There may be a whole lot of tasks you have to do for your small business, and bookkeeping is definitely one of the most important ones. Bookkeeping isn't familiar to everyone, however, and you may be unsure of how to tackle it properly. Initially, you can act as the bookkeeper for your business whilst it is still in its starting phase, but as it grows, you may want to delegate this task to someone else. But it still pays to learn as much as you can about how to do it right, just so you will always be aware of your business's financial standing. So what are the most important pointers you should remember when doing bookkeeping for your small business? Here's your guide.
Know the difference
Accounting and bookkeeping are two terms that are often interchanged, and understandably so. But there is a difference between the two. Bookkeeping, in essence, is the recording as well as reporting of your financial transactions and information, whilst accounting is the analysis of your financial transactions and information and the creation of a financial system or strategy. Accounting helps you make decisions based on your position financially, whilst bookkeeping is more of the recording and collation of your financial details.
Know what’s involved
Bookkeeping is the overall management of your finances from day to day, and it includes such aspects as paying your bills, chasing client payments, calculating and paying the right amount of taxes, claiming taxes for your business expenses, and managing your business’ payroll so you can pay your workforce and HMRC properly.
You can keep track of all your payments with three kinds of financial records – your cashbook, sales invoice, and purchase invoice. The cashbook will record all your business's cash flow, which includes everything that moves in or out of your accounts. The sales invoice is a record of what you have sold (including your paid and unpaid invoices). The purchase invoice, on the other hand, is a record of what you have bought as well as how you paid for it.
Keep in mind that these are only the most basic; you will probably have more as your business expands, as experienced GSM Accountants in central London will attest.
Points to remember:
- Keep a record of each bill or payment. Record all payment transactions in your books and note when you made them and when they were received.
- Be mindful of deadlines. It will not do to settle payments late, especially when it comes to HMRC, because you can end up with penalties. If you are sending out invoices, give deadlines to your clients for the more effective chasing of payments. Note down those who pay late and think about cancelling their contract if they are serial late-payers. This is termed credit control, and your aim with this is to ensure a healthy cash flow for your business.
- Keep proper track of your expenses. As mentioned, this is an obvious bookkeeping task, but in line with this, you can claim your taxes back from your expenses so you can decrease your overheads. Make sure you keep your receipts and organise them so it will be easier to present them to HMRC when you claim your taxes.
Image attributed to Pixabay.com
I was given this Sony Vaio laptop from our local LUG, it has Ubuntu on but I needed it for my accounts so dual booted Windows XP with the license stuck on the bottom. It's been a while since I've had a Windows laptop as I'm used to OS X on my iMac.
Most my friends chat on MSN messenger/Windows messenger/MSN/Windows Live Messenger (or whatever it is branded now) so I installed the Windows version. A few years ago the program was just an instant messenger for chatting to people, now it's so bloated I had to write this blog to highlight its problems.
As you can see almost 50% of the application interface is taken up by elements that have nothing to do with instant messaging! (Tabs can be hidden in the options but this is not default).
Compared to the Mac version there is so much bloat that detract from the original idea of the program.
Even though there are no search boxes, tabs or adverts the Mac version of the program remains highly usable and easy to use and look at.
I did a quick redesign in Fireworks of the Windows version to make it look better.
I've basically cut out all the crap - the program is back to its roots - for chatting to people online. All it needs now is some brushed aluminium.......
Scientists in Amsterdam, Holland and scientists in the US have managed to transfer data across the Atlantic at 923 megabits per second. They did the equivalent to a DVD movie (6.7gig) in less than a minute.
That is a massive 10,978 kms (6,800 miles) for the data to travel in such a sort time. This is a new world record in data transfer and the scientists are very excited about what this may mean for the future of the Internet.
Les Cottrel, of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (Slac) Computer Services, said: "By exploring the edges of internet technologies' performance envelope, we will bring high-speed data transfer to practical everyday applications."
The data were sent across the Internet2 network, this is a network run by a number of Universities worldwide working on the Internet of the future. It is intended to connect and serve research and educational institutions at transmission speeds that allow near-instant transfer of hundreds of megabytes of data.
The research was inspired by particle physics and the vast amounts of data produced by the subject. Many people are excited about the future of the Internet and high speed data transfer could be the key to getting many futuristic ideas to work.
