Posts

Teri Cotta walks you through the A-X of Xero.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work closely with our friends and partners at Xero to help our clients get to grips with their bookkeeping.

And there is still a lot to get to grips with.

That’s why our accounting crackpot, Teri Cotta, has been working hard to bring you the top tips to be a Xero whiz and understand its processes, from the terribly simple to the terrifically complex.

In today’s Teri Tips, you’ll discover the cloud and explore how cloud accounting software like Xero can help your business.

We’ll look at the main features of Xero and give you some helpful tips to get you started.

And if you’re a visual learner, don’t worry… a full video showing each of these points step by step can be found on our YouTube channel.


What is the cloud?

First things first… what is the cloud?

The cloud lets you store and access your data over the internet through a network of servers.

Instead of a computer drive, you can use software in the cloud from any device with an internet connection.

The cloud is changing how we work, bank communicate, buy and sell.

You might be using the cloud already without knowing it.


What platforms use the cloud?

Let’s look at some common scenarios you might have experienced using the cloud.

Account information only used to be available during bank opening hours, but online banking stores your financial data securely in the cloud to access 24/7.

  • Online communication software (like Skype and Slack): Video chat functions that use the cloud
  • Calls and instant messaging services: These use the cloud so that conversation lines are available whenever you’re online
  • Streaming services (like Netflix and Spotify): Use the cloud to watch films, listen to music and view live events.

Xero is cloud accounting software that lets you access your financial data anytime, anywhere, and on any device with an internet connection.


Cloud-based software – The Pros

Businesses can benefit significantly from using cloud-based software like Xero.

Accessing cloud software through a web browser or mobile app means you can always retrieve your financial information.

  1. Multi-access

Cloud software lets all users work from the same information simultaneously.

  1. Changes are made immediately

There are no discrepancies, and every Xero user has a unique login, so you can easily track who carries out each task.

  1. Cloud software updates are automatic

You’ll never lose time or money to software upgrades.

  1. Automatic version updates

When you log in to Xero, you always use the most up-to-date version.

Data stored locally on a computer risks being corrupted, stolen, or lost.

But cloud software is stored securely and backed up automatically.

If something unexpected happens to your office equipment, you can get a new laptop and be back on the job straight away.

  1. Secure connection

Cloud software connects securely to organisations like banks, bringing the information directly into the software.

Data flow between software applications means reduced processing time and data entry errors.

  1. Automates labour-intensive tasks

Reconciling accounts and chasing overdue invoices are done automatically, freeing up your time to work on your business.

The long and short of it is, that Xero is a complete platform with all the features you need to run every part of your business, depending on your region and subscription.

Xero can even include payroll, expenses or projects.


The main features of Xero

So, let’s do a quick tour of Xero’s main features.

The navigation bar lets you move easily and quickly around Xero.

Create new or find other transactions

Use the ‘Plus Icon’ to create new transactions like invoices or bills directly from the navigation bar.

Search for contacts or transactions like quotes and view notifications to keep up to date with all things Xero.

Custom Dashboard

The custom dashboard shows key business metrics like your cash flow position, outstanding items to reconcile, and upcoming invoices and bills payable.

It also gives you an up-to-date picture of how your business is performing at any time.

Bank Feeds

Bank Feeds’ automatically import transactions from your bank or financial institution directly into your Xero organisation.

Thus, removing the need for a manual import.

It helps keep your account current and gives an accurate view of your business’s performance.

Here, Xero shows bank statement lines on the left with suggested matches on the right.

Suggestions are based on existing transactions like invoices and bills, bank rules or previously reconciled transactions.

Click ‘OK’ to quickly reconcile the transactions and update your cash flow.

Invoices

Another way to keep on top of cash flow is to send online invoices with online payment options.

Create professional-looking quotes and invoices and send them when you’re still with the customer.

If you register for your Xero organisation with the global E-invoicing network, you can also send and receive an invoice.

Add your logo and payment details to promote your business brand.

And send the invoice with just a couple of clicks.

Xero lets you know when online invoices are sent, viewed or paid.

Let Xero do the hard work and get paid faster with automatic reminders to help manage overdue invoices.

Just decide when and how often you want to send them.

The more ways and the easier you make it for the customers to pay, the less time you’ll spend chasing payments.

Xero research shows that invoices are paid 50% faster when the business connects to a payment service.

