Real Price Accountancy


Working for yourself – are you sure?

You’ve had your ‘Eureka’ moment; you have a business idea that will work and now you want to set up your own business. Or you’ve simply had enough of working 9-5 for someone else when you could be working for yourself and controlling your own working life! This is the time of year when more new businesses are started than at any other. New Year’s Resolutions put into place and all that!


But how do you take the first and next steps, how do you turn the resolutions into reality?


There are a list of questions you will be asking yourself - What do you do? Where do you start? Where do I get information, what about help? How do I do it properly?


Well first things first, are you REALLY sure this is the right thing for you to do? There are a number of questions to ask yourself first before you start asking anyone else anything.


  • How good is my idea / product?
    • Test it first. Is there a market? Does it fit a gap in an existing market; is there a need for it? What about competition-is there anything out there similar?
  • Do the figures add up?
    • At the end of the day no matter how good the idea is if t doesn’t make money there’s no point as eventually your passion and enthusiasm will dwindle in the face of a constant struggle financially. Additionally, can you fund yourself for the next couple of years? You need enough capital to live off whilst the business is building. No good spending 6 months building the business then having to stop and go back to salaried employment because you can’t afford to pay your mortgage.
  • How enthusiastic are you about it?
    • After all you will be the main sales person, possibly the only salesperson for quite a while. It will be difficult and stressful launching a new business but your passion should never lessen for what it is you are offering – you have to believe in your idea so that others can believe in you. Can you cope with working 7 days a week for 18 hours a day? Having no holidays for a few years? Not seeing friends and family much for as the business takes all your time and effort.
  • How do you react under pressure and how risk averse are you?
    • If you are thinking about quitting your job and losing the steady income, investing your nest egg or savings into something which may fail, working for free for the next 18 months to 2 years possibly, and even failing altogether. Even with superbly laid plans there’s no guarantee of success.
  • How are your decision making skills?
    • It’s all on you with your own business. No-one else is there to make the decisions for you, think about some of the first decisions you’ll need to make, and these are some of the easier ones!
      • Where to work from – Home or pay rent for somewhere?
      • What business structure should you be and why?
      • Should you take on staff straightaway or wait?
      • Where do I advertise and what marketing should be done?
  • How are you with responsibility?
    • You will be everything within your business from the salesperson to the cleaner. Everything rests at your door and that can be really daunting. You need to become knowledgeable quickly about so many different things it’s scary! But also it’s interesting and the control this gives you is fantastic. You will be in charge of your life and your business.

If you can answer honestly to these positively after giving them some thought, then it could be that you are ready to go into business for yourself.  However if you have any doubts, take more time to mull it over. Stay in your paid employment for as long as possible. Even ideally whilst starting the new business – it gives you breathing space.


Once you’ve decided that you’re definitely going ahead the next stage of developing starts.


What’s your business New Year Resolution?

Are you starting to feel the pressure of the January deadline looming large in your future? I know from talking to business owners locally in Wandsworth area that some of them most definitely are. As someone said to me the other day, ‘I’ve just got Christmas out of the way and now, as well as paying for that, I’ve got tax to worry about’.


Because between running a business, sorting out customers and looking after your family something will always suffer; and unfortunately it’s often the businesses record keeping and accounts; which is actually the one thing that can give peace of mind over finances.


But what can you do? It’s alright for accountants to say that you should be recording everything daily and putting aside money for tax into a separate account; but in the real world it’s not as easy as that. I find it’s difficult enough making time each day for the kids, let alone paperwork! And as for putting money aside – well not many of the businesses I’ve spoken to manage that, there’s always something that needs the money more, whether it’s new stock, an item of equipment or an unexpected bill.


Now how would you feel if you had help with this? If you didn’t have to find time to enter your record keeping, everything was entered for you and you could just look at the monthly info and see how the business was doing? Small businesses in the Battersea area said this was at the top of their New Year’s Resolutions; either to do themselves or find an accountant who could help with this at a sensible price.


What if you didn’t have to take precious time out to travel to your accountant’s office, if you could do everything at the click of a button online? In Putney, tech savvy small business owners put this at the top of their New Year’s Resolutions.


However always at the top of every business list of New Year Resolutions, whether it was Southfields, Tooting, West Hill, Furzedown or Earlsfield, was to get their tax return filed on time and not to leave it so late next year!


To find out more about getting this year’s tax return completed before the end of January and getting ahead of the game with Tax returns from as little as £49 visit:

Business Owner finds smart way to save money

Business Owner finds smart way to save money on his accountancy fees by using a simple spreadsheet.


