Default Tax Rate for Specific VAT Treatments

Posted by Gidon on 06 July 2015

This change is only relevant to VAT registered organisations based in the United Kingdom and will be implemented on 11/07/2015. It impacts the use of the following VAT Treatments (all of which do not allow the use of Tax Rates greater than 0%):

·  Sales of Goods to Customer outside EU

·  Purchase of Goods from EU Supplier

·  Purchase of Services from EU Supplier

·  Purchase of Services from Supplier outside EU

Previously, there was no specific Tax Rate defaulting when one of these treatments was used in an Invoice or Bank Transaction. This resulted in Exempt Expense usually being selected as the next available option. 

As of 11/07/2015, whenever one of these VAT Treatments is used, the default Tax Rate will be No VAT unless the default is taken from a Bank Import Rule or Product setting. The motivation for this change is that the use of No VAT results the more commonly required outcomes defined in the help document VAT UK – Box by Box.

Defaut Tax Rate


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Display of Accounting Partner

Posted by Jon Behr on 04 July 2015

If your subscription is associated with one of our Accounting Partners (your organisation was initially set up by your accountant), the accountant’s details will now be displayed in the top right hand side of the screen just below your login information. Please keep in mind that Accounting Partners have full access to your organisation’s financial information.


If you no longer use the services of the accountant, please notify us and we can remove their access accordingly. This is not to be confused with accountants that you may have given access by inviting them to be users from within the Settings of your organisation. You can remove user access in such cases as per the help document on User Permissions.


Online Accounting Partners


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Lock Date for Transactions

Posted by AccountsPortal Gidon on 23 March 2015

You can now lock your accounts in AccountsPortal, which will prevent you (or anyone else) from entering any transactions up to a specific date. For example, you may wish to lock your accounts after you have prepared your Annual Financial Statements at the end of the year, or after each VAT report.

Adding or modifying the lock date

To lock your accounts, navigate to your company's Financial Settings and adjust the Lock Date field. You can manually set this to any date that you wish, and as often as you wish.

Once the changes have been saved, then you will not be able to create or edit any transactions with a date on or before the Lock Date.

Changing the lock date

To change your lock date, update the date displayed in the ‘Lock Date’ field and select ‘Save’.

Removing the lock date

You can remove all locks by removing the contents of the lock date field. This will allow transactions to be saved with any date.

Automatically updating the lock date

You can optionally choose to have the lock date automatically updated. If you enable the Auto Lock Date option, then the Lock Date will be automatically set to the End Date of when a VAT/GST/Tax report is saved. Note that if the End Date of the tax report is earlier than the current Lock Date, then the Lock Date will not be updated.



Accounting Lock Date

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Accounting for VAT on Digital Services to EU Customers

Posted by AccountsPortal Gidon on 09 February 2015

With effect from 1 January 2015, the EU introduced new rules affecting the VAT place of supply for sales of digital services (or eServices) from a business to a consumer. The place of taxation is now determined by the location of the consumer.

Where digital services are supplied on a business to consumer basis, the supplier is responsible for accounting for VAT on the supply to the tax authority at the VAT rate applicable in the consumer’s EU member state. For example, if your company is located in the UK, then this means that a customer who lives in France will need to be charged VAT at the French rate instead of the UK rate.

Scope

The new rules only apply where a business meets all of the following criteria:

  • supplies digital services to a EU member state (goods and non-digital services sold over the internet are not within scope)
  • supplies those services to a private consumer in the EU member state
  • charges for that supply (digital services provided free of charge are outside the scope of VAT)

Businesses outside the EU (for example, the USA) that supply digital services to consumers in one or more EU member state are also affected by the changes.

What transactions are covered by the changes?

Only sales to 'consumers' are affected by these changes. Business to business transactions are not affected by these changes - the EU defines a business to business transaction as one where the purchasing business has provided a VAT registration number to the seller. You can also accept other evidence, for example, a link to the customer's website or other commercial documents. If you accept that your customer is in business, then the supply does not fall under the scope of these regulations. Everything else should be treated as 'business to consumer' and is covered by these changes.

What are eServices?

An 'eService' is one that is delivered over the Internet (or an electronic network which is reliant on the Internet or similar network for its provision) and is heavily dependent on information technology for its supply - i.e. the service is essentially automated, involving minimal human intervention and in the absence of information technology does not have viability. The definition of electronically supplied services, transcribed from Annex 11 to the 2006 VAT Directive is contained in Section 2 of the VAT Consolidation Act 2010 as follows;

"electronically supplied services" includes -

  • website supply, web-hosting, distance maintenance of programmes and equipment,
  • supply of software and updating of it,
  • supply of images, text and information, and making databases available,
  • supply of music, films and games (including games of chance and gambling games) and of political, cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific and entertainment broadcasts and events, and
  • supply of distance teaching,

VAT reporting options

Some digital platforms or marketplaces take on the responsibility of accounting for the VAT on EU Digital Sales. If you do not use of one of these platforms, then you must make one of the following choices:

  • Use a VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VAT MOSS)
  • register for VAT in every EU member state where you make digital supplies to consumers.

