You have recently started your own business or are thinking of doing so. While you feel very comfortable doing work for your clients, the business side of it – and in particular finance and accountancy – sends shivers down your spine.
Self employed finances have their challenges but here are four tips to help you be in control.
Step 1: Be aware of what being self-employed really means
Set aside at least an hour to read through the basics of what it means to be self-employed. The information of this link https://www.gov.uk/working-for-yourself is updated regularly and is written in an easy to understand language.
Step 2: Mark important dates in your calendar
When you are very busy with clients you need reminders of important deadlines. This is especially important when there is a fine attached to not observing them.
Don’t forget to record in your calendar when your tax returns are due and schedule time in advance of the deadline to work on the documentation and with your accountant. If you’re registered for VAT, remember that returns are filed after the end of each calendar quarter.
If you have set up a company, Companies House can tell you when it’s time to file your annual return and company accounts if you register for their reminder service. Follow this link for more information https://www.gov.uk/government/news/email-reminders-help-companies-file-on-time.
Step 3: Use an app to help you
Apps we find particularly helpful are the ones that allow you to keep an electronic copy of your invoices and automatically record it on a list of expenses. Even if you have an accountant, it will be useful to make sure you have all the expenses and income receipts accounted for. If you make it a habit to note money in and out throughout the year (say weekly or monthly), doing your tax return will be a much easier job. HMRC provides links to some relevant apps here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/softwaredevelopers/mobile-apps/record-keeping.htm
Step 4: Join our course
We have developed a course on Practical Record Keeping for the self-employed. You may just be starting out but it is common sense to put the best foot forward and create an efficient basic structure from the beginning, so you can focus then on growing, not on admin!
Small Business Finance courses include cash-flow management; key financial implications of different types of incorporation or acting as sole trader and managing personal finance, particularly investing and pension contributions. If you’re unsure where to start, then start with our Small Business Pilot which covers a little bit of everything and should help highlight areas you’d like to explore further.