CLOUD ACCOUNTING FOR BUSINESS GROWTH

EditorM2M

Data collaboration allows for strategic and knowledgeable decision making. In short, disconnected data reduces visibility and hinders critical business decisions.

There is no doubt that apps and data platforms make business easier. These amazing tools can save money and even help you avoid poor business decisions. But in the same way that apps have revolutionised data storage and management, they too can hamper performance…

Exponential Data Growth
The amount of data we collect and need to view and manage has exponentially grown. Available, integrated data drives insight, integrity and collaboration. Disconnected, scattered data can have the opposite effect, distorting your view and preventing your teams from getting things done. By stark contrast, cloud-based solutions scale with your business and make sure your data is available and talking to each other.

Remote workers, data mining, customer relationship management, accounting and forecasting all benefit from cloud-based software. However, businesses often have independent apps and platforms such as a separate CRM and accounting system. You can synchronise your apps (where possible) but this can be costly and inefficient.

Cloud-based accounting is ideal for businesses with fluctuating or growing demands and unifies front and back end, enabling users to access online data that updates in real time. This yields the following business benefits:
Flexibility: drawing on the service’s remote servers – you only pay for what you need and have the flexibility to increase or decrease as required.
Security: cloud accounting provides greater security for sensitive data. Should a laptop or machine break you can still access the data and even remotely wipe the lost
device, thus
preventing a potential data breach. Encryption, dedicated firewalls and a secure data centre (often) deter any would-be intruders.
Automatic Software Updates: cloud accounting servers are off-site and out of sight – creating more precious office space and quietly taking care of all updates automatically and securely.
Disaster Recovery: every business must have the appropriate technical and organisational measures in place to ensure the availability, integrity and security of their data. Imagine losing
all of your data? For many small to medium businesses, your data is your business. Cloud accounting is now helping businesses eliminate this worry.
Work from Anywhere: cloud accounting affords true business freedom. Work from anywhere with an internet connection, securely and confidently.
No Upfront Costs: the physical hardware, servers and machinery you previously needed to pay for are obsolete. Setup is easy. Changing address is easy. Enjoy subscription-based payment
plans that work with your budget and needs.

The Way of the Future
Moving financial and client data securely to the cloud unifies procedures and provides a scalable, future-proof solution – both time and money can be saved.

M2M Technology is one of the most established and experienced Sage Business Partners in the UK, working with Sage software solutions for over 25 years. We offer a seamless service from conception to go live and beyond – leaving you to get on with running your business.

M2M Cloud is the go-to choice for businesses with a SAGE business management solution, promising an integrated, cloud-based, superior performance. We offer a hosted service for a comprehensive, reliable solution that leaves you to get on with the day-to-day running of your business.

For a competitive quote, please get in touch with one of the M2M team.

TOP SAGE BUSINESS ADVICE FOR SME’S

EditorSage

Many small to medium sized businesses utilise the portfolio of SAGE services to make lighter work of running their company. Businesses around the world report that a staggering 71% of their time is absorbed with tasks such as accounting, invoicing and payment processing.

Freeing up time not only saves you money, it also avoids admin sink holes and allows you to focus on successfully running your business – keeping employees happy and looking after your customers.

Improved User Experience
The right software, support and strategy can take your business to the next level. In an increasingly digital age, automation and integration rule. Here is the M2M top SAGE business advice:

1. Choose Integrated Software
Technology can be the difference between a good business and a great business. A faster, more efficient experience will be achieved by integrating your software – saving you time and money in the process. SAGE is the market leader for integrated accounting, business management and payment systems, supporting the ambitious growth of your business. Software provides a single access point, whilst shared data across all departments save time and effort.

2. Conquer Bad Debt
Credit control is an essential element of your business. Having money tied up in outstanding invoices causes cash-flow issues, can impact customer relationships and create debt. With a sound knowledge of your customer base and specialist skills – the correct systems and processes help your business to conquer bad debt, reduce invoicing errors and lessening the ‘wait’ time.