They let customers make secure payments directly from online invoices in just a few clicks.

Collated client details

Add all your business contacts to Xero and keep your supplier and client details in one place.

Create groups to manage your contacts and use smart lists to target clients.

Go paperless and store important documents and business information online in the Xero files library.

With automatic backups, you don’t need to worry about ever losing financial data.

You can even send documents directly to your Xero file library using a unique email address.

Templates and reporting

Every Xero subscription comes with financial and accounting reports and budget templates.

Customise them to show what matters most to your business.

Set the date range, compare periods, and modify the columns to change the layout of a report and then save it as a custom report to reuse later.

Staying on top of cash flow is essential for a business to survive.

Many business functions rely heavily on cash, like paying staff and buying supplies.

Xero analytics makes it easier to make the right decisions for your business.

It has two easy-to-read dashboards.

Use short-term cash flow to spot opportunities and risks ahead so you can act immediately.

Use the business snapshot to track key performance indicators like income and expenses and see how quickly your customers pay you.


What Xero does for you

You’re probably already using software in the cloud, and now it’s time to get the benefits of cloud software for your small business.

Xero affords you:

  • A full picture of your business’s financial information is accessible anywhere, anytime from any device with an internet connection.
  • All the tools you need to run and grow a successful business.
  • Direct bank saves and daily reconciliations for the most up-to-date financial data.
  • Online invoicing and payment services to help you get paid faster and improve cash flow.
  • Insightful reporting that leads to better business decisions.
  • Collaboration with unlimited users, all with a unique and secure login and access.

Need help with Xero?

Teri Cotta is joined worldwide by Rosemary Bookkeeping’s network of Xero-certified bookkeepers.

So, whether you need help choosing the right software for you, using Xero or outsourcing your books, our experts can help.

Take the hassle out of your bookkeeping by contacting your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeper for expert bookkeeping and software support today.

Teri Cotta walks you through how to reconcile a bank statement on Xero.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work closely with our friends and partners at Xero to help our clients get to grips with their bookkeeping.

Reconciling your bank account regularly using software like Xero means your records are accurate and up to date.

Reconciling your bank accounts means matching your bank statement lines to transactions in Xero, such as invoices, bills, or other payments.

That’s why our accounting crackpot, Teri Cotta, has been working hard to bring you the top tips to be a Xero whiz and understand its processes, from the terribly simple to the terrifically complex.

Specifically, in today’s Teri Tips, we’re walking you through how to reconcile a bank statement on Xero for some common payment types.

And if you’re a visual learner, don’t worry… a full video showing each of these points step by step can be found on our YouTube channel.


How to start reconciling bank statements in Xero

From your ‘Business Bank Account”, click the reconcile button to begin.

Here, Xero suggests matches by comparing information in the statement line, such as the amount and contact name within the Xero transaction.

Suggested matches are highlighted in green.

Click okay to accept a match.

Xero reconciles the statement line and marks the invoice or bill as paid.

When there’s no suggested match, but you know the transaction is in Xero, you can search for it, click find and match and search for transactions by name, reference or amount.


How to reconcile multiple bills at once

You might have paid multiple bills in one go.

When we select these two bills, the total matches our statement line.

So, click reconcile.


How to reconcile incorrect payments

You might have invoiced a customer, but when you search for the transaction, you see the customer has paid the wrong amount.

You can easily account for these situations when you reconcile.

In the example on our YouTube channel, we recorded an overpayment.

In this scenario, click new transaction.

This is a receive money transaction as it’s money coming in.

Select overpayment and click “save transaction”.

The total of these two transactions matches the statement line.

So, click reconcile. Sometimes you might pay for something on the spot like office supplies or parking, so there isn’t a transaction in Xero.

Here, you create a new spend or receive money transaction to reconcile.

Enter the who, what and why and click okay.


Need expert support?

Teri Cotta is joined worldwide by Rosemary Bookkeeping’s network of Xero-certified bookkeepers.

So, whether you need help choosing the right software for you, using Xero or outsourcing your books, our experts can help.

Take the hassle out of your bookkeeping and get the time back to focus on what matters most by contacting your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

 Teri Cotta walks you through the Xero Business Account setup process.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work closely with our friends and partners at Xero to help our clients get to grips with their bookkeeping.

Starting things is hard, and there is a lot of merit in that adage of nothing being scarier than a blank slate.

