an accountant's perspective

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Your Business is Your Baby

Babies keep you up all night, they demand all of your time and energy. They are costly and the responsibility of keeping them safe and giving them a nurturing upbringing is sometimes overwhelming.

But they are also immensely rewarding and nothing can put a smile on your face quite like a happy and content giggling baby that you helped create and raise.

These emotions and sacrifices may well sound familiar.

When you decided to start your business you practically gave birth to a baby. No really…you did!

Building your business is a huge commitment and at times it will take every ounce of strength, energy and sanity that you have available. People will not understand the sacrifices you make to keep your business on track because unless you have your own baby you do not understand what other parents are going through.

The sooner you admit what your business means to you the easier it will be to communicate that to others. It is not just a source of income or the product of you pursuing your passion. It is a combination of those things which makes it incredibly important to you.

If you asked yourself what you wanted most from your life as a teenager, you are not going to say a reliable partner and two healthy and happy children. You might – but it is unlikely. You are more likely to answer: to be living the dream – have money and be doing something I love. You want to reach your potential, make your mark on the world and earn a living while doing those things.

No matter the sex, ethnicity, or culture of your baby they all need the same:
  • Understanding/ Communication
  • Protection
  • Feeding
  • Clothing
  • Nappy Changing
  • Love and Nurturing
  • Introducing to the world around them

No matter the type, industry, or location of your business they all need the same:IT/Business Plan/Forecasts/Communications

  • Business Insurance/Health & Safety/Security
  • Credit/Sales
  • Branding
  • Debit/Supply
  • Team Building/Advice/Support
  • Marketing/PR/Networking

Babies inevitably grow.

You created your business and that makes it an extension of you. You want it to have your values – your drive – and
be made in your image. That is a natural desire as a parent.

In the beginning and to some extent throughout that journey your ambition is simply to survive. But, crafting your voice, building your story and standing for something (whatever that might be) can have a huge impact on your chances of survival.

Your business has a solid place within your heart. As soppy as that sounds it’s true. You cannot prevent the connection from forming because you have put your whole world into it and potentially jeopardised a lot of family and leisure time
to pull it off.

Sculpting your business in your own image works to a point, and it is imperative to ensure the ethos of your
company captures your core values. But, as the business grows there will be lots of other influences that will mold
and shape it for the better.

A company created entirely in ones own image has been suffocated. Whereas one that has grown through a multitude of experiences, mistakes, and leaps of faith is more able to adapt and evolve to suit the changing times and landscapes around it.

How will you parent your baby? These are some of the things our Director, Belinda Darley has learnt along the way which you may relate to:

1 2 3 4 5 6

Baby business workshops will be coming to the local area in the coming months – to discuss your business problems, get support and advice from business veterans and have the chance to network with like-minded individuals – watch this space…

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Auto-enrolment and the 2015 General Election

This is a big year for accountancy and business. There are plenty of factors that will effect out political and economical climate. We are covering two of the big issues being debated daily at the moment and those are auto-enrolment and of course the General Election in May.

Workplace Pensions Automatic Enrolment: What you need to know

As a business owner, by employing even just a single individual you may be obligated to provide a workplace pension for that member of staff. The new pension automatic enrolment scheme is gathering momentum as more are expected to comply, eventually it will be normal practice. The effect of non-compliance could lead to hefty fines and even in some extremes jail time. An automatic enrolment simply means that the staff members who meet the criteria as defined in legislation will be automatically allocated a pension. That does not mean that the employer does not have to action that scheme and have a provider and planned process in place.

Not all businesses are required to do this at the same time so you need to find when your staging date will be. Ideally, you will start the process sooner rather than later since it is inevitable, it would make sense to be prepared. You will need to seek advice and decide on the best pension scheme for your employees and your business moving forward. There are different options so there are choices to be made.

The process generally works by nominating a contact. The Pension Regulator will communicate the needed information and processes to the contact. The contact will also be the one to register new staff members on the pension scheme. So who does this apply to?

