National Insurance credits

QUICK READS: NATIONAL INSURANCE CREDITS

At CIGMA Accounting, we understand the complexity of the UK’s National Insurance system and the value of optimising your benefits. This article explains National Insurance credits, a crucial element that can help build your National Insurance record and ultimately increase the entitlements you receive, including the State Pension.

National Insurance credits provide an invaluable lifeline for those not currently working, and thus, not contributing to their National Insurance. These credits can fill gaps in your National Insurance record, and we see it especially relevant to those who are job-seeking, on sick leave, maternity, paternity or adoption leave, caring for someone, or serving on a jury.

You can click here to read our full guide to UK National Insurance.

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Our firm often receives inquiries on how to apply for National Insurance credits. The process varies depending on the specific circumstances; sometimes they are applied automatically, while in other cases, an application is necessary. To better understand your situation, we recommend seeking professional advice.

Two primary types of National Insurance credits exist – Class 1 and Class 3. Class 3 credits contribute towards your State Pension and some bereavement benefits. Class 1 credits not only cater to the same benefits as Class 3 but also offer additional ones like Jobseeker’s Allowance.

However, it’s important to note that National Insurance credits usually don’t apply to self-employed individuals who pay Class 2 National Insurance or older married women who opted to pay a reduced rate of National Insurance before April 1977.

Need Assistance from an Accountant?

At CIGMA Accounting, we make it our mission to guide you through these complexities, helping you make informed decisions about your financial future. If you have more questions about National Insurance credits or other financial matters, reach out to us and our sales team will be in touch for a free consultation!


Wimbledon Accountant

165-167 The Broadway

Wimbledon

London

SW19 1NE

Farringdon Accountant

127 Farringdon Road

Farringdon

London

EC1R 3DA

Accountant Near Me or Remote Accountant

Should I get an accountant near me or a remote accountant? This is what many small businesses are asking themselves lately. With life handing the whole world lemons (a.k.a COVID19), many industries have moved online just to be able to make it through various waves and lockdowns. While lockdowns are waning, industries seem to be sticking to the online space for convenience. But what would be best for you? 

In this post we will be looking at the pro’s and cons of having an accountant near you and having a remote accountant so that you can make an informed decision for yourself and your business.

 

CIGMA has been operating in Wimbledon and surrounding areas, London for the last 6 years. However, when COVID hit, we, like most other businesses, branched out into online territory in order to meet our client’s needs. We currently serve as in-person accountants and remote accountants in the wider United Kingdom area. That’s why we have hands-on experience in the pro’s and con’s of both options. 

Accountant near Me

When we talk about “Accountants Near Me” we refer to an accountant to whom you can conveniently and efficiently reach for in-person meetings and discussions regarding your tax, self-assessments and other accounting related affairs. We’ll be looking at all the pros and cons of having an accountant within driving distance from your business.

Advantages of Accountant Near You

There are two main advantages to having an accountant close to you. Let’s look at them below:

In-Person meetings

Having an accountant that you can meet with face-to-face can be easy, efficient and adds a personal touch to the service. A company where you get to shake the hand of the person handling your personal or small business accounting can give you a sense of comfort and relief. That’s why many people opt for having an accountant near them that they can schedule in-person meetings with. 

Region-specific knowledge on taxes and business

The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each country in the United Kingdom has varying income tax rates to suit the needs of their population. Therefore, having an accountant in your region/country may benefit you as they will know all the ins and outs of the taxation system within your specific region. 

Disadvantages of Accountant Near You

The disadvantages of having an accountant in your region is dependent on where you are based, and which accountants are available in your area. However, some potential disadvantages of looking for an accountant near you are discussed below: 

Expertise

It is no secret that an accountant can save you A LOT of money if they are doing their job right. An accountant that has expertise within a specific industry will have the expertise and experience to know what to look out for in order to save you money and make informed recommendations. 

However if you are in an area that does not have accountants that have expertise in your industry? That means you may be losing money when you don’t have to be. Sometimes restricting your accountant needs to a specific location may be a great disadvantage to you and your company. 

Bad reviews / Turnaround times 

Another pitfall to only utilising local accountants is that they might just not be the best accountants. While they are close to you, are they actually doing a good job? Perhaps your area only has accountants or accountancy firms with bad reviews, extended turnaround times and overall just lack the service delivery that you need. 


Remote Accountants

Accountants that work with individuals and businesses remotely can work at the same, if not higher efficiency than accountants in your area. Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a remote accountant for your business or personal taxes.


