This is the time of year that owner managers dread most. With the tax return deadline looming, most SME business owners are keen to make sure that their house is in order and that their files are up to date ahead of the cut-off point.
But it doesn’t have to be a time viewed with trepidation – when a company or sole trader sets up in business, they should have first appointed an accountant who would have indicated very specifically the records that need to be maintained, both for statutory compliance and from a personal perspective so that they know exactly what is going on in the business at any given time.
If you’re not sure what records you should be keeping, it’s a good idea start with a full list of sales and purchase invoices for the trading period – this list should also include any credit notes (including discounts and/or returns to and from customers and suppliers) that were received in the same period. All invoices must be in the trading name of the company or sole trader as registered with the Revenue Commissioners
Details of all lodgements to the company’s bank account for the trading period as well as customer receipts, details of bank loans and refunds must be filed and to hand. The company must also keep a record of all business bank statements for the period outlined including all credit card statements. Also, a record of all payments to suppliers including payments to trade suppliers, payments on loans, insurance, pensions and life assurance should be kept. If an audit takes place, the Revenue Commissioners will also ask for details of any loans or hire purchase agreements that the company has entered into – copies of the agreements should be readily available for review. Also, copies of all debtor and creditor statements showing balances due and owing from both customers and suppliers should be accessible. All of this information should be contained on your accounting software but it is also necessary to have hard copy records to vouch for all entries.
Companies should aim to submit a copy of their records to their accountant as early as possible after year end. Doing this will allow the accountant to provide you with timely information in respect of the company’s trading performance for a certain period; crucially, it can also act as an alert for any potential issues that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
It may sound complicated but in fact, the earlier you engage with your accountant, the easier it will be. At DCA, we are particularly proactive in that we will be in contact with our clients from the off, ensuring that they fully understand the records that have to be maintained. We also provide assistance to them through our bookkeeping service to ensure that monthly records such as VAT and PAYE returns are up to date.
If you are thinking of changing accountant for any reason, then talk to us. In such circumstances, we would initially carry out a complete review of the books and highlight any issues and implement recommendations on your say so. We’re here to help you run your business more efficiently by providing you with the timely information that you require.
DCA Accountants and Business Advisors