The criteria for auto-enrolment is as follows:

  • The employee needs to be aged between 22 and State Pension age
  • They need to earn more than £ 10 000 a year
  • The employee must work in the UK

The best action you can take right now is to go and seek advice from an experienced pension advisor. They will talk you through your options and help you find the right scheme for you and your staff.

Types of Workplace Pensions are:

  • Defined Contribution Pension Schemes
    • This is usually expressed as a fund value and usually depends on the amount that’s been paid in, for how long it’s been paid in and how long the investment has done.
    • When you retire and the markets are not doing well at the time of retirement, you may end up with less than you anticipated, however, the reverse is also true should the markets do well.
  • Because your employer is purchasing the scheme from the provider in bulk, the fees negotiation in terms of managing your fund is usually less.
  • Defined Benefit Pension Schemes
    • These are usually expressed as a percentage
    • What defines the pay-out, depends on your pensionable income and the amount of years you have worked for your employer.

The percentages each party has to pay:

This gets to the core of the fear that most employers are wrestling with – how much will it cost? The fact that it is beneficial and makes sound sense for retirement doesn’t make the outlay any easier to manage with a tight cash flow.

  • The employee:
    • Minimum 0.8% of your ‘qualifying earnings’ rising to 4% by 2018
  • The employer:
    • Minimum 1% of your ‘qualifying earnings’ rising to 3% by 2018
  • The government pays:
    • 2% of your ‘qualifying earnings’ rising to 1% by 2018

The rise is staggered to help small businesses with the financial commitment they are making. To some it will be a testing time but the scheme is designed for ease of integration and it offers employees a securer future.

When will you have access to your pension fund?

The pension fund only becomes available to you when you reach the age of 60 or 65, depending on when you decide to retire. You can take early retirement in some instances at the age of 55, however, it is very seldom that it is recommended as we tend to live far longer than previous generations. The extra five to ten years spent at work may just make a very big difference to an employee’s pension fund.

Tax charge

Bear in mind that if you contribute more than 100% of your salary to a pension, or more than £40 000, whichever is the lowest, you may have to pay a tax charge. Your lifetime allowance is £ 1.25 million. This is not limited to your workplace pensions, this will include all your pension contributions. For most this will not be a huge concern! But you never know – live the dream!

 

What does 2015 hold in store for the UK?

With the 2015 General Elections coming up, it is a well-known fact that David Cameron along with all the other party leaders, will be marketing their way onto our screens, into our newspapers and onto our social media feeds a lot in the coming months.

There is a big question over what this election will bring and there are plenty of theories. But, what this election does have, perhaps more than any that have preceded it, is a hell of a lot of doubt over which way this one is going to swing.

  • Is Ed Miliband really the right face and fit to lead Labour to victory – most doubt it
  • Will Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats hold any traction at all after his famous U-turn on tuition fees after joining forces with the Conservatives four years ago?
  • Can Cameron muster enough votes to avoid a coalition, or worse, complete indecision which will signal a loss of faith in his actions to date?
  • Will the UK Independence Party or Scottish National Party draw enough votes to cause a serious upset and even feature in coalition talks – doubtable but can we really say for sure?

The future of British politics has never been more in doubt. As hard as the decision is the importance of each single vote has never been greater. It may well come down to a few votes in the end and one of those could be yours! Make it count, even if you spoil the paper and vote for democracy in a form that is not currently represented in the houses of parliament. This year is the year to vote and who knows what outcome we will have when May is over!

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Why you might need to change accountants

February is a great month to review your accountants and decide whether they have your best interests at heart. You have just gone through the self-assessment process so you can ask yourself some basic questions:

  • did you understand everything they explained to you
  • was the invoice what you expected/were told to expect
  • did you find them approachable
  • did they respond to communications quickly/efficiently
  • do you get the feeling they are making every decision based on what is best for you and your business

If you answered yes to most of them then you probably have an accountant you ought to hold on to. There are plenty of good quality accountants out there so if you answered no to more of the above  it may be time to spread your wings and see who else would make a better fit for you and your business. There are plenty of reasons people fear change when it comes to accounting. Let’s take a look at those reasons and try and demystify what essentially is a required service in an industry that is highly competitive. It’s up to accountancy practices to woo and wow you – not the other way around!

