Frequently Asked Questions
Do you charge by the hour? Will the proverbial clock be ticking?
For new clients, we charge by the hour (at a discounted rate - see pricing) for the first three months. Following the first three months, we aim to agree a fixed monthly or quarterly fee. We believe this to be the fairest approach all round. Once the fixed fee arrangement is in place, you can rest assured there will be no nasty surprises - no the proverbial clock won't be ticking every time you pick up the phone or drop us an email!
Will I be paying you to do hours of mindless data entry?
Absolutely not! Data entry is now largely an automated exercise. We use Auto Entry, which extracts all the key data from digital financial documents and publishes the data to the accounting software, not without our careful monitoring of course. Once the data has found its way to the accounting software, our primary job is to then ensure everything is in the right place and fully reconciled, in order to form the foundation of an accurate set of accounts. This in turn allows us to formulate reliable and meaningful financial reports, thereby aiding business owners when making crucial commercial decisions.
What is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?
Bookkeepers are intimately involved in the day-to-day financial transactions of a business, ensuring that they are recorded properly and that proper management reporting mechanisms are in place. Accountants usually come in at the year-end, finalising the annual accounts and addressing tax related issues. Whilst there is an element of overlap in the respective remits, accountants and bookkeepers usually offer complementary services and work well together to ensure the needs of the client are fully met.
Do you work from clients' premises?
Since the advent of cloud based technologies, including the automation of data entry, the image of a bookkeeper sitting in the client's office with a huge pile of paperwork, manually entering data, has now been consigned to history! This means that the majority of our work is carried out remotely, which allows us to work much more efficiently, whilst not taking up valuable space or other resources in clients' premises.
That said, we do understand the need for our clients to see us at regular intervals, especially in the early stages of a new engagement, in order to build the trust that must underpin a successful working relationship. We are therefore happy to arrange, where practical, ad hoc visits to our clients' offices and where this is not practically possible, regular discussions can take place over the telephone or video link.
What do I do with all my paperwork?
In the modern digital age, there should no longer be any need to build up huge piles of paperwork. Why not? Most businesses now issue invoices in electronic form, so on both the sales and purchase side most documents should be in electronic form from the point of origin. We do appreciate, though, that in certain cases paperwork is unavoidable, eg shop receipts. Where this is the case, we encourage our clients to wherever possible digitise paperwork as soon as they receive it and then upload it into the cloud (eg Dropbox), from where we can process it. If this is not possible, we can offer a collection service for clients within a 30 mile radius. We then scan the paperwork, using high speed scanners, and process it in digital form.
What software do you use?
We have experience in a wide range of software (eg Sage, Xero, Quickbooks Online); currently we predominantly use Auto Entry for data capture and Quickbooks Online for accounting and reporting, along with Excel to some extent to augment the reporting aspects. We also use Dropbox quite extensively to facilitate data sharing. For payroll, we use BrightPay, which has a cloud add-on and allows all employees to create their own login to access payslips, etc. It also very effectively handles all matters in relation to Auto-Enrolment. For Self-Assessment tax returns, we use Taxfiler, which integrates with Quickbooks Online.
Our agent's account with Intuit (Quickbooks Online) allows us to offer the software at a heavily discounted price compared to the cost of clients purchasing direct.
My business is VAT registered - will you be able to help me be ready for MTD?
Absolutely! Our software (Quickbooks Online) is fully ready for MTD. Just get in touch with us now and we will gladly assist you to have the necessary accounting records in place to be MTD compliant. With us on your side, April 2019 onwards need not be a time of great trepidation!
Will I still need an accountant if I use your services?
Yes and no. We are able to offer a full service in most cases to sole traders and partnerships, which would include year-end accounts and tax returns. However, as far as limited companies are concerned, and where specialist tax advice is required, then the services of a qualified accountant are usually needed. We work with a very good firm of accountants, On the Spot Tax, to whom we are more than happy to refer our clients where necessary.