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Accountants

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

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.

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.

Flexible Working | Advice on Flexible Working | Accountancy Support | Proactive Accountants Bristol
Flexible working 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Flexible working

The way we work has fundamentally changed over the last 16 months. Technology has allowed businesses to adopt flexible working practices to enable employees to safely work from home during the Pandemic.

As life slowly begins to return to ‘normal’ many businesses have recognised the benefits not only for their employees, but also their businesses, when staff are permitted to work flexibly. Staff are happier, work-life balance is improved and as a result productivity is increased.

More and more companies, both large and small, have decided that the changes that we have all experienced in our working lives since last March should be adopted permanently. There are, as would be expected, a number of different approaches from employers across all sectors and all sizes. From allowing staff to choose how and when and where they would like to work 100% of the time to those dictating that a minimum percentage of time should be spent in the office. Whatever the approach, advances in technology and software packages mean that it is easier than ever to work remotely but with a joined-up approach.

One thing is for sure, for many, the days on Monday to Friday 9-5pm in an office are now considered old fashioned and counterproductive. The business world, along with many other parts of society, have adapted and changed their practices, leading to a more flexible way of earning a living whilst maintaining high standards of work and enabling quality time to be spent with our families and friends.

If you are looking for some business support please feel free to call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

Top Tips for Farming Accountancy | Accountancy Help for Farm | Farmers Accountant | Accountant Specialising in Farming
Top Tips for Farming Accountancy 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

Top Tips for Farming Accountancy

The farming industry is unique. It is one that supports the entire country through produce, crops and livestock. When you envisage a farm as a business then you realise quite how many variables there are to it and what a complex operating structure it has. Key areas that have to be constantly monitored are government subsidies, changes in use of land and environmental impacts. All of which can have an impact on both profit and loss.

When you consider the accountancy practices of a farm there are multiple factors to take into account, including assets, liabilities, costs and revenue. This can make it a very complex process, so we have pulled together to key areas to consider:

  • Land – land is an asset and the cost to maintain this should always be considered. Key costs for drainage, irrigation, fertiliser, soil management, weed removal and pest control all need to be accounted for. Also, if your usage in land changes then this needs to be clearly recorded ensuring that your business accounts are kept up to date
  • Government subsidy schemes – farmers can often claim for government subsidies, especially during difficult or lean periods, to ensure the whole country will not run out of food. Keeping track on these subsidies, monitoring when they change and accurately accounting for them is vital
  • Accounting calendar – make sure that your farm accounting calendar is aligned with the Government one. Often if livestock is born early or late, they are classed as out of season and might not fit into the governments specific “definition of age”. Aligning calendars means that you go by the Government’s definition of ages, even if it is not factually correct.
  • Stock – every head has a value and therefore it is important to continually update all stock levels and keep accurate account of your animals.
  • Recognising depreciation – all new equipment can depreciate so make sure that costs are offset against tax. Also, the value of used equipment will continue to depreciate so you should make sure that you continue to monitor the value of your equipment.
  • Loss – farmers are often hit with losses due to the environment and in particular bad weather. Keeping track of all losses is important, it can have an impact on your tax bill and you don’t want to be taxed on something that has been destroyed.
  • Software and profitability – it can be difficult to stay on top of all of your accountancy needs. Implementing specific software will ensure a much simpler process and give you immediate access to critical reports such as profit and loss, forecasting and cashflow.
  • Technology – embracing technology will help with the day-to-day running of the farm and help you easily manage suppliers, partners and resources. It also enables farmers to check on important farming needs such as stock prices, purchasing trends and weather forecast.

If you are looking for some accountancy support for your farm, then our team at Stepping Stones would be delighted to help. Feel free to call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk.

The Power of Diversification | Accountancy Support for Diversification | Helpful Accountant in Bristol
The Power of Diversification 758 513 Stepping Stones Accountancy

The Power of Diversification

In today’s ever-changing landscape many businesses have had to take the approach of adapt or face the harsh reality of closing their doors. This is especially true for the retail sector.

For example, the local fruit and veg supplier with a small shop on the high street will testify that they had to be innovative and resilient in order to survive. With everybody locked down and shops closed nobody was able to call and shop for their fresh fruit and vegetables, instead they had to diversify and accept orders online and via telephone, then deliver door to door.

Very quickly they had to put in place a simple online ordering system which customers could use and then plan a logical delivery route in order to efficiently fulfil the orders. After 1 week the shop had tripled its orders and were asked if they could expand their product range to include other items. So, in order to meet the demand, they were able to introduce an additional 200 products to their range.

The long-term future also looks bright and the shop has opened its doors again which means that not only can it can now offer more products, it provides customers with the choice of purchasing face to face, via telephone or online and can deliver to homes within a 15-mile radius. All of which they had not even considered prior to COVID-19.

The one area that really helped the shop was the role of their accountant. They spoke at great lengths with their accountant who provided advice, recommendations and guidance on what to do and what would be needed in order to meet the demands of a varying client base. Any small business needs to be surrounded by good people and an accountant can become a very valuable business partner both in good times and bad.

If you own a business and are thinking about diversifying, then our team would be delighted to answer any questions. Please call us on 01173 700 079 or e-mail hello@steppingstonesaccountancy.co.uk

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