Is it a hobby or am I running a business?

You might spend your time baking cakes for people or making craft items – like decorations – and selling them, but how do you know if what you are doing is just a hobby or if it is a business?

There are several indicators that HMRC have outlined for you to look at and help you to decide if you need to register as self-employed. These are guidelines only and you are responsible for deciding if it is just a hobby or not but be aware that if HMRC thinks you are actually running a business; they will contact you and you may be fined.

One of the main indicators is whether you are buying/making goods with the intention of selling them for a profit. An example would be if you are making a cake and you sell that cake for more than it cost you to make it, that is selling with the intention of making a profit.

Another key indicator is the frequency that you are making and selling the items. Did you make the cake as a one-off or are you making several cakes each week and selling them? If it is the latter, then you are doing this on a regular basis.

What about what you are charging? Have you provided a fixed cost for the cake and the person buying it has agreed to pay that price? If so, then you have actually entered into a contract with that person. This would indicate that you are trading as a business.

Are you responsible for fixing errors with the item in your own time? If you are, then HMRC will see this as another indicator that you are running a business. As you have a contract in place to provide someone with a cake for a set price, that looks a particular way or uses specific colours, if the cake looks nothing like what was expected, the person can ask that you correct the imperfections asap.

Another indicator that you are running a business is whether you are able to hire people at your own expense to help you out or do the work for you or not. If someone has asked you to bake and decorate a cake for them and it needs to be done for a certain date, but you then agree to make a cake for someone else for the same date, you may decide to pay someone to help you to meet both deadlines instead of letting either person down.

If you are still unsure whether you are running a business or it is just a hobby, you can call and speak to HMRC to get further guidance.

Watch out for our next blog post on how to register as self-employed!

(Image by rawpixel from Pixabay)

My E-mails Have Stopped Working

If your e-mails have suddenly stopped working, please follow the chart below to help you to know what to do.  Ihelm Enterprises does not provide support for third party software, but we will try to help you as much as we possibly can.

To view the flowchart in a pdf format, please click here.

AutoEntry and Receipt Bank

As a small business owner, you know how precious your time is and it is often in short supply as you try to keep on top of sales, paying invoices, networking, advertising – and all the other aspects of running your business.

Finding ways to help make your processes more streamlined and efficient can play a big part in ensuring you can run your business smoothly and with as little stress as possible.

Maybe you’ve heard AutoEntry and Receipt Bank mentioned on a business forum you belong to, or your bookkeeper or accountant have suggested using them.

In this blog I am going to explain what they are and how they can help you.

What are AutoEntry and Receipt Bank?

AutoEntry and Receipt Bank are two pieces of software that can help automate the task of entering purchase invoices and receipts data into your accounting software.

They can make the whole process of entering invoices and receipts into your accounting software more streamlined and efficient.

How can they help make it easier to run your business?

There are many benefits to using this type of software:

  • frees up your time to focus on other tasks
  • your data is stored securely in the cloud so you don’t need to store paper copies
  • less chance of you losing those small receipts as you can take photos of them while you are out and about
  • helps you to meet the Making Tax Digital requirements by attaching images of the invoices to each transaction
  • verifies the accuracy of the data.

Will AutoEntry and Receipt Bank work with my current accounting software?

You can use AutoEntry and Receipt Bank with a number of different online accounts packages including QuickBooks, Xero, Sage, Kashflow and Free Agent.

You can find a complete list of packages on their websites: AutoEntry and Receipt Bank.

How much does AutoEntry and Receipt Bank cost?

When it comes to pricing – each software works in a different way.

AutoEntry:

Uses a credit system where you pay for a set number of credits per month (any credits you don’t use are rolled over for a 3-month period).

The number of credits used for each upload depends on the features used (ie 1 credit for invoices/bills/receipts, 2 credits for line items extracted, 3 credits for bank and credit card statements – per page).

If you run out of credits you can use up to twice the number of credits for your current subscription – you are then charged at the same rate and added onto the next month’s bundle.

You can have as many users as you need at no further cost.

A free trial period is available.

Costs start from as little as £9/month for 50 credits.

Receipt Bank:

You are allowed to submit the number of items per month as your plan allows.

There is a fair usage policy where you are given a bank of the number of items for a 3-month period – if you need to submit more items one month, you aren’t charged extra as long as you don’t go over the total items allowed in that period. (For example, if you are on the plan where you get 50 items/month, you would get a bank of 150 items/3-months – if one month you submit 75 items, month 2 you submit 25, and month 3 you submit 40 – as long as you don’t go over 150 items in total you won’t pay any extra).

