30 Winchester self-employed Mums needed

karen profile 6

30 Mumpreneurs needed

I am looking to speak with 30 small business owners who find tax taxing but still want to do the right thing.

Are you my next research participant?

If you’re a self-employed Mum and operate your small business from home, I’d love to speak to you about how you manage the madness of money and motherhood while keeping vaguely on top of the tax and record keeping bits of your business.

In exchange for a short, confidential interview (30 minutes), I’m offering you 7 surprising money saving tips to help make your business more sustainable.

We’ll be chatting about the records you keep, the most challenging parts of managing your money, the kind of support you’ve been getting to date and what’s been missing for you.

This research will be invaluable in making sure the services and packages I create genuinely meet the very real needs of people just like you.

Book in for a research interview

I’d love to hear from you (or any of your contacts) who might fit this profile. Please email Karen on info@winchesterbookkeeping.co.uk making sure you include your name, business phone number, email address and the best time of day for your 30 minutes interview (morning, afternoon or evening), how you would prefer to do the survey (phone or email) and any message you would like to include for me in advance.

Thank you. I really look forward to the opportunity of including you in my research.

Karen Upcraft

The Winchester Bookkeeping Company






Saving tax on the Christmas Party!

xmas parties

The yuletide season will shortly be descending upon us and you may well be starting to think about organising a party to entertain your staff at Christmas time. Read on to discover how you can limit that tax bill….

In the normal course of events when an employer provides entertainment for their staff the employees would be charged on their share of the event. There are however exceptions to this rule.

As an employer if you provide your staff with an annual party then there is no charge to tax on the employee and the cost is fully allowable for corporation tax purposes providing the cost per head does not exceed £150. In addition, ALL members of staff at that location must be invited. Other halves or guests can be included.

You could provide two events with the cost per head of £75 for each event but if you provided two events and the latter one took the total cost per head to above £150 then only the first one would be allowable.

To work out the Cost per head, divide the total cost of the function by the total number of people (including guests).

Any VAT paid can also be reclaimed provided that the conditions outlined above are adhered to.

The rules on what is allowable for tax purposes when entertaining can be complex so if you need any help in interpretation do give me a call 07596 516670, info@winchesterbookkkeeping.co.uk

Karen Upcraft

The Winchester Bookkeeping Company

The benefits of using online accounting software

Xero accounting software

Some of the more forward thinking Accountants are now jumping on the cloud bandwagon and embracing the benefits that online accounting software can bring to both client and Accountant. I, myself am a recent convert to Xero. Below I summarise some of the key benefits.

1. Cost savings

No purchase of hardware or software is required. There is no need for maintenance, backups or upgrades. Instead you pay a very reasonably priced monthly subscription for usage which can be stopped at any time. Bookkeeping costs are kept to a minimum as automatic bank feeds and other auto matching facilities speed up the bank reconciliation process, saving hours of manual checking and posting.

2. Bookkeeping is made easier

Xero software is incredibly user friendly and is very easy to navigate. Terminology has been tweaked to avoid accounting speak. Data can be reconciled very quickly and simply. The online invoicing facility is excellent. This in turn should encourage faster payment and better cash-flow.

3. View your accounts in the cloud

Xero is web based so you can work where you want and when you want with 24/7 access from any internet connection in the world using a PC, laptop, smartphone or MAC. All you need is a web browser. When you work on the same data as your accountant and at the same time, there is no need to share a computer or exchange files.

4. Real time view of the health of  your business

The ease and simplicity of Xero encourages small business owners to be much more in tune with their financial situation. One of the great benefits is that your cash-flow position can be viewed in real time allowing you to identify issues, respond to change and take action quickly. Your Accountant in turn will be able to be more responsive and give much better insight and advice.

In my mind, Xero is one of the best accounting software solutions on offer for micro to small sized businesses. I have yet to find a small business owner disappointed with the results. Take a listen to some happy customers…https://www.xero.com/uk/

If you would like a free no obligation chat about your requirements do call on 07596 516670

Karen Upcraft

The Winchester Bookkeeping Company

The Winchester Bookkeeping Company on Facebook

One of my goals is to empower the small business owner by supporting them to better manage their business and to help make sense of all the legal requirements and financial jargon. Many such individuals needs some support from an accountant but aren’t yet at a stage where they can justify expensive accountancy fees. I hope to be able to bridge this gap by offering very affordable, effective and bespoke solutions.

The means by which I hope to achieve this is through excellent communication – one of my channels being social media. The company has a very active Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Winchester-Bookkeeping-Company with daily tips and advice aimed at helping small business owners.

