Accountants In Maidstone
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If your business finances are disorganised or you need to save some time, accountants in Maidstone can meet your needs. By hiring an accountant, you can ensure you keep your accounts up to date and file them on time.
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What Is Accounting Cycle?
There are some key terms that any business owner should know when dealing with their accounts. Understanding the accounting cycle is one of the most important things to learn as a business owner. The accounting cycle is a cycle of tasks that is performed during the accounting period, which keeps everything running smoothly. The accounting cycle may have a different number of steps, depending on which model is used, but it often has eight or nine steps.
Examples of these steps are:
- Analysis of business transactions
- Make journal entries
- Post to ledger accounts
- Prepare trial balance
- Make adjusting entries
- Adjusted trial balance
- Prepare financial statements
- Close accounts
- Post-closing trial balance
A simplified version of the cycle is: transactions, recording, balancing, statements.
Using this accounting cycle can help to keep business finances organised, providing a step-by-step system. Once the last step has been completed, the cycle keeps going around from the beginning. It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of the accounting cycle and its uses. However, businesses can also make use of services from accountancy firms in Maidstone if they need help with managing the accounting cycle. A qualified and experienced accountant will take care of everything.
What is a Personal Accountant?
The term “personal accountant” might be used in a few different ways. Generally, people use it to describe an accountant who helps individual people with their finances, rather than limited liability companies. This could include assisting with self-assessment tax returns, giving advice on issues such as inheritance tax, non-domicile or international tax advice, or other personal tax advice and assistance for individuals. People who are a director of a limited liability company or in a partnership also need to submit tax returns and might benefit from the services of a personal accountant.
A personal accountant can provide assistance with self-assessment tax returns, VAT returns for businesses registered for VAT, bookkeeping, and payroll. Personal accountants can also help with tax investigations, helping to protect businesses that are being investigated by HMRC. They can offer advice, and may also be able to help find a legal advisor, who can assist with untangling any issues.
Any individuals that use a personal accountant can save time and money by getting the right financial advice. Both business and personal finances are areas that require attention, and professional help from an accountant helps to make everything easier to manage and ensure the law is followed.
What Software Do Accountants Use?
To make their work easier and more accurate, accountants usually use accounting software. By creating digital accounts, tax accountants in Maidstone can bring businesses several benefits, including reducing reliance on paper and integration with other software, systems, and data. There are a few different types of software that accountants might use, including specialised accounting and finance software. In the UK, some of the common accounting software brands that accountants use include Sage, QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks. Accountants will also encourage their clients to use accounting software to make it easier for them to report their finances.
Accounting and bookkeeping software offers a range of useful features. Many accountants now use cloud-based software, which lets people manage their accounts wherever they are. Cloud technology also makes it simpler for both accountants and their clients to access the information that they need. The software is secure, so it can be used on different devices and networks, and in different locations. Some small businesses might simply choose to use accounting software and think they don’t require an accountant. However, an accountant doesn’t just use software to do their job. They also apply their skills and knowledge to provide a complete service to their clients.
Do Accountants Use Excel?
Small business owners will often start doing their accounts using Microsoft Excel. An Excel spreadsheet can be perfectly adequate for managing the accounts of a small business, especially for sole traders with simple accounts. However, they’re not the only people who might use Excel to manage accounts. Professional accountants might also use Microsoft Excel for bookkeeping and other purposes, although they will often use it in combination with more specialised accounting software. Excel can be used to work out various sums, organise data, and create charts and graphs to present financial information.
Accountants use spreadsheets in Excel and other applications for a few reasons. Excel offers a lot of functionality that is useful for accountants, and many older accountants also learned to do a lot of their digital accounting using Excel. Accountants use Excel to varying degrees, with some accountants using the software every day and others using other software more. Like other software, Excel is always being updated, and it’s easier than ever with cloud technology. Accountants can keep up to date with the latest features and functionality that Excel provides to improve their skills. Business owners can also benefit from using Excel to manage their finances.
Do Accountants Work Weekends?
Many business owners work long hours, especially when they are first starting up. When working evenings and weekends, they might also require that the services that they use are available during evenings and weekends too. As being an accountant is an office-based job, many people will assume that accountants work 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. However, while many accountants do work these standard hours, it’s not the case for all of them. Some accountants do make themselves available at other times. Accountants can work in different roles, work with different clients, work for a company, or be self-employed.
Anyone who wants an accountant who works weekends should specifically look for an accountant offering a flexible service. When looking for accountancy services in Maidstone, business owners should check that the accountants can respond to them on their desired days and during their required hours. Some accountants are willing to work weekends, especially if they are looking for new clients. However, don’t expect that all accountants will work on weekends. Accountants want to have their free time too, so many will stick to standard working hours. Some accountants might make exceptions in an emergency if a problem comes up unexpectedly.