Reason 1: You have had the same accountants forever

This is usually a quick response that involves three main parts to it. What they are really telling you is that they are local and convenient, they are happy with the service because they have no comparison, and they trust their accountants to be doing what is best. These are all great reasons and loyalty is a fine quality provided you are getting the best service available. Like you would do with car insurance and heating bills it makes sense to shop around sometimes and make sure you are not simply remaining blinkered. We have seen clients trust accountants that have been woefully neglecting their responsibilities and left them in a real state. We have also seen clients content with ridiculous accounting fees for simply tasks. Loyalty is to be commended provided it is not costing you too much. Look around and make sure what you are content with is worthy of being content over.

Reason 2: Changing accountants is a massive upheaval

It often feels like that for many but in reality it is extremely simple. Once you have visited your new accountants and signed up with them they will contact your old accountants on your behalf and request all the information they need. It should be a seamless process and fluid transition from one accountants to another. They are obliged by law to co-operate so even if you leave on bad terms there is only a short amount of time they have to be awkward in before they are forced to comply. If you had a good bond with them and are worried about the emotional attachment then write to them, or go and talk to them to explain your reasons for leaving. This gives them the opportunity to lure you back and prevents bad feeling from developing.

Reason 3: Accountants are all the same

This is a massive misconception and ABC Accounting Services alone smash it into smithereens but we are also aware of plenty of other accountancy firms that do the same! Accountancy practices are just as varied as the people that work in them. They can be formal and professional, professional and approachable, approachable and friendly, quirky and friendly, a little crazy, forward thinking and fun! When you go for a free consultation with an accountancy firm you should get a sense of their character and their company ethos then. If you don’t then try another. You should be able to find an accountancy practice that shares your objectives and connects with you and your business. So do your research, go and talk to a few and see who makes sense as a natural extension to your business.

Reason 4: Accountants are there to liaise with HMRC and that’s it

If that is all your accountant does then you are missing out on a valuable chunk of the services they offer. They are there to support you, give you up-to-date financial advice, help shape your business the way you want it and assist you in planning for the future. A good accountant will listen to you and give you guidance. A great accountant will listen to you, help you fight when times are hard, discuss risks and challenges that lie ahead and be there for you exactly when you need them. There is something very flexible, immediate and responsive about great accounting that you will not get from a practice that just goes through the yearly motions. If you are not sure what type of accountant you have ask them if you can discuss your KPIs (Key performance indicators). They should walk you through the following:

  • how far ‘off’ are you from your forecast cash position? What’s the main reason for it?
  • any discrepancies need to be researched and understood so you can take necessary action to bring the figures back into line.
  • how well you are able to meet your short-term financial obligations – a key figure for almost all businesses in the current climate is their liquidity
  • how much gross profit you are making on average, per sale?
  • if you deal with consumers, say in a mail-order business, you’ll want to know how many complaints you have each day, and the broad reasons for them, so you can spot any trends and make plans to deal with them.

These figures can all be monitored and spending time with your accountant should shed light on aspects of your business you may overlook from time to time with your manic schedule what it is.

Reason 5: You don’t need a relationship with your accountant

There are clients that happily email in their data or use a digital filing system like DropBox so contact is slim on the ground. This is still no excuse for a poor or nonexistent relationship. The rapport you have with an accountant is a valuable connection. They understand business in a way that your family and friends are unlikely to. They witness hundreds, if not thousands, of clients go through the same issues, stresses and challenges as you do. In terms of advice, guidance and support there is no better ally that your accountant. You should be able to pick up the phone to them and hear a reassuring voice or drop in for coffee and receive a motivational pep talk when you need it. That is what great accounting is all about. Great accounting is not about the numbers it is about the people that create them!

Is it time to change?

We have given you five good reasons to take a long hard look at what your accountant does for you and weigh up whether it is enough. Don’t move for moving sake or base a decision purely on cost because sometimes you get what you pay for. But, if a move makes sense for you then do not hesitate because your accountancy practice should be an extension of your business and if they are not working with you then you are missing out on valuable momentum.