3. Making Tax Digital
HMRC’s move to digitalise tax – Making Tax Digital (MTD) impacts the majority of UK businesses. From April 2019, businesses with a turnover above £85K will have to submit VAT returns through the HMRC gateway using commercial accounting software. SAGE software provides the agile, reliable tool your business needs to make light work of MTD.
NB – always check the filing deadline for your business in your online VAT account at HMRC’s website.

4. Get Comfortable with VAT for Small to Medium Businesses
Charging your customers VAT, keeping VAT records and paying the VAT you have collected is a non-negotiable legality for all VAT registered businesses. If your business is VAT registered, you should charge VAT on the goods and services you provide and reclaim the VAT you pay when you buy goods and services for your business.

5. Protect Your Business with Backup and Recovery
The GDPR was really more of a start date than a deadline. All businesses are required by law to have adequate technical and operational measures to protect the data they hold. Part of this protection includes being able to restore data and ensure its availability. SAGE 200 backup disaster and recovery protects your SAGE system from a serious event, such as a security breach, hardware failure, data corruption or fire damage. Getting your business back up and running quickly can help to avoid unwanted fines and minimalize the damage from (or length of) a business blackout.

M2M Technology is one of the most established and experienced Sage Business Partners in the UK, working with Sage software solutions for over 25 years. We offer a seamless service from conception to go live and beyond – leaving you to get on with running your business.
For expert advice or to discuss your business needs, please get in touch with one of the M2M team.

The Complete VAT Jargon-Buster

EditorMaking Tax Digital

Value added tax (VAT) jargon can be confusing, leading to unnecessary complications for your business. The Complete VAT Jargon-Buster will allow you to confidently discuss your VAT and understand HMRC’s complex terminology.

We have written the VAT jargon alphabetically so that you can easily find what you need and dip in and out as required.

VAT Jargon A-Z

Some of the common VAT terms, written in plain English (you’re welcome):

Accounting Period – you usually submit a VAT return to HMRC every 3 months, this period is known as your ‘accounting period’.

Acquisitions – goods or services from overseas that you may have bought or acquired.

Corporate Body – a group of people, for example, a limited company, private company or limited liability partnership, being treated as one group by law.

Distance Sales – when a business supplies and delivers goods from one EU country to another.

Exempt Supply – supply of goods or services is an ‘exempt supply’ if no VAT is due by law.

Export – if you sell, supply or transfer goods out of the UK, this is known as exporting.

Dispatches – if you supply goods to another EU country, these are known as despatches.

Imports – if you buy or transfer goods into a country, this is known as importing.

Input Tax – the VAT added to the price when you purchased goods or services that are liable for VAT.

Output Tax – the VAT you charge on your own goods and services to businesses and customers.

Outside the Scope of VAT – goods and services completely outside the scope of VAT altogether, for example, goods or services you bought and used outside of the EU.

Place of Supply – the place where you make a supply of goods or services.

Reduced (VAT) Rate – some essential goods and services are subject to VAT at a reduced rate of 5%, for example, sanitary products or a child’s car seat.

Standard (VAT) Rate – taxable supply subject to the default rate, currently 20%.

Supply – supplying/providing goods or services, usually for sale.

Supply of Goods – a transfer of goods or services by sale.

Taxable Person – a business, sole trader or professional who are required to be VAT registered.

Taxable Supplies – any supply of goods or services by a taxable person, liable for VAT at the standard, reduced or zero rate.

Taxable Turnover – the total value (net of VAT) of taxable supplies made by a person during the year.

Tax Point, or Time of Supply – the date at which VAT becomes chargeable on a transaction (usually when goods change hands during the sale).

Partial Exempt – a VAT registered business falls within the scope of ‘partial exemption’ when it has goods or services of both a taxable and exempt nature.

Zero (VAT) Rate – as the name suggests; goods and services that are subject to a zero (0%) VAT rate, for example, most food and children’s clothing.

M2M Technology is one of the most established and experienced Sage Business Partners in the UK, working with Sage software solutions for over 25 years. We specialise in providing business management solutions that are practical, cost-effective and support your business growth.

To discuss your business needs with one of the team, please get in touch.

To access HMRC’s VAT returns guidance, please click here.

