Mistakes Made by Startups and Small Businesses

At Loyalzoo, we’re big supporters of small independent businesses and entrepreneurship; that’s why we’re so committed to providing a user-friendly customer reward scheme that will help small businesses build their customer base and grow.

However, we also like to help entrepreneurs succeed by sharing useful advice whenever we can. With the month of April representing the start of the UK’s financial year, what better time to share some of our helpful tax tips to get you on the right financial footing for 2014/2015?

1. Not tracking every single expense

Many startup founders and small business owners aren’t aware of just how much they can deduct in terms of their business expenses; tracking every single business-related purchase or expense, from stationery to phone bills, is critical, but this means keeping each and every receipt as proof of your expenses. Something as simple as a chronologically ordered file with all your receipts arranged by month could go a long way towards saving you valuable tax money. Programs like QuickBooks are also extremely helpful for staying on top of all your business expenses.

2. Not using an accountant or accounting software

Although it may seem like you’re saving money by going it alone and avoiding the help of accountants and the proper accounting software, you could actually be setting yourself up to lose more money in the long run. Accountants have the specialist knowledge to ensure that your self-assessment is done correctly, and they will also help you get all the deductions you’re entitled to. Accounting software will also help you track all of your invoices, payments and expenses properly; software is particularly useful when it comes to working out VAT discounts, which is often especially tricky for business owners.

3. Leaving it to the last minute

Even if you’re using an accountant, you’ll still need to triple check all the details on the tax form yourself, and you may also need to complete some parts of the form; so, to avoid any typos or inaccurate information on your form, make sure to leave sufficient time to concentrate on getting your form spot-on the first time around.

4. Selecting the wrong legal structure

How you report and pay your taxes may often depend on the type of legal entity your business is. Speaking to an accountant or tax advisor before registering your company is the best way of avoiding any slip-ups in this respect.

5. Blurring the lines between business and personal

Many startup founders and small business owners make the major error of mixing their personal and business finances. This can cause substantial confusion when trying to sort your taxes, and can even lead to legal infractions or a loss of your company’s status. To avoid this, open a separate business bank account right from the get-go.

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