Advantages of Remote Accountant

There are many advantages to looking for a remote accountant. Some of these advantages are discussed below:

Find the right fit

Finding an accountant is almost like looking for a business partner. These are people that you will trust with your financial wellbeing. That’s why it’s so important to find the right fit. Expanding your search for an accountant means you have a better chance of finding someone that just feels right for yourself and/or your business. 

Flexible Times 

Due to the nature of remote accounting firms in the United Kingdom, most accountants offer remote, secure portals to upload business documents. These portals do not rely on human working hours,which means you can upload your documents whenever it suits you. No hand delivering vital documents in person! 

Efficiency

With remote accountants there’s no need for lengthy travel trips, copious amounts of small-talk or spending time outside of your home or office. It is efficient and convenient to have online meetings and interactions in the comfort of your own environment. 

Competitive pricing

Accountants in your area just are not cutting it (the prices that is). Well, hiring a remote accountant may be your saving grace. When looking outside of your direct area, you can throw a wider net for more affordable services. Furthermore, you can get a company that offers a turnaround service (accounting package deals), with discounts available for handling all tax and registration affairs on your behalf. No need for 3 different service providers if you can have one to do it all!

Nationwide knowledge on taxes in different regions

If you are running a company that has offices in multiple countries of the United Kingdom, having a remote accountant may be the best thing for your company. Having an accountant that is knowledgeable on the tax rates for each region can help you and your business in following current legislation in your region.

Disadvantages of Remote Accountant

With the world moving online there isn’t much of a disadvantage for hiring a remote accountant to take care of your personal or business tax

Lack of In-person Meetings

In the case that it is a deal-breaker if you cannot meet your accountant in-person on a regular basis, unfortunately the remote option may not be suited for you. As remote accounts can work from anywhere in the United Kingdoms, having regular meetings in person may  not be possible.

Cyber Security Concerns

If the company you are working with is not properly secured you may be faced with some cyber security issues. We highly recommend that you inquire regarding threat protection with a remote accounting firm.

Steps to find the best accountant

How To Choose the Best Accountant for you and your business

As you can see, we are not for or against either options for your accounting needs. It is all about finding what works best for you. However, an accountant is vital to the growth of your business and it’s important that you do not make the decision lightly. We’ve compiled the 6 best tips to help you on your quest to find the best accountant for your business. Check them out here: 

Location, location, location…

Does it matter to you whether your accountant is in the same city as you? If so, you have your first clue: You are looking to find someone local which narrows down your search significantly. 

However, if you are keen on jumping on the “UK remote accounting services” train, then you have a wide pond to fish from.

 

Ensure certification

Unfortunately, the term “accountant” is not a protected term in the United Kingdom. What does this mean? That means many individuals and businesses may be making use of services from people that they think are qualified with years of training, when they actually are not qualified. That’s why it’s important that you separate those without certification from the certified and reliable accountants. 

How to check Certification? 

You can request proof of registration with a regulatory body in the United Kingdom. In the UK, there are four main regulatory bodies currently registering businesses: 

A detailed post will follow to check each qualification.

Reviews and Feedback

Check the reviews and feedback from previous customers on their google business profile, social media platforms and third party sites. Do they not have any of those? That should be the first red flag to look into the company a little more closely to ensure that they are a legitimate service provider. 

Experience and Expertise

In order to get the best results, you need to find the best accountant for you. Whether that accountant is based in your area or not. This means looking for an accountant that has a track record of experience and expertise. This can be done by asking questions and requesting reference from current or previous clients personally. 

Ask basic accounting questions in the vetting process

Asking basic accounting questions will offer you valuable insight into two aspects of the accountant or company that you are working with: Firstly, it will assess whether they have basic accounting knowledge and secondly , it will assess their customer service. Having someone that can explain complicated procedures and ideas with patience can reveal their character. Having an accountant that is not willing to sit down and comb through the details in a way that you, the business owner or individual can understand to make informed decisions, is a clear sign that you do not want to create a professional relationship with the service provider. 

Find someone that’s passionate about what they do

Finding someone that is passionate about what they are doing is always a good sign. Generally speaking, an accountant that is excited about possible savings for your company will do a much better job than someone that is just in it for the paycheck at the end of the month. So how do you determine whether or not they are passionate? It’s quite simple, you ask open-ended questions. Ask them to explain what they do. Someone who is passionate will most likely have a lot to say, be enthusiastic and highlight possible opportunities for growth and savings. 