That’s why our accounting crackpot, Teri Cotta, has been working hard to bring you the top tips to be a Xero whiz and understand its processes, from the terribly simple to the terrifically complex.

Specifically, in today’s Teri Tips, we’re walking you through how to get started with Xero by setting up your Xero Business Account.

And if you’re a visual learner, don’t worry… a full video showing each of these points step by step can be found on our YouTube channel.


  1. Getting Started – Confirm your details via email

To start, go to Xero.com and try it for free.

Enter your details, agree to the terms and conditions, and click “Get Started”.

Then, Xero should send you an email to confirm your details.

Go to your inbox, find the email, and click the link to get started.


  1. Activate your account with a password and details of your business

Next, enter a secure Password and then click activate your account.

Xero needs a few more details to complete the initial setup.

Begin by entering your organisation name, which Xero will display on your invoices.

Then, check that your country and currency are correct, as once you start the trial, you won’t be able to change this information.

Next, enter what your organisation does.

Start typing your industry and select the best option that applies to your business from a dropdown.

Xero will use this information to recommend connected apps for your business.

Set your financial year-end, which feeds into your reporting.

And finally, select your current accounting solution.

When you’re done, click “Start Trial”.


  1. Navigating the Xero Dashboard

Once you have completed the above, the first thing you’ll see is the Xero dashboard.

First, watch the introduction video to get an overview of the setup process.

As you start to use Xero, you’ll see more information on this dashboard—for example, invoices owed to you.

To manage your trial account, click on the organisation name and select my Xero.

There are a few things you can do here when you’re ready to convert your trial account. Click pay now and follow the steps to buy a subscription.

If you run multiple businesses, you can click “Add an Organisation” to create another Xero account for the same login.

Xero provides each user with their own demo company.

You can use this to practice new skills and try new features.

It consists of test data that resets automatically every 28 days.

It’s also handy to know that you can also manually reset it any time you want.


  1. Accessing Xero Support Features

If you have a question or need support, click the help icon and click any of the links provided.

For example, go to Xero Central to explore help articles.

Alternatively, enter a search criteria and press enter.

If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, scroll down and click “Contact Xero support”.

This takes you to Xero Central, where you can submit a query, enter detailed information, and click Send.

Xero guarantees that a support specialist will contact you within 24 hours.

And with that, you’re all done.


Need expert bookkeeping support?

Teri Cotta is joined worldwide by Rosemary Bookkeeping’s network of Xero-certified bookkeepers.

So, whether you need help choosing the right software for you, using Xero or outsourcing your books, our experts will be able to help.

Take the hassle out of your bookkeeping and get the time back to focus on what matters most by contacting your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeper today.

How a bookkeeper can help you manage MTD.

MTD (Making Tax Digital) is a government initiative to digitalise the UK tax system.

Introduced in 2019, developments at the beginning of the 2022 tax year saw MTD extend to include VAT for businesses.

With VAT return deadlines looming, many businesses are having difficulty understanding MTD and its implications.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, our experts are well-versed in online systems and financial processes.

That’s why we’re here with everything you need to know about MTD for the new tax year.

Refresher: What is MTD?

MTD has two core components:

  1. Replacement of paper-based records

Requirement for businesses and organisations (including those with property-based incomes) to keep digital accounting records.

  1. Using compatible software to submit tax returns and updates to HMRC

The government will remove current online tax services when businesses register for MTD.

They will require businesses and organisations to use software compliant with their API (Application Program Interfaces) to submit relevant updates and returns to HMRC.

MTD Timeline

  • 1st April 2019: MTD has been in place since this date for the majority of VAT-registered businesses above the tax threshold of £85’000+ turnover.

These included partnerships, sole traders, limited companies, non-UK businesses registered for UK VAT, and charities and trusts.

  • 1st October 2019: There was a six-month deferred start date to support more complex businesses.
  • 1st April 2022: MTD became mandatory for all VAT-registered businesses and organisations.

Upcoming Implementations:

  • April 2024: MTD will become mandatory for Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) for self-employed or those with a property-based income if they have self-employment or gross rental income of over £10’000.
  • April 2025: MTD ISTA becomes mandatory for general partnerships. It will apply to corporate or ‘non-natural’ and non-limited liability partnerships with a turnover above the £10’000 threshold.

How coming changes and how they affect your business

MTD legislation already means you should have completed your ITSA through MTD-compatible software.