5 Ways Accountants Can Use Software to Grow their Accountancy Practice

EditorM2M

 

Technology can be the difference between a good and a great business. But in order to succeed and unlock its full potential, you need to be able to decipher each of its technological features, and how best you can implement them into your business operations.

After all, running the likes of an accountancy practice is by no means easy. It is far more than simply a service, it’s the overseeing of a whole enterprise, and one in which maximum productivity and growth is rapidly sought. So, how can it best be implemented within an accountancy practice?

Here we uncover 5 ways today’s technology can be adapted to your business, helping you to grow your practice faster…

  1. Automate your everyday tasks

Automation is by no means a new concept, yet frequent revisions to accountancy software, for instance Sage, means that the tools on offer today within an accountancy practice can be transformative within a business. In fact, they can speed up manual tasks by up to five times, making bookkeeping automated and effortless.

The advantages of such automation mean that not only do they eradicate labour-intensive processes, saving a practice significant levels of time, they can also empower accountants to take on additional clients, in a bid to grow.

  1. Use real-time accounting

Cloud technology is ideal for practices looking to develop their software business management with an agile system that can adapt to your changing business needs. A fully hosted solution, such as Sage, for your business is an ideal choice for accountancy practices.

Such flexibility and real-time functionality enable accountants to give their clients anytime, anywhere access to data within just a few clicks. By offering customers a method to access their data simply and quickly, accountants can spend more time building relationships with existing clients and finding new prospects.

  1. Be active and contactable on all platforms

In order to promote your business, accountants need to be accessible. By offering your existing clientele, and prospective ones, several contactable avenues, your clients can contact you whenever they need to. This can help to build trust and ensure that your services are recommended to others.

In this digital age however, your presence also needs to be seen on the likes of video calls, social media, and messaging apps in addition to more traditional face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and email. Also, it’s likely that the preferred contact for some clients will vary from that of others, so offering a good selection of availability over a variety of platforms is recommended.

The chosen form of contact needn’t be direct, for instance, the likes of Facebook and Instagram, enable non-direct communication with patrons, i.e. engaging posts that clients will find useful, from highlighting the services you offer or shedding light on ways to handle common bookkeeping challenges.

Posting thought-provoking content can help you to build a stronger online presence, while ensuring clients consider you to be a friendly and approachable brand.

  1. Adapt your services to suit millennials

There are many ways in which to adapt services to attract millennial clients. And given that millennials make up 35% of the workforce (according to a report by KPMG), accountants wishing to grow their accounting business can benefit greatly by building strong relationships with their millennial clients. So, how best should you adapt your services to better suit millennial clients?

Going paperless is a great place to start, just as embracing social media is. But what else can be done? How about subscription pricing? Subscription pricing is something millennials have grown up with. The likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix are growing increasingly popular, with a low monthly rate that makes it a more affordable option to millennials (as opposed to a larger one-off fee).

And the same concept is now being applied to many other services, including that of accounting services. Millennial business owners are choosing to gain their accounting services through monthly subscription payments, so being sure that your practice offers different methods of payments, including an option to pay via monthly subscription, could stand your business in good stead.

  1. Support the transition to mobile

Just as cloud computing provides the flexibility to work from anywhere, an app is too an advantageous tool for both accountants and their clients.

Smart phones are no longer used simply for making calls, taking the odd selfie, or posting on social media. Instead, they are being used to manage the likes of household utilities, banking, and budgeting.

Apps make this possible, and for those of us on-the-go (which is most of us), they simply can’t be beaten. So, why should your accounting be any different? The Sage accounting app helps to make life easier by giving users the functionality to manage their invoices and expenses on the go.

By encouraging clients to utilise apps, such as the Sage app, your patrons can make use of them wherever they are, so if they wish to send receipts, bills, or other paperwork to accountants via apps in real-time, they can.

The benefits for the accountant are also well-defined as fast, real-time access via apps means your job is made easier, while also being able to process items as they come in, and therefore providing clients with an outstanding service.

Looking for Software to Grow your Accountancy Practice?

