Your guide to knowing what expenses are taxable.

When carrying out your self-assessment, it’s hard to know what can be included as allowable expenses.

Contrary to popular belief, the government wants you to succeed in business and allows you to spend on certain items without paying taxes.

If you were in a muddle following your last self-assessment, our experts have compiled a list of items that may be included in your allowable expenses.

Types of tax-deductible items

In general, tax-deductible items will come under the following categories;

  • Travel
  • Office
  • Stock
  • Marketing
  • Legal & Financial

What are allowable expenses - Fuel Expenses

Travel Costs

Any business-related car or van use may be allowed. Things such as;

  • Vehicle insurance
  • Fuel
  • Hire charges
  • Repairs
  • Servicing and breakdown cover

You cannot claim these charges for general use, such as driving to and from work, but if your vehicle is genuinely used for work purposes, these allowances may be available for you.

It can be hard to calculate your use if your vehicle is used for both personal and business.

Under travel, you may also be able to claim for;

  1. Train
  2. Bus
  3. Plane
  4. Taxi
  5. Hotel rooms
  6. An evening meal during a business trip.

If you are taking a trip for personal and business, calculate how much is used for business and submit it as allowable expenses.

What are allowable expenses? - postage expenses

Office Costs

Many items can be listed under allowable expenses whether you work from premises or home.

It’s a little more complicated when you work from home, which we will explain later.

The types of things you can include are;

  • Stationary
  • Printing costs (including ink)
  • Postage

You can claim for equipment such as computers, printers and software, but this may have to be claimed under your capital allowance if you don’t use cash basis accounting.

With regards to premises, the following may be allowed:

  • Rent
  • Maintenance & Repair
  • Utility bills
  • Property insurance & security.

If you work from home, you may be able to claim a proportion of your utility bills, but you need to calculate what proportion is used for business and what is used personally.

What are allowable expenses? - stock expenses

Stock Costs

Your allowable expenses for stock may include;

  • Stock held
  • Raw materials
  • Costs incurred from producing goods

What are allowable expenses? - marketing expenses

Marketing Costs

Most businesses need to budget for marketing costs and account for this when it comes to allowable expenses. They may cover the following;

  • Newspaper adverts
  • Directory listings
  • Mailshots
  • Free samples
  • Website

You may also be able to claim for subscriptions.

An example of these would be:

  • Membership to trade bodies or professional membership organisations
  • Subscriptions to trade or professional journals

What are allowable expenses? - legal expenses

Legal & Financial Costs

Some fees are essential in business and still covered under allowable expenses.

For example:

  • Accountancy fees
  • Solicitor fees
  • Bank, overdraft and credit card charges (If used for business)
  • Interest on business loans
  • HP interest and leasing payments
  • Business insurance, such as Public Liability Insurance

Other items that may be covered are:

  • Uniform or PPI
  • Staffs salaries
  • Bonuses
  • Pension contributions
  • Benefits
  • Agency Fees
  • Employer NI contributions.

This is an initial guide. More information can be found on the government website.

The most important thing to remember is that you will always need to prove these expenses, so remember to keep a record of all receipts and invoices.

Outsourcing your finances is an excellent option for small business owners who want to save time and money while ensuring accurate financial records.

When outsourcing bookkeeping for your small business, choose a reputable provider with a proven track record of success, like Rosemary Bookkeeping.

Through meetings scheduled at your discretion, receive 1-to-1 advice from a qualified professional who understands you, your business, and your community.

Take the hassle out of your business and give yourself the time to focus on what matters with your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business.

Call 0345 862 0072 to see how we can help you today.

Part of the government’s plan is ‘Making Tax Digital’, and by introducing this, it is set to make it easier and more simplistic for businesses to run properly. It will help them keep on top of their finances, and ensure they get their tax right the first time.

HMRC has a huge ambition to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrators in the world. Underlying changes are being made through Making Tax Digital as the tax system will be working differently by transforming tax administration. It will help by making;

  • It easier to file correct tax returns
  • It more effective
  • It more efficient



Making Tax Digital for VAT Registered Businesses

VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover will be required to use the Making Tax Digital service to digitally keep records and submit their VAT returns by using appropriate software from 1st April 2019.