Before April 2024, if you were not already doing so, you’ll be required to keep digital tax records and submit this information to HMRC through an MTD-compatible software when conducting your self-assessment tax returns.

Exceptions

If your business has received an MTD exemption, it will still be in effect.

These can be caused by factors such as:

  • Age, a disability or where you live
  • You object to using computers on religious grounds
  • Any other reason why it’s not reasonable or practical

To check if you are eligible or apply for exemption from MTD, you can find guidance on how to do so via the HMRC website.

If you’re concerned about the impact of MTD on your business, you can read more about its effects here.

MTD’s benefits:

  • It can reduce or even eliminate paper-based or manual tax processes.

This allows you greater accuracy in tax returns and reduces time spent on administration. It also gives you more time to maximise your business opportunities, productivity and profitability.

  • If you opt to use cloud-based software, you’ll see in real-time what is happening in your books and have better control over your finances, allowing you to stay up-to-date and make informed business decisions.
  • Using compliant digital software means submitting information to HMRC is far simpler and less stressful.
  • Some accounting software links directly to your bank account. Further reducing the ‘paperwork’ and time spent filing taxes.
  • Digital software provides you with real-time management information so you can see how your business is performing.

So, if you have not already done so, you need to start weighing your options for MTD-compliant software.

Why now?

The new financial year is the best time to reset how you manage your books.

This period is notably less disruptive, as things are changing already.

By introducing new systems to work smarter, you keep your business information secure and make things easier to manage going forward. 

How Rosemary Bookkeeping can help

We understand that making the jump to digital can be scary and daunting.

But, it’s not as bad as it seems – especially with the help of an expert bookkeeping service like Rosemary Bookkeeping.

The benefit of changing to MTD is that we’ve had around four years of experience working with it.

With a professional bookkeeper from Rosemary Bookkeeping to help you, making your tax digital is simple.

We have been operating MTD for VAT submissions since its inception in 2019 and know its processes inside and out.

Going digital may be a scary prospect. Using a bookkeeper, your tax may be digital but your bookkeeping experience isn’t.

We will assist if you need to acclimatise to the software or do the work for you.

We also send generated returns directly from the software, so you have a well-kept and organised backlog of your records.

Our bookkeeping experts are trained to work digitally using MTD-compliant software like Xero, QuickBooks and Sage and are a real-life human presence that can reassure and guide you through the process, so you’re not going it alone.

As Rosemary Bookkeeping is well-versed in MTD and online services, we can advise which software would be best for you and often offer competitive prices for software subscriptions.

Additionally, we offer an online exchange of documents, so you’ll be able to upload photos or scans of documents so that we can process them on the bookkeeping software.

We also use Apps like AutoEntry or Hubdoc, which not only attach documents directly to the record on the software but also automate some bookkeeping processes – saving you valuable time and money.

Struggling with your bookkeeping?

As bookkeepers, we know that the new tax year is a busy and stressful time, particularly hot on the heels of January Self-Assessment tax return deadlines.

We also know that keeping track of your finances isn’t easy, especially when also trying to figure out MTD legislation and new software.

If you had a stressful time sorting your ITSA, the new tax year that swiftly follows may be a real cause for concern.

By contacting the professionals, you receive personal and expert support on all aspects of bookkeeping.

We love bookkeeping, but we know it’s not for everyone. So, leave the stress behind by leaving your books to the experts today.

Find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business today to see how we can support you ahead of the new tax year.

Tools of the trade that will save you time and effort in bookkeeping.

As a small business owner, your time is gold dust.

And with so much to do, your bookkeeping is a chore that takes up that valuable time.

But bookkeeping is not something you can skip out on, particularly with the growing need to keep a digital record.

Luckily, there are many tools on hand that small business owners can use to make bookkeeping easier.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we know there’s a lot to consider. What works for one business may be the wrong fit for another.

That’s why we’re breaking down the tools of the trade so you can figure out what bookkeeping aids work for you.

Quickbooks

If you’re doing your research, you might’ve noticed that many small businesses use QuickBooks Online.

But what makes it so good?

