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Posts Tagged ‘accountant’

Qr Codes

Ever since the invention of computers, cybercrime has never been far behind. As the technology world changes, so do the methods of the criminals, but their motivation always remains the same – to steal your money by any method open to them.

In recent years internet shopping and on line banking has now become the norm. Even the purchase of music, software, movies and video games has now often become an on line transaction. This potentially exposes our personal details and electronic banking to those who are up to no good.

The latest wide scale change in our consuming habits has been to migrate from on line purchases and banking using a PC to the use of mobile smartphones. Recently released statistics show this type of activity has increased by 221% year on year, and is anticipated to continue to increase at that rate. Mobile devices are increasingly being used to pay for routine items such as train or bus tickets and this use of technology is anticipated to increase.

The increased use of mobile phones means that criminals are increasingly turning their attention to these devices. So far, cybercrimes involving mobile devices are still relatively rare buts it is considered to be only a matter of time before these increase to be a significant risk.

Most mobile users are unaware of how these threats will manifest themselves.
Here is the second in a series of posts about the trends in mobile crime (also referred to as m-cybercrime) and how they might impact you.

QR Codes

A QR (or Quick Response) code is a type of bar code formed by a series of black dots on a white background arranged in a square pattern.  QR codes have now become popular in consumer advertising and can be read by most smartphones which interpret the pattern as a URL, load a web browser and take the user to a specified web page, usually to give more information about the service or product. QR codes are common in both newspapers and magazines and increasingly appearing in shop price labels next to the product.

The problem with QR codes is that they are not always safe. Mobile phone users can never be 100% sure where the QR code will lead them once they read them into their device. There have been a growing number of instances where the QR code leads the user to inadvertently download a virus onto their mobile device and IT security experts expect these instances to increase significantly in the future.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact by telephone on 01277 365447 or by e mail at info@transformaccounting.co.uk

Accountant BrentwoodTransform AccountingEssex Accountant

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selling price

If you own a small business and are trying to maximise sales margins, then one of the most essential things that you must present to potential customers is your “value proposition”.

A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible and intangible results a customer gets from using your products and services.

The objective is for your potential customer to interpret your value proposition and understand the very specific advantages they will gain from working with you. It should be unique – ie – no other competitor should be able to make the same claims in the same way.

Your value proposition could be comprised of a number of value drivers.

Examples of tangible (physical) value drivers could be – if you buy my goods or services, they will help your business to “increase revenues”, “reduce costs” or to “improve customer retention”.

These are very tangible which increasing revenues or reducing costs leads to improved profit margins for the customer, and improving customer retention can often reduce the need for marketing spend, hence also improving profit margins.

Examples of intangible value drivers could include “improved aesthetics”, “more leisure time” or “conflict free business relationships”. These don’t always immediately appear on the bottom line (profit) of the accounts, but in the long term deliver real value to the customer.

It is very important to note that price should not form part of the value proposition.

Price should be discussed only at a later stage once some form of engagement with the target customer has been formed.

So, when planning sales strategy for goods or services, the value proposition should be a very important consideration to maintain profit margins and is a far more important long term strategy than discounting.

For most successful businesses with healthy profit margins, the value proposition is well understood by the sales staff, and also by the customer.

Finally, remember that the value proposition is defined by the customer, not the supplier. Not all customers think alike and therefore the definition of what is value and value added varies from customer to customer.

At Transform Accounting, our “Value Proposition” focuses on forming long term partner relationships with our most customers who are focused on driving their businesses to success. These are the businesses who value top quality financial advice to maximise their profits and chances of long term business success.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact by telephone on 01277 365447 or by e mail at info@transformaccounting.co.uk

Epping AccountantTransform AccountingEssex Accountant

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tax return

tax return

January is the time of year when our attentions are may be focused on our new year resolutions such as getting fitter, losing weight or maybe paying off the credit card bill after Christmas.

Unfortunately for many, January is also the time of year when the annual self-assessment tax return can be put off no longer.  Some even resort to panic as the deadline and penalties for failing to file approach.

But there is an alternative to this stress.

Employ an accountant to make your tax filing on your behalf.

There are many advantages to this approach.

Firstly, a good accountant will be able to give you good advice to ensure that you do not pay too much tax. In many cases, the fees of the accountants are actually offset by paying a lower amount of tax. Be sure to choose an accountant who has up to date tax knowledge and qualifications, and one who will be able to give appropriate advice rather than just making a basic filing.

Secondly, a good accountant should prevent any last minute panics by making sure that you have timely reminders about when your returns are due, and should work with you to make sure that everything is filed in plenty of time. Remember, there are no downsides to making a return promptly and no advantages to filing at the last minute. Some accountants will even offer discounts to their fees for making a filing in the middle of the tax year rather than their busy period at the end of the year.

