Many people seized opportunities to start their own businesses after being furloughed. This has made for an exciting year and Get Ahead have been blown away by how quickly new entrepreneurs have taken up the reins. For many new businesses, 31st March 2021 will be their first ever year-end – time to time to get the accounts in order, balance the books and make sure you get what you’re entitled to. Even if you’re an established business it’s still good to have a reminder – while we may have adjusted our daily routines, it’s easy to lose track of long-term tasks during lockdown.

Submit your expenses

If you are VAT registered, you’ll have been collecting receipts for all your business expenses, from biros to broadband. This is so the VAT you have paid on all your expenses can be claimed back from the amount of VAT you pay to HMRC. Remember that it all adds up – you might be surprised by how much the VAT on using the car park is worth! Don’t forget you must keep the VAT receipt for your accounting records!

When you’re assembling your receipts, remember to include those from online shopping. Most of us are used to buying office supplies in person, popping into the stationers when we’re on our local high street. But covid has changed all of that. Check your online receipts too, and remember to factor in subscriptions to Office 365, your anti-virus package and any other software you use for work.

For some of us, an unusual expense for this financial year comes from homeworking. While you’ve been working from home, you will have used your household broadband connection, electricity, water, heating and more. Chances are that you’ve used more energy at home than you usually would, because lockdown stopped us from going out. Fortunately, you can claim you can claim a business use proportion of your household utilities. Give them to your accountant so he or she can calculate how much of it was used for work and how much for streaming box sets! 

Reconcile your invoices

If you have debtors, chase them now! Year-end gives you good reason to do so, which is very helpful if you ever feel uncomfortable chasing payments. Likewise, check your outgoings are up to date and you have paid all the invoices you have received.

Check your entitlements

There has been some government support for small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. These include deferring VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and providing grants and loans. In most cases, if you intend to apply for government support, you must do so before 31st March 2021. Full details can be found on the government website here.

Get ready for next year

If getting ready for year-end has been a headache this time, take it as a learning opportunity. Reconcile your bank statements every week – it’ll take ten minutes and make next year-end easier. Use an accounting programme like Xero or QuickBooks – most accountants are registered with one or the other and yours will be able to recommend the one they usually work with. By doing this, you’ll be in a stronger position for next year-end.

Outsource your bookkeeping

If finance isn’t your strong suit or you don’t have time to manage your own accounts, outsourcing could be the answer. The experienced bookkeepers and accountants at Get Ahead can work with you to keep everything running smoothly and make each year-end easier than the last. Our virtual assistants can issue invoices, reconcile bank transactions, add expense transactions and provide monthly debtor/creditor reports to keep you on track. Get in touch today on 01483 332 220 to find out more.

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