You are prompted to update your subscription level based on how you regularly use the system (ie if you regularly submit more items than allowed).

Single User plans (suitable for a sole trader) starts from £9.99/month for 50 items/month.

Multi-User plans start from £20/month for 50 items/month – you can have as many profiles on the multi-user plans as needed.

A free trial is available.

For work at home busineses, I recommend AutoEntry.

I use AutoEntry with several of my bookkeeping clients in conjunction with QuickBooks Online.

I have used it for uploading and entering supplier invoices into the accounts, and it made the process of entering the data into the accounts much easier and efficient.

The clients can have the app on their phones, and they can easily snap photos of parking receipts, train tickets, or refreshment receipts while they are out and about meaning they don’t lose the paperwork and it’s all uploaded to the accounting software.

By having clients send supplier invoices straight to the dedicated e-mail address provided, we’ve cut out a step in the process and made it far more streamlined.

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help make your bookkeeping processes more streamlined, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Making Tax Digital (MTD)

What is Making Tax Digital and how will it affect me?

Making Tax Digital – better known as MTD – is the Government’s plan to make it easier for individuals and businesses to know what tax they have to pay before the end of the tax year.

Eventually, all businesses regardless of size and industry will be required to submit monthly figures to HMRC.

This will need to be done on Making Tax Digital (MTD) compatible software. So, anyone still using cashbooks, Excel or desktop accounting software such as older versions of SAGE 50, will need to move onto compatible cloud-based accounting software.

How will Making Tax Digital (MTD) work?

Everyone will have their own digital tax account that they can log into and check to ensure all the information HMRC hold on them is up to date and correct. HMRC will then use this information to ensure that each person is receiving all the services they should be. The theory is that by the end of 2020, customers will be able to see all their tax liabilities and benefits in one place.

How will Making Tax Digital affect my bookkeeping?

All businesses will have to use a software that is compatible with HMRC’s MTD software to keep their accounts – like QuickBooks Online for example. The software will send the necessary information to HMRC using an API key. All transactions in a business will have to be recorded digitally as paper records will no longer be accepted as meeting the legal requirements.

When will I need to be ready for Making Tax Digital?

At this point in time, only VAT registered businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000 will need to be compliant as of April 2019 and they only need to file their VAT returns. Eventually, all businesses within the UK will be required to file all information – including self-assessments and corporation tax returns – with HMRC using MTD compliant software.

When will Making Tax Digital start?

making tax digital timeline

What should I do now?

As further information is released by HMRC we will update our clients so that they are able to be compliant in time.

Currently bookkeeping clients of Ihelm Enterprises are one step ahead as we only use QuickBooks Online to maintain accounts and the software is MTD compliant.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you with your accounts and become MTD compliant please contact us on info@ihelm-enterprises.co.uk or use the contact form.

QuickBooks Advanced Certification

QBO Advanced ProAdvisor

After I gained my ProAdvisor certification with QuickBooks Online, I wanted to do the advanced certification, but it was only offered in a classroom-based setting which unfortunately wasn’t suitable for me due to my mobility issues. There was talk of them eventually doing the training over distance learning so I was eagerly awaiting that day.

It happened by chance that I saw a post from someone on a Facebook group I use, saying that two of the QBO trainers were going to be offering the Advanced Certification through a series of webinars. I signed up to do the courses straight away and counted down the days before they would start.

The training was offered over 4 2-hour long webinars and each session had a booklet that you would need to work through. You had to complete each workbook before moving onto the next session. Before starting the webinars there was a pre-workbook to complete which was basically just getting the training company file created on the online portal. Each session covered several topics that went further than the basic training.

Session 1 covered setting up a company, the best order for importing data, importing customers and suppliers and how to deal with special accounts when setting a company up. I’ve already set up a few client accounts on QBO, but I did find this more in-depth look at the process to go through very useful and will be ensuring I follow this process for any future accounts I set up.

Session 2 covered complex banking transactions like ones you would need to deal with if you had a retail client (so till receipts for example), job costings and using sub-customers, timesheets, foreign transactions, PayPal, banking rules, and many other topics. It was quite a coincidence that just as I was learning about how to deal with retail clients that I actually signed up my first retail client! I’ve already put the template in place for dealing with Till Receipts as per the instructions from the course, and have found it extremely useful.

Session 3 focused on special VAT set-ups – so how do to do corrections, the different rates, EC sales lists, partial exemption and the Flat Rate Scheme. It also looked at period end and the various things you need to look at when closing off a set of accounts, and special company setups like charities and legal practices. The VAT section was really good and I know I will be using a lot of the tips from this for my VAT registered clients. The section on the Period End showed me a lot of tools on QBO that I didn’t know about – things like how to merge debtors/creditors/nominal accounts and how to reclassify transactions. The reclassifying tip is one I will most definitely be using with clients when we discover incorrectly coded transactions.

