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Bookkeeping for a small sole trader property maintenance business - help!!

(14 Posts)
peedoffbird Thu 08-Aug-13 19:57:37

My dp is running a small property maintenance business and I am attempting to keep his books! However, I don't have a clue what to do. I am using Excel and keeping a log of money paid out in materials and money coming in (invoices). I am keeping petrol receipts too.

This seems very simple and I'm not sure if it's enough. I have looked online at HMRC and it is a total maze of information and I can't find what I'm looking for at all. For example, how much can you claim for petrol for the tax year 12/13 and for this tax year? Can you claim for car tax? He has a works van.

Does anyone have any handy hints and tips on what to record and how and what to keep and how. Also, does anyone know of a website that is concise or a book to help.

I would be most grateful if anyone could help!

Many thanks.

mistlethrush Thu 08-Aug-13 20:22:59

I think Sage accounts is quite a good accounts package for small businesses.

peedoffbird Thu 08-Aug-13 20:34:53

Thank you Mistlethrush. Do you think I need one rather than doing it myself?

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 08-Aug-13 20:43:26

Sage is software to help you do your own accounts. An accountant might also use that sort of software.

You can do it yourself, but I personally think accountants are worth paying for.

I am a sole trader and do some of my accounts (noting incoming and outgoing monies) but I then pay an accountant to produce my accounts and to do my annual return. She charges me £300 for that, so you can keep the costs down by doing some of it.

OfflineFor40Years Fri 09-Aug-13 07:13:18

Sage can be quite expensive and is not always considered user friendly, so I'd have a look at some of the other accounts packages before you commit to it - FreeAgent, Xero, Wave are some others worth investigating. There are lots out there, just Google sole trader accounts packages and a whole range will come up.

Though I second going to see an accountant as they will be able to guide you and advise you on what expenses to claim etc.

Wilfer Sun 11-Aug-13 09:40:07

Have you checked whether he needs to be Construction Industry Scheme registered with HMRC? The scheme covers quite a lot of property-related activity so I would definitely look into this. There's a HMRC helpline you can call to find out whether it's relevant to him.

Talkinpeace Mon 12-Aug-13 22:18:45

Sage is OTT and expensive for most sole traders
THe people on here are full of good ideas
and look at my ebay me page

Ireallymustbemad Wed 14-Aug-13 16:44:28

I agree sage is really not the best for a small business. There are plenty of better and easier ways to keep records.

I would very much recommend you see an accountant. I'll admit straight off that I am an accountant but you say yourself that you haven't a clue. An accountant can give you good basic pointers as to how to keep records and what to keep in order to make their job easier (and therefore cheaper) at year-end. They may well give you free bookkeeping software and set it up for you as I do with my clients (on the basis that it feeds into my more expensive software and makes the job easier).

To be honest, I very much doubt you would get it correct yourself, for example, do you know about capital allowances for the van? Is it eligible for annual investment allowance? If so, there are different things you can claim compared to if you keep mileage logs and claim mileage allowances.
Do you know what clothing is/isn't tax deductible, what travel or subsistence is or isn't claim able and what records to keep? It is fairly complicated and there is a reason most of us took several years and many exams to qualify.

NotYoMomma Sun 18-Aug-13 00:15:34

I would disagree about Sage, I love it and there is Sage Instant accounts and now Sage One for smaller businesses.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 18-Aug-13 08:59:29

I kept property accounts on excel spreadsheet for years.
One block of columns for income and detailed source by date.
One block of outgoings for example petrol, materials etc again by date.
Kept mileage details to show what percentage was business.
E-mailed this to account who charged £200 to turn it into information for tax return.
Accountant said for size of business sage would have broken it down I. To complex away.
I own another business with considerably greater turn over and do use sage line 50 for this, but needs are much greater.

bumbleymummy Sat 24-Aug-13 10:11:46

DH uses BrightPay. He loves it and has recommended it to lots of people. It's not that expensive (it's free if you have under 3 employees) and they have really good support if you need any help with it/any questions about how things work. It's really easy to use anyway (I've helped him out with a few things myself). Hope you get sorted! smile

bumbleymummy Sat 24-Aug-13 10:13:00

Sorry, meant to link to their website:

RUAHall Fri 13-Sep-13 14:04:52

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Alad Sun 29-Sep-13 06:33:17

Try quickfile. It's free!

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