If you’re an accountant looking to make better use of technology with software that will not only helps you to grow your practice but also brings additional benefits to your clients, M2M are here to help. Whether you’re looking for Cloud hosting, software support, or further information on the Sage software we offer, please get in touch

 

How to Switch to Making Tax Digital In your Business

EditorM2M, Making Tax Digital

 

We have spoken about Making Tax Digital on a few occasions now, and without wanting to prattle on, the M2M team hope that by revisiting the subject, we are, if nothing else, demonstrating the importance of the topic, particularly with implementation soon to take place.

In April this year, businesses will start to be required to keep their records digitally and send their 9 box VAT return data to HMRC. Sounds straightforward right? But there’s a few things you’ll want to consider first…

To help simplify your considerations, Sage has put together a Business checklist – a 4 step process – which is as follows:

1. Determine whether you’re impacted by the change
2. Review your plan
3. Start reviewing your VAT process
4. Adopt early

Let’s explain this in more detail…

Step 1: Determine whether you’re impacted by the change

Any business that is above the VAT threshold (of 85k+) is most likely already utilising some form of software or spreadsheet.

By understanding how much of what you are doing already is MTD compliant, you’re halfway there, as this will help to indicate if there is anything extra you need to do.

For people using software for VAT, a lot of the software is enabled already to translate into the 9 boxes of VAT return data, so for businesses that are using their package in that way, they will no-tice very little change or impact.

For those who’ve got a mixed approach or manual approach to record keeping however, they will be more affected by the change, as they will require a digital system to replace the manual one.

Step 2: Review your plan

If you’ve got an accountant, now is the time to talk to them. And if you’re using software, and you’ve got a supportive software package, now is a good time to talk to your software provider – doing so will help to bring you clarity. You’ll want to know when their software will be enabled for MTD, and when to join the pilot. With only a few months to wait until MTD implementation, the answer will likely be now.

For businesses that are using spreadsheets, and manually completing their VAT, there are provid-ers that are offering bridging software, bridging the gap between manual and digital, so this is po-tentially an option to help assist in your transition to MTD.

If you’re a new business or an accountant who’s got new clients joining, it’s advised that you whol-ly undertake a digital approach, rather than opting for a manual one. This is because, digital will soon be obligatory so you’re effectively complying from the get-go, but also because, by taking on software that recognises MTD, you’ll benefit from a much fuller service. For example, Sage soft-ware helps to eradicate common errors made when using a manual approach, it also offers advise such as managing credits and debtors, creating invoices etc.

Step 3: Start reviewing your VAT process

Work with your partners or accountants – and don’t hesitate to get support from your software provider if you will be downloading accountancy software for the first time.

Outline the processes you may need to change:

• Are you submitting through HMRC’s online gateway? Are you using Excel or paper?
• Will your current methods/software allow you to submit through the gateway once MTD comes into effect?
• Do you have any adjustments to make before April?

Step 4: Adopt early

The faster you get started, the more likely you are to fulfil your new MTD obligations seamlessly come April 2019. Give yourself the time to adapt and get the support you need to make the impact as minimal to your business as possible.

The VAT Mandated Service WILL Have A Soft Landing

Just remember, HMRC won’t penalise people for getting things wrong for the first year, that gives you a year to get used to the new digital VAT service. And for those joining the pilot service, this provides you with additional time to get used to it. This means, HMRC won’t penalise people for not keeping their records digitally, and not sending their data in the agreed API format.

Don’t Spend Another Year Getting Ready…

As step 4 suggests, the key is to adopt MTD early. Despite HMRC not penalising businesses who haven’t adopted the digital approach within the first year, this shouldn’t mean that businesses spend another year getting ready.

So, what happens next? If you are a current Sage customer and would like to be a part of the pilot, find out more here.

Or for more information on MTD, why not watch the video we’ve featured below, which explains the rules for Making Tax Digital for VAT in more detail…

10 Making Tax Digital for VAT Questions Answered

EditorM2M, Making Tax Digital

 

We spoke about Making Tax Digital back in September, yet with so many common misconceptions regarding MTD still circulating, and with less than 6 months till the VAT changes come into play, we thought now would be a good opportunity to answer some of the most commonly asked questions by businesses to help keep you abreast of the 2019 MTD initiative.

