Quoting on the go in Quickbooks Online

QuickBooks Online (QBO) has some great functionality within the mobile app (which is free in your app store – you just need a valid QuickBooks account).

You have the ability to create your Estimates on the go on your mobile; however, you can also get your customer to approve these whilst you’re with them.

Simply fill in the information for the Estimate, and hit the “Done” tick.

Once the Estimate has been approved, you get the option to “Get Signature”. This allows you to enter the customer’s name, pass them your phone (if you trust them enough!) and they can sign using their finger!

Again hit the “Done” tick, and your Estimate has been accepted!

All that’s left to do is convert the Estimate to an Invoice and you’ll be getting paid before you know it!

The conversion itself only takes 2 taps on your phone (“Convert to Invoice” and “Done”), as long as the Estimate didn’t require changes, and if you’re doing it as you go, there shouldn’t be anything to change!

If your customer is happy to pay there and then, you can also get them to sign the invoice, and mark the invoice as paid whilst you’re with them too. Great for recording cash receipts for sole traders.

You can, of course, send email copies of everything you create to your customer so that they have their own digital trail of the transaction. This will include their digital signature so there is no disputing that they accepted the Estimate and Invoice.

After you’ve raised your Estimates and Invoices on the go, you can check the impact on your Profit at the end of the day from within the app too by running your profit and loss report. You’ll get to see this as a graphical representation, so if you just want to quickly see the trend, or you want to get into the nitty gritty of the numbers, it can all be done here. Whether you’re sat on the sofa having a hard earned rest, or about to leave for home sat in your van (before you set off, of course!).

Cloud Accounting

Setting up a sample company in Quickbooks Online

Accessing the sample company in QuickBooks Online is easy. This is a great strategy for when you are new to using the software, and by creating a bookmark in your browser it’s easy to access every time.

When you access a sample company, you can test out new types of transactions and see how they look without impacting upon your actual records. It’s also a great tool for training purposes, or if you just want to trial the software, without importing all of your company data.


Construction Industry Scheme reporting in Quickbooks

Setting up Construction Industry Scheme reporting  in QuickBooks Online.

This content is designed to support the video “CIS in QBO” which explains the full process and reporting functionality in QBO. This article is designed to help recap on how to set-up CIS.

CIS is now fully supported by QBO, the first online software supported by AG Connex to do so! Follow the steps below to get started with CIS recording:

  1. Click the “Company Cog” top right, and then select “Account and Settings”:
  2. Navigate to “Advanced” on the left-hand menu:
  3. You’ll see a line for “Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)” – click the pen icon to the right of this (at the top of the “Accounting” box)
  4. Tick the box next to CIS and fill in the details relevant to you:
  5. Once you hit save, you will be ready to use CIS in QBO. There are a few further set-ups needed for raising sales invoices and entering purchase invoices where CIS is deducted – check out our video for furthter information

Setting up CIS customers in QBO

Once you’ve enabled CIS functionality within QBO there are a few other settings needed to make full use of the features! This article details the steps needed to designate a customer as someone you withhold CIS from, and how to enter this when raising your sales invoices.

Setting up the customer

  1. Head to your customer screen by using the navigation panel on the left of your screen
  2. If your customer has already been set-up, click their name and then click “Edit” next to the green “New transaction” button: If you haven’t set your customer up yet, just hit the green “New customer” button in the top right of your screen.
  3. Once you’ve opened your customer settings (either for a new, or existing customer) you need to tick the “Is CIS contractor” box. If your customer has already given you their Unique Tax Reference number enter this in the box provided:
  4. Once you’ve hit save, you’re ready to raise invoices to customers with CIS withheld. Use your preferred path to a new customer invoice for the customer you’ve just changed settings for. As soon as you set-up a sales invoice for this customer, the “CIS labour standard (20%)” service will auto-populate (unless you’ve amended the standard CIS rate).
  5. Once you’ve entered a rate (I’ve used £50) the CIS will automatically be calculated on the net of VAT amount. You’ll notice the VAT and CIS amounts are in boxes, so whilst they are auto-populated, they can be overtyped if necessary (although we wouldn’t recommend doing this!).
  6. Hit save, and send your invoices out to your customers as normal, safe in the knowledge that the CIS has been recorded in QBO!