There will be a small minority of exceptions for VAT-registered businesses who have more complicated requirements. HMRC engaged with business owners and listen to any concerns they may have about their businesses being ready for Making Tax Digital. The decision has been made to delay mandation for them customers until 1st October 2019.

Top MTD Facts

Fact 1

Some agents and businesses are providing updates and keeping digital records to HMRC as part of a ‘live pilot’ to develop the Making Tax Digital service for Income Tax. If you are either a landlord or a self-employed business, you are not required to use this service as yet, however, you can keep your business records digitally and send Income Tax updates to HMRC by voluntarily using software instead of filing a Self-Assessment tax return.

Fact 2

Most customers want to get their tax right but the latest tax gap figures reveal that too many are finding this hard. Digital records have improved the accuracy, and along with the support built into a lot of software products and the fact that information is forwarded directly to HMRC from the digital records; the amount of tax lost to these avoidable errors will be dramatically reduced.

Fact 3

One of the biggest concerns highlights to HMRC about MTD was about the pace in which this is implemented. In July 2017, the government announced that the pace of mandation would be slowed down and that Making Tax Digital will not be compulsory for taxes other than VAT, until at least April 2020.

In March 2019, the government then announced that they would focus on helping businesses to transform, and therefore will not be Making Tax Digital for any new businesses or taxes in 2020. The roll out date is yet to be confirmed.

It’s can be a worrying time but as a Bookkeeper, I feel, these changes are going to make it much easier for businesses to manage their information and finances.

If you would like to chat about how these changes could affect you, feel free to get in touch, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

Deciding to outsource your bookkeeping is a big decision. You’ve decided that it will be cost-effective but now you need to find the right Bookkeeper for you.

Top tips to finding a great Bookkeeper

Here are my top tips for what to look for when outsourcing your bookkeeping;

1 – Referrals

Without a doubt, this is the best way to find a great Bookkeeper. No matter how many pretty adverts you come across, there is nothing more reassuring than a personal referral from someone who has experienced their services. This is worth its weight in gold. It’s also worth noting that networking is great way to build a relationship and get to know your local Bookkeepers.

2 – Has knowledge of Accountancy

This is a bonus, but it is certainly an advantage if a Bookkeeper has any experience in accounting. It makes life easier as they will know exactly what an Accountant needs so there won’t be any messing about when it comes to filling your tax returns.

3 – What software do they use?

It’s important to know what software your potential Bookkeeper uses as it will need to be suitable for your business needs. Although you will not be the one uploading the information, knowing that a Bookkeeper is up to date with the latest and best software is one thing less for you to worry about.

bookkeeping software

4 – Value for money – That does not mean cheap!!!

A Bookkeeper is traditionally a more cost-effective way to manage your books than leaving it all down to your Accountant. However, it’s important not to look for the cheapest service available as that could end up being a costly mistake. A good Bookkeeper will be reasonably priced and affordable for a small business, however, they have expenses to pay too, such as software. If they are far cheaper than the competition, there may be a reason.

5 – Experience

Everyone has to start somewhere but as a small business owner, you want to feel confident in the ability of your Bookkeeper. Even if they are new to being self-employed, experience in the industry will always hold an advantage.

6 – No obligation advice

A good Bookkeeper will offer you a no obligation meeting to discuss your needs. A great Bookkeeper will do a free health check on your books to help you decide if you really need one!

7 – Trustworthy and honest

It’s not easy to establish this from the beginning which is where personal referrals help. But you can get a feel for someone and it’s important to feel comfortable with your Bookkeeper and sense that they are trustworthy. It’s worth looking at reviews and testimonials for extra reassurance.

Ultimately, you won’t know how good a Bookkeeper is until you start working with them, but these tips should help you make that decision. Happy hunting!!!

Outsourcing is actually a very realistic option for business owners so don’t be scared. If you’re still not sure, Rosemary Bookkeeping are more than happy to come and help you find out about making tax digital or just do a 1-2-1 health check with you and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself if you think you could benefit with no obligation, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

need a bookkeeper

I often get asked this question. Afterall, most small businesses don’t want or need any extra expense in their business so, is it really necessary to outsource this particular task or would you be better off, doing it yourself?

