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Futers Accountancy
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Digital Accounting
Just when you'd got to grips with Cloud Accounting and thought that you could take it easy for the rest of your career along comes HMRC with a plan to have all businesses - no matter how small - report data to them electronically. This is all part of HMRC's master plan to build a huge database of transactions so that they can make sure all tax due is collected (see the blog on my website on the subject of Blockchain). Listing your transactions on a spreadsheets sadly won't cut the mustard and you'll have to use an accounts system like Sage or Xero. So great news for accountants and software sellers: not so good for the punters. Here's a link to AccountingWeb and a brief article. Seems that this is planned to happen by 2018, so not long.
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Synctoy
This week's exciting software recommendation is.... #Synctoy! This sounds as if it could be a bit kinky or maybe something for the plumbing trade but it is in fact a Microsoft creation to enable you to back up files on to your PC etc. If you keep your work files on a memory stick (or USB Flash Drive if you're cooler than me) or on a portable hard drive as I do then you live in constant fear of losing your work to a hardware failure so you need to perform regular data backups. #Synctoy detects which files on the portable device have been updated since the last backup and backs up only those ones. This means that a backup can be done in about a minute or less instead of the half hour doing a full backup. There are no doubt similar bits of software out there but #Synctoy is free and works well.
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Changes to Gift Aid
HMRC has issued new guidance to charities re Gift Aid declarations. The wording of the declarations has been changed with effect from April 2016. There is a useful article on the Chartered Accountants' Economia website at http://economia.icaew.com/finance/february-2016/gift-aid-changes-for-charities?utm_source=economianews&utm_medium=articles&utm_content=headlines&utm_campaign=feb26
if you want more information (the HMRC site is typically minimalist).
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Restriction of Employment Allowance
The government has really got it in for small business. Instead of reducing government spending on all the crap that governments like to spend our money on they have decided to make a few million small businesses stump up some extra cash.

The latest plan is to limit access to the Employment Allowance. For the past two tax years (2014-15 and 2015-16) most employers have been able to reduce their employers national insurance bill by £2000. For the next tax year (2016-17) the employment allowance increases to £3000. However there will be a restriction which prevents this being claimed by single person companies. For this purpose, these are companies for which the only person paid more than the lower earnings limit (2016-17 £5824) is a single director. If such a company had an employee in addition to the director, and the employee is paid above that limit, then the £3000 employment allowance would be available. Now, for most small company directors (directors of small companies) the saving was only actually about £300 because if they had any sense they'd pay themselves mostly in dividends but that is also being attacked through the new dividend tax.

It is important to note that if, for example, a single person company took on an employee to get the employment allowance, HMRC could later deny the allowance and impose penalties.

So, interesting times. Makes you want to lie down in a darkened room.
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What3words
Downloaded an app onto my (android) phone the other day called #what3words . I saw it in an article in the Telegraph Business section. They have divided the entire planet into 3 metre squares and given each square a unique name made up of three random words. For example my front door address is blocks.stored.hiking. So what I hear you say but this could be very useful as it could replace grid references which apparently are prone to transposition errors and postcodes which cover much larger areas. so if you are delivering something to a large factory site the address can be given much more precisely. Here's a link to the website if you want to learn more....

http://what3words.com/
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Cloud Accounting
Just to let you know that the upcoming #servicenetwork event on 15 March in Newcastle didn't happen! Lack of interest was the reason given. It was going to be on the subject of Cloud Computing and Big Data, both hot topics at the moment but seemingly not hot enough for the local business community. #CloudInnovationCentre

I keep on hearing how great and exciting cloud accounting is - I've been doing it since before it was called Cloud Accounting by the simple method of having my clients email me Sage reports so that I could do their accounts without getting out of bed. I called it Email Accounting which of course isn't as sexy as clouds. What cloud accountants want to do is to never get out of bed but what clients want is to see their accountant.
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Occupational Health
This sector seems to be growing strongly and a local company, #WellWork , has just been bought by a national company #BHSF. It is a shame for the local economy that the deal wasn't the other way around.
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The Subscription Economy
I saw this article on the #Telegraph finance website. I've read it twice and still don't know what it's on about. Apparently, it's best if you try to build a long term relationship with a customer so that you get recurring revenue. Wow! Never thought of that! And then if you do, your problems are just starting because how do you account for it?! Debits and credits are just not going to do it for you - seemingly.

It does make a fair point in that most small businesses only look back and are reluctant to do projections. I mean, what's the point of doing projections if you don't know what's going to happen in the future! That's a daft idea. Well chaps (and ladies) the whole point of doing projections is that you prepare for different scenarios and even try to somehow get control of the future instead of just letting it happen to you. Many accountants don't realise this and are content just to do year end accounts and tax returns - which is fine - but why not get yourself another accountant who helps you look forward and plan for the future. Take control!

#Futersaccountancy specialises in business planning. Get a plan.
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The Growth Factory
Looks like quite an interesting website. #TheGrowthFactory deals with the industrial sectors which it believes are vital to the success of the UK economy in the 21st Century. Worryingly, they seem to be in support of #HS2 despite all the evidence which suggests it will be a waste of money.
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The new Marriage Allowance comes into force at the start of the new tax year on 6 April. It only applies to couples where the lowest earner has income less than the basic personal allowance which will be £10600 for 2015-16. Any usused allowances up to a maximum of £1060 for that person will be able to be transferred to their partner so that they can use them (provided that person is not a higher rate tax payer). So this will save £212 of tax. You have to apply to HMRC for this. Here's where you do that...

https://www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance
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