The tax deadline is looming…

tax deadline

….we all know that businesses need to pay tax, but how many sole traders and small businesses are actually properly advised on what they should be paying? If you’re trading as a sole trader or partnership you are eligible to pay (how much you actually pay is a whole other ball game!!) Income Tax and National Insurance, some businesses will be required to charge VAT on their sales too.

Sole traders must complete a Self-Employment tax return at the end of each tax year. The return allows you to provide details of your business’ income and expenses. This information is used to work out how much Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions you have to pay. 

Here are the basics…

– Self-employment/self-assessment return

The UK’s VAT registration threshold (above which persons making taxable supplies are required to register and account for VAT) is currently set at £85,000, although businesses can opt to register voluntarily if their taxable turnover is below this.

All you need to provide on the relevant pages of your tax return are:

– Details of your turnover

The total allowable business expenses, rather than a breakdown of each expense, net profit or loss, details of any adjustments, allowances or losses

If you prefer, you can still give a fuller breakdown of all your expenses in the relevant boxes on your tax return. Businesses below the VAT registration threshold can also use cash accounting so turnover and expenses will be cash received and payments made in the period.

– Tax and NIC liability

After deducting the personal allowance (in 2019/20 this is £12,500), profits from self-employment are paid as income tax at the basic rate of 20% on your taxable earned income that falls within the basic rate band. The basic rate band for 2019/20 is £37,500. If you have taxable earned income that exceeds the basic rate limit, you have to pay more tax.

There are two classes of National Insurance Contributions (NIC) for the self-employed. The first (called Class 2) starts at profits of £6,365 and is £3.00 per week. Class 4 NIC starts at profits of £8,632 and is payable at 9% up to profits of £50,000, 385 when Class 4 drops to 2%.

– Payment of Tax

Self-assessment payments are due by 31 January and 31 July each year. For the business profits in 2019/20 tax year (accounting periods ending by April 5, 2020) the first payment on account is due by January 31, 2020, the second payment is due by July 31, 2020 and any balance must be paid by January 31, 2021. Failure to make these deadlines will result in interest being charged.

If you feel that you are out of your depth making these returns on your own, then do not delay in contacting us at DNA Accountants, we are here to make sure you get on with what you do best, while we take care of the boring stuff. We can also make sure your money is working for you by assessing your tax efficiency. Get in touch and we’ll make your income work smarter for you.

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How To Pick The Perfect Business Name – Don’t Over Think It…

business name

What is the most difficult element of starting your business?
Coming up with the concept, writing a business plan, raising funding? No!!! it’s how to pick the perfect business name. Get it right and people will instantly remember you, get it wrong and you can give yourself a bit of a headache.

The main factors in choosing your business name are, don’t overthink it, just go with these 3 rules:

– Is it easily understood – if you have to explain that little play on words then it’s just not working.
– Can it be clearly pronounced – will people misinterpret what you are trying to say.
– Does it stick in your mind – if someone just gets a glance of the name on a van as it drives down the road, is it memorable?

Once you’ve dealt with those points it’s time to get creative. You could go with an alternative/abstract name, like Xero the accountancy software people (It’s pronounced Zero), this way you are more likely to get the domain name to match without compromising and it’s less likely you have someone else trading under the same name.

Alternatively, there is the informative name, it basically does what it says on the tin. If you are John Smith the Baker, then people know who you are, what you do and it’s easy to remember, but on the other hand, you may not be unique (sorry to break that to you!!).

Then finally we have phrases, they flow naturally, become good branding, become your slogan and are memorable. Without breaking into song, a prime example would be “Go Compare” – it may be annoying as hell, but we all know about it.

If you are really struggling there are tools available online to help and give you that little bit of extra help:

Finally, when you have made a decision, road test it on family, friends, webcheck it on Companies House to make sure it’s not already in use, look for your domain name and once you are comfortable go ahead and get started.


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Making Tax Digital – The Facts

Making Tax Digital - The Facts

When it comes to Making Tax Digital (MTD) the self-employed and small businesses are still a little in the dark! So let us take you through our need to know guide…

What exactly is Making Tax Digital?