Accounting for Digital Services in AccountsPortal

In order to correctly account for Digital Services transactions in AccountsPortal, you must first create a a new Tax Rate for each country that you are (or intending to) make EU Digital Sales to. Once you have done this, you will be able to use these tax rates in your transactions, where appropriate. You can also create a Digital Services report across any time period, so that you can easily create VAT MOSS reports.

Further Information

You should carefully follow the appropriate regulations in your country to ensure that you are meeting the requirements. If you are based in the UK, then the relevant documentation can be found on HMRC's website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-supplying-digital-services-to-private-consumers/vat-businesses-supplying-digital-services-to-private-consumers

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Social Media For Small Businesses

Posted by AccountsPortal Tracy on 24 November 2014

For small businesses, effective online activity these days is becoming more and more important, whether it's web design and SEO, finding free online accounting software or using Twitter, Facebook and the like to build your brand and connect with potential customers. In this post we'll examine how to use social media to grow your business.

Feedback

One of the biggest advantages of social media is that you're able to receive constant feedback about your products, services and online presence. It's important to start by checking that you're reaching the right audience.

You also need to ensure that, having connected with the relevant demographic, you listen to what they're telling you. Social media is - or should be - a two-way street. It's important not to fall into the trap of using, say, Twitter as just a method of issuing pronouncements about your business.

Networking

Both Twitter and Facebook can be excellent vehicles for networking with other professionals and companies, as well as communicating with your customers. LinkedIn tends to be seen by other professionals as the most important networking site, but don't neglect other social media as a valid way of connecting with potential business partners.

Building Trust

Perhaps the most important aspect of social media for small businesses is the ability it gives you to build trust. If you're Googled by a potential customer - or business contact - and they're taken to a well-thought-out Facebook or Twitter account with clear communication between you and your existing contacts, you're already ahead!

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Government Grants For Small Businesses

Posted by AccountsPortal Gidon on 03 November 2014

In the early days of your business, there's a variety of ways of raising money available as you try and get your venture off the ground. These include the sale of shares, whether to people you know or outside investors; bank loans, and government finance schemes.

600 Initiatives

The UK government runs a variety of schemes aimed at small businesses, including grants, loans and support that can include mentoring. Some are regional, and some are aimed at certain age groups, while others are open to all. When you're considering ways of developing your business idea, it's definitely worth looking at the range of government-backed initiatives; there are currently over 600 different schemes available.

The "Start Up Loans" scheme, for example, is available to anyone in the UK over 18 and offers both relatively cheap loans and mentoring for new entrepreneurs. Loans must be paid back inside 5 years, though it's often possible to take payment holidays on the capital you've borrowed.

Regional Plans

Other schemes can help you to navigate your way through the technology available to modern businesses. "Connected" is a Northern Ireland-based service offering support to businesses with up to 249 employees, while Caerphilly's "Go2" assists local businesses with online issues, whether they're website startups or choosing online accounting software.

In London, small businesses that have been operating for at least a year can apply for unsecured loans of between £2000 and £20,000 via the Fair Business Loans scheme. These are particularly useful for companies that, not unusually these days, have found it difficult to raise money through traditional routes.

The list of government grants available is frequently revised. You can keep an eye on the latest ideas at https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support-finder

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Setting Small Business goals

Posted by AccountsPortal Tracy on 11 August 2014

5 Steps to Setting Small Business Goals

Setting small business goals provides the opportunity to identify the right path for your small business and make achieving your ultimate objectives far more possible.

STEP 1: Re-evaluate your USP

Your business may well have changed since you first started, so is your USP still the same? Are you offering customers something unique that they can't get elsewhere? If you've let this slip, now is the same to refocus on what you have to offer.

STEP 2: Look at the Possibilities

Once you have your USP worked out, analyse your business and take a look at what opportunities are out there as well as the threats from your competitors.

It may be a good idea to jot down all your ideas on a piece of paper or start mind mapping and making lists to draw out all those hidden gems that are going to be so helpful along the way. Make a list of all the items that you need to have in place to attain your goals, whether it be sufficient funds, the right people to help, office space or IT equipment and software.