The simple answer is, there is no simple answer. It really does depend on you, your time and your business activity.

The fact is, anyone can do their own bookkeeping. You can even purchase accounting software to make it easy for yourself, but that statement is key to making your decision.

The question really should be, is it easy for me to do my own bookkeeping?


In many cases, a sole trader or small business will start off doing their own bookkeeping and manage to keep on top of it. The problem is, when you start to get busier, time is precious, and you need to decide how productive it is to be spending your time sorting out your receipts and invoices rather than concentrating on the activities that drive your business.

We often find that it’s one of those tasks we put off. We will put it in the diary or set time aside every month, but something will come along that we simply must attend to. It’s about priorities and bookkeeping, more often than not, falls into that dreaded “to do list”.

This tends to cause a small business owner much more stress in the long run. All of a sudden, time will sneak up on you and suddenly, that small pile of receipts and invoices has developed in to a messy pile of paperwork that will take hours to sort out.

If you are super organised and know, without a shadow of a doubt that you can allow this time every month, in theory, you should be fine but if you are like the majority of business owners, you may find yourself in a chaotic mess at the end of the tax year.

Ultimately, it’s about productivity. Is it more productive for you to be working on the things that bring the money into your business or sorting out your paperwork? You need to decide what that’s worth to you.

If you spent the time working on your business instead of doing your own books, what would that translate to in monetary terms? If it’s likely to be more than the small fee you will pay a Bookkeeper then the answer to your question is yes, you probably do need a Bookkeeper.

My advice would be to talk to your local Bookkeeper. Perhaps it’s someone that you network with and you’ve built a relationship with. If they are anything like me, they will do a simple health check on your books for free and will give you a much better idea of whether this is something you need to invest in now, or if it can be out off until a later date.

Of course, I’m always on hand if you need any further help or advice. Neeta x

need a bookkeeper

Outsourcing is actually a very realistic option for business owners so don’t be scared. If you’re still not sure, Rosemary Bookkeeping are more than happy to come and help you find out about making tax digital or just do a 1-2-1 health check with you and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself if you think you could benefit with no obligation, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

about making tax digital

Making Tax Digital will change the way your business pays its taxes to HMRC. It is a scheme by the UK government to make it easier for businesses and individuals to manage their taxes. The first stage comes into play on 1st April 2019 and is called Making Tax Digital for VAT.

From that date, VAT-registered businesses (those companies with their turnover over the VAT threshold, which is currently £85,000) will be required to digitally submit their tax records to HMRC. They will no longer be able to do this via HMRC’s Government Gateway website.

What does that mean for businesses?

If you are VAT registered, then you will need to move to digital record keeping (i.e. use software to record all your VAT invoices and receipts). If you are not VAT registered, then digital record keeping is optional for the time being.

If you are VAT registered and do not yet use software to record your VAT information (invoices to customers and from suppliers) you need to start planning for Making Tax Digital. The implementation date is 1st April 2019.

My company uses spreadsheets for business records – what will that mean for me?

You can still continue to use spreadsheets to digitally record and store your business records. However, you will need to make sure those spreadsheets can digitally submit any necessary data to HMRC.

My business is not VAT registered and I don’t know if I will earn £85,000 this year. What should I do?

You will only be required to follow the rules of Making Tax Digital if your turnover exceeds £85,000 – the VAT threshold. You will need to keep track of your turnover over the last 12 months on a cumulative basis, and if at any point your total turnover exceeds £85,000 you will need to register for VAT.

What if I temporarily go over the VAT threshold?

If your business isn’t VAT registered and you do go over the threshold, you will need to comply with the requirements of Making Tax Digital. If your taxable turnover then drops below the threshold, you still need to continue complying with the legislation.

My business is under the VAT threshold, but I want to be part of Making Tax Digital. Is that possible?

Yes. Your business can choose to waive exemption if you wish to voluntarily follow the requirements of Making Tax Digital.

It’s important to note that “Making Tax Digital” is only coming in to play for VAT registered businesses in April 2019. For all other businesses, it comes into force in April 2020.

With this in mind, it’s a great idea to get started on digital bookkeeping so you are ready for the change. Starting early will help you to understand the workload involved and you will have plenty of time to decide if outsourcing to a well prepared Bookkeeper would be the best option for you.

