Posts Tagged ‘Essex’

Apple iMac

6 Ways to save money on Apple Products

Part 1 – Buy a Refurbished Mac

For those who love becoming the owner of a new piece of technology, nothing really competes with a new purchase from Apple.

Be it an iPhone, iPod or a shiny new iMac, all are objects of desire with just one snag – the price.
Apple products are notoriously expensive, although their millions of fans feel they get value for money in the long run even if it is very painful at the time of purchase.

If you try shopping around, there are usually very retailers who will discount any Apple product, but there are a few ways that can save some money when it comes time to treat yourself.

Here is the first in a series of six ways to save money when making your Apple purchase. Be sure to check back for the rest of the series.

  1. Buy a Refurbished Machine.
    Refurbished Apple products can be purchased from the on-line Apple store.
    These machines have usually been returned to Apple for a variety of reasons, they are refurbished and then sold through the Apple on line store at a discount.
    They always come with a warranty of some description and can be a good way to save at least 15-30%.

In the UK – here is the link.


Good Luck! Once I have posted all 6 tips, add a comment and let me know if there are any other ways to save on Apple products that I have missed.

Accountant HarlowTransform AccountingAccountant Essex

Now also on Facebook at – http://www.facebook.com/TransformAccounting

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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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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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There is nothing worse than having to pay your tax bill and having to pay fines for late filing.

Do you ever get confused by the deadlines imposed by HMRC for filing your tax returns?
Here are some simple dates and guidelines to bear in mind so that you don’t end up paying HMRC more than you have to.

When are my tax returns due? What are the deadlines I must not miss?

Individuals – Employees and Sole Traders

Individuals who need to submit a tax return should do so after the end of the tax year (5th April).

It must be submitted to HMRC by 31st October if you wish to do this on a paper based form.

Alternatively, if you wish to file your tax return online, then you have until 31st January to make that submission.

Remember that these are the final deadlines, you really should have your accounts filed in plenty of time so that you don’t even get close to these deadlines.

Filing your tax return in plenty of time does not mean that you will pay more tax, or that you will have to pay your taxes any earlier, in fact, quite the opposite is true.

If you want HMRC to collect a tax underpayment of less than £2,000 through your tax code (i.e. – spread it evenly over the next year rather than a single bill), then this must be filed before 30th December.

If you miss the deadline of 31st January, then you will incur additional fines from HMRC.

If you have not been sent a notification asking you to complete a tax return and you think that you need to complete one, you must tell HMRC by 5th October to avoid a tax penalty.


Subject to certain exceptions, the taxpayer has to make two equal payments on account on 31 January in the tax year and on 31 July following the tax year, with a final balancing payment on the following 31 January.  Payments on account are based on the income tax liability of the preceding tax year, as reduced for any tax deducted at source.  There is a de minimis limit below which payments on account do not have to be made.  No payments on account are required if the outstanding income tax liability for the previous year was less than £1.000, or if more than 80% of tax for the previous year was deducted at source.  The balancing payment comprises the balance of income tax due and any capital gains tax.

Limited Companies

If you trade as a limited company, the period covered by your tax return is not the tax year, but is instead the accounting year that has been adopted by your company

This return must be filed within 12 months of the end of your company year end.
All limited company returns must be filed online – these can no longer be made on paper based forms.

If the return date is missed, then you will begin to incur fines from HMRC even if you have paid the tax.


Remember corporation tax must be paid before the return is due.  Payments are due from small companies* 9 months and 1 day following the end of your company year end.  For example if you make your accounts up to 31st December each year, payment will be due on 1st October in the following year.

*Small companies are those with profits of less than £1.5 million (correct at May 2012)


It is usually wise to employ the services of a suitably qualified accountant to help with your tax returns.
Not only will they take the hassle and confusion out of having to prepare your returns, they usually will ensure that your return is as efficient as possible which will often result in you paying less tax.

Your accountant will make a submission on your behalf by acting as your “agent”.
They will make this submission online on your behalf.

Remember, both accountants and HMRC are at their busiest as the tax deadlines approach and many will offer discounts for early filing to avoid these busy times.

See the Transform Accounting website for details of how to save up to 20% for early tax filing.

Tax Returns For Small Business and IndividualsTransform Accounting – The Essex Accountant

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crystal ball

The role of the Financial Systems Manager has become very diverse as technology evolves. What are the new trends ahead in 2012?

I recently took part in an on line debate for Finance systems managers that began with this question.
Most of the views seemed to revolve around cloud based computing, but I came up with a couple of others and thought I would share on my blog… here are my views as at May 2012.

For 2012, the cloud versus premise decision will be a big driver for larger organizations and is with us already.

