Why you should outsource your accounting, bookkeeping and payroll?

As one of Brighton’s leading outsource accountancy firms, we have seen a deluge of enquires from businesses seeking advice on a variety of accountancy issues. At ‘Together We Count’ our clients range from start-up businesses to large corporate firms, but why should businesses consider outsourcing their accounts or payroll?

Firstly, statistics have been recorded that the average small business owner will spend up to 25 per cent of their working hours managing paperwork. Whilst outsourcing may seem daunting, it can certainly free up time for you to do what you love, running your business. However, an accountant is not just there for your general tax returns or payroll. Accountancy firms such as our fully qualified staff at ‘Together We Count’ can also offer solutions and provide methods to free-up cash flow and give advice on saving money.


What needs to go on a UK invoice


Your invoice is a document that you send out from your business, so make sure that it reflects your brand – fonts, think logo, colours, and wording of the item descriptions and of your payment terms. An invoice is not the same as a receipt, which is an acknowledgement of payment.

Invoices – What they must include

It is very important that you clearly display the word ‘invoice’ on your invoice. You must include:

  • A unique ID number
  • The invoice date
  • Your business name, address and contact details
  • Correspondence business name and address
  • A clear description of what is being charged
  • The date the goods or services are provided (which is otherwise known as the supply date)
  • The date of the invoice
  • The amount(s) that is being charged
  • The total amount owed
  • VAT amount (if applicable)


As a Café, what VAT do I need to pay?

Any Café with any area set aside for the consumption of food by customers, supplying food or drink to be consumed in the Café, or any additional food consumption area (for example chairs on a pavement outside your café), will have to pay the Standard Rate of VAT on the food and drink sold for that purpose.

What if I also sell cold food to be eaten as take away by the customer? You can apportion your sales of cold food between those consumed on the premises (standard-rated) and those taken-away (zero-rated).If you are unable to ascertain the correct liability at the point of saleyou must retain satisfactory evidence to support a fair and reasonable apportionment. Make sure that the cold food items follow the VAT liabilities as described in Notice 701/14 Food
How about Hot takeaway drinks? These are always Standard Rated
Hot takeaway food? If the food (or any part of it) is hot at the time it is supplied to the customer and any one of the following tests are met, then the food is standard rated:

  • It has been heated for the purposes of enabling it to be consumed hot
  • It has been heated to order
  • It has been kept hot after being heated
  • It is provided to a customer in packaging that retains heat (whether or not the packaging was primarily designed for that purpose) or in anyother packaging that is specifically designed for hot food
  • It is advertised or marketed in a way that indicates that it is supplied hot
What if I have a microwave so the customers can heat up their food themselves? This is still seen as fulfil the tests above so the food would be standard rated.
What about hot food with a cold ingredient (i.e. Hot dog) This is standard rated.
I have deal where you can buy a takeaway burger, chips and a milkshake; do I need to pay VAT ? If you sell hot and cold items at an inclusive price, you will need to work out the tax value of each item in order to calculate how much VAT is due on the standard rated items.
What about Salt and Ketchup? Condiments supplied at no charge to the customer can be ignored for VAT purposes
There is a vending machine in my café, is that liable for VAT? All supplies of food and drink from vending machines in café’s and restaurant type areas are standard-rated as supplies to be consumed on the premises where they have been supplied. An apportionment will only be allowed if the food seller can produce evidence to show that a proportion of the items of cold food (that would be eligible for zero-rating) are taken-away from the premises.
I deliver cold food and drinks such as sandwiches and bottled drinks from my café do I have to pay VAT? So long as the food is cold then that is not catering for the purpose of calculating VAT and you only have to follow the advice in Notice 701/4 Food
I sometimes provide packed lunches to events or functions, are these VAT liable? Yes- the HMRC considers this to be catering even when it’s done by a café and you will have to pay standard rate VAT
Do tips and service charges attract VAT? If you have a compulsory service charge then that sum attracts the standard rate of VAT, however if you allow customers to leave a tip if they wish then any money they leave is zero-rated.
I run my own Café, acting as a principle, how do I account for VAT? You must account for VAT on any supplies of catering or hot take-away food. You can reclaim any VAT charged to you as input tax, subject to the normal rules.
My Café is based in someone else’s business, (i.e. I run a café in a separate business, run by someone else) how should I account for VAT? You must account for VAT on:

  • Any supplies of catering or hot take-away food. You can reclaim any VAT charged to you under the normal rules
  • Sales of other standard rated items of food
  • Your fee to the owner of the catering facility
  • Any subsidy you receive from the owner of the catering facilities. This subsidy is standard-rated and should include payments you receive to balance a profit and loss account
  • You must account for VAT on your supplies even if the owner of the facilities makes exempt supplies
My café is based in someone else’s business, and I sometimes supply that business with food or drink (i.e. meals for events they are having), as well as running my café in their premises. How do I account for VAT? You supply food and drink to the owner of the catering facilities and then you prepare and serve it to the users of the premises on the owner’s behalf, so you are acting both as a principal in your own right and as an agent of the owner. You must account for VAT on both:

  • Your supplies of prepared food and drink to the owner. You can reclaim any VAT invoiced to you subject to the normal rules
  • Your fee for your services to the owner of the catering facilities for running the canteen.
I sometimes supply meals or drinks free of charge to customers or friends, do I need to pay VAT on this? This is business entertainment and you will not be entitled to deduct any input tax incurred in the provision of the meal or on the purchase of the drinks
I like to provide free sweets or drinks as part of a meal my customer pays for, such as mints or liqueurs with the bill, I this VAT liable? Treat this input tax as attributable to the taxable supply of the meal.
I give meals or drinks in exchange for an identifiable benefit to my business, (i.e. to coach drivers or party organisers in return for bringing their party to my café, do I need to pay VAT on this? Deduct any VAT incurred but you must account for output tax on the cost to you of these supplies
What about when I supply myself or my family with meals? You need not account for VAT on those meals. However, you must account for tax on the full cost to you of any standard rated items you take out of stock for your own or your families personal use.
I provide meals to my employees free of charge, does this attract any VAT? These meals would be zero rated.
My employees eat at the café and the cost is deducted from their gross wages, as set out in their contract of employment, is this VAT liable? These meals would be zero rated.
There’s a vending machine in my café which my employees can free of any charge, does this follow the same rules as other vending machines? No, these goods would be zero rated.


Helpful and cheap ways to build a thriving web presence

Helpful cheap ways to build a thriving web presence for your business, from social media to google searches. Clearly explained with useful links.

The most basic reason for people to make a website is to create an online presence. This includes a way for consumers to contact you, business information, and what makes you and your business special. There are quite a few ways to create a good web presence, and the most important one includes a well-designed website.
A domain name will secure your place on the internet no matter what trends are hot. Having a strong website with a homepage that lets consumers contact you is essential. Your homepage should clearly answer what the point of you making the website is, and why the consumers should trust you. Your homepage is critical as it’s the first thing visitors see. Do not lose them at the start, so make sure your homepage is clear and concise. An about page can then give more contact information for you and your consumers to connect. It should go in depth about what your business is about and what you want to accomplish. A great place to create and design your website is from www.squarespace.com/ .
A blog is important because it shows your readers that you are an expert in what you’re talking about, and lets them know more about you. It is a way for your consumers to contact you. The more contact you have with your consumers, the more likely they are to buy from you.


Do I need to pay VAT on the food and drink I supply?

What are premises?:
Premises are

  • Any areas occupied by the retailer.


  • Any area set aside for the consumption of food by the food retailers’ customers, whether or
    not the area may also be used by the customers of other food retailers.

Do you

Supply food or drink for consumption on the
premises where it is supplied?
Make sales of cold food to be taken away from
your premises, but also have on-site facilities
where food can be consumed?
You can apportion your sales of cold food
between those consumed on the premises
(standard-rated) and those taken-away (zero-rated).
If you are unable to ascertain the correct
liability at the point of sale you must retain
satisfactory evidence to support a fair and
reasonable apportionment.


Plumbing and Heating Industry in the UK Report

The plumbing and heating industry in the South East is set for growth, as suggested by wider economic conditions. While the principal elements of the central heating market dependent on replacement sales still require government support in order to encourage consumers to make purchases, individuals tend to become more aware of the environmental impact of central heating and energy efficiency. This report analyses the current UK market and the upcoming trends to look out for.