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Archive for May, 2015

Mobile accounting

The time is approaching where we can run our business on our phone and tablet.

The secret to good accounting is doing it regularly so you have up to date information. Online systems and Apps make this much easier that being stuck using a desktop system.

You can check what money has come in first thing in the morning and start chasing late payers any time and from anywhere because you’ll have their contact information with you. You can invoice on the go – finish a job, take a photo and invoice with a “pay-now” option.

You can add expenses as they happen and include a photo of the invoice so it is attached to the transaction in Xero.

Here is a video from Xero, our favourite online system.

Could you use Facebook advertising?

In February this year Facebook announced that there were more than two million advertisers using the platform.

The question is; could you be missing out?

Here are some thoughts following our research:

The Facebook advertising platform is changing all the time. And, today it offers some really interesting advertising opportunities because you can be highly targeted.

A key principle of Facebook is creating audiences. You can target by demographics, attribute, interests and behaviours.

You can have a broad audience such as living in the UK, be defined by adding in other criteria like age and gender or be very narrow by adding in relationship status and interests like “reading business books”.

Examples of other filters include:

  • Education
  • Employers
  • Job titles
  • Industries
  • Financial (in the USA only)
  • Children ages
  • Online buyers

 

You can also target using connections. For example, people who “like” your page are called Facebook Fans and you can create an advert for these people only. You can also create an advert to target fans of other pages. This could be pages linked to what you do in some way or competitors.

You can also upload an email list and have your adverts appear to this list only and target people who visit your Website. This means you can start to combine Google advertising and Search Engine Optimisation with Facebook advertising.

Warning
Facebook adverting is an outbound tactic; people are not on Facebook looking for products and services, like they are with Google. So, it’s vital that your creative is good. This means making sure the image and copywriting is highly effective.

Fit for business

We all know there is a link between the mind and body. And, when we are fit we are more productive.

So, here is a list of expenses you can claim against your businesses profits for tax:

  • Medical and eye check-ups
  • Private medical cover
  • £500 rehabilitation treatment
  • Cost of a bike
  • Gym membership
  • Sports facility
  • Heathy lunches
  • Wellbeing programmes

 

Private medical cover, gym membership and wellbeing programmes create a taxable benefit for employees. But, the employer could negotiate discounted prices.

The cost of a bike can be claimed under the Cycle-to-work scheme. And, the lunches are completely tax free if you have a canteen where all employees can have free or subsidised lunches.

Another way to encourage better health (with a tax break) is to get involved in charity events, like fun runs and bike rides. If the business provides some form of advertising with sponsorship everything (including overnight stays and food) would be tax deductible and there are no benefits in kind.

Promoting the event would be providing branded clothing, featuring the event on the business’ Website, articles in the newsletter and issuing a Press Release.

Compulsory Pensions

The law on pensions has changed dramatically in 2012. Between then and 2018 every employer must:

  • Have a pension scheme
  • Automatically enrol eligible* employees
  • Contribute towards the scheme

 

*A worker is eligible if they are between 22 and the State Pension age, earn more than £10,000, have a contract of employment and work in the UK.

The new rules do not apply to owner directors and their spouses, unless they have a signed contract of employment. Even though it is not compulsory, you may want to consider setting up your own scheme because contributions from your company are tax deductible.

There are a number of options.

Work with an Independent Financial Advisor. This is likely to be the quickest and easiest option but also the most expensive. Expect to pay £2,000+.

The Pensions Regulator has published a step-by-step guide click here. We found a free online service option for employers at https://www.autoenrolment.co.uk/. There are charges for employees and I do not believe there is any advice built into the system.

Another online option, which does include built-in advice from a registered Independent Financial, is https://www.myauto-enrolment.co.uk/. At the time of writing the price is £435 plus VAT.

If you would like to talk about this or want an introduction to an Independent Financial Advisor get in touch.