Setting up a CIS subbie in QBO

  1. Navigate to the supplier section of QBO and either select a subbie from your list (if already set-up) or create a new one.
  2. Once you’re in the “Supplier Information” screen tick the “Is CIS subcontractor” box, if you scroll down, you’ll see you can enter various information about the subbie too! Entering the UTR will give you more information when it comes to CIS reporting. Make sure you enter the correct rate for CIS – the dropdown will allow you to switch to the higher rate of 30% or the gross rate of 0%. This will enter the default CIS rate used for this subbie, you can update this on an individual basis in the future if necessary. You can also change the subcontractor type to “Company”, “Partnership”, or “Trust”.
  3. Once you hit save you’re ready to enter your subbie’s invoices onto your system as an expense!
  4. Creating an expense will automatically bring in a “CIS cost standard (20%)” line (unless you changed your default rate. If your subbie has given you an invoice or receipt which doesn’t have labour on it you can simply change the account to something more relevant (“CIS supplies and materials” perhaps?) or delete the line entirely by clicking the bin icon on the right of the line.

CIS reporting in Quickbooks Online

There are a few difference reports available in QBO to help you with your CIS reporting.

To access these, head to the reports section, select “All Reports” and then look for “Manage Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)”

CIS Payment and Deduction Statement

As indicated by QBO’s blurb, this report is useful where you pay subbies to undertake labour for you.  When you initially run the report, it will show a list of all the subbies who have invoiced you during the period (which defaults to the current payroll month – i.e. 6th of a month to 5th of the following month).

If you click into “Amount liable to deduction” for any line, you’ll get a separate report for the individual subbie, since you probably don’t want each subbie seeing how much you’ve paid the others. You are then able to export this report to PDF to send out to your subbies,  or email it directly from QBO! Easy!

CIS Contractor Monthly Statement (CIS 300)

This report gives you all the information you need to submit to HMRC each month as part of your CIS reporting duties.

Clicking through to the report will default to the payroll month (as before) however if you need to report on the previous month, you can change the dates at the top of the screen to agree to the dates on your CIS 300. Just remember to hit “Run report” after changing your dates.

If you have no data for a month, QBO will issue a report which indicates that a nil return must be submitted to HMRC (or, you haven’t been using the QBO CIS functionality on your invoices!). Where you do have data in the report, simply use the numbers given to help you to fill in your CIS 300 as you normally would.

CIS Suffered Summary

If you are a subbie and therefore reclaim the CIS withheld from you on your personal tax return at the end of the year, this report is for you.

The report defaults to the entire tax year and will show you the total amount of CIS you have suffered. This can then be entered on your personal tax return as a tax paid at source, and will either reduce the tax payable on 31 January or in some cases may trigger a rebate from HMRC.


How to do invoice reminders in Xero Online Accounting

Many of the small business owners we work with believe that cashflow is the key metric for their businessr business.  Put simply, the most effective way to maintain cash in your business is to get paid regularly and on time. Late payments are the scourge of small business.

Historically, chasing invoices has been time-consuming, awkward and even embarrassing at times. No business owner wants to have an uncomfortable conversation with a great customer on the basis of an overdue invoice.

Despite the unpleasantness of having to chase customers, unpaid invoices mean you’re running your business without the cash that you should have in the bank. Not only that but every minute you spend chasing them is time that you could have been working on something else that makes you money. It’s doubly blow.  At Connex, we offer great online accounting software like Xero which will help you maintain your cash flow.  We’ve talked about t Invoice Reminders before, and now we’ve put together this handy video, which demonstrates how to use them to chase invoices with an ease that business owners could have only dreamed about until recently.



Set and forget – It’s automated

Once you have turned on reminders, you don’t need to do anything else. Each morning Xero will check all your sent invoices for anything unpaid. Reminders will be then be sent out to any invoices that are past their due date according to your settings.

Five Ways to keep your 2017 on track.

Five Ways to keep your 2017 on track.

It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the New Year and wondering what 2017  had in store.  Did you consider some specific goals, changes or resolutions to keep during the year? If so now might be a good time to review these and see how things are going.  Here are five ways to help you keep your goals in mind and on the right path.

1) Remind yourself why

Be clear to yourself and the business about why you want to make a change or do something differently.  This is a great way to keep the goal focused.  It may have seemed like a good idea on 31 December to set yourself the goal of making sure your books are reconciled each week on a Friday, but things can get in the way or come up that you weren’t expecting. Once you miss that Friday session you had hoped for, suddenly your goal starts slipping.  Reminding yourself why you had that goal may allow you to re-focus the overall aim, for example, to making sure you review your financials more regularly.  This approach might be enough to help you regain motivation or traction to accomplish your goal.