Thirdly – find an accountant who you are comfortable with. Some web based services can appear to offer the cheapest fees, but they will usually offer virtually no advice, certainly no face to face contact and you may find your return is handled by an unqualified office junior.  It is common practice for the cheapest web based services to e mail you a series of spread sheets for the client to complete, and then these are just processed and electronic tax filings are made.

Some clients may prefer a local, one or two man (or woman) qualified accountant who can provide a more personal service such as Transform Accounting, whilst others may prefer to visit a high street practice with multiple accountants and a wider range of services, but possibly higher fees due to higher overheads.

Whichever you decide is best for you, it is essential to find an accountant that you feel comfortable with and who can provide you with the appropriate financial and tax advice for your situation or business.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact Jacinta Smith on 01277 365447

Accountant LoughtonTransform AccountingAccountant Essex

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Essex Accountant

New Year is often the time when we reconsider our past experiences, and vow to make changes for the better. These can apply both to personal and business relationships and can certainly apply to accountants, whether they are acting for your limited company, partnership or helping individuals and sole traders with their tax returns.

At Transform Accounting, we often meet clients who have been dissatisfied with their previous accountant, but we are often surprised at just how long it can take before the client looks for a replacement.

The most common complaints we hear are;

–          Calls not returned

–          Length of time taken to respond to a question

–          Excessive or unexpected charges

–          Missed Filing Deadlines incurring penalties

–          Accountant not very approachable or friendly when advice is wanted

In addition to these, we also see many clients who were unsure as to whether their accounts and tax returns had been properly reviewed by a suitably qualified accountant to ensure tax payments were kept as low as possible.

Many clients we meet also stick with their existing accountant for fear that a change would be too much hassle. In reality, this change should not cause the client too much hassle and most good accountants will help to handle this switchover on your behalf.

So, what should you look for in a good accountant?

Firstly, a good accountant will be able to give you good advice to ensure that you do not pay too much tax. In many cases, the fees of the accountants end up being offset by paying a lower amount of tax. Be sure to choose an accountant who has up to date tax knowledge and qualifications, and one who will be able to give appropriate advice rather than just processing in a tax return.

Secondly, a good accountant should prevent any last minute panics by making sure that you have timely reminders about when your tax and VAT returns are due, and should work with you to make sure that everything is filed in plenty of time. Remember, there are no downsides to making a return promptly and no advantages to filing at the last minute. Some accountants will even offer discounts to their fees for making a filing in the middle of the tax year rather than their busy period at the end of the year.

Thirdly – find an accountant who you are comfortable with. Some web based services can appear to offer the cheapest fees, but they will usually offer virtually no advice, certainly no face to face contact and you may find your return is handled by an unqualified office junior.  It is common practice for the cheapest web based services to e mail you a series of spread sheets for the client to complete, and then these are just processed and electronic tax filings are made.

Some clients may prefer a local, one or two man (or woman) qualified accountant who can provide a more personal service such as Transform Accounting, whilst others may prefer to visit a high street practice with multiple accountants and a wider range of services, but possibly higher fees due to higher overheads.

Whichever you decide is best for you, it is essential to find an accountant that you feel comfortable with and who can provide you with the appropriate financial and tax advice for your situation or business.

Transform Accounting are Chartered Management Accountants and Tax Technicians able to assist with personal tax returns, sole traders and company payroll whilst specialising in limited companies, consultants, contractors and business start-ups. Fixed fee packages are available as are free initial consultations. Customer references are available on request.

See www.transformaccounting.co.uk or contact Jacinta Smith on 01277 365447

Romford AccountantTransform AccountingEssex Accountants

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skip

Skip Tax Increases

Concerns over a potential increase in fly tipping by unscrupulous operators have been raised after government proposals to increase landfill taxes.

As part of these tax changes, the tax for putting certain types of building rubble into landfill sites will increase from £2.50 per tonne to £64 per tonne.

Protests have been held in Parliament Square by skip hire companies who plan further protests and are threatening that this increase in tax will force them to lay off workers or go out of business completely.

Essex BookkeeperTransform AccountingHarlow Bookkeeper

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telephone

Fed Up Taxpayers Hang up on HMRC

Data recently released as a result of the freedom of information act, has shown that callers to HMRC have to hold for an average of 6 minutes before getting to speak to anyone.

This is an increase from last year when the average time was 5 minutes 45 seconds and a huge increase from 2009 when the average was just 1 minute and 53 seconds.

The statistics also show that 28% of callers gave up waiting and hung up on HMRC – an increase from just 10% in 2009.

Accountant EssexTransform AccountingBookkeeper Brentwood

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plumber

What happened to the UK plumber convicted of tax evasion?

Ever wondered what the consequences of setting yourself up as a self-employed plumber, working cash in hand and omitting to pay any tax or national insurance?