Pros: 
  • Scalable
  • Commonly used by professionals (including us!)
  • Integrates with 3rd party systems and Quickbooks Payroll
  • Cloud-based and available on mobile
  • Easy to use: All features are accessible through a central dashboard
  • Has a plethora of online resources to give you the support you need
  • 30-day trial
  • 4 Subscription plans that vary in price for business size, but can be upgraded as your business grows
  • More advanced plans offer more advanced features – though most small businesses will find the Simple Start Programme (£14/m.o) will suffice
  • Customisable options with mobile app
Cons: 
  • Requires an upgrade for additional users
  • Can suffer from syncing problems with banks and credit cards

Xero

Another popular accounting tool, Xero is rapidly growing into a bookkeeping giant. And like QuickBook, Xero is that it is designed to grow with your business across its different subscription options.

It also integrates with hundreds of third-party business solutions, many of which you likely already use like Gusto for payroll.

Here’s the full lowdown:

Pros:
  • Cloud-based and available on mobile
  • 3rd party payroll integration through Gusto and app marketplace
  • Integration with 3rd party services allows online payment collection
  • Simple inventory management
Cons:
  • Limited customer service and reporting
  • Fees charged for ACH payments

FreeAgent

Another cloud-based software, as a FreeAgent partner, we recommend it for freelancers, consultants, and other project-based businesses.

Pros:
  • Cloud-based and available on mobile
  • Doesn’t limit transactions behind a paywall
  • Supports unlimited users, clients, invoices and transactions for one monthly price
  • Ideal for keeping track of billable hours and expenses
  • Runs fully RTI-compliant payroll
  • Allows you to create and send estimates and invoices
  • Uses personalised Tax Timeline of upcoming deadlines and amounts due, cash flow, and profitability
  • Files VAT, RTI payroll and Self Assessment tax returns directly to HMRC (ideal for sole traders and limited companies)
Cons:
  • App development and compatibility for Android is lacking, but underway
  • Tax Timeline doesn’t offer a comparison of year-on-year comparison

Sage

Sage is one of the bigger brands, and it’s been around a lot longer than most.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is specifically geared towards the needs of small to medium-sized corporations and offers two plans for small business owners.

However, it has been described as overly complex and difficult to use.

Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:
  • Cloud-based and available on mobile
  • Offers a free trial or demo before buying
  • Offers invoicing, expense management and reporting, as well as the creation of quotes, estimates, tracking, and inventory management
  • Provides monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reports and reports. These include balance sheets and income/cash flow statements
  • Produces comparison of financial statements e.g. year-to-year.
  • Many features are preset  and ready for the user to make management streamlined but also offer multiple customisation opportunities
  • Offers capabilities for budgeting or cash flow forecasting, job costing, auditing, and automated workflows, as well as industry-specific features.
  • Uses a central dashboard to access information and data in one place
  • Link your credit cards and bank accounts
  • Integrates with third-party apps
Cons:
  • Difficult to use and set up. May need a Sage expert to support you (Luckily, we are!)
  • Features can be complicated to use and need expert support
  • Homepage can become cluttered if not customised
  • Geared towards larger businesses.
  • Lack of documentation and support, often necessitating further support

How Rosemary Bookkeeping helps your business

Each online bookkeeping aid offers something different, with both strengths and weaknesses.

And many can be difficult to use without the right support.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work with accounting tools to offer you and your business bespoke support with getting the most out of each software.

By regularly consulting your local Rosemary bookkeeper, you’ll be able to receive support specially tailored to you and your business, and we can take care of your bookkeeping for you.

From helping you choose the right software to use, software supply, training and data migration to a complete outsourced bookkeeping service – we can help.

Whether you’re just starting or looking to hire a bookkeeper to support your growth, the best bookkeeping tool for any small business is still a Rosemary Bookkeeper.

To take your first step towards stress-free bookkeeping, find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping branch to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with your local expert today.

How to choose the best accounting software for your business.

For any small business owner, keeping track of your incomings & outgoings is one of your most vital tasks.

Due to recent government initiatives around MTD (or Making Tax Digital), having a digital record of your finances is essential.

Thankfully, there is a wide range of online software options available. All of which claim to offer you the best possible service.

Some advertise more often and are more well-known, like QuickBooks and Xero.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we know businesses are as varied and unique as the people who run them.

What works for one person’s business doesn’t work the same for another.

To make the best move for your business, you need to look at what each service offers and figure out what works for you.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of factors you should consider when selecting your accounting software.

What are the costs?

One of the main things to think about is, of course, price. And the price for accounting software can vary considerably.