In conclusion, choosing an accountant is a very personal journey. Make sure that you know what you are looking for, and do your research to make a decision!

4 Ways to Reduce HMRC Penalties

How can I Reduce my HMRC Penalties?

So you’ve received a HMRC penalty and you’re freaking out just a little bit. Whether this was intentional or by accident, an HMRC penalties notification can be a stress-inducing event. But let’s talk about what you can do now that you’re here. Firstly we will look whether you have a reasonable excuse (as defined by the HMRC), and if not, we’ll look at how you can get your penalties reduced as much as possible.

HMRC Penalties

There are various HMRC penalties that you may be fined with. You might be thinking to yourself “How do I get out of a late filing penalty?”. This may vary depending on your situation as penalties differ and includes Failure to File, Failure to Pay and Failure to notify. A failure to file penalty is raised when you have failed to file your tax returns (corporate tax returns or self assessment) by the deadline provided by the HMRC. 

 

A failure to pay penalty is raised when you’ve submitted your tax returns but failed to pay the tax you owe by the stipulated date. It is important to note that if you cannot afford the tax that you owe, it’s best to let the HMRC know immediately so that you can work collaboratively in setting up a suitable payment plan.


Lastly, the failure to notify penalty is raised when you fail to notify the HMRC within the stipulated time that you are required to pay tax. To see a detailed explanation of what failure to notify is all about you can check out our Failure To Notify blog post.

HMRC leniency for Penalties

His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is not an unreasonable institution. Therefore, there is leniency offered to individuals and companies with a reasonable excuse for not filing, paying or notifying them.  However, it is important to be aware of what the HMRC considers “reasonable”.

Reasonable Excuses

A reasonable excuse will only be accepted if you took reasonable care and planned to have your taxes submitted and/or paid by the deadline but were interrupted by circumstances out of your control. So what is a reasonable excuse? The HMRC lists the following as reasonable excuses: 

  • Death of a loved on (Partner or close relative)
  • Emergency hospitalisation 
  • Serious or life-threatening illness
  • Computer or software failure while submitting or filing tac returns
  • Service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services
  • Natural Disaster or unplanned circumstances (Fire, flood or theft prevent)
  • Postal delays that you could not have predicted
  • Delays related to a disability or mental illness you have
  • You were unaware of or misunderstood your legal obligation
  • You relied on someone else to send your return, and they did not

However, these reasonable excuses will only be taken into account if you notified the hmrc as soon as possible after resolving whatever prevented you from fulfilling your obligation and seeked to rectify the situation as soon as possible.

If you have a reasonable excuse, the HMRC will not give you a penalty on the condition that you provide them with proof.

How can I reduce my penalty?

So there are a few ways you can reduce your penalty, and most of them require transparency and honesty. There are four main ways to negotiate for a reduced penalty which include: Notifying them willingly about your situation, assisting them in determining what your penalty needs to be, providing them access to your financial documents and negotiating with the HMRC

1. Unprompted Disclosure

As soon as you realise that you are liable for any type of penalty, it is advised that you contact the HMRC immediately. When an unprompted disclosure is made, the chances are that they will be more lenient with your penalty. In fact, they can reduce your penalty up to 30% just for disclosing it willingly!

2. Assist them with determining your penalty

Gather as much documentation as you can to provide to the HMRC after you’ve disclosed. This includes all forms of income including PAYE income, self employed income, foreign income etc. It is important that you disclose this information as soon as possible and assist them in determining the penalties you need to pay.

Reason for failure to notify

Type of disclosure

Penalty

Reasonable excuse

 

No penalty

Not deliberate

Unprompted

0%-30% within 12 months:

after that 10%-30%

Not deliberate

Prompted

0%-30% within 12 months;

after that 20%-30%

Deliberate

Unprompted

20%-70%

Deliberate

Prompted

35%-70%

Deliberate and concealed

Unprompted

30%-100%

Deliberate and concealed

Prompted

50%-100%

3. Give them Access to your Financial records

Another great way to have a reduction in your penalty is by providing them with your financial documentation and history for the period that you are eligible for a penalty. This is any statements. Financial reports that can be extracted from your accounting software. Even a bookkeeping spreadsheet like the one CIGMA accounting offers can help them to sort out your penalties.

4. Negotiating with the HMRC

You might be wondering whether you can negotiate with the HMRC for tax debt. And the answer is yes. You can negotiate with HM Revenue and Customs. However, doing it on your own may be challenging. That’s why we recommend that you reach out to an accountant as soon as possible to negotiate with the HMRC on your behalf.

