Accountancy, money, tax eugghhhhh!!!!
Money! We all need it but it’s one the of the hardest parts of our jobs to deal with. Whether it’s sending or chasing invoices, tallying up a shoe box load of expenses receipts or finding the right accountant, it’s the part of our world we like the least. So, let’s share some great contacts and on-line services and make our lives that little bit easier.
Get your receipts in order
However you do it you need to be organised from day one and get your receipts under control. If you use an on-line accountancy software you can add expenses as you purchase them, otherwise, it’s a good idea to get a concertina file and put them either into date order or under different headings (which means you won’t have to handle them individually when it comes to tax season). We like to create our own headers – petrol, stationary, magazines, lunches, train travel. It saves hours .
The best part of work – apart from job satisfaction, of course, is getting paid and for that, you need an invoice. Things to include when sending an invoice are listed below.
- Your company name, your name, address and contact information.
- The company name and address of the client you’re invoicing.
- A clear description of what you’re charging for. Include an issue date if known for magazines
- The date the shoot or feature was provided
- The date you send the invoice
- The date the invoice is due
- The fee
- The expenses
Things not to forget
- Travel expenses
- Hotel rooms if allowable
- Assistant fees and travel
Software to make life easier
There are so many great online accountancy software packages that make invoicing, keeping on top of receipts and calculating tax (not to mention filling out most of your self assessment tax return as you go) that little bit more easy, that it makes a lot of sense to use one. Many accountants will recommend a specific software that they work with and it’s included in their price – JF-Financial recommends Freeagent and Taxassist use Quickbooks. It’s well worth having a look at the packages before signing on with an accountant who uses these. Most will do a free 30 day trial and you can see which suits you best. But you can still use these services without an accountant to keep everything in order.
Save 10% on FreeAgent
Here at InsideStylists we use FreeAgent and have a 10% discount code if you wanted to sign up.
Our discount code is : 43wpb3ctp
Do I need an accountant?
Well, no, not really. If you’re not bad with numbers and are organised you can definitely handle your own tax return. HMRC has a lot of help at hand and a number you can call (but it’s as you would imagine – manic in January!) The benefits of having an accountant should outweigh not having one. The main reason to have one is that they really know their stuff and having one should save you more than they cost. They’ll also save you a ton of time.
How to chose an accountant
Give them a call, don’t just email. The main thing to consider is that they are a teacher not a salesman. Do they explain everything to you so you understand how your money is being spent/saved/ paying for tax and national insurance? If you don’t understand and the accountant doesn’t have the patience to explain it to you – even if that takes 100 times then they’re not the right one for you.
Finding an experienced accountant who understands freelancers – especially in our world is like finding a pot of gold. Do you know of a great accountant who you’d like to recommend? Drop us a line and a testimonial and we’ll share their details here.
We at Inside Stylists highly recommend JF-financial.co.uk . They’re a small independent accountancy firm who specialise in freelancers and small businesses.
“I’ve been using John Falcon from JF-financial.com for four years and he has literally saved me thousands of pounds. I did my own tax return to start with but as I got busier and it seemed to get more complicated John explained it all to me so clearly. He also advised me to use the FreeAgent on-line software which has made invoices so easy to send and keep on top of. I would highly recommend JF-financial to any interior stylist looking to get their tax in check. They get what we do.”
– Emma Morton-Turner
“Dina makes doing my accounts a breeze, it was something I was really nervous about when I first went freelance but she knows and understands the world of styling and took all the stress out of it for me. Any questions or queries I have she is quick to answer in a simple way that is easy to understand for a ‘numerically challenged’ person like me!”
– Charlotte Boyd
“I chose Taxassist on a friend’s recommendation. They specialise in small businesses and, crucially for me, work with Quickbooks (in fact they have a deal with Quickbooks so that your subscription is much lower). Their price structure is simple and easy to understand and they prompt me very early to get started on my VAT and Tax returns. They are quick to respond when I have queries. I like the fact that, whilst they are local to me, they are part of a national network (200 offices) and involved with campaigns like the ‘Buy Local’ campaign which support their clients.”
– Karen Sims
My accountant Robert Green is excellent, very approachable, non-corporate and specialises in ‘creatives’. He’s also been very helpful with mortgage applications and dealing with a rather unpleasant HMRC investigation. He’s very thorough and nothing’s too much trouble”
– Andrea Dean
Great books to motivate your money organisation
We love to talk money here at InsideStylists – don’t get EmmaMT started on her envelope system! So, we thought we’d recommend a few books that will keep you on the straight and narrow or motivate you to open a separate account for your taxes at the very least!
For getting out of debt: Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover
This book The Total Money Makeover is full of really practical advice and easy to follow steps on how to help you get and remain out of debt. The ‘baby steps’ are simple to follow and the book is an easy read. Dave Ramsey is a radio talk show host in America and listening to his podcast along with reading the book will keep you thinking about where every pound goes. His no-nonsense attitude will have you laughing. Listen out for the debt-free screams. They’re the goals we’re all aiming for – especially when guests have paid off their houses!
For getting your money in order: Profit first
Mike Michalowicz’s book Profit First is a great follow on from The Total Money Makeover once you’re out of debt. It follows Mike’s journey to gain profit from his business no matter what, putting a percentage of your earnings into ‘The vault’ account and not spending it on anything to do with work – and that includes tax. It’s a very clever system. Well worth a read. It makes you think about where your money goes and as a freelancer helps with planning for erratic payments.