There are packages at the lower end of the price range, but these will often be a more basic package.

Think about your business requirements now and in the future. Will a basic package be enough, or will you need more features further down the line?

Usability

The size and structure of your business will affect how many users there will be accessing your accounting software. Do more users mean more cost? Is it scalable if needed later?

Do you want your accounting software to be installed on a particular desktop, for example?

Something like this considerably affects your pool of available choices, as most systems are now cloud-based.

Especially with the new MTD regulations, we recommend a cloud-based system that you can access anywhere, without limiting your number of users.

However, if your preference is a desktop, there are still some good options such as the free, open-source, desktop software GnuCash.

Features

Work out what you need from the accounting software and what you need it to do.

Do you need both accounts receivable and accounts payable tools? Which reports do you need it to generate?

Do you need it to track inventory? Do you need it to include ancillary services, like time tracking, project management, and payroll?

Which to choose?

Of course, as bookkeepers ourselves, we have our preferences when it comes to software.

We work with all sorts of platforms and packages but there are a few we see time and time again.

These are:

Xero

Widely acknowledged as one of the top pieces of accounting and bookkeeping software – especially if you’re working on a Mac.

Xero is great if you’re just starting, or if you need your accounting to be straightforward. Another plus of Xero is that it is designed to grow as your business does.

We like that it’s affordable, easy to use, offers a ton of add-on features and integrates with hundreds of third-party business solutions, many of which you likely already use.

There is also a 24-hour email and live chat support function, meaning there’s always someone there to help you whenever you need it.

FreeAgent

Unlike many bookkeeping and accounting software products that limit your transactions, unless you purchase a more expensive package, FreeAgent supports unlimited users, clients, invoices and transactions for one monthly price.

Like many of its competitors, it is cloud-based software, but it also comes with a built-in project management feature.

These make it ideal for keeping track of billable hours and expenses. As a FreeAgent partner, we recommend it for freelancers, consultants and other project-based businesses.

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is another of the most popular accounting software packages out there (and for good reason).

QuickBooks works for all types of small businesses, with three different small business plans to choose from, plus a separate plan for the self-employed, freelancers and contractors: it’s got something for everyone.

Both new start-up businesses and bigger, established businesses have benefitted from its range of features, which cover basic bookkeeping to advanced accounting and business analytics.

Sage

Sage is one of the bigger brands, and it’s been around a lot longer than most.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting has two plans for small business owners, starting with invoicing, expense management and reporting, as well as the creation of quotes, estimates, tracking, and inventory management.

It’s most popular with retail-based businesses due to its ability to integrate with POS systems.

Sage also appeals to businesses with large finance departments thanks to its support for multiple users and payroll systems.

How Rosemary Bookkeeping helps your business

Each online bookkeeping aid offers something different, with both strengths and weaknesses.

This might make one a great fit for how you run your business or, by the same token, a terrible fit.

At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work with you. We know that every business is different, and our bespoke service reflects this.

By regularly consulting your local Rosemary bookkeeper, you’ll be able to receive support specially tailored to you and your business, and we can take care of your bookkeeping for you.

From helping you choose the right software to use, software supply, training and data migration to a complete outsourced bookkeeping service – we can help.

Whether you’re just starting, or looking to hire a bookkeeper to support your growth, we’d love to help you on your journey to becoming the best business you can be.

To take your first step towards stress-free bookkeeping, find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping branch to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Need help creating an invoice on Xero? We can help.

Xero can be a very useful tool when it comes to sorting out your finances but as with many of the accounting software options available, it has its shortcomings and should not be used as a substitute for a bookkeeper. One of these shortcomings is that they’re not always easy to use without help. That’s where we come in. Each of our Rosemary Bookkeeping business owners is trained on Xero and can provide you with any help you might need – including how to create an invoice.

One of the most crucial things to know about Xero is how to create an invoice. But this is not always easy if you don’t know how to. Luckily, our bookkeeping experts have put together this handy guide to walk you through creating an invoice on Xero, step by step.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKsKsuabKVs&t=3s

Where to start

Before you get to creating an invoice template on Xero, the first thing you need to do is check that your company details are all correct.

To do this, select the drop-down menu in the top right corner of the homepage by clicking on your company name and navigating to your settings, then Organisation Details. From here, you need to make sure that your name and logo are in the correct place under Basic Information. If it isn’t, don’t worry, you can simply upload it now using the links on this page, and by adding in details like your company address, website, and contact information yourself.