HMRC want to go paperless, so it makes sense to convert to keeping digital records and using software to complete tax returns, it’s also a good step towards being more eco-friendly! According to HMRC it is an important part of the government’s plans to “make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs.”A personal tax account had already been brought into play in 2015, which HMRC had hoped would help make it easier for people to manage their tax affairs – so this is the next stage. Making Tax Digital is being phased in gradually, MTD for VAT will start from 1 April 2019, affecting VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000. Eventually, HMRC will introduce Making Tax Digital for Income Tax and Corporation Tax. What’s more, it’s expected they’ll extend Making Tax Digital to all VAT-registered businesses, but there’s little detail on this at the moment. The earliest these changes will be phased in from is April 2020.

What is the Timeline Making Tax Digital (MTD):

  • April 2019 – VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000 need to keep digital records and submit digital VAT returns using compatible software (some ‘more complex’ businesses* get a six-month deferral)
  • October 2019 – more complex businesses who were deferred need to comply with Making Tax Digital
  • April 2020 (at the earliest) – HMRC will implement Making Tax Digital for Income Tax and Corporation Tax (self-employed people and landlords can currently sign up for the Income Tax pilot, instead of filing Self Assessment returns).

What digital records will need to be kept by business and self-employed individuals?

You can use spreadsheets to calculate or summarise VAT transactions and work out what information you need to send to HMRC. But ultimately you’ll need to use compatible software to send that information. You might also need what HMRC calls ‘bridging software’, which converts your records to the right format before you submit. You’ll need to use compatible software to keep records and send an income and expenses summary to HMRC every three months. You’ll be able to see estimates of how much tax you’ll owe. At the end of the accounting year, you’ll send a final report and your tax for the year will be calculated. This is the point at which you’ll claim any allowances and reliefs.

What software is required for Making Tax Digital?

Businesses will need to use compatible software to send digital tax returns. Your digital records don’t all have to be in one place, but HMRC wants data to flow and be exchanged digitally between applications by 31 March 2020. Until then you can use copy and paste to transfer information. We have a guide to the best accounting software for small business. The product you use to submit digital tax returns needs to be compatible with HMRC. HMRC has a list of compatible software – examples include Xero, Quickbooks, and Zoho.

Businesses that don’t already use accounting software are likely to face one-off and ongoing costs. There are also likely to be costs when training staff to use the software and comply with Making Tax Digital. Making Tax Digital for individuals is not compulsory (yet) but self-employed people and landlords can sign up for a digital tax returns pilot scheme. The pilot lets you keep records digitally and send Income Tax updates to HMRC instead of filing a Self Assessment tax return. Both sole traders with income from one business and landlords who rent out UK property (excluding furnished holiday lettings) can also sign up.

So do you feel that you’re now ready for Making Tax Digital? If not please do get in touch with us here at DNA Accountants we are always happy to talk business.

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Accounting Tips That Will Keep Your Small Business on track

accounting tips

The life of a small business isn’t easy, your day is packed with jobs and other activities that need to be done, but they may not always be how you would like to be spending your time – keeping on top of your accounting is generally one of the least favourable tasks! But there are some steps you can take right now that are both easy and can set your business up for plenty of success.

Here are some small business accounting tips so that your finances are always on track…


  1. It’s not personal, it’s business:

Always keep personal and business transactions separate. Instead of throwing everything into your personal account, take the simple step of opening a new bank account for all of your business stuff. You will be more organised, your personal finances can stay personal and your business transactions will be easier to find in your business account. No more wasting time shuffling through endless receipts.


  1. Keep it Tidy

Some people like a bit of clutter and others can’t work if their documents aren’t neat, tidy and organised. That might be great in your personal life but when it comes to your books, try and keep them in good shape so you’re not wasting time looking for them when they’re all over the place.


Neat and tidy records mean you waste less time searching and more time doing, well, whatever else you want to do. When those sneaky tax deadlines are getting closer, you’ll be glad that you took a little bit of time to make sure that you kept your records neat, tidy and a lot more organised.