By now, you’re likely to already know the basic facts, such as;

  • When MTD is due to be implemented – 1st April 2019
  • How MTD will affect your business – customers will be unable to submit a return manually via HMRC gateway and instead will need to do so via their accounting software
  • How to remain compliant with the new changes – customers will need to upgrade to Sage 200cloud Spring 2018 release or a subsequent release in order to remain compliant

But what about the other, trickier questions that businesses are asking? From 1st April 2019, given that all businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will be required by law to store financial records digitally and submit VAT returns from MTD-compatible accounting software, we’ve put together 10 Q&As commonly asked by businesses up and down the country, we hope you find the answers useful;

  1. What’s happen if you don’t have Sage 200cloud Spring 2018 release?

Not all customers will be in a position to upgrade to Sage 200cloud Spring 2018 before April 2019, therefore Sage have created a new MTD Submission module to provide customers on previous versions the ability to comply with the mandate without upgrading in the short term. This is only a temporary fix, so a full upgrade is still advised.

  1. In clause 2 .1.1 HMRC states that there will be a soft landing period where businesses will not be required to have links between software programs. So, why would a customer require the MTD Submission module?

Customers don’t need to have a digital link between the software and their VAT return in the first year, but they will still need to keep digital records and submit digitally.

Customers who want to do it this way will still need to invest in a submission tool (bridging software) that will send the data, make sure they trust it is going to be compliant, then in a year, they will need to start using a solution which has digital links.

Customers will benefit from not having to switch software providers in 12 months time if they use the MTD submission module.

  1. Sage customers on 2015-17 are on supported platforms and the EOL policy states they will get legislation updates as part of their services. Why should they pay for this?

Legislatives updates started in the summer 2018 release and will continue to be provided, giving Sage customers 4 versions of Sage 200cloud that will be MTD compliant by April 2019.

Using the latest software is the best way for Sage to help customers run their business effectively, however for those customers who are unable to adopt one of these versions, the MTD submission module enables them to remain compliant.

  1. Does the module support group VAT submissions?

The MTD module offers new functionality and capabilities that are currently not available in Sage 200cloud, so yes, the module will support group VAT and/or multi-company submissions. For example, if a customer upgrades to the latest version of 200cloud, they will still require the module as the product mainly supports single company submissions. In this instance the module will be available at no extra cost.

  1. How long can customers use the submission module for?

The module will be sold to you on an annual subscription. If at the point of renewal, you haven’t upgraded to a compatible version of 200cloud, the subscription will automatically renew.

  1. What if a customer chooses not to buy the module from Sage?

There are 2 options;

  • Upgrade to the latest version,
  • Buy the submission module

Therefore, if neither option is selected, we will assume that you have chosen an alternative unsupported solution from a third party.

  1. How straightforward is a Sage 200 upgrade to the latest compliant version?

Your business partner can advise and assist with the upgrade process. The complexity of the upgrade will depend on many factors:

  • Hardware and infrastructure compatibilities (which may require new servers and/or Microsoft Software),
  • Bespoke and 3rd party add-ons upgrades,
  • PC/Workstation spec,
  • Training and data migration
  1. When is the MTD software required by?

The MTD software will be required from April 1st 2019 however this will depend on your VAT Periods. e.g. If your VAT quarters runs from 1st February to 30th April, you will need the MTD in place for 1st May, which is the start of next VAT Period following the introduction of MTD).

  1. Will there be any training on the new module?

Yes. When a customer buys the MTD submission module they will receive a free eLearning course (£200 value), delivered via Sage University. There is also a demo available on AskSage article, 41667. This can be found here.

  1. How does the customer obtain the MTD module for non-compliant versions of Sage 200

This needs to be ordered via your business partner.

For Further information, M2M Can Help…

So, what happens next? For customers looking to buy the latest module, our friendly team at M2M can help by processing your order with Sage. We can also advise and assist with your Sage 200 upgrade, and for those with non-compliant versions of Sage 200, we can order the MTD module on your behalf.

For further information on MTD, why not take a look at VAT Notice 700/22, which explains the rules for Making Tax Digital for VAT in more detail, or please feel free to contact us.