You will also need to ensure that the button at the very top of the page has the “On” option selected, to make sure that some of this information is included on your invoices.

Then, as you scroll down this page, you select which information you would like to include by ticking the boxes along the right-hand side. You can then save this information once you have confirmed that you have read the terms and conditions and community guidelines.

Creating a new invoice template

Now that you have confirmed that your company details are in order, you can go on to create a new invoice template.

To do this, use the drop-down menu in the top-left corner once again to access your settings. But this time, navigate over to the top of the right-hand column and click Invoice Settings.  Once here, you should be able to see the standard theme set up by Xero. You can make as many different themes as you like in Xero, so feel free to experiment with your options. For this tutorial, we are going to use the standard theme, but modify some of the finer details to fit our needs.

You can do this by selecting the Options tab in the top-right corner of the first menu box and clicking Edit. Doing this will open up a dialogue box titled Edit Branding Theme.

The first thing to come up is the name of your invoice, followed by its size. Normally, we would advise keeping this as the default A4 size, so that when it is saved as a PDF file, it remains A4. As a result, we would normally recommend leaving the margin sizes as they are as well.

However, we do recommend changing the information next to Approved Invoice title and Overdue Invoice title by changing both to simply say INVOICE. This is because the use of the title of “Tax Invoice” is an Americanism set as Xero’s default. In the UK, we are used to the title “Invoice”, so it’s better not to confuse matters and stick to what most people are familiar with. As for the rest of the information on the left-hand side, we are going to keep the default settings.

Moving over to the right, you will be able to see 10 checkboxes for various settings:

  • The first allows you to Show your tax number, which is important to include on your invoices.
  • You will also want to ensure that you have the second option of Show column headings selected as well, to allow quantities etc. to be easily identifiable.
  • The third option of Show item code can be checked in some circumstances, but you can leave it blank for now.
  • If your business involves supplying products in terms of numbers and price, then you may need to have the Show unit price & quantity box selected. But the choice is yours, depending on the setup of your business.
  • The Show payment advice cut-away is now quite old fashioned and antiquated as it would be the procedure for posting a check. Therefore, we advise leaving this box blank.
  • Leave the Show tax column on
  • Leave Show registered address on, as this is a required field
  • Leave Show logo selected
  • Have Hide discount deselected
  • Leave Show Contact Account Number deselected

You will then want to leave the default settings of Show tax subtotals by dropdown below at its default setting of tax rates and leave the default setting of Show currency conversion as on net amounts with tax totals. You can then leave each of the Payment Services dropdowns blank.

Then you will need to fill in the bank details that you want the payment to come out of in the Terms & Payment Advice (Invoice and Statement) box. This is the name of the bank, the sort code, and the account number. As well as the payment term – the date the payment is due. This serves as a reminder more than anything, as this is shown once the invoice is raised.

As a general rule of thumb, we advise also changing your logo alignment to Centre from the Logo Alignment column in the top-right corner if you have elected to display a logo on your invoices – which we also advise.

With that, your template is complete, and you can now Save it by clicking the button at the bottom of the dialogue box.

You can now Preview your invoice template from the Options dropdown menu, which shows you what your invoice will look like when displayed on both a computer and a mobile.

How to raise a new sales invoice

Now that your template is ready, click the Dashboard heading at the top of the page, and click New sales invoice under Invoices owed to you in the top right-hand dialogue box, which will now let you raise a new sales invoice. Congratulations, you have successfully generated your first invoice on Xero! This template can now be amended to fit any billing that you may need to send and can be a reference for you to come back to in generating different invoices.

Our bookkeeping experts know how difficult it is to run a small business and stay on top of your finances, and will be able to offer you expert support and advice wherever you need it most. At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we help you with the books, so you can get on with the important bits.

For more help on online accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks, or any other help with your bookkeeping, get in touch with us by finding your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business today.

 

Everything you need to know about MTD and how having a bookkeeper helps.

Making Tax Digital (or MTD) is part of HMRC’s ongoing initiative that has been underway since April 2019 to digitalise the UK tax system. Currently, MTD is focused on VAT submission but is set to grow to include other types of tax, such as Income Tax and Corporation Tax. The most immediate of these extensions is coming up soon, when in April 2022, the current MTD VAT will become extended to include businesses.