  1. Remember and Stick to Tax Deadlines

Speaking of those sneaky tax deadlines, whatever will help you remember that the tax deadline is approaching, do it. Phone reminders, a countdown – anything. A looming tax deadline can be quite stressful, especially if you’re rushing because you forgot and any mistakes made can take longer to process.


It’s really quite a simple step. Set a reminder beforehand so you give yourself enough time to actually complete your tax returns without any mistakes and the rest is a breeze. HMRC won’t be on your case, your records will be accurate and you can forget about it until the next deadline.


  1. Keep All of Your Receipts

Keep any business-related purchase receipts so that you can claim for any business expenses. It all depends on the type of business yours is as if you’re working from home, then you can claim back some domestic bills, for example.


It can be anything from stamps to stationery. Keep hold of any business-related purchases or expenses and file them in those neat and tidy records we mentioned earlier.


  1. Go to a Free HMRC Workshop

Find out if there’s a workshop being held in your area and tag along or check out their e-learning tutorials so that you gain some more knowledge on aspects that actually matter to you.


It can be introductions to VAT, setting up a limited company, online filing and that’s just scratching the surface. You might just find something really useful to you which can be a massive help.


  1. Budget for Tax

Even though you might be rolling in the big bucks and made a profit, not all of the money is yours as you’ll need to hand some over to the taxman. A good rule to follow is that you budget for this as you go along so that you’re not massively shocked at the end of the year.


If you have a savings account or something similar, set a little bit of your income aside so that you can easily pay off your tax bill without any worries and enjoy the rest of your profit.


  1. Get to Grips With Tax Rules

When it comes to tax, it’s important you know exactly which ones apply to you and your business so you know which types of tax you’ll actually need to pay. Income tax, National Insurance, Corporation tax, VAT and business rates – do your research into all of them so you know what you need to pay.


  1. Create Profit and Loss Statements

A profit and loss (P&L) statement basically gives you a snapshot of the financial health of your business. It’ll summarise the expenses, costs and revenues of your business during a specific time to satisfy HMRC and their requirements.


It should include information such as your gross profit, net profit, operating profit and your profit before tax. This makes it a lot easier to show revenues, costs and how much profit your business has made, usually over the last 12 months.


  1. Use a Digital App

There’s an app for pretty much everything nowadays, so it comes as no surprise that there are bookkeeping and accounting apps you can download to keep your incomings, outgoings and taxes properly organised. This makes it a whole lot easier for you to manage your financial records.


With the Making Tax Digital deadline approaching, you’re going to need to take relevant steps towards using technology which makes it easier for you to get your tax right and keep on top of your affairs. This helps make your entire process more effective and efficient. The best part is that using the right software means you don’t even need to be the most tech-savvy business owner out there. Some are designed to stay simple and sleek so that only the features that matter to you are used and you won’t be overwhelmed when tax season approaches.


Overall, it’ll give you more peace of mind that everything is organised and ready to submit, leaving you more free time to focus on making more of a profit.

If you need to get back on track with your accounting, please do get in touch with us here at DNA Accountants we are always happy to talk business.

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It not often we blow our own trumpet…

Accountant Surrey Small Business

…but we will make an exception in order to share these lovely words from a client we have helped over the past few months:


“As a contractor, I’ve experienced nothing but mixed advice, late notifications and three years of challenging my previous accountants!

Due to the high levels of debt I continually seemed to be in with HMRC, a friend of mine recommended Gillian at DNA to me. After an initial conversation with Gillian, I felt for the first time I was talking to someone who knew what they were doing. After meeting Gillian face to face this opinion only grew. Gillian’s initial assessment of my position was spot on and even better for me she had a plan to turn my situation around.

Since February 2019 and following Gillian’s every instruction I am now seeing a clear way forward knowing what to do and when. Better than this Gillian has worked her magic with HMRC which was nothing short of a miracle and has completely removed the massive stress this was putting me under.

I simply cannot thank Gillian and everyone at DNA enough.”


As a business owner, your job is to focus on what you do best and the thing that brings you the most income, that often isn’t liaising with HMRC, which often ends in people being bamboozled by their demands. That’s where we come in because that’s exactly when we went into business!!

So don’t struggle on alone, get yourself a good accountant and let them do their thing.


