How to stay on top of your accounts throughout 2017

If the last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of lost receipts, invoice spreadsheets, computer malfunctions and confused expenses, you’re not alone – the 31st January tax return deadline can make January especially miserable for the unprepared. Now that the deadline’s passed, you might be thinking it’s time to sit back and relax, tax-wise, till next January – but if you want to avoid the hair-tearing and sleepless nights in early 2018, you might be better off staying on top of things as the year progresses. As experienced chartered accountants in Watford, DUA are no stranger to organising other people’s tax problems – so here are our top tips for keeping your accounts under control, throughout 2017.


One of the things that can make completing a tax return such an unpleasant proposition is the physical mound of paperwork you have to get through – simply sorting through the year’s accumulated receipts can be a tiresome, time-consuming chore in itself. So the simple change of going digital can remove much of what makes doing a tax return such a headache, without imposing a great burden on you day-to-day. Being more digital could be as simple as adding invoices onto a spreadsheet, and you’d be surprised how much of a difference doing such a task for five minutes a day can make – but for even better results, specialised software can be used to really cut down your time and effort.


If you’re a small owner with a keen eye on your costs, you might question the need for hiring a full time accountant. It may seem like using the services of an accountant is only necessary in January, but actually, having a professional keeping a keen eye on your books and record-keeping throughout the year can really help your business. Not only can an experienced chartered accountant help to minimise your exposure to unnecessary tax, they can also help you to make intelligent business choices which can save you huge amounts of money in the long term, and preclude the need for a CFO – as well as taking all the day-to-day hassle of bookkeeping out of your hands. At DUA we offer a package of services including business advice and growth strategy, which can add considerable value to your business.


The most important thing to do to make next year’s tax return go smoothly is simply adopting good habits. You’ll find that devoting a short amount of time to bookkeeping every day is enough to keep on top of things – and while many of us swear, after filling out a tricky tax return, to maintain just such habits next year, it’s easy to forget just how important it is. In fact it’s crucial – what really makes completing a tax return a drain on time and effort is spending time getting your accounts in order, when they should have been well-maintained over the year. Adopting good habits of regular bookkeeping is often enough to remove much of the stress of self-assessment.

So while completing a tax return might seem like a long and unpleasant chore, to be dreaded every year, in fact it can be quite simple and painless – it just takes the right practices, throughout the year, and you’ll find that January of 2018 is surprisingly smooth. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s necessary or advisable to go it alone – it may also be worth consulting local chartered accountants in Watford like DUA. We provide a complete range of financial advisory and businesses services, to help you through January and beyond – so get in touch today to see how we can add value to your business.