Outsourcing is actually a very realistic option for business owners so don’t be scared. If you’re still not sure, Rosemary Bookkeeping are more than happy to come and help you find out about making tax digital or just do a 1-2-1 health check with you and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself if you think you could benefit with no obligation, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

Taking the decision to outsource any part of your business can be scary. There is a lot to consider; first and foremost, the cost. However, if you like attending networking events, you will notice how many businesses there are that provide an outsourcing service, so you have to ask yourself, is there something in this?

The main reason a business owner will make the decision to outsource is time. They want to focus on what they are good at and all other tasks seem menial. Unfortunately, they are still important.

When you decide to start a business, it’s usually because you have a talent and a passion for something and you want to share that with others.  At the start, that’s exactly what you do but as you grow, the reality of business sets in and you realise, there is more to being successful than just one product or service. Now you need to manage your business as a whole.

I regularly speak to business owners who are fantastic at what they do but they are terrified of the paperwork involved. The simple fact is, you can’t be good at everything. You are an expert but in your chosen field, but you can’t be an expert in everything else too.

Bookkeeping is definitely one of those tasks that should be delegated but unlike years ago, you can now outsource it Instead of having the stress of taking on staff or finding an accountant who doesn’t mind shoe boxes and last-minute paperwork.

To help you make your decision, here are my top tips as to why, outsourcing your bookkeeping is a great idea.

1 – Time

As I’ve already said, you have talent, passion and expertise in your chosen area so taking time away from the job that will ultimately help you grow is pointless. You could save yourself hours of heartache and stress by simply handing over the task you hate and allowing an expert in that area do it for you.

2 – Money

The main concern around outsourcing for a business owner is money. However, hiring a bookkeeper could save you thousands. Not only will it stop you having to pay a salary but also their pension and not forgetting the tax implications but will also save you money in accountancy fees and fines for late admissions.

3 – Expertise

Whilst you are an expert in your industry, a Bookkeeper is an expert in theirs. Let us do the job you hate and we will let you get on with the job you love.

4 – Systems

Bookkeepers will generally have access to the most up to date systems. By doing it yourself, you will spend a fortune on software and hours of time you don’t have learning how to use it.

5 – Cashflow

A good Bookkeeper will be able to keep you up to date with your cashflow in real time. That means that adjustments can be made as and when it’s needed instead of allowing it to get to the end of the tax year, only to find, there’s nothing in the bank.

6 – Budgeting and projections

Because we are keeping your books up to date, you are able to budget and forecast for the future. This could be critical to the growth of your business and it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

7 – Get paid on time!

Do you know how many invoices you have outstanding? If you are solely focussed on your product or service, you may have trouble keeping up with the payments that are owed to you. A Bookkeeper can remind you to send out your invoices and also check to see who has and hasn’t paid you.

8 – Keeping on top of your bills

It works both ways! Whilst you’re not keeping track of who owes you money, it’s possible that you’re not keeping track of who you owe. We can help you keep on top of the situation and avoid any nasty surprises.

9 – Tax ready financials

There is nothing worse to an accountant than receiving a shoe box full of receipts and invoices on the 30thJanuary. (It happens!!!) If you have outsourced your bookkeeping, your paperwork will be up to date and ready to go in time for any tax deadlines. I can’t emphasise enough how much these key dates cause business owners to breakdown, let a Bookkeeper take the stress away.

10 – Your accountant knows best

Accountants are advocates of Bookkeepers. We make their life easy too. Your bookkeeper can liaise with your accountant on a regular basis so all parties know what’s going on. It saves time, money and stress.

Written by Neeta Patel – Rosemary Bookkeeping Northampton

Outsourcing is actually a very realistic option for business owners so don’t be scared. If you’re still not sure, Rosemary Bookkeeping are more than happy to come and do a 1-2-1 health check with you and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself if you think you could benefit with no obligation, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

Making a difference is what motivates bookkeeper Neeta, as she celebrates the second anniversary of ‘taking the plunge’!

Rosemary Bookkeeping Northampton

If you take a look at what was happening in the news on Thursday, September 1st, 2016, you might struggle to find anything significant. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were exchanging their non-stop verbal blows in the campaign for the White House, the fall-out from the Brexit Referendum was continuing to gather pace, and, that, really, is about it.