2)  Failure to plan is a plan to fail

Spend the time to consider how you may be able to enact your desired change. If you don’t,  it will become impossible to put the steps in place that mean you see that change.  The plan can be a simple one, like dedicating 5 minutes when you get into the office considering what you’re going to do that day to help move you forward. It could , however, be a more complex consideration. It could be worth spending a day reviewing or putting together a revised business strategy document and formal plan.

3) Be flexible and adapt if required.

You’ve  considered why you wanted a change and worked out how you will get there. You’ve worked hard on achieving your goals but aren’t seeing any progress. The sad fact is that if your efforts haven’t got you anywhere, you may need to consider moving on and refocusing.  There is little use in persevering with actions and spending your time on things that won’t bring you closer to your goal.  You may find that your resolutions so far mean you are in a different situation to where you were at the end 2016, and you now need to re-adapt to change your arrangements once again to see further aims met.

4) Remain Calm and move on

If you glance at the calendar and think that 2017 is rushing past too quickly compared to what you have achieved so far this year – don’t panic!  “Keep calm and carry on” as the old adage goes; the year is long and there will always be plenty of time for you to meet your targets.  Don’t be disheartened where changes can be gradual or slower than anticipated if you’ve got your goals focused and a plan in place you will get there.

5) Seek Support

There are plenty of places you could look for help and support. Local business groups are great, as are business mentors. Of course, your accountant can help you with a whole range of business challenges (check out this useful article).  Each will open various avenues of support to you and your business.  For example, what Connex by Albert Goodman could do for you is help you have those initial goal considerations, how you will monitor them and assist you in putting a plan in place.  We can help you review these indicators, generate forecasts and help your business flourish. Whatever your business, put the steps in place to make the most out of 2017.

What does an accountant do?

We can do your tax and compliance work – just like all other accountants. But we can actually help you with so much more. We can act as troubleshooters and strategic advisors for small business.

14 things you didn’t know an accountant could do.

Accountants can help small business in lots of different ways. They can give you strategic advice and come up with clever ways to save money or boost revenue. They’ll also remove or automate administrative tasks that distract you from your core business. Get an accountant and you’ll run your business with more clarity and confidence- especially when combined with online accounting software that puts you both on the same page.

So what does an accountant do? Here are 14 things that your account could (and should) be helping with.

1) Launch a startup.

It takes more than a good idea to get a business off the ground. You need to know it will make money – and you need to convince investors and lenders of the same thing. Your accountant can do that for you.

They’ll help test your idea, identify your startup and operating costs, and create credible revenue forecasts. They also know which lenders are playing ball at any one time, so you can approach the right people for finance. Not only that but they’ll help work on your pitch, so you’re ready to impress those lenders, but more of that later.


2) Business Strategy

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus when there are so many moving parts in a business.  Get connected with your accountant- they can help you figure out what’s important.

They should work with you to set smart goals – personal, professional and financial – then give you tools to measure your progress. You’ll end up with a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you how your business is doing. At Connex- we can measure these on an ongoing basis using online accounting software and we set up dashboards that allow you to check your KPIs at any time of the day or night. And if things aren’t going as planned, what does an accountant do then? They’ll help you troubleshoot the issues, test solutions, and reset your KPIs as needed.

3. Managing Cash Flow

Even highly profitable businesses can fail because they run out of money at the wrong moment and suddenly can’t afford to pay suppliers or staff.  Your accountant will know that revenue ebbs and flows, and that costs do the same. Predicting the effect on cash flow allows the business to come up with strategies to manage the situation. Your accountant can help organise cash reserves and come up with a spending plan that ensures there’s always money in the bank.


4. Listen and support

Being in business is tough and can sometimes be lonely. When things seem too hard, and you start thinking about the 9 to 5 you left behind, a good accountant can keep you on the straight and narrow. Your accountant should know how much your business means to you and will help you cope with stress by breaking down big business problems into manageable parts. Get connected with your accountant and moral support should be part of the package.

5. Managing Debt

As we all know, there’s good debt and there’s bad debt. Your accountant should help you tell one from the other. They’ll find the least expensive borrowing strategies for your business – with the right mix of repayment flexibility and low interest. Need refinancing; a good accountant will help take care of that too.

