December 10, 2007

Small Business Accounting Software That Fills In Your Tax Return

Most accounting software package are used by non accountants often with little or no previous accounting knowledge. Bookkeeping is best in these circumstances reduced to making a list of sales and a list of purchases on preset excel spreadsheets. Each workbook is arranged as 12 monthly spreadsheets with preset columns and uses an entry code letter to analyse both sales and expenditure.Cash and bank spreadsheets are included as optional extras for those businesses that require them with a built in automated bank reconciliation. The sheet designed to be completed by copying the figures from the bank statement into the bank spreadsheet and the bank reconciliation is achieved by entering the statement total which is automatically checked against the entries made.Monthly profit and loss account can include a financial health check based upon an automated tax forecast to enable businesses to monitor their financial performance. By entering drawings the package then compares the net profit made with the likely tax liability plus the drawings.Quarterly vat returns can be generated for vat registered business and should also suitable for non vat registered business. To produce a vat return clients simply go to the vat file and select the quarter end date from a drop down menu and the figures for the vat return are automatically generated.The vat calculations can be disabled by non vat registered small businesses by simply changing the standard vat rate from 17.5 to zero making the accounting software suitable for both vat registered and non vat registered businesses.The accounting package includes a stand alone sales invoice generator which requires invoices generated to be manually input into the sales sheet.The fixed asset schedule is preset with the capital allowance tax rates to automatically calculate capital allowances when fixed assets are entered. Depreciation is automatically calculated with preset percentages that can be changed as required.The excel templates in the small business bookkeeping software being arranged to automatically generate an excel copy of the self assessment tax return. The excel self assessment tax return being arranged in the same layout as the official inland revenue form with the same box numbers making it easy to copy the figures from one to the other for submission.Self-employed accounting software based upon single entry of transactions does not produce a balance sheet which is an optional requirement for self employed and therefore not a problem for the vast majority of businesses. Self employed businesses should consider using a limited company accounts package if a balance sheet is required. A limited company accounts package would produce a balance sheet being based not on single entry but on double entry bookkeeping principles.The small business accounting software is suitable for a single tax year, the latest being 2007-08 and does not cater for accounting periods other than April to April. There are benefits in anyone self employed adopting the standard April to April financial year as this avoids tax allowances from two separate years being a feature of the accounts.When used by small businesses using the cash accounting system the bookkeeping entries to the sales and purchase sheets must be entered according to the dates money is paid or received rather than the dates invoices were issued. At the end of the financial year any invoices not yet entered require to be listed to adjust the final profit and loss account figures. This a major disadvantage if using the vat cash accounting scheme rather than the accounting software being reviewed.The product has a stock control feature to monitor any stock losses. The small business accounting software contains a wages interface that fully integrates the with the payroll software when the payroll files are saved into the same folder as the accounting software files. Being written on excel spreadsheets all transactions are visible and capable of being changed by for example overwriting any errors as opposed to a database system that requires new transactions to be entered to reverse previous entries.The sales and purchase spreadsheets include columns for entering CIS tax deductions and payments and the certificate numbers. The CIS tax being then automatically entered on the self assessment tax return.As the small business accounting software is written on excel spreadsheets then it is essential that users have a version of excel from 1998 onwards installed to use the program. Accounting software written on excel spreadsheets also works fine with an Open Source spreadsheet package.Essential requirements of accounting software for the self-employed should produce a set of accounts for the small business requiring no bookkeeping skills and no previous accounting experience with the desired end product of a fully automated self assessment tax return.
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About the Author: Terry Cartwright, a qualified accountant in the UK, designs both Accounting Software on excel spreadsheets and Payroll Software for small to medium sized business providing a complete accounting solution and also supplies Company Formation packages for new limited liability companies