Need some peace of mind?

Check out our reviews...

At CIGMA Accounting we deal with clients’ HMRC penalties all the time. Just because we are a London based accounting firm, does not mean we only help London-based clients. We help clients all over the UK to resolve their penalties. If you need any assistance with this, please reach out to us as soon as possible!

Need Assistance from an Accountant?

We’d be more than happy to help you with your accounting needs in London, or anywhere else in the UK!

Reach out to us by completing this form and one of our staff members will get in touch within one business day. 


Best Accounting Software UK

Comparing The 6 Best Accounting Software

Whether you are a small business in the UK or a large corporation looking for a more efficient way of keeping track of your bookkeeping needs, we are sure you’ll find something perfectly suited to you in this list. In this post we will be exploring some of the best Accounting Software in the UK and look at their features and pricing.

Software Accounting Abbreviations Key

Best Accounting Software United Kingdom

Quickbooks BY INTUIT Accounting Software

Quickbooks was initially released by Intuit in 1998. In the last few years Quickbooks has positioned itself as the most popular bookkeeping software for small to medium-sized businesses. However, this is no surprise with the flexibility and features it offers business owners. Let’s look a little closer at what this accounting software can do  for your business. 

Quickbooks Pricing

Quickbooks has 5 different accounting plans to choose from. Starting from as little as £8 for the self-employed to £70 for an advanced subscription including all the features mentioned above. See which accounting plan will suit your business the best:

Self Employed

£8/mo. +VAT
  • Prepare for Self Assessment
  • Income Tax estimates
  • Free chat messaging support

Simple Start

£12/mo. +VAT

  • Making Tax Digital ready
  • Submit VAT directly to HMRC
  • VAT error checker
  • Prepare for Self Assessment
  • Income Tax estimates
  • Manage income & expenses
  • Send invoices that can be paid in one click
  • Forecast cash flow
  • Free onboarding session
  • Get free phone & chat support

Essentials

£22/mo. +VAT

  • Making Tax Digital ready
  • Submit VAT directly to HMRC
  • VAT error checker
  • Prepare for Self Assessment
  • Income Tax estimates
  • Manage income & expenses
  • Send invoices that can be paid in one click
  • Forecast cash flow
  • Free onboarding session
  • Get free phone & chat support
  • Manage bills and stay on top of what you owe
  • Accept and make payments in different currencies
  • Track employee time
    3 users

Plus

£32/mo. +VAT

  • Making Tax Digital ready
  • Submit VAT directly to HMRC
  • VAT error checker
  • Prepare for Self Assessment
  • Income Tax estimates
  • Manage income & expenses
  • Send invoices that can be paid in one click
  • Forecast cash flow
  • Free onboarding session
  • Get free phone & chat support
  • Manage bills and stay on top of what you owe
  • Accept and make payments in different currencies
  • Track employee time
    Manage stock
  • See the profitability of every project
  • Set smart budgets and know if you’re on target
  • 5 users

Advanced

£70/mo. +VAT

  • Making Tax Digital ready
  • Submit VAT directly to HMRC
  • VAT error checker
  • Prepare for Self Assessment
  • Income Tax estimates
  • Manage income & expenses
  • Send invoices that can be paid in one click
  • Forecast cash flow
  • Free onboarding session
  • Get free phone & chat support
  • Manage bills and stay on top of what you owe
  • Accept and make payments in different currencies
  • Track employee time
  • Manage stock
  • See the profitability of every project
  • Set smart budgets and know if you’re on target
  • Restore company data
  • Run advanced reports
  • Batch invoices
  • Customise user permissions
  • Automate workflows & reminders
  • Manage employee expenses BETA
  • 25 users

QUICKBOOKS NOTABLE FEATURES

With Quickbooks you can add up to 25 users on the highest plan. This is useful for companies of any size. There are many moving parts in a business, from employee management to stock control, Quickbooks has it all!

BANK TRANSACTION AUTOMATION

With Quickbooks you can connect your bank account and have the transactions imported automatically. This means you get a real-time overview of your current financial standing. No more spending hours with manual financial data entry. 

Banks that Quickbooks Work With

CELL PHONE APP INTEGRATION

Just because you leave the office, does not mean you need to stop working. Quickbokos has an effortless app so that you can send invoices, receipts and reminders directly from your phone to clients. Convenience is key when it comes to quickbooks accounting. 

