The FreeAgent Blog

Big news for limited company directors: from today you can file your Self Assessment return through FreeAgent.

Earlier this year you may have heard that we released filing of Self Assessment returns for sole traders but from today, directors of limited companies can fill in and file their tax returns directly to HMRC too.

So let’s see how it’s done.

Fill in the forms...

When you visit the Self Assessment section of your account you’ll see a lot has changed, with expanded support for the common Self Assessment return forms including the Main Return, Employment Form and Tax Adjustments.

Self Assessment filing for limited company directors

Where possible, FreeAgent will populate these forms with the correct data from your account, so you don’t have to enter this again. For example, if you run payroll through FreeAgent we’ll automatically create an Employment form and populate this with your payroll data. We’ll also populate the Main Return Form with details of any dividends you’ve recorded.

All you need to do is go through and complete the rest of the forms, answering the clearly marked questions and filling in any data FreeAgent doesn’t know about.

… and file to HMRC

Once you’ve filled in the forms, filing is easy. Click the 'Prepare to File Online' button and you’ll see a final page that highlights any missing data and encourages you to double-check the data you’ve already entered.

Then if you're ready to go, simply hit the 'File Online with HMRC' button and enter your Government Gateway ID and password. You’ll be taken back to the self assessment section and you’ll see the return marked as 'Pending'. If all goes well, this will change to 'Filed' when the return has been successfully received by HMRC.

And it’s as simple as that, but if you want the full skinny then take a look at our guide to filing a Self Assessment return with FreeAgent.

Locking

When Self Assessment returns are filed to HMRC, or simply marked as Filed, then anything that affects the Self Assessment return (like payslips, dividends or dividend journals) will be locked down. See our Knowledge Base article for details.

If you file a return and then realise you’ve made a mistake you can unlock the return, allowing you to make the amendment. Just remember to submit the return again once you’ve finished, and bear in mind that HMRC do place a limit on how many times you can refile.

Obviously we recommend checking your return thoroughly before submitting to avoid any mistakes, and if you have an accountant make sure they look it over.

Who can file their Self Assessment return through FreeAgent?

At the minute FreeAgent supports most of the common Self Assessment forms, but we don’t cover everything. If you have income from a property for example, you won’t be able to file through FreeAgent yet. For full details of what we currently support, see our overview of Self Assessment in FreeAgent.

We think you’ll agree this is another major step forward in our mission to take away the pain of managing small business accounts, and look forward to seeing what you think.

Happy filing,
Roan and the team at FreeAgent

Building great client relationships is very important for your business - so here's four ways that FreeAgent can help you

When you’re working on your own, it’s easy to forget about networking and building relationships with other people in your industry, or to think that it’s not worth your time.

But building these relationships can be a great way to get support for your business, or even generate more work. Here are a few great opportunities that can arise from interacting with businesses and professional bodies in your marketplace - including those you may have traditionally regarded as out and out competitors.

Build your network and get support from industry bodies

Some people are sceptical about industry bodies, as many still operate solely as “membership organisations” that feel old-fashioned with few benefits. But the good news is that many of the more forward-thinking industry bodies are now providing support, sharing resources and helping members network with each other. For example, the Federation of Small Businesses runs regular networking sessions throughout the year and across the country exclusively for its members.

It’s worth trying to get to know regional representatives of these bodies as they are normally well-informed of changes in legislation or industry initiatives that are in the pipeline. As a member, you may gain a competitive advantage by getting a heads-up about changes coming through - and may also discover new opportunities to provide consulting expertise into the organisation.

Get referrals from complementary businesses

Every business will usually be able to find a range of other “complementary” industries whose services or products could tie in with them. A professional hairdresser, for example, can build up a network of photographers, makeup artists and caterers who could recommend clients to each other.

So if you run your own business, start to identify some complementary service or product providers in your industry sector that you can strike up partnerships with. Think about how you could team up to offer a combined service or referral scheme that would benefit your customers.

