Customer and Supplier Overpayments

Posted by Gidon on 27 February 2017

Up until now, the approach for Customer and Supplier Overpayments was to enter separate bank transactions for the invoice amount and the overpayment amount. The overpayment amount was entered as a General Receipt or Payment against a nominal ledger account. This was not ideal because the amount didn't update the Accounts Receivable/Payable account or appear in the Ageing reports or Statements.

The release of the new overpayments functionality removes the manual steps and vastly improves the reporting gap. Overpayments is now done in a single step and is correctly reflected in all relevant customer/supplier reports. The feature can also be used for Advances and Deposits where VAT is not applicable.

Overpayments can now be entered as follows:

  • Directly in banking using the new 'Overpayment' transaction type
  • Automatically in banking when entering an 'Invoice Receipt/Payment' transaction type
  • Automatically in the invoice overview screen when allocating a payment
Online Accounting overpayments

This release also includes the display of amounts available to credit against an invoice when viewing sales or purchase invoices. The credits can be allocated directly in the invoice view, greatly speeding up transaction entry.

Online Accounting overpayments

For more information, please read the Overpayment from Customer or Overpayment to Supplier help documents.

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UK VAT Flat Rate Scheme (FRS) Changes from 1 April 2017

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.

The Proposed Change

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:

  • capital expenditure

  • 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)

How will I be impacted?

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 Check 1:
Less than 2% (£200) of quarter Sales
Check 2:
Less than £1,000 p.a. (£250 per quarter)
FRS Rate
1 £360 No No 10.5%
2 £240 No  Yes 16.5%
3 £150 Yes Yes 16.5%

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.

Next Steps

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.

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Custom CSS for your online accounting invoices

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 now possible.

Online Accounting custom CSS

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.

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Accept Online Payments using Stripe

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.

  • Log in to AccountsPortal and register for a Stripe account (or link your existing Stripe account).
  • Activate Stripe for all of your relevant invoice templates.
  • Ensure that the public invoice link tag [online_invoice_link] is in the body of your invoice email.

That's it!

Customers can now pay your invoices online with the click of a button and automatically generate a bank transaction in AccountsPortal marking the invoice as paid.  

Please see the Stripe Integration help document for more information.

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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.


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

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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.


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.

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

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