If you would like a free consultation to find out more about the services we provide then contact Shell via email: shell@abc-accounting-services.co.uk or ask for her by phone: 01427 613613.

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What Animal Traits are needed in business?

The quick response to the question would be a fighting spirit that doesn’t show mercy and does exactly what it needs to survive. But, what about negotiating skills, building a rapport, understanding people’s needs and presenting a united front. There is so much more to business than meets the eye and a lot more to the animal kingdom than a single glance portrays. From the family orientated, resourceful ant, to the selfless journey of the penguin to provide food for its babies, black and white stereotypes are as ignorant as they are shortsighted.

There are times when human spirit and human characteristics just do not seem enough for triumphing over life’s obstacles. This is no exception when it comes to business. We could all ‘roar’ on occasions when a superhuman strength feels necessary to advance past the pressures and stresses our working day throws at us. In fact, we often turn to animal instincts when we feel backed into a corner or challenged beyond our coping mechanisms.

There is something very primitive at the core of business. When someone challenges it or issues threaten the survival of your business, your baby, you fight for it. You throw everything including the kitchen sink at it. There are different challenges and different skills required to combat each of them. Does it require?

  • Diplomacy
  • Determination
  • Consideration
  • Decisive action
  • Support
  • Empathy
  • Understanding
  • Forgiveness
  • Compromise

We are looking to the animal world to draw out five characteristics of five animals that could help you face any battle your business encounters.

  1. The Wolf

white wolf

An honourable, solitary, independent, strong and powerful animal. The pack is led by the leader or alpha who can be male/female. An alpha male usually controls the activities of the other pack members but in some cases a very strong female can usurp control from him and lead the pack. Equality has been there in nature all along! The structure of the pack is beneficial to all wolves in it as they survive in the wild away from human interference.

The pack mentality is that there is power in numbers and this also holds true for business. Whether that means you build a team of loyal and complimentary employees or you build a network with other local businesses and exchange business/skills/information with them. These two models can both give you security and strength where it would not exist if you were operating as an individual.

Wolves hunt in a group and collectively care for and teach their puppies. Hunting as a group means they can take larger prey. They also relay in the chase so they can conserve their strength by taking charges in turn. This is delegation operating at a very simplistic level but its message is a powerful one. If individual wolves tire there will be less present for the kill and the chance of no food retrieved from a kill at all increases. By sharing the workload they ensure their bounty, create equality, and stay safe. Businesses survive when a team or a pack can suffer some losses and work together for the biggest of gains.

  1. Golden Retrievers

golden retriever

You may be thinking that this is an odd choice but there is something about loving animals that make them all the closer to their human counterparts.  A golden retriever wants to please everybody. They tend to be loyal, warm, and always there to comfort you. If we humanise them, they would likely find it hard to make tough decisions for fear of upsetting someone.

But every workplace needs characteristics of the Golden Retriever. They are trusting, open hearted and loyal individuals. This leads clients/customers to feel appreciated and cared for which is a quality that can never be overlooked. They also gel a team together because they thaw out colder colleagues and continue to demonstrate what a loving and loyal character can bring a workplace. Their relentless efforts are endearing to those around them and they probably make great huggers too!

  1. Roadrunners

road runner

As the cartoon suggests, avoidance is the roadrunners chief skill. Some problems just need to be prevented, ignored, or for want of a better strategy, run from. Roadrunners usually have very sharp observation skills. In the wild they will see a problem immediately and be changing direction almost instantly. They are fast so their solution may be impulsive but they are far from indecisive.

Roadrunners in human form will try to avoid conflict at all costs. It is difficult to find out what their problems are because unlike an Emu that is stationary when it plants its head in the sand the roadrunner disappears from view. They will always avoid petty and meaningless conflicts making them a great remedy to overly dramatic personalities. However, they will allow problems to remain unresolved. Their logic and sharp observation skills will alleviate conflict in a tight team. Given the right time to prepare they will choose not to flee and contribute a very valuable insight into any issue that arises.