Session 4 was all about reports – budgets, how to customise reports, and management reporting. I am hoping I will be able to help my clients to use all of the features of QBO to their fullest. There are a lot of great reports in the software that can give you a very in-depth look at the financial position of your business and I look forward to helping my clients discover them.

At the end of the final session we were provided with information on how to access the exam. Before I requested access, I rewatched the webinars to make sure I did not miss anything. The exam was broken down into 7 sections and you were allowed to use your notes to help you. There were a couple of questions I wasn’t 100% sure on, but at the end of the 2 hours I was rewarded with a very good mark and am now an Advanced Certified ProAdvisor.

I am looking forward to putting everything I’ve learned into place so that I can help my bookkeeping clients to grow their business. I am always on the lookout for further training that I feel will be beneficial to my clients.

If you would like to contact me to discuss how I can help you with your accounts, send me an email to info@ihelm-enterprises.co.uk.

The Awards Ceremony

We needed to attend the awards ceremony which was a black-tie event held in Birmingham at the MacDonald House Hotel. I had never attended a black-tie event before so of course I started to panic about what to wear, what would it be like, would I feel out of place.

I had a dress worn to a number of events previously and I had jewellery to bling and a lovely pair of shoes, so at least I was sorted on that end. Michael even got himself some spiffy new clothes. The day before, I had my nails done by Sarah from Glamourize, and I was going to have my hair and makeup done at the hotel. I don’t think we turned out too bad!

I was really nervous about going as I didn’t really know anyone apart from talking to them on the FB Group. I was worried I wouldn’t fit in or have anyone to talk. I was so wrong! Charlotte (The Bournemouth Wrap Girl) was the first person to speak to me – she recognised me from the group and she was so lovely and friendly – it really put me at ease. The girls who did my hair (Deborah from House of Hair) and makeup (Alexandra from A.B Beauty) were absolutely fab and helped me to gain even more confidence.

There was a drinks receiption to start the evening, which was quite daunting. I tried to remain as inconspicuous as possible which is no mean feat when in a wheelchair. We went to the seating plan and discovered the theme for the night was “Superheroes”. I was pleased to see that Charlotte was sitting at the same table.

On entering the function room – all I can say is wow! The decorations, the atmosphere – it was all so amazing. There were gift bags at each table and a special sweet treat from Belles Cakery – omg the brownies were absolutely delicious!! The host for the night – Dave – kicked things off and really put everyone at ease and in the mood for fun and celebration.

Throughout the night the awards were given out between courses and everyone was encouraged to get to know each other. A young woman named Carris spoke to us about brain tumours and how the charity, The Brain Tumour Charity, doesn’t get any government funding and she hoped we would help the charity out. It was a moving talk – you could have heard a pin drop in the room.

As the time got closer to the “Against All Odds” category, I could feel butterflies in my stomach and I was really anxious. I didn’t win – the judges found it really hard to choose as all of us in the category had overcome so much – but it doesn’t matter to me because I am a finalist. It was the first business awards I had ever entered and I’m so proud of what I achieved.

The night ended with a raffle and dancing. Michael and I both won a raffle prize. We didn’t stay for the dancing as I needed to take my medication and get some sleep.

I’ve come away from the awards with some new friends and even more determination. I know my business can work – there are tons of businesses out there of all sizes that need a bookkeeper – I just need to find a way to reach out to them. There are plans for Ihelm Enterprises and I am going to work hard to put them in place. There are also other business awards out there, just waiting for people to enter them – and now I have more confidence in myself and in what I do – I will be submitting more applications.

I’m a finalist?

Finalist in the Networking Mummies UK Ltd Business Awards 2018

It’s been an interesting couple of months for me.

In March, on a whim, I decided at the last minute to enter the Networking Mummies Business Recognition Awards 2018 – I think there were about 10 minutes left before the deadline. I didn’t enter a specific category – I just filled out the nomination form with as much detail as possible. I hit “Submit” and didn’t tell anyone what I had done. I didn’t really see the point as I doubted that anything would come of it.

March 13th arrived and when I opened my e-mails I had the shock of my life – an e-mail with the subject heading “Congratulations You Are A Finalist” – jumped straight out at me, and I was shaking as I read the contents which told me I was a finalist in the “Against All Odds” category!! In the 14 years I have been in business, these were the first awards I had entered, and I was a finalist – I couldn’t believe it and I’m sure I was in shock! I remember trying to get a hold of my husband, Michael, and when he didn’t answer for the 3rd time, I messaged a good friend, Shirley, to tell her – I needed to tell someone.

