Bookkeeping & Accounting in Sussex

Bookkeeping and accounting are the last thing you want to think about when you are focussing on running your business.

We can help by freeing up your valuable time by doing this process for you, either at your office or at ours.

The Plummer Parsons Bookkeeping & Accounting Approach

We begin by discussing your specific requirements with you and then we set up appropriate accounting procedures and controls and ensure your accounts are kept fully up-to-date and in compliance with statutory regulations.

But we don't stop there. We can also provide you with regular management accounts to keep you informed on essential areas of your business.

For your ease, we have split this topic into subsections below.  There is also a list of useful links on the left-hand side.

What is bookkeeping?

A bookkeeper’s role is to record the financial transactions that your business makes. These include the bills your customers pay for the products or services they buy, the invoices you pay your suppliers for the products and services you buy from them, and the wages that you pay employees. Whether you are part of Brighton’s burgeoning tech community, an established leisure business in Eastbourne or a self-employed entrepreneur in Alfriston there are a number of reasons for keeping your books in order:

  • Give you a clear picture of your cash flow i.e. how much money is coming into the business and how much is going out.
  • Make better business decisions by understanding more about the areas of your business that are making you money and the ones that are costing you. You’ll be able to plan ahead with the knowledge that you are focusing on the right areas of your business.
  • Save you time when it comes to producing accounts and filing your tax returns.
  • Show investors including your bank or business partner how well the business is performing and provide reassurance that their investment is being well managed.
  • You are required by law to keep up to date financial information. If you are running a limited company you can be fined £3000 or disqualified as a company director for not keeping accounting records.

What’s the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

Some of the confusion about what constitutes bookkeeping and accounting comes from the fact that there is often crossover between what you would expect from a bookkeeper and an accountant.

Put simply, bookkeeping is the recording of transactions, accounting makes sense of them. In reality, a bookkeeper will do some accounting such as preparing VAT returns and sole trader accounts and an accountant will do some bookkeeping such as running the payroll and recording entries in accounting software.

However, only an accountant will prepare limited company accounts and file corporation tax returns. They will also analyse your company financials and produce reports such as cash flow projections and business plans to help you make decisions.

With the increased penetration of sophisticated online accounting software such as Xero, Sage and Quickbooks the line between bookkeeping and accounting is becoming even more blurred. Many of the tasks traditionally handled by a bookkeeper such as data entry and reconciling bank statements can be done in real time. Integrated mobile and desktop apps allow you to send invoices, manage expenses and reconcile bank statements while giving you a snapshot of how well the business is performing overall.

What you should look for in a bookkeeper or accountant

As a sole trader or small business owner, it can be fairly straightforward to keep on top of your bookkeeping and accounts. And we would highly recommend that all business owners keep track of their financial position. However, as businesses grow bookkeeping and accounting become more complex which makes outsourcing them more important. In deciding who is right for you, look for:

  • Reviews and case studies: do they work with businesses like yours, are they happy for you to speak to some of their existing clients?
  • Qualifications: check to see if they have the appropriate qualifications. For bookkeeping look for qualifications from AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) or IAB (International Association of Bookkeepers). For accounting look for qualifications from ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)
  • Price: shop around and speak to a few different providers at different price points. While it is important to get a competitive price it is also crucial to find a someone that understands your business and what you want to achieve personally. Selecting purely on price can cost your business in the long term.

The key consideration for most business owners when thinking about outsourcing is how much time will you save. Outsourcing to a specialist will give you more time to focus on what you do best, running your business. More often than not, bookkeepers and accountants will also save you money because they are familiar with the latest ways of reducing your tax liabilities and applying the correct rules to your accounts.

If you would like to speak to someone please do not hesitate to contact us or get in touch directly with one of our offices in Brighton, Eastbourne or Hailsham.