But closer to home, one extremely significant event was taking place: on September 1st, 2016 Neeta Patel launched her business, Rosemary Bookkeeping, Northampton. It might have been one tiny step for mankind, but it was one enormous step for Neeta. Two years on, she has never looked back.

Rosemary Bookkeeping is a specialist bookkeeping franchise, and was precisely the opportunity Neeta was looking for, with her background in the accounts department of some big-name businesses including Homebase and Argos.

Now she is using her experience for the benefits of her growing list of clients, and is not just extremely fulfilled in her work, but is loving being in charge of her own destiny, and already thinking of expanding in the New Year.

“Having a good bookkeeper means a business owner delegates the managing of invoices, expenses, cashflow, and dealing with VAT returns, among other duties,” said Neeta. “That is what I love doing, and it means my client can concentrate on doing what he or she does best, and what they set up in business to do in the first place.

“Too many businesses fail because the owners are often so busy doing the day-to-day work, the administration gets forgotten about, there’s no one to chase up non-payments, and then there’s the annual panic when it’s time to submit tax returns.

“But that’s where someone like me comes in, and hopefully by doing that, I can play my part in helping businesses be organised and efficient behind the scenes, and through that, be in a position to grow, thrive and go from strength to strength.”

It was circumstance that led to Neeta buying in to the Rosemary Bookkeeping franchise, but since doing so she has never looked back.

“I loved working in the corporate world, and had a great experience with Homebase and Argos, and more recently with T-Systems in Milton Keynes,” said Neeta. “I worked my way up at T-Systems, but in 2015 I had the option of taking a redundancy package, and decided to take the plunge, spurred on, to be honest, with the desire to be more in control of my work-life balance, as the mum of a young son.

“I thought long and hard about what to do next, took lots of advice, and then came across Rosemary Bookkeeping at a Franchise Show,” she said. “It immediately appealed to me, and after meeting the management of Rosemary Bookkeeping at their headquarters in Watford (now owned by ServiceMaster in Leicester), I liked what I heard, and in July 2016 I went for it, with my official launch a few weeks later, on September 1st.

So why do you need a bookkeeper if you have an accountant? It is a question Neeta has been asked countless times, and finds it an easy one to answer.

“What I do is manage your books on a day to day basis, and ultimately have everything in order ready to deliver to your accountant,” said Neeta.

“It goes much further than that though: what I offer my clients, is the management of cash-flow, making sure invoices are paid, issuing useful reports, deal with VAT, make sure the money side of the business is well organised and in good shape, and that the books are all in good shape for passing on to the accountant for tax return purposes.”

Neeta has already built up a healthy client list that continues to grow, as more business owners learn of her services, and her abilities to keep them in good financial health.

“I love what I do, and take enormous satisfaction in helping my clients, and freeing them up to build up their businesses without the administrative worries that so often weighs many people down to breaking point,” she says.

“I’m looking to work with sole-traders, which I love doing, and also looking for small to medium sized businesses who I genuinely believe I can make a difference to.”

As Neeta celebrates the second anniversary of launching Rosemary Books in Northampton she looks back sure in the knowledge she did the right thing. And is now looking forward to many more anniversaries ahead!

For more information about Neeta, and Rosemary Bookkeeping Noethampton, go to, or call her on 01604 422314.

This is a question I often get asked when I tell people what I do. Many people assume they are the same thing and I can understand why. The two terms are often used interchangeably. It can also be confusing because there are bookkeepers that provide accountancy services and accountants that provide bookkeeping services. Many business owners don’t realise that these are two separate roles and, quite significantly, priced differently.

What’s the difference between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant?

To make a clearer distinction, I will explain what the differences are between a bookkeeper and an accountant and how each can help your business.


Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions, and is part of the process of accounting in business. Transactions include purchases, sales, receipts and payments by an individual person or a company. A bookkeeper will conduct this process.

HMRC also refers to bookkeeping as ‘record keeping’.

The theory is, behind every transaction on your business bank account, there is a piece of paper. The bookkeeper will process the paperwork and allocate or code them to appropriate ledgers – sales ledger, purchase ledger, general ledger. They are responsible for the day to day financial transactions of a business, making sure that the ledgers are balanced.