STEP 3: One Step at a Time

Take one idea at a time and start to make them more tangible.

Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) objectives to flesh out your ideas and give them more shape. Evaluate each idea on its own and as part of the larger picture.

STEP 4: Create the Plan

Identify the order in which you want to achieve each objective and set a timeframe for success.

STEP 5: Track everything

Keep track of each goal, and constantly measure your performance.

You might not achieve all of your objectives or you might miss the deadline for some. Learn from your mistakes so that you are constantly improving and learning.

Focus on what you have to do today, always keeping in mind the bigger picture. Stay flexible too - no plan is hewn in stone. Opportunities change, goals change, businesses evolve. Those who are willing to embrace change often have an easier ride, so learn to adapt and constantly reassess your small business goals.

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Effective Credit Control

Posted by AccountsPortal Gidon on 04 August 2014

Effective credit control is essential to maintaining a healthy business both in the short and long term. And there are many simple ways to ensure your credit control contributes to business success.

Set a Credit Management Policy

Laying down your credit management policy in writing and ensuring all staff understand and work to it, is the easiest way to avoid many of the trappings of credit.

Consider the level of profitability you need to generate from your business and how this is going to relate to the level of debt you are able to take on. Those with lower gross margins will need to keep a much keener eye on credit control for each individual client, whereas those with much higher profit levels can be more flexible when it comes to lines of credit.

Implement a Comprehensive Monitoring System

Make sure you are confident that you have the systems in place to monitor your lines of credit, in and out of the business, and take the necessary action when things do not go to plan.

Making use of reporting functionality in accounting software will allow you to determine when your credit control does not meet your set targets, giving you the greatest opportunity to turn the situation around before it starts to impact on overall business performance.

Ensure that your invoicing is timely and accurate and that each customer is repaying on time and to date, with a clear understanding of what the implications will be for late payers.

Keep it simple

Don't get over-burdened with too much data. With precise and concise information, the overall picture will be a lot clearer to see, and allow for appropriate action to be taken.

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Getting Paid Faster

Posted by AccountsPortal Tracy on 29 July 2014

Effective credit control is essential to maintaining a healthy business both in the short and long term. And there are many simple ways to ensure your credit control contributes to business success.

Set a Credit Management Policy

Laying down your credit management policy in writing and ensuring all staff understand and work to it, is the easiest way to avoid many of the trappings of credit.

Consider the level of profitability you need to generate from your business and how this is going to relate to the level of debt you are able to take on. Those with lower gross margins will need to keep a much keener eye on credit control for each individual client, whereas those with much higher profit levels can be more flexible when it comes to lines of credit.

Implement a Comprehensive Monitoring System

Make sure you are confident that you have the systems in place to monitor your lines of credit, in and out of the business, and take the necessary action when things do not go to plan.

The best online accounting software will provide flags when credit control does not meet your set targets, giving you the greatest opportunity to turn the situation around before it starts to impact on overall business performance.

Ensure invoicing is timely and accurate and that each customer is repaying on time and to date, with a clear understanding of what the implications will be for late payers.

With precise and concise information, the overall picture will be a lot clearer to see, so make sure that you don't get weighed down by too much data.

Make it easy for your customers to pay

Your customers will pay you faster if you provide them with simple and easy ways to pay. For example, you can ensure that your bank account details are always visible or, preferably, integrate payment mechanisms such as paypal or credit/debit card payment into your online invoicing.

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How to Register for VAT

Posted by AccountsPortal Gidon on 21 July 2014

There are 2 main ways to register for VAT in the UK; Online or via the Post.

Applying online makes the process quicker, easier and more secure; and applying in this way also makes you eligible to submit your VAT returns via the web.

How to Register for VAT Online

Before using any of the HMRC online services, you will need to create a Government Gateway account. Bear in mind that a separate account is required for each business you wish to register. Once your username and password has been confirmed, you simply complete the VAT registration via the HMRC website and your application is processed.

When to Use a Paper Application for VAT Registration

There are certain circumstances when a company is not eligible for online VAT registration, and you will have to send your application via the post. This is primarily for companies who:

  • Want to apply for exemption from paying VAT once the compulsory registration level, (currently set at £70,000 in any given 12 month period) has been reached.
  • Have a business based inside the EU but ‘distance sells’ to the UK or acquires goods from the EU above the minimum registration level.
  • Are involved in the disposal of assets used to support an 8th or 13th Directive refunds.
  • Want to register any business unit or division for VAT separately.
  • Are eligible for the Agricultural Flat Scheme.

In these cases, contact HMRC directly and the relevant forms will be sent to you for completion.

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