DNA Accountants

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Are you about to commence your start-up journey?

start-up journey

You’re starting a company – that’s great news! You’ve had an amazing commercial idea and you’re following your passion to create your own business. Good for you! But do you know what happens next? Follow this advice and your start-up journey will be a success…

You should assess the types of business entity based on your available time, commitment and resources, and consider long-term goals for your business. Although you can change your ownership type at any time, you should decide carefully, at the beginning of your start-up journey because the form of business you choose will affect the way you file paperwork, face personal liability, pay taxes and, if necessary, file for bankruptcy protection.

Sole Trader

One person owns and manages a sole tradeship, which means you are responsible for all debts incurred.

Advantages: Easy. Inexpensive. Complete control of operating decisions. Generated income goes to owner to keep or reinvest. Easy to dissolve if the business does not go as planned.

Disadvantages: Unlimited liability. Funding difficulties. Less attractive to prospective employees.

Tax requirements: Sending a Self Assessment tax return every year, paying Income Tax on your profits and Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance.

Limited Company

A limited company is an organisation that you can set up to run your business – it’s responsible in its own right for everything it does and its finances are separate to your personal finances. Any profit it makes is owned by the company after it pays Corporation Tax. The company can then share its profits.

Advantages: Higher take-home pay, claim on a wider range of expenses, entitled to the Flat Rate VAT scheme, personal assets are covered and you have complete control of your business.

Disadvantages: A certain amount of paperwork involved, accounts need to be filed every year, costly if contracting for a short period of time and not ideal for contracts less than £25,000 per year.

Tax requirements: At the end of its financial year, your limited company must prepare full (‘statutory’) annual accounts.

You then use this information to:

  • send accounts to Companies House
  • pay Corporation Tax – or tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that your limited company doesn’t owe any
  • send a Company Tax Return to HMRC


In a business partnership, you and your business partner (or partners) personally share responsibility for your business. You can share all your business’s profits between the partners. Each partner pays tax on their share of the profits.

Advantages: Businesses as partnerships do not have to pay income tax; each partner files the profits or losses of the business on his or her own personal income tax return. This way the business does not get taxed separately.

Easy to establish.

There is an increased ability to raise funds when there is more than one owner

Disadvantages: Each partner is individually liable for the debts and obligations of the business; if the business does not have enough assets to pay back business debts, creditors can take the personal assets of the partners.

A partner cannot transfer an interest in the business without the unanimous consent of the partners.

Partnerships can potentially be unstable because of the danger of dissolution if one partner wants to withdraw from the business or dies.

Tax Requirements: The nominated partner must send a partnership Self Assessment tax return every year.

All the partners must:

  • send a personal Self Assessment tax return every year
  • pay Income Tax on their share of the partnership’s profits
  • pay National Insurance
  • The partnership will also have to register for VAT if you expect its takings to be more than £85,000 a year.

If you are about to commence your start-up journey, please do get in touch with us here at DNA Accountants we are always happy to talk business.

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Don’t delay – Submit your tax return today!

tax return

Sole traders across the UK will notice letters from the taxman dropping through their letterboxes in the days ahead, reminding them that the tax year has ended and it’s now time to file their Self-Assessment Tax Return. Of course, the deadline for filing is 31st October for paper returns, or 31st January (2020!) when filing online. No sense doing today what you can put off until tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…right?

Maybe. But maybe not.

Submitting your tax forms correctly and on time can be a confusing business. To take some of the strain out of filling out your returns we’ve put together this handy guide:

How do I know if I need to submit a tax return?

If you fall into one of the following categories, it is likely you will need to submit a tax return:

  • If you’re a director of a Limited company
  • If you’re self-employed or a sole trader
  • If you’re renting out a property
  • If you or your partner receive child benefit and your income is more than £50,000

What should I do before I submit my tax return?

Although the deadline is just around the corner, you still have time to complete your tax return. We have compiled a list with a few tips to try and help you do it more efficiently and quickly.

