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Why Are We Regulated | Regulated Accountants Bristol | Importance of Accountancy Regulation
Why are we regulated? 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Why are we regulated?

Did you know that not all accountancy firms are not created equal?

It’s perfectly reasonable for you to assume that your accountancy firm holds at the very least the appropriate qualifications and perhaps is regulated by a professional body, but this is not always the case. Remarkably, there is nothing to prevent anyone from setting up an accountancy practice, even if they hold no qualifications or insurance.

However, by employing a firm that is a member of a regulatory body, you can be assured that the company that you are dealing with are qualified and held to high standards both ethically and in the quality of the advice that they provide. Member firms will be monitored proactively to ensure that they comply with all appropriate regulations and standards. Education and continuous development are also often a requirement of being a member of a professional body as is abiding by a code of ethics and professional standards.

The systems and procedures put in place by the regulatory body can provide peace of mind to anyone using a firm that is registered with them and will also provide a framework should the need to complain arise. These firms must also hold a minimum level of professional indemnity insurance, providing peace of mind for clients should the worst happen.

So, to ensure that you can fully rely on your accountant, check that they are registered with a regulatory body which will provide you with peace of mind that the advice that they are providing is appropriate, ethical, accurate and up to date.

Naturally, here at Stepping Stones we are all appropriately qualified and insured and to help demonstrate this we are licenced with AAT (license number 1001767). Also we have an ACCA qualified accountant and 2 others who are currently in training.

If you have any questions or need some accountancy help, please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk. You can also book a free 30 minute call with Yarka – https://calendly.com/yarka-ssa/30min

Bookkeeping and why to do it regularly | Bookkeeping Bristol | Help with Bookkeeping
Bookkeeping and why to do it regularly 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Bookkeeping and why to do it regularly

Whilst the words bookkeeping, spreadsheets and accountancy software can fill you with dread and the thought of inputting all that data and ensuring that it all adds up can be overwhelming, a little planning can make the whole process much more manageable.

By allocating your bank transactions on a regular basis you can save yourself a huge headache at the end of the year. Not only will it seem less daunting, but it can also provide you with many other benefits:

  • It delivers an accurate picture of how your business is doing.
  • By completing it whilst transactions are fresh in your mind, it can provide up to date profit reports.
  • It lessens the delay of completing tax returns and year end accounts.
  • Little and often is key. It will take much longer to complete if it is only done every 6 months or worse, once a year.
  • What takes longer, costs more!

If you are struggling with sticking to a regular bookkeeping routine, ask your accountant, they will be very happy to help.

Alternatively if you are looking for a new accountant we would be delighted to offer our support. Please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk. You can also book a free 30 minute call with Yarka – https://calendly.com/yarka-ssa/30min

Implementing a monthly accountancy routine 150 150 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Implementing a monthly accountancy routine

This animated video explores the benefits of why a business or sole trader should immediately implement a monthly accountancy routine

Introducing the Stepping Stones team 150 150 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Introducing the Stepping Stones team

We thought it was time that we introduced you all to the Stepping Stones Accountancy team.

New Plastic Tax | Advice on Plastic Tax | What is the new Plastic Tax
New Plastic Tax 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

New Plastic Tax

From 1st April 2022 a new plastic tax will come into force that will be chargeable at a rate of £200 per tonne.

For companies who manufacture or import plastic, it is vital to be familiar with the regulations so that the potential impact can be established and planned for.

The definition of plastic for the purposes of this new tax is, “a polymer material to which additives or substances may have been added and does not include cellulose-based polymers which have not been chemically modified” (Gov.uk)

Where plastic is composed of multiple materials, it will still be taxed if it contains more plastic by weight than any other component. Where packaging contains 30% or more recycled plastic it is not liable for the tax.

Under the new rules it will be important to keep detailed records to be able to demonstrate the composition of your packaging and the amount in order to monitor the 10-tonne limit for either plastic manufacture or import within any 12-month period.

The two types of plastic packaging that will be subject to the tax are those used in the supply chain such as food trays, film around raw meat and yoghurt pots and those that are intended for single use by the consumer such as carrier bags, gift wrapping components such as Sellotape and disposable tableware.

If you need any help understanding or planning for the changes, please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

What Happens Behind The Closed Doors Of An Accountancy Practice | Why Use An Accountant | Accountant in Bristol
What happens behind the closed doors of an accountancy practice 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

What happens behind the closed doors of an accountancy practice

Most businesses only think about hiring an accountant once a year when it is time to complete their tax return and they’re struggling. But an accountant can add so much more value to your business. Naturally, they can help with your tax return, but their knowledge and skills can be a true asset to your business if you work with them throughout the year.

Here are our 6 jam packed points you may have not known about.

ONE – Accountants have a license to practice and that doesn’t happen over night. Years of studying is behind it. They have to prove they have the correct qualifications, are committed to programme of continual learning and have completed an anti-money laundering course. Vitally important is the professional development, which helps when HMRC/Government makes announcements. Accountants do NOT even get a month notice from the government about changes so they must be prepared for when the change actually happens.

TWO – Accountants have a plethora of tools designed to accurately record and process data along with making it readily available and easy to access for all customers. This makes analysis much more simplified and saves customers a huge amount of time when providing all relevant data.