  1. Cobras

Cobra

What do cobras demonstrate in the wild that is a skill useful for business? Possibly on of the core strengths of any successful business leader. It is not quite as obvious as it may first appear. Cobras do not just strike at their opponent with lethal effect. They assess a situation, circle their opponents, and only ever enter conflict if they are certain of the outcome. Unless they are unnecessarily riled or threatened in which case they can have quite a deadly temper!

Cobras in human form are calculating and if they can insight others to retaliate for them they will. They can sometimes come across as manipulative and scheming but the heart of the cobra is to resolve conflict and constantly oversea the entire landscape instead of getting distracted by small details. Cobras work well when time is put aside to talk everything through, plan the road ahead and let them have their say/give their input.

  1. Eagles

eagle

Eagles relish the opportunity to select their prey and decisively put it down. Their hunting strategy is brutally efficient. They have a complete overview of every situation, flying at distance from their target until the perfect opportunity arises. We associate Eagles with nobility, pride, power and prowess. There is something masterful in their skill set and simplistic about how they get what they want and get the job done.

Humans who have an Eagle spirit are flawless. They understand how conflict can be valuable and use conflict management techniques (listening, repeating what’s said to avoid misunderstandings, calmly stating multiple opinions and being open to other solutions). Eagles are often at the core of a business but are very rarely the leader as that is a difficult position to keep neutrality in. If you have hired an Eagle then you have a flawless fighter that should be used in the capacity of mediator and mentor to other members of the team.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, everyone is different but if you are going to create a sustainable team a good mix of the above is best. Take key characteristics from the animal world and build a team that can handle itself when conflict arises. Do not view every team member as identical to the next because they will each have unique, skills, strengths and failings. That is just the way they were made and it is your job to utilise them so that you are getting their best performance. They are happiest when they are using the characteristics they have naturally acquired:

The Wolf unites

The Golden Retriever supports

The Roadrunner sees everything

The Cobra analyses

The Eagle mediates

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What does 2015 have in store for accountants?

It is not a question many people will ask but changes to the accounting landscape have ramifications across the board. So although it is a little dry or complex for your tastes it is worth knowing what direction accountants will be moving in the year ahead. If you prefer to leave accounting to the accountants then this blog comes with a high level of technicality – you have been warned!

First, 2015 is an election year. There will be plenty of nice offerings made in the budget to secure your vote later in the year. Possibly, or maybe it will be a standard budget to remind us that nothing is free and that there are more cuts ahead to secure a stable economy. Whatever the political drama that is almost certain to unfold with an incredibly close election there will likely be change in its wake – how big that change will be will come down to the result and whether there are any big policy U-turns by those who come to power. Best not to make too many predictions at this stage!

ACCOUNTING

The most significant change to UK GAAP in a generation will be brought about by the single standard, FRS 102, Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK & Ireland. It is based on the IFRS for SMEs and will replace all exant FRSa, SSAPs and UITF Abstracts.

One of the biggest challenges for many businesses will be understanding the treatment of financial instruments. This is particularly relevant for companies with derivatives, such as forward contracts or interest rate swaps – or hedging activities. There may also be significant challenges presented by accounting for business combinations, defined pension plans, deferred tax and investment properties.

James Roberts, senior audit partner, BDO gave this comment to Accountancy Live on the new UK GAAP – FRS 102:

‘This year will mark a pivotal year for accounting standards as, after 18 months of preparation, new UK GAAP – FRS 102 – becomes effective for accounting periods beginning on 1 January 2015. However, people are very late to look at it. For large groups with choices about FRS 101 or 102 there are quite a lot of complicated tax issues to consider, particularly around pensions accounting, foreign currency and distributable reserves, with the potential for organisations to come unstuck.’

On the back of these landmark changes there is also consideration to be given to Information systems. These may need upgrading or even replacing. The ramifications could involve redesigns, employee training, and investor education.

The long term prospects of this will be a more succinct, coherent and internationally unified regime that will cut down the complexity and tax avoidance vulnerabilities of the current scheme. But, there will be challenges along the way. There could be significant implications on bank covenants, tax payable, profit related pay schemes and dividend planning. In the short term, the change is likely to bring a few headaches with it.

