With Christmas just around the corner we thought we’d enter into the festive spirit with the 12 tax saving tools of Christmas, no pear trees involved. Some of these you might already do and some may not be applicable but if you’re not sure or think that something could be for you then drop us a line. Our office will be closed from Friday 23rd December to Wednesday 4th January but we’ll still be picking up urgent emails and will respond to everything else on our return.
1 – Quickbooks – https://www.quickbooks.co.uk/
If there was only going to be one thing on this list, it’d be this. At TaxKings, we’ve partnered with QuickBooks Online, one of the leading cloud accounting software providers in the UK. We also work with Kashflow, Xero, FreeAgent and all the rest. From 2020 all businesses (sole traders and limited companies) will be required by HMRC to keep their records online and in the cloud, so why wait?
Cloud accounting allows you to create, send and reconcile your invoices, expenses and bank accounts all in the same place. It can be done from your phone, tablet or laptop and you can log in anywhere. Better again is that we can log in too so no crossover of spreadsheets or saved files; information is available at the click of a button allowing us to better help you run your business.
2 – Receipt Bank – http://www.receipt-bank.com/
Receipt Bank is a great tool for businesses with a lot of expenses. Who wants to be sitting entering receipts into a spreadsheet or bookkeeping system manually? Receipt Bank allows you to snap a photo with your phone or tablet and the clever little algorithms extract what you spent, where you spent it and guesses what category of expense it is – it’s like magic!
3 – DropBox – https://www.dropbox.com/home
Some of our clients don’t make their own invoices (self-billing) and don’t have enough expenses to justify Receipt Bank so DropBox is an excellent middle ground. Rather than clogging up individual inboxes with their payslips and receipts we give them a dedicated DropBox email address to send their paperwork to so that we can pick it up from there and ensure that nothing gets missed. Ideal for contractors or those on the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).
4 – Mileage Tracker – http://taxkings.co.uk/
There is a mileage tracker available on the TaxKings App (free on iOS and Android) which is invaluable to businesses who do a lot of travel. We would never recommend buying a car through a company as claiming mileage is by far the most tax efficient way to run a vehicle for business (with the exception of vans). This clever little tool allows you to press start and stop on your journeys and export the results to excel and ping them straight over to us for your accounts, much easier than having to remember where you’ve been and when!
5 – Landlord Vision – http://www.landlordvision.co.uk/
Landlords tend to be left out when you read these lists, so here’s one for you. Landlord Vision is an online bookkeeping and organisational tool for those who rent out property. It’s designed by landlords, for landlords and helps you keep track of not only your income and expenses but important dates like tenancy renewals and gas safety checks. What’s even better is that it’s free for up to 3 properties!
6 – You Can Book Me – https://youcanbook.me/
This online booking system is a great addition to any business running by appointments. No more clients calling or emailing to ask when you’re available, it’s right there for everyone to see. It integrates with most calendars too so if you block out time on one, it blocks it out on the other and your appointment information is updated in real time.
The paid version ($7/month) includes some great features like text reminders and allowing the client to pick what service they want (perfect for salons!) and how long the appointment is for but the free version is ideal for professionals who have standard meeting times.
7 – Slack – https://slack.com/
We love Slack at TaxKings. It’s an internal messaging tool which works on a ‘channel’ system allowing staff to collaborate on a project or send files back and forth. It has functions to pin important messages, set reminders for later and ‘star’ channels that you want to go back to. There’s also a private messaging function and channels can be made private, too, for more sensitive matters. The basic service is free and for any business with employees, we’d highly recommend it.
8 – Todoist – https://todoist.com/
Another one that works for businesses with employees but this also works great for individuals. Everyone has a to-do list, I know I’d be lost without mine, but Todoist integrates with Google Chrome to allow your to-do list to be with you at all times. There’s a collaboration aspect too, allowing you to share lists and allocate tasks to each other as well as giving updates to all involved when tasks are ticked off. For those of you who would miss the satisfaction, it even puts a line through the task when you tick it off!
9 – GoCardless – https://gocardless.com/
Gone are the days when only big businesses could take Direct Debits. GoCardless allows any business to sign up clients on a Direct Debit scheme rather than the traditional Standing Order. Direct Debit gives you, the business owner, more control of the money that you’re bringing in and affords your client all of the protections of the Direct Debit Guarantee.
GoCardless is a great tool. You can take one off Direct Debits or have them recurring on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. Plans can be set up for your most commonly used values or amounts can be allocated to individuals. The system integrates with most online bookkeeping systems, too, which makes bookkeeping that little bit less of a hassle.
10 – Stripe – https://stripe.com/gb
Along the same lines as GoCardless, Stripe is an excellent tool for leveling the playing field between big and small businesses. Traditionally if you wanted to take card payments you’d need a chip and pin machine which would mean paying a rental fee to a company and either a high monthly fee or a big percentage of your takings across to them.
Stripe lets you take online/telephone card payments with ease. There’s no machine required, just type in the details from the card and you’re off. Their fees are on a pay-as-you-go basis and are less than 1.5% of the payments that you take which is a fair trade for the convenience of taking card payments in our eyes.
11 – Capsule – https://capsulecrm.com/
We’ve tried many different CRM systems to try and find something that fits for us and Capsule is by far the best. As a small business, you have to keep track of your client list but don’t need all the bells and whistles offered by some other systems. Capsule allows you to keep all of the basic contact information that you’d expect but also add custom fields for information more industry or business specific and the Tasks feature allows you to create singular or recurring tasks, assign them to team members and add notes.
12 – An Accountant!
Okay, so a bit different from the rest but a good accountant can be the ultimate time saver for your business. A successful business relationship allows us to handle the tax and HMRC obligations and allows you to concentrate on what you do best; running your business. All of the tools above are just supplementary to good advice – they’re not much use if you don’t know what to do with the output! Remember, your accountant shouldn’t be a cost in the traditional sense, a good one will save you much more than they cost.