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Survive the Recession With Better Bookkeeping
2008-10-05 23:43:20

With the credit crunch hitting hard, business people need more than ever to keep a close eye on their finances. There may be no hope for Excel Airways or US banking giant Lehman Brothers, but many struggling small businesses and sole traders could still survive the oncoming recession ? all they need is some good business sense and top quality bookkeeping. Now that the credit crunch is really digging its heels in, there?s no doubt that things are going to get worse before they get better for the majority of British businesspeople. Recent forecasts warn of a winter recession, while a survey of British workers revealed that many are now experiencing sleepless nights over financial concerns. Whilst lack of sleep may not be an effective way of safeguarding your livelihood, it is also a very bad idea for business people to ignore the problems they are facing. For those who are struggling in the current economic climate, the most important thing is to monitor the progress of their business with effective bookkeeping and to react swiftly to any warning signs. Here are five reasons why small businesses need to put even more emphasis on bookkeeping during the recession: 1. Monitor and Control Expenses Now more than ever, it is important to watch the level of expenditure and not to let it get out of control. Regular accounting will tell you how your expenses are running when compared to your targets, and will also allow you to compare monthly income against monthly expenditure. 2. Save Time and Money Talking of levels of expenditure, the cost of an accountant to prepare your Annual Accounts and Tax Returns is based upon the time it takes to do the work. It follows, therefore, that if you can reduce the accountant's time by doing much of the work yourself, you will reduce the fee. If you do all the basic bookkeeping and present to an accountant simply an annual summary asking just for your Self Assessment Tax Return to be completed, you will have saved the accountant a lot of time, and yourself a lot of money. A time-saving self assessment software can be a wise investment. 3. Claiming Expenses against Tax UK tax regulations provide for expense claims to be allowed for monies spent in the normal course of business. Many people who work from home are self-employed. These two areas give rise to a wide range of legitimate expense claims where expenditure previously classed as 'private' now become 'business' and, as such, will greatly alter the level of profit and tax payable. However, without a proper set of accounts and records, such expenses cannot readily be quantified, and certainly cannot be substantiated if req?uired at a later date. 4. Getting an Initial Tax Refund Many self-employed people start work on a part-time basis while still maintaining a full-time job elsewhere. Almost inevitably this 'day job' will be taxed under the rules of PAYE. Often the first year or so of self-employment will result in an excess of expenditure over income termed a 'tax loss'. At the end of every tax year, all income is pooled from whatever source and the total tax bill recalculated. By bringing in a tax loss and setting this off against tax already paid, a tax repayment not only pays the accountant's bill, but also is a way of recovering part of the initial investment into the business. Remember, however, without any accounts you cannot calculate the 'tax loss', and you will miss out on the self employed tax repayment. 5. Borrowing Requirements From time to time, and potentially during an economic downturn, the need to borrow will arise. It may be a new mortgage or money for the business but, in all cases, the lender will want to know the levels of income and profit to support the loan. No accounts = no evidence = no loan!

Source: Survive the Recession With Better Bookkeeping


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