So, what is MTD? When and how will MTD affect your business? And how should you go about paying it? We have all the answers. Getting in touch with your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business lets you directly contact your local bookkeeping experts, who will help support you with any bookkeeping query.

We’ve also put together a post to answer all of your most burning questions on MTD. Starting with:

What is MTD?

MTD has two core components:

  1. Replacement of paper-based records and a requirement for businesses and organisations (including those with property-based incomes) to keep digital accounting records.
  2. Using compatible software to submit tax returns and updates to HMRC – The government will be removing their current online tax services when a business registers for MTD and will require businesses and organisations to use software compliant with their API (Application Program Interfaces) to submit relevant updates and returns to HMRC instead.

MTD Timeline

  • 1st April 2019: MTD has been in place since this date for the majority of VAT-registered businesses that are above the tax threshold of an £85’000 turnover or above. These included partnerships, sole traders, limited companies, non-UK businesses registered for UK VAT, and charities and trusts.
  • 1st October 2019: There was a six-month deferred start date for more complex businesses.
  • 1st April 2022: MTD will be mandatory for all VAT-registered businesses and organisations.
  • April 2024: MTD will become mandatory for Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) for those who are self-employed and/or with a property-based income if they have self-employment and/or gross rental income of over £10’000.
  • April 2025: MTD ISTA becomes mandatory for general partnerships. Meaning it will now apply to corporate or ‘non-natural’ and non-limited liability partnerships with a turnover above the £10’000 threshold.

The immediate changes and how they affect your business

If, before April 2022, you were not already under the current MTD legislation, you will be required to sign up to MTD, keep digital records of VAT and submit this information to HMRC through an MTD compatible software.

It’s important to note that if your business has received an MTD exemption, this will still be in effect beyond 1st April 2022. To check if you are eligible, or apply for exemption from MTD, you can find guidance on how to do so via the HMRC website. If you’re concerned about the impact of MTD on your business, you can read more about its effects here.

MTD’s benefits:

  • It can reduce or even eliminate paper-based or manual tax processes. This allows you greater accuracy in tax returns, reduces the time you spend on administration, and gives you more time to maximise your business opportunities, productivity and profitability.
  • In the case that you opt to use cloud-based software, you’ll be able to see in real-time what is happening in your books and have better control over your finances, allowing you to up-to-date and well-informed business decisions.
  • Using compliant digital software means that submitting information to HMRC is far simpler and less stressful.
  • Some accounting software link directly with your bank account, further reducing the ‘paperwork’ and time spent filing taxes.
  • Digital software provides you with real-time management information so you can see how your business is performing.

So, if you have not already done so, you need to start weighing your options for MTD compliant software.

How Rosemary Bookkeeping can help

We understand that making the jump to digital can be scary and daunting. But, it’s not as costly or difficult as it seems – especially with the help of an expert bookkeeping service like Rosemary Bookkeeping. The benefit of changing to MTD in April 2022 is that everybody else has already had around three years of experience working with it.

With a professional bookkeeper from Rosemary Bookkeeping to help you, making your tax digital is a very simple process. We have been operating MTD for VAT submissions since its inception in 2019 and know its processes inside and out. Going digital may be a scary prospect, but by using a bookkeeper, your tax may be going digital, but your bookkeeping experience isn’t. We will assist however you need to get accustomed to the software, or simply do the work for you and make the process of sending returns to HMRC straightforward. We will also send generated returns directly from the software so that you have a well-kept and organised backlog of your records.

The main drawback of digital services like Xero and QuickBooks is that they depend on your own financial knowledge and ability to work through MTD yourself. Our bookkeeping experts are trained to work digitally using MTD compliant software like Xero and QuickBooks and Sage, but are a real-life human presence that can reassure and guide you through the process, so you’re not going it alone. As Rosemary Bookkeeping is well-versed in MTD and online services, we can also offer advice on which software would be best for you, and often offer competitive prices for software subscriptions.

Additionally, we also offer an online exchange of documents, so you’ll be able to upload photos or scans of documents so that we can process them on the bookkeeping software. We also use Apps like AutoEntry or Hubdoc, which not only attach documents directly to the record on the software but also automate some bookkeeping processes – saving you valuable time and money.

To start receiving expert help and advice from your local bookkeeping experts, find your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business today.