A plumber from Hampshire did just that after deciding to freelance in 1997. He chose not to register his earnings with HMRC for self-assessment and paid no income tax or VAT.

Enquiries made by HMRC found that he had evaded approximately £88,000 of tax and VAT. Once they added interest to these amounts, the total rose to £112,000.

The plumber was arrested at his home, and admitted committing £40,000 of fraud at Southampton Crown Court on 2nd April 2012.

So, how was he treated by the court?

Firstly, a four month jail sentence – suspended for 12 months.

Secondly, 100 hours of community service.

Thirdly, court costs of £1,800

This was in addition to £40,000 which he paid to HMRC prior to the court proceedings.

This verdict followed the “Plumbers Safe Tax Plan” which was basically an amnesty for plumbers who had not filed sufficient tax payments to come forward and put their tax affairs in order.

An HMRC spokesman said “We want people targeted by an HMRC campaign to come forward and use the opportunity to put the record straight and pay any tax due on the best possible terms. It really is better for people who owe tax to come to HMRC, before we come and find you”

Bookkeeper EssexTransform Accounting – The Essex Accountants

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whitevan

Many small business employers need to provide their employees with a company van.

If you allow your employee to use the van privately and you pay for their fuel, then they will pay income tax on this benefit.
For the 2012/13 tax year, this can work out at £710 for a basic rate tax payer and £1,420 for a higher rate tax payer.
This will be paid by the employee.

(£3,000 + £550 = £3,550 x either 20% or 40%)

In addition, for the 2012/13 tax year, the small business will need to pay employers national insurance which will cost £489.90 for each van.
This will be paid by the small business.

(£3,550 x 13.8%)

How to pay less tax

A way round this tax charge is to restrict your employee’s private use of the van to travel between home and work and vice versa. This is defined as ordinary commuting.
This results in no tax implications if your employee takes the van home at night.
Insignificant private use (such as emergencies or occasional short journeys) is allowed, however.

HMRC will look closely at the arrangements that you have with your employees and are likely to challenge your private use unless journey records are in good order.

Note that these rules do not apply to cars and that HMRC’s definition of a “van” are not always as straightforward as you may think.

General good advice is that small business owners should make it an employment condition that their employees cannot drive company vans on private journeys unless they reimburse you for the full cost. You must be seen to enforce this policy if you are to avoid income tax or national insurance liabilities.

The above is just a rough guide intended for education purposes – If you want to provide a perk to member of staff, please seek professional advice from your accountant or see the HMRC website for detailed guidance.

Romford AccountantTransform AccountingAccountant Essex

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bride and groom

Employing your spouse? Consider the tax benefits

If you are a small business owner, you may wish to consider the overall tax position of your family as a whole. One option open to you is employing your spouse (either married or otherwise).

From a tax perspective, in order to justify your spouse as being employed, you must satisfy three criteria;

  • The salary must be actually paid to your spouse
  • The level of salary that you pay must be commercially justifiable.(i.e. not more than you would have paid a third party)
  • The national minimum wage regulations must be satisfied

The salary will then count as an allowable expense

If your spouse is not in paid employment, or earns less than £8,500, then there is a potential tax benefit to employing your spouse in your business.

Earnings of up to £7,488 will incur no income tax (or national insurance, neither employee nor employer).  Amounts above the personal allowance of £8,105 up to £34,370 attract the basic rates of 20% income tax (Higher rate 40% charged from £34,371 to £150,000, additional rate 50% above £150,000) [2012/13 tax rates].

Remember that employer’s national insurance will be an additional cost your business [13.8% NI above £144 per week]

It may be possible to provide your spouse with a ‘company car’ which would not give rise to any tax so long as the combined benefit in kind for the car and the salary paid does not exceed £ 8,500

As well as a salary and company car, it may also be possible to pay pension contributions on behalf of your spouse and save tax by treating this as a business expense.

For more information on employing your spouse, please contact Transform Accounting – The Small Business Accountant.

Accountant Brentwood – Transform Accounting – The Essex Accountant

Disclaimer : Transform Accounting are not licensed to give marital advice!

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taxreturn

If you are self-employed you need to keep your accounting and tax records for five years and ten months from the end of the tax year.
Tax years run from 6th April to the 5th April the following year.

Eg – for the tax year just ended on 5 April 2012, you need to keep your accounting records until at least 31 January 2018.

If you are trading as a limited company, you must maintain your accounting records for 6 years from the end of your accounting period.

In both cases, if you have an HMRC enquiry into your tax affairs, then you must maintain these records for longer until the enquiry is complete.

Although you need to have these records available, you do not have to submit them to HMRC when you submit your tax return. HMRC will only ask to seek these records if they start a formal enquiry.

 

Accountant Romford – Transform Accounting – The Essex Accountant

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