Can an Accountant Save Me Money?
One of the benefits of using an accountant is that they can help businesses and individuals to save money. Some small business owners may be reluctant to spend money on an accountant, thinking that it will only cost them money. However, using an accountant will have a net benefit for businesses, helping them to increase their profitability.
Accountants can provide tax advice to business owners. This helps them to stay up to date on the latest rules, which can change regularly. By helping businesses to stick to the rules and meet tax deadlines, accountants can prevent costly mistakes that could result in fines and other consequences. They can also help by creating a tax-efficient plan so that businesses can claim the right expenses when filing their taxes.
An accountant can also help a business to manage their cash flow and financial forecasting. Financial forecasting provides a picture of what the business’s financial future will look like. Closely watching the business’s cash flow will prevent problems and ensure it’s healthy at all times. Accountants also save businesses money by saving them time. When businesses have more time, they can focus on other areas of the business and its growth.
What Is a Bookkeeper vs. Accountant?
There are several job titles that are used in relation to financial roles. Both bookkeeper and accountant are two terms that are regularly heard. Some people might feel like these are interchangeable terms, but they are not exactly the same thing. A bookkeeper takes care of processing financial transactions. They will do tasks such as paying bills and ensuring customers pay. Bookkeepers might sometimes take care of VAT returns, payroll, and other accounting tasks. They can also help with preparing self-assessment tax returns. Bookkeepers often provide a standalone service to take care of the essentials of managing finances.
An accountant, on the other hand, takes care of higher-level tasks to comply with accounting necessities. This can include filing accounts and tax returns, helping with the strategic management of a company, tax planning, and cash flow management. A tax accountant in Maidstone can help you with all tax management needs, including helping to minimise both business and personal tax liabilities. A business might hire both a bookkeeper and an accountant, and many accounting companies will provide both types of accounting services. Bookkeepers usually work weekly, fortnightly, or monthly, whereas an accountant works less frequently.
Is Payroll Accounting or Finance?
Managing payroll is one of the necessary financial tasks that all businesses with employees need to do. This includes a variety of tasks, including managing PAYE to ensure the correct taxes are paid by both employee and employer. As with many business tasks, payroll is an area that many people question in terms of where it belongs in the business and whose job it is to complete. In business, a distinction is made between accounting and finance. Accounting takes care of the day-to-day flow of money, whereas finance generally refers to the wider managing of assets and liabilities, as well as the planning of future growth for the company.
In relation to where payroll fits in accounting or finances, it is usually regarded to be a part of accounting. Payroll is often taken care of by bookkeepers or by specialised payroll clerks who concentrate only on managing payroll. There can be many issues to consider and rules to learn concerning payroll management. People taking care of payroll need to be aware of everything from minimum wage requirements and PAYE tax codes to deducting child maintenance from an employee’s pay, pensions, company cars, and much more.
Starting Your Limited Company
A limited liability company separates the business from the business owner. Whereas a sole trader is personally responsible for any liabilities their business has, this is not the case for limited companies. Business owners might decide to start their business as a limited company, or they might decide to become a limited company after having traded as a sole trader. Whichever route is chosen, having a qualified and experienced accountant available to help is invaluable. Accountants know all about what it requires to launch and maintain a limited company, and can ensure that business owners get everything right from day one.
Setting up a limited company requires registering with Companies House. This type of company comes with more reporting and liability responsibilities, which means it can be more complicated to manage the finances. However, setting up isn’t difficult, especially with an accountant to help you. A company is either limited by shares, which is a for-profit company or limited by guarantee, which is usually a nonprofit. It requires at least one director and one guarantor, although they can be the same person. It’s also necessary to prepare documents agreeing how the company will be run, and register for Corporation Tax.
A company’s year-end is when its accounting period for the year ends. Once the year-end is reached, the company has 9 to 12 months to get all necessary accounts filed with HMRC and Companies House (9 for Companies House and Corporation Tax and 12 for HMRC tax returns). There are many things that a company can do to prepare for the year-end, and an accountant can help with all the necessary tasks. Some of the things that companies should start doing is organising expenses and chasing down any overdue invoices. They should also collect all of the paperwork from the year so that they (and their accountant) can start putting it all in order.
Getting all of your accounts in on time is essential. If you miss the deadline with HMRC, you could face a fine. Fines start at £100 after the first day, then another £100 after 3 months. At 6 months, HMRC will estimate your Corporation Tax bill and charge an extra 10%, then will charge another 10% of unpaid tax at 12 months. The £100 charge increases to £500 on your third time filing late in a row. For Companies House, the penalty is £150 for the first month, £375 for 1 to 3 months, £750 for being 3 to 6 months late, £1,500 for being over 6 months late, and double penalties for filing late two years in a row.
An accountant helps businesses to get everything in order for their year-end, from tax returns to VAT returns.