A bookkeeper will update a business’ books regularly, usually once a month. At the end of the financial year the bookkeeper will have brought the books to trial balance stage, at which point this will be sent to the accountant who will then use this information to produce financial statements.

A bookkeeper can perform other tasks such as raising invoices, payroll, credit control and VAT returns. As mentioned above, some bookkeepers will provide a full accountancy service.

Why should I use a bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping should be done little and often. Depending on the volume of paperwork involved, this can be done weekly, monthly or quarterly but more commonly it is done monthly. For a business owner that is running a business and doing many other things, bookkeeping tends to be one of those things that gets left behind as soon as you get busy. If this happens you should seriously consider getting yourself a bookkeeper. If you fall behind on keeping your books up to date, it can cause numerous problems.

A bookkeeper will keep your books up to date and ensure that if anything is missing it can be picked up straight away instead of at the end of the financial year. They will provide useful reports that help you keep track of your business performance, and will bring your attention to something that needs to be dealt with straight away. Generally speaking, bookkeepers are cheaper than an accountant.


An accountant generally takes over where a bookkeeper leaves off. They will use the information provided by the bookkeeper and prepare adjusting entries to record expenses that have occurred but are not yet entered by the bookkeeper, for example if a supplier invoice hasn’t arrived on time prior to closing the books, or if wages in relation to the current month won’t be made until two weeks later, etc. Other adjustments to the accounts include the calculation and recording of depreciation. After making the adjusting entries, the accountant prepares the company’s financial statements, such as a profit & loss account, balance sheet, cashflow statement, etc.

An Accountant will also perform other tasks such as setting up a Limited Company, Tax returns, compliance, advice and business strategy. As mentioned above, some accountants will provide a bookkeeping service. In an accountancy practice an employed bookkeeper is likely to perform this task.

Accountants generally will have a professional qualification through an accounting body. Accountants will go though years of studying and training to obtain a qualification and they will be bound by code of ethics and subject to disciplinary procedures should they breach their professional membership conditions.

Why should I use an accountant?

Regardless of the size of your business, and unless you are an expert in tax or finances, you should get yourself an accountant. They will provide your business with a great deal of essential support. You can seek help with budgeting and forecasting cashflow from an accountant as well as credit control and just general financial advice. They can offer you up-to-date information on any general or legal enquiries.

Professional accountants understand the nuances of dealing with the tax authorities, the correct format to submit information to HMRC, and are generally for more able to deal with tax enquiries should they arise. If you need advice on anything from the expenses you can offset against Corporation Tax, or whether or not you have enough retained profit to declare a dividend legally, an accountant would be able to answer these queries with ease. Taxation is a large business expense and an accountant can effectively minimise these costs.

The distinction between accountant and bookkeeper keeps changing as accounting software and other software evolves. For many years, companies used the title of accounting clerks for employees doing the tasks formerly performed by bookkeepers. The accounting clerks are usually supervised by an accountant.

Remember both are professional roles in their own way.  If you looking to employ or outsource you should be looking for someone with a suitable qualification or experience. Bookkeepers and accountants can be certified through professional bodies. Make sure you seek someone that can explain accounting jargon in plain English!

Rosemary Bookkeeping provide an outsourced bookkeeping service for small and medium sized businesses. If you would like more information about outsourcing your bookkeeping, contact Neeta Patel:

Tel: 01604 422314


The school summer holidays are fast approaching. For children, this time is full of joy and anticipation –  6 weeks to do what they want to do, no homework, no pressure.

business in school holidays

For parents, particularly sole traders and small business owners, this time can be filled with dread. How do you juggle the family and the business? How do you keep little ones amused so you can keep working? How do you make time to get away from the business to enjoy the summer?

I am one of these parents and I usually find myself feeling guilty for not spending enough time with my child or enough time on my business. I started my bookkeeping business to allow me to spend more time with my son. I am known as a ‘mumpreneur’.

For many of us it is not practical, or even affordable, to put children in holiday clubs for the entire holidays. Nor is it realistic to tell clients that you will not be contactable during this time!

