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- Ask the accountant: freelance finance questions answeredThis content was originally published at: https://www.freeagent.com/central/ask-the-accountant-freelance-finances/ Last month, the fountain of knowledge that is our chief accountant Emily Coltman FCA, sat down with Michelle Carvill from MadeSimple to talk accounting for the self-employed. As part of the MadeSimple StartUp Community’s weekly ‘Tuesday Teach’, Emily put her expertise to good use and answered some of the community’s most frequently asked questions: "What is Self Assessment and who3
- Are you ready for the UK’s biggest tax shake-up for a generation?Making Tax Digital (MTD), the UK government’s initiative to “end the tax return” and get small businesses reporting more regularly to HMRC through accounting software, is gaining momentum. This massive shift in the tax system will undoubtedly have an impact on your business, but as the legislation is still to be finalised you might be unsure how to prepare. To help you come up with a plan, here are four simple steps you can take based on what we know so far about MTD to ensure your business is ready. 1. Check if you’re exempt A small minority of businesses will be exempt from digital record-keeping requirements and you should find out if this includes you. The exemptions (which are the same as those that already apply to electronic VAT returns) include: membership of a religious society or order with beliefs that are incompatible with the use of electronic communications being subject to an insolvency procedure disability, age, remoteness of location or any other reason that the MTD commissioners accept as valid grounds not to use an electronic return system If you are refused an exemption you will have a right of appeal, however details of how to appeal are yet to be finalised. If you’re eligible for exemption, HMRC has confirmed that you can still choose to take part in MTD if you prefer to work digitally. 2. Work out if you need to comply by April 2019 If your business’s annual VATable sales are above the registration threshold (currently £85,000 turnover) by April 2019, and your business is registered for VAT, by the start of the next tax year you’ll be required to: keep digital records for VAT purposes provide VAT return information through MTD-compatible software If your business’s annual turnover falls below the VAT threshold following the MTD for VAT start date, HMRC has confirmed that you’ll continue to report VAT figures digitally for as long as your business is VAT registered. Be aware that if your accounting year is different to the tax year, you might find it a lot easier to switch to MTD compliant software as soon as you can. 3. Find an accounting software solution that’s right for your business If you don’t yet know what accounting software you’ll use to comply with MTD, it’s time to start looking. According, to HMRC, “functional compatible” software should be able to: keep records in a digital form according to the regulations preserve digital records in a digital form for the required amount of time (this is currently up to six years). create a VAT return from stored records and share this information with HMRC provide HMRC with VAT data on a voluntary basis receive information from HMRC If you’re unsure about the compatibility of a software package that you have in mind then you can always ask the software provider for clarification. 4. Ask your accountant Most accountants in the UK are working closely with accounting software providers like FreeAgent so they can provide a better service to their clients. The accountancy profession has been busy preparing for MTD for the last couple of years and your accountant should be able to give you advice on what you need to do to prepare. If you don’t have an accountant yet, take a look on the FreeAgent directory of UK accountants to find your perfect match. Save yourself bookkeeping time and hassle with FreeAgent’s online accounting software, voted the UK's number one accounting software for small businesses. Specifically designed for freelancers, contractors and small businesses, FreeAgent helps you nail the daily admin, relax about tax and see the big picture when it comes to your business finances. You can claim an exclusive 10% discount! Go to www.freeagent.com/partners/the-dots to claim your exclusive The Dots discount (and try FreeAgent completely free for 30 days - no credit card required).
- 17 freelancer tips for getting new clientsThis content was originally published at: https://medium.com/@freeagentapp/all-those-coffee-meetings-eventually-pay-off-17-freelancer-tips-for-getting-new-clients-baa5a1136133 From tacking tax to learning how to manage your workload, starting your own business isn’t always a walk in the park in the early days. Once you’ve got the basics set up, one of the biggest hurdles can be finding clients- in fact,when we asked freelancers in a recent FreeAgent survey what they found most tricky when starting out, ‘attracting new customers/clients’ came top of the pile. If you’re not sure how to find new clients then you’re not alone — here’s how our survey respondents (who’ve started their own businesses and got the t-shirts) approached attracting high-quality clients and building a lasting relationship with them. Not all clients are good clients “Follow your gut! If a client seems like a pain they probably will be so turn them down and wait for a good client to come along. If you’re selling a good product or service a good client will always come along. Don’t take the first offer!” Tom, software development “Don’t work for free! You don’t need exposure, you need paying clients. Only somebody who doesn’t respect your work would ask you to do it for free or below the market rate.” Louise, freelance writer Consider how to position your business to clients “Think not what you want to offer, but what the customer needs are.” Paul, digital marketer “Don’t be a jack of all trades. Find your niche and aim to provide value to a smaller market of clients that require your help.” John, branding and website design “If you don’t want to be bouncing from feast to famine then you have to find time to work ON the business as well as IN it.” Beth, fundraising consultant Network like crazy, then network some more “Most business comes from talking to people and making connections.” David, IT consultant “Keep your profile current, e.g if you’re on LinkedIn make sure you keep your current clients up to date and ask them to recommend you.” Ali, Freelance policy and research for the public sector “Put yourself out there and don’t hide away. Otherwise no one will find you.” Angela, management consultancy “Network! Network! Network like CRAZY! Then network some more.” Jon, brand design agency owner Talk to others in the same business “The industry I’m in is more collaborative than I expected. So companies I thought we would compete with, have actually been partners.” David, working in the digital space “You can do it! There are lots of people who have started a business before, so finding some of those and asking questions about how to get you going will help immensely. You may discover that it’s easier than you think.” Justin, structural engineer Pricing is tricky but never undersell yourself “Don’t be too cheap, otherwise you end up working long hours for little reward.” John, audio engineer “It’s a trial and error situation. Deciding what to charge can and will change, but just don’t let others take advantage of you in the beginning or it will be something they continue to do. You know what you are worth.” Cyndee, graphic and web designer “Time track everything — it’s good to itemise your quote then time track using the same items. Makes it much easier when figuring out what to charge people.” Mel, freelance graphic designer “Your time is far more valuable than you initially give yourself credit for.” Lea, graphic and web designer Be patient — it takes time to build a client base “Just because someone doesn’t want your services today doesn’t mean that they won’t tomorrow. All those coffee meetings and calls DO eventually pay off!” Jennifer, trainer “Be patient. Success doesn’t come overnight and there will be many late nights, frustrations and disappointments. But in the end, it will all be worth it.” Onder, digital marketer Download A Field Guide to Freelancer Finances, a free ebook of practical finance tips and advice by designers, developers and FreeAgent. “Thank you @freeagent for this very insightful book. Well worth the read #myfieldguide” @amyerose13
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