Silicon Bullet Forever !

I have been thinking about how to support small business in a more effective way through the services Silicon Bullet offers, and one way is to offer services to a vertical market, which means we really understand how a particular sort of company or sole trader works, so that we can offer insight, help and support for clients.

One of these markets is Forever Living distributors.  I already do the regular bookkeeping for a distributor (Frances Woollard of Forever Your Success), and have helped another distributor in the past too.  The Forever Living business model encourages those signing up to set up their own business, and in the first instance distributors are self employed, but hopefully when the business grows they may wish to set up a limited company and even register for VAT as their income grows.  The responsibility of keeping accurate records of Sales and Expenses is on the distributor, so that they can fill out their tax return or year end accounts.

As a bookkeeper to several different types of business, the most challenging thing when I take on a new client, or train someone new in Sage or ACT! is actually understanding their business.  By offering my services to distributors as they set up their business, I can offer advice from a position of knowledge which means I am half way there already.

I use Forever Living products myself, and have done for a few years now.  The Aloe Vera products help me with my Arthritis, and also soothe the children’s eczema, and the Bee Pollen products ease the effects of Hayfever.  I have now taken the extra step which will really mean I can provide a unique service to Forever Living distributors in doing their accounts and bookkeeping – I have become a distributor myself.  This means I am really learning about how Forever Living works, and about the other products available – and I can offer my services with renewed confidence.

If you are interested in becoming part of an incredibly supportive team of Forever Living distributors and earning an extra income promoting great quality products, please get in touch with me via Twitter, Facebook, or our website, using the links at the top of the page.

Or if you are already involved with Forever Living but struggling with the financial side of your business, let me share my bookkeeping skills and advice with you.

2012 Budget ~ what might it mean to you?

My thanks go to Brian D. Hogg of Brian Hogg Accountancy for writing this excellent review of the recent Budget.  Brian Hogg Accountancy delivers a professional and efficient accountancy service geared to small and medium sized companies.You can contact Brian on 01604 781 593.

Mr. Osborne claimed that his Budget was aimed at the simplification and modernisation of the Tax System, the removal of barriers to the UK’s competitiveness and a warning of dire consequences for undertaking ‘morally repugnant’ aggressive tax avoidance.

 But how does this affect the average small business person?

 Income Tax

As previously announced, the personal allowance at which normally you start to pay tax will be £8,105 from 6th April, 2012 increasing to £9,205 from 6th April, 2013.

Basic rate tax will remain at 20% and from 2012/13 this will be on the first £34,370 of taxable income, reducing to £32,245 from 6th April 2013.  This means that most people with income over (£8,105 + 34,370) £42,475 for 2012/13 will have the excess taxed at least at 40%

Age related tax allowances are to be phased out (The Daily Mail refers to this as a ‘Granny Tax’)

The 50% tax rate on income over £150,000 is to be reduced to 45% on the grounds that it ‘raised next to nothing’ and the lower rate will encourage high rate tax payers to remain in the country!

Child benefit

Will be reduced incrementally when someone in a household has an income of more than £50,000. It will fall by 1% for every £100 earned over £50,000. Anyone earning more than £60,000 will lose the benefit completely.

It appears that child benefit will still be paid to all, but claimants will have to fill out self assessment tax forms and they will have the relevant amount reclaimed via their tax assessments.

Corporation Tax

Although reductions were announced in the main rate of Corporation Tax, there were no changes in the threshold rates for small companies (profits up to £300,000), which remains at 20%.

Capital Allowances

As previously announced, the annual writing-down allowance (main Pool) will be reduced to 18% instead of 20%.  The maximum annual amount of 100% Annual Investment Allowance is being reduced from April 2012 to £25,000 (previously £100,000).  These reductions could be significant in terms of cash flow for businesses making significant investments in capital items such as vans or lorries exceeding £25,000 per annum.

The emission thresholds for cars are changing to match the emissions target.  This could mean reduced capital allowances for businesses buying or leasing cars.

National Insurance

There are no changes to previously proposed rates, but detailed consultations are to start on integrating the operation of National Insurance and Income Tax.  This seems a good way to keep civil servants busy for a long time.

Capital Gains Tax

Not much change here.  The annual exemption in 2012/13 will be £10,600 with tax on gains within the basic rate income tax band being at 18% and gains above at 28%.  Entrepreneur’s relief on qualifying business disposals gives an effective rate of 10%.

Stamp Duty

If you are buying a house costing over £2m you are probably not living in Northamptonshire, so the increase in rates will not affect most of us.

Inheritance Tax

No change in 40% rate or threshold of £325,000.

VAT

The VAT registration turnover threshold has been increased to £77,000 from 1st April, 2012 (previously £73,000). Remember this is a rolling 12 month period not the accounts year or tax year.

There are some proposed changes to the supply of hot food (an outrageous attack on those of us who enjoy hot pies and pasties?) and static caravans.

SO ~ did the Chancellor do anything to help small businesses?  I am still looking but let me know if you find anything!

The above is just a summary of part of the Budget.  There may be other items that affect you particularly.  Speak to your Accountant for advice on your own circumstances.

Silicon Bullet Introduction

I have been thinking of doing a business blog for a while, so this is my first foray into the realm of blogging.

I am Alison Mead, director of Silicon Bullet.  We are an IT support company based in Northamptonshire who act as an outsourced IT department to our customers.  My husband Paul Mead is the one who makes the computers work, links them to the internet, and knows what to do when you hit that blue screen of death.  I work on the finance side, helping our clients use Sage software to its full capability as a business bookkeeping tool, or by doing their bookkeeping for them.

In my role as a Sage Accredited Reseller, I visit companies who need Sage Training, either because they are using the software for the first time, or they have used it for a while but have never learned how to use all the features in their business. Sage can be a powerful bookkeeping tool when used correctly, and often my clients just need a few hints and tips to make the accounting software work for them to provide management information to aid the decision-making in their business.  I use Sage Instant accounts, Sage 50, ACT and Sage Payroll.

I would like to use this blog to share some of the more common hints and tricks in using Sage software, and also my experiences in running my own business, tweeting, using Facebook for business, and networking in Northamptonshire.

I have two twitter accounts, weebly_one for more personal tweets, and SiliconBullet for business advice, although sometimes I do confuse the two!  We have a Silicon Bullet Facebook page where I have previously published hints and tips using the Facebook notes, and we publish a monthly email newsletter called the Silicon Bulletin – which you can sign up to here.