APPLICATION INTEGRATIONS

Quickbooks application integration makes it easy to run your business. They have a powerhouse full of free and paid integrations to make managing your business effortless. View their Quickbook Apps Store to see the wide range of applications available.

Sage Accounting Software

Sage Accounting was originally launched in 1981. Since then they have become a robust, cloud-based accounting software. In the last few years, Sage Accounting has become notorious for being more in-depth and therefore, more difficult to set up and use than some of the other accounting software available on the market in 2022. Let’s look at Sage in a bit more detail: 

Sage Accounting Pricing

Sage accounting has three plans starting from £12.00 a month for sole traders and freelancers, to £33.00 a month for well established and small businesses. 

Accounting Start

£12/mo. +VAT
  • Create and send invoices
  • Track what you’re owed
  •  Automatic bank reconciliation
  • Calculate and submit VAT
  • Be Making Tax Digital
  • Ready for VAT
  • Supports one user

Accounting Standard

£26/mo. +VAT

  • Create and send invoices
  • Track what you’re owed
  •  Automatic bank reconciliation
  • Calculate and submit VAT
  • Be Making Tax Digital
  • Ready for VAT
  • Supports unlimited users
  • Manage and submit CIS
  • Run advanced reports
  • Send quotes and estimates
  • Forecast cash flow
  • Manage purchase invoices
  • Snap receipts with AutoEntry, 3 months free(2)

Accounting Plus

£33/mo. +VAT

  • Create and send invoices
  • Track what you’re owed
  •  Automatic bank reconciliation
  • Calculate and submit VAT
  • Be Making Tax Digital
  • Ready for VAT
  • Supports unlimited users
  • Manage and submit CIS
  • Run advanced reports
  • Send quotes and estimates
  • Forecast cash flow
  • Manage purchase invoices
  • Snap receipts with AutoEntry, 3 months free(2)
  • Multi-currency banking and invoicing
  • Manage inventory

SAGE ONE NOTABLE FEATURES

As previously mentioned, Sage Accounting is more complicated than other accounting software, however, it is more robust as well. It boasts with a long list of features including: 

UNLIMITED USERS

With Sage Accounting the standard and Accounting Plus plan comes with unlimited users. That means you can give multiple employees or external accountants access to see your financials and record transactions if needed.

XERO Accounting Software

XERO Accounting Software launched in 2006 with the goal to help more complex small businesses and larger corporations. Since then they have become a staple in the software accounting market with frequent additions. 

XERO Pricing

XERO accounting has four plans starting from £14.00 a month for sole traders and freelancers, to £36.00 a month for well established businesses all over the United Kingdom.

Starter

£28 GBP per month
  • Send quotes and 20 invoices
  • Enter 5 bills
  • Reconcile bank transactions
  • Submit VAT returns to HMRC
  • Capture bills and receipts with Hubdoc
  • Automatic CIS calculations and reports
  • Short-term cash flow and business snapshot

Standard

£14 GBP per month

  • Send invoices and quotes
  • Enter bills
  • Reconcile bank transactions
  • Submit VAT returns to HMRC
  • Capture bills and receipts with Hubdoc
  • Automatic CIS calculations and reports
  • Bulk reconcile transactions
  • Short-term cash flow and business snapshot

Premium

£36 GBP per month

  • Send invoices and quotes
  • Enter bills
  • Reconcile bank transactions
  • Submit VAT returns to HMRC
  • Capture bills and receipts with Hubdoc
  • Automatic CIS calculations and reports
  • Bulk reconcile transactions
  • Use multiple currencies
  • Short-term cash flow and business snapshot

Ultimate

£49 GBP per month

  • Everything from Premium
  • Payroll for up to 10 people
  • Expenses for up to 5 people
  • Projects for up to 5 people
  • Advanced insights with Analytics Plus

XERO NOTABLE FEATURES

Xero accounting software is exactly what you need if you’re running a small business in the UK. 

USER FRIENDLY

It has all of the most important features that a small business needs, but stays basic enough to be user-friendly. This means even people with very limited accounting knowledge can use the system. 

UNLIMITED USERS

XERO offers unlimited users for the accounting software. This means that you can give access to those who need it in the business.

Accounting Software Pricing
Comparison of different plans and pricing each software company offers.