Another issue on the horizon are the proposed changes to small business accounting and the limited time allocated for the necessary transition. Late in 2014 it was announced that small entities would be brought within the scope of FRS 102 (with fewer disclosures requirements) and the FRSSE (Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities) would be withdrawn. A separate highly simplified accounting standard for micro-entities was also issued by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). These changes will become effective on or after 1 January 2016. The final revised accounting standards will not be finalised until midway through 2015 which will leave small businesses a very short length of time to prepare – the right level of support will be paramount.

Charities – FRSSE SORP

A mention is required here on charities as there is concern that the withdrawal of the FRSSE SORP could catch some out. For smaller charities reporting information is not always a priority until audit time. The new charity SORPS will apply to all organisations with accounting periods starting on or after 1st January 2015. These changes will not affect charities with a March year-end until 2016.

There is uncertainty surrounding the future of the FRSSE SORP. Some organisations will need to consider adopting the full standard (FRS 102 SORP) now. Acting now, and avoiding complacency, could give charities an opportunity to account for some of their pension’s liability ahead of the SORP’s introduction. This could minimise the potentially massive impact on stakeholders when the full extent of their liability (which could also be back dated two years) is reported in the accounts.

TAX

How much tax should a multinational pay in any given country? The global tax rules again came under scrutiny towards the end of 2014 for inconsistency and giant holes as far as the digital economy and cross border work is concerned.

The Organisation for Economic and Co-operation and Development (OECD) will continue to push for international tax change in 2015. Worldwide jurisdictions are likely to clamp down quickly on perceived loopholes as the tax world is finding a unified approach. Admittedly there is a long way to go but small steps towards a harmonised system are being made.

The challenge lies in the complexity of The BEPS (Business Erosion Profit Shifting) project. There is global agreement that some of the old, formulaic, rules are not a realistic match to a communication driven, digitised world. Coming up with new agreements, legislating them and enforcing them on a global scale is no easy task!

Perhaps the most hotly debated proposal of 2014 was whether HMRC should be given the power to recover tax debts directly from bank accounts. On the 24 November those plans were watered down with greater safeguards amidst concerns that this power was a step too far. HMRC were targeting the bank accounts of individuals who owed more than £1,000 in tax and had at least £5,000 in their accounts.

There was just something instantly alarming about the fact that HMRC could be granted access to anyone’s bank account. Nobody condones those who have the funds and refuse to pay but concerns grew over HMRC’s track record where administrative errors were concerned. These powers could have left taxpayers vulnerable to mistakes.

The watered down proposals included the following safeguard:

  • HMRC must have actually met the debtor to check the debts were theirs and explain the procedure and proposals for payments
  • HMRC must offer a ‘time to pay’ arrangement
  • There will be a right to appeal to the county court on specified grounds

The government appeased concerns and if we are honest these powers are unlikely to be used in most cases. They may come across as a deterrent but perhaps they will recoup HMRC even more wasted funds if they were in fact shelved altogether.

VAT

From 1 January, businesses selling digitised goods to EU consumers will have to collect VAT at the consumer’s country rate and account for it to the tax authorities. There are two ways to do this: the hard way and another way.

The hard way would be to register for VAT in each country where you have consumers, produce VAT returns for each and account for VAT collected in each. There is no VAT threshold for registration in other EU countries, so one sale in a country will result in registration, VAT returns and payment in that country.

The other way would be to register for the UK MOSS and produce one return (in addition to the normal VAT return, for calendar quarters even if your VAT return is on a different schedule) and send it to HMRC with payment of the total VAT collected. HMRC will deal with accounting to other tax authorities.

There is a snag – registering for the UK MOSS requires a UK VAT registration, which might not be entirely desirable for a small business below the VAT registration threshold with price pressures. The government has promised guidance for small businesses to try and make things easier.

There is also another snag – the MOSS return and payment is needed within 20 days of the end of the relevant quarter, not the usual 30 days plus seven days grace for filing online.

That’s it from us – you should just about be ready for 2015 now!