THREE – Communications are streamlined thanks to the use of systems such as QuickBooks, Receipt Bank, Sage or Xero. Both the client and the accountant can feed data directly into these systems. They can also be automatically updated with all necessary changes implemented by the Government. Of course, these systems are also 100% compliant to all GDPR requirements.

FOUR – Time is being saved by an accountant completing a tax return. By completing your own tax return your focus is taken away from your day job meaning a loss of revenue. It could cost just £300 for an accountant to complete a tax return, in reality it could be double or triple that with the time a solopreneur takes to complete a return and therefore loosing revenue as their focus is away from their day-to-day business.

FIVE – An accountant knows exactly what is required for a tax return, they will look at many areas that individuals just wouldn’t event consider such as allowable expenses & claiming for working from home/mileage/telephone, profit from equipment sales, donations to charity, VAT charges, tax planning and pension contributions…

SIX – Finally an accountant will also ensure you know exactly what is happening. They will keep you up to date with reminders, e-mails and when payments need to be made. Alongside this they are also available to answer any questions or offer guidance as and when you need it.

Remember YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW – that is when we come into the picture.

If you have any questions or need help with a tax return, please call us on 01173 700 079 or email hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

Christmas Shutdown | Merry Christmas | Stepping Stones Accountancy
Christmas Shutdown 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Christmas Shutdown

As we draw to a close on a very unusual year, the team at Stepping Stones would like to wish everybody a very Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year. We thank you for your support this year and look forward to working with you again in 2021.

Our offices will be closed from Thursday 24th December until Monday 4th January. However, should you need something during the festive period please feel free to e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk and a member of our team will be in contact as soon as possible.

Managing Cashflow 150 150 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Managing Cashflow

In our latest animated video we show how with a little bit of help from your accountant and a cashflow forecast report, you can budget for new equipment that is needed in your business.

Trivial Benefits Rule | Tax Efficiency at Christmas | Tax Free Gifts for Employees
Trivial Benefits at Christmas 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Trivial Benefits at Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, many companies are starting to plan for the festivities. With parties, presents and puddings to look forward to, don’t forget that there are some tax efficient ways to help with the cost!

The Trivial Benefits Rule allows employers to spend up to £50 on gifts for their employees completely tax and NI free. There are a few straight forward criteria that must be met though, such as the gift must cost £50 or less, it must not be cash or a cash voucher and shouldn’t be a reward for their performance over the last 12 months. The rule also applies to single director companies, though there is a cap of £300. However, it is still possible to buy a gift card of £50 as a Christmas present for their only director. So, whether it’s a bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates or even a meal out, don’t forget to factor this in to your Christmas budget.

Without this exemption, any gift would need to be reported on a P11d and mean that the employee would pay tax and the employer would need to pay National Insurance on the value of the gift.

If you are in any doubt please speak with your local Accountant to discuss your specific circumstances or alternatively visit the GOV.UK website.

So, take advantage of this useful benefit and make Christmas a little jollier this year, your staff will certainly thank you for it!

Cloud Accounting | Benefits of Cloud Accounting Solutions | Accountancy Advice in Bristol
The Advantages of Using a Cloud Accounting Package 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

The Advantages of Using a Cloud Accounting Package

Accounting packages have come a long way in recent years. No longer do you need to install software on one computer in the office, restricting who can use it and when. No longer do you need to put up with expensive packages with high support and upgrade costs. Cloud accounting packages are the way forward and if you’re not sure why you should use one, then this article should help you understand how it works and what a difference it would make to your business.

  • Cloud based software allows you to access your up to date business information anytime, anywhere. Whether you need to check your latest cash flow forecast, your latest invoices or indeed any outstanding debtors. Cloud accountancy packages provide the relevant information at the touch of a button.
  • Using up to date information, which is easy to retrieve and presented in an easy to understand format enables you to make informed business decisions about the financial future of your company.
  • Cloud based software makes it easy to become a paperless office. With documents easily stored and retrieved online, keeping your paperwork in order has never been easier. Digital information allows you to minimise the risk of error and enables your business to become more efficient.
  • Try not to think of these packages as merely information storage, they are so much more. By integrating the system into your payroll and HR you can easily generate payslips and HMRC returns. You can also use the system to automatically generate invoices and chase debtors, think of the time you would save!
  • Gone are the traditional once a year meetings with your accountant, wading through piles of paperwork, looking for misplaced receipts. You can easily input all of your receipts and other vital paperwork, meaning that your accountant can access your financial data all year round and advise you as and when needed.
  • Software updates used to mean hours of work and a huge bill! Cloud based software is updated and improved automatically by the developers, providing you with peace of mind that your business is up to date with any legislation changes, free of charge.
  • No need to worry about data security either. Cloud based servers are constantly backed up and are very secure meaning you don’t need to worry about hackers or computer crashes and losing all of your valuable business information. 

If all of this has not managed to persuade you about the benefits of cloud based accountancy packages then why not do a simple cost comparison exercise? Factor in not only the direct costs but also the costs of your time for the old labour-intensive packages, the support costs and of course the upgrade costs and you will soon see that cloud based accounting is the way forward for the modern business.

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