Please LIKE the page, share any tips with fellow business owners and let me know of any topics you would like further blog/tips on.

Thank you for your support.

Karen Upcraft – Director and owner of The Winchester Bookkeeping Company





Government backing for home businesses – 15th August 2014

Great news for all those “kitchen table start-ups” as the government announced initiatives this week aimed at making it easier for home based entrepreneurs to do business.

For too long home based businesses have been regarded as being of no economic significance. This perception is now changing. According to the Department of Business there are now around 70% of new businesses starting off in the home, contributing £300 billion to the economy.

The home is now the most popular place to start and grow a business. One in 10 properties are now home to at least 1 business. This movement towards home based entrepreneurs is primarily a response to the new opportunities afforded by technology with growth being generated by the outsourcing of work to other home based individuals.

The new measures announced by the government this week include:

  •  new legislation making it easier for people to run a business from a rented home. The law will be changed so that landlords can be assured that agreeing to this will not undermine their residential tenancy agreement. A new model tenancy agreement will also be made available shortly
  • updated planning guidance making it clear that planning permission should not normally be needed to run a business from your home
  • new business rates guidance clarifying that in the majority of circumstances home-based businesses will not attract business rates

We welcome this encouraging move from the government that will shine a spotlight on this important and growing sector of the economy.

Five reasons for the self employed to start thinking about self-assessment tax returns

time for tax

The brown envelope from HMRC has arrived but is currently buried somewhere at the bottom of your filing tray waiting to be dealt with at a later date. Sound familiar?

Here are five reasons why this approach may be a little short sighted and why you should start thinking about your self-assessment tax return now.

1. Being able to budget for the tax bill

There are two deadlines in relation to filing your self-assessment tax return. The deadline for filing on-line is the 31st January 2015 (following the end of your tax year 2013/14). If you want to submit a return on paper you can choose the earlier deadline of 31st October.

Early submission of your tax return holds many advantages. By submitting your return early you will be told by HMRC the amount of tax that you owe – this will allow you to plan and budget for your tax bill. If you are owed a refund you will receive it earlier.

Remember that submitting the return early does not mean that you pay early. The deadline for payment is still the 31st January following the end of the tax year.

2. Your business is seasonal

Don’t underestimate the time that getting your accounts and tax records up to date and correctly filed can take. If you business activities are seasonally strong in the build up towards Christmas you may struggle at this time to deal with managing your business with all it entails and completing your accounting and tax records.

Start planning ahead. You can start by working on the completion of your return now or alternatively look into outsourcing the work to a professional to help ease the burden.

3. Avoid fines and penalties

By being organised and ahead of the game you will inevitably reduce the likelihood of incurring fines. A fine of £100 will be automatically applied for any self-assessment not filed on time, regardless of how much tax may be due. Additional fines are imposed if the return is 3,6 or 12 months late.

4. You are a start-up business

If you have recently started up in business there is even more reason to be supremely organised with your record keeping and paperwork. For many new business owners managing their finances is one of the most difficult and challenging aspects of starting up.

Record keeping is vital. Without accurate records and paperwork to support the records, many small businesses have been hit with crippling fines following HMRC investigations. Get a system in place early.

If you are new to self-assessment it is worth seeking professional advice early with regards to what you can and cannot claim against your trading profit. The savings you will make often outweigh the costs involved.

5. Avoid sleepless nights and gain peace of mind

This sounds like a mantra from a self help book! Even if you are on top of your record keeping, submitting your return early will give you one less deadline to adhere to and will ensure that you have a more enjoyable and stress free Christmas!

Should you require any assistance in the completion of your self-assessment tax return please do not hesitate to give us a call for either one off advice or to arrange assistance in completion of your return. We would love to help you (www.winchesterbookkeeping.co.uk)

The Winchester Bookkeeping Company

Karen Upcraft    23rd July 2014

HMRC – Do you have a second income?

In April 2014 HMRC published details of their Second Income Campaign. This gives taxpayers the opportunity to bring their tax affairs up to date by declaring and paying unpaid tax on second incomes.

A second income could include:

  •  consultancy fees, for example, providing training
  •  organising parties and events
  •  providing services such as taxi driving, hairdressing or fitness training
  •  making and selling craft items
  •  buying and selling goods eg at market stalls or car boot sales

To get the best possible terms you need to tell HMRC that you want to take part in the campaign. If you don’t make a voluntary disclosure and HMRC finds out later that you owe tax, you could end up with higher penalties.

From the date of voluntary disclosure you will have four months to calculate and pay what you owe.