  • Understand your financial year – your tax return is in relation to income and gains for the financial year between 6th April 2018 and 5th April 2019
  • Prepare all the correct documents you need
  • Make sure you organise your paperwork
  • VAT – don’t forget to separate your VAT from your income
  • When collating information be as accurate as possible
  • Don’t miss the deadline if you want to avoid penalties

Can you help with my tax return?

Yes,  of course, we can! Here at DNA Accountants, we understand that filling in a tax return can be complicated and confusing. It is a time-consuming process and difficult at times which is why we are on hand to help. But if you choose to go ahead and make the submission yourself, then “Don’t delay, submit today!”.

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Are you aware of this latest telephone scam?


Scams are pretty common these days, whether it’s a suspicious looking e-mail, text or a direct message via social media, if we haven’t received one, we certainly all know someone that has and we are all getting better at spotting them and more importantly, avoiding them. However, there’s a new scam doing the rounds that can potentially catch people unaware, because it stems from a voicemail purporting to be from the UK Government’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)!!

The scam involves leaving a voicemail message telling the recipient that HMRC are filing a lawsuit against them for alleged unpaid bills, knowing the scare tactics will take you by surprise, the message then leads into the seemingly familiar HMRC options of “’press 1 to speak to a caseworker and make a payment” – but as you can probably guess by this point – it is most certainly not an HMRC representative at the end of the line.

Caller ID can detail that the call is being received from 0300 numbers, which are official HMRC numbers, but these have been cloned for the purpose of these scam calls.

The callers, who are targeting both mobile and landline numbers, suggest that the recipient owes money to HMRC (they have been reported to be intimidating and aggressive) and will often threaten arrest, a spokesman for HMRC team has said.

The nature of the scam is so convincing that finance expert Martin Lewis – founder of – and Kay Burley from SKY News have used their TV forums to speak out, warning the public to be vigilant.

So how can you try and keep yourself safe from these fraudsters? Follow these helpful tips from HMRC…

  • Genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
  • Do not give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
  • Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to  and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use their online fraud reporting tool.
  • HMRC will never ask for payment in the form of a voucher, such as Amazon, Google Play or iTunes.
  • If you are uncertain of the caller hang up and call HMRC directly to check – you can confirm our call centre numbers on  if you are unsure.
  • For tax credits, we do not include your details in any voicemail messages.

Anyone in doubt about a call they receive can call HMRC back from a different phone and if using a landline always listen for a dial tone before making a call.

Should you be unfortunate enough to receive one of these calls you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 1232040 or

If you receive a call reported to be from HMRC but are unsure you are getting the correct information from them, do not be embarrassed to terminate the call and ask your accountant to call them back on your behalf, we deal with them on a daily basis and can verify that you are or are not being approached for legitimate reasons – Stay Safe!


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Tax can be taxing!!

Tax can be taxing

Accountants all across the country breath a sigh of relief when February rolls around – the tax return madness is over and we can get on with making you more tax efficient, rather than trying to beat the HMRC deadline.

If you left your tax return to the last minute this year, then our top tips below may ensure you are more organised next time, take a look…


  • Firstly – Do you actually need to submit a tax return?

You need to do a return if you: are self-employed; you received £2,500 or more in untaxed income, such as from renting out a property; your income (or your partner’s) was more than £50,000 and one of you claimed child benefit; your income from savings or investments was £10,000 or more before tax; you made profits from selling things such as shares or a second home and need to pay capital gains tax; you were a company director, unless it was for a non-profit organisation and you didn’t get any pay or benefits; or your taxable income was more than £100,000.


  • Have you registered?

If you have never filed a tax return before, you will need to register first – which can take up to 20 working days.


  • Get your paperwork in order:

Dig out all the bits of paper that you need, such as P60/P45/P11D, PAYE coding notices and tax certificates for investments. For self-employed income, you need your bank statements, sales invoices and so on.

If you are renting out a property, claim all revenue expenses associated with the letting including letting agent fees, mortgage interest, ground rent, replacement of furniture and appliances, but not capital expenditure such as improvements to the property.

If you are letting out a room in your own home, is it more tax-efficient for you to claim the annual £7,500 (£3,750 if you share the income with your partner) Rent a Room Scheme allowance?