Bruce Evans recently discovered a genius way to save money on his accountancy fees. Having recorded his accounting information in organised folders for years, Mr Evans hit upon a great new way to save money on his accounts. 


In a recent meeting with his accountant, Mr Evans realised that over £500 of his accountancy bill was spent on inputting his accounting data into accountancy software, unhappy with how much he was paying he decided to look for an alternative. So as of this year instead of organising his invoices and receipts in folders he began entering this information into a spreadsheet. 


It took me no more than a few minutes each day to tally up money the business had spent and money i had been paid, not only did it save me money on my accountancy fees it also meant i had a much clearer picture of what money was coming in and out of my business. I felt like i was in control of my business finances - Bruce Evans


Having recorded his information in a spreadsheet Mr Evans then looked around this internet to find out how much accountants would charge to prepare his accounts from this spreadsheet. He soon stumbled across a company called Real Price Low Cost Accountancy, an online accountant that specialised in producing Low Cost accounts from Spreadsheets and accounting software. 


Now Mr Evans pays only £99 a year for his accounts! 

How clear is your business message?

A close friend of mine started a new business a few years ago. She came up with the idea, put everything in action, set up the business entity, got the stationery printed, and then announced the business to all her close family and friends. 

Immediately lots of ‘congratulations’, and, ‘well done’ came flooding her way, by email, in person and an awful lot through social media.

However she still was left feeling disappointed. Seems selfish, but what she had hoped for was that they would all want to support her by purchasing her product. Actually what she got was a great deal of emotional support and well wishes. At first glance it seems awfully selfish of her

It took a lot of soul searching and ‘moving on’ but eventually, whilst planning a marketing campaign, the penny dropped.

She realized she had not been clear to everyone around her exactly what it was she wanted from them, how she expected them to act. Then when of course they didn’t provide what she required, she felt let down!

This message applies not just to your life but to marketing and advertising your business as well.

‘If you aren’t clear what you want then it’s not clear what you’ll get.’

Clarify what it is you want to happen and when and how you intend to achieve it. Whether that’s from yourself in the form of a clear and well written business plan, or your staff in terms of their job roles, and even down to your marketing strategy for gaining new customers.

Take time to develop good marketing strategy thinking clearly about what message you want to put out;

  • Who are you?
  • What’s your business message
  • Why should customers use your business over another

And don’t think you’re best doing it all by yourself as only you can understand fully your business. Get some help and advice even if it’s just a professional opinion. You can never ‘unknow’ your business, so sometimes having a third party who doesn’t have the same level of knowledge of your business as you, is better placed to tell you exactly what message is coming across.

To read the full article or for help and advice how to gain more customers visit

Video conferencing and Convenient meetings

Meeting your accountant traditionally has meant booking an appointment; Taking time out of work not just for the meeting but for travel and traffic. All time consuming stuff which can impact your business.

How would you feel though if you could meet in your home or at work, at a time that suited you, without having to travel?
How many people have a Smartphone these days? Or even a laptop, pc or I-pad? Every one of these is potentially a meeting place these days.
The advent of technology means we’re no longer tied to the office for everything from placing orders and researching, to talking to your accountant.  
The advantages are;
  • Meetings can take place without leaving the office
  • Travel costs and the time taken to travel can be reduced significantly
  • Meetings can be called instantly with little notice (even worldwide)
  • People can still attend meetings even if they are physically unable to
  • Ideal for explaining documents and procedures and talking through queries
The downside can be;
  • May not be as productive as a discussion around a table for ‘blue sky thinking’ and ideas
  • Confidential documents may need to be viewed and signed in person
  • There will always be times when you need to be able to meet face to face
    All you need is:
  • a computer, laptop, I Pad or smartphone
  • a web cam(most devices and computers have webcams built-in)
  • a microphone (most webcams have a microphone built-in)
  • speakers(most computers have a speakers built-in now certainly all I pads and I phones do)
  • broadband Internet
Whether it’s through Skype, face time or video conferencing more and more businesses are using this method as a fast efficient and convenient way of having meetings. Certainly for getting help and advice from your accountant it’s a fast convenient way of communicating. Even banks are starting to get in on the act with Barclays announcing it’s to start using video conferencing for its customer meetings.
For more information on how you can get help and advice using video conferencing visit

Small business caught in Amazon VAT trap

Thousands of small businesses in the digital market could suffer and even go under from January 1st.


Because they will be trapped by the changes in VAT meant to snare bigger companies such as Amazon and iTunes.