With major software houses such as SAP and Oracle very publicly changing their selling model from selling purchased software with annual maintenance fees (premise based) systems to selling hosted versions of their “new” software (there must be something in it for them financially to make this switch?)… then the role of the finance systems manager tied to these vendors will very much be one of contract management, SLEs, fees monitoring and potential legal issues if these run into trouble.

The themes I anticipate for 2012 will remain greater system integration, business intelligence and cost reduction.

Speaking from the financial services sector (insurance), compliance and regulation such as Solvency 2 will become an even greater driver of our profession and the systems and audit that will be required to support this.

A few other personal predictions for 2012 and how technology might impact our profession:

– The challenge of embracing and controlling mobile computing is already with us although many organizations have yet to address this. This may be especially relevant to those finance systems managers working in practice as their customers want to use mobile computing.

– The “big data” issue – i.e. – how to store, secure and make use of the exponential increases in data collected by all our businesses

– The new trends in social computing that become normal very quickly and impact our business operations and thus our accounting ( eg – facebook, groupon, twitter, youtube, etc ). Inevitably, there will be a new “facebook” or “groupon” that will come along and be the new big thing. A lot of businesses need to monitor and join these new innovations and the finance function and systems must support this in evaluating these trends and technologies and converting these ideas into business cases with real costs and potential income streams.

Looking further ahead beyond 2012…. A few predictions?

– RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Tags) are already being deployed in the form of sensors for all sorts of things and will eventually become common – eg – sensors on car components to tell you if they are like to fail. These will find their way into all sorts of things (supermarkets, bridges, buildings, people!) and this will have a knock on effect on the back office and finance systems that support them (eg – billing, cost control, financial analysis ). Financial analysts and the systems they work with embrace this technology in evaluating trends, business opportunities and cost analysis.

– Moores law for processing power and network band width increases are generating greater opportunities for large scale data flows and data processing/data mining which could not previously be performed. This will increase as more data is collected and stored. Moores law has been criticised recently, saying that this level of increase cannot go on forever, but we have heard this sort of comment many times before and it has always proven to be wrong.

– With the development of wireless, internet, cellular telephony, TV, Radio (predicted in some quarters to merge into one wireless medium with far greater bandwidth than currently available), this may generate changes in personal and mobile computing. This may result in changes to the way invoicing and payments for goods and services are handled for most businesses. Again, the finance function and finance systems will need to support this change. Some of this has begun already (eg oyster cards).

Any other predictions? What do you see in your crystal ball?



Accountant Brentwood – Transform Accounting – The Essex Accountants

Essex Accountant

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David Cameron

“We’re not just a bunch of accountants” – David Cameron

This was the offending headline in the Daily Telegraph on the 7th May, attributed to Prime Minister David Cameron.
The result?

A storm blowing up as accountants from all over the country took offence.

The ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) were seen to tweet
“Wouldn’t any government kill to be as well thought of as accountants”?

Michael Izza, CEO of the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales) was prompted to describe the Prime Minister’s comments as “uninformed and ill judged”.
Before jumping on the bandwagon to criticize the Prime Minister, let’s just take a closer look at what he actually said in full, rather than just the newspaper headline.

“People want to know that we’re not just a bunch of accountants trying to turn round the British economy as if it were a failing economy, but that we are resolutely on their side as we do this work”

To those not familiar with the accountancy profession, there are many types of accountants with different qualifications, often performing quite different services for different types of client.
In no particular order, these range from producers of statutory financial accounts, HMRC tax returns, auditors, bookkeepers ,mergers and acquisitions, internal management accounts and other niche specialisms such as tax planning, finance systems accountants and forensic accountants.

In this particular instance, it appears clear that the Prime Minister was actually referring to “Insolvency Practitioners”, a specialist type of accountant or lawyer who assists with picking up the pieces of a business that has gone horribly wrong, hence insolvent.

Clearly the Prime Minister was trying to say that he felt his government were not acting as if they were “Insolvency Practitioners” working with a failed business (ie – the British economy) and was trying to talk up the British economy by saying that it wasn’t failing and his government were working hard to keep it that way.

This line is of course a story delivered by a politician that we have all heard on numerous occasions before, and where is the fun for the media in reporting the same story again and again? Instead, we got a sound bite gone wrong, and a good opportunity for the media to have a bit of fun setting the leader of the Conservative party against possibly one of the most conservative professions, to see how they might react. And react they did.
But would the country be better off it were run by a “bunch of accountants”?

Well, given the choice of qualified, regulated, conservative (with a small “c”) professionals, or unregulated and untrustworthy career politicians focused on the next election, just maybe we wouldn’t have got into the mess that we are in now.

In most organisations, it is the Finance Director, with his hand on the purse strings who reins in his senior colleagues when their ambitions, spending or risk taking get out of hand.

Now, wouldn’t listening to “a bunch of accountants” have been a good idea for banks and Prime Ministers alike?

Essex Accountant – Transform Accounting

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