By considering the numbers behind your business and looking at how your debt’s structured you can develop a specific strategy to deal with it. Accountants will also advise when spare cash should be used to pay back loans, and when it should be reinvested in the business

6. Chasing unpaid invoices

Unfortunately, unpaid invoices are a fact of business, even though cloud accounting software will generally help you get paid quicker. Chasing debtors is a distraction you don’t need, but you can’t afford to ignore the problem. Your accountant can create invoice systems that will send automatic reminders to customers when their bill is due and/or overdue.

If invoices remain unpaid after this, your accountant can help with arranging debt financing – where a business will buy your unpaid invoices from you and chase the payment themselves.


7. Writing loan applications.

Successfully applying for a loan is a tricky mixture of art and science. A good accountant can do much more than just pulling together your numbers, they’ll help you create a compelling story.

Of course, lenders need to see solid financials and credible forecasts, but that’s just part of what you need to be successful. An accountant can tie it all together in a presentation that sells the wider vision for your business. Your accountant can arm you with graphs and charts that visualise the numbers – allowing your lender to literally see the opportunity. Good accountants will use powerful forecasting and financial modelling tools that loan officers trust.

8. Smart Budgeting

Getting budgeting right can take up a lot of your time and energy. Many businesses, therefore, end up working off a vague set of numbers that are full of assumptions and estimates. Your accountant can help you produce a rigorous, accurate budget that gives you real confidence. You’ll know the real cost of doing business. You’ll know how much money you can reinvest. And you’ll know what you can pay yourself.

9. HR headaches

Small business often can’t afford the luxury of having an in-house HR department. Need additional staff, but not sure where to start? What can an accountant do to assist with your human resources?

  • Making sure you can afford the costs of hiring, training and paying an employee.
  • Figuring out what sort of staff will benefit the business most. Do you need to beef up the marketing department? Or is a new technician what the business needs to grow?
  • Making sure you are compliant with government legislation around payroll, paperwork and tax.


10. Setting up your online accounting software

A good accountant with access to online accounting software (Like us at Connex 🙂 ) will automate a lot of your business’s accounting so that data from sales and expenses flows directly into your accounts.  Setting up invoicing systems that tell you what’s has and what hasn’t been paid can help improve cash flow. Smart software will even send reminder emails to clients who haven’t paid so you don’t have to.

There are dozens of other automated systems that your accountant can implement for you, such as:

  • mobile online accounting apps  (like Xero, Quickbooks and Sage One) that allow you to manage your finances from the road
  • automated accounts payable, so you’re always on top of expenses
  • KPI dashboards and tracking, so you can check overall business performance 24/7
  • cash flow dashboards, so you always know where you stand

11. Stock Management

Spending too much on storage? Losing money writing off old or damaged goods? Missing out on revenue because you sometimes run out of stock? Smart stock management is critical to doing good business

By identifying the cost of holding stock, accountants can create strategies to save some of that money. Accurately reviewing sales data to help predict stock needs, so you can place accurate orders. A tech-savvy account can even set up software that tracks stock levels and auto-orders items as they run low…. Welcome to the future!


12. Drive productivity and efficiency

Growing your business? Costs can climb quickly with things like more staff, higher gas and electric bills and bigger IT infrastructure.

If you don’t have the time or expertise took look at these costs strategically that’s something an accountant can do for you. Identify unnecessary costs in your business and developing more efficient ways of working can significantly reduce overheads. Could you work smarter with what you’ve already got?

13. Utilising Technology.

Online accounting software and the apps that go with it can automate a lot of the things you do manually and an accountant can take away those distractions by setting up affordable software for things like:

  • invoicing
  • payroll
  • customer relationship management
  • point of sale
  • expenses
  • bids & proposals

14. Being your most trusted advisor

In the past few years, industry research has consistently shown that small business owners consistently view their accountant as their most trusted business advisor. Online accounting technology that makes business owners and their accountant ever more connected will only reinforce this notion. Check out or case studies section to see what our clients say about us 🙂

Accountants- making business better 🙂

If your current accountant is doing the same old compliance work for you every year, you will be amazed at the difference a top accountant can make. They can bring a whole load of extra capability and insight into your business.

So to summarise the question what does an accountant do, ultimately it can be whatever you need. If your accountant can’t solve your business problem themselves, you can be sure they’ll know someone who can.

You should be able to have very frank conversations with your accountant so find somebody you like and can go and see.