This is down to the change in EU legislation which means that from 1st January 2015 VAT will be charged in the country where the customer is, as opposed to currently when it’s charged in the country where the supplier is based.


This covers digital services such as Telecommunications, E-services (e-books, apps, gaming etc) and broadcasting.


An example of what these are;

  • Broadcasting
    • Supply of radio programmes to a schedule by the person with editorial control of the radio programmes
    • Supply of television programmes to a schedule by the person with editorial control of the radio programmes
  • Telecommunications
    • The service of sending/receiving signals by wire, radio, optical or other systems
    • Includes fixed and mobile telephones, fax and internet connections
  • E-Services
    • Video on demand
    • Apps – downloaded applications
    • Music downloads
    • Gaming
    • E-books
    • Anti-virus software
    • Online auctions

Suppliers of these will either need to register for VAST in each EU country supplied or register to use the new HMRC VAT mini one stop shop (MOSS) online service.
Certainly using the new MOSS is easier as you can complete just one quarterly return and payment to HMRC which they will then distribute to the relevant country.
For more information on VAT visit

How to get £2000 for your business!

How would you like an early Christmas present off HMRC?


Well it’s not as unlikely as it sounds! Did you know you can claim up to £2000 through your payroll?


However time is running out for this as it is for the 2014/15 year only.

The government announced earlier this year that from 6th April 2014 if you meet the criteria as a small business employer you can reduce your
Class 1 Employer National Insurance Contributions by up to £2,000 in the 2014/15 PAYE year. To be eligible you must be a business or charity.


If you are a group of companies only one company in the group is entitled to the relief. Also you can only claim Employment allowance for one PAYE scheme.


Amazingly, large proportions of eligible businesses have still not claimed this and are making full payment each month of their employer class 1 national insurance contributions.


You can’t claim if you’re a:

  •  domestic employer who has employees such as Nanny, gardener etc. who works for them personally
  • public body or business such as a council or NHS services unless you are registered as a charity
  • service company which only has deemed payments of income (usually within IR35)

You can claim it monthly by simply reducing your P32 amounts for Employers national insurance until the £2000 has been fully utilised. The £2000 is not in any way refundable.


If you’re late in claiming and don’t get to use up your full allowance you can ask HMRC to either

  • use any leftover employment allowance to pay and tax, national insurance or VAT that you owe
  • give you a refund after the end of the year if you don’t owe anything

Visit your HMRC online account to see how much Employment Allowance you’ve used to date.


For more information on employing people or for help with payroll visit

Small business & Auto Enrolment Part 2

Continuing this hot topic for many small businesses;


What you need to consider

1.       When your business needs to start providing a pension scheme; this is called your staging date. You need to know both your staging date and registration date this was covered in yesterdays blog

2.       Who do you need to put into the scheme- all employees will be affected by Auto Enrolment, even if you do not have any employees who qualify you still need to register a scheme and complete some tasks.

3.       How is the work to be done? There are a number of choices from doing the admin part yourself and providing the information to your chosen provider or outsourcing the whole thin along with payroll, through your accountant, payroll provider or a different third party

  1. The financial implications of employer contributions you are required to make on behalf of your employees.

2. Who do I need to put into a pension scheme?

You must automatically enrol any staff who are:

  • aged 22 to state pension age
  • working in the UK
  • Earning over £10,000 a year.

Some staff who don’t meet the criteria above are able to opt in to the pension scheme you’re using for automatic enrolment. You must put them in if they ask.

You’ll have to pay a minimum employer contribution for all staff you put into this scheme.

Certain other staff can ask to join a pension scheme. You must put these staff in a scheme, but the rules are different and there’s no requirement for you to pay an employer contribution.

It’s the age and earnings of a member of staff that determines what ‘type’ of worker they are and therefore what duties you’ll have for them. You then need to write to each employee to inform them of how this affects them and it varies depending on their role and responsibilities.

Remember also; Staff have the right to 'opt out' of pension scheme membership after they've been automatically enrolled. There is paperwork such as the 'opt-out notice', which must be completed in case of this as well as time constraints for their decision to opt out.

3.  How will I administer the scheme?


Options for small employers range from

  • Completing the necessary work in house, using N.E.S.T for example
  • Employing an third party such as your accountant to complete the work
  • Employing your payroll provider if separate to your accountant.
  • Approaching a pension provider such as Sun Life or Legal and General to run your scheme. Even if you use a pension provider there is going to be an increased workload on whoever runs your payroll as deductions need to be calculated and transferred to the pension, as well as other mandatory work.

