Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
What value does Bluebell bring to my small business?
Outsourcing your admin and bookkeeping means that you have extra time to focus on growing your business, spending time with your clients and generating additional revenue. You may spend hours sorting out your admin, payments and receipts, bank reconciliations and VAT returns. What could you do with that extra time if you were to outsource to somebody who could probably do it in less time? This is one way of increasing your hourly profit rate as you can concentrate on what you do well. Between 60 and 120 days per year are spent on admin alone by small businesses- what could you do with that extra time?
What happens if I have thrown receipts etc away?
If you have mislaid a receipt we can still enter it as an expense, it simply means that if you are VAT registered we cannot claim back the VAT element. But we would advise using an app such as Auto Entry or Dext which allows you to take a photo on your smartphone and upload it straight away, allowing you to just throw the paper copy away. Easy!
Bluebell can also help with getting your money into the bank. Did you know that 1/3 of payments to SME’s are late? We are experienced in credit control and purchase ledger and can help you to implement systems for better cashflow.
What does MTD mean and how does it affect me?
MTD means Making Tax Digital and is HMRC’s way of modernising the tax system by making it easier for customers to ‘get it right’. It means that all businesses will eventually be required to keep their financial records digitally. All VAT registered businesses will need to be MTD compliant by April 2022, followed by all self-employed and landlords with a turnover of more than £10,000 being compliant by April 2023. As of March 2021, 11% of businesses required to be MTD compliant still have not registered- please do not be in that percentage when the time comes!
In addition to this HMRC are introducing the ITSA or Income Tax Self Assessment which means that Self Assessment records will be submitted quarterly with a final Year End Submission. Corporation Tax Returns will also need to be submitted via MTD.
How can it work remotely?
Quite easily! Most accounts packages are cloud-based solutions so it is easy to log in from anywhere! There are also many secure document transfer solutions to get the information to your bookkeeper, accountant or virtual assistant.
We work with packages such as Auto Entry and Dext so you can take a photo of a receipt on your smartphone and upload it straight into the accounts system saving you so much time and meaning that you don’t have a carrier bag or glove compartment full of receipts! Once it’s uploaded you can just throw the paper copy away!
Do I still need an accountant? Do you recommend one?
Many people do not realise the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant. A bookkeeper will deal with the daily financial transactions of a business, whereas an accountant deals more with the financial information drawn from these transactions and reports, to advise clients and plan for the future. If you would like a better idea of your cashflow and to understand your position more regularly with Balance sheets, Profit and Loss reports and other reports then a bookkeeper can help you with this.
Many bookkeepers and accountants do offer a full service but at Bluebell we prefer to concentrate on the daily transactions and let the accountants deal with the year end and tax submissions as they are better placed for tax and financial advice. We do like to work closely with your accountant and have many that we can recommend for you to connect with if you need a new accountant.
How does it work? What is needed from the client?
We are happy to work remotely and so all that is needed for bookkeeping is a log-in to your system (if signed up to an accounts package), an idea of how the business works and then the paperwork ie bank statements, invoices, receipts etc. Bluebell can take it from there. We can also get you set up on an accounts package if you currently do not have one. There may be queries that we need to ask you about but this can be done via email, call, message or whatever works best for you, and at whatever interval work best for you- weekly or monthly- this generally depends on how often bank statements are received.
Admin jobs can be discussed as they are generally ad-hoc but we do like to have a good understanding of what is required. We do carry out AML (Anti-Money Laundering) checks as part of our onboarding process.
What tool should I use for bookkeeping?
There are many accounts packages currently on the market and some of them claim to do it all for you. This simply isn’t true as transactions need to be checked for dates, amounts and that they are in the right place. Which nominal code they go under and is the VAT correct? You need somebody to regularly check that it is all correct otherwise the books will be in a mess at year end and the accountant won’t be too pleased.
It is worth noting that Bluebell Admin Services are Sage, Xero and FreeAgent Certified Partners and get cheaper subscription rates if a package is taken through us. We can advise on which one we think will work best but you can trial them to see which suits your business best, as different packages suit different people and businesses.
How to outsource effectively for control freaks
I hear you, I’m a control freak too! If you hate delegating the best way to find somebody to outsource to is to invest the time getting to know them and allowing them to know how you like to work and what works best for you. This could be done by online zoom calls, telephone calls, emails, meeting for a tea or coffee etc. It will take the person that you instruct a little time to get to know how you work so I would recommend that you start looking to outsource when you are at 80% capacity so that you still have the time to invest in them. Communication is definitely the key here!
How much does it cost? How much time is needed?
Initially we work on an hourly price until we can ascertain how long the work takes each month. We are then more than happy to discuss a fixed monthly price or retainer package to ensure that you have the amount of time required each month which can be accumulated for following months (per quarter). It mostly depends on how many transactions there are each month as to how long it takes but if you engage somebody who knows their service it will probably take them less time than you, giving you the time to do what you do well.
Who will complete my work?, How will you know what to invoice?
The majority of the work (admin and bookkeeping) is done by myself, Claire, but we may occasionally sub-contract work out. Our websites are done by Wayne and we also have contacts who we can engage for more professional social media management, telephone answering service, HR advice plus much more! If you need something else then get in touch to see who we know that can help! The majority of clients choose to invoice their customers themselves as they know what to enter on the sales invoice and which products have been sold. They also choose to pay suppliers directly, although we are happy to advise when payments are due and set up reminders.