Top 10 Reasons to switch to accounting online

Cloud Accounting simply means your accounting data and software is accessible anytime, anywhere and on any of your devices.  It’s a smart, efficient and simple solution for you and your small business’ accountancy needs.  Still need convincing? We have put together ten top reasons you should choose Connex by Albert Goodman to help switch your business to the Cloud and start accounting online:

1. Staying up to date with your finances.

Putting off getting your latest records together and staying up to date with your finances? With Online Accounting solutions, staying up to date no longer requires allocating a weekend of your time to go through all your receipts. By using a bank feed you can reconcile your latest bank transactions as easily as checking your twitter feed; meaning you can nail your financial figures before even putting the morning coffee pot on!

Help us take away your bank reconciliation pain, talk to Albert Goodman about your bank feed options, training and getting set up.

2. Got questions? Get faster answers!

Using the Cloud allows you to share information with who you need to, instantly.  With the Cloud there is no waiting around for the postman to deliver the information, no files to be saved and transferred securely sharing data has never been easier! Add who you need to have access to your accounts and never be left waiting for a data transfer again.

We can deal with any query or concern you may have, no matter how big or how small, that you may have about your business.  With information in the Cloud we can collaborate in real-time we can help you make the decisions you need to make when you need to make them.time-is-money

3. Get paid faster.

Evidence shows that those businesses using online software are able to invoice, track and chase payments more efficiently than before, helping them to achieve the end goal of money in the bank with greater speed.  Couple this with the real-time reporting available in the Cloud to give you the complete feel and understanding of the cashflow of your business.

Using this improved cashflow and reporting, and the depth of expertise and experience we have at Albert Goodman, we can help shift your viewpoint from a historical or current perspective to fully forecasted future focus.

4. The last software update you’ll ever need.

Are you sick of constant ‘check for upgrades’ messages and having to down tools while your computer does another routine install of updates?  You get none of this in the Cloud, as the software is updated live, meaning you always have the latest product without any downtime.

And should you feel like you need a bit of a reminder or a one-to-one walkthrough of a new feature, Albert Goodman can provide training that suits you to make sure that you can make the most out of your online accounting package.

5. Not stuck at your desk anymore.

Just completed another job?  Get the invoice raised straight away!  On the way to another management meeting? Check the latest profit and loss while you’re on your way!  Anywhere with an internet connection can get you connected with your financials.

This means we’re not tied to our desks either – as your advisors, we can meet up wherever is convenient for you, perhaps remotely, and still be able to both discuss your live reports.not-stuck-at-your-desk-anymore

6. Disaster Averted!

If you lost your laptop, would you lose all your accounting records?  If your hard drive gave up the ghost, would you have to recompile hours of analysis and reporting?  Not if you were using the Cloud!  With information saved externally in the Cloud, if you decide to upgrade your PC for whatever reason you can have uninterrupted access to exactly the same data: PDFs, Spreadsheets and other documents can all be saved online.

In those times of crisis, we will be there to help you get things sorted.  And if you need it, Albert Goodman can offer cloud bookkeeping services to help you get back on track.

7. Monthly subscription costs give you flexibility.

Do you have to budget for a large annual expense for your accounting software?  Cloud solutions make this a lot easier by offering a variety of different packages at a monthly subscription price, making the cost simpler to deal with.

Get your subscription through us at Albert Goodman to take advantage of any discounts available too!

8. Integrate and build your own Solution.

In the olden days you could pay a fortune to have a bespoke system to generate items and help you keep a handle your business activities – but now you can get these all online, through add-ons and additional modules and features, your accounting software can be built in to just the system you need without that mega price tag.

If you feel your business has a particular niche that could prevent you from utilising the cloud, we may well still be able to help you by researching and recommending a suitable Add-On service to your potential cloud package.


9. Know that you’re working with experts.

That Albert Goodman has been working with clients for 150 years shows that we must we doing something right!  Our 280 staff has a huge depth and breadth of accounting, business, tax and planning knowledge.  Our proactive and personal approach allows us to act as trusted advisors to a wide range of businesses all across the south-west.

Albert Goodman is a Platinum level partner with Xero and Gold level partners with Sage and Quickbooks.  All of this together means we can tailor our service to suit you and your business needs.

10. Relax

Running your business can be difficult and produce a lot of pressure.  With Cloud software at your disposal, you can take the stress out of your reporting and compliance, allowing you to focus on your targets and the future.

Connect with us now to discover the best Cloud solution and take your next steps.

A photo by Clem Onojeghuo. unsplash.com/photos/OuxPfti70I0