4.  How will it affect my business finances?


This will be in a number of ways which you need to account for;

  • The actual employer contributions themselves
  • Paying a third party to provide the administration service
  • Paying your staff to administer and provide information to set up the scheme


To read the full article or for more information and help with auto enrolment visit

Small business & Auto Enrolment

This has been on every employer’s mind. It is a big consideration for small businesses, and has cost implications, not just in time, but also in money.


What you need to consider

1.      When your business needs to start providing a pension scheme; this is called your staging date. You need to know both your staging date and registration date

2.      Who do you need to put into the scheme - all employees will be affected by Auto Enrolment, even if you do not have any employees who qualify you still need to register a scheme and complete some tasks.

3.      How is the work to be done? There are a number of choices from doing the admin part yourself and providing the information to your chosen provider or outsourcing the whole thin along with payroll, through your accountant, payroll provider or a different third party

  1. The financial implications of employer contributions you are required to make on behalf of your employees.

1. What is the staging date? How do you find out your staging date?

An employer’s staging date is set by law and is based on the number of people in their biggest PAYE scheme.

The number of people is wholly based on the information held by HMRC at 1 April 2012. Even if the number of people in the scheme changes after 1 April 2012 the staging date will not change.


Staging starts from October 2012 and is being rolled out based on the largest to smallest PAYE schemes.


250 employees
Between October 2012 and February 2014.
50-249 employees
Between 1 April 2014 and 1 April 2015.
49 or less
between 1 June 2015 and 1 April 2017
This is a rough guide as some may be earlier if For example they have non workers with pension benefits in their paye. However they can choose to move the date back.


(New employers setting up business from 1 April 2012 up to and including 30 September 2017 will have staging dates between 1 May 2017 and 1 February 2018. These staging dates are not based on the number of people in the biggest PAYE scheme as before but by the date the employer first pays PAYE in respect of any worker.)

A quick and easy way to find your own staging date is as follows;

1.      Find your PAYE REF number which is 3 digits/2 letters, digits then a letter.

2.      Go to this webpage at the pensions regulator website and it will tell you your own staging and registration dates when you input the ref;


To read the full article or to get information or help on auto enrolment visit


Book keeping for Small Businesses Part 2

Have you ever found yourself at the end of a busy day just dropping your paperwork into your in tray or even a box to be recorded 'when I get some time later'?

Unfortunately as we all know, when running your own business ’later’ never happens.


How does this affect your knowledge of your business figures? Yes, you may know what’s in your bank account – but do you know how much of that belongs to you and how much to the taxman?


You may be pleased (not surprised) to know it’s not just you! A lot of small business owners neglect this area and it can cause serious problems for their business, in the form of confusion, lost paperwork, missed deadlines, penalties and fines from HMRC and higher accountancy fees.

There are solutions though, but discipline is the key. 15-30 mins each day to record your data can save much more than your headaches.


Use Technology

Technology is great as instead of manually recording everything and adding it up (why do the columns never give you the same totals twice!) spreadsheets can do all this for you. The other option is accounting software  such as Sage, Xero, Clearbooks, Freeagent etc – the list is huge.  Some are more complicated than others and they have various added extras. However to get started nothing beats a simple spreadsheet, you can see everything in front of you.


Technology is also great for filing the actual documents – you no longer need bulky space taking filing cabinets. Just a Scanner and a pc will solve your space and storage issues. By scanning in your paperwork and storing by monthly folder online you have an electronic copy you can access whenever and send to whomever you need to simply and quickly – genius! So looking for that sales invoice from 2 years ago isn’t a problem.

It’s also environmentally friendly – you no longer need to print out reams and reams of documents

What to hold on to

You need to make sure that you keep copies of receipts, invoices and bank statements (these can be electronic copies also). And it’s also useful to have copies of contracts and other documentation particularly if you can scan these in and keep online copies. Missing receipts are a headache and can even cost you money in unclaimed tax and VAT.

It’s helpful to reference each bit of paper e.g. start from 1 at the beginning of each month and then keep each month’s paper in a separate envelope. If you also record this number on your spreadsheet you know exactly which place to look if you should need the paper copy or scan copy.

Record keeping is integral for all small businesses and if not done not only can it cause problems with inaccurate accounts but can lead to penalties and fines from HMRC. 

Cloud Technology

If you also use cloud for online storage you could take this a step further. You can give access to your accountant or book keeper so they can get to your files a lot earlier and record everything. Its accessible from anywhere.

To read the full article or for more information on book keeping for small businesses visit