Zoho Bookkeeping and Accounting Software

Zoho Pricing

Sage accounting has three plans starting from £12.00 a month for sole traders and freelancers, to £33.00 a month for well established and small businesses.

fREE

£0 per month
  • 20 Subscriptions
  • Limited to 20 Customers or 20 subscriptions – whichever is higher.(You can have multiple subscriptions per customer.)
  • 1 User
  • Hosted payment pages
  • Create secure, PCI-compliant payment pages effortlessly.
  •  Multi-currency support
  • Bill customers in their local currency
  • Integrated with Stripe
  • Offline payments
  • Record cash payments in any currency.
  • Client self-service portal
  • Subscription metrics
  • Access over 40 essential business reports.
  •  24/5 Email support

Basic

£39 per month

  • 500 Customers
  • 3 Users
  • 3 Automated Workflows/Module
  • Hosted payment pages
  • Create secure, PCI-compliant payment pages effortlessly.
  • Multi-currency support
  • Bill customers in their local currency.
  • Dunning for automatic payments
  • Send payment reminders & retry failed transactions to reduce involuntary churn.
  • Multiple payment gateways
  • Enable your customers to pay with their preferred payment gateway.
  • Offline payments
  • Record cash payments in any currency.
  • Client self-service portal
  • REST API & Webhooks
  • Subscription metrics
  • Access over 40 essential business reports.
  •  24/5 Email and Phone support

Standard

£79 per month

  • 2000 Customers
  • 5 Users
  • 10 Automated Workflows/Module
  • Hosted payment pages
  • Create secure, PCI-compliant payment pages effortlessly.
  • Multi-currency support
  • Bill customers in their local currency.
  • Dunning for automatic payments
  • Send payment reminders & retry failed transactions to reduce involuntary churn.
  • Multiple payment gateways
  • Enable your customers to pay with their preferred payment gateway.
  • Offline payments
  • Record cash payments in any currency.
  • Client self-service portal
  • REST API & Webhooks
  • Subscription metrics
  • Access over 40 essential business reports.
  • Web tabs
  • Embed web pages and applications to access them right from Zoho Subscriptions.
  •  Customer portal single sign-on
  • Log in effortlessly using your preferred identity provider.
  • Domain branding
  • Use your domain names for customer portals and payment pages.
  • Custom buttons
  • Use custom buttons to trigger a predetermined set of actions.
  • 24/5 Email and Phone support

Professional

£199 per month

  • 5000 Customers
  • 10 Users
  • 10 Automated Workflows/Module
  • Hosted payment pages
  • Create secure, PCI-compliant payment pages effortlessly.
  • Multi-currency support
  • Bill customers in their local currency.
  • Dunning for automatic payments
  • Send payment reminders & retry failed transactions to reduce involuntary churn.
  • Multiple payment gateways
  • Enable your customers to pay with their preferred payment gateway.
  • Offline payments
  • Record cash payments in any currency.
  • Client self-service portal
  • REST API & Webhooks
  • Subscription metrics
  • Access over 40 essential business reports.
  • Web tabs
  • Embed web pages and applications to access them right from Zoho Subscriptions.
  •  Customer portal single sign-on
  • Log in effortlessly using your preferred identity provider.
  • Domain branding
  • Use your domain names for customer portals and payment pages.
  • Custom buttons
  • Use custom buttons to trigger a predetermined set of actions.
  • Custom Schedulers
  • Schedule your frequent tasks to be executed automatically.
  • Twilio integration
  • 24/5 Email and Phone support

ZOHO NOTABLE FEATURES

Zoho is a powerful system with a ton of additional features that can be added including but not limited to: 

ZOHO CRM (LEADS ACQUISITION AND CONVERSION)

Zoho’s CRM feature allows you to accurately track, convert and stay up to date with business analytics. It offers flexibility for small and large businesses to create a seamless sales process for sales staff. 

ZOHO CAMPAIGNS (EMAIL MARKETING)

Another perk of Zoho is the dynamic email campaign module. This allows you to create multiple automation emails, once-off update emails and an unlimited number of mailing lists. While it can be slightly challenging, you can integrate your Zoho CRM and Zoho Campaigns to automatically start sending emails to potential customers by using the tags system. 

INTEGRATION WITH OTHER PLATFORMS

Last but not least is the platform’s ability to track where leads are coming from, whether it is from Google Ads, Facebook, your website etc. It is much more than an accounting and bookkeeping system. The system is built to b a one-stop solution for all SME needs. 

Crunch Online Accounting Software

Crunch is quickly making its way as one of the most-used free accounting platforms in the UK since Wave Accounting became obsolete in the United Kingdom.

Crunch Pricing

Crunch accounting has three plans starting from £0 a month for sole traders and freelancers, to £121.50 a month for well established and small businesses.