For an example of how this works, take a look at how we work with partners here at FreeAgent. Our Partners page lists all of the professional organisations and companies that we’ve forged close links with and we encourage our customers to check them out and see how their businesses can benefit from these services.

Work with your competitors (yes, really!)

You may think that a competitor is the last person you’d want to partner with, but there are many potential gains to be had by working with them.

In some industries, the phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats” can apply - if you and a competitor have a different enough product or service within an industry, you may find that joining forces to raise awareness about your business could bring more customers to both of you.

Also, if you find that you sometimes have to turn away work because you’re already too busy or scheduled for a particular date, you and a competitor that you respect could agree to point clients in each other’s direction.

Finally, for a great example of competitors and complementary businesses working together, check out the Glasgow Wedding Collective - a handpicked group of companies in Scotland who respect and collaborate with each other.

Matt Perkins works in FreeAgent's Business Development team, and spends his days travelling the country to meet small business owners and organisations.

Case study: How FreeAgent changed my relationship with my accountant

Posted on 21 August 2014 by FreeAgent Guest Blog – 0 Comments

Jo Halliday is co-founder and director of Talking Medicines, a company that specialises in using augmented reality for more effective use of medicines.

Before FreeAgent: a last-minute scramble at tax time

“Before I discovered FreeAgent, I found it a total pain to keep on top of my business admin. I recorded everything on spreadsheets and would invoice my customers manually using a PowerPoint template! My relationship with our accountants at the time was very transactional. I would only contact them when our tax return was due each year and would then spend ages ploughing through endless spreadsheets and receipts to try to pull all the paperwork together in time. I saw my accountant as someone I simply had to deal with once a year, rather than as a valuable and important part of my business.”

FreeAgent recommended by a friend

“I made the decision to move to FreeAgent when a friend recommended it to me last year. I hadn’t really been aware of cloud accounting until then, but when she told me how much easier it could make things for me and my accountant, it made perfect sense. By then, I’d started working with a new accountant; after checking out FreeAgent he was very supportive of using it, particularly when he learned that he would have access to my up-to-date figures all year round.”

After FreeAgent: bookkeeping has become a natural part of the business

“The first big difference I noticed when I started using FreeAgent was just how quick and easy it was to manage my invoices. It only takes a couple of minutes to raise a great-looking invoice and email it to my client - no more need for that bulky PowerPoint template! At Talking Medicines we work closely with the Scottish Government and every time I apply for a grant I have to prove that I’ve raised invoices. FreeAgent makes it really easy for us to do that.

"I also use FreeAgent to manage my expenses and supplier database, and to keep a close eye on my cashflow and accounting reports - these days I’m in complete control of our P&L! With FreeAgent, the day-to-day financial admin has become a natural part of our workflow and not something that we do at the last minute before a tax return deadline. It’s such a smooth system and a far more professional and efficient way of working - I never want to go back to using spreadsheets!”

A new way of working with my accountant

“Since I started using FreeAgent, my relationship with my accountant has completely transformed. Now my figures are up to date and available for both of us to review in real time, my accountant doesn’t have to wait for me to pull my information together in the run-up to tax return time. Instead, he can spot errors and flag anything that I might want to double-check quickly and easily. As a result, our relationship is now about so much more than preparing for tax return deadlines. My accountant and I are now in constant communication and enjoy a far more collaborative, consultative and business-focused relationship.

"As Talking Medicines has grown and we’ve started to move into international markets, we increasingly turn to our accountant for advice and guidance on the wider issues facing the business. It might sound obvious, but it’s amazing what your accountant can do for you when you’re not trying to avoid them for 11 months of the year!

As a small business owner and former freelancer, I know what it’s like to think you can handle your accounts on spreadsheets. Moving everything across to FreeAgent has saved us untold amounts of time as the business has grown, and has allowed us to get in complete control of our figures. What’s more, we now have a truly valuable business relationship with our accountant which has helped us take Talking Medicines from strength to strength and move into international waters. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without FreeAgent.”

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  • *breathes sigh of relief* a journal entry screen that looks like a journal and you can’t post it one sided! Nice one @FreeAgent!

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