What do I get for that?

I don’t know about you but I’m becoming increasingly focussed on getting value for money. Now, this may be down to several things like increasing costs or changing market conditions, or the fact that everything’s available on the internet and it’s easy to compare prices.

I mean, why would you go to a retail shop, pay for parking and pay 25% more for the product than you would if you bought it on the internet and had it delivered for free? You might say you’re supporting local businesses, which is fair enough but not if it’s a large supermarket chain or your finances just don’t allow you to do this.

It’s the same with running a business. Why pay more and get less for a perceived value? It doesn’t make sense.

I’m a small business with not very many overheads. My charges for an annual set of accounts and tax computation are around £350, not £1200.

It’s not just the cost though; you can talk to me pretty much whenever you want and I’ll talk to you so you can understand me – no jargon.

So, what do you get for what you pay?

Accountants – we’re not all the same

No, we’re all individuals. If you’ve got time, go and google Life of Brian and this phrase – always makes me laugh.

Anyway, Accountants, we’re not all the same.

I’ll get to the point. I’m part of the 1%, the 1% of CIMA members who have a practice business. I’ve not always had one, just for the last 5 years – the previous 30 were spent in various businesses as their accountant. Yes, I probably do some of the same things as other accountants, maybe just for smaller businesses and come at it from a different angle due to my experiences. I’m not a tax expert and I don’t have lots of specialities but that’s kind of the point.

So often, I find accountants not willing to talk to other accountants. It’s a big enough pie that we can all have our little part of it.


Focus, now

There’s always lots to do when you’re a small business or a sole proprietor. I know, I’m a small business too.

Websites and social media for example. Spending time doing those isn’t why you started the business. I outsource both of those, so I can focus on growing my business. It doesn’t cost much and frankly, they do a much better job than I could and in a fraction of the time.

There are also those things you need to do but don’t like doing or don’t understand how to do – or both.

I mean, self-assessment returns, for one. Why are there so many questions and what do they all mean? Why are there so many boxes?

Focus on your business and growing it; not on things you’re not an expert in. I can do your self-assessment return from £200. Give me a call.


Nic Cooper ACMA

Tao Business Services Ltd


07985 645087



One of those words that sounds really good spoken out loud.

You just did that, didn’t you?

Defined as “the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit”.

A bit like networking then?

I’m not sure how much you do of either of these 2 but I do a fair bit. It works.

We both run businesses. We’d both probably like more clients. We might be able to help each other.

If you want to find out how, contact me on any of the methods below.

Nic Cooper ACMA

Tao Business Services Ltd


07985 645087


What is it you actually do, Dad?

A question asked by my 15 year old son, recently.

A not unreasonable question, asked in a direct way, which required an answer.

Conscious of the average attention span of a teenager, I didn’t want to make the answer too long or too in-depth, such that he didn’t understand the answer.

Well, this is what I said;

Not everyone is employed by a company; some people have their own business and pay themselves but this means that have to tell the Government each year how much they earn, so that they can be taxed correctly.

Also, if you own the company and it has Limited at the end of the name, you need to pay different taxes and send details about the company’s financials to the government.

I do this for people and companies.

Ah ok, says my son but why can’t they do it themselves?

Another good question and some do, I say but sometimes it better to pay someone to do it for you, if that’s what they do best.

I don’t think he harbours any ambitions to become an accountant but I think he at least understands what his dad does now!

Making Tax Digital

Or MTD as it gets abbreviated to.

What is it, what’s going to happen and how’s it going to affect me?

  • MTD is designed to move the reporting of tax in to the digital environment. Why? Well, HMRC want to give themselves the best chance of ensuring they collect as much tax as they can, (They would do, wouldn’t they!) and requiring quarterly information from businesses means they can do this.
  • Tests using the proposed software have already been done by HMRC for Income Tax and tests for VAT will start in Spring 2018. The data required from April 2019 will be for businesses above £85,000 (The thresh-hold for registering for VAT), with those businesses being required to submit quarterly data.
  • The current plan is to extend this to Income Tax from 2020. Now, call my cynical (I prefer realistic!) but a lot of government related activity tends not to run to timescale and ends up with issues and delays, so don’t be too surprised if this gets delayed.
  • One very important point on the Income Tax quarterly requirements is that you will only be required to submit electronic data each quarter, not do a tax return each quarter. It will not mean paying quarterly income tax either. What it will do is tell you how much you are likely to be paying come the end of the tax year, though.
  • This is going to hit businesses hardest who don’t currently use online or other software for their records, like those using spreadsheets or those just keeping manual records and/or paperwork. It’s also likely that you will have some extra costs too. If you fall in to this category, give me a call and I will give you some free advice.
  • If you do use online software currently (like Xero, for example), then you already have this information, so the process shouldn’t really impact you much.

If you want to discuss this further, then please give me a call or e-mail me (details below), or if I can  help you with anything accountancy related, please let me know.

e-mail: nic@taofinancial.com

mobile: 07985 645087

website: www.taobusinessservices.com

twitter: @taofinancial

Sole Trader or Limited Company?

I have often been asked this question. If there was a simple, clear-cut way of answering it, this blog wouldn’t be necessary, I guess!

However, there are a few points to consider before you decide;

  • Is there a tax advantage with a Limited Company? – Well, there could well be, depending on how much you want/need/can afford to pay yourself and what your levels of sales and profit are. Corporation Tax is now 19% and Income Tax 20% but either or both of those could change. You can pay dividends via a Limited Company but now only the first £5,000 per year is tax free. However, your salary and pension, for example, are business costs for a Limited Company and so can be deducted from sales before applying Corporation Tax.
  • With sole trader status, there is no distinction between personal and business assets, whereas with a Limited Company there is. This could be an advantage under certain circumstances.
  • Limited Company status can project a different image than a sole trader but be mindful that there are additional responsibilities with a Limited Company, such as insurances, preparing and filing annual accounts, complying with tax and labour law etc, as well as the additional costs that go with these.
  • And a final caution regarding IR35 legislation. If you set up a Limited Company with yourself as the sole Shareholder and Director as you believe you’ll be financially better off but you only have 1 customer or 1 main customer, HMRC may view this as you being effectively employed by that customer and this could lead to National Insurance being due. The actor, Robert Glenister was recently “caught” on this very point.


So, no, there isn’t a simple, clear-cut answer but I can advise you on whether a Limited Company might be the right thing for you. Contact me on any of the ways below and I’ll be happy to have a free chat with you:


e-mail: nic@taofinancial.com

mobile: 07985 645087

website: www.taobusinessservices.com

twitter: @taofinancial

Starting a Business?

You’ve had enough of working for other people.

You’ve had an idea about starting your own business.

But what do you need to do?


Yes, starting a business of your own is exciting (and also daunting), so here’s a few areas you need to cover;


  • Plan – What is your market and how are you going to get to it?, How much are you going to charge?  What does your Profit & Loss look like? Where is your cash coming from?
  • Decide on your business structure – Is self-employment or a Limited Company the best way to go and what do I do to set these up?
  • Set up a business bank account. And shop around for an account that suits you and your pocket.
  • Keep records. Or get someone like a bookkeeper or accountant to do it for you.
  • Do I need specific accreditations and/or insurances?


It’s not an exhaustive list and you’ll need help.

For a free chat, contact me on any of the ways below and I’ll give you that help.

Telephone: 01922 430997

Mobile: 07985 645087

e-mail: nic@taofinancial.com

website@ www.taofinancial.com

twitter: @taofinancial