Mythbusting

My (not so) little boy has recently got into watching Mythbusters on TV and it got me thinking about some accounting and bookkeeping myths that I thought I’d tackle (not in the same way as the TV program if you’ve seen it!).

Myth – You can put all your food & drink through as an expense
HMRC disagree with this, as they see food and drink as something you need to live (understandably!) so you can’t claim it as an expense. What is allowed is the cost of basic food & drink for your staff, including free meals at a canteen, as long as they’re available to all – this doesn’t apply if you are the only employee/director. When you’re travelling for work you can claim for food & drink, including overnight stays. If you’re travelling to a temporary workplace then you can claim, such as a temporary work site or a meeting.

Myth – You can claim for your clothes you where for work
This one isn’t as clear to bust, as you can claim for a uniform you purchase and any clothing that features the company logo. PPE is also an allowable expense, but that nice pair of shoes you’ve brought yourself are not going to be justifiable!

Myth – Having your books done by a bookkeeper/accountant is expensive
I’d love to say that this myth is busted but it’s actually down to personal opinion – we certainly don’t believe it’s expensive, especially if it’s freeing up your time to expand your business and do what you do best (or just to give you your weekend back to spend with your family) – it’s essentially the same as any business expense, if you feel the service is worth the cost then it’s worth it!

Myth – Dividends are classed as an expense
A lot of people seem to think that dividends are taken out of the profit before corporation tax is paid like an expense would be but this is incorrect, they are drawn on the profit after it has been taxed.

Myth – VAT should only be registered for when you have to
The final myth is a bit of a trickier one, as it varies from business to business, there’s no one size fits all answer. One major concern will be the effect it will have on your customers – if they are other businesses already registered for VAT then although they’d physically (well probably not actually in this day & age) give you more money they’d be claiming the VAT back so it won’t change for them. If you’ve non VAT registered companies or the general public then they would feel the effect of the increase if you just add VAT to your prices so it would then be up to you to decide if you were going to swallow some or all of that increase. So the myth isn’t busted but isn’t confirmed either!  

Is there any you’d like to add? Email us and let us know and we’d be happy to do a second myth busting!

Team Update

Over the last few months we’ve had a few changes within the team at PBATS, here’s a quick round up of all the changes! 

James joined the team at the start of June, working on the accounts side of the business. He’s MAAT qualified with a background in Not for Profit accounts and will be working with Martin day to day. 

Charlotte has changed roles, now in the role of Accounts Junior. She’s working towards her AAT level 2 qualification while developing her bookkeeping knowledge.

Finally we’ve had Becky join the team as an Admin Assistant – yes, this could cause some confusion having a Becky & a Rebecca but we’re coping so far! 

Martin, Susan and myself are all still here in the same roles as before. 

The most important thing for our clients is that these changes will result in a better service for you, with more knowledge in the team and increased capacity to ensure we’re always here to support you and your business, your points of contact are remaining the same so no changes there!

What does this mean? – A guide to accounting jargon

One of the things that we pride ourselves on at PBATS is not following the  stereotypes of the industry, not just the stuffy suits but also avoiding using loads of jargon. However, sometimes we just can’t avoid a little jargon, so we’ve made this handy guide to help you out when you’re not sure what we mean!

  • Assets – These are things you own, not just physical things like your computers and equipment, but also your money in your bank.
  • Liabilities – These are what you owe, the bills outstanding that you need to pay.
  • Debtor – Someone who owes you money.
  • Creditor – Someone you owe money to.
  • Debtor days – How long it takes to be paid.
  • Prepayment – Something you’ve paid for that you’ve not yet received in full, such as an insurance policy, which may span more than one financial period.
  • Cost of goods sold – The total of your expenses for making your goods you’ve sold.
  • Overheads – Regular monthly costs such as rent & utilities.
  • Net profit – Your sales less all of of your business costs.
  • Gross profit – Your sales less your cost of goods sold.
  • Turnover – The total of all your income from sales & services sold.
  • Stock turnover – How long stock will take to sell
  • Break even point – The point at where your sales cover the cost of your expenses (so future sales would be profit).
  • Cash Flow – The money that is going in and out of your business account(s), income from invoices & outgoings for paying bills. A cash flow forecast will predict how your cash flow will be based on past information in your books and known future information (such as upcoming jobs or sales), predicting any potential issues you may have when funds get low. 
  • Accrual – This is a charge for work that has been done but not yet invoiced, such as if you pay for your annual accounts monthly in advance of them being done, for which provision is made at the end of a financial period.
  • Balance Sheet – A report that shows the value of your assets plus everything you need to pay out – this should be a positive figure, if it’s negative then we can help look at how to improve your finances.
  • Management Accounts – A series of reports produced regularly, usually monthly or quarterly, showing profit & loss and other useful financial information for the company, produced to suit your company and help you get useful information out of your books.

If there’s anything else you think should be on here please let us know!