So how good are your bookkeeping records?
October is over and I can feel the pressure building – tax return season has begun. January 31st might seem a long way off to you, but I’m thinking of it as only 13 weeks away (and 2 of those are school holidays – I would like to spend some time with my children). So even less, really…
Anyway, for me the next few months will be a race to the deadline, a race where I have to speed up the nearer the finish line I get, because January is always the busiest month.
We ran a competition this year, and three lucky customers received a bottle of wine as thanks for getting their books in super early, but there are still plenty more to come in. Which brings me to the subject of today’s blog post: clients vary considerably – some bring their files with everything annotated and in chronological order, others hand me a carrier bag with every bill and receipt you could think of, but with some of the relevant stuff missing!
So… which of these describes you best:
- I need to know what is happening financially in real time and I want to be organised. In fact, I think I keep pretty good records already. I’m using cloud accounting software, I keep up to date with my bank reconciliations and if I get stuck, I phone for help!
- I’d like to be more organised but I don’t have the time or the inclination to spend much time on it. I keep an eye on cash flow and I’ve put the paperwork in a file but I’m not sure what it all means.
- Oh dear, where did I put everything? It will be under this pile, oops no, that’s last year’s vet bill…
So how did you answer?
If it was “1” then well done – you are a star customer and you probably enjoyed one of those bottles of wine as well! Keep up the great work you are doing for your own success.
Did you answer “2”? You have the right attitude and we love working with you because although you are too busy to keep perfect accounts, we understand, and helping you get there is what we do!
Any “3”s out there? Of course there are – good news! We’ll give you back the vet bill and sort out the gaps as best we can, even if it means tracking down copies from elsewhere.
Joking aside, your records are important and it pays to get it right. While government guidelines on keeping tax records are quite vague:
“There are no rules on how you must keep records. You can keep them on paper, digitally or as part of a software program (like book-keeping software)”
…as always when interacting with HMRC, if you get it wrong the axe will fall:
“HMRC can charge you a penalty if your records aren’t accurate, complete and readable”
We’re not just here for the end of the year – if you would like to keep better records, there are ways we can help.