payroll division, Bells Payroll Services.   You can see it here – www.BellsPayrollServices.co.uk With Bells Payroll Services you can be sure of extremely competitive prices and an incredible amount of experience in payroll processing. Our client base is diverse ranging from…

Is your new team member employed or self-employed?

If the answer to most of these questions is “yes” then your worker is probably an employee: Does the worker only work for you? Do they work regular hours set by you? Do they receive holiday or sick pay from you? Do you provide them with the materials and tools they need to do their…

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