Some people no longer rely on their primary job alone for income. They also take on another one. Since online jobs are in demand, people with appropriate skills consider them. If you believe you will do well with online tasks, start submitting your applications now.
You can't continue living from pay check to pay check
It doesn't matter how much you earn from your main job. If it's not enough to meet your needs and have savings, you should earn more. Otherwise, you can't prepare for the rainy days. Imagine suddenly losing your main income. You can't keep going in that direction. When faced with emergencies, you will take out whatever loan is available, even if the terms are unfavourable.
If you don’t want to live this way, consider getting independent financial advice in Kent. You need a local expert's advice on how to manage your finances. It's even better if you receive help from someone in the area for a swifter transaction, instead of working with someone who isn’t close by.
You can use your existing skills
Working online allows you to use your existing skills. There's no need to continue a postgraduate degree or study for several months before you qualify. For instance, if you already have experience in photo editing, there are jobs available for you. Once you apply and pass the test, you're good to go.
You don't waste your free time
You hesitate to work online because you're busy. The truth is that you spend hours browsing your social media or playing video games. Instead of wasting your time doing them, it's better to work online. You can make money out of your free time and manage your time well. These jobs are flexible. Whether you choose to be an online writer or a graphic designer, the job doesn't require you to spend hours. As long as you get tasks done on time, you can satisfy your employer.
There's an opportunity to earn more
Another reason for doing online jobs is that you get paid per project. If you do more, you will earn more. If your priority is to make more money, you can work harder. Take unnecessary activities out of your daily schedule to be more productive. If you focus on the projects, you will do more in a day.
You can improve yourself
When you worked on the same day job for a long time, you become complacent. You don't strive for improvement anymore. You believe that you can do the job even with closed eyes. As a result, you don't grow professionally. However, if you consider getting an online job, you work on a new skill. You also work on different projects at a time. It allows you to learn something new in every project.
Given these reasons, it's time to consider working online now. Look at the available jobs and see if they're suitable for you. Start small and assess how comfortable you are with the job. You can consider more projects later if you can do them.
I've spent the past ten days in Hong Kong on holiday, here is my day to day account of what I did. Hong Kong used to be owned by the British but in 1997 we gave it back to China. The British influence is still clear from the predominant use of the English language, road signs, food and the economy.
(Hong Kong at Night- click any picture to enlarge)
Day 1 - Travel
The first day was long, we had two flights to catch, one to Dubai then on to Hong Kong. Fortunately both flights were on time and were as comfy as you can expect from economy class. I was quite impressed with the Emirates flights especially how they had a camera on the front and below the plane so that you could see where you were going.
We got into Hong Kong about 10pm at night where we got a train to the central district then a taxi to our hotel, all was very efficient and easy though it helped everything being in English.
Day 2 - Exploring / Shopping
We spent most of the day walking around shopping centres and taking in the sites of the Central District, Wanchai and Causeway Bay. Laura and myself started a competition to see how many fat Chinese people we could spot. It was hard and often a fat person from behind ended up being an American. We managed to just get into double figures, we spotted 10 times that number in the same time for American and European fatties. It's not all gloom though there are a significant number of McDonald's, KFC's and Starbucks slowly fattening up the Chinese population.
(In Time Square these people hadn't realised what had crept up behind them)
(A tram in front of the very unique head quarters of the worlds local bank. The building was designed by Sir Normal Foster)
Day 3 - Visited Peak
To get to the peak there is a tram ride that takes about five minutes. From the top you have views to the North of Hong Kong, Kowloon and in the far distance China. To the south you can see the smaller towns of Stanley and Aberdeen with the ocean beyond.
(This is the view from the peak- our hotel is somewhere on the bottom right. Hong Kong is in the foreground with Kowloon beyond the water.)
(The view from the peak at night.)
Day 4 - Visited the Big Buddha and the Fishing Village of Tai O
(The Buddha has a Swastika on it's chest though I do not think this is a relation to the Nazi's.)
(These Mobile Phone masts next to the Buddha ensure the Monks are never disconnected from their 3G Internet.)
After visiting the Buddha we took the bus to the fishing village Tai O. It was interesting to see a different side to Hong Kong which was not all wealthy high rise. Many of the houses are built on stilts along the estuary. There was a market here too though the village was lacking a Starbucks.
