Self Employed Accounting and the Self Assessment Tax Return

Accounting Software for the self employed businessman in the UK does not have to be complex. There are different requirements to double entry bookkeeping that anyone self employed may fulfil and Accounting Software available to satisfy those requirements. The most important requirement of any Accounting Software purchased by a self employed businessman being the automated production of the Self Assessment tax return.

In the UK anyone receiving earned income which is not taxed under the employers PAYE system is technically self employed. Anyone who is self employed and running a business in the UK must register that business with HM Revenue and Customs within 3 months of starting that self employed business and failure to do so can lead to penalty fines.

All self employed businesses must keep records of the financial transactions and submit these accounts annually to HM Revenue and Customs in the format of the self assessment tax return which are supplementary pages included in the self employed annual tax return.

Different standards for accounting by self employed business are applicable compared to the accounting requirements of a limited liability company and consequently much simpler Accounting Software can be applied. Accounting Systems for a limited company invariably requires a double entry system of accounting that produces not just a profit and loss account but also a balance sheet. The Accounting Software has to deal with business bank accounts, debtors and creditors and produce reconcilable results.

While advisable for self employed businesses to maintain a separate bank account it is not an essential requirement. The Accounting Software used by anyone self employed should keep accurate records of fixed assets although it is not essential that self employed accounts also produces a balance sheet. Accounting spreadsheets for the self employed can be much simpler and greatly advantageous if the bookkeeping also produces the numerous and sometimes onerous burden of HM Revenue and Customs tax returns and working papers.

 

Self Employed Accounting Requirements

Self Employed accounting does not have to be based on double entry bookkeeping. The bookkeeping can be a single entry system which makes the value of using accounting spreadsheets and the simplicity that offers, highly desirable being excel based and fast and easy to use, utilising all the benefits and advantages excel offers. Accounting spreadsheets are also highly visible at the click of a button. Accounting Software on a database hides the financial transactions that the Accounting Software has to query to retrieve the required information. It is this element of an Accounting Software database that often requires some technical accounting knowledge to operate efficiently. Accounting software written on excel templates to produce accounting spreadsheets is, due to its visibility, much easier to use and understand and requires little or no accounting experience.

Good financial records are a vital key to the success of any self employed business which a quality Accounting Software package can form an essential component of the business tools to identify potential problem areas and capitalise on success to drive the business forward.

Accounting Software and HM Revenue and Customs Returns

Different types of Accounting Software are available for the Self Employed and some of this software has been specifically designed to cater for the precise size and requirements of the self employed business. There are basic Accounting Software packages available for the self employed business that is not vat registered and have no employees. Standard Accounting Software packages for the self employed business that is vat registered. The vat threshold limit at which businesses are liable for vat is £61,000 up to April 2007 and subject to possible changes after that date. Advanced and more sophisticated Accounting Software for the self employed who also employ staff are available with integrated payroll software included in the Accounting Software packages.

The best Accounting Software will not only produce your self employed financial accounts but also produce the HM Revenue and Customs returns. Accounting Software that has automated the vat returns each quarter, Payroll Software that completes the time consuming P11 employee deductions working papers and simplifies the P60 year end certificates and P35 employers’ annual paye return. And most crucially Accounting Software that automates the Self Assessment tax return.

Accounting Software and Self Assessment Tax Returns

The Self Assessment tax return is a complex document for the initiated. It doesn’t have to be, for a small business with turnover under £15,000 the self assessment tax return can be completed by entering totals of self employed sales, expenses and net profit on page one. For larger self employed businesses more complex calculations are required. Capital Allowances, balancing charges, base periods and expense analysis are beyond many self employed. Self employed businessmen are experts in their field of operations and often require help with these accounting based elements that an accountant or Accounting Software can provide.

The best Accounting Software can take the simple lists of financial transactions and by clever use of formulae built into excel spreadsheets transform the year end experience by automating the production of the self assessment tax return. It isn’t impossible, if a calculation can be made mathematically then a quality Accounting Software package can automate the process using formulae within excel to produce the calculations and offer the Self Employed businessman an automated Self Assessment Tax Return.

A function that Accounting Software can do at a fraction of the price an accountant might charge for this service. Accounting Software for the Self Employed should produce the Self Assessment tax return as the end product. The Self Assessment tax return is the Self Employed end product of his financial endeavours and therefore the Self Assessment tax return has to be the end product of any quality Accounting Software.

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