Eventually, I got a hold of Michael and I know as I told him what I had done and what the e-mail said, I was shaking like a leaf and my mind was whirling. He managed to get me to focus and told me I needed to first of all sort childcare out, sort tickets, hotel etc. Thankfully a friend was able to have our daughter on the big night and from there everything just fell into place.

As a finalist, I was provided with a press release template to send out to local newspapers/radio stations etc. I spent a lot of time writing and re-writing the press release and getting help from people on the FB business groups I belong to. It was finally completed and just after Easter, I sent it out to a number of local papers and to my bookkeeping association. I had a response from the group who deals with the Lancashire Post and my bookkeeping association. There were many e-mails back and forth which resulted in a full-page spread telling my story in the Lancashire Post!!! My bookkeeping association also did an article on me – they included me in their May newsletter in their Member Profile Section. However, while I was being interviewed for the Member Profile, I was asked if I would also allow them to feature me in their Top 100 Influential Women in Bookkeeping. I admit that I ended up crying on the phone.

I don’t consider myself to be doing anything special, I am just doing what I must. Life dealt me a hand that I wasn’t expecting or prepared for and I had two choices – play it the best I could or fold and give up. Well those who know me will know that I am not a quitter so there was no way I was giving up my dreams. I have found ways to continue to run my business and to be part of my family, and I have no plans to give up anytime soon. If my story can help others see that no matter what life throws at you, you can still achieve your dreams, I will be happy.

Working for you 24/7

Over the last 11 years, Ihelm Enterprises has grown, shrunk and grown again. The level of customer service has always remained the same, as demonstrated in a testimonial we received recently.

“I have had a hosting reseller account with Ihelm Enterprises for several years now. They are always friendly and courteous if I need any help, and on the odd occasion that there has been a problem with the server they have communicated progress in a timely manner so I can pass on the details to my clients. I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone else need to buy hosting or a reseller package.” Lucy Jiwa, Jiwa Web Design

Ensuring our customers are receiving the service that they pay for is essential to our business. If our customers weren’t happy they would not recommend us to other people and the company wouldn’t grow.

Some key things to ensure our customers are pleased with our customer service are:

  • responding to e-mails as quick as possible
  • keeping customers informed if there are issues
  • giving proactive advice to customers before problems occur

If you would like to know more about our hosting services, visit our Hosting Page. If you like this post please pin it to your website hosting pinboard.

Ihelm Enterprises Customer Service

Stumbling Blocks – Bookkeeping and Websites

Every now and again I will come across a stumbling block while I am working on a client’s accounts or on fixing a problem with their website. It can be quite frustrating, but not impossible to overcome. When I get stuck on a project, I will step back from it and move onto a different project, or just take a break altogether.

I have been known at times when working on a set of accounts to stay up until the wee hours of the morning and hammer away at them until the figures balanced, but that was before I became a parent. Now, I will take a break for 20 minutes or so, and then come back to it. If I still can’t figure out what’s going on, I will put it aside until the next day, or ask my husband to have a quick look and see if he can find where I’ve gone wrong. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh pair of eyes – either your own after being rested, or another person’s – to help you find the mistake and get things corrected again.

With a website issue, it sort of follows the same pattern. I hit a wall, try a few times to hammer it down, and if it doesn’t work, I will put it to the side for a bit. When I go back to looking at the issue again, I will try to Google different phrases relating to the issue to see if I can find some helpful hints on getting past the wall. Sometimes it’s a team effort where my husband and I work on the website issues together.

Give us a shout if you need help with an accounts issue or a website issue.

Accountants in Chorley & Surrounding Areas

Are you an accountant in Chorley, Lancashire or the surrounding area? Have you got an influx of clients that require bookkeeping? If you have answered YES to either of these questions, we are here to help you!

Ihelm Enterprises has been providing bookkeeping services to small businesses and accountants for over 11 years. We work closely with all of our clients to ensure they receive a top-notch service. We have worked with local accountants to help them provide bookkeeping services to their clients. By outsourcing the day-to-day bookkeeping to us, you will free up your time to be able to provide an even better service to your customers. As their accountant, you will be able to focus on providing them with more focused tax & business advice.

We have several ways that we can get the necessary paperwork from you. It can be sent electronically via e-mail, Dropbox or secure server. We can also arrange to pick up paperwork from your office is you are in Chorley or within 6 miles.

We currently have 12 hours per month per client that we can offer to help you provide the best service possible to your clients, and so you can start growing your business.

Contact us now via our Contact Us page to find out more!