So, what can you do? Here are some tips to help you stay productive and organised:

  1. Set your priorities for both work and home.

Plan in advance. I create a 6-week timetable on a spreadsheet and work out what my busiest dates (based on client deadlines) are likely to be and I make sure I have somewhere for my son to be. For those non-critical times, I change my working hours. I keep the day free and work more during the evenings and some weekends. Remember on family days, switch off the work phone, leave the emails and have a great time!

  1. Get your business organised.

Holiday periods are a great chance to focus on what is important and essential for your business.  Where possible outsource some tasks such as admin and bookkeeping, not just during the holidays but on an ongoing basis. That way when the holidays arrive you don’t need to think about handing over the work, it will always be done for you.

  1. Use your networks for both home and work.

At home see if you can share childcare, offer to have friends’ children to join yours on your family days. If you coordinate well, your children will have a great time with friends and you get clear working days.

  1. Keep them occupied while you work

It’s important to give them variety. A few days, or a week of holiday clubs will be good for them. It gives them the chance to play with other children and gives you the time to arrange client meetings whilst they are away. At home, keep them busy with structured activities such as board games and puzzles. Some TV time every now and then is not harmful either!

  1. Delegate to someone that doesn’t need time off during the holidays

Pass work onto someone that can help out when you are not available. You may have a business partner or someone in the office. If neither, get yourself an associate on a temporary basis. But make sure you don’t just dump the work on them and leave them to it for 6 weeks. Be available for queries during certain times of the day.

  1. Automate your marketing

Don’t neglect your marketing activities. If you are operating a ‘stop-start’ approach during the holidays you risk losing potential sales. Social media and e-mail campaigns can easily be automated to maintain awareness about your business.

  1. Take some proper leave yourself

Use this opportunity to book a reasonable amount of time off to completely switch off. You need recuperation time too, its not just for school children!


There are 13 weeks of school holidays a year in the UK. Plan these into your business and prepare in advance. You don’t have to stop your business every time the schools break up. As your business grows learn to outsource your work.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping we lighten the load for many small and medium sized businesses by managing all their bookkeeping needs. So, whether you are on holiday or busy with clients, you can be sure that your accounts are always up to date.

Have a stress free summer!

If you are looking to outsource your bookkeeping, contact Neeta Patel at Rosemary Bookkeeping:
Tel: 01604 422314


Should I employ an in-house bookkeeper or outsource the work?

 Congratulations! You have a successful business and have seen significant growth and healthy profits from all your hard work. You worked those long hours, perhaps over the weekends, sacrificing family time and even some ‘You’ time in order to achieve your dream of running your own business. It wasn’t easy, but you did it!

You’ve since taken on some staff to help you because let’s face it you can’t do everything on your own.  They are experienced and help you meet your targets. You are a business owner and you have numerous things you need to juggle.

So far you have managed to do the bookkeeping yourself, but now you need to focus on sustaining your business growth and let your staff do what they are good at, therefore you need to get someone else to do the books.

Employ or Outsource Bookkeeping

So, should you employ a bookkeeper or could you outsource the work? Let’s look at the factors to consider for both: –

Employ a bookkeeper
You could argue that you already have employees so what difference does it make to have another one? True, but you would have to employ some staff with specific skills depending on the nature of your business. For example, if you run an IT business, a catering business, a garage, a lettings company, and so on, you need to employ experienced staff to work to your standards, following your rules and guidelines because that’s what makes your business the success it is. Also, some business processes are more easily outsourced than others. Activities like Bookkeeping and Accounting, Sales and Marketing, Human Relations and Office Cleaning are easily primed for outsourcing and are more cost effective than employing someone in house to do these tasks.

If you decide to employ a bookkeeper you need to consider the cost implication of keeping an employee – financial and non-financial. You’ll need to provide appropriate working space and most likely would have to provide some training. But what if you have no idea how to train someone how to do bookkeeping correctly?

Keeping the bookkeeping in-house means all the paperwork remains in-house and you have instant access to any document you may need. But with the advances in technology these days this is not really an issue.

hire a bookkeeper


Outsource bookkeeping
There are a number of benefits with outsourcing bookkeeping as ultimately it allows for the most flexibility.