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The Best Office Songs to Beat the January Blues!

When you are in the office there is sometimes very little saving you from a hideous dose of depression in January after the joy and excitement of Christmas comes to a crushing end. For accountants the reality is the busiest month of the year. One minute you are finishing off a cheese board in your Zebra onsie watching a Christmas film and the next you are drinking gallons of coffee, nursing a headache and trying to find your desk under all the paperwork.

There is one thing that keeps us sane in the ABC offices and that is some decent tunes. I say decent but the fact is the boss is into Iron Maiden and Puddle of Mudd and the management team blast out Kasabian – but it keeps them happy and I digress. Whatever your taste in music, get yourself some headphones and give yourself a time out. Trust us, it will do wonders. Just one word of warning though – you cannot hear them but they will be able to hear you so strictly no singing as you get absorbed into your favourite tracks.

We have compiled a thorough list of some of our favourites, some popular classics, and a few that will just make you want to smile. So find the category that appeals to you and give us a grin! It was so hard to narrow down all the possibilities because you cannot do the music made to date justice in one blog. It also has a female bias to it! But there are some seriously awesome tunes coming up! My personal favourite is the ‘epic’ section. Enjoy!

And to the ABC team – hope this helps pass the time and get you all to the 31st in one piece!

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Survivor – Eye of The Tiger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPJPFnesV4

Katrina & The Waves – Walking On Sunshine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPUmE-tne5U

Flashdance What A Feeling – Irene Cara Official Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILWSp0m9G2U

Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcOxhH8N3Bo

Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZD4ezDbbu4

The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5aZJBLAu1E

Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDK9QqIzhwk

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Puddle of Mudd – Blurry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJJsoquu70o

Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nba3Tr_GLZU

Foo Fighters – The Pretender

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBjQ9tuuTJQ

Green Day – American Idiot (Censored)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3uXSTGpdMk 

Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’Mine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w7OgIMMRc4

AC/DC – Highway To Hell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKggnBh2Mdw

Pink – U And Ur Hand [Warning uncensored version!]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV4r6LtjlFM

Kasabian – Fire

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agVpq_XXRmU

Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ClCpfeIELw

Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF0HhrwIwp0

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Taylor Swift – Blank Space

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-ORhEE9VVg

Ellie Goulding – Burn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGyEd0aKWZE

Christina Aguilera – Dirrty 2002

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xMWrKhLJq4

Pharrell Williams – Happy (Official Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM

Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn676-fLq7I

Kylie Minogue – The Loco-motion

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZAhzVvgY-c

Lady Gaga – Born This Way Official Music Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTWoTR2a7JM

ABBA – Dancing Queen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFrGuyw1V8s

The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSD4vsh1zDA

The Jackson 5 – ABC

It didn’t seem right not to include it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho7796-au8U

Britney Spears – Baby One More Time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-u5WLJ9Yk4

Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JoZS6LgqYI

3

Jason Derulo – “Talking Dirty” Featuring 2 Cahinz (Official HD Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P18bCciV_7c

All of Me – John Legend & Lindsey Stirling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwsYvBYZcx4

Chris Brown ft. Nicki Minaj – Love More [Clean] 2013

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W2WX7obMO4

Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (Clean)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKiB4eqq5Dg

Drake  – Hold On We’re Going Home (Clean)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpti9dCNQfA

Beyoncé – Drunk in Love ft Jay Z (Clean version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTCm9YSc9z4

5

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (official Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

Frank Sinatra – My Way (1969)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egY8rUpxqcE

Joan Jett The Blackhearts – I love Rock and Roll

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL5spALs-eA

Bryan Adams – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGoWtY_h4xo

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9hLcRU5wE4

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lyu1KKwC74

Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbQLB0q3hts

Spandau Ballet – Gold

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSq8ZBdSxNU

Bonnie Tyler – I Need a Hero (Lyrics with this one – fancy a sing a long?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBwS66EBUcY

Michael Jackson – Thriller

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V90AmXnguw

Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger (Official Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8OipmKFDeM

Gloria Gaynor – I will Survive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tth-8wA3PdY

And for the boss – Anthem for the week:

Christina Aguilera – Fighter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PstrAfoMKlc

Hope you found some tunes you had forgotten about and boogied with the rest of us. Have an awesome week and let’s defy the myth that people become depressed in January – not with all that bopping and singing they don’t!