If you use your car for business and your employer pays you less than the HMRC maximum approved mileage rate (45p for the first 10,000 miles and 25p a mile above this), you can claim the excess.

If you are a member of a professional body required for your employment, you can often include the cost of the subscription as an allowable deduction.

Don’t forget to include your state pension figures. Although the state pension is paid gross, it is still taxable and needs to be included on your tax return.


  • Avoid the most common errors!

Don’t leave things out – this is probably the most common mistake is to miss something out – maybe a source of income you have forgotten about, and estimate if you have to! If you have some paperwork outstanding that’s not going to get to you in time, you can submit an estimated return and update it when the paperwork arrives. You won’t pay a fine for this – whereas you will if you wait for the paperwork in order to submit the return.


  • Don’t confuse your numbers!

Another common error is, say, mixing up net with gross.


  • Do you know your tax code?

Thousands of taxpayers may well be paying too much (or too little) tax as a result of having the wrong tax code!


  • Don’t forget gift aid!

Include all the gift aid donations you have made during the tax year to claim any higher-rate tax relief. If you donated £100 using gift aid, the total value of your donation to the charity was £125, so if you pay tax at 40% you can personally claim back £25.


  • Don’t forget to pay what you owe!

The deadline for paying any tax owed is also 31 January. Payments can clear on the same day if you pay by debit card, but will sometimes take a day to go through. If you pay by BACS or direct debit it can take three days, or five days if this is the first time you have paid HMRC by direct debit – so keep this in mind.


If you need help with anything tax-related, then please do get in touch with us here at DNA Accountants we are always happy to talk business.

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Will You Pursue Your Business Idea in 2019?

small business 2019

Many would be business owners take the opportunity of a new year to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. If you are going to use 2019 to launch your new business then it’s important to remember that finances are a necessary part of running a small business, so to get some insight on effective procedures that entrepreneurs can adopt to improve their money management we’ve compiled our top five tips for all small business owners:


  1. Don’t mix business and personal expenses.

There are so many reasons not to mix your business and personal accounts, including tax issues, personal liability, and jumbled accounting records, just to name a few. When things get tight, resist that urge to secure your business finances with personal funds. It may give you that quick fix you need at the time but it will no doubt create a mess that you are only going to have to deal with at a later date.

The best way to maintain a clear separation of your expenses is to set yourself a personal budget and a business budget. Try and adhere to them strictly and separately so that credit cards and loans for your business don’t get used for your personal finances and vice versa. Your bookkeeper and accountant will be eternally grateful if you separate the two when it comes to managing your books and paying your taxes.


  1. Negotiate with vendors before signing!!

Sometimes you have to do some digging or shopping around for a good bargain. When making purchases from vendors or contracting with suppliers, try negotiating for a better deal.

Also please don’t forget to examine purchase terms like late payment penalties when making a decision. You don’t want to be caught out at a later date.


  1. Pay your bills on time, every time.

Treat your business bills as you do your personal finances. You don’t pay personal finances late so business payments shouldn’t be any different.

Credit card and loan payment late fees can cost you dearly, but paying small late fees on vendor and utility bills consistently adds up, too. The same goes for taxes: paying too late can result in serious penalties.

It can be beneficial to set up monthly reminders to make sure there are no business bills falling through the cracks. For young businesses especially, the profit-loss margins are thin. Avoiding late fees could be the difference between ending the year in the red or in the black.


  1. Be a little Frugal.

Okay, we aren’t expecting you to become an extreme couponer like the ones on American tv shows to save money on ordinary business expenses but we do suggest that you follow through on rebate offers for office equipment and supplies, buy furniture and major equipment secondhand, and go green to save money on utilities.


  1. Spend some time on an accounting refresher. 

Being a small business owner doesn’t automatically make you a money whizz/expert, but you’ll still have to make big money-related decisions for your company and understand how cash moves in and out of your small business.


The more you understand your business finances and cash flow, the better prepared you’ll be to make smart money management decisions. And, while these tips will get you started, nothing replaces being proactive and hands-on when it comes to managing your money—no matter how big or small the financial challenge. If you need help with your business finances then please do get in touch with us here at DNA Accountants we are always happy to talk business.

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