If an employee falls ill you’ll still have to pay them, unlike outsourcing where you don’t bother about such commitments. If the employee goes on holiday, you’ll have to pay them and also look for someone to do the job during this period of absence. But if you outsource this job, you won’t have to bother about such costs.

One problem with having an in-house person is that it may require specialised software and equipment. Using an outsourced bookkeeper means you do not need to provide them with this because they already have it, cutting costs.

Another issue with an in-house bookkeeper is that it may be hard to keep up if your business grows. This could result in having to bring in more employees, thus having to train them, show the new system and so forth. With an outsourced bookkeeper, they are more likely to be able to adapt to your needs.

Entrepreneurs have long seen outsourcing as a strategy reserved for big business, but technology has made it a more accessible tool for small businesses – and for some small firms, outsourcing has made a powerful impact on their growth, productivity and bottom lines.

The decision whether to employ or outsource rests squarely on your shoulders. It’s an important decision you’ll have to make. As a business owner, you’ll decide on what suits your circumstance and the type of business you run.

Whatever you decide, make sure your bookkeeper is experienced and qualified. A good bookkeeper will ensure your business records are kept up to date to keep you track of your business performance.

If you are looking to outsource your bookkeeping, contact Neeta Patel at Rosemary Bookkeeping:
Tel: 01604 422314


Top 10 bookkeeping tips


It is imperative that business owners, regardless of whether they are a sole trader, partnership or a limited company, keep records of their business transactions. But this does not mean you should be bogged down with paperwork. Here are some tips to keep you sane with your bookkeeping:


  1. Keep your business and personal finances separate

Make sure you have a separate bank account for your business. Mixing the two will make

things very complicated and may cost you more in accountants’ fees to get this separated.


  1. Have a receipt for everything

Where possible obtain a receipt for every business purchase you make. If you can’t get a receipt for any reason, make a note of the purchase details and the reason why a receipt isn’t available. When entering your expenses into your accounts, make sure each item is categorised correctly, i.e. telephone, rent, stationery etc.


  1. Petty cash

Where possible, avoid using cash as purchases can be easily forgotten or missed. If you do need to use petty cash, always write notes to put in the box so you have some sort of record and reconcile the cash box daily. Make sure only a limited number of people have access to this to reduce the risk of theft.


  1. Use an accounting software

There are many different types of software out there, from desktop to cloud based and have packages ranging from the most basic to a more comprehensive one. Although you can keep records on a spreadsheet, it won’t produce the reports that will be useful to you. Speak to your accountant about which would suit your business. They may be using one already and can set you up with a login.


  1. Keep your records up to date

Set aside some time, around a couple of hours a week to start with, to update your records regularly. Being organised prevents paperwork getting lost. Enter your sales and purchase invoices as soon as possible. Reconcile your bank statement regularly so you know exactly what funds are available and what transactions have taken place.


  1. Set aside money for the tax bill

Keeping on top of your finances will help you identify when and how much money you owe for VAT (if applicable) and your taxes. It is good practice to put money aside for this every month so you do not ‘accidently’ dip into it for other expenses.


  1. Review financials monthly

At the end of each month, print out relevant reports from your software to review. The most common reports tend to be an Aged Debtors (to see who still owes you money), an Aged Creditors (to see which bills you still need to pay) and a Profit and Loss account (to see how much money you have made in the month).


  1. Cashflow

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is reality’! If you do not keep an eye on your cashflow your business could very easily get into trouble. Manage your customers and make sure they’re paying your invoices on time. Ensure you have sufficient funds at the right time to pay your suppliers and tax bills.


  1. Hand over your books to your accountant on time

Make sure you give your accountant plenty of time to prepare your tax returns and submit your annual accounts. If you are VAT registered you will need to do this quarterly so they can submit a VAT return. HMRC will fine the business owner for late penalties!


  1. Outsource your bookkeeping

When things get too much, or the thought of having to deal with such a tedious task in the first place gets you worked up, it is best to outsource this. Use a bookkeeper that knows what they are doing. If they have a qualification of some sort you can be assured that they are a professional. Don’t just go for the cheapest – they might not give you the service you need. However, using a bookkeeper can be considerably cheaper than giving your accountant all of your paperwork at year-end.