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Useful Info

HMRC

The HMRC website is a valuable source of information but it can be a bit too technical at times. The best way to search it is through Google. Beware of using a picture of their logo like I did because they don't like it.

Companies House

The Companies House website is a really useful source of information on all companies. The information can be downloaded but you usually have to pay for it.

Comcar

Comcar is great if you want to work out car and fuel benefits.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is what's called a peer to peer lender where businesses can by-pass the banks and borrow from other businesses or from individuals. It's worth a look.

Aldermore

Aldermore are one of the challenger banks and seem to be the only bank offering decent rates of interest on business deposits (though there may be others I haven't found yet). I have clients with large cash balances who seem happy to invest them for only 0.3% interest with the High Street banks. Bonkers.

Northumberland Business Services

NBSL are a business support agency covering the whole of the North East and provide grant support and advice. It's going to end in June so get in now before it's too late!

North East Access to Finance

If you want to know about sources of funding including grants then this is a good place to start. Most of the funds are not suitable for very small businesses but there are still a few good ones like the Micro Loan Fund which provides loans of up to £25,000.

BBC Weather

Never get caught in the rain again. (Futers Accountancy cannot accept any responsibility for people caught in the rain after looking at the BBC Weather website).

accountingweb

accountingweb is a cracking website if you are having 'technical difficulties'. Such is the nature of accountancy that there never seems to be a definitive answer to the problems that are submitted. Well done to the various people who proffer answers and opinions.

Paying HMRC

Despite chasing us constantly for money, HMRC don't actually make it very easy to pay them and I spend quite a bit of time advising clients how to pay and where to pay it to. This website is organised jointly by Santander and HMRC and (so I am told) makes the payment process much easier

Ex-gratia payments

If you terminate the employment of an employee and the termination is not in accordance with their contract then you can make an ex-gratia payment of up to £30k on which the employ will pay no tax. Of course, most of the time you will want to terminate someone's employment in accordance with the notice terms specified in their contract. Anyway, here is a link to a useful website dealing which provides a good summary of the ins and outs of ex-gratia payments....

Excel tutorial

If you feel that one of your essential lifeskills - using Microsoft Excel - is underdeveloped then this is a very good source of tuition. The course takes you step by step through Excel and gradually builds up from the basics like how to turn on your computer (just kidding about that) to more complicated techniques. Excel can save you hours but sadly many people use it like a glorified notepad and make no use of the functions.

Auto-enrolment

Auto-enrolment? What's that, you ask. Well it's the government making all businesses that employ someone enrol them in a pension scheme. Many businesses seem blissfully unaware of this and it's going to hit them like a train sometime next year. So you need to act now - even if only to confirm that it doesn't apply to you (which if you're a one man band it probably doesn't). So the first thing to do (after running around the room screaming) is to find out what the deadline is. This is known as the 'staging date'. To find out your staging date you need to go into the Pension Regulator website and enter your PAYE reference (not the Accounts Office Reference). Get a move on!

Business funding

This is an excellent site if you want a quick overview of the various pots of business funding money. It shows a description of the funds and who to contact. Useful stuff.

Flat rate VAT

Flat rate VAT causes confusion. It's supposed to be easy to operate but it's not easy to know whether to do it in the first place. A key factor in the decision is the rate that HMRC allow you to apply. Here's a link to the definitive list.

People with Significant Control

In order to create greater transparency in the ownership of companies and to reduce opportunites for money laundering, between now and the end of April 2016 all companies and LLPs must keep a register of individuals who have significant control over the business. This is defined having more than 25% of the shares or voting rights or being able to exercise signicant influence or control over the business. The information in the register will have to be notified to Companies House as part of a confirmation statement which replaces the current Annual Return from June 2016.

Gantt charts

A client has recently asked me how to create a Gantt chart in Excel. A Gantt chart, as I am sure you all know, is the type of chart used in project planning where activities are planned over time. Seemingly Excel is a bit cumbersome for this purpose and hardened project planners may use something called Smartsheet. Here's a link to the Smartsheet website where they explain how to do it in Excel and how much quicker it is using Smartsheet. Your choice.

Companies Limited by Guarantee

CLG's - to give them their funky acronym - are often used by organisations who want the benefits of being a limited company but want their funders and customers to see that they don't exist primarily to make a profit. Any profits made stay in the CLG and are not paid out in dividends. I have a CLG client (a provider of educational services to under privileged children) who decided to go one step further and turn their CLG into a Community Interest Company (or CIC). these are a half way house to a charity and funders like them even more. Here's a link to a very informative article on Accountingweb

Community Interest Companies

Otherwise known as CIC's. These things are important, I know, but - let's be honest - not very exciting. (Maybe I shouldn't have become an accountant if it was excitement I was after). Anyway, a Mr Tom Pratt has written this excellent article explaining the whys and wherefores of CICs. Be careful when submitting accounts to Companies House: get the name right and send in a CIC34 as well.

UK Business Forums

This site is good for general queries and usually comes up if you type your query straight into Google (or any other decent search engine)

PAYE tax codes 2016-17

The introduction of the dividend tax is imminent and in preparation (and to make sure they get their hands on your money as soon as possible) HMRC are adjusting the tax codes of directors who get paid mostly in dividends - just in case you were wondering why your tax code had plummeted. Click on the heading to read more .....

Forex

Peer to peer forex traders claim to be able to reduce your foreign currency transaction costs by cutting out the middle man. There are several of these companies. Transferwise is an example.

Finding places

What 3 Words is an app that divides the entire world up into 3m squares and gives each square a name consisting of three random words. This means the systems is much more accurate than postcodes.

Keeping useful stuff that you see on the internet

If you often see things on the internet that you find interesting and want to be able to refer to them later try using an app called Pocket. It's dead easy to use.

Mobile phone costs

It's amazing how much people will spend on mobile phones. In fact, some people seem to regard a high monthly mobile phone bill as a badge of honour; proof that they have 'arrived'. Here's a link to a site to help you control your spend on mobile phones. You can also try www.moneysavingexpert.com/mobiles

Network Security

If you've ever wondered if unauthorised people are using your wifi network this could be the answer.....