Following on from my article last week about finding the right bookkeeper for you this article will give you more insight on the bookkeeping services we offer to our clients. 

Bookkeeping is more than just recording income and expenses.  If it was I think we would be bored by now! What we love is working with is the variety of the work we do and the different businesses we work with.  It is so interesting to find out what people do, how they got into it, the skills and knowledge they have. It makes bookkeeping interesting and provides us with all sorts of challenges.  

One of the things I like best about being a bookkeeper is seeing the business develop.  It is rewarding being able to talk over the business ups and downs with the owner, providing them with relevant information, pointing them in the direction of others when they need help I can't give and helping them understand what they need to do.  It can be lonely being a business owner and it often helps to talk and work things through with someone else who understands.  

As businesses grow their bookkeeping moves from fairly basic recording of income and expenditure to finding the best way of taking payments, analysing sales and understanding the VAT implications.  Purchases require tight management of cash flow in some businesses particularly where stock and large assets need to be purchased and loan payments have to be made on time.

For a few businesses we raise and send sales invoices to their customers but most do this themselves.  For retail businesses we record their daily or weekly takings and for online sales we have to record sales from various parts of the world (and the VAT complications that go with that!).

But probably one of our most important roles is reconciliation.  The term "reconciliation" is used a lot in bookkeeping and accounting and, put simply, means "agreeing the transactions".  A bank reconciliation is about agreeing the transactions on the bank statement with the bank transactions you have entered into your accounts and if the balances don't agree a bookkeeper will identify the reason/s why.

Reconciliation also applies to other areas of the accounts such as the debtors (the customers who owe you), the creditors (the suppliers you owe), the PAYE account (the amount that is due to HMRC and what you have paid them), the net wages account (ensuring that you have paid all your staff what is due to them and not over or under paid any), the pension liability account, the VAT account (ensuring you have paid the due amount on time or received the refund that you are owed).  Every section of the accounts needs to be checked and agreed (reconciled) and this is one of the tasks a bookkeeper will do.

We work with the majority of our customers on a monthly basis providing them with up to date and useful information on their business finances.  We submit VAT returns monthly for some businesses and quarterly for others and we ensure everything is reconciled and up to date on an ongoing basis.  When it comes to the end of the company's financial year the accounts are reviewed by another bookkeeper who will check the accounts are "tidy" and review the accounts as a whole.  Once both bookkeeper and reviewer are happy the accounts are sent to the client's accountant.

We are not accountants.  We choose not to do tax returns although many bookkeepers will.  We are bookkeepers because we like to work with our clients on a regular and frequent basis.  We like to become involved in the business and build a good working relationship. As bookkeepers our role is to prepare accurate yearly accounts to pass to an accountant who will use our figures to produce a self assessment tax return or statutory accounts for submission to Companies House.  Accountants have the experience and knowledge to give you advice on tax and other matters which we are not qualified to do.

At the end of every month at least one of our customers will have ended their financial year with the majority being in March or December.  We aim to have the accounts completed within 2-6 weeks of the year end which is easy enough when the accounts are kept up to date (not so easy if we don't receive the information we need though).

Whatever stage your business is at a bookkeeper can help you.  Its what we love doing.  So if you have a business which could do with having more up to date accounts, better financial processes and up to date reports give us a call to see how we can help you.