The summer presents somewhat of a dry spell for many of your self-employed clients. The kids are off, decision makers are on holiday, and incoming leads are beginning to slow. That’s why most people who earn outside of PAYE choose to take the opportunity to enjoy a well-earned break. However, there are other uses for your client’s time.
These quiet months create an ideal opportunity for you to speak to your client and take stock of their tax situation. The quiet months present space in an otherwise crowded schedule to give your client some time to get records in order ahead of the much busier January – and the Self Assessment deadline.
In this guide, Mike Parkes from GoSimpleTax shows you how to help make the most of your client’s free time and help them become more efficient within self-employment.
File their Self Assessment early
One job that you can do in the quiet months is file your client’s Self Assessment tax return early. The January rush of individuals submitting their tax return often results in bookkeepers working overtime in order to guarantee no late penalties. Consequently, you, the bookkeeper ends up working longer hours – avoid that January stress and get your client ready now.
January is uncomfortable for a number of reasons – primarily because the deadline follows the festive period. You’ve spent time with family, staff are typically on annual leave and business may have been slow.
So why leave it until then? It’s a myth that, if you file your tax return early, you also have to pay your tax at the same time. This isn’t true – the deadline for paying any taxes remains the 31st January, no matter when the tax return is filed. By submitting early, you can use the months leading up to January to maximise your client’s earning potential.
Check and tidy your records
Simply going through your client’s records and ensuring they’re all in line with their income or expense figures can dramatically save you, and your client time – and stress – come January. While not yet legally obliged to, self-employed earners should store records online for this reason.
Consider a taxi driver, for example. Having to retain paper receipts for months on end so as to claim fuel expenses is impractical. However, with a digital software solution, the driver would only need to take a picture of their receipts, upload it, and add it to their records.
This eliminates the need for physical storage and allows the driver to easily identify the purpose of each record whenever they need to. It also enables record-keeping to happen in real time, so there will be no mad dash to sort receipts when it comes to completing your client’s tax return.
Create forecasts and plan for the future
Finally, consider their business development strategies. For most of your self-employed clients, there’s little time for reflection and improvement during busy periods. A drought in work, while often requiring them to put in overtime just to win business, can be an organic opportunity to build your offering. Once you’ve brought their bookkeeping up to date and got a handle on their record-keeping, start helping to create an action plan for the next quarter.
Suggest they try engaging in market research, forecast their expected earnings leading up to Christmas, or make plans on how they intend to move prospects through the pipeline. Don’t waste this opportunity to make your client’s business more sustainable. One of the many benefits of your client being self-employed is that development can be planned around them.
Self-employed workers are under immense pressure to turn every inch of the day into earning hours. GoSimpleTax helps to transform the quiet months of their trade into an opportunity to eradicate the admin. Whether attempting to wrangle receipts or remove the stress of the January Self Assessment tax return deadline so you can hit the ground running in the new year, their software enables you to become efficient.
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