Posted by Gidon on 01 February 2017
As part of the Autumn Statement released on 23rd November 2016, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that there would be changes to the VAT flat rate scheme (FRS) effective 1st April 2017. A policy paper was published on the 5th December 2016 to coincide with an 8 week consultation period whereby businesses would be given an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes.
The changes are being introduced to remove what the HRMC see as ‘unfair’ advantages that some small businesses enjoy when using the FRS.
Currently the flat rate percentage used by a business is determined by their trade sector. Going forward, however, HMRC intends to introduce a new cross-sector rate (set at 16.5%) for businesses deemed to have limited costs, otherwise known as ‘limited cost traders’.
A limited cost trader will be defined as one whose VAT inclusive expenditure on goods is either:
less than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover in a prescribed accounting period; or
greater than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover but less than £1000 per annum if the prescribed accounting period is one year (or pro-rated for periods less than one year)
Goods, for the purposes of this measure, must be used exclusively for the purpose of the business but exclude the following items:
food or drink for consumption by the flat rate business or its employees
vehicles, vehicle parts and fuel (except where the business is one that carries out transport services - for example a taxi business - and uses its own or a leased vehicle to carry out those services)
If you fail the tests above, it is likely that your VAT liability each period will increase. The policy paper states that an online tool will be made available to enable current and prospective FRS users to determine whether they must use the new rate. The added administration burden is that businesses are expected to review that they are using the correct rate at the time each VAT return is completed; i.e. on a period by period basis.
In essence, the policy aims to remove most service orientated companies (such as freelancers, consultants, etc) from being able to benefit from the Flat Rate Scheme. If your business provides services, rather than goods, then it is highly likely that you will fail the relevant tests.
It therefore makes sense that all businesses using the FRS review their position before April 2017 to ensure that there are still advantages to using the scheme.
ABC Ltd, a Computer repair services company, currently uses the 10.5% sector rate when calculating FRS VAT. For the VAT quarter ending 30 June 2017, they have VAT inclusive sales of £10,000. Based on the ‘limited cost trader’ test, the flat rate they should apply to their sales be determined as follows:
|Scenario||Goods Spend in quarter||
Less than 2% (£200) of quarter Sales
Less than £1,000 p.a. (£250 per quarter)
In the first scenario, the business exceeds both tests (i.e. the purchase of goods exceeds 2% of the quarter's sales and is more than the £250 quarterly threshold) and can accordingly use the 10.5 Flat Rate. However, in the second scenario, the business only spends £240, which is less than the £250 quarterly threshold, and must therefore use the 16.5% rate. Lastly, in the third scenario, the business fails both checks, and must use the 16.5% rate.
With sales of £10,000, the business can only apply the 10.5% rate once their spend on goods (including VAT) has passed £250 for the quarter. Below this amount and they will fail both checks.
AccountsPortal will be monitoring the results announced at the end of the consultation period. We will endeavour to incorporate the changes into our FRS feature and will notify users as soon as we have more information.
Posted by Jon on 12 November 2016
You can now take our great invoice templates and give them your own makeover - styling the CSS of invoices, credit notes and purchase/sales orders is
This gives you the ability to completely change the colours and style of your online invoices, and make adjustments to the layout. We're excited to see what kind of designs you can come up with! You'll need some experience in HTML and CSS - head over to our Customise CSS help document for more information.
Posted by AccountsPortal Jon on 16 January 2016
Stripe is one of the leading online payment providers and has shaken up the market with its seamless integration and highly competitive rates. The pricing model varies from country to country but in the UK, for example, charges are as low as 1.4% + 20p per transaction. This makes Stripe a great option for just about any business or individual looking to accept online payments and keep the associated costs as low as possible.
We are very excited to announce that you can now accept payments through Stripe directly from your AccountsPortal online invoices. This means that you can now get paid even faster, thereby improving your cashflow and have all the information automatically reconciled in your online accounting software.
The entire setup only takes a few minutes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To change your lock date, update the date displayed in the ‘Lock Date’ field and select ‘Save’.
You can remove all locks by removing the contents of the lock date field. This will allow transactions to be saved with any 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.
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.
The new rules only apply where a business meets all of the following criteria:
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.
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.
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 -
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.