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Self-Assessment Questions & Answers

There are usually tons of questions being asked during January about Self-Assessment. As the strap-line goes ‘tax doesn’t have to be taxing’ but unfortunately it often is for many, and as accountants we can see why! We have answered some of the common questions below but if you have any others then fire away and we will answer them for you.

How do I pay the tax and National Insurance (NI) due?

You have to make sure your payment reaches HMRC by the deadline, which is the 31st January. The time you need to allow depends on your choice of payment method. You can pay on the same or next day online or via telephone banking (Faster Payments), via CHAPS, at your local bank or building society, or at the Post Office. It takes three working days to pay via Bacs or post. The deadline date falls on a Saturday this year so realistically you need to make sure your payment reaches them on the last working day at the latest (Friday 30th January).

What happens if I miss the deadline?

You must pay immediately or HMRC can take action against you. You can make one-off payments for any overdue amounts you owe.

It might be possible for you to get more time in order to pay or to pay your bill in instalments but only HMRC have the power to issue an extension or instalment plan. You best bet is always to let them know in good time what the issue is.

If you do not have a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline then penalties and interest will apply which only makes your tax bill bigger.

If you would like to get an idea of the scale of penalty you could be looking at use Gov.uk’s calculator here: https://www.gov.uk/estimate-self-assessment-penalties

If you disagree with HMRC’s tax decision (the amount of tax you owe) then you need to contact HMRC to discuss this with them directly.

What if you are no longer self-employed?

You have to tell HMRC if you have stopped trading as a sole trader or have decided to end or leave a business partnership. You will also have to send a final tax return and tell any employees that you are shutting the business down. HMRC will need a tax return by the same deadline that applies to everyone else (31st January).

The final tax return will require you to work out your trading income, add up all allowable expenses (including any costs that are involved with closing down your business), work out your capital allowances (including any charges for sold business equipment/machinery), calculate any Capital Gains Tax owed on any assets sold or ‘disposed’ of, work out your final profit or loss.

What tax relief can I claim?

Your final tax bill could be reduced if you are eligible to claim tax relief in the following forms:

Entrepreneurs’ relief – This could reduce the amount of Capital Gains Tax you need to pay

Overlap relief – This can prevent you being taxed twice on your profits if you stoped trading during a tax year

Terminal loss relief – This can offset a loss made in your last tax year against your profit in the 3 tax years previous to it

What Expenses can I claim?

There are costs that you can claim as allowable expenses. When you are self-employed your business has various running costs and some can be deducted from your final tax bill as they fall under the category of allowable expenses.

Running a limited company enables you to deduct any business costs from your profits before tax.

  • Allowable expenses include:
  • office costs, eg stationery or phone bills
  • travel costs, eg fuel, parking, train or bus fares
  • clothing expenses, eg uniforms
  • staff costs, eg salaries or subcontractor costs
  • things you buy to sell on, eg stock or raw materials
  • financial costs, eg insurance or bank charges
  • costs of your business premises, eg heating, lighting, business rates
  • advertising or marketing, eg website costs

You could also claim capital allowances when you buy something that you keep and use within the business. This could include equipment, machinery, and business vehicles.

If you use something for personal as well as business use you must be sure to only claim allowable expenses for the business costs. Examples could include a family car where you would claim business mileage for business trips, or a mobile phone that would require an itemised list of business and personal calls so you could claim allowances for an appropriate amount.

If you work from home then you could claim a proportion of your costs for:

  • heating
  • electricity
  • Council Tax
  • mortgage interest
  • internet and telephone use

These are questions we get asked quite frequently, if you have any others you would like to run by us then you can contact us on Facebook (AccountantsABC), Twitter (ABC_accounting), via email (info@abc-accounting-services.co.uk), or pick up the phone and ask us in person 01427 613613.

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