Make XERO your library for all finance related files and documents

Since XEROCON 2017 in early Autumn I have been spending a lot of time thinking about “frictionless finance”. How do we use technology to do finance related activities; better, faster and more accurately?

There is a lot of scope to add apps and set your systems and procedures up in an integrated way that will help with this but there are ways that you can work too that will also help you save time.

For me one of the best features in XERO is the ability to store an image of a purchase invoice or other documents actually with the transactional details. Not revolutionary but if used a real time saver. How often do you need to go and look for a purchase invoice, either because you want the supplier details or want to know how much “that” cost?

One question I often get asked when talking to clients about this is “Don’t  I need to keep paper copies for the taxman?” The simple answer to this is no. In the VAT section of the .gov website under record keeping guidance says:

“You can keep VAT records on paper, electronically or as part of a software programme. Records must be accurate, complete and readable.”

https://www.gov.uk/vat-record-keeping

So it seems logical that if you can copy documents and files to transactions and make them available when you need them, then why wouldn’t you?

XERO enables you to attach files to lots of different kinds of transactions such as; invoices, quotes, manual journals, accounts in your chart of accounts and stock items. You can even send attached files to customers with their invoices and you can attach the same file to many transactions.

Files or documents can be uploaded from your computer or other shared location or stored in the file library in XERO. To do this click on the little file icon next to the inbox icon on the header bar.

You can then create folders just as you would on your computer and manage your documents.

Another neat feature allows you to email documents to your file library.  You are allocated a unique email address and can create a V Card to store in your email address list. You could also share the V Card with colleagues making the process of getting emails to XERO; better, faster and more accurate!

For more information about files visit the XERO help centre by clicking on the image below.

If you want to learn more about XERO and how it can help your business please contact either myself or colleague Stephanie Smith on 01522 81 51100.


Growing Your Business – Common Pitfalls

Many people running their own business want to grow and become more profitable. Why should this be a problem you may ask? Surely everyone is in business to make a profit? Very true, however a business can grow too fast and actually fail as a result of this. Cash (or lack of it) is one of the key causes of business failure.

Growing a business may require new equipment or capital investment. Where does this cash come from? There are many funding options available that will help to ease the cash flow burden. Your accountant should be able to assist in obtaining the right funding for your business, along with helping to prepare any forecasts and projections needed to obtain it.

Securing some large contracts may seem like a really good business plan, but ……….reliance on a handful of large customers can have a negative effect on your cash flow. Larger customers can often extend the terms over which they pay, hindering your cash cycle. You will have paid your suppliers but may have to wait a further period of time to receive the income owed to you.  Do you have a sufficient overdraft facility in place to cover this?

You may currently be below the VAT threshold, but growth may mean you must become VAT registered. How do you pass this cost on if you provide products or services to the general public or not another VAT registered business? Adding 20% onto you sales may result in you becoming less competitively priced. When your business starts to grow, you should speak to your accountant to help guide you through this.

Whilst it’s perfectly natural to want your business to grow and be as profitable as possible, be cautious and seek advice before leaping into the unknown.


As You Were!

The Budget announcement, and subsequent withdrawal, regarding the increase in NI contributions for the self-employed has been a debacle. Philip Hammond was supposed to be a safe pair of hands as Chancellor of the Exchequer, but any more gaffes like this and he will earn the nickname “Butterfingers”!

Simplifying the tax system is a noble aim, and the abolition of Class 2 NIC from 6th April 2018 is a good step along this road. It seems that the Chancellor was trying to claw back
some of this lost revenue by his Class 4 NIC hike, but this was politically unacceptable. Continue reading


Budget 2017 – Payroll Changes

With the new tax year looming, the payroll year end is at the top of the list of ‘to do’ for all of us processing payrolls.  I thought it might helpful if I run through a few of the things that we need to keep in mind this month and into the next:

If you haven’t already ordered, and don’t want to waste ink, the Revenue are still providing blank P60 forms for free, just search for the online order form on HMRC.GOV.UK. Continue reading


Vanity, Sanity & Reality

I’m asked to interpret accounts a lot by clients. Either their own or somebody else’s, perhaps a competitor, customer, acquisition target or supplier. It doesn’t matter what the reason or how big or small they are, I always look at three aspects;

  1. Are they growing revenue?
  2. Are they profitable?, and
  3. Do they generate cash?

Continue reading


Choosing to incorporate? A wise decision or not?

“The number of private sector businesses that are now incorporated is on the rise. So why do people choose to incorporate? There are certain benefits relating to legalities and limitation of liability, but what are the tax and financial benefits to this?

There is often a misconception that when you are the shareholder and director of a company that all the profits belong to you. You should beware not to fall into this trap. Once incorporated, all the profits belong to the company and tax planning becomes an essential tool to extract this profit for yourself in the most tax efficient manner. Continue reading