(We took a boat ride up here and to see Dolphins in the sea.)
(The people in Tai O live in these houses, some do not have running water.)
Day 5 - Visited Kowloon and Temple Street Night Market.
Kowloon is a boat ride across from the main island, one of the main attractions is a night market.
(In Hong Kong they do not have the strict rules for signs like we do in the UK.)
(I have no idea what these are but they look interesting.)
Day 6 - Grand Prix and Boat Ride to see the Festival of Lights
Day 6 was all about seeing Lewis Hamilton win the Formula 1 championship, unfortunately it didn't happen after he skidded off the track into gravel when trying to pit. We spent most of the day in a sports bar drinking but come early evening we headed to the harbour for a boat trip around the bay to see the Festival of Lights.
Every evening at 8pm for about 15mins various building in Hong Kong and Kowloon light up and flash to some Chinese music. The show is fascinating to watch and has won various world records.
(Buildings change colour and the sky is full of lights and lasers.)
We watched the show from a boat making it impossible to take pictures, I wouldn't recommend it.
Day 7 - Disney
On the seventh day we visited the magic place of Hong Kong Disney World. It's not as big as its American or European counterparts but we still had a great day. Fortunately it was not very busy so we did not have to wait more than a few minutes for any of the attractions.
(Even the train to Disney was themed.)
Disney was clearly aimed at Children though the rides and attractions were still good fun. I was looking forward to having a photo with a Johnny Depp look alike but we could only find Mickey and Goofy.
(Had Disney not brought Pixar then Disney World would have been a very empty place).
In places I felt they had diluted some of the Disney brands a little too much to an extent that made you cringe but on a whole it wasn't too bad.
(The toilets in the future land were for space men and disabled people only, I managed to blag the latter.)
Another thing that got my attention was all the staff having English names, it didn't seem too bad at first but when you see all these Chinese people with 'Kenneth', 'Keith' and 'Randy' name badges then you wish they had just kept their original names.
(I'm just faking here - Disney wasn't that bad.)
If you ever visit Disney in Hong Kong I recommend you don't eat any of the food, for lunch Laura and myself had a Burger and Fried Chicken, both were inedible. In the evening we tried what should have been Chinese food, again it was inedible. Otherwise Disney was a great day out.
Day 8 - Beach, Stanley and Lights
The sun was out on Day 8, it had been hot the other days but mainly cloudy. We were lucky it didn't rain considering we were in between two typhoons, one battering Vietnam and the other Taiwan and the Chinese main land. We took this opportunity to go to the beach and to visit the town of Stanley where we had lunch and visited yet another market.
(In China respect is given in proportion to the size of your Digital SLR Camera - everyone we saw carried one.)
In the evening we went back to Kowloon to watch the Festival of Lights, it was here I managed to capture the photo below. It's quite spectacular to watch and there are more photos on my Flickr account.
(The Hong Kong Skyline is one of the best in the world.)
Day 9 - Relaxation
We were tired from our adventures over the past 8 days so decided to relax around the pool. In the evening we had a nice meal in an Argentinian restaurant.
(I did some light philosophical reading around the pool. Much love to the FSM.)
Day 10- Cinema and travel home
We had to check out of the hotel at 12pm and our flight was not until 12am. In Hong Kong you can check your baggage in at the central train station, it will then find its way to the airport and onto your plane. This gave us the day baggage free to carry on our adventure, we decided however to go to the cinema, twice. Luckily the films were in English with Chinese subtitles. We finally took off just after midnight on our way to Dubai.
We were welcomed into Dubai airport with the 5am prayer. We had about three hours to kill and fortunately the airport is great but my only complaint is the lack of sinks in the toilets. I went to take a leak then naturally to wash my hands however the two sinks were crowded by Muslims insistent on washing their faces 50 times in 20 different ways each taking two minutes. If your going to cater for such people build some more sinks!
When landing back in the UK from looking at the forward camera I was worried the pilot might skid into the gravel, fortunately his tyres still had grip.
Overall we had an amazing time in Hong Kong and I would recommend it if you love big, busy, crowded, high rise cities and want to see some Chinese culture without having to learn the language.
*All pictures have been taken by either Laura or Myself view the whole set on Flickr.