Crunch Free

£0 per month
  •  Invoicing
  • Expenses
  • Banking
  • Tax
  • Support

Limited Company Pro

£79.50 + VAT per month
  • Great for new ltd companies
  • Perfect for over £35K earners
  • Includes company formation

Limited Company Premium

£121.50 + VAT per month

  • Includes accountancy health check
  • Perfect for over £35K earners
  • Includes 2x Self Assessments

Small Business

£159.50 + VAT per month

  • Payroll for up to 15 employees
  • Bookkeeping and dedicated accountant
  • Includes 2x Self Assessments

Crunch Notable Features

Crunch is ideal for small businesses that do not need advanced accounting software. 

Ideal for Small Businesses & Sole Traders

Crunch allows you to customise your plans with add-ons which is ideal for companies that are just starting out. It allows you to add services as and when you need them.

FRESHBOOKS

Freshbooks hit the accounting market around 19 years ago and they are still going strong! 

Freshbooks Pricing

Sage accounting has three plans starting from £11.00 a month for sole traders and freelancers, to £30.00 a month for well established and small businesses. 

Lite

£11 per month
  • Send unlimited invoices to up to 5 clients
  • Track unlimited expenses
  • Send unlimited estimates
  • Get paid with credit cards and Direct Debit
  • Track sales tax & see reports
  • Access anywhere on iOS and Android
  • VAT return filing for HMRC Making Tax Digital
  •  

Plus

£19 per month
  • Send unlimited invoices to up to 50 clients
  • Automatically track expenses
  • Automatically capture receipt data
  • Send unlimited estimates and proposals
  • Get paid with credit cards and Direct Debit
  • Set up recurring billing and client retainers
  • Run business health reports
  • Double-entry accounting reports
  • Invite your accountant
  • Access anywhere on iOS and Android
  • Mobile mileage tracking
  • VAT return filing for HMRC Making Tax Digital

Premium

£30 per month

  • Send unlimited invoices to an unlimited amount of clients
  • Track Bills, Bill Payments & Vendors with Accounts Payable
  • Track project profitability
  • Customize email templates with dynamic fields
  • Customize email signatures
  • Automatically track expenses
  • Automatically capture bills and receipt data
  • Automatically send late payment reminders and bill late fees
  • Send unlimited estimates and proposals
  • Get paid with credit cards and Direct Debit
  • Get paid with checkout links
  • Set up recurring billing and client retainers
  • Run business health reports
  • Run financial and accounting reports
  • Invite your accountant
  • Access anywhere on iOS and Android
  • Mobile mileage tracking
  • VAT return filing for HMRC Making Tax Digital

Freshbooks Notable Features

Freshbooks has some powerful email automation systems in place to help business owners get paid. Another perk with Freshbooks is that your accounting software grows with the business with optional add-ons. Some of the other notable features include: 

Unlimited Billable Clients 

Freshbooks has unlimited billable clients on their Premium plan. This is fantastic for businesses planning on growing infinitely in the future. 

Add Team Members for Fee

While most accounting software limit the number of users, freshbooks has taken a unique path. They allow you to add users (including your accountant) as and when needed for an additional fee (currently £7.00) per person, per month.

Need Assistance with your accounting needs?


Do I need an Accountant or a Bookkeeper?

Accountant or Bookkeeper: What do I need?

Differences between Accountants and Bookkeepers

In this article we will explore the difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper. Know which one you are looking for and what each can contribute to your business. Let’s jump right into it: 

Protected Terms in The United Kingdom

A protected term in the United Kingdom is a term that may legally only be used by professionals with relevant experience and qualifications. In the UK, the terms accountant and bookkeeper are not protected terms. Therefore, it is up to you as a consumer to ensure that your accountant or bookkeeper has the qualifications and experience you are looking for. 

Accountant

Accountants can be an in-house employee or the accounting duties can be outsourced to UK based companies. Let’s take a deep dive into what an accountant is and what accountants do.

What Does an Accountant Do? 

An accountant, otherwise known as a chartered accountant, is responsible for providing trustworthy and sound advice to business owners and individuals about their financial well being. Some of the day to day duties of an accountant are listed below: 

  • Audit accounts 
  • Detailed Financial reporting 
  • Detailed Financial Analysis (Examples: Actual vs Budget, Actual vs Forecast or like for like period analysis)
  • Tax planning and advising
  • Financial Risk Assessment 
  • Business Recovery and Insolvency
  • Manage accounting systems and processes

Note that this is a basic overview of some of the functions that an Accountant can perform. However, some accountants may have additional experience and qualifications. This may expand their capabilities and expertise to other areas in addition to accounting. 

Furthermore, there are a few different types of accountants. 

Types of Accountants

In the UK accountancy can be subdivided into four different sectors: 

  • Corporate Accounting

In corporate accounting the accountant’s main function is to keep the business financials up to date and in line with current legislation. This financial data is most often used for external reporting as well as tax compliance. A corporate accountant’s duties may also include an in-depth analysis of the financials and advising corporates to make informed decisions. 

Public accountants work with external clients. This can include individuals, corporations or small companies. In essence, any agency that takes on accounting clients can be considered a public accountant. Due to having a wide variety of clients, public accountants are usually flexible and are up-to-date with all current legislation regardless of whether they are working with individuals, small businesses or corporations. 

  • Government Accounting

Accountants employed in the UK government work within the different governmental spheres namely local, state, or federal government agencies. Governmental accountants usually have a higher vetting process due to the nature of the data that they work with. Some governmental data may be confidential. 

  • Forensic accounting

Forensic accountants can be seen as the investigators of the financial sector. Their main duties are to collect, recover, and reconstruct financial data when it is difficult or impossible to obtain. Forensic accountants can work within the corporate, public or governmental spheres to assist in identifying commercial crimes like fraud, corruption and money laundering. 

What Qualifications Does an Accountant have? 

As previously mentioned, the term accountant is not a protected term. So how do you know whether your accountant is certified and capable of their duties? 

Check their membership with regulatory bodies such as: 

It is not a requirement to belong to a regulatory body in order to practise as an accountant in the UK. However, it is strongly advised that you ask about an accountant’s membership with any one of the UK’s regulatory boards.

Most of the regulatory boards have requirements for qualifications and experience to register with them. The goal is to uphold industry standards.

Difference Between Accountant and Bookkeeper

Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers are usually employed in-house providing accurate, up-to-date financial information about a business. 

What Does a Bookkeeper Do? 

They are hands-on when it comes to the day to day affairs of the business. Some of their daily duties include: 

 

  • Recording financial transactions
  • Handling accounts payable and receivable
  • Completing tax forms
  • Handling client invoices by recording and approving or denying the payments
  • Appropriately coding payables to prepare them for the accountant’s input later
  • Distributing money appropriately to various departments within the company
  • Invoicing deliveries and paying vendors for their goods and services
  • Maintaining office supplies by keeping an inventory and ordering new supplies as needed
  • Monitoring debt levels and ensuring compliance with debt covenants
  • Recording cash receipts and handling bank deposits
  • Maintaining petty cash
  • Preparing information for auditors
  • Keeping an annual company budget
  • Preparing purchase orders in accordance with requests for materials
  • Handling subsidiary accounts
  • Filing historical records and retrieving necessary documents as needed for others
  • Managing profit and loss statements and balance sheets
  • Paying regular bills for the company
  • Maintaining company ledgers
  • Researching and complying with federal, state, and local requirements as they pertain to the company’s operations and financial activities

 

All of these duties are expected from a bookkeeper, however, companies may require a bookkeeper to have additional administrative functions in the business. 

What Qualifications Does a Bookkeeper have? 

Bookkeepers are not required by law to have a professional qualification. However, a good indication of a bookkeeper’s expertise is their membership with regulatory bodies such as: 

 

  • The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
  • Institute of Chartered Bookkeepers (ICB)

 

Accountant vs. Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers are hands-on in creating financial statements and handling the day-to-day activities of the business. It is their duty to ensure that all financial statements are organised and ready for any external reporting like taxation. 

 

However, an accountant has a more in-depth view of the business’ financial well-being. An accountant is able to create detailed reports and analysis on where the business is doing well, where it can do better and identify financial risks moving forward. Furthermore, accountants can offer valuable insight into financial forecasts and comparing fiscal year records to identify areas for improvement within the company. 

 

Can a Bookkeeper be an Accountant

Technically speaking, a bookkeeper cannot be an accountant, but an accountant can perform the duties of a bookkeeper. Imagine a bookkeeper as being the first step toward being an accountant. Being an accountant you need to have a thorough grasp of all the functions of a bookkeeper, however, as an accountant you take it one step further to do in depth analysis. 

 

Now that you have this information, you can go out there and make an informed decision on whether you are currently looking for an accountant or a bookkeeper. 

 

If you are looking for a UK